Sunday, April 11, 2021

What I’m Watching: Made for Love

Made for Love: Season 1, Episode 6 “I Want You to Give a F*** about Me” (B+)

All the time Byron has spent in a simulated world has made him pretty much incapable of functioning in the real one, though at least he’s aware of how what he’s experiencing isn’t actually reality. Trying to amplify the distractions he might encounter at the beach proved to be very unhelpful, and once he did venture with Bennett into Los Angeles, he didn’t bother paying attention to the ticket he got and to the fact that he was being surveilled and photographed in an environment that he wasn’t controlling. It’s reassuring to know that the main character of this show didn’t die, mainly because Byron didn’t execute the merge, and that, even though Fiffany and Herringbone were only interested in taking the chip out to serve their own interests, they decided to let her go after Hazel compared Fiffany to Byron, something she didn’t appreciate at all. Things didn’t work out positively for Fiffany, who appeared to secure her exit package only to find herself trapped indefinitely by her angry employer. Hazel managed to communicate how she was feeling over the course of this episode very well to other people in her life besides Byron, chewing her father out for not caring about her nearly as much as he did about his sex doll partner. I enjoyed seeing Kym Whitley, who just appeared in last week’s episode of “Call Your Mother,” as Judiff, another peculiarly-named individual who became a nun to infiltrate the church and expose its crimes, and who knew how she might be able to help Hazel provided she didn’t look directly at her. Finding out about Diane seemed to change her perspective, but at least Hazel and Herbert got to a pretty good place bonding at the cemetery as the episode ended.

What I’m Watching: Made for Love

Made for Love: Season 1, Episode 5 “I Want a Lawyer” (B+)

It does seem futile for Hazel to try to figure out a way to get away from Byron without him knowing since he is watching and listening to everything she does, and Herbert is too lazy to use their very convenient secret language to mask their conversations. I’m not sure what it is that Bengals did with Diane overnight that got Herbert upset, but at least he was relatively interested in helping Hazel to connect with his typically sleazy divorce lawyer contact at the bowling alley. Biff – a great name for such a character – was all about minimizing the abuse she described so that it didn’t sound bad at all, and he was only interested once Herbert mentioned Byron’s name and he realized how much money he stood to make from a settlement. That productive development was short-lived as Byron demonstrated his omnipotence with the blackmail photos appearing instantaneously on the bowling alley TV screens, but what he was actually doing was far worse. It tracks that both Fiffany and Herringbone aren’t really on the side of morality but rather money, though it’s possible that selling the chip to Ignacio will also weaken Byron enough that he will no longer possess the problematic power he does now. Things don’t look good for Hazel after Byron apparently executed the merge, but maybe she’ll somehow spring back to life once they take the chip out, or she’ll act like Byron does? I’m sure that would be entertaining, though there has to be some way back from this.

What I’m Watching: Made for Love

Made for Love: Season 1, Episode 4 “I Want a New Life” (B+)

I am, generally speaking, a big fan of lengthy flashbacks that help fill in a lot of the important gaps in what we know about characters on a show. That worked very well here in establishing how Hazel and Byron first met, though obviously there’s a lot more to cover about how they got to a point of comfort that then began to disintegrate when Hazel realized that a life with this enigmatic billionaire inventor wasn’t actually what she wanted. Hazel is definitely scrappy and creative, and she’s more effective at that when she doesn’t feel totally paranoid that someone is watching her every move. The fact that she met Byron pulling a scam to get money and then that she got cash to pay her father his carefully-calculated rent by doing something very similar indicates that she hasn’t changed all that much, she’s just falling back into old habits now that she’s trying life on the outside. It took me a while to figure out where I knew her old friend from, and I realized that she’s played by Patti Harrison, a fantastic presence in the upcoming film “Together Together” that just released a trailer a few days ago and is slated for release in just a few weeks. She’s a great addition to this show’s cast and vibe, and I love how much Herbert detests her. Byron’s plan to win Hazel back by recreating the experiences she just wants to have in the outside world is going to fail miserably, and his hapless lackey, who reminds me so much of the AI guy from “Upload,” isn’t trying so hard to make it all happen. I am intrigued by Fiffany and her apparent allegiance to her missing colleague Herringbone, and I’m curious if those two have some secret plan to undermine Byron brewing because they’re aware of just how much he’s willing to risk to achieve his far-reaching goals.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Pilot Review: Home Economics

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.

Pilot Review: Kung Fu

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.

Pilot Review: Chad

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.

Friday, April 9, 2021

What I’m Watching: This Is Us

This Is Us: Season 5, Episode 12 “Both Things Can Be True” (B+)

I hadn’t thought much about what a Miguel-Nicky relationship would look like, though it’s also not such a distant memory when the Pearson children weren’t nearly as warm to Miguel as they should have been because they always blamed him for taking the place of their very much dad father, who happened to be his best friend. I liked that the relatively grumpy Nicky clarified that he had no interest in giving a toast, he just hadn’t wanted Miguel to do it when he was being petty. Miguel stepped in to show Rebecca’s father how much of a mistake he was making by agreeing only to tolerate his daughter marrying someone like Jack, and he earned himself a ring extraction via dental floss from the rather intimidating man as a result. The dynamic between Kevin and Randall is indeed complicated, and it was good to see Kevin so eager to fly out and try to repair things, even if he has no idea what he’s about to encounter from the newly validated Randall, whose transracial adoption support group seems to be opening his mind up to important realizations. If you’d asked me what actor I would never have expected to get cast on this show it would have been Chris Geere, a superb fit for “You’re the Worst” whose unpleasantness as Kate’s miserable boss Phillip was not at all a surprise. Beth got some major wisdom from her mother in how she should approach her relationship with Tess and her romance with Alex, and I think it should get better from here. The brief montage of Kevin’s exes all finding out about his engagement at the end of the episode was nice, and I’d very much like if all of them got invited to the wedding.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 6, Episode 2 “A Few Good Women” (B-)

I didn’t know what exactly was happening at the start of this episode with a suspected vampire who turned out to be an alien from the planet of Transylvan whose real existence had inspired all of the stories we’ve come to know. Him having a connection to the Phantom Zone since he tried desperately to find his missing husband made more sense, though it still caught me off-guard as completely random. Knowing that her mother was alive but not being able to be with her all the time was peculiar enough, and now Kara has the chance to be with her also very-much-living father, who has taken an “Inception”-like plunge where he believes that there’s no way out of the Phantom Zone even if they tried. Brainy training Nia is hardly what I would call gentle, and she’s already running all over the place thanks to having to babysit William. I suppose it shouldn’t be all that far-fetched that Lex would find a way to get himself completely exonerated in court, but I wonder what the longer game is here, especially since Lena could have wiped more of his memory so that he wouldn’t pose such a continuous threat to all of them. He discredited Eve with ease and then still managed to win over the jury even after Lena baited him, and she’s going to have to work with Andrea to find a way to take him down in the court of public opinion and the press if she can’t do it in the court of law, provided she doesn’t find herself facing charges too.

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 7, Episode 6 “The One with the Nineties” (B)

I love a good time loop – they’re actually among my favorite phenomena in film and television – and this one had some of the workings of a good one but not all. I appreciated the specificity of “The Matrix” being cited as a 1998 film when it in fact came out in 1999, and it was fun to see all of the characters in the present get made over into outfits that were more befitting of the stylish times, including Caitlin ending up as a buttoned-up scientist while the rest of them were decked in something much more fun. Maybe it’s that I prefer episodes that make better use of all of Team Flash, even if characters like Chester could use some more alone time so that we can get to know him. He geeked out over meeting Nora, or rather the speed force in physical form, and then he got to bond with his dad in a totally unexpected way the day before he died, completely transforming the way he saw the mostly absent father figure who was killed in a car crash when he was very young. Working with his father to help get them back to the present was nice, and he’ll likely be inspired to finish their work on his own. It was good for Iris and Nora to talk about how Barry seeing his mother’s face made him feel, and even if it doesn’t make all that much sense to see the speed force in this human form, it’s reassuring to know that there’s someone – or something – who cares deeply for the Flash just as his mother would if she were still alive. Joe going to Frost to tell her what was coming for her didn’t end well, and now it seems much likelier that she will end up getting captured given her attitude.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

What I’m Watching: Breeders

Breeders: Season 2, Episode 4 “No Faith” (B+)

I love how Paul tries to navigate everything that comes up with his children so carefully since he knows that they’re automatically going to be worried that he’ll overreact and get very angry. The look on his face when he saw his daughter praying and crossing herself was priceless, and he went about it in exactly the right way, asking her what she believed and felt and then encouraging the behavior if it was something that she wanted to do. Praising her intelligence but questioning her faith in her grandfather’s prayers being somehow responsible for Luke getting better was also done surprisingly sensitively, to his true credit. He wasn’t quite as gentle with his parents, affirming that he too hoped they would die before him when they told they weren’t infirm but were definitely not firm. Exploring with his father how him turning away from religion hurt his mother was interesting, and it’s good to have those two around to make Paul think constantly about his choices and attitudes. Keeley’s sudden return seemed like enough of a disruption to what counts as regular routine for this bunch, but it seems like Ally is about to add an entirely unexpected new factor to the equation which should change things very dramatically. I thought Ally just couldn’t stand the idea of being vegan and that’s why she was sneaking meat from the refrigerator, coupled with the severe hangover she was nursing, but it looks like Keeley’s hunch was right and another baby may be on the way for these stunned parents.

What I’m Watching: Shameless (Penultimate Episode)

Shameless: Season 11, Episode 11 “The Fickle Lady is Calling it Quits” (B+)

It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end, and even wilder to think that Frank might not make it to the finale. After everything he’s been through and the medical assessments that he’ll survive the apocalypse along with the cockroaches, him going out on his own terms in his own house would be pretty crazy. It’s very sweet that Liam wanted to spend the day with him doing “Frank things” and that he was serving as the kind of parent he never had for his own father. No one else had terribly positive news aside from Kev and Veronica, who managed to get a great offer on their house so that the only thing stopping them from saying goodbye to Chicago was their concern about the other’s feelings of longing, which were certainly stronger in Kev than in Veronica. It’s hard to watch Lip get torn down again and again, since he did do a masterful job negotiating with the woman who came and offered him $200,000, and now he’s sold all of the furniture and appliances with no offer to show for it. Mickey didn’t give his new digs much of an effort, but it’s nice to see that he and Ian have found some common ground in Mickey getting permission to pee in the pool in exchange for coming with Ian to a yoga class, something I’m sure won’t go well. I was worried that Mickey was going to go ballistic when he found out that the furniture they saw wasn’t actually included, but maybe he’ll make a minimal effort to adjust to his new surroundings. Debs was ready to give up hope and then she got held up by exactly the right person for her, someone even more volatile than Mickey, but I have a feeling it’s all going to work out. Carl getting demoted to meter maid after he went off on the rich landlord has given him a new sense of purpose, which is entertaining, though now he’s going to be obsessing over whether Tish is pregnant with his baby. I know that there’s not much hope, but I’m still holding out for Emmy Rossum to appear again in the finale since this show just isn’t the same without her. Either way, I’m eager for whatever bittersweet conclusion is to come!

Pilot Review: Atlantic Crossing

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, April 7, 2021

What I’m Watching: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Season 2, Episode 8 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Birthday” (B+)

It’s difficult to keep track of who on this show is actually a couple and what romantic feeling still exist between potential partners. Like on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” when songs helped characters realize who they were and who they liked, the dizzying duets that showed the many couples who were actively interested in each other were extremely informative. It was a lot for Zoey to take, and also hinted at some brewing romances like the one between Rose and Tobin that might eventually emerge out of their endless banter. Tatiana singing to Simon and him not singing back to her was key to her realizing that it was a romance she could once again pursue – though I was under the impression that they were already a couple – and I can’t quite understand why it is that Zoey and Max don’t just un-hit the “pause” button so that they can restart if they know that they feel a certain way about each other. Mo’s new relationship seems like it’s off to a good start even if Perry appreciates directness more than Mo might be willing to give, and that should be a healthy distraction for Zoey’s nosy neighbor. Aiden’s proclamation of love for Zoey was a bit random and served mainly as a way to detach David from the already auxiliary band plotline. His own marriage has heated up again, which is good, and even Maggie found a positive outlet in the planning of the big party to channel her energy somewhere.

Pilot Review: The Serpent

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.

Take Three: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Season 1, Episode 3 “Power Broker” (B)

I’ll confess something that will surely make diehard Marvel Cinematic Universe fans shiver. I’m not sure what was happening in 2016, but for some reason I never managed to see “Captain America: Civil War.” I didn’t go back to watch it at any point, and eventually just opted to screen both “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” months after they were first released, presuming I could piece together what I had missed, which I think I largely did. Evidently, that gap in knowledge is presenting itself as most problematic here, since there are probably many more cues that I’m supposed to be getting which I’m not. One such character was Zemo, who made sense to me mostly because of the quality of Daniel Brühl’s performance. He’s an actor I’ve always found to be terrific, most memorably in films like “Inglourious Basterds” and “Rush.” Zemo’s eagerness to cause chaos while theoretically helping the good guys was entertaining and very watchable. We also met someone else I was supposed to know, Sharon Carter, played by Emily Van Camp, who I remember from one of the first TV series I regularly watched, “Glory Days,” which came before “Everwood,” “Brothers and Sisters,” “Revenge,” and now “The Resident.” There’s plenty going on and it’s not all that easy to keep up, but the Sam-Bucky duo continues to be fun to watch, and this show is not at all short on action, even if it’s not always clear who’s fighting for what and why certain characters are mad at others.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

What I’m Watching: Clarice

Clarice: Season 1, Episode 6 “How Does It Feel to Be So Beautiful” (C+)

I was completely ready to give up on this show, which I hadn’t even realized was coming back so soon after two weeks off the air so early in its run, and then that final scene went and happened, which makes him ever so slightly intrigued to stick around and find out what’s going to play out next. Much of this hour felt like an overdramatic dinner party, which it was, one that was wholly inappropriate to start with and which Ruth never should have organized. The nature of her relationship with Clarice is deeply problematic since she is backing her professionally for personal reasons, and inviting her to come help Catherine cope with the aftermath of her trauma didn’t go well for anyone. Clarice is not in a particularly good place right now either, and she’s pushing herself to the limit to recall information that is going to be critical to the investigation but also put her more at risk. Her colleagues are coming up against major roadblocks that show them how connected the people they’re going up against are, even to the point of a warrant not being issued for fear of repercussions on staff members, and the biggest reveal was the one that was unexpectedly tied to Krendler and his disintegrating marriage. I suspect that the man chewing potato chips like they were scenery is indeed a divorce lawyer, but he’s obviously many other things too that are going to put the entire team is jeopardy as he learns more about Krendler’s personal life.

Pilot Review: Law and Order: Organized Crime

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: Law and Order: SVU

Law and Order: SVU: Season 22, Episode 9 “Return of the Prodigal Son” (B-)

This is actually the first full episode of this long-running series that I’ve ever watched and reviewed. My father-in-law can be found watching this show on endless repeat when he’s not doing other things, but I’ve never found the procedural particularly appealing. I did watch half a season of the original “Law and Order” back in 2008 during the writers’ strike, but otherwise that’s it for this franchise. My only reason for tuning in to this episode was that it serves as the first part of a crossover with the brand-new “Law and Order: Organized Crime,” which aired its pilot right after this. I had expected that the endlessly-promoted scene where Olivia breathlessly says “Elliot” to take place in the closing moments leading into the new show, but instead it happened right away, with a focus entirely on Stabler returning and mourning the injury and later death of his wife. I’m still not enthralled by the way this police show works and the minimal involvement of the heavily-accented DA, and I think I was waiting most for more clarification on Stabler’s new role and why he might have been a target. I recognized Matthew Rauch from his role on “Banshee” as the lawyer who showed up to get Sacha to stop talking right away, and I was surprised that he didn’t have a bigger part, though it appears he played the same lawyer a few seasons ago in another episode. I won’t be watching more of this show anytime soon, though I did find its spinoff to be a bit more intriguing. My next post will explain why!

Monday, April 5, 2021

What I’m Watching: B Positive

B Positive: Season 1, Episode 12 “Canine Extraction” (B-)

Drew’s sudden infatuation with the dog that had made him miserable for quite some time felt like it came from out of nowhere, but I do understand that it was meant to be symbolic for how Drew felt about the loss of a relationship with his young, adoring daughter. It was entertaining to see how excited Drew when he told Gina about his planned dog-napping, and the genuine pleasure he felt when Gina acknowledged that she knew it was transference, a concept that he definitely didn’t think she would know. It did feel like Gina could probably have asked if she might be able to keep the dog or at least watch over it every once in a while. Samantha’s coldness followed by her turning into an instant sap when the dog came over and licked her was amusing, and she did her best to pretend that she might be interested in a doctor who wasn’t nearly as edgy as she had hoped. Gina getting caught between being the cool role model for Maddie and being a good friend to Drew led to an uncomfortable and short-lived situation, and Maddie definitely didn’t help matters by showing her disdain for the idea of hanging out with her father. It was sweet that she showed up with Gina at the end with Maddie in tow to recreate the important part of her annual memory, which was, of course, spending time with her father whether the ducks were present or not. This show’s endearing side is pretty charming and works well.

Pilot Review: The United States of Al

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.

Take Three: Made for Love

Made for Love: Season 1, Episode 3 “Love Is Strange” (B+)

The way in which this episode was structured was very helpful in terms of filling in the backstory and getting us to the place where we are now. I was happy to see Nyasha Hatendi from “Casual” as Keegan James, the journalist eagerly sharing the opportunity to go inside the mystifying private residence where Byron and Hazel have lived since they first met. There were so many warning signs that Hazel wasn’t happy and that she wasn’t on board with Byron’s approach to both life and their relationship, but it’s likely that they were edited out of the aired interview. What the public knows and what they don’t may not be that important, since Byron knows that he can do anything he wants and exert unchecked control over anyone who gets in his way. I liked that it was the dolphin who saw and understood Hazel’s pain and showed her the way out, and I’m curious to know more about that compassion and understanding. Herbert may not be good for much, but him showing up to pitch a bunch of drawn-out ideas was just the right thing to distract Byron from being able to go after Hazel. Keeping a close eye on her turned out not to be a benefit, as she knew just what to do to show him how much she didn’t want to be with him. Talking her new friend through a weird but fulfilling experience wasn’t about him or her but about underlining her contempt for Byron, a message he definitely got but isn’t willing to accept.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Round Two: Made for Love

Made for Love: Season 1, Episode 2 “Another” (B)

I was wondering after watching the first episode of this show whether Hazel was always going to look frantic as she tried to run from something that was literally inside her head, and the answer is apparently yes. She has good reason to be panicked, especially considering that the one ally she does have, her father, thinks that she must have done something wrong and that Byron could be convinced to take her back. The flashbacks to earlier moments in their relationship are definitely disturbing, and seeing her pass out and then get strapped down and hooked up so that they could insert the chip into her head was an unnerving sight. Herbert seems to be a fan of the big plans that can’t quite materialize, and he has some baggage coming into town after being deemed a pariah due to his romance with an inanimate sex doll that he’d like to think is perfectly acceptable and just a little bit not normal. Herringbone is the henchman that keeps showing up and trying to convince Hazel that he’s just there to help, and Dan Bakkedahl from “Life in Pieces” and “Veep” is definitely the perfect person for the role, making him relatively creepy and slimy and most certainly not trustworthy. Hazel isn’t into trusting anyone else right now, and I have a feeling that her direct approach of telling Byron that she wants a divorce isn’t going to be particularly successful either, though at least it’s one way of confronting the problem.

Pilot Review: Made for Love

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: Generation (Mid-Season Finale)

Generation: Season 1, Episode 8 “The Last Shall Be First” (B+)

It’s good to know that this show will be back for more episodes since its first season is split into two halves, and sixteen episodes feels like a very generous and worthwhile count that will only be increased once this show is hopefully renewed for a second season. I like that we got a quick fast-forward from the main events we had been seeing to the quick flashes to the future bathroom birth rather than go through all of the time that happened in between. Chester really did not seem like himself, wearing traditional clothing and walking around understandably dejected after Sam told him that he would be working with a new guidance counselor, and it was very sweet to see his teammates rally for an International Chester Day by taking their shirts off and getting him to smile and do the same. He made a new friend who is unfortunately going to distract him from looking at Nathan in the way that he sees him, and I’m not sure if listening to that long, meandering voicemail is going to change any of that. Nathan did do a formidable job of standing up to his mother when she saw the video and called to proclaim her intent to go “Old Testament,” and I’m eager to see how his newfound confidence changes him. We only saw a few lingering shots of Greta in the rearview mirror, but it seems that Riley isn’t ready to move on and there may be hope yet for a romance between the two of them. This show is very well-done and has terrific characters, and I look forward to its return at some point in the near future.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

What I’m Watching: Call Your Mother

Call Your Mother: Season 1, Episode 9 “One Bad Mother” (B-)

This episode felt even more exaggerated than this show usually does, but at least it was still entertaining. Sharon’s continued presence is making things awkward in a different way than I had expected, which is that her completely out-of-control behavior after she takes sleeping pills led to her crawling into Danny’s bed multiple times and cuddling with them. As someone who has frequently used sleep aids, I’ve never experienced anything like this, but I know it’s typically fodder for comedy, and it was most fun to see Danny freak out after he thought something had happened between them. The far more intimidating presence in the episode was that of Barbara, Lane’s mother, whose visit prompted him to purge any potentially vulnerable elements of his life. She was understandably upset when she heard Lane call her Mother Raines and saw a warm connection between the two of them, and I like that she responded to that by trying to steal Jean’s own children and provide them comfort, particularly the dejected Jackie who couldn’t catch a break. She’s usually much snarkier and more defensive of her actions, but here she was just all about stacking food and daring herself to eat it as she somehow didn’t feel a phone underneath her. Celia and Freddie should probably work on their communication since this all had an easy solution, though Freddie doesn’t seem great at mustering up the courage for confrontation, like the conversation he’ll never have with Celia about needing to shut down all of his games and devices before unplugging them.

What I’m Watching: Resident Alien (Season Finale)

Resident Alien: Season 1, Episode 10 “Heroes of Patience” (B+)

I’m very glad that this show has already been renewed for a second season since this would have been one hell of an ending to never get resolved. As I’ve been saying this entire time, it’s hardly a surprise that Max would have stowed away on the ship and ended up in space with Harry as he was hurtling back to his home planet, but that’s exactly what should have happened, and I’m so eager to see what happens next. Sahar and Max were clever in their unsuccessful efforts to outsmart Lisa and David, and ultimately it came down to Ben and Kate going nuts on them and reaffirming their marital connection through a shared defense of their family. Ethan appears to have been collateral damage who will likely be held or killed because they thought he was the town’s doctor, and that’s sad to me only because I like Michael Cassidy a lot and would have loved to see him featured more (which is still possible). Somehow, D’Arcy didn’t figure out that Harry was an alien even though she had Mike and Liv come to search his house, but she did help Jaye and enjoy the opportunity to get revenge on Jimmy for being such a terrible person. I also really liked that Liv was so touched by Mike getting her the Nespresso machine, something he tried to brush off as "for the office." Harry getting distracted from his mission by the appeal of pizza and conversations with the dead real Harry were entertaining diversions, and I enjoyed how Asta shifted from a sentimental goodbye to harried rushing of him when he casually said that his device was going to kill everyone in eighty seconds. The revelation that it was the real Harry who killed Dr. Hodges is intriguing, and I’m not sure what to make of it. But I do know that I really like this show, and can’t wait until it comes back for season two and beyond.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Alan Tudyk as Harry

What I’m Watching: Supergirl (Season Premiere)

Supergirl: Season 6, Episode 1 “Rebirth” (B-)

It’s strange to come back into this show a little bit later in the season than a few of its Arrowverse counterparts, and I’m honestly much more intrigued by what was going on in the last show to hold this timeslot, “Superman and Lois,” which is due back in a little under two months when this show in turn goes on hiatus. I know that this wasn’t intended to be the season premiere and all this Lex/Obsidian business was likely going to be wrapped at the end of season five, but it’s now all still going on as this show begins its final season. That’s also odd to know given that the other series have all been enthusiastically renewed for more, whereas this one is ready to sign off at just six seasons, which is two fewer than even the already-ended “Arrow” got. I am glad at least to see the characters evolving and that there’s a great team at play here, with Lena firmly deciding which side of this battle she wants to be on and encouraging Alex to be honest with Kelly since not opening up to close friends is exactly what pushed her away from Kara so viciously. M’gann and Hank seem to have a good bond going, and they’ll presumably lead the charge to find Kara and bring her back from the Phantom Zone. Now that she’s separated from her father and Obsidian control, it seems like Andrea is stepping back into the journalism business full-time, and it will be interesting to see where she directs William, especially in Kara’s absence.

Friday, April 2, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 7, Episode 5 “Fear Me” (B-)

Every so often, this show likes to delve more into horror than I’d like, and that first shot of Cecile experiencing it was indeed unsettling and off-putting. The other nightmares were more specific, and it’s definitely fair to call them paralyzing. There is an overconfidence that Team Flash possesses every team they come face-to-face with a new villain, and it tends not to work in their favor since, inevitably, a handful of them are more than ready for the supposed defenses that aren’t actually going to work against them. Because we didn’t see his face under that purple mask, I had no idea that it was Ennis Esmer, a familiar actor from “Dark Matter” and “You Me Her,” as Psych, who was indeed one of the more formidable enemies they’ve faced in a while. Just like with the new timeline created when Barry ran into the past when the humans of this world started to get their meta powers, Killer Frost saw her greatest fear, which was being turned in to Joe by Caitlin, an event that now seems likely to happen imminently with the arrival of the government official with an intense background ready to put the wanted fugitive behind bars. At least Caitlin and Frost appear to be on good terms at the moment, and like Frost’s rehabilitation following her criminal debut, they’re likely to find a way to subvert fate and achieve a better outcome, which will probably be merging back together and convincing everyone that Caitlin can control her other half.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The competition: Dead to Me, The Flight Attendant, The Great, Schitt’s Creek, Ted Lasso

For your information: Last year’s only eligible show, “Schitt’s Creek,” is back for its second consecutive nomination, for its final season. It has four performers nominated. Sophomore series “Dead to Me” is here for the first time, with two of its actresses cited. The other three freshman series have one performer nominated apiece. There’s not much other trivia to cite given the unique circumstances of this year and this mostly fresh list.

Who should win? I’m so happy to see “Dead to Me” and “The Flight Attendant” here since I don’t think enough attention is paid to their casts. It’s a hard decision between “Ted Lasso” and “The Great” for me, but I think I’d choose the latter.

Who will win? I don’t see any way Schitt’s Creek loses this.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Ensemble in a Drama Series

The competition: Better Call Saul, Bridgerton, The Crown, Lovecraft Country, Ozark

For your information: Last year’s only eligible series, defending champion “The Crown,” is back for its fourth bid. It has four performers nominated. “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” both earn their second nominations after taking last year off the air. The former has one performer nominated, while the latter has three. Freshman series “Bridgerton” has one actor nominated, while another freshman series, “Lovecraft Country,” has none. Only “CSI” managed to win this prize, in 2004, with no performers singled out. Repeat winners are very common.

Who should win? I didn’t watch past “Bridgerton” episode one. This is a very solid list. I think I’d choose “Better Call Saul” or “The Crown.”

Who will win? I don’t see how The Crown falters.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

The competition: Cate Blanchett’s motivated activist (Mrs. America), Michaela Coel’s sexual assault survivor (I May Destroy You), Nicole Kidman’s troubled mother (The Undoing), Anya Taylor-Joy’s chess prodigy (The Queen’s Gambit), and Kerry Washington’s protective mother (Little Fires Everywhere).

For your information: Blanchett won previously for “Blue Jasmine,” “The Aviator,” and as part of the “Return of the King” ensemble. She has six additional individual bids and five ensemble bids, but this is her first TV nomination. Kidman won this prize in 2017 for “Big Little Lies.” She has seven additional individual bids and five ensemble bids. Washington was nominated in 2016 in this category for “Confirmation,” in 2013 for “Scandal,” and back in 2004 as part of the “Ray” ensemble. This is the first nomination for Taylor-Joy and Coel. Taylor-Joy defeated Blanchett and Kidman at the Golden Globes.

Who should win? I didn’t watch all of Coel’s work, though everything I’ve heard about it suggests it’s incredible. From the others, I would probably choose Taylor-Joy over Blanchett and Washington, though all three were very good.

Who will win? I think this is safely Taylor-Joy.

SAG Winner Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie

The competition: Bill Camp’s chess-loving janitor (The Queen’s Gambit), Daveed Diggs’ Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson (Hamilton), Hugh Grant’s suspicious husband (The Undoing), Ethan Hawke’s passionate abolitionist (The Good Lord Bird), Mark Ruffalo’s twin brothers (I Know This Much Is True)

For your information: Hawke has two previous film nominations, for “Boyhood” and “Training Day,” as well as an ensemble bid for the former. Grant was nominated in this category two years ago for “A Very English Scandal” and in 2016 for “Florence Foster Jenkins,” along with an ensemble bid for “Sense and Sensibility” back in 1995. Ruffalo won this prize in 2014 for “The Normal Heart” and an ensemble award for “Spotlight” in 2015, in addition to earning both bids for “The Kids Are All Right” and a solo nomination for “Foxcatcher.” This is the first nomination for both Camp and Diggs. Five supporting actors have won this prize in this category’s twenty-six-year history. Ruffalo won the Emmy this past fall, though none of these men were in competition against him, and he defeated both Grant and Hawke at the Golden Globes.

Who should win? I only watched one episode of Hawke’s show. It’s hard to judge these very different performances. Ruffalo was indeed very good, as was Diggs in two roles in a filmed play, but I’d be so happy to see a minor but memorable performance like Camp’s recognized.

Who will win? Unless Diggs, who announced the nominations for this group, can surprise, I think Ruffalo wins without a problem.

What I’m Watching: Breeders

Breeders: Season 2, Episode 3 “No Connection” (B+)

That opening scene did seem a bit too good to be true, with all four members of the family sitting down to enjoy an appropriate beverage of their choice while they watched the ice skating series together. The reality was far more appropriate for this show, with no one wanting to other than Paul and him deciding to have a drink and unplug the router to get his revenge. Forcing everyone to watch later instead of other activities like, say, doing homework didn’t go all that well, and Ally seemed most flustered by his abandonment of the notion of consent. It was clear right away that Paul was not going to be a fan of George when he met him at taekwondo, and Ava seemed particularly embarrassed by her father’s sudden interest in the sport for the first time in that moment. Ally asking if Paul was having an affair when he brought her coffee indicated how rarely that happens, and though he hasn’t lost much of his temper, Paul does seem to be softening a bit as he thinks about what he really wants. His parents’ new neighbors calling the police on his mom and not understanding the request he had made on her behalf was an unfortunate development, and I can imagine that situation – and Paul’s patience – is going to devolve over time. We haven’t seen much of Ally’s work lately, but spending an entire day with a woman whose only job was to scream repeatedly into a microphone hardly sounds all that pleasant.