Sunday, October 31, 2021

What I’m Watching: United States of Al

United States of Al: Season 2, Episode 2 “Repo/Wapas Geri” (B-)

So, after an opening installment that swapped out the laugh track for more serious content related to what’s actually going on in Afghanistan, this episode took us back to the comedic side of things, giving Riley and Al what may have been their most absurd hijinks yet. The need to make more money to help his family is just the latest motivator that’s pushed Al to do something he probably shouldn’t be doing, and Riley was all about adopting a new activity that took up most of his attention and shifted his mood considerably. I didn’t buy that they would do well as repo men, and they certainly didn’t have a great plan when they went in for each job, resulting in some close calls and one smashed windshield. Riley seemed to get the most joy out of eating messy foods in other people’s cars because he just didn’t care, and he appreciated the opportunity to feel like he was really doing something again, and with his best friend, no less. Lizzie was right to be concerned and was able to convince Al that what they were doing was unnecessarily dangerous. I did enjoy the training exercises they did at the start which always seemed to end with Al being shown that he was woefully unprepared. Art’s commentary was, as always, not entirely helpful, and he’s all about making fun of his children when he sees that they’re making mistakes or doing something that he would get flak from them for if it was him.

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 3, Episode 6 “1917 Patrol” (B+)

I’ve always been astounded by this show’s ability to truly create an immersive environment where new characters are introduced, and this episode did that very well with the Sisterhood of Dada. After Rita arrived in 1917 and was promptly taken into custody by the Bureau of Normalcy, she bonded with the members of the group, including Laura, whose wordless response to her using her name was entertaining. Rita’s decision to sit down in the main lunch room was a powerful moment of change, one that resulted in her beginning to blob out while everyone looked on in horror and disgust, but the other Dada members stepped in to defend her, which was very sweet. Chanting piffle paffle and putting everyone in circus costumes allowed them to share a sincere connection, and Laura rescued them by shapeshifting into a guard. Obviously plenty changed between then and the present, when the erupting fire with the words piffle paffle indicated that she may well be the target of their ire. Cliff isn’t doing so well indulging in his vices, and selling his own brain blueprints is something he’s going to regret doing. Vic having to consider what he wants to change about himself and why when he went in for a synthetic skin appointment was very interesting, and watching his journey to self-acceptance has been very worthwhile. Larry asking his son to leave after he defended himself was a strong moment, and Jane is taking a major stand against the rest of the underground that may not turn out well in the end.

What I’m Watching: Home Economics

Home Economics: Season 2, Episode 4 “Windmount Academy, $42,000/year” (B)

One thing that seems to happen much more than it should on this show is characters jumping to conclusions based on assumptions and then ending up in very embarrassing situations. In this episode, that was Sarah not wanting to take a job because she thought it conflicted with all of her principles, and then when she actually went in to interview for it becoming convinced that Connor had bribed her would-be boss. Saying whatever she wanted to see how far she could push things was a terrible plan, and it was only through a display of her actual abilities that she was able to undo the damage to her chances. Obviously, Connor is meant to be an exaggeration of what people who have more money than they know what to do with are like, and the notion that he was a small fish compared to others at the school was quite jarring since he already has an unimaginable fortune that he doesn’t know how to use. The other big storyline of the episode was Marina’s concern that she wasn’t instilling enough Mexican heritage in the daily lives of her children, which also ended on a sweet note when she saw her daughter speaking Spanish and acting far sweeter than she had in a long time. The road there was a little rockier, complete with entirely unhelpful and offensive interruptions from both Marshall and Muriel. Lupe adding her perspective was informative, enhancing a character who doesn’t usually get all that much to do but comes in with a crucial piece of knowledge or opinion every once in a while.

What I’m Watching: Legends of Tomorrow (Season Premiere)

Legends of Tomorrow: Season 7, Episode 1 “The Bullet Blondes” (B)

I’m pretty sure this is the shortest time that two separate seasons have premiered that I’ve ever seen, and possibly ever, given the delayed production and air schedules. Fewer than six weeks passed between the end of season six and the beginning of season seven, and this opener felt a whole lot like a direct continuation in a way that hasn’t felt as pronounced as in the past. Sure, Mick and Constantine are gone now, but they’re still stranded in 1925, and they don’t have a ship. I’d love for them to be able to encounter either future or alternate versions of themselves, but I guess for now we’ll have to settle for Gideon being manifested in human form, which should be interesting. It would have been far too easy for there to be a vault with everything they needed in it to travel through time, and pursuing the inventor of time travel in 1925 makes sense as the next logical option. Nate’s knowledge of history apparently didn’t factor in newspapers with photos of the real J. Edgar Hoover, and as a result he ended up killing the very persistent lawman, which is going to be difficult for the team to be able to reverse. As I said, I’m all for alternate timelines and new realities, but I’m not sure if that’s what’s in store for the team or more of just their typically irresponsible antics that lead to more disasters that they’re going to have to work very hard to correct.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Pilot Review: Dopesick

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: American Crime Story: Impeachment

American Crime Story: Impeachment: Season 3, Episode 6 “Man Handled” (B+)

This was a clever episode title, and while there were other moments in this hour that felt unnecessarily exaggerated, it did compellingly convey the sensation of being trapped that Monica felt as she was repeatedly told things that weren’t really legal. There was also an interesting duo of the more relatable, seemingly nice Mike Emmick, played by Colin Hanks, and the bad cop Jackie Bennett, played by Darren Goldstein. The initial focus on what ties and books Bill and Monica gave each other seemed so specific and absurd, but that’s the nature of this whole investigation, which George Conway acknowledged didn’t constitute a high crime or even a misdemeanor. I did enjoy Cobie Smulders’ delivery of Ann Coulter saying that she understood why some cultures drown female infants after listening to the mundanity of the tapes. Monica did her best to escape her situation as Mike tried to force her to make incriminating calls right away, and her mother swooped in to help when she was able to call her. It was her father’s friend and lawyer, portrayed by the always fantastic Fred Melamed, who really helped change the dynamic and let Monica know it was okay to just walk out since they wouldn’t stop her. His insistence that he knew the hotel had a fax machine was among the most memorable moments of the hour, along with Monica running into Linda in the mail with plenty of shopping bags on her arms. Linda’s fury that Clinton dishonored the presidency makes her a fascinating character, one who is almost definitely not going to be looked at anywhere near as favorably as she believes.

Take Three: La Brea

La Brea: Season 1, Episode 3 “The Hunt” (B-)

As if being trapped twelve thousand years in the past wasn’t enough, losing pretty much the entire food supply to an animal that could very well kill all of them is likely to push them to their limits. Eve has emerged as a de facto leader of the group, but that’s also not likely to last since tensions will be high and others are going to want to take charge when their way doesn’t get selected. The growing acceptance of the fact that they are indeed stranded in the past is a positive, and working together is going to be the only way to find a way back. Learning about all of the characters’ backstories along the way is informative, though it’s also interesting to see that this show isn’t opting for a style like “Lost” where flashbacks fill in what they used to do and how they ended up where they were. Marybeth’s relationship with her son seems to be the most complicated, and they’ll probably end up getting closer as a result of their circumstances. That’s only the case for the Harris family, with more details on the aftermath of Gavin’s return and how his apparent hallucinations affected his relationship with his family members. I know I’ve seen actor Nicholas Gonzalez many times on shows like “The O.C.” and “The Flash,” and he’s a good choice to play Levi, the pilot with a deep and fractured connection with Gavin who went right into the sinkhole and now appears to be trapped there too.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 6, Episode 15 “Hope for Tomorrow” (C+)

I’m getting a bit tired of all of these totems, which feel quite repetitive and easy to manipulate. I do remember back in the season one finale when Supergirl was able to bring everyone back to reality and break the hypnosis they were all under by reminding them of how much hope she inspired, and the fact that it wasn’t working now makes sense as a draining development, one that threatens to keep the typically peppy superhero down. William wanted to be more involved in everything, and that put him very much in danger, something that Andrea didn’t care too much about since all she wanted was someone to capture the excitement on camera. He did manage to find a way out of her trap when Kara was there with the totem, and fortunately she destroyed it so that Nyxly wouldn’t ever be able to make it whole. The existence of a secret admirer makes it possible for her still to be a relevant and problematic threat, and I’m curious to see who it is and how it will affect the final few episodes of the show. Supergirl, Hank, and Brainy did have a great time restoring hope in Kaznia and Corto Maltese, and it was also fun to see Esme deduce quite easily that Kara and Supergirl were the same person because they had the same powers. Alex was entertainingly nervous at the start of the episode as Esme was coming home, and having an adoptive daughter with the ability to mimic anyone else’s powers doesn’t even seem to be the most worrisome thing for her.

Friday, October 29, 2021

What I’m Watching: Only Murders in the Building

Only Murders in the Building: Season 1, Episode 9 “Double Time” (B+)

I had a feeling early on that Jan might be the murderer, and while that’s still not confirmed, it’s very likely that she was the perpetrator. This show has been known to give us false indicators of guilt in the past, and its characters certainly do jump to conclusions very often. She was rightfully upset that she hadn’t been welcomed onto the investigative team in the way others were and that their ideas were being easily accepted the moment they showed up, and her solo story and the musical instruments connection may just be too damning to exonerate her. The building meeting to discuss the “podcast nonsense” showed that Oliver wasn’t the only one at risk of being evicted, and them all bunking up together seemed like it was going to drive them to insanity sooner than expected. While it was quite random to have Charles’ stunt double show up, the casting of Jane Lynch as Sazz was absolutely fantastic, and I’m sure it was a lot of fun to have her mimic all of Steve Martin’s movements, especially in the subtle way that only the camera noticed. It was sweet to hear Sazz encourage Charles to go after Jan because she was the one, but it’s also possible that she’s somehow in cahoots with Jan given the intimacy we saw when everyone else got home. Charles’ nosebleed at the end of the episode was foreboding, and I’m eager to see what the finale brings and how the season is going to end.

What I’m Watching: The L Word: Generation Q (Season Finale)

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 2, Episode 10 “Last Call” (B+)

It’s always difficult to watch a season finale when there’s no news yet on whether a show will be coming back for another round, and I would hoped that now, more than two weeks after this episode aired, there would at least be some indication. But that isn’t the case, and so it’s very possible that this is the last of the show that we’ll see. It wasn’t a bad ender, sending most of the characters in interesting directions, not all of them positive. Let’s start with the bad: after a very positive meeting with Gigi’s family, Dani got arrested for criminal contempt of court since she couldn’t bring herself to testify in the trial. That doesn’t seem likely to last or lead to anything, but it’s going to serve to either strengthen or weaken Dani and Gigi’s relationship. Bette didn’t do much to prove to Pippa that she wanted to be with her, and Tina couldn’t say enough to convince Carrie that she wasn’t still in love with Bette. Tina showing up to Bette’s door is not the ending I would have expected for them, but it was also strange that Bette was part of this show and not Tina in the first place. Finley reacted very poorly to her invention but ended up accepting that she needed help, which suggests that she and Sophie may last after all. The same goes for Tom and Alice, since her initial actions were badly received but then she won him over yet again. After all their build-up, Shane and Tess seemed headed towards happiness, but maybe that isn’t in the cards. I would definitely watch more of this show, and I hope we’ll see a season three and beyond.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Sepideh Moafi as Gigi

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso (Season Finale)

Ted Lasso: Season 2, Episode 12 “Inverting the Pyramid of Success” (B+)

It’s hard to believe that I went a full two weeks without watching this episode after it first premiered and didn’t have anything spoiled for me. The one thing some had quickly hinted at was the most obvious of developments, which is that Nate would continue his betrayal by going to coach for Rupert, who’s likely to be a major player in season three as a newly very present nemesis. It hasn’t been pleasant to watch Nate transform from one of the most endearing characters on this show to one of the meanest, but something about the way that Ted helped get others to see him made him entirely resentful. What he said to Ted was harsh and unwarranted, and ripping down the Believe sign seemed to sting the most. When Nate said he deserved to be headbutted, Beard was happy to offer to do it, indicating his fierce protective instincts. Ted did a great job responding to the news story about him, humorously accepting a correction on the “nip it in the butt” expression from Beard along the way, and he even has a new friend in Trent. Jamie and Roy’s warm relationship is a lot of fun to watch, as was Roy’s disgust with having forgiven rather than killed him and his realization about what the Diamond Dogs really are. Keeley, who was all about validating the coolness of her coworkers, got a great opportunity, and I’m glad that she was able to be honest with Roy and clarify to him that they’re not breaking up. Higgins’ advice was entirely helpful, and I enjoy the little moments with him. Sam choosing not to leave was the best decision, especially considering Edwin’s absolutely terrible reaction. Opening up a Nigerian restaurant will be a great endeavor for him. This season has, once again, been a delight, and I’m eagerly awaiting season three.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Brett Goldstein as Roy

Thursday, October 28, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Morning Show

The Morning Show: Season 2, Episode 4 “Kill the Fatted Calf” (B+)

I keep waiting for COVID-19 to start dominating everything, but it’s taking a while and Alex is still the top trending topic. Daniel made it back from Wuhan without any issue, which has only reinforced the lack of recognition he feels he has received, prompting him to make a big gesture to indicate that he has charisma, which didn’t appear to work. It is interesting to note that this show features only white leads yet does a great job of making use of its supporting cast to highlight the issues with diversity that are present in much of the industry. Greta Lee in particular is a great addition as Stella, who is fierce and effective but still has people complaining to her constantly after Cory chewed her out for not doing what he asked. Yanko needing to apologize for something that he didn’t really think he did wrong was indicative of the thin line between acceptable and offensive which often prompts users in online forums to call for the cancellation of particular individuals. Mitch doesn’t seem to be suffering much from that in Italy, but I had forgotten that he was in Italy at the start of the pandemic, not that it’s likely to be all that bad for him since he’s apparently going to be quarantining with his new protégé. Bradley’s unwillingness to acknowledge her identity nearly ended her relationship with Laura, and it made for one very uncomfortable scene with Stella. I’m intrigued to see where that goes next, and whether it’s a lasting romance or something that ends badly with Laura using what she’s learned to destructive effect.

What I’m Watching: The Morning Show

The Morning Show: Season 2, Episode 3 “Laura” (B+)

On a show that already has a superb ensemble, it’s great to see the addition of even more talent. I’m particularly pleased to see Julianna Margulies in this role since I know her best from “The Good Wife,” and this is a much more abrasive, pushier part, a step up from the lackluster guest arc she had on “Billions” last year. She started off very poorly with Alex, aware of how she was waiting until she walked in to come out of her dressing room and then asking questions she knew were too pointed and not approved. Bradley, on the other hand, seemed to want to get along with her almost just to piss Alex off, and she came up with quite a creative way to dodge an uncomfortable moment by turning it into something very different, a development that won’t please Alex at all when she finds out. Daniel’s continued attempts to sound the alarm about coronavirus in Wuhan are being ignored, and given the timeline of the show, that’s not going to last long. Chip’s return to work was awkward, but he is clearly a good fit for the job and for watching out for Alex. Mitch isn’t doing so well at resisting the temptation to do anything but stay off the radar, and while he’d like to think his intentions are pure, that’s not likely to be perceived as the case once he ends up back in the public eye in a different media role to some degree.

Pilot Review: Pretty Smart

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, October 27, 2021

Pilot Review: Acapulco

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: Big Sky

Big Sky: Season 2, Episode 2 “Huckleberry” (B-)

I guess it’s a good thing that John Carroll Lynch is now playing Rick’s twin brother and not a miraculously and inexplicably alive Rick. His belief system appears to be just as militant and twisted as his brother’s, even if he’s trying to deprogram two sinister individuals to theoretically be better functioning members of society. It’s also possible that he’s training them for another nefarious purpose which will eventually be revealed and connect back to the main storyline. I will say that this show manages to attract some great talent, and I’m especially impressed with the casting of Janina Gavankar, who I think I first got to know from her role as Luna on “True Blood.” She’s cementing herself as quite the villain, determined to find what has been taken from her. The other notable guest star was Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who more than twenty years ago got her start playing Meadow on “The Sopranos,” as Tonya the waitress, who now finds herself tied up in the back seat of Ren’s truck. Cassie should definitely follow up on Max’s very obvious recognition of the man in the photo on her desk, especially since things aren’t looking great for the kids who have made unfortunate choices about what to do with the money that they found. Jerrie passing the PI exam is a positive step for her considering where she was at the beginning of this show, and Mark is definitely focused enough on work even on their date that they should be spending that time trying to stay one step ahead of their many enemies.

What I’m Watching: Big Sky (Season Premiere)

Big Sky: Season 2, Episode 1 “Wakey, Wakey” (B-)

This is a show that I started watching last year with family when it premiered which I never thought was all that good but does remain pretty watchable in terms of its plot developments, ridiculous as they may be. The ending shot from season one of Cassie driving off in a police cruiser didn’t amount to much, though she’s still set on making sure that those responsible for shooting Jenny pay. Mark isn’t on duty anywhere but just as committed to the truth, even if he’s a bit wary of the lengths that Cassie seems willing to go to in order to find it. Discovering the trooper’s dead body with a pair of pliers in his neck and photos of Cassie and her family showed that this isn’t close to over, and that’s not the only problem that’s going to pull her in in a way that she doesn’t expect. Missing money never leads good places, and these teenagers couldn’t have made a correct choice in what to do when the found it, but now they’re going to find themselves in a particularly precarious situation. While it seemed that much of last season’s antics would be replaced by new plotlines like this drug murder and Jenny’s newfound relationship, that doesn’t appear to be the case at all. I’m a big fan of John Carroll Lynch and thought he was the best part of season one, but how exactly is Rick still alive, and why is holding Ronald in a cage on a farm? We’ll find out, but I’m not sure it’s going to make a lot of sense.

Pilot Review: Ghosts

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, October 26, 2021

What I’m Watching: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows: Season 3, Episode 7 “The Siren” (B+)

I like that this season has split the vampire cast into two pairs, with Laszlo spending time with Colin while Nadja and Nandor continue to fight over who gets to sit on the throne and run the show. It’s nice to see that Laszlo is developing a true affinity for his energy-draining companion, not eager to leave him behind when he professed that he was in love with the siren even though he was fully aware of what she was and the effect that she had on men. Putting a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that he had earlier purchased during a very humorous trip to Best Buy on him wasn’t enough to get him to realize that he was still under her spell, and seeing him still listening to her song and preparing for an off-camera activity indicated that he appreciated and respected her ability to bend people to her will. I’ve never entirely understood the existence of the Nadja doll, but this focus proved fun as she got tired of being ignored by everyone and made sure to have her opinion heard. As another person who never gets listened to, Guillermo wasn’t even willing to sit with her and do the interviews in pairs since he already felt like a second-rate member of the team. While Nandor tried to join in on the praise for Nadja when she finally realized how the doll was so much like her, Nadja dismissed him as trying to get in on their moment. Natasia Demetriou is quite funny, and so it’s great to have her playing two characters at once.

What I’m Watching: United States of Al (Season Premiere)

United States of Al: Season 2, Episode 1 “Promises/Wadaha” (B)

The themes of this show have become increasingly relevant given the renewed public attention on Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of the country. I was curious to see how this show, which does rely on jokes to drive its storylines, would do in light of this, and it makes sense that the first episode would be presented without a laugh track. The content wasn’t inherently funny, even if there were a few jokes thrown in there, mainly having to do with Art. The way everyone banded together to try to help Al’s family feels similar to real life, taking a break from comedy to get serious and deal with the realities on the ground. There is room for tragedy and heartbreak in the sitcom world, and many of the most memorable TV episodes have sprung from the real-life death of the portrayer of a character’s parent or some similarly sad event. While the situation in Afghanistan won’t allow for Al to be happy or at peace far away in America, I imagine that subsequent installments will return to the sitcom format while keeping a focus on advocacy for Afghan refugees who will likely be present in greater and more prominent numbers after the evacuation of Kabul. I do like the characters here and I’m eager to see how they find moments of humor in a difficult and unimaginable present that forces them to change how they go about their daily lives to keep what’s important to them at the forefront of their minds.

Pilot Review: CSI: Vegas

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: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 3, Episode 5 “Dada Patrol” (B+)

There’s something cyclical about these characters constantly coming face-to-face with their demons, but that’s also part of what’s most appealing, the psychological confrontation of their worst fears over and over again. What’s hard to keep track of is whether they’re encountering something real or imagined, like Larry running into his adult son who fired a gun at him before Larry spirited him to safety. Cliff speaking Japanese was a neat trick, one that made him very happy, and he was also aware that he was high to a degree and therefore might not be experiencing things exactly as they were, as evidenced by his eagerness to hug someone encased in a protective glass case. Vic’s refusal to answer the question being asked by him showed how much he didn’t like having his existence questioned, and that constituted one of the most intriguing plotlines of the episode. Facing the eternal flagellation was of course a typically peculiar topic, one that almost seemed irrelevant since it just put all of the characters into their mind-bending introspective spaces. Rita spending considerable time with Madame Rouge was a delight, and I continue to believe that the two of them are so similar that they are very well may be the same person. Rita’s excitement at being a time traveler was palpable, though I still don’t think I’ll ever be able to decipher the timeline of when and if that’s going to happen, or if it’s something that’s already happened or is happening right now in the world of the show.

Monday, October 25, 2021

What I’m Watching: Home Economics

Home Economics: Season 2, Episode 3 “Bottle Service, $800 Plus Tip” (B)

The plot of this episode felt a bit expected on pretty much every level, but fortunately, it’s all still very entertaining. Connor and Tom can be relied upon to be at each other’s throats after spending just a little bit of time together, and somehow Tom was doing better with the women in the VIP section than Connor was, maybe because he was putting himself down while Connor was also ragging on him. The waitress giving Tom an aspirin to help with the headache he had from the noise was a more logical development than her giving him ecstasy, but the mere belief that he had taken drugs was enough to get him to loosen up to a point where he was able to have fun, and even to compel Marina to snap out of her texting battle. I definitely thought that Connor was going to end up getting the waitress’ phone number, but instead he just sat there alone looking sad, prompting Tom to come check in on him and declare the same affection for him that he had just expressed to his wife. Sarah and Denise were a bit obvious about their hunt for fellow lesbians at the club, and they did pretty well together misjudging modern concepts and then realizing what they both wanted, which was to be home in their beds. Ending all the excitement with a dance party back at Connor’s with Lupe as a DJ who didn’t take requests was sweet, and it was good to see them all getting along after a night out that wasn’t even close to their wildest and most contentious.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

What I’m Watching: What If…? (Season Finale)

What If…? Season 1, Episode 9 “What If... The Watcher Broke His Oath?” (B)

It was all building to this, which at least is good to know since I wasn’t so sure how everything was all going to come together and what the impetus for more would be. Starting with Captain Carter and Black Widow going in for a mission was enticing, and then we saw the Watcher choose all of the people that he needed in order to be able to go up against Ultron, brought together in a pub façade manufactured by Doctor Strange. There was still a perhaps excessive comic focus on Thor, who just wanted interdimensional Chinese food delivered, in a way that I don’t think was quite as pronounced when he gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of motivation in “Avengers: Endgame.” After they were all declared the Guardians of the Universe, he managed to attract enough attraction to get Ultron there before they were prepared, but fortunately Strange’s spell was sufficient in protecting them. Less fortunately, Gamora was right to realize that the crusher had been designed to destroy the stores only on her world, and it took the cleverness of Zola being uploaded as a virus to bring him down. Naturally, Killmonger wanted to use the regained stones to better his world, but that’s not how any of this is supposed to work. Black Widow getting sent to a world that had lost their Natasha Romanoff was a worthwhile ending, and the major discovery during the credits just indicates that there are more multiversal exploits to come. I wanted to make sure I watched this show but ultimately don’t feel like I needed to, and I don’t think I’m going to make a point to watch season two unless this series somehow ends up winning major awards.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Peggy Atwell as Captain Carter

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 6, Episode 14 “Magical Thinking” (B-)

I really didn’t know when this show came back in March that its final season consisted of a relatively full twenty episodes, and I’m not sure that it needed all of that to wrap its story arcs. What’s ended up happening is an excessive focus on Nyxly, who is a decent villain but doesn’t need to take up quite this much space in the overall legacy of this show. For one thing, there’s always collateral damage whenever Supergirl shows up to stop her, seemingly more than with other baddies, and in this case, pretty much everyone she came into contact with ended up drained of their humanity, which was not a good thing and gave even Lena pause about the ethics of going forward. It was somewhat entertaining to see Nyxly so unusually happy, endowed with so much unprecedented positivity and humanity that she wasn’t able to kill the guard and ultimately needed to give the totem back, a move she immediately regretted when she was once again emptied of all goodness. Lena trying to work on her mother’s spells seems like a risky endeavor given the potential impact of them not working, and Nia wasn’t pleased with the immediate results. Andrea hacking William’s computer and demanding that he compromise his sources felt like a true overreach, and the defense of his own boundaries, both with her and with the superfriends, appears to have worked well enough so far to ensure that he gets good reporting and keeps the important, potentially damaging stuff off the record. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Esme may be moving in with Kelly and Alex, and that’s probably a helpful development that will productively affect their relationship.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What I’m Watching: American Crime Story: Impeachment

American Crime Story: Impeachment: Season 3, Episode 5 “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (B)

We’re slowly getting to the meat of this story, when Monica’s story begins to become public and there’s no turning back. That’s the part I know a little bit more about, including certain names like Ken Starr. Dan Bakkedahl, an actor I’ve seen in comedic parts in “Life in Pieces” and “Made for Love,” doesn’t seem the most natural fit to play him, but this show has also cast other performers like Billy Eichner who represent out-of-the-box choices. It does all feed in to the sensational nature of this show, like with Monica becoming increasingly paranoid while “Carol of the Bells” was playing at Linda’s Christmas party, though of course she didn’t have any idea how much more worried she should have been given that Linda was actively working to deceive and record her, panicked about how to protect herself when she was informed that the single-party recordings she had done in Maryland were illegal. The eagerness of the investigators to get their hands on the recordings was understandable given how they would clearly prove something even if they weren’t technically admissible, something that has come up repeatedly in recent years with figures like Donald Trump and Bill Cosby where the disqualification of certain existence didn’t mean exoneration but rather that it couldn’t legally be used against them in court. Mike’s assertion that having the tapes was a relief since a jury would hate Linda indicates that her celebrity whistleblower status won’t be what she imagined, and there’s no way that Monica is going to see what she’s done as any sort of protective or friendly act.

Round Two: La Brea

La Brea: Season 1, Episode 2 “Day Two” (B-)

This show really is a successor to “Lost” in terms of the format of its characters not knowing where they are, ending up somewhere impossible, and those back at home all assuming that they’re dead. What makes this one stand out is that it spends almost equal time back in the world everyone came from and the one they were transplanted to, with the government officials and scientists trying to understand how they could be where it appears they are and those who fell into the sinkhole grappling with the apparent existence of very much extinct animals. Scott recognizing the Tar Pits was a significant moment, one that is going to begin permeating that group and convincing them that they’re stranded way back in time, not that it will give them much of a leg up on how to get back to the present. Complicated relationships are being revealed, like the one between Louisiana cop Marybeth and the man she’s been chasing, who is apparently her son. And then there’s Veronica and her very much not-mute sister Lily, who are hiding big secrets that they don’t want anyone else to know. I enjoyed Eve pushing back to the psychoanalysis of her evidently running from something when she gets up every day to run ten miles at 5am, and she’s the one holding everything together and making sure that panic doesn’t set in, which it surely will soon. Back in the present, Gavin is beginning to comprehend what he’s been seeing for a long time, and his abilities are going to have a transformative impact.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

What I’m Watching: Only Murders in the Building

Only Murders in the Building: Season 1, Episode 8 “Fan Fiction” (B)

It makes sense that this podcast would have superfans given that it was created by three people who were obsessed with murder podcasts, and while their personal hygiene and overenthusiasm didn’t quite track with that of its originators, their perseverance certainly did. Leave it to someone like Oliver to look down on them even though he was just as eager and addicted before he started his own project, and Mabel shared his attitude of disdain. Getting kidnapped and threatened by Teddy without Charles even noticing that they were gone made for an awkward reunion, and Jan’s excitement and participation was not welcomed. Oliver was particularly harsh, calling her input destructive and her food chewy, and though Charles noticed that she was being alienated, he didn’t check up on her quickly enough, which may now have had fatal consequences. I thought for a moment that maybe she was the real killer, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Putting out the evidence that Teddy was involved did seem too easy, especially since this is only the eighth episode of the season and there are two more installments left. I think that, of all people, Detective Williams would have been most relieved to finally put this case to bed, but now that she knows that Tim was poisoned before he was killed, all of the previous suspects will need to be reexamined, though I imagine it might be someone we haven’t yet considered. They may just have to figure that out without the podcast.

What I’m Watching: The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 2, Episode 9 “Last Dance” (B+)

As usual, Finley hogged a lot of this episode’s attention, but it’s clear that there’s much more at play than just an eagerness to be the life of the party. Sophie was rightfully worried about her, and I definitely didn’t expect that Finley would end up seeking out the person she considered the exact opposite of her, which resulted in Dani having to call Sophie to come check in on her new girlfriend, which was certainly uncomfortable. Dani lying to Gigi wasn’t a good thing, but they appear to have made up, and now it’s just a question of how Dani is going to help the company recover. After making Angie miserable by not standing up for her earlier, Bette did go back to advocate for her and shared a positive moment with Tina and with Angie’s father, but now they’re going to have to break the news to her that she’ll never get to make that connection. Sophie and Maribel revealing their secrets to the family was awkward but entertaining, and Micah did pretty well throughout the whole thing. Alice being pigeonholed as a lesbian and asked constantly about the new woman she was dating threatened to compromise her identity, and it remains to be seen how confirming that she’s with Tom will go for her. On a considerably lighter note, I very much enjoyed both Alice and Tess agreeing that Shane was Eeyore, something that she wasn’t too thrilled to hear about but couldn’t really do a good job of denying.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Pilot Review: Maid

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.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

What I’m Watching: Mr. Corman (Series Finale)

Mr. Corman: Season 1, Episode 10 “The Big Picture” (B+

Have I mentioned how great the casting is on this show? It really makes me wish that we were getting more of it, especially since most of the terrific talent – like Shannon Woodward and Hugo Weaving – only got to appear in one episode. Jamie Chung is the latest superb addition, an actress I first watched on “The Gifted” and then got to see in an unforgettable guest appearance in another one-season show, “Lovecraft Country.” As Emily, she was instantly interesting, responding pointedly to the comments Josh made over Zoom that didn’t land in the way he intended them. Saying that she wouldn’t have agreed to go on a date with an actual musician put her on the defensive, but he also said “oof” when she revealed that she only listened to the radio. Their conversation was fascinating, moving from people not smiling in pictures to science being made up of stories to the severity of their respective anxieties. Watching them eat dinner together while looking at their screens was sweet, and imagining how things would have gone on a real date as opposed to what they were doing was a productive, powerful, and creative. Emily’s comment about Josh freaking out because he was a white male didn’t go over well, understandably, and I thought there might be a happy ending in store after his honest apology. Instead, we saw him trying not to use a credit card to pay for the recording studio he had tried to rent, and then rocking out to Winston Churchill as the final shot of the series. I’ve found this show captivating at times and frustrating at others, and I do hope that, even if we won’t get more of it, awards bodies will celebrate the quality of the performances, which have been superb across the board.

Series grade: B
Series MVP: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his many costars

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 2, Episode 11 “Midnight Train to Royston” (B+)

Now that Sam has really become the star player of the team, it’s no surprise that there would be interest from big names in his future. I’m a big fan of actor Sam Richardson from his work on “Veep” and in recent films like “Werewolves Within” and “The Tomorrow War,” and so it was good to see him in a rare position of true power as someone who claimed to have the ability to buy out entire spaces and replace all the people in them with actors so that he could woo Sam back home to play for him. It’s sad to think that he might leave, especially with the nature of his new relationship with Rebecca, but it was likely inevitable. Sharon’s departure was initially without fanfare, which upset Ted greatly, but then they got to share a sweet, wonderful goodbye where he stole her move and up and disappeared with only a note left behind for her to read. I love that Ted couldn’t resist Higgins’ letter pun and that he had to come back and get it because it was just so subtle and clever. His birthday knowledge was also impressive, and I actually knew the March 10th date since that’s my birthday too! I am glad that both Roy and Keeley were open and honest with each other about his lack of elaboration on his unmarried status and her being kissed by Nate, respectively, though the mention of Jamie’s confession of love didn’t seem to sit nearly as well with either of them. Keeley did react in the best possible way to Nate kissing her, but that was apparently the last straw for him, unable to fit in with anyone. Going to Trent Crimm to give him a scoop on Ted’s panic attack was an irreversible move that may be the one thing that Ted can’t get over, and I’m not looking forward to seeing how that plays out in the season finale.

Friday, October 15, 2021

What I’m Watching: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows: Season 3, Episode 6 “The Escape” (B)

Sometimes, I’m not really sure what exactly is going on here and whether it’s supposed to make any sense, but the setup is entertaining enough that it’s well worth watching. I didn’t remember the Baron even though it appears I had seen him in the pilot, but it’s always great to have Doug Jones take on another makeup- and effects-heavy role like his parts in “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Star Trek Discovery.” I was also amused to see Julie Klausner from “Difficult People” and Cole Escola from “Search Party” credited as the voices of the gargoyles, who were more into gossip than anything else. Nandor trying to keep everyone calm by calling them together had the exact opposite effect, and Nadja had good reason to think that he was behaving idiotically since it really was quite the blunder. The search in the yard for the Baron was entertaining, reminiscent of when all the vampires thought they were playing a game but Guillermo knew that they had an active problem which could lead to the many skeletons being discovered. I’m surprised it took Colin this long to discover “That’s What She Said” jokes, and I can only imagine he’s going to offer many of those on a regular basis going forward. The closing note that AirBNB was providing a great source of food was a humorous note, one that underscores the absurdity of this show’s universe but also the believable eagerness of people to show up to a place in the middle of the woods which seems all too perfectly private.

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 3, Episode 4 “Undead Patrol” (B)

I didn’t quite follow how the team went from being revived to suddenly being zombies who craved brains but were able to communicate in a language that only Kipling could understand. Madame Rouge, who now has a better idea of who she is, didn’t have much patience for all of their antics, and the way that she spoke to Rita was particularly rude, especially since the two of them seem so similar. Larry puking up blue wasn’t a good sign, but apparently turning into a zombie, like dying, is something irreversible in this show’s universe, and all Kipling needed was a VCR and some patience before their latest nemesis showed up trying to exact revenge on them. It’s jarring to see Niles continue to be a player on this show even after he’s been killed and had his severed head carried around by multiple entities. The little he said to Madame Rouge was quite harsh and unforgettable, and I’m curious if she’s going to end up as a villain or, like the other members of the team, seek to atone for what she’s done and end up a conflicted hero. Vic is having a difficult time processing what his mother told him, and though his father’s intentions do seem to be pure and good, he made an important decision that contributed to Vic feeling like an outsider due to his physical appearance. It’s good to see Jane and Cliff hanging out again, even if their interactions are typically tinged with aggression.

What I’m Watching: Home Economics

Home Economics: Season 2, Episode 2 “Chorizo with Mojo Verde and Chicharrón, $45” (B)

If there’s someone who could never possibly relate to Sarah and her feminist ideals, it’s Connor, and the fact that he wanted to encroach on that treasured part of her life was not something that sat well with her at all. I enjoyed him crashing her date and being upset that he missed the lady on fire in the lesbian period drama that didn’t quite deliver – I’d recommend watching either “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” or this funny SNL sketch. Lindsay being interested in him in the first place was a bit of a stretch, but I guess she thought that she could change him. Impressing with his answer during the book club that he crashed was the last straw for Sarah, and Denise wasn’t happy at all that he took the points she wanted to share, which she did manage to fire off right before Sarah got asked to leave and she had no choice but to go with her. Connor was, of course, trying way too hard, and so the relationship was never going to work out with Lindsay. The other major romance that got a spotlight was Tom’s new gig that he only took on reluctantly but found far more appealing when Sofia was extremely complimentary about everything about him. Marina being initially into her much more than Tom and then going too far to insult Tom was entertaining, and, as usual, along with Denise, she tends to be the best most fun part of this show.

What I’m Watching: What If…?

What If…? Season 1, Episode 8 “What If…Ultron Won?” (B)

The concept in this episode is definitely very interesting, but it gets difficult to stay involved and engaged when a being possesses such incredible power that nothing can defeat them. Having Ultron hear the Watcher while he was narrating to the audience was a major breakthrough moment, one that signaled just how destructive he could be given his newfound perception of the grandeur of the universe around him. His constant noting of a need for peace was starkly contradicted by the way in which he laid waste first to the planet and then to Thanos when he walked through the portal with all the stones, sawing him in half with his eyes instantly instead of even trying to divine his purpose (which in this case, was equally genocidal in nature). Conjuring hundreds of versions of himself to “bring about peace” everywhere by destroying everything was a fearsome notion, and it hardly seems like one dossier would be enough for Black Widow and Hawkeye to be able to stop him. I did enjoy Captain Marvel’s “Listen, Skynet” barb, and if anyone was going to give the Watcher a hard time for sticking to his principles for so long and finally needing to break them, it would be Doctor Strange, who had to examine his own complicated morals a few episodes ago. Hopefully, this will all lead to an enthralling multiversal conclusion, or maybe season two will feature characters hoping from one world to the next, which I would find more appealing than the inconsistently satisfying episodes of this season.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Pilot Review: La Brea

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: American Crime Story: Impeachment

American Crime Story: Impeachment: Season 3, Episode 4 “The Telephone Hour” (B)

It’s astonishing to see just how much content was captured by Linda as she was trying to get recordings about what Monica had done, or more importantly, what Bill had done, though it makes sense given the detailed nature of all of the evidence presented during his infamous trial. I also remember the real Monica’s reaction to the lack of detail in the Mueller report and how nice it would have been not to have the gory specifics of her sex life revealed to the American public. What was most interesting was how Linda got so bored and annoyed listening to Monica drone on, but then she wanted her to stand up for herself and not let her be walked on by so many people in her life. She wants revenge and she, to a lesser degree, wants fame and respect, but she also does like Monica and doesn’t want her to suffer, which she inevitably will because of this. I almost didn’t recognize Blair Underwood as Vernon Jordan because of the placement of his hairline, and he seemed like a dream come true until he indicated the level of respect he had for her as a woman on her way out. I loved the way that Linda responded to Monica asking if she was sick when she took a sick day, and I’m worried about the excitement she had to be subpoenaed and to get involved in Paula Jones’ case. The overdramatic ending of Bill in the bedroom only continued to underline this show’s soapy nature, which feels unnecessary and makes this show seem less factually-based and more prone to storytelling liberties.

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 6, Episode 13 “The Gauntlet” (B)

Every indication is that Nyxly is going to amass the power she needs and be nearly indestructible before she gets taken down by the team as this show signs off for good in just four episodes. This was a moderately entertaining detour with everyone getting affected by the totem. Alex exclaiming “Sweet, another dragon!” was a great prelude, but my absolute favorite part of this episode was Hank being so chill, exuding kindness and support and doing the opposite of what he tends to all of the time. I’m most intrigued by David Harewood’s comedic potential since I’ve only ever seen him on this show and “Homeland” before that playing particularly serious characters. Brainy getting to do Vita’s voice when she possessed him was also enjoyable, and I liked the way he reacted when he realized that he had been guesstimating all day. While Kara was trying to pass the test, Nyxly was examining her own memories and realizing what she needed to do in order to possess true courage, and now that she has come to terms with what that means, she’s not going to let anything stand in her way. William wanting to embed himself with the superfriends is an interesting idea, one that Nia didn’t seem to be thrilled about but which could actually be good for everyone. William could use the boost after the trauma he’s endured and the unsympathetic pressure Andrea is putting on him, and some public support could help our heroes in their latest and greatest mission.

What I’m Watching: Only Murders in the Building

Only Murders in the Building: Season 1, Episode 7 “The Boy from 6B” (B+)

This was a fascinating concept, having an entire episode play out without any dialogue from the perspective of a deaf character who has been much more part of the overall storyline than any of the podcasters realized. Obviously, things weren’t entirely silent and we did hear a bit of the score subtly playing underneath the action, but it was still an involving and helpful way to look at things from a different vantage point. I am glad that a deaf actor was cast, and James Caverly did an effective job of conveying the way that Theo interacted with the people around him, sympathizing with the doorman about how much he hated all the other residents and then being seen by Zoe, who ended up getting upset with him when he attempted to intervene in her relationship when she hadn’t asked for his opinion or his pity. It was incredible to see how quickly Teddy expressed his support and his willingness to do whatever was necessary to protect his son, which included convincing Tim to say he saw Oscar rather than Theo. Watching Theo read the lips of all our clueless podcasters explained how much he knew and how far ahead of things he and his father were, culminating in Charles getting a big break in the case at just the moment that Oliver and Mabel were tied up in the back of Theo’s van headed somewhere that didn’t look too promising for their livelihoods. With three episodes left and a second season on the way, they’re likely to survive, but it’s going to take some sheer luck given how hapless Charles is going to be by himself.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

What I’m Watching: The L Word: Generation Q

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 2, Episode 8 “Launch Party” (B+)

All of the relationships that were looking great in recent episodes were tested in a big way in this episode, and most of them appear to be doing okay after some very threatening bumps. The one that seems likeliest to fail is Finley and Sophie because of the way that Finley is acting following her DUI, treating it as a charming and entertaining story rather than a serious indicator of problematic behavior. Bette sabotaged her friendship with Dani with her awful reaction to the donation of the building, and while she doesn’t care about that, she was more concerned with how Pippa felt betrayed. She managed somehow to atone for her sins by fixing the situation and proving her dedication to Pippa, and Dani went to Gigi for much-needed support before rightfully apologizing for lashing out at her the way that Bette has now done to both of them. Tom seemed crushed by Alice telling him about Nat, and she won him over with a flirtatious reference to nonexistent room service. Having her read the chapter about Dana was an emotional callback to one of the best characters of the original show who has been absent for a long time. While Shane joked that she was HR, she’s likely to encounter problems with dating Tess down the road, but I’m okay just being happy for them right now. Micah’s date with Claudia was very well until he mentioned his feelings for Maribel, but fortunately he went for it with that relationship and they were able to exchange fortunately reciprocated sentiments.

What I’m Watching: Work in Progress

Work in Progress: Season 2, Episode 8 “FTP” (B+)

I’m enjoying how this show is externalizing the way that Abby is navigating the difficulties of this moment in time, first with an NPR employee showing up in her kitchen to validate her news fatigue and then Death asking Abby to call before handing the phone to her at the end of the episode when her father called, which wasn’t foreboding at all. We also got another appearance from Vincent D’Onofrio as his signature detective character, who had to break imaginary things off with her. Being asked to create a campaign about how her company was morally responsible didn’t sit well with her, and the use of “Petty Images” was a clever nod to the manipulative nature of advertising like that which is purely performative and has been highly present over the past year and a half related to systemic racism, the pandemic, and other issues. Abby traveling back to formative moments in her past, like her college orientation about how dangerous the South Side of Chicago was and the overtly racist anti-drug education from even earlier, was superbly done as usual, and the scene that really spoke volumes was when she saw her stepbrothers as young children telling their mother they were going to go to the protests. Needing to water Travis’ plants and not doing it seemed awfully trivial, especially compared to the heartbreaking and unexpected news that her mother had died. Abby being consoled by her mother was another powerful and potent image that serves more than anything else to underline her own loneliness.

What I’m Watching: Billions

Billions: Season 5, Episode 10 “Liberty” (B-)

While it seemed like this show might eventually address and feature the coronavirus pandemic, I didn’t expect it to play out like this, though I guess it makes some sense given how someone like Axe would handle it if he really existed. Ordering everyone to take off their masks because they had been vaccinated ahead of the line thanks to his having pulled strings tracked with his typical behavior, and firing everyone so that he could reestablish two separate companies was yet another workaround for him to get ever closer to world domination. It was obvious from the start that Chuck and Prince were engineering a lavish deception that they knew Wendy would call Axe and that he would send Chuck Sr. and Dr. Swerdlow to report back, and I’m not even sure exactly what trap they were trying to set for him. Taylor sabotaged a personal and professional relationship with Lauren in order to maintain control, choosing someone like Rian as a loyal follower who still asks tough questions instead. Watching Chuck cook breakfast for his daughter and for Prince felt a bit tedious, and I’m not really sure what the point of it was. Axe and Wendy confessing their feelings for each other is sure to shake things up in a big way, and I’m curious to see if that’s going to be a power move or a volatile step. Wags couldn’t focus during his date with Chelz, but going off on Tuk was apparently a real turn-on, which should give the hard-working Wags some much-needed relief.

Pilot Review: BMF

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, October 12, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Morning Show

The Morning Show: Season 2, Episode 2 “It’s Like the Flu” (B+)

In building up to the pandemic, this show is doing a solid job of portraying how much of the media did underplay its potential seriousness, with Daniel as the sole champion of spending more time on it and then getting sent on a plane to Wuhan because he didn’t want to continue not talking about it. For the moment, much is being made of Alex’s impending return to the network, with Will Arnett’s Doug whispering in her ear to make her as confrontational as possible while she tiptoed around the studio before her deal had been officially announced. The increasing guest list for the dinner party at Cory’s made everything more complicated, and Cory having to go appeal to Bradley so that she could bother to show up didn’t bode well for a successful group dynamic. Eric’s interaction with Alex when he found her hiding in his dressing room was unexpectedly prickly, and Daniel was the least excited to see her since he held her responsible for his stunted career. Bradley and Alex having it out was also particularly formidable to watch, and I’m eager to see how they’ll be on-air together, provided they actually get to do that before things shut down. Having Hannah’s family’s lawsuit still be a plotline is an important reminder that Mitch’s behavior is not something that can be easily forgotten, and seeing Mitch in Italy was also hard to shake. His new friend seems very interested in getting to know him while he’s just trying to remain anonymous, and I’m glad that he’ll continue to be a part of the story since it’s a very interesting plotline. I’m happy that Alex went to go see Chip to get him back since it would have been a shame to have Mark Duplass not be on the show anymore. Now, how do we get Bel Powley’s Claire to return?

What I’m Watching: Mr. Corman (Penultimate Episode)

Mr. Corman: Season 1, Episode 9 “Mr. Corman” (B+)

It’s strange watching this show knowing that it’s not going to continue after this, which is only the case since I’m so far behind and getting to this now second-to-last installment after it’s already been cancelled. While I haven’t always been enthralled by this show’s unpredictability and continuously-changing format, it’s still been quite fascinating and intriguing. This episode is a formidable case study in why a show like this is worth the investment, since it featured a character we had only ever heard and not seen, interacting with Josh one-on-one so that we could understand a very powerful and enduring influence on his life. I would love to have followed the casting process on this show, and the selection of Hugo Weaving, an actor I and most others first encountered back in 1999 with the release of the classic “The Matrix,” was absolutely fantastic. He did a great job of portraying someone who easily could have been tremendously respected and also didn’t realize the impact he had on his son, particularly at a young age when he brought him outside to see the catalytic event that triggered Josh’s apocalyptic visions that cripple his life. Knowing that we won’t see him again is sad since it was such a memorable and terrific performance, and this just makes me hope that Weaving gets other roles like this. I have no clue what – or who – to expect in what is now the series finale, but I hope that it will be a fulfilling conclusion to this eccentric series.

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 2, Episode 10 “No Weddings and a Funeral” (B+)

Watching this show’s episodes long after they air isn’t particularly fun, especially because of the potential for spoilers. But this episode was indeed a good one, a return to some form of normalcy after Beard’s wild night, transformed into a more dramatic installment thanks to the unexpected death of Rebecca’s father. It prompted fascinating reactions from each of the supporting cast, like Ray being a bit too crass, Keeley thinking about the biodegradable sack she wanted to be buried in so that he loved ones could eat fruit from her, and Ted having a panic attack because it brought up feelings of his own father’s death. There were also less serious moments, like Dani not being able to wear dress shoes since they constricted his feet and Jane being weirdly into funerals, something that Beard supported. Jamie confessing his love for Keeley was a bit of a shock since she seems very tethered to Roy and he still hasn’t applied himself all that much recently, and at least Roy swooped in with an apology for his behavior at exactly the right moment. Rupert’s behavior was deplorable and entirely inappropriate, and whispering something to Nate right after he told Rebecca he was giving up his shares suggests that he’s up to something very duplicitous. It was good to see Sassy again and to see how her friendship with Keeley and Rebecca was just what they all needed at that moment, and it was also good for her to see Ted again, apparently. On a less important note, I enjoyed finding out that Sharon hates tea just as much as Ted does. Sam giving Rebecca a hug after not being able to be emotional all day was very sweet, and I’m glad that he seems committed to continuing the relationship even after she tried to break up with him.

Pilot Review: Midnight Mass

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.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Pilot Review: Foundation

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: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows: Season 3, Episode 5 “The Chamber of Judgment” (B+)

It seems that a lot of this season is going to be about Nadja and Nandor quibbling over who should be the number one on the council, and Guillermo will continue to use that to his advantage. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out too well for him as Derek ended up being one of the first vampires put on trial. He wasn’t ever much of a risk to Guillermo since the other vampires never pay much attention to the specifics of what he and anyone else says. Derek did manage to be even more hapless and clueless than Guillermo’s usual companions, unaware of any of the rules and unable to understand that he shouldn’t stand in the sun because it would burn and eventually kill him. Guillermo repeating that he thought it would have been common sense was entertaining and another great instance of him standing in for the audience to express their sarcastic frustration at the idiocy of those who have been around for centuries and should know much better. Laszlo trying to help his poor friend get out of the Guy Pillow rabbit hole was fun, and I also like that he made a romantic advance that was not returned and promptly made sure that he would forget all about it. Acting as a lawyer for him by donning a wig and repeatedly objecting while insulting the judge under his breath was a humorous defense, one that didn’t work at all, and I enjoyed Colin’s excitement at getting to carry his briefcase which was apparently mostly full of pornography. Colin attempting to bore the judge to death didn’t work too well either, but it was fun to watch.

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 3, Episode 3 “Dead Patrol” (B)

I don’t quite understand how this dead and then not being dead thing works, but trying to comprehend the logic of this show has never been a smart decision. Larry returning home to find the dead bodies of his friends delivered to the front door in boxes was a pretty horrifying opening, and that’s why it’s a good thing that being dead isn’t all that permanent on this show. Larry’s connection to Rita was helpful in establishing that they could still be brought back, and Danny the Street knowing just the people to solve this mystery came in very handy, even if their bedside manner left a bit to be desired. Dorothy’s connection with Crystal was particularly intriguing, and I like how they managed to get them back in a seamless way after they all emerged from their respective nightmares. Jane had an opportunity to dig into her identity in a positive way that was free from Daddy’s influence, while Vic connected with his mother and got to talk about how he felt about Roni, which seems like it’s going to be a theme of this season. Cliff talking to his father and finding out that he had established some sort of relationship with Clara was the most powerful exchange, one that motivated him to forge a closer connection with her so that he could be the parent he always wanted to be. Now the team is going to have to contend with Madame Rouge and more earthly problems, which are sure as usual to be considerably more complicated than they should be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol: Season 3, Episode 2 “Vacay Patrol” (B+)

The idea of our protagonists on this show going on a relaxing vacation didn’t seem all that realistic, and of course they’d end up in a place with no wi-fi and in the company of two aliens hellbent on their destruction. Well, that second part wasn’t exactly true, as conveyed by the monotonous, decades-long effort by Garguax the Decimator to remain vigilant in his hunt for Niles and Rita, and he was ready to just let the team mourn and let Rita move on when they did finally come face-to-face. Samuelson was far less willing to let them go, and that coupled with Madam Rouge’s appearance at the end suggest that little relief lies ahead for this often-embattled team. I did enjoy some of their interpersonal dynamics, like Jane’s secretary personality booking them the trip, Jane mocking Rita when she was all blobbed out in the sack, and Cliff and Jane teaming up to challenge Vic judging who is and isn’t a supervillain. Cliff did have some more serious advice for Vic when he picked up on the romantic feelings he still harbored for Roni but continued to deny, even as his support of her earned him unfortunate consequences. Larry continues to be in search of acceptance for who he has become, and traveling to the negative spirit’s home planet seems so far only to be showing a reflection of who he is now. Only on this show could all the characters dance to “Forever Young” and it wouldn’t seem any weirder than usual.

What I’m Watching: Doom Patrol (Season Premiere)

Doom Patrol: Season 3, Episode 1 “Possibilities Patrol” (B+)

I’m so thrilled that this show, which is one of my favorites, is back, and how great to have three episodes in a row to rapidly catch up on as I’m trying to sprint through all of the television I’ve missed in the past few weeks. I’m glad that Dorothy was determined to be friends with her terrifying imaginary candle, and she also didn’t want him to hurt Jane so she wouldn’t let him out when Daddy was in control of her body and trying to hurt her. Jane getting help from all the other personalities in the Underground to overcome Daddy came just in time as she nearly ended up dead, and Cliff caught her at exactly the right moment. Giving Cliff a hug but not being willing to embrace the rest of the team tracked, and Cliff was comfortable declaring that she was officially back. Having him go hold his grandchild and remember what it was like with his own daughter as a baby was sweet, and it’s nice that his inability to physically feel provided a soothing sensation for the baby. I hope that Larry isn’t gone forever and that he’ll be back soon, and Chief, who was ready to give up and have ghost sex, isn’t going anywhere soon given Kipling’s digging up of his body. I like that Vic is still monitoring Roni and trying to keep her out of trouble, something that she’s not on board with at all. As Rita, who blobbed out ahead of the performance of the play, now has to be in charge of things at the mansion, I’m excited for her imminent meeting with a fantastic new member of the cast played by Michelle Gomez, a terrific transplant from “The Flight Attendant” who should shake things up in a big way on this show.