Sunday, February 28, 2021

Take Three: Clarice

Clarice: Season 1, Episode 3 “Are You Alright?” (B-)

This show isn’t getting any more interesting, though I guess it’s better that the current focus is on some sort of widespread criminal conspiracy rather than on a depraved serial killer. I do tend to prefer that kind of storyline, even though this psychological profiler premise is something I knew coming in. Krendler is doing a better job of trusting Clarice’s instincts even if he acknowledges that he doesn’t have the authority to go with the decision he wants to make, and we also saw more of his relationship with the attorney general when she called to warn him that they might not be able to keep the VICAP operation running all that long. Ruth is struggling to defend what she’s doing and having a hard time at home reaching her daughter, and those stresses are likely to push her to get results even if they’re not as definitive as they should. What Karl Wellig being killed while in custody means in a positive way is that the entire team saw it happen and realizes the dangers that only Clarice suspected. I see now that actor Kris Holden-Ried, who played Wellig, is probably most familiar to me from his series regular role as a far more well-intentioned operative in “Departure.” Claiming to have merely been a repairman rather than a hitman inspired a good bit of acting from Krendler and Tomas, not that it got them all that far. Ardelia being present, even if she’s in the wrong division, should help Clarice in the long run since she has an ally who isn’t blinded by chauvinism and is more than capable of advocating for her right to be taken seriously and treated fairly.

What I’m Watching: Call Me Kat

Call Me Kat: Season 1, Episode 9 “First Date” (B)

I kept wondering what it would be about Oscar that just wasn’t right, with each new revelation something extraordinarily positive. Laughing off the failed mustache operation and responding very well to her comment about sex on the first date were all indicators that he was indeed perfect, but then Kat went and saw Max in her bedroom before saying his name instead of Oscar’s when she thought she was over it. He took that in stride too, and was even eager to meet Max. But that was the clever misdirect here, leading into the relatively expected but still welcome storyline of Max realizing too late that he does like Kat too just as she’s starting to get over him and look at him as nothing more than a friend. He’s better at keeping secrets than she is, but I have a feeling that their gossipy friends, namely Carter, are going to notice that he’s acting strangely and not let up until they find out what’s going on. I don’t know where this whole shoe saying thing came from since I don’t think I’m familiar with any such phrases aside from walking a mile in a person’s shoes, yet somehow that managed to get completely in Randi’s head to the point that she got talked out of giving Daniel the shoes he apparently would have loved before he ended up getting her a pair of shoes. At least that romance is still going and she’s trying to keep up with his low-key energy that constantly throws her for a loop.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

What I’m Watching: B Positive

B Positive: Season 1, Episode 9 “B Negative” (B)

Seeing this episode’s title before I watched it made it seem likely that Jerry’s kidney wasn’t going to take, an unfortunate event that appears to have taken more of a toll on Drew than on any of the rest of them, including Jerry. It was nice to see all of them out of dialysis and celebrating together in a restaurant with Gina, and then gathered around his hospital bed grappling with this turn of events before Gina burst in holding balloons since she hadn’t heard that the news wasn’t all so good. The future-focus was productive in this case, giving each of the characters the opportunity to think about what they want to achieve if indeed they do still have time left. Gina deciding that she might need to get a different job prompted a serious intervention from Norma, who initially offered up a glowing letter of recommendation before turning it into a guilt trip that Gina did not take well. Smoothing things over after she stormed out of bingo was sweet, and I think we’ll get to look forward to Gina starting to apply for jobs with her completely exaggerated and mostly fabricated resume. Drew starting to plan a trip to Iceland with his daughter was very much not like him, something Maddie was quick to point out. Taking Jerry’s failed transplant as a sign that he should take the trip immediately was even more startling, and I have a feeling he’s not going to get on that plane if Gina has anything to say about it since reckless isn’t the only antidote to being overcautious.

What I’m Watching: Mr. Mayor

Mr. Mayor: Season 1, Episode 9 “#Palmtreereform” (B)

There always seems to be some ridiculous issue that’s causing problems for the mayor, which isn’t always the kind of thing that I fully believe is even an exaggeration of real life. I did like that Arpi had a whole diatribe against palm trees and their unnatural presence in Los Angeles prepared, and that Neil unleashed Arpi at exactly the right moment so that he could have her come in and scare them into submission was pretty clever. What he didn’t account for was the resentment that both Arpi and Orly would feel at being used like that, and the fury they would take out on him by embarrassing him with a TikTok video that I don’t think I’m supposed to quite understand. I enjoyed seeing a few familiar faces, including Ed Begley Jr. as Chet Danville and Benito Martinez, who I remember best from his role as Captain Aceveda on “The Shield,” as the former mayor who definitely isn’t over all the trauma he endured while he was in office. Jayden announcing that he was going to be a father did feel like it came from out of nowhere, and though they claim disinterest, Mikaela and Tommy sprang into action to prove to him that he was being played, even though it seems like that baby might have been a lot better off with him as a dad instead of Zac Efron’s trainer. It’s nice to see them to do something partially kind for Jayden given that he’s such a relentlessly-tormented punching bag who doesn’t even get that he’s the butt of almost every joke.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical

The competition:

Emily in Paris aired its ten-episode first season on Netflix in March. Star Lily Collins is nominated for her performance. This season has yet to contend at the Emmy Awards.

The Flight Attendant aired its eight-episode first season from November to December on HBO Max. Star Kaley Cuoco is nominated for her performance. This season has yet to contend at the Emmy Awards, but Cuoco and her ensemble have both been nominated by SAG.

The Great aired its ten-episode first season on Hulu in May. Stars Nicholas Hoult and Elle Fanning are both nominated for their performances. After a disappointing Emmy performance, Hoult and the ensemble contend for SAG Awards.

Schitt’s Creek aired its sixth and final season from January to April on Pop TV. This is its first time being nominated for any Golden Globes. All four of its core cast members contend here and with SAG, where the ensemble is also cited. This show swept the Emmy Awards, winning all its major categories.

Ted Lasso aired its ten-episode first season from August to October on Apple TV Plus. Star Jason Sudeikis is nominated for his performance. This season has yet to contend at the Emmy Awards, but Sudeikis and his ensemble have both been nominated by SAG.

Additional notes: Only one of last year’s nominees, “The Politician,” was eligible but didn’t make the cut. Past nominees “Kidding,” “Will and Grace,” “Black-ish,” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” could also have been nominated. While “All in the Family” did triumph three years in a row when it had actors nominated in all four applicable categories, the more recent shows to earn that distinction, “Just Shoot Me” and “Will and Grace,” did not. A freshman series has won this award seven times out of the last fifteen years.
Who should win? I don’t love “Schitt’s Creek” as much as others, a fact that I’ll be happy not to continue sharing once this awards cycle is over. I only watched one episode of “Emily in Paris,” which was fine. “The Flight Attendant” was definitely involving, though I’m not sure I’d classify it as a comedy. It’s a difficult decision between “Ted Lasso” and “The Great,” but I’d pick the latter.
Who will win? The smart bet is probably “Schitt’s Creek,” but I’m choosing a freshman instead - Ted Lasso.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best TV Series – Drama

The competition:

The Crown aired its ten-episode fourth season on Netflix in November. It previously won this prize for season one, along with an acting trophy for past star Claire Foy and one for Olivia Colman last year. Its acting bid total increased to a whopping five this year, for Colman, Emma Corrin, Josh O’Connor, Gillian Anderson, and Helena Bonham Carter, making it the nominations leader. This season has yet to contend at the Emmy Awards, but is up for five SAG prizes, including for its ensemble.

Lovecraft Country aired its ten-episode first season from August to October on HBO. None of its cast is nominated, making this its only Globe bid. This season has yet to contend at the Emmy Awards, and the ensemble is up for a SAG prize.

The Mandalorian aired its eight-episode second season from October to December on Disney Plus. This is its first and only Globe nomination, and this season has yet to contend at the Emmy Awards.

Ozark aired its ten-episode third season on Netflix in March. After two previous bids for star Jason Bateman, this show appears in this category for the first time this year along with nominations for stars Laura Linney and Julia Garner. This season won one of its eighteen Emmy bids this past fall and also contend for four SAG Awards, including its ensemble.

Ratched aired its eight-episode first season on Netflix in September. Stars Sarah Paulson and Cynthia Nixon are also nominated. This season has yet to contend for the Emmy Awards.

Additional notes: Only one of last year’s nominees, “Killing Eve,” was eligible but didn’t make the cut. Past nominees “Homecoming,” “This Is Us,” “Westworld,” and “Outlander” could also have been nominated. A freshman series has won this award seven times out of the last fifteen years.
Who should win? I’m much more on board with “The Mandalorian” being here than I would have if it had been nominated for season one, but I’m still not sure it’s one of the best of the year. The same goes for “Ozark,” which has grown on me, and “Lovecraft Country,” though I do appreciate its creativity and style. I liked season three of “The Crown” better than season four, but it was still very good. My vote, however controversial, would be for “Ratched.”
Who will win? While there could be an upset, The Crown feels far enough ahead of the rest of the pack to win without a problem.

Pilot Review: Punky Brewster

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

What I’m Watching: Call Your Mother

Call Your Mother: Season 1, Episode 6 “Sunday Dinner” (B)

It’s fun to see the family dynamics play out and have them not be entirely resolved, like the fact that Jean is awful to Celia and wasn’t so thrilled about having her as a permanent addition when Freddie made his feelings known by proposing to her. Celia’s assessment that her being “Iowa funny” meant that she was “California mean” was accurate, and giving her a recipe to show her that she was now part of the family was about as generous a gesture as she’s likely to make. I’m glad that we finally met Hank and that he wasn’t as old as even Jackie kept making him out to be, instead revealing a bigger issue that Jackie has with not being able to end relationships without the help of her mother or some other artificial excuse. Tim Bagley, a familiar face from “Monk” and “Will and Grace” and a current recurring player on “Call Me Kat,” was a perfect casting choice to play the man who set himself up for failure repeatedly by making dated references and would evidently have been a much better fit for Jean, though Jackie nixed the possibility of that happening pretty definitively. Danny going to a wedding with his not-so-ex-wife did not seem like a smart plan, especially when it meant cancelling on plans with Jean, but she was so caught up in other things when he got back that she didn’t even realize that she was passionately kissing him “on his mouth,” as he put it. It’s still hard to know where their romance will go, but this was a fun development.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

What I’m Watching: Resident Alien

Resident Alien: Season 1, Episode 5 “Love Language” (B+)

I was pretty excited at the start of this episode to be meeting the real Harry, who it turns out is considerably more social than the alien inhabiting his skin and infinitely more adept at reading nonverbal communication. I couldn’t figure out who it was playing his wife, and some brief research indicates that Elvy Yost, who is American, is probably most recognizable to me from her role on the short-lived and underrated ABC series “The Catch.” I like that she just showed up and took his bedroom, and that she didn’t hesitate to break the lock with a hammer so that she could find out just what he was trying to hide (which of course she didn’t). Bonding with Darcy was a fun subplot, especially after Harry had to apologize to her for saying something mean so that he could distract her long enough to steal her coffee. It’s probably better that Darcy simply shrugged when she saw that Isabelle was at Harry’s house and put everything together, and I imagine that her “waste of deodorant” isn’t going to be the last time that she tries to pursue this guy who isn’t nearly as interested in her as she is in him. I was most thrilled that Max and Sahar banded together after their latest legitimate effort to out Harry failed to hold their breath so that they could force him into a truce, and that they enjoyed trading questions about their curiosities regarding each other’s species. Jay discovering that Asta is her mother didn’t go well, and Mike is so intent on this serial killer theory that he’s never going to listen to anything that Liv says. I’m intrigued to see what will happen when Liv learns information that points to Harry, who Mike might just dislike enough to pursue as a suspect.

Pilot Review: Ginny and Georgia

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 5, Episode 9 “The Ride” (B+)

I do find the rare opportunities that the adult Pearson children have to interact with their father more moving than I expect, since I have accused this show of being emotionally manipulative in the past with its flashback and flash-forward sequences. In this case, it all worked well, and Kevin getting to hear from Jack that it would all be okay was just what he needed after both new fathers lost their tempers at other people while their partners were significantly calmer under pressure. I thought that Kevin was imagining paparazzi on his tail, but I liked that it turned out to be true and Madison was fine with promising him a photo opportunity for a shirtless Kevin jogging with tight shorts. Jack asking Rebecca to drive and then telling her what he had done was a relief since that could have gone very badly, though it’s harder to get invested in that plotline since we know how their relationship ends. Kate seemed much more shaken by the news that her open adoption wasn’t going to play out like she thought than by Toby telling her he had been laid off, and at least it’s a relief that they can get through their own issues together. Randall and Beth were so much more relaxed after their second child was born, but naturally it turned into more than Beth just wanting Dairy Queen and ended up as an argument about Randall’s ill-timed desire for a third child. The ending scene confirmed that Deja is pregnant in the future but not much more than that, and I’m curious to see if we’ll ever get a much fuller and more uninterrupted visit to that time.

Pilot Review: Superman and Lois

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

What I’m Watching: Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer: Season 2, Episode 5 “Keep Hope Alive” (B-)

It’s difficult to imagine that Melanie might actually not have survived out there on her mission, especially since we nearly saw her executed on camera last season and her demise would be surely be shown in a much grander way. That said, we did see Josie die, or at least we thought we did, and now she’s very much alive and operating as a spy on Big Alice, though she’s not the only one. It seems abundantly clear that Audrey wasn’t seduced by Wilford or convinced to stay but that she too is a plant, not that knowing the plan is going to be all that productive since Wilford has considerably more resources at his disposal. He’s also managed to engineer a major operation while Bess was busy targeting the breachmen and have them all taken out so that Snowpiercer is considerably more vulnerable. There’s more than enough infighting aboard the train, with Terence and Pike duking it out to the death and Ruth needlessly fretting over Zarah’s performance before she started her announcements with a pitch-perfect train voice. Ruth is stepping up to the responsibilities of her leadership position, ensuring that everyone aboard the train remains calm and hopeful even though there isn’t much reason to be optimistic given the lack of communication that they’ve recently had. We’re only halfway through the season, so I wouldn’t expect any major changes to happen just yet, but I think it’s safe to assume that Wilford has a much better idea of what’s going on those aboard Snowpiercer think and he doesn’t have a true sense of how resilient they are in terms of resisting his hostile takeover.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Limited Series or TV Movie

The competition:

Normal People aired twelve episodes on Hulu in April. Star Daisy Edgar-Jones is nominated for her performance, while costar Paul Mescal received an Emmy nomination this past fall, when the show missed out on a bid in the top category.

The Queen’s Gambit aired seven episodes on Netflix in October. Star Anya Taylor-Joy is nominated for her performance. It may contend at next year’s Emmy Awards.

Small Axe aired five separate films from November to December on Amazon Prime Video. Star John Boyega is nominated for his performance. It’s considered by some organizations as one film, as a series of films, or a TV series.

Unorthodox aired four episodes on Netflix in March. Star Shira Haas is nominated for her performance. Both Haas and the show contended for Emmys back in the fall, when it won a directing prize.

The Undoing aired six episodes from October to November on HBO. Stars Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and Donald Sutherland are all nominated for their performances. It may contend at next year’s Emmy Awards.

Additional notes: For the fourth year in a row, there are no television films in contention this year, despite a few legitimate possibilities that were completely snubbed.
Who should win? I don’t think “The Undoing” needs to be here. I also question the placement of “Small Axe” even though some of its content was very strong – it’s clearly five separate movies. The other three are also fantastic and I’m not sure I could easily choose between them. I think I’d be happiest if it was “Normal People” since that hasn’t won all that many prizes, but all are superb.
Who will win? It’s possible it could be “Unorthodox” or “Small Axe,” but I’m betting on The Queen’s Gambit.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series

The competition:

Gillian Anderson (The Crown) plays Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the fourth season of Netflix’s historical drama. She has five previous nominations, one for “Bleak House” and four for “The X-Files.” She won for the latter in 1996. Her show is the nominations leader.

Helena Bohnam Carter (The Crown) plays Princess Margaret in the fourth season of Netflix’s historical drama. She has five previous TV nominations, including one for this role last year, and three film bids. Her show is the nominations leader.

Julia Garner (Ozark) plays criminal entrepreneur Ruth Langmore in the third season of Netflix’s drama series. This is the first Globe nomination for the actress, who has won two Emmys for this role. Her show is also nominated for Best TV Series – Drama in addition to costars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney.

Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek) plays public relations guru Alexis Rose in the sixth and final season of the Pop TV comedy. This is her first Globe nomination. Her show is nominated for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical, and all three of her main costars are in contention this year too.

Cynthia Nixon (Ratched) plays press secretary Gwendolyn Briggs in the first season of the Netflix psychological horror series. This is the sixth nomination for Nixon, who contended once for “Warm Springs” and four times for “Sex and the City.” Her show is nominated for Best TV Series – Drama, in addition to costar Sarah Paulson.

Additional notes: This is the first time in thirty years that all five nominees are from regular series. Garner defeated Carter at the Emmys this past fall, and Murphy won her category. Three previous nominees – Thandie Newton, Chrissy Metz, and Mandy Moore – were eligible this year but didn’t make the cut. This category often rewards limited series players, as it has done the past four years in a row, but it’s not all that consistent.
Who should win? This is a good list, though I’m not sure if Carter merits a placement for a very minimal role in season four. Anderson, on the other hand, was both prominent and terrific, and I think I’d choose her over the others.
Who will win? This feels like a safe win for Anderson to me.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series

The competition: 

John Boyega (Small Axe) plays police cadet Leroy Logan in the third film in the Amazon Prime Video anthology series. This is his first Globe nomination. His series is also nominated for Best Limited Series.

Brendan Gleeson (The Comey Rule) plays President Donald Trump in the two-part Showtime event series. He has three previous nominations, for “The Guard” in 2011, for “Into the Storm” in 2009, and for “In Bruges” in 2008. His costar Jeff Daniels is also nominated.

Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) plays small business owner David Rose in the sixth and final season of the Pop TV comedy. This is his first Globe nomination. His show is nominated for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical, and all three of his main costars are in contention this year too.

Jim Parsons (Hollywood) plays talent agent Henry Wilson in the Netflix limited series. He was previously nominated three times for his comedic performance in “The Big Bang Theory,” winning on his first try in 2010. He is the lone representative from his show.

Donald Sutherland (The Undoing) plays concerned father Franklin Reinhardt in the HBO limited series. He has eight previous nominations, including two wins, both in this category, for “Path to War” in 2002 and “Citizen X” in 1995. His show is the most-nominated limited series with four total bids.

Additional notes: Levy won an Emmy this past fall, while Parsons was a nominee in his category. Levy is the lone regular series nominee this year. This category is not consistent in rewarding dramas, comedies, miniseries, or TV movies, though the last four winners have all been from limited series.
Who should win? This is an interesting list, and doesn’t include any of my favorites from the year. This isn’t Parsons’ best work, and Sutherland is doing some pretty impressive scenery chewing. I know people like Levy, even if I don’t love the show as much as most. Boyega is very good in his one film, while Gleeson would probably get my vote for an unexpectedly incisive portrayal of a very visible public figure.
Who will win? I’m honestly not sure. Maybe Gleeson?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie

The competition:

Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America) plays conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in the FX on Hulu limited series. She has ten previous nominations, most recently last year for “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” This is her first TV bid, and she’s won three times before, in 2013 for “Blue Jasmine,” in 2007 for “I’m Not There,” and in 1998 for “Elizabeth.” Though her show performed well at the Emmys, she is its lone representative here.

Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) plays student Marianne Sheridan in the Hulu limited series. This is her first Globe nomination. Her show also contends for Best Limited Series.

Shira Haas (Unorthodox) plays the formerly religious Esty Shapiro in the Netflix limited series. This is her first Globe nomination. Her show also contends for Best Limited Series.

Nicole Kidman (The Undoing) plays Manhattan mother Grace Fraser in the HBO limited series. She has a whopping fourteen previous nominations, and this marks her fifth consecutive nomination after bids for “Big Little Lies,” “Destroyer,” and “Lion.” She won for season one of “Big Little Lies” in 2017, “The Hours” in 2002, “Moulin Rouge” in 2001, and “To Die For” in 1995. Her show is the most-nominated limited series with four total bids.

Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) plays chess prodigy Beth Harmon in the Netflix limited series. This is her first nomination, and she also contends this year for her performance in the film “Emma.” Her show is also nominated for Best Limited Series.

Additional notes: Blanchett and Haas were both nominated for the Emmys this past year, while Edgar-Jones was eligible but missed the cut.
Who should win? This isn’t Kidman’s best work, so she wouldn’t be my choice. The other four are truly terrific and it’s hard to pick between them. I’d probably select Haas though I’d be equally thrilled if the insanely deserving Edgar-Jones won.
Who will win? It’s competitive – I’m going to cautiously pick Taylor-Joy over Haas.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie

The competition:

Bryan Cranston (Your Honor) plays New Orleans Judge Michael Desiato in the Showtime limited series. He has eight previous nominations, most recently in 2016 for “All the Way.” He won one of his four consecutive bids for “Breaking Bad” in 2013. He is the lone representative from his show.

Jeff Daniels (The Comey Rule) plays FBI Director James Comey in the two-part Showtime event series. He has four previous nominations, most recently in 2012 for “The Newsroom.” His costar Brendan Gleeson is also nominated.

Hugh Grant (The Undoing) plays Dr. Jonathan Fraser in the HBO limited series. He has five previous nominations, most recently in 2018 for “A Very English Scandal.” He won on his first try back in 1994 for “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” His show is the most-nominated limited series with four total bids.

Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird) plays abolitionist John Brown in the Showtime limited series. He has one previous nomination, for “Boyhood” in 2014. He is the lone representative from his show.

Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True) plays twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in the HBO limited series. He has three previous nominations, for “Infinitely Polar Bear” in 2015 and “The Normal Heart” and “Foxcatcher” in 2014. He is the lone representative from his show.

Additional notes: Ruffalo won the Emmy this past fall, but the other four nominees here hadn’t seen their shows start by that point. Grant is the only one here whose show is up for Best Limited Series. The last nominee to play twin brothers in this category, Ewan McGregor, won this prize in 2017 for season three of “Fargo.”
Who should win? I only watched one episode of Hawke’s show, and his performance was a bit intense for me. I found Cranston’s work less than genuine and impressing. Daniels was good but wouldn’t be my choice. I think I’d choose Ruffalo over Grant, though I’m sad that Paul Mescal and Hugh Jackman aren’t here.
Who will win? It’s possible Grant gets an assist from his series’ solid showing, but I think Ruffalo wins without a problem.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

The competition:
Lily Collins (Emily in Paris) plays American transplant Emily Cooper in the first season of the Netflix series. She was previously nominated for her performance in the film “Rules Don’t Apply” in 2016. Her show is up for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical. She also stars in the film nominations leader this year, “Mank.”

Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant) plays flight attendant Cassie Bowden in the first season of the HBO Max comedic thriller. Though her previous show, “The Big Bang Theory,” earned seven Globe nominations over the course of its run, this is Cuoco’s first nomination. Her show is also nominated for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical.

Elle Fanning (The Great) plays forward-thinking empress Catherine the Great in the first season of the Hulu period satire. This is her first Globe nomination. Her show is up for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical, and costar Nicholas Hoult is also nominated.

Jane Levy (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) plays coder Zoey Clarke in the first and second seasons of the NBC musical series. This her the first Globe nomination for Levy. She is the lone representative for her show.

Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek) plays actress Moira Rose in the sixth and final season of the Pop TV comedy. This is her first Globe nomination. Her show is nominated for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical, and all three of her main costars are in contention this year too.

Additional notes: The last nominee from a musical, Rachel Bloom, won this award even without her show nominated for the top prize, but in that case, only one actress had her show nominated along with her, whereas this time around Levy is the only one who doesn’t. O’Hara won the Emmy this past fall, when Fanning and Levy weren’t nominated and Cuoco and Collins’ shows hadn’t yet premiered. A few past nominees – Christina Applegate, Debra Messing, Pamela Adlon, Issa Rae, and Tracee Ellis Ross – were eligible this time but didn’t make the cut.
Who should win? I didn’t watch past the pilot of Collins’ show, though she was charming enough in what I saw. I’m not as into O’Hara’s show as everyone else, so she wouldn’t be my choice. Levy is a lot of fun, and Cuoco is also great, so I’d be happy if either of them won. Fanning would be my pick, however, for a truly fantastic and unmatched turn.
Who will win? The smart choice is probably O’Hara, the risky choice is Levy, and my in-the-middle pick is Cuoco based on her show peaking very recently.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy/Musical

The competition:

Don Cheadle (Black Monday) plays criminal moneyman Maurice Monroe in the second season of the Showtime comedy. Cheadle returns to this category after three consecutive nominations and one win, in 2012, for his last Showtime series, “House of Lies.” He was also nominated for his performance in “Hotel Rwanda” in 2004 and won in 1998 for his supporting role in “The Rat Pack.” He is the lone nominee from his show.

Nicholas Hoult (The Great) plays totalitarian ruler Peter III in the first season of the Hulu period satire. This is his first Globe nomination. His costar Elle Fanning is also nominated, and the show contends for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical.

Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek) plays motel operator Johnny Rose in the sixth and final season of the Pop TV comedy. This is his first Globe nomination. His show is nominated for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical, and all three of his main costars are in contention this year too.

Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) plays an American coach transplanted to London in the first season of the Apple TV Plus series of the same name. This is his first Globe nomination. His show is also up for Best TV Series – Comedy/Musical.

Ramy Youssef (Ramy) plays Ramy Hassan, a Muslim man in American trying to balance multiple identities in the second season of the Hulu series. He won this award last year and is again the only representative from his show.

Additional notes: This category rarely sees repeat winners, with Alec Baldwin the last to triumph again in 2009. Levy beat Youssef at the Emmys this past fall. A few past nominees – Ben Platt, Jim Carrey, Anthony Anderson, and Andy Samberg – were eligible this time but didn’t make the cut. 
Who should win? I don’t know that Cheadle needs to be here for his show, but he’s fun, and I won’t argue much against Levy even though I don’t love his series nearly as much as everyone else in the world. Youssef was indeed terrific. I’d have a tough time deciding between Hoult and Sudeikis, but would probably choose the former.
Who will win? This could be Levy, but I’ll bet on Sudeikis.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

The competition:

Olivia Colman (The Crown) plays Queen Elizabeth in the fourth season of Netflix’s historical drama. She won this award last year, adding to her perfect track record at the Globes. She took home a film award the year before for her work in “The Favourite,” which also managed to secure her an Oscar, and won a TV prize in 2016 for “The Night Manager.” Her show is the nominations leader.

Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) plays assassin Villanelle in the third season of the BBC America drama. This is her second consecutive nomination after she bumped costar Sandra Oh, who won this prize for season one. Unfortunately, it’s also the first time that her show isn’t contending for Best TV Series – Drama, making her the lone representative of her show.

Emma Corrin (The Crown) plays Princess Diana in the fourth season of Netflix’s historical drama. This is her first Globe nomination. Her show is the nominations leader.

Laura Linney (Ozark) plays criminal entrepreneur Wendy Byrde in the third season of the Netflix series. She has six previous nominations, with two wins, for “John Adams” in 2008 and “The Big C” in 2010. Her show contends for Best TV Series – Drama, with two costars also nominated.

Sarah Paulson (Ratched) plays Nurse Mildred Ratched in the first season of the Netflix series. She has three previous nominations, with one win, in 2016 for “American Crime Story.” Her show is nominated for Best TV Series – Drama, with costar Cynthia Nixon also nominated.

Additional notes: A few past nominees – Sandra Oh, Caitriona Balfe, and Evan Rachel Wood – were eligible this year but didn’t make the cut. The star of a freshman series won this award for the past six years in a row until last year. Two actresses from the same show have been nominated before, for “The Sopranos,” “L.A. Law,” “Cagney and Lacey,” and “Dynasty,” among others, which hasn’t stopped one of them from winning. It also happened last year, for “The Morning Show,” though neither of them won.
Who should win? What a fabulous group! Linney is doing excellent work as is Comer, and both Colman and Corrin are terrific. I’m most entranced by Paulson, who is typically amazing and so well-cast for this role.
Who will win? While new and flashy to win over voters, I think Corrin may suffer from internal competition and lose to Paulson, whose show performed exceedingly well on nominations morning.

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

The competition:

Jason Bateman (Ozark) plays criminal entrepreneur Marty Byrd in the third season of the Netflix series. He’s back after his show took a year off for this third bid for this show. He has two previous nominations for “Arrested Development,” which netted him a win in 2004. His show is up for Best TV Series – Drama, with two costars also nominated.

Josh O’Connor (The Crown) plays Prince Charles in the fourth season of the Netflix historical drama. This is his first Globe nomination. His show is the nominations leader.

Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) plays lawyer Jimmy McGill in the fifth season of the AMC series. He was nominated for the first three seasons of the show, snubbed for season four, and now returns after his show took 2019 off. He is the lone representative from his show.

Al Pacino (Hunters) plays Nazi hunter Meyer Offerman in the first season of the Amazon period drama. Pacino has eighteen previous nominations and four wins, and received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2000. He has won two out of his three past TV bids. He is the lone representative from his show.

Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason) plays the private investigator in the first season of the HBO show of the same name. This is his third overall Globe bid, and he has now been nominated every other year, contending previously for seasons four and six of “The Americans.” He is the lone representative from his show.

Additional notes: Last year’s winner, Brian Cox, isn’t nominated because his show has yet to return for season three. Previous winner Sterling K. Brown wasn’t included despite being eligible. Only Bateman received an Emmy nomination this past season even though Odenkirk, Pacino, and O’Connor (for a different season) were all on the ballot. This award has gone to an actor from a freshman series six out of the past fifteen years.
Who should win? This is a very good list. Rhys impressed me quite a bit, and Bateman is really growing on me. I liked O’Connor better in season three but he’s still doing excellent work. Pacino did a superb job. I’d probably choose Odenkirk, however, for some of his finest work to date.
Who will win? This prize often goes to an actor on a show that’s gained popularity even if it’s not new, like Damian Lewis, Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, or Cox last year. I think that means Bateman has the edge over O’Connor, which is also very likely.

What I’m Watching: Shameless: Hall of Shame

Shameless: Hall of Shame: Episode 5 “Go Fiona on Them” (B+)

I’ve been wondering since this slate of special episodes started whether we were going to get one about Fiona, and I’m very glad that we did. It did feel a bit odd that Fiona herself wasn’t featured in its framing, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that Emmy Rossum won’t make a return appearance for the finale since this reality show contest storyline doesn’t scream ambition. This did serve as a formidable reminder of just how great she was on this show, and how lamentable it is that she barely got any critical recognition for her performance. A good chunk of this hour wasn’t actually about Fiona but instead about the siblings she raised and about how terrible a role model Frank was until he turned out to be a whole lot like her, but it’s always good to see the ensemble featured if I and I’m sure many others would love to have Fiona come back to see all of her siblings off when this show ends in just six weeks. What these retrospectives have done more than anything is to make me want to go back and watch the whole thing all over again, since I vaguely remember Steve/Jimmy and Sean but didn’t have any recollection of Gus. More vivid in my memory, for obvious reasons, are the more recent times when Fiona was a landlord and got involved with Ford, who ended up being just as duplicitous as the rest of them. Next and last up is Frank, whose montages are sure to be memorable, before this show airs its final four episodes, which I eagerly look forward to and dread at the same time.

Pilot Review: Tell Me Your Secrets

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Sunday, February 21, 2021

What I’m Watching: WandaVision

WandaVision: Season 1, Episode 7 “Breaking the Fourth Wall” (B+)

There’s a lot to say about this episode. I appreciated the fact that it was a clear parody of “Modern Family,” a show that did last too long but really felt innovative, and more importantly, funny, when it first started. It made a lot of sense to have Wanda struggling to confront the reality of what was happening with vision in this fashion, also because she may not be totally in control of the sitcom world that she’s created and forced to behave in the way mandated by the accelerated timeline. I didn’t think that Vision would immediately come across Darcy, who in her hypnotized state was still full of sass and personality, and restore her memories right away only to not ask the right questions and instead end up with partial information before he decided to fly home all on his own. Having him realize that he shouldn’t be wasting time talking to the camera crew and Darcy’s frustration with the absurd impediments popping up to delay their return to town were entertaining and clever. Monica was bold in her determination to get back into Westview, and she managed to make it through thanks to some apparent superpower. The biggest reveal, of course, is that it’s been Agatha All Along, a great way to bring Kathryn Hahn into a more significant role and one that still leaves many questions unanswered about her true motivations and just how much she’s been controlling. Pietro seems to be under her spell, and Monica seems poised to learn a lot more along with Wanda and eager audiences.

What I’m Watching: Dickinson

Dickinson: Season 1, Episode 9 “I Like a Look of Agony” (B+)

I’m always most interested in the supporting players who never get the spotlight, especially on this show. Mrs. Dickinson being more than up for the challenge of hosting two tea parties at once was a great example of that, and she really did do superbly with Austin’s friends, anticipating their preferences and even serving them in a way that wasn’t overly disruptive. Edward was far less appreciative, but of course he’s never been great at noticing his wife and tuning in to what she needs. Austin seems more prepared to face reality, realizing during his college reunion that he should get his life on track with the imminent threat of war and the general dissatisfaction that he’s feeling. Emily broke the news to him about Sue and Samuel, something he apparently knew already, and I didn’t expect that Sue would have been out of town visiting Mary of all people. Mary was definitely aware that Samuel isn’t being loyal to her, but she doesn’t suspect that it’s her dear friend who came to see how she was doing that betrayed her. I am happy to see that Lavinia was able to assert herself and show Ship, who was more than ready to walk away from her since their relationship hasn’t been all that easy, that she knows what she wants and that all he needs to do is, unlike her own father, to pay attention to what she’s saying and asking for. I’m curious to see how the finale will play out and relieved that more is coming since season three was ordered way back in October before season two even premiered.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Round Two: Clarice

Clarice: Season 1, Episode 2 “Ghosts of Highway 20” (B-)

It seems like we’re headed into very familiar territory here, constantly following this young FBI agent who always knows better than everyone else and yet isn’t trusted because she’s too inexperienced. At least Krendler seemed open to letting her try to succeed by pretending he couldn’t hear her on the radio and then rescinding the request to have her transferred. Encountering a militia like this reminded me very much of a season of “Homeland” and the more recent “Manhunt: Deadly Games,” and I didn’t feel that there was much in the way of satisfying setup with Tim Guinee’s Novak before Clarice was suddenly just in there and trusted not to be actively working to subvert him. She seemed to enjoy the opportunity to point out to him that he wasn’t the respectable hero he thought he was in the story she was telling, and her readiness to put on makeup to convince him that she had put effort into her appearance wasn’t matched by her general energy or communication level. I don’t know why Krendler thinks that she won’t pull similarly dangerous stunts in the future, but at least he’s starting to appreciate her value and that she does know what she’s doing. I liked the honesty that came from Clarke in his conversation with Clarice about how she would have handled a situation she wasn’t in, and I’m hopeful that we’ll see a greater acceptance of different experiences as this show continues and tackles more complex and interesting storylines.

What I’m Watching: Call Me Kat

Call Me Kat: Season 1, Episode 8 “All Nighter” (B-)

This show tends to veer towards the over-the-top more than I’d like to see, and a lot of what happened in this half-hour felt unnecessary silly. There’s no reason that Randi should have even entertained the idea of going out all night with Kat and Phil, though I guess that’s part of the nature of their relationship, that she’s not able to say no to them the same way that they’re not able to say no to her when she pushes something that isn’t quite in their wheelhouse. They performed as expected, but it was nice to see them bond while doing absurd things like falling into literal freshly-dug graves. Kat meeting someone who might actually be a good romantic fit was a nice surprise, and he did a great job of flirting back with her by pointing out that everything she was saying fit the bill for typical stalker talk. Randi being so preoccupied with Daniel not caring about what she was doing when she had a night away from him led to the left-field invitation for her to move in with him, a decision that feels pretty rushed given the seemingly casual nature of their relationship thus far. We haven’t seen much of her home life, so maybe it makes sense that she’d be willing to make such a major decision after she was worried that he might not be right for her, something that does happen to people doubting the strength of their connections thanks to a grand gesture.

What I’m Watching: B Positive

B Positive: Season 1, Episode 8 “Integration Therapy” (B+)

I was excited at the notion of Drew running into Julia while out and about on a self-described date with Toni Morrison, though all that did was make him feel sad that he wasn’t included in a birthday party for one of the people who used to be friends with both of them. Fortunately, it did spur Gina into action and result in a party that started out less than terrifically but turned out to be great in the end. Serving her beer was a creative way to enliven things, and I like that Drew forcing them to stay after a natural break ended up being an unexpectedly wonderful opportunity for them to open up and bond in a sincere way. I most appreciated that Gina was upset when Drew indicated that he didn’t think they’d stay friends after the transplant, and, as always, he found the perfect way to make it up to her. Getting a car for her that he termed as a loan so that they would always need to find a reason to get together each month no matter where they were in their lives at that point was very sweet. I liked the way that she referred to Drew as her first “vegetable friend” to mix in with her junk food friends. Of the dialysis crew that we now got to know a little better, Samantha remains the most interesting with her biting sarcasm and general unfriendliness, and I think I’d rank the sympathetic, well-meaning Jerry as my second-favorite.

Friday, February 19, 2021

What I’m Watching: Mr. Mayor

Mr. Mayor: Season 1, Episode 8 “Hearts Before Parts” (B)

This episode was an entertaining opportunity to see all of the characters interact and make each other crazy. I liked the unexpected pairings at trivia that resulted in Tommy and Arpi proving less than successful against the constantly victorious team of Jayden and Mikaela. There wasn’t all that much logic to it other than that Arpi was ready to answer specific questions that weren’t really asked and that Tommy claimed to know each of the answers only after Jayden or Mikaela came up with them first. That competitive nature was clearly going to get the best of them, and I enjoyed that they were at each other’s throats to the point that they split up into individual teams only to realize that they had all accidentally proofed the same section of the budget. I can relate to spending hours going over content for accuracy and then missing a typo on the cover page, and fortunately they were all back on the same page by that time to be able to pull together and fix it. The best part of this episode was the delight Orly got in teaching her father a lesson when he gave her a speech about making positive relationship decisions and then spent the night with a friend he didn’t consider all that special. Missi Pyle was a great casting choice, and I liked her refusal to believe that Neil was the mayor when they both broke up with each other. Orly certainly did have a lot of fun, and I like that it all ended with her helping Neil set up a dating profile on a site that wasn’t Postmates.

Pilot Review: It's a Sin

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Pilot Review: Behind Her Eyes

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

What I’m Watching: Resident Alien

Resident Alien: Season 1, Episode 4 “Birds of a Feather” (B+)

As Harry learns more about how humans operate, he’s letting his guard down in a big way, allowing his number one nemesis, Max, to outsmart him. He and Sahar make a great team, and she managed to get Harry’s keys copies while Max kept him distracted playing nice during the dinner party his parents forced him to be at with Harry. They didn’t do so well sneaking into Harry’s home without him finding out or discovering them asleep, and now he’s going to have to decide what to do with them since their disappearance will likely garner more attention, not that he’s going to think that through given his tendency to make impulsive decisions. Opening up to Asta after he blurted out the secret that Jay was her daughter about how he had a wife who died was a surprise, though it seems that the real Harry has a wife who’s very much alive and is likely to realize that the man in her husband’s body is definitely not her husband. Harry shooting a perfect basket without trying but then showing a fundamental lack of understanding of the rules of the sport was entertaining, and D’Arcy obviously doesn’t have very high standards since him essentially licking her cheek wasn’t even the worst kiss she’s ever had. Noticing the excitement he was feeling and then conveying it to the clueless hunter was fun too, and my favorite moment of the episode was Mike pulling Max and Sahar over for failing to use hand signals but then endorsing the fact that they were getting time outside. I have a feeling that Liv is going to be the first to figure out what’s going on since she seems determined to follow the evidence and not let Mike dismiss everything she says outright.

What I’m Watching: Big Sky

Big Sky: Season 1, Episode 9 “Let It Be Him” (C)

This is the last episode of this show that we’ll see until April, which is definitely a good thing, and I hope that six of the seven remaining installments, which were only ordered after the show got off to a positive start in the ratings, will take the show in a far more interesting and coherent direction. I really had expected that it was going to deal with a criminal organization operating in Montana and the sex trafficking ring, but instead it’s increasingly focused every hour on the individual characters, some of whom are now dead. The montage at the end of this episode of all of the departed players smiling felt totally unnecessary, and it boggles my mind that Ronald is still out there. It shouldn’t have been possible for him to escape the completely surrounded house (only from the front, apparently) and to take the time to plant two dead bodies in important decoy locations while secretly getting back to his somehow hidden truck. Erik was never going to die because that would have been too dark for this show, and Ronald getting caught and put in jail wouldn’t accomplish much since he doesn’t know anything about connections to the people Rick was planning to hand the women off to or any other criminals, for that matter. The response to Rick’s death at Merrilee’s hands after she confirmed for herself that he was lying – a still unexplained phenomenon – was similar to how people yesterday seemed to be describing the passing of Rush Limbaugh, though I do hope to see actor John Carroll Lynch in a more honorable role like the one he had last year in “The Trial of the Chicago 7” so that he isn’t forever detestable.

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 5, Episode 8 “In the Room” (B+)

I kept thinking that, in keeping with this show’s style, we might be seeing these two birth scenes happening at the same time but actually playing out on different days. The fact that both happened simultaneously and Rebecca had to FaceTime in to meet all three of her new grandchildren was very fitting of the current state of the world and the ability of people to celebrate occasions, something that this show has been handling very well since its return this past fall. I was also trying to reason out who the new couple we met at the start of the episode might be, and it felt right to feature two people who weren’t directly related to this show or its plot but instead to one of the most important pieces of technology keeping people relatively sane right now. Randall was doing a spectacular job of keeping Madison entertained while Beth drove, but I’m very glad that Kevin did show up just in time. It was very nerve-racking to see Ellie nearly change her mind about wanting to bond in some way with the baby, something that would have completely devastated Kate since she was already nervous about the way this relationship was starting. Toby camping out in a particular parking spot enabled him to make a friend in Arlo, played by Michael O’Neill, recently seen on “Council of Dads” and particularly adept at playing this kind of part. Getting good news, like what he heard from his wife and Nicky finding out that one of the babies is named after him, was welcome, especially after the impact of the kids’ paintings plotline sunk in and Jack didn’t really get much of a chance to bond with his kids more after that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Pilot Review: Kenan

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Pilot Review: Young Rock

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Pilot Review: The Crew

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What I’m Watching: Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer: Season 2, Episode 4 “A Single Trade” (B-)

In a sense, it’s hard to imagine people revering Wilford when he is so clearly temperamental and only interested in himself, revealing a darker side whenever anyone pushes him. But, then again, I think our previous president is a great comparison, inspiring loyal followers but also turning on them the moment he thinks that they haven’t demonstrated complete fidelity. Loudly offering up a bet that Melanie wouldn’t be successful was an example of him trying to wield his power and influence, and he wasn’t happy that things did seem to be progressing well for the moment. His weak spots are definitely Miss Audrey and Alex, who are capable of controlling him and subverting him to serve their own purposes. Alex got her friend to come along for the fancy outing on Snowpiercer, and then she snuck away with LJ to enjoy the lighter experience she doesn’t usually get to have as both surrogate daughter and effective number two to Wilford aboard Big Alice. I’ve never been particularly interested in Tess’ personal life, but at least it’s good that she’s letting off steam by finding an outlet for her stress. Zara joining hospitality is probably productive, and maybe Ruth will be able to prove her trustworthiness and that she’s capable of doing the job she currently has even if she does respect Wilford. Josie being taken to Big Alice for treatment seems like it could be a dangerous move, but I think that, unless there’s something sinister about the way that her burns are healed, it’s ultimately going to be something positive since she’ll never be convinced by anyone to switch her loyalty.

Pilot Review: The Luminaries

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Monday, February 15, 2021

What I’m Watching: Your Honor (Series Finale)

Your Honor: Season 1, Episode 10 “Part Ten” (C+)

I’m struggling to figure out what the point of all this has been, especially since there were so many elements, like Robin’s affair, that were introduced last-minute and not sufficiently explored that make me think it should have been a longer series, but I’m also not sure what that would have accomplished. This was basically an opportunity for Bryan Cranston to play the most arrogant, self-aggrandizing judge who constantly gave speeches about the power of the law and his oath to uphold it while constantly manipulating a system he knew so well to disenfranchise the truth so that he could save his son. Lee figured out what was going on and wasn’t impressed when he tried to make himself a hero for loving himself less than he loved his son, and she was right to slap him when he used that moment to remind her that he loved her. That Carlo could be found innocent after the cruel language he used towards Fiona and the mountain of evidence against him is absurd, and the idea that Michael would be completely free once the trial was over was foolish. Adam should never have been in the courtroom when the tape was played, and running out to use his inhaler while Gina was outside was enough to make it finally evident to seemingly the only people who didn’t yet know that it was him driving the car and not his father. The final scene was very dramatic, and I suppose it’s mostly meant to show that consequences can never be truly escaped. I think I would have liked this show more with the same characters but a different premise, and I’ll remember it as a decently watchable but not particularly enthralling show with a strong cast.

Series grade: B-
Series MVP: Carmen Ejogo as Lee and Lilli Kay as Fia

What I’m Watching: Shameless

Shameless: Season 11, Episode 6 “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good....eh, Screw It” (B)

Two of this episode’s plotlines didn’t sit all that well with me, and that made the overall experience of the hour less effective than usual. While school shooter drills surely do happen in a similarly overindulgent way in real life, that being featured comically here as I was reading posts earlier yesterday about the third anniversary of the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida felt like it was in poor taste. I thought that Carl was going to end up getting his latest female acquaintance pregnant even after she repeatedly claimed that she does this all the time and never gets pregnant, but then Debs went and made it about sexual assault, something that this show has already treated insensitively with Kev and doesn’t really need to revisit. On a more positive, dramatic note, Frank’s alcoholic dementia, which a lamentable development, is one that the show is handling very well, since there are clear warning signs but his family members hate him way too much to notice that it’s anything different than usual. Presumably they’ll be slightly kinder to him than Terry’s family has been to their patriarch, but I doubt it. I didn’t quite buy Sandy’s big apology, but Debs seems to have, and they’ll likely move forward together as a happy couple. Lip’s idea about selling the Gallagher house is not a bad one, and it would track for a final-season series development, one that might see all these characters heading into new and unexpected phases of their lives just like Fiona.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

What I’m Watching: WandaVision

WandaVision: Season 1, Episode 6 “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!” (B+)

We’ve reached a new time period for TV, reminding me most of “Malcolm in the Middle.” But the in-show antics weren’t what took up most of this episode, and there are some seriously irreversible developments that make things even crazier and more dangerous than before. Vision lying to Wanda about being on the neighborhood watch on Halloween night was a good way for him to get to explore the outskirts of town, where Wanda seemingly hadn’t provided full coverage and people weren’t moving as fast as they should have been. When he woke Agnes up, she really gave him some insight in the form of her maniacal laughter at the fact that he was dead and so maybe she was too. Trying to crawl out as he slowly got ripped to pieces was not pleasant, and Wanda sprang into action once she realized what was happening. Using her powers to expand the net even further and turning most of the S.W.O.R.D. agents into clowns demonstrated even more heightened abilities than before, and we can only hope that someone like Darcy is able to remember what happened before she went in and prove herself as a real ally. I’m curious to see how Pietro reacts after Wanda attacked him for his cruel comment about Vision dying twice, and to see how her kids respond to whatever she tells them happened now that they’ve manifested their own powers. This show does indeed just keep getting more and more interesting, delivering on its premise and taking it to a new level each episode.

What I’m Watching: Dickinson

Dickinson: Season 2, Episode 8 “I'm Nobody! Who are you?” (B+)

There wasn’t much explanation for why it was that no one could see Emily on what could have been the biggest day of her life, but that device did work well to, as Nobody suggested to her, provide a rare opportunity to see what people really thought of her. Lavinia, as usual, was kindest, though her praise of Emily’s work was the latest example of an intellectual divide between her and Ship that now appears to have ended their relationship. Most seemed favorable at first and then turned very sour, and Emily’s disappointment was understandable given how much of herself she’s poured into this. Nobody was far less haunting than he often is, and Emily seemed very comfortable with the reappearance of Death, a character we used to see regularly who hasn’t been present at all this season. I almost immediately recognized Nick Kroll under that facial hair as Edgar Allan Poe, who turned out to be much vainer and less sophisticated that Emily would have hoped. The biggest and most crucial revelation was saved for last, after she could finally see Sue after this trying and difficult day. The brilliant way in which that devastating scene was staged made it seem like Sue knew Emily was there, and that she was looking right at her in a moment of passion. Emily has her own feelings for Samuel, but knowing that Sue is betraying her supposed friend Mary and getting something else out of this relationship is going to drive a wedge between them that won’t be easy to repair, and Emily could use support at this moment that she’s certainly not going to get authentically from Sue.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Pilot Review: Clarice

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What I’m Watching: Mr. Mayor

Mr. Mayor: Season 1, Episode 7 “Avocado Crisis” (B)

An avocado shortage is indeed a problem that would only be such a big deal in California, and though I lost a bit of the joke, I enjoyed the mention of Passover coming up as another reason that they’d want to get this handled as soon as possible. Neil trying to rebrand the monkeyface eel as the avocado fish was a terrible plan, and it really did seem terribly unappealing and downright disgusting. Leave it to this show to include a twist that Beau Bridges’ Adolphus Hass, who prefers to be called Adolf, was hoarding avocados to drive the price up but was undone by the fact that they were ripening too fast and would be worthless when he tried to put them back on the market. Mikaela not being able to sleep but being easily knocked out by Arpi launching into one of her long and impossibly boring presentations was a humorous subplot that initially seemed unbelievable but then turned out to be deeper when Arpi used an ability she deduced she had to her advantage. She also gave Mikaela some purpose when she listened to the whole thing and gave her the advice that it wasn’t at all a good idea. She even got her subordinate who kept taking her coffee and complaining about how she got his order wrong back by slapping away the drink he actually got her to apologize for his continued misunderstanding. In terms of throwaway lines connected to nothing else, Neil asking if Shondaland was a real place is my winner.

What I’m Watching: Call Me Kat

Call Me Kat: Season 1, Episode 7 “Eggs” (C+)

I don’t think any of us could have predicted that Kat pretending to be pregnant as a sort of social experiment was going to end poorly and in her being embarrassed in front of a whole group of strangers who were intensely judging her. But this show isn’t about being unpredictable but instead trying to salvage comedy from setups that aren’t necessarily all that funny. Steve’s confusion at seeing her suddenly pregnant after she wasn’t the day before was amusing, and I didn’t even realize that he was played by Adam Bartley from “Longmire.” A more entertaining deception was the one put on by Phil, who got Carter upset when he found out that, not only was he not being catfished, he was actually the one lying by using a picture of Max and claiming to be someone very much unlike who he was. Spending $3,500 on anyone else’s hearing aids does sound like a problematic financial practice, and Carter getting him set up to pay all of his bills online won’t necessarily change those habits but should at least allow him to better monitor what he’s doing. I’m not sure how we’ve gone from Max telling Kat he’s not romantically interested in her to them having obviously romantic conversations where he demonstrates yet again that he does care about her a lot, just not quite in that way (even though I think he does). I’m sure things will change if he starts casually dating someone or if his French ex returns, but I predict that they’ll get together soon.

Friday, February 12, 2021

What I’m Watching: B Positive

B Positive: Season 1, Episode 7 “Phantom Limb” (B)

Even though it’s far from the most sophisticated part of this show, I think I’d like to spend more time with the dialysis crew. All we saw in this episode was Drew waking up after fainting and hearing that all of them except for Samantha were concerned about him. I enjoy the way that Dr. Baskin speaks to Drew and how they both utilized sucking in air in response to the other’s statement as a way of indicating that they didn’t really want to answer the questions. Drew is definitely neurotic and seems like the kind of person who would quickly commit to a set of rules before realizing that he was in way over his head and would never be able to keep to that kind of intensely healthy diet. Gina offering to be his personal trainer and then putting on his voice on the phone while he was flailing on the bike was fun, and it was entertaining to see her relish the opportunity to give Drew a lecture because he loves doing that to her. Norma laced into Drew when he showed up thinking that he might be giving up more than Gina, and the message he left for her sister as a way of apologizing was fiercely defensive and exactly what she needed to hear to be okay with him again. Getting drunk and high while hanging out with Paul in his basement could have meant the end of all of this, but fortunately it seems like everything’s going to be okay, and that Drew and Gina may actually be closer than ever before.

What I’m Watching: The Stand (Series Finale)

The Stand: Season 1, Episode 9 “The Circle Closes” (B)

I wasn’t sure what was still left to happen in this episode, which interestingly did keep the door open for another season, one that would presumably feature an entirely new set of characters aside from Flagg, who now calls himself Russell Faraday. The unexpected circumstances that led to the destruction of New Vegas didn’t result in Flagg’s demise, though Frannie was quite shocked to see him when he showed up to entice her to give him a kiss after she fell into the well. She proved to be one of the most resilient characters in this show, ignoring his temptation and seeking out Mother Abagail, who calmly explained to her the way things were. I thought that more might happen in this hour aside from those worrisome moments with Frannie and Stu patiently dealing with his flat tire, the kind of obstacle that might seem a bit more concerning in the course of a cross-country road trip. It’s hard to have all questions answered, and Stu didn’t spend too much time dwelling on how the girl who helped him save Frannie knew his name. They made it in the end to Maine to return to what was closest to her former existence, and though a lot of people died – most of the show’s main cast, in fact – the notion of preserving the future with a handful of kids does mean that the good guys won, I suppose. This isn’t necessarily my typical fare but it was engaging at the very least, and I’d probably tune in for a second series if one did end up being commissioned.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flagg

What I’m Watching: Call Your Mother

Call Your Mother: Season 1, Episode 5 “Dating Jean” (B+)

While I do think that Jean and Danny would make a good couple, it’s almost more satisfying to see them at such sarcastic odds with each other, standing on ceremony after their legitimate excuses for cancelling on each other led them to concoct other reasons for not being available when they actually would have been. I appreciated the casting of Dave Foley as a perfectly nice guy who lived his life as a freegan, something that seemed far more elegant than what might typically be the case since he frequented a fancy farmer’s market where all the samples looked quite appetizing. That Jean decided to stick it out and spend an evening with him was probably good for her, especially because she came home knowing that she wasn’t going to proceed further but content with the choice to give it a try. Danny arguing with him over the ownership of his lemons was a funny moment. I was also happy to see Erick Lopez from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” as Victor, the man who got Lane to commit to a weekend trip to Palm Springs much more enthusiastically than he had expected. Freddie and Celia reached a good moment when he showed her his bad-idea tattoo and she expressed a satisfaction with the two of them being a good match. I do hope that we see Jackie’s elderly boyfriend at some point soon since that joke might end up becoming tiresome, and the snippy way she responds to everyone else’s love life problems will surely force her to confront her own eventually.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Take Three: Resident Alien

Resident Alien: Season 1, Episode 3 “Secrets” (B+)

The threat of Harry being found out for who he is continues to become more severe, but everyone in town seems willing to look past such obvious peculiarities that he actually seems to be safe. Hiding the body of the real Harry under packs of bison meat which Mike assumed was the reason that the dog was going so crazy made the issue of finding the body a non-starter, though I’m sure he’ll still find ways to make himself seem suspicious. You’d think that D’Arcy might have found something when she went snooping around his house, but she’s trying too hard to work through her feelings about him to notice anything unusual. I love that Max is finding creative ways to get under Harry’s skin, taunting him for the things he doesn’t understand about humans, and that he has a new friend who, even though she doesn’t see Harry’s true form, still believes that Max isn’t lying. Asta and D’Arcy ending up at a high school party was an unfortunate mistake, and it’s informative to see the friendship between those two, which involves a different level of comfort than Asta shows when she’s at work trying to digest Harry’s latest faux-pas. Mike’s worldview continues to be entertaining, decrying political correctness and celebrating the discovery of a serial killer rather than a mere murderer. The cowboy whose hat Harry stole when he first landed met a violent end after he tried to share his stories with allegedly likeminded hikers, and I’m curious if those are human operatives trying to suppress knowledge of the existence of aliens or members of Harry’s species intent on keeping a lid on their presence.