Thursday, June 2, 2022

Too Much TV - What Shows I've Been Watching

We had just finished up a few shows, but TV now knows most of us don't actually want to go outside on Memorial Day, and so... it was decreed, a bunch of new stuff would hit around this time.

What we're watching:

Obi-Wan - Look, Star Wars fans are somehow worse than Star Trek fans and the "fans" of both have more or less ruined both of my kid-age fave raves by now.  I don't know how y'all found the way to make a fun adventure about killing space despots into how characters should be white and male, but you sure did.  And you're so loud and dumb and don't seem to understand what you're seeing on screen, anyway, it's mystifying.  So, as a rule, I try to just talk Star Wars with Jamie these days, if at all. 

Per the show, I don't particularly care about what Obi-Wan did for a while after the third/ sixth Star Wars.  And, yes, you have the inevitable problem of "pretty sure I know where everyone is in 9 years", but the show looks good, it's serviceable space fantasy, and I had absolutely no expectations.  So it's a good way to spend some TV time.  

It's been okay so far, but I'm not gaga over the first two episodes.  And I am more than a little irritated that I saw a Black woman on screen and said to myself "well, the racist misogynists will surely lose their shit over this", and indeed they did.  It's exhausting.

Stranger Things - there was so much time since the last season of the show and the new stuff, I didn't initially remember entire main characters until they appeared on screen (see: Max).  I also just don't think about this show unless it's right in front of me, but know I would have obsessed over it when I was 13 and if I were 13 now, it probably would have unlocked a lot of the 1980's for me.  

I am 5 episodes in, and it's very watchable, nice low-level scary like a lot of 1980's teen horror.  I'm not enamored with the villain, who doesn't pose the same sort of Cthulhuian threat as prior seasons, and the minimization of Mrs. Wheeler screen time is a straight up bummer.  But I love the scale, which I think Harms would call "maximalist".  There's a lot going on, so it's never boring.

But some stuff feels like it lacks verisimilitude, which has been a feature of the show to date.  I don't buy the bullying of Eleven.  I don't buy soldiers on American soil shooting up a suburban household in 1986 wouldn't have been a national story for weeks.  Especially if the homeowner flew to Alaska and was calling Russia.  And I kinda question the need at all for the Russia stuff, but, sure, maybe it will serve a purpose beyond giving Hopper something to do.  It all feels very "this needed to happen because plot" rather than keeping the weird stuff weird and the real stuff real.

Kids in the Hall -  We all dutifully show up when Indiana Jones puts down the walker and moseys his way to adventure.  But we also know - hey, this is going to not meet expectations.  (See: how everyone freaked out on any new Star Trek).  But, you know, when the guys who you watched religiously in high school and college show up to do more of same, you want to at least give it a whirl.  

And, yeah, like for a lot of folks my age, Kids in the Hall was to Saturday Night Live as Pixies were to Guns n Roses.  You could like both, but you kinda knew one was pushing boundaries and one was a gigantic machine.  But to torture a metaphor, I also saw the Pixies play 15 years ago, but I'm not sure I'd go see them now.  Kim's gone and I don't really care for the new stuff.  

But, hey, holy shit - throwing the metaphor away completely - this was them not missing a beat after decades away from making media.  I think the last thing of there's I saw was a videotaped stage show of greatest hits, maybe 20 years ago.  The new season was as good or better than the last time I checked in.  Mind-boggling.  

Hacks - Season 1 of the show was a moonshot of a TV season.  It's incredible stuff in the world of tragicomedy, with one of the best TV actors to ever grace the screen paired with one of the finest new actors of a generation.  It doesn't rely on space knights, transdimensional horrors or superheroes, and yet it's engaging.  

Season 2 doesn't and can't have the same "getting to know you" vibe, but it's a brilliant continuation of what was set in motion last season, deftly handling the cliffhanger stuff from last season with very, very in-character resolution.  The show is more complicated this season, carrying the weight of the season before and the creators aren't afraid to put everyone through the wringer and have them come up... fine as they're going to be.  I'm not sure that the note for "more Jimmy and his assistant" was necessary, but it's okay.

Superman and Lois - I have no idea what is happening with the show's release schedule, which seems to be "whenever we finish some episodes in post, we think about releasing them for a bit, and then do so".  But I do feel like taking their time has meant this is the best CW superhero thing to date.  The villain this season is... fine.  The melodrama is all over the map in quality.  But I do like the overall take, still.  And particularly like Lois, Clark and Lana.

But, man, they gotta give John Henry something to do.

Girls5Eva - buried on Peacock, this show is extremely silly and smart in the best 30 Rock/ Kimmy Schmidt way, helmed by Meredith Scardino and with some legit Broadway folks, Paula Pell and Busy Phillips.  I suspect you aren't watching it, but I'm digging it.

Young Justice Season 4?  5?  - While The Dug was here, he got me to start up on Young Justice again by name-dropping Klarion the Witch Boy, Lords of Order/ Chaos and New Gods.  It's... pretty okay.  

The weirdest thing to me about the show is the energy and pacing.  It feels like the entire show is set to a metronome and they just never have highs or lows.  It just kinda keeps happening.  Sometimes its people sitting around talking and sometimes Sydney Australia is on fire, and everyone kinda always reacts the same way.  I honestly don't even know how that happens.  They make 26 episodes per season, and they all just kinda flow by.  

What I have not watched

Star Trek - like I said above, Star Trek fans have killed Star Trek for me.  I mean, Discovery having no coherent structure or plan killed Discovery for me, but I got sick of hearing how bad all of the new stuff was, so I'm just ignoring it.  And Lower Decks was fine, but... y'all.  Settle down.  Anyway, I might wait for Strange New Worlds to end, then watch that and the new Picard so I don't have to hear how it's not the same comfort food you liked when you were 13.  No, it's not.  Thank god.

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