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TV Reviews

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  1. The Outsider, Season 1

    Watched 13 January – 9 March 2020

    First half was great: intriguing mystery and plot developments, great characters. Then the mystery is completely resolved, and the second half is mostly seeing the characters catch up with what the audience already knows and doing lots of talking in cars. It ended with a whimper, and I was disappointed.

  2. The Good Place, Season 4

    Watched 13 October 2019 – 7 February 2020

    A perfect conclusion to the most wholesome show I’ve ever seen. Life sure is a wave.

  3. Black Mirror: Smithereens

    Watched 16 January 2020

    The most boring Black Mirror episode yet. Did you know people look at their phones a lot?

  4. Fleabag, Season 2

    Watched 8–9 January 2020

    How can this show be both the funniest and saddest thing I’ve seen in a long time? How can it be so potent, accomplishing so much with just a few short episodes? Now that I’ve tasted the emotional high of Fleabag, I’m afraid I might never again allow a show to waste my time with padded out writing. I absolutely loved the first season, but I had to put myself back together after this one.

  5. Fleabag, Season 1

    Watched 20–23 December 2019

    “They shouldn’t have just locked him up.”
    “He pencil fucked a hamster.”
    “Yeah, but he’s obviously not happy. Happy people wouldn’t do things like that.”
    “Fair point.”
    “And anyway, that’s the very reason why they put rubbers on the end of pencils.”
    “What, to fuck hamsters?”
    “No, because people make mistakes.”

    Despite my incredibly high expectations, I was still blown away by this show in ways I don’t even quite understand. Exceptional in every way.

  6. Succession, Season 1

    Watched 9 September – 20 October 2019

    Watching Succession I often found myself at one of two extremes: either laughing and cringing at the sheer debauchery of it all, or depressively contemplating how the real world is probably even worse.

    This duality seems to be the show’s core mechanic. The writers know that now, seemingly more than ever, reality is stranger than fiction. If you want to satirize it, you have to take it down a notch first — like putting on those special glasses so you can look at a solar eclipse. So Succession is a very impressive oxymoron: a satire that is also a toned-down version of reality. It’s gripping, though-provoking, hilarious entertainment. I just don’t understand why Connor is there.

  7. One-Punch Man, Season 2

    Watched 9 May – 24 October 2019

    One-Punch Man is lost. The charm, variety, and incredibly kinetic animation that set the show apart are nowhere to be found in season two.

    The writing has no redeeming qualities to offer. It’s all over the place. The outrageous premise of the series was fun for a while, but it doesn’t seem strong enough to sustain being prolonged like this. The writers compensate by spending way too much time on a huge number of underdeveloped characters and subplots that I couldn’t care less about. In the end, none of those plots and characters even get any resolution; if there is a cohesive thematic undercurrent to this season at all, I was too bored to notice it. Meanwhile the main characters get so little airtime that I struggle to piece together what happened to them over the course of a dozen episodes. They are on screen only just enough for you not to forget what show you’re watching. It’s maddening.

    This series has clearly been kicked into a lower gear, setting itself up to coast on the merits of season one for as long as possible. I won’t be sticking around.

  8. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

    Watched 11 October 2019

    I didn’t know how much I wanted this, just as much as I wasn’t expecting to cry in the end. Yet here we are.

    It doesn’t escape the TV-to-film curse of feeling incomplete and slightly outside its comfort zone and somehow wrong. But taken as the missing Breaking Bad episode that time forgot, it’s absolutely flawless.

    Yet I don’t think it would have worked had the show just included this back then as its final final episode. We needed the wait, and it was worth it.

  9. Barry, Season 1

    Watched 29 June 2019

    I started off a bit disappointed, because this seemed like little more than a duller version of Patriot; the writing felt meandering, the humor more surface-level, never as witty or pithy. Turned out I was looking at it wrong: it’s more of a drama than I’d figured from the premise, with the comedy falling a bit further into the background than it does in Patriot. It’s its own thing, delicately balanced, and a few episodes in it really clicked.

  10. Game of Thrones, Season 8

    Watched 21 May 2019

    It is still mindblowing that this show could get made, but it’s a shame that it couldn’t quite fill its own shoes towards the end. Guess I’ll read the books, then.

  11. Love, Death & Robots, Season 1

    Watched 27 March 2019

    There is only one episode that actually delivers on what I was hoping for, combining great animation with stylish art direction and exploring cool, mature themes: Zima Blue.

    There are four of five others that aren’t plain edgelord teenager bullshit, but they’re nothing to write home about.

  12. Nathan for You, Season 2

    Watched 25 February 2019

    I constantly fight myself on whether I truly love or actually hate Nathan for You. I think that’s probably the point, so I can’t help but respect it.

  13. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

    Watched 3 January 2019

    Building it around the concept of “choose your own adventure” itself did not make any of the choices and outcomes anymore engrossing or thought-provoking — the experience of rewinding to take different paths made everything feel muddled and disconnected. I think the stakes should have been higher, giving the viewer fewer opportunities to fix mistakes.

    There is a glimpse of interestingness near the beginning when the medium-unique twist is revealed, but it gets lost as the narrative branches off and grows in possibility space, with some storylines dropping the idea altogether.

    It’s a fun ride, and then it’s over. Though I might have to give it another go. Also: the poster is really neat.

  14. The Haunting of Hill House

    Watched 15 December 2018

    What if haunted house movie but
    - ten hours long, lots of repetition
    - cheesy, artless direction
    - all spoken lines are monologues

  15. Black Mirror: Metalhead

    Watched 7 January 2018

    I understand that it might not be to everyone’s tastes, but I loved the simplicity of this one. Tense, cinematic, more grounded than the average Black Mirror episode. Includes what’s probably the best-designed piece of tech in the entire series, and not a single shot of clumsy CGI. Could have done without the boring tree scene, but otherwise one of my favorites.