Wednesday, November 30, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast: Season 2, Episode 4 “A Rag, a Bone, a Hank of Hair” (B)

This show is back to a relatively glacial pace in which very little actually happens over the course of an hourlong episode. Fortunately, what did happen was relatively intriguing, but I wish things were proceeding at a more gratifying and enthralling rate. What was most striking is that Allie confronted Margot about how her plan would never have worked and she expressed how little faith she has in him. When Dina asked if he was mad and she retorted “as in angry or,” it became clear just how much she’s on her own now and not interested in his wellbeing. As if that wasn’t enough of an indication, she quite explicitly offered him up to Raban on the phone, who said he wasn’t interested and reminded her of what we already know, which is that she was the one who killed a woman for no apparent reason in the attack we saw in the season premiere. Isela appears to have her own reasons for keeping Allie and his family around even though she’s being told from all sides that he’s a liability. Charlie’s monkey-saving efforts hardly seem productive given that it’s just going to earn them more enemies. Bill being on his own without Lucrecia almost makes him more dangerous, and he’s doing whatever he needs to in order to protect himself. He may not be the most imminent threat to the livelihood of this forever-on-the-run family, but he’s close enough that he’s likely to do some serious damage soon.

What I’m Watching: The Capture

The Capture: Season 2, Episode 4 “#therealzacturner” (B+)

This season is constantly one-upping itself with its bombshell revelations, and the sight of Isaac buzzing in to come in to see him wasn’t even the most shocking part of the hour. There was always that question of whether China was being all this, and then Isaac got the surprising news that the paternity test he had never submitted any sample for came back negative. All of this was about setting him up as some sort of right-wing sympathetic figure, which isn’t the case but he’s doing well enough, according to that voice on the other end of the phone, that correction may no longer be necessary. He might have blown things earlier by railing against the mainstream media and promising that the truth was going to come out, but, again, he’s a popular figure again now. Frank having cancer meant that his presence in the hospital was purely coincidental, and his meeting with Gemma seemed more productive than his visit with a rabbi who was very suspect of his crisis-related attempt at atonement. Russian involvement makes some sense, but it’s still too early to rule out collusion from Western forces like the British and American governments. Rachel was able to warn Abigail that she was under surveillance without tipping her monitors off, but she also had a ghost of the past brought up that makes Abigail much likelier as a target: a Free Shaun Emery podcast that could make the correction architects worried that someone so close to Rachel was making too much noise.

What I’m Watching: Dead to Me

Dead to Me: Season 3, Episode 4 “Where Do We Go Now?” (B+)

It was a wonderful surprise to get to see Michelle again since I’m a big fan of Natalie Morales and I did not expect her to return given the circumstances of the second season that led to her departure. It also didn’t seem like she was going to be happy to see Judy given the context in which they were reintroduced, but Judy has a certain charm about her that just won Michelle over, not to mention the fact that she made Flo smile for the first time in a while. Agreeing to just be together was good for both of them, and Judy obviously felt comfortable enough with her to share what she hadn’t with anyone else, only to discover that Michelle had fallen asleep and not heard her admission. Jen had a different experience after being guilted by Eileen into coming back to the house after the funeral, and getting trapped in the room with all the twin dolls felt like it was going to be enough to kill her. Sharing her heavy metal routine with Ben didn’t click with him, but singing along to country music made him relaxed enough to confess that he was the one who hit her and Judy with his car. He surely didn’t think that was going to be the turn-on that Jen found it to be, but I guess there’s something about secrets and complicity that just makes her need to live in the moment. The line about not being able to pour soup into a suit was definitely the most memorable of the episode, and I enjoyed seeing Valerie Mahaffey back as Lorna, who was devastated that she had lost her commission from the woman who had just lost her son.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

What I’m Watching: Dead to Me

Dead to Me: Season 3, Episode 3 “Look at What We Have Here” (B+)

It’s fitting for a show like this to feature a medical waiting room playing a song with music about it being time to die, and Jen was ready to go off on the nurse who proudly expressed ownership over the playlist. The fact that Judy was aware of abnormal results that she should have followed up and didn’t might haunt her, but she’s not always one to look back and regret the past. Jen praying was a big deal since that’s absolutely not something she usually does, and I enjoyed seeing Christopher again for the first time in a while since he’s an enjoyable character who used to be a much bigger part of the show. Judy did get bad news but, as these people tend to do, chose not to share that with Jen and instead lie to her. Haven’t they learned that the truth always catches up with them? I guess that’s not entirely true since Nick was more interested in getting Ben to a meeting and making riddler jokes than asking questions about the car he was suspiciously covering up, and the bird has now been officially burned after Ben gleefully brought it right to Judy so that she would be able to easily destroy the evidence. The fact that Garret Dillahunt’s Agent Moranis is on the case, on the other hand, is cause for concern since that terrific actor typically only plays very determined characters who are often villainous in nature even if they’re supposed to be on the good side of the law.

Take Three: Fleishman is in Trouble

Fleishman is in Trouble: Season 1, Episode 3 “Free Pass” (B+)

Though we’re not seeing as much of her as I’d like, I do enjoy that this show is narrated by Lizzy Caplan’s Lizzy. That also gave us a fun intro scene of Seth firing off the little Hebrew he knew to impress an Israeli girl at a college party framed around Toby’s first magical meeting with Rachel. It also showed how quickly things turned when Rachel made no effort to pretend that she liked Lizzy or Seth, not even bothering to come up with a convincing specific excuse to leave the party almost right away. There were much more romantic aspects to Toby and Rachel’s relationship, like his expression of how he was already nostalgic for the moment they were in and her reaction to the warmth of Shabbat dinner with his family. But that all turned very toxic when she came home from a long day angry that he hadn’t cooked a big dinner and then cruelly mocked his food issues. Her response to having a different doctor and then his inexcusable breaking of her water without her consent was their true downfall, and answering a phone call instead of staying in their fight about how money does or doesn’t buy happiness represented her truly giving up from Toby’s perspective. Fighting within earshot of their dinner guests was a low point, and Rachel saying a personal acquaintance rather than a celebrity when asked about her free pass made things even worse. That also catapulted us back to the present and that rotten watermelon, with Josh Stamberg’s Sam Rothberg apparently occupying a bigger role on this show than otherwise indicated so far.

Pilot Review: Wednesday

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Monday, November 28, 2022

What I’m Watching: Andor (Season Finale)

Andor: Season 1, Episode 12 “Rix Road” (B+)

I had assumed that the standard operating procedure for most Disney+ series these days, whether they’re Star Wars or Marvel, is that there will be no indication of a possible second season until the show finishes its first. Apparently this one already had a second iteration ordered before it premiered, which means that I’ll have to come back and watch more of it whenever it does return. I’m not sure what it was that just didn’t intrigue me and compel me about this show, even if it finished strongly with one of its best episodes here. I spoke with friends recently who were trying to understand why I didn’t love it, but it just hasn’t energized me the way I had hoped. What I liked about this finale is that it brought all the characters together, an unusual development that we haven’t seen before, and allowed for some worthwhile interactions in the process. Meero thanking Syril for saving her was a nice moment, and Andor also got to be completely candid with Luthen, who was not expecting him to just offer himself up. The best part of the episode was Maarva’s posthumous recorded speech in which she egged on the gathered crowd to fight back against the Empire. The post-credits reveal that Andor and his fellow prisoners were building the Death Star amps up an intense season two, though, as I’ve always said, we know how it’s all going to end. I’ll be back to watch since it’s hard not to, but I hope I’ll start season two off feeling much more connected and involved.

Season grade: B
Season MVP: Denise Gough as Meero

Pilot Review: Echo 3

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Pilot Review: Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin

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.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 3 “Mou Mou” (B+)

I’m someone who watches this show and tends to recognize the actors cast in off-one parts more than to identify the history covered in each episode. I was pleased to see actor Salim Daw, who has recently appeared in Israeli, Palestinian, and American projects including “Let It Be Morning” and “Oslo,” as Mohamed Al-Fayed, who got a full spotlight in this hour. It was interesting to see how he asked to have Sydney removed only to then learn about his time spent in service to Edward, where he was taught so much that he could then impart to his new employer. He spent a long time working his way up and then seemed only to want to be able to be of service to the Queen. He expressed that sentiment when the many possessions supposedly belonging to the crown were collected from his home, and he couldn’t even get an audience with the Queen when he paid for the privilege. But, looking on from afar, she seemed content with the fact that he and Diana were a perfect match for each other, both rejected in their own ways and able to have a great time together. I wasn’t expecting to see Alex Jennings, a cast member from the first season, back again as the Duke of Windsor, bringing some continuity to a series with an ever-changing and aging ensemble. In another notable performer sighting, I enjoyed recognizing Philippine Leroy-Baulieu from “Emily in Paris” in a very different role as Madame Ritz.

Pilot Review: Welcome to Chippendales

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What I’m Watching: Avenue 5

Avenue 5: Season 2, Episode 7 “I Love Judging People” (B+)

I’m bracing myself for the fact that this is likely the penultimate episode of this show, even though I’ve been very much enjoying this season and would happily order more if I was the one in charge of such decisions. Finding out that the ship can split in two because Judd was able to get a huge tax write-off to design it that way was just the latest absurd revelation that changes everything, though as usual nothing can be simple and the way in which it was decided which passengers would be in the front and in the back was predictably flawed. You’d think that a system designed by Judd would be stupid and ineffective, but it did do a remarkable job of gauging when people were not telling the truth, like Ryan saying he didn’t hate Karen and Iris telling Judd she missed him too. I enjoyed the hacks that people were using to get points, like Spike’s comedy routine, Iris’ camera smile trick, and how Mads was ranked number one because the system couldn’t understand his confident nonsense. Matt encouraging Rav to score points with a grand gesture did result in her trying to hopelessly give the Heimlich to someone having a heart attack, and I appreciated Judd’s honesty when he asked if he would be able to solve this problem with money or aggressive legal action. Whether half the ship dies now is still a question, but of course Judd had to go and throw the entire thing off so that it’s actually the tail that will likely survive while the front of the ship with the top-rated people gets hit by the missile.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

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

The L Word: Generation Q: Season 3, Episode 1 “Last Year” (B+)

This show has had a pretty impressive pandemic-era run, finishing season one just before it started and then delivering a second and now third season within a normal period of time. It’s interesting to see Tina brought in at this point to be a major part of the plot since the show started without her, and now that Bette has everything together and seems very serene, Tina is unsurprisingly attracted to her again. It made for a great ending to the episode when Angie walked in and was furious to find her moms kissing after she had just been dumped, and no one said things can be easy for the many, many entangled relationships on this show. Even though Alice and Nat aren’t together, Nat’s existence complicates things with Gigi and Dani as they contemplate moving in together, which may just be an excuse on Gigi’s part but likely isn’t the last we’ll hear of this. Micah proposing to Maribel also yielded unexpected results, but it’s possible that what she wants is something that he’ll be open to. Finley’s return from rehab shows just how much she’s changed, and everyone was excited about that save for Dani, who in fairness was very stressed at the moment and should have been approached by Finley at a different time if she wanted any hope of success. Tess and Shane seem to be in a very healthy place, but we know that Shane isn’t great at stability and accepting happiness, so it’s entirely possible that it’s going to be derailed pretty quickly.

What I’m Watching: The White Lotus

The White Lotus: Season 2, Episode 4 “In the Sandbox” (B+)

I’m glad to see that the Italian characters are getting a good spotlight on this show, even if the locals aren’t nearly as prominent as they were in the first season. Like Armond in season one, Valentina is showing a strong romantic interest in one of her employees, and while Isabella appears to be reciprocating the affection, that may be a dangerous route for her. Mia made an important decision in her career path but was too impatient to wait for confirmation on exactly which pills she was giving to the piano player. Killing him may well help to accelerate her career, but Valentina was in no mood to talk about it at that moment. Lucia was spiraling before she found someone going through his own form of crisis, as Albie had to watch Portia flirt and then make out with Jack after suggesting that they should spend the day together. Lucia went all in on that too, kissing him so that they wouldn’t let her win. Dominic seems very stressed by how his previous indulgence is now coming back to haunt him with both his son and his father present, and he’s not the only one regretting past mistakes. I would describe the look on Harper’s face when she found the condom wrapper as murderous, and I’m honestly terrified of what she’s going to do when she finally confronts Ethan about it. Quentin is turning out to be very intriguing, and it’s great to see someone paying attention to Tanya for once, even if his motivations are truly unclear.

Take Three: Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons: Season 1, Episode 3 “Even God Does Not Forgive” (B+)

I knew going into this show that Carice van Houten, an actress I first saw in “Black Book” back in 2006 and who later earned an Emmy nomination for playing Melisandre in “Game of Thrones,” would be appearing, but we hadn’t seen her up until this point and I was starting to get curious. Fortunately, she had a substantial role in this episode, even if, for a while, Valmont was very much unaware of who his true target was and nearly got himself into trouble with other women in pursuit of the achievement of the challenge he was tasked with by Camille. He was also ignorant of Camille’s past with her and why she wanted him to get close to her, which made for a very memorable ending to the episode when Camille threw blood on her just as Valmont was finally making inroads and getting close to her. Before getting to this point, Camille was finding herself not as welcome as she previously was when Geneviève was alive, but she knows how to get people to like her and to give them the attention they need. Victoire, on the other hand, is more discerning, and her accidentally knocking over a vase during the ceremony got interpreted as much more than it actually meant, casting suspicion on her and Camille in the process. I’ve enjoyed getting to know these characters and see these actors, as well as getting to speak with the cast and executive producers, and I may return for more at a later date.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Round Two: Tulsa King

Tulsa King: Season 1, Episode 2 “Center of the Universe” (B+)

Dwight is an enigma, stuck on things like cash and unaware of certain modern inventions but eager to discuss Arthur Miller amid his objection to pronouns being used in today’s age. But he’s growing on me, and it was fun to watch his negotiating skills at work with someone who came in not ready to budge but was also getting his newfound business partner quite high as he went nuts for the apricot preserves that he didn’t consider were giving him a major buzz. I’m also pleased to see Martin Starr deliver some deadpan humor as Bodhi, asking questions about how this arrangement he never signed up for and reacting to Dwight’s casual antisemitism. After processing what happened with her therapist, Stacy came right to Dwight to identify herself as an ATF agent, and I’ll be curious to see how that relationship evolves since they’ll surely come face-to-face in professional contexts. Dwight isn’t having an easy time moving on from the ghosts of his past, and he doesn’t seem interested in dealing with the mess he caused that Chickie wants him to address before it turns into something bigger and more problematic. Getting that debit card was enough to net him his daughter’s home phone number, but her quick unhappy greeting indicates that she has no interest whatsoever in starting up a new relationship with him. That doesn’t mean he’s going to stop, but it should at least get him to refocus on building up his industry in his new place of residence.

What I’m Watching: The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast: Season 2, Episode 3 “Talk About the Weather” (B)

It didn’t seem like the family could just wander on the water forever without running into anyone, but of course their newfound situation isn’t necessarily any better. Allie has managed to make a lot of friends throughout his extralegal activities, and this community that welcomed them did come with certain conditions. Allie was able to get the electricity working so that the way they lived could change, but just after that celebratory moment, Isela told them that she had sold the trawler. Margot was ready to move right away so that they could leave, but Allie took another route, one that suggests he’s in this for the long game and not necessarily thinking clearly. Getting Margot a typewriter as a gift indicated that maybe he thinks this is the right life for them, but things aren’t going to stay calm for long with William hot in pursuit. Isela is aware that he’s looking and that taking in Allie and his family was going to be a risk, but she may also be ready to use him as a bargaining chip to remain free and unbothered. I have a feeling that Allie will get ahead of all this and find a way to go back on the run just before he arrives, but I’m sure there will also be collateral damage that he can’t predict and entirely prevent. At least things are moving to a degree and there is some additional intrigue with new characters who make the drama a bit more engaging.

Pilot Review: Leopard Skin

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Capture

The Capture: Season 2, Episode 3 “Charlie Foxtrot” (B+)

I had a feeling that Yan wasn’t actually in the car at the airport terminal anymore, and I was too focused on the fact that what everyone was seeing had been corrected. The fact that they’re spoofing what they’re saying too should have been on my radar, and it was haunting when Rachel kept radioing in “officers down” only to hear a voice telling her “all clear” that she soon realizes was her own. That worked against Chloe also as she left the airport with Yan in front of her while Gemma rushed to the terminal thinking they were still there. Rachel is right to suspect that it’s not Yan behind this since his own company won’t be well-regarded, and just as she’s trying to expose the British government’s complicity, it feels just as likely that the Americans would be involved too. Finding her niece inside her apartment provided some temporary relief ahead of discovering that the evidence she hid inside a photograph frame had been taken, but she’s not slowing down her pursuit of true justice anytime soon. Isaac captured an admission from the home secretary when he got sacked, and Rachel not only got Danny acknowledging that Hannah was killed but also got images of the two men who killed Patrick even after they took his phone and deleted the video he recorded just before his death. Khadija is very used to playing to the camera and knows exactly how to feign forced cooperation, and these three may well be able to take down the all-powerful enemy they’re up against, provided their eventual exposé doesn’t get immediately corrected.

What I’m Watching: Dead to Me

Dead to Me: Season 3, Episode 2 “We Need to Talk” (B+)

It’s good to know that one of this season’s biggest secrets is already out in the open, which is that Judy may have cancer. It’s telling that Judy’s first and second reaction involved expressing gratitude and relief that Jen was okay, and though she puts on a gruffer front, hopefully Jen would have responded in the same way if the situation were reversed. Judy is taking plenty of abuse from Charlie when Jen confirmed that Judy was having an affair with Ted, though she did a remarkably good job of spinning it as a mistake that wasn’t so terrible since she had no idea he had a family. The sentiment she expressed was true even if the surrounding context was entirely fictionalized. I love the new dynamic that Jen and Perez have, with Perez pretending to like tea and asking if Jen was threatening her, which she replied to by asking if it was working. Lorna giving Charlie a car for his birthday is just the latest tactic she’s using to undermine Jen, and Charlie is armed with a bit too much information, only some of which is true, to be trusted not to screw everything up. Henry is without doubt the nicest person on this entire show, enduring a day of torture from his friend and then coming home to give Ben a hug after expressing his condolences on the loss of his brother. But he did give that incriminating bird to Ben, which would have been bad enough had he not left it at the bar for Nick to find, which is definitely not a great development.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

What I’m Watching: Dead to Me (Season Premiere)

Dead to Me: Season 1, Episode 3 “We’ve Been Here Before” (B+)

I’m glad to have this show back, even if this is the final season for a series that has managed to stay consistently interesting and find ways to reinvent itself. I didn’t realize that it had been two and a half years since this show finished its second season, and I was impressed with myself that I remembered Ben crashing his car into Jen and Judy and then driving away. That’s more than Ben remembers, and it’s intriguing to see him come by Jen’s home and find Charlie alone, and now Charlie is the only one who knows he was driving drunk and may keep that secret out of spite since he’s aware that Jen and Judy aren’t telling him something. I’m amused by the position Perez is now in, furious at Jen for having put her in an impossible situation where she has to pretend that the witness didn’t see her with a blonde woman since it would directly implicate her in the cover-up of Steve’s actual cause of death. Ben nearly confessed to hitting them when he ran into Judy in the hospital, but now she’s going to be the one tiptoeing around him so that she doesn’t give her guilt away. But the biggest development came after a perpetually but understandably cranky Jen got terrible news in the form of a potential cancer diagnosis, only to learn that it was actually meant for Judy. Honesty is the best policy, but that’s never the way this show works, and it will be very worthwhile and likely stressful to see Jen as the one keeping a secret from Judy for a change.

Round Two: Fleishman Is In Trouble

Fleishman Is In Trouble: Season 1, Episode 2 “Welcome to Paniquil” (B+)

The second installment of this show was just as inviting and worthwhile as the first, once again only showing Rachel in the past without any indication of where she is now aside from that bombshell development in the supermarket at the end of the episode. Their marriage really was toxic, and Toby made a compelling argument that he would be considered wealthy and successful in any other city, or even any other area of the same city. Clarifying to his angry daughter that he was a doctor and not a homeless person only got him attitude about what he could and couldn’t say, and he’s getting no credit at all from her for all he has to do in order to cover for her other absent parent. His son, on the other hand, is causing a different sort of trouble, and his frustration with him looking at pornography on his computer all day has now resulted in Toby hastily firing the only dependable childcare partner he currently has. I like dialogue like “Sunsets are problematic, they’re only for the wealthy,” which feels just right for Jesse Eisenberg to say and also like they come from a Woody Allen movie. I’m pleased to see Michael Gaston from “Jericho” and “The Man in the High Castle” as Toby’s boss, and I imagine we’ll see more of him as this show charts two parallel courses, the one that led to this moment and what happens after as Toby gets closer to figuring out what’s actually going on with his missing ex-wife.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Pilot Review: Fleishman is in Trouble

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 3, Episode 8 “Duck Hunting” (B-)

This episode felt like it really changed the show into a traditional police-oriented murder mystery, with the repeated interrogation scenes with nearly everyone in the camp lying completely about what they’ve done recently and why they’re really there. It’s taken me a while to appreciate Donno but I do see some comic relief value in him this season, and that’s especially surprising to me since I had the chance to interview a much thinner Ryan O’Nan twelve years ago about his first feature film role in “The Dry Land,” which is so different from this show. But it’s clear in this case that, though Donno would likely have killed if the circumstances required it, he and Tonya aren’t to blame. Paige also isn’t guilty, and she managed to get away thanks to Walter sacrificing himself for her, likely much more into her than she was into him. His ability to seem normal and interact with people in an unsuspicious way doesn’t exactly track with him living in the woods all by himself for years, but this show has always had that problem, particularly with Ronald, who somehow seduced everyone into thinking he was capable of functioning before reverting to uncontrollable desires only when no one was looking. Beau and Carla did enjoy a warm reunion, and Avery’s story doesn’t exactly seem airtight. Fortunately, even though Walter may be one culprit they’re looking for here, many people at the campsite are guilty of something and may eventually be caught by the slow-moving cops who never seem to be on the right track until a lot of people have died.

Monday, November 21, 2022

What I’m Watching: Home Economics

Home Economics: Season 3, Episode 8 “Wheel of Vegan Brie, $24” (B)

It wasn’t all that believable that Harmony would know every answer to every trivia question ever, though it did manage to trigger every Hayworth sibling in exactly the right way. Everyone was vying for Harmony’s affection, and Marina and Denise, united as they may be, took the brunt of her lashing out when she pointed out that they drank way too much wine and outing them for making fun of the siblings. What she seemed to care most about - and ultimately still affirmed - was the relationship with her newfound parents, including Muriel, who was quite accepting of her new stepdaughter, something that surprised her biological children since they were so concerned it was going to be a problematic encounter. Having them jump to show off their talents was hardly the most mature move, but it’s also not the most embarrassing thing any of them have done. Seeing all of the adults on this show pivot into defensive mode is always fun, even if it can also get quite awkward sometimes since they never realize when they’ve gone too far. But the real treat in this episode was that ending montage of Gretchen’s impressions, especially given how truly terrible her standup featured earlier was. Everyone laughed at how she mocked Tom, but it was moving on to other members of the family, like Sarah, who weren’t as used to being made fun of and weren’t happy to see that others were amused. The kids on this show should really be featured more; they’re very talented.

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 8 “Egg Drop” (B+)

Janine does always go all in on just about everything, and Gregory correctly diagnosed her as having toxic positivity. He really was rooting for her in this case after she inserted herself into the science experiment that Mr. Morton was trying to do with his eighth graders, and the fact that Melissa cheated by hardboiling eggs so that her class wouldn’t be dismayed by all their eggs breaking didn’t help since Janine’s repeated efforts ended in miserable and chaotic failure. Having her kids shout “science!” when all the balloons violently popped and destroyed the eggs was entertaining if not all that accurate. I do love watching Gregory nearly go insane when people around him say absurd things, like Jacob insisting that science equals history and match, and it was also entertaining to hear him react to having his voice mocked. Barbara being upset about by Krystal’s wardrobe was fun to watch because she wasn’t necessarily overreacting but because she thought she knew how to fix it. Ava’s take was enlightening since she, unsurprisingly, was almost more impressed by Krystal’s business savvy than irritated by her disruptive clothing. Barbara listing her favorite B words was an amusing start, and it was nice to see her ultimately apologize and express some positive sentiments towards Krystal. Jacob did seem crazy for repeatedly insisting that Mr. Morton disliked him and was constantly feigning being nice to him, and that made the episode-ending disclosure from Mr. Morton that he did actually hate Jacob all the more hilarious.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Pilot Review: The Santa Clauses

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: Andor

Andor: Season 1, Episode 11 “Daughter of Ferrix” (B+)

It’s interesting to see that the penultimate episode of this season barely featured its title character. He did make contact back with his old life now that he was able to escape his imprisonment, but all that did was to tell him that his mother had died. The manner of relaying the message was far from smooth, but it’s almost certain that Syril will do whatever he can to try to ensnare Andor, hoping that he’ll take the bait and show up to pay tribute to his late mother. Bix can be tortured as much as her captors want, but she doesn’t have the pertinent information that would really put Andor in danger since no one has heard from him aside from that one contact since the start of his many shifts. Mon confided in Vel about what she’s been doing and how she’s now very nervous about getting caught, hoping there might be some way out but aware of the tremendously high stakes. Saw was all ready to go in and help Luthen but he was not at all on board with his plan to sacrifice Kreegyr so that the Empire would be distracted and vulnerable to attack. Though he wasn’t actually under serious suspicion, Luthen chose to respond to an Empire survey of his ship with hostility and a surprising show of force. That’s going to put him on their radar, and it also shows that he’s ready to fight back, even if it’s going to be a losing battle.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 2 “The System” (B+)

I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Pryce’s for a while, and it was great to see him earn his first Oscar nomination for “The Two Popes.” He was absolutely Emmy-worthy in his role as the High Sparrow, and I often think back to one of his earliest film roles, in 1985’s “Brazil.” He does a great job of taking over from Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies in portraying Prince Philip, who was intent on having his interview questions and answers framed the right way as he talked about his affinity for horse racing. I appreciated that this episode was focused so heavily on his relationship with Penelope, played by Natascha McElhone, an actress I didn’t even realize was British for a while because of the indiscernible American accent she often did in projects like “The Truman Show” and “Californication.” There was a warmth to their relationship that then transitioned powerfully into Philip summoning Diana and reminding her that she could break as many rules as she wanted provided she was loyal in public. Chronicling her conversations with Andrew was done in a timeless way, and while it seemed like the disaster to impact it all would be James getting hit by a car while biking, Andrew having his place ransacked felt more chilling. It’s fun recognizing actors on this show in smaller roles, like Oliver Chris, a dependable member of the cast of “Trying,” who played Andrew in this hour. Escalating into all-out war certainly doesn’t sound like a good thing, but we know that’s what’s coming.

What I’m Watching: Avenue 5

Avenue 5: Season 2, Episode 6 “Intoxicating Clarity” (B+)

This show has always been over the top but this episode took it to an entirely new level, and given that a third season feels unlikely, I’m starting to imagine that this show might end with Avenue 5 getting destroyed. That does seem to be a distinct possibility given that it just happened to the ship on the show-within-a-show, though Ryan does appear to have quite a bit of power considering how one of the show’s cast members happened to die just after Ryan expressed his opinion about her. The presence of a meteor with lithium does change things, but of course the missile can’t be stopped now that it’s already been launched. Iris represents the best course of defense given that she assembled a secret police even though Ryan told her not to, and she’s managed to keep order in some way even as it all descends into absolute chaos. Matt’s crossbow rebellion didn’t last too long, and I enjoyed the ridiculousness of him ending up in the sickbay after being injured in cuddle club. Billie forgetting that she was only supposed to be insulting Ryan to pretend that she wasn’t on his side was entertaining, as was Ryan’s reaction to that, but Judd wins the award for the best lines of the episode. Suggesting the invention of a compass that tells you where you are was among his less intelligent ideas, and his determination to leave but not to stand was a humorous setup that made absolutely no sense yet he wanted to be true to his word.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Pilot Review: Rogue Heroes

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: The White Lotus

The White Lotus: Season 2, Episode 3 “Bull Elephants” (B+)

What’s been interesting about this season is that there aren’t clearly good and clearly bad people, while the first season suggested a stronger dividing line between pure and malicious intentions. Greg managed to gaslight Tanya just a little more before leaving, and now that he’s gone, she’s turned her attention on psychics and Portia, who isn’t having any of it since she didn’t even get to have her own reading, while a mystery man played by Tom Hollander keeps staring at her. Albie is nice and really does mean so well, but Portia seems more interested in the jacked guy in the pool and pushing him not to be as nice as he is. He’s not willing to forgive his father, who dismissed his prostitute friends but is still feeling the pull of being around attractive women, while Bert is very close to blowing it all for Dominic, who is having enough trouble getting Albie not to lump him and his “old-fashioned” father in together. Harper’s efforts to put on a show are working well, and she’s doing a good job of bonding with Daphne, whose surprise nighttime getaway may have actually allowed Cameron the time he needed to corrupt an otherwise devoted Ethan. Finding out that everyone wealthy apparently cheats shouldn’t have been an eye-opener for Ethan but instead the perfect opportunity to prove that he’s nothing like that. While he turned down Lucia’s advances, he otherwise failed the test. Ending the episode on Harper was an interesting choice, one that signals the consequences Ethan will be sure to face which will forever transform their relationship.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Round Two: Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous Liaisons: Season 1, Episode 2 “Conquer or Die” (B)

I must admit that I’m not at all familiar with the world of this show’s source material. I saw “Cruel Intentions” when I was young and probably didn’t understand most of it, at least beyond what was presented in a straightforward way and not meant to update what was originally conceived of and presented centuries ago. I know there have been many other adaptations in the time since, and while I’ve likely seen some, I’ve forgotten all about them and the plot contained within them. I was surprised, therefore, that a major star like Lesley Manville, who also stars in another series that premiered last month in the United States, “Magpie Murders,” would have been killed off so quickly. But her influence - and her newfound absence - is key to Camille’s development as a character, since she had a leg up in the world thanks to her new friend and then had to start from scratch with someone who took her for an opportunist taking advantage of someone’s kindness. She has multiple men fighting over her and doesn’t necessarily want any of them, and fortunately she’s not the only one with an ax to grind with the smooth-talking Valmont. I particularly enjoyed how Florence made it clear to Valmont that she wanted him far away from her, encouraging him to strip naked in the carriage and then throwing his clothes out the door before threatening his life. That certainly sends an emphatic message, even if Valmont isn’t likely to be entirely put off by someone who thinks they have power over him.

Pilot Review: Tulsa King

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Pilot Review: The English

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Pilot Review: Mammals

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, November 15, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Mosquito Coast

The Mosquito Coast: Season 2, Episode 2 “Least Concern Species” (B)

This show is back to its old ways in a sense, which is that it’s just following its characters as they’re struggling to stay alive despite multiple threats emerging. I suppose it’s impressive that an entire hour of television can be made from so little, but I’d also appreciate the presence of other characters and more substantial developments than creating a makeshift solution from boat supplies and stealing medicine from an abandoned oil rig. Dina doesn’t seem willing to acknowledge that the man they’re talking about died, while Margot is sure, and she had to spring into action with the brain that she half-inherited from her father to figure out how to repair the boat while her father was feverish and unable to help. He did manage to barely evade that crocodile only to then nearly succumb to the parasite, and fortunately Charlie and Margot had success getting the medicine they needed to save him. Margot expressing that she believes it’s sometimes an obligation to use violence explains why she’s in this position, while Charlie has learned his own survival skills like the ability to test a high voltage fence to ensure that it’s not actually electrified. Dina reflecting on that story that made her terrified as a kid is emblematic of the way that Allie was a parent, and that helped shape her into someone who’s able to subsist without anyone else around and barely any resources to tap. Now, what’s going to happen when they run into other people soon?

What I’m Watching: Atlanta (Series Finale)

Atlanta: Season 4, Episode 10 “It Was All a Dream”

This isn’t the kind of show that was going to end in a way that actually wrapped up any of its storylines, and therefore ending on an uncertain note that felt a lot like “Inception” was oddly appropriate. It’s hardly surprising that Darius would be into sensory deprivation since he’s always colored outside the lines. He did get a bit too into it in this case, and his Judge Judy test of his reality wasn’t as reliable as he had hoped. It was jarring to see him come out of the tank twice within a few seconds, and he was intent on telling others that they either were in that imagined mode or not, which didn’t seem to be the case. Running into his ex was quite the wild experience, and then he burst right into that Black-owned sushi spot to save his friends from some weird fate in the fancy pink car he stole from the valet. Van encouraging Earn and Alfred to try the restaurant even though she wasn’t even into it and they were constantly thinking about the Popeye’s across the street was a peculiar endeavor to dominate this show’s final outing, but it also felt totally on-brand, especially as both Van and Alfred tried to get away from the horrific experience while Earn continued to try to find a bright side. This show hasn’t always been consistent, but when it has, it’s been hard to forget. I’ll be eager to see what all these people do next, particularly Donald Glover’s subsequent projects behind the camera.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: B
Season MVP: Zazie Beetz as Van
Season grade: B+
Series MVP: Zazie Beetz
Best Season: Season 1
Best Episode: “Cancer Attack

Monday, November 14, 2022

What I’m Watching: Ghosts

Ghosts: Season 2, Episode 7 “Dumb Deaths” (B+)

It is very much true that many of the deaths that these ghosts experienced were dumb, but Sam is far too kindhearted to want to take advantage of any of that since she has to hear how hurt they are about being represented in that way. Flower trying to hug the bear was rather moronic, and it wasn’t too surprising that she eventually came around to the idea of having her story told since she wasn’t nearly as embarrassed about it as Pete was. Being distracted by an argument with his wife about donuts and donut holes was an absurd reason for him to pass out the bows and arrows before doing the safety demonstration, but at least his teaching methods stuck with Jennifer so that she knew exactly what to do when Jay got shot after the crew member decided to fire off an arrow after he walked through Flower. I was pleased to recognize Rose Abdoo, who recently had a different role as an eccentric TV creative on “Reboot,” as the producer and to see how much Hetty admired her because she just took charge and knew what she wanted. Sam playing Flower in the episode that eventually aired was a fun twist, and I always enjoy her trying to pat herself on the back, like with her drama club involvement and how she just had to step in to play the part. Thor was smart not to weigh in on Nigel and Isaac’s bickering about what happened during the Revolutionary War, and though they’re still going to quibble, Sam’s knowledge from watching “Love Actually” about the special relationship between America and Britain was helpful in deescalating that tension.

Take Three: The Calling

The Calling: Season 1, Episode 3 “The Horror” (B)

This show, and the primary case especially, continues to offer new twists. Dania was upset with Zack that he knew things about Vincent that he hadn’t shared with Avi, but then by the end of the episode, it turned out that Dania was the one who had had a much more intimate relationship with Vincent, something that Zack knew about all along because Vincent had told him. There’s a lot more to that couple and their involvement with Vincent, and they’re hiding just as much from each other as they are from the police. Zack’s constant repeating of “I do not like where you and I are at” is ominous and suggestive of his likelihood to do something bad to try to either right things or make an escape from it all. Earl is still hellbent on pinning all of this on John, and his discovery that John knew Vincent didn’t make him feel any better about his prime suspect. I appreciate the specificity of the interactions that Avi and Janine continue to have, like with Avi claiming he needed a minyan of ten men to pray and Janine pointing out that he had already stopped twice to pray on the drive. She also knew that there must be a more liberal shul - not a temple, as he corrected - where she could come with him, and that the Torah tells you to worship with the stranger thirty-six times, meaning that he had to be open with her. This has been an interesting introduction to this show and I very much enjoyed speaking with both Jeff Wilbusch and Michael Mosley, and I may continue watching the rest of the season at a later date.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Round Two: The Calling

The Calling: Season 1, Episode 2 “The Knowing” (B)

I often note how the actors that I recognize in certain projects tend to be the ones with more substantial stories, and in the case of crime dramas, possibly the perpetrators. The two performers I know best from the supporting cast are Steven Pasquale and Noel Fisher, and both of them are acting in a very suspicious manner. I first got to know Pasquale in a dim-witted and relatively harmless role on “Rescue Me,” but this performance reminds me a lot more of what he was doing in the Emmy-nominated TV movie “American Son,” albeit with a lot more toxicity and anger. Filing a complaint because Avi held his wife’s hand shows that he’s prone to jealousy, and that it’s possible that he would have acted in a manipulative manner that could have caused emotional if not physical harm to the missing Vincent. Fisher, on the other hand, was first on “The Riches” and then on “Shameless” as relatively ill-behaved and poorly-intentioned individuals, and Zack is up to some questionable things that he’s going to have some trouble explaining. I’m so thrilled to see Annabelle Dexter-Jones, a very underrated part of the “Succession” cast, playing Naomi Pierce, as Dania, one of the more compelling characters on this show. Some of the dialogue is a bit over-the-top, like “I can see that you’ve swallowed your vomit. Are you nervous, or is this just something you do?” but overall the concept is interesting. Avi walking into synagogue briefly and Janine pointing out that she’s confirmed whether or not he keeps kosher remain the most intriguing aspect of the character and the show in general.

Pilot Review: The Calling

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, November 12, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Capture

The Capture: Season 2, Episode 2 “Made in China” (B+)

This show continues to one-up itself, and I don’t think I’ll soon get that scene with Rachel shifting back and forth from what she was watching being said right in front of her and what was being streamed on TV out of my head for a while. Reading Isaac in was a logical step (see the movie “Official Secrets” for a great explanation on why that all matters), and it’s natural that he just wanted to fix it all, especially since he had no good reason for completely changing his position other than political pressure. You’d think they could change the point of origin for the stream so that China wouldn’t be exposed, but that may have been done deliberately to lure Isaac back to be present so he couldn’t suggest he wasn’t there this time. I see now why Indira Varma was cast for this role, and I’m excited at the potential of Khadija working with Isaac and Rachel to covertly bring down correction all while she’s supposed to be running this operation. I’m also intrigued by Chloe, even if her tagging along to meet with Chinese representatives when she didn’t know any Mandarin wasn’t actually helpful. Gemma may be treating Rachel with a bit more respect but Frank had no patience for her, and his presence in the hospital was ominous. I had thought Patrick was dead when he got shot, but it looks like there’s still a possibility he might survive since his presence in the hospital makes him too high-profile and difficult to just digitally erase.

What I’m Watching: Andor

Andor: Season 1, Episode 10 “One Way Out” (B+)

I see people raving about this episode and how incredible it was, and while I did find it to be pretty good, I still don’t understand the wondrous acclaim that this show is receiving. Andor ending up in this prison sort of came out of nowhere, and now he was able to engineer a massive escape which involved him telling everyone the truth and Kino yelling definitively that no one was getting out. Having the floor electrified nearly made their escape impossible, but then they were able to do it. Seeing and hearing the skinny guy behind the announcements was eye-opening, and the most memorable part of the whole thing was them all jumping into the water before Kino realized that he couldn’t swim and therefore likely wouldn’t be able to survive if he jumped. Andor got pushed so he didn’t have time to offer to save him, and I wonder whether we’ll even learn Kino’s fate when we next see Andor. Mon drew a hard line in the sand during her meeting where the banker suggested a meeting of his son and her daughter, though he seemed to think that she was only lying about not considering his proposal. Luthen’s elevator meeting with Lonni revealed just how committed to winning the war Luthen is, ready to sacrifice a group of rebels so that Lonni’s cover remains intact even though the mole desperately wants out of this dangerous life. With just two episodes left, I’m wondering whether this show will wrap up its storylines or if a second season is in the cards.

Friday, November 11, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale (Season Finale)

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 5, Episode 10 “Safe” (B+)

This was a strong finale, one that upsets all the balances of power that we were seeing formed before this. Joseph came out ahead, deciding that protecting June and appeasing Nick weren’t top priorities, and instead seemingly catering to his new wife’s needs by having Janine arrested following her understandable outburst when Naomi expressed her happiness that her friend Janine was back in the house with her. That’s major growth on Janine’s part which came as a part of the distress she felt after hearing that June had been hurt, and Lydia is realizing that, like Serena, she has no power in a society for whose creation she long clamored. June being targeted so directly and having her arm run over in a violent way was startling because it happened outside of Gilead, and the bigger consequence was that Luke ended up killing the driver. The train loading scene reminded me of back in season one with Emily being unable to fly to Canada but still felt somewhat gentler, and Luke staying behind to face the consequences for what he did so that June could be free felt like an important swap that will motivate her to get back to him. All the action helped the final moment come as a surprise, with June so delighted to hear another baby crying only to then see that it was Serena, and that casual diaper question was an unexpectedly lighthearted note on which to end the season. This show continues to be very good, and I’m eagerly anticipating a very intense final season.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Yvonne Strahovski as Serena

What I’m Watching: The Crown (Season Premiere)

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 1 “Queen Victoria Syndrome” (B+)

It’s hard to process this episode’s plot since there are so many new cast members to comment on, but I will say that it’s interesting to see events that I feel like I know more about from other Diana-centric projects or even just recent history since I was actually alive (if only three years old) when this show is currently set. Having repairs to the royal yacht as the center of the drama was an effective and simple anchor, reminiscent of POTUS’ bike accident in the pilot of “The West Wing.” I do hope that Claire Foy doesn’t win another guest acting Emmy for a seconds-long nostalgic appearance, even if seeing her was meant to show just how different she now is as played by the wonderful Imelda Staunton, an Oscar nominee for her terrific turn in “Vera Drake.” I’m equally excited by the rest of the cast, with Dominic West as Prince Charles, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret. I was pleased to recognize Jonny Lee Miller in a much different role than the ones he’s played on “Elementary” and “Dexter” as Prime Minister John Major, and it’s always good to see Natasha McElhone, who here is playing Penelope Knatchbull. The best casting decision is Elizabeth Debicki, a breakout star from “Widows” who didn’t get the attention she deserved and then appeared in “Tenet.” Hopefully this role will make it so that she has many fantastic follow-ups in her career. I’ll be reviewing episodes of this show’s fifth season on a weekly basis, and I look forward to savoring this new ensemble.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

What I’m Watching: Avenue 5

Avenue 5: Season 2, Episode 5 “Let’s Play with Matches” (B+)

I feel like this show has reached a new level of absurdity, but it’s so fun to watch that I’m all for it. Ryan quickly surrendered himself rather than have Karen used as a battering ram, and Isaac was a reasonable person to take charge, even if he leaned a bit too much on the number of “i”s in citizen. The establishment of different committees, that, for instance, wouldn’t let Billie be part of the one on engineering, was a troublesome development, and I thought Iris was going to take charge as a “benign dictator,” a job that warped almost immediately into the “supreme leader.” The list of candidates was hilarious, and I like that Nathan pulled ahead thanks mostly to his legitimately good ideas and his cannibal-related humor. Propping up first Billie and then Frank didn’t work, and somehow Ryan got himself reelected right away since they dressed him up to look like TV Ryan, who the living, breathing captain had first suggested would be the most ideal candidate. Rav failing to achieve basic conversation, Billie managing to threaten to kill everyone just as soon as she opened her mouth, and Matt running on a platform of radical honesty that included showing off his homemade crossbow were highlights of the frenzy. The unholy Bezos-Zuckerberg-Musk spawn alliance on Earth is probably right to launch a missile to destroy the ship, but something tells me it will merely knock it back on course and effect a speedier return to the passengers’ dying home planet.

What I’m Watching: The White Lotus

The White Lotus: Season 2, Episode 2 “Italian Dream” (B+)

It’s taking a bit of time to acclimate to this new cast and new location, but I am seeing the appeal and enjoying it as I begin to understand who these people are. After seeing Tanya clutch on to an annoyed Greg as he drove them on a Vespa, it was good to see an unexpected twist in their relationship, revealing that he’s been lying the entire time and actually coming home to another person. Now that she’s overheard, I’m hoping that she’ll team up with someone else to exact revenge on him, which should be a delight to watch. Lucia and Mia are enjoying the privileges and luxuries they’ve been afforded at the hotel thanks to an all-too-amenable Dominic, but he’s getting such condescending pressure from his father to save his marriage that this all can’t end well. I like the relationship that’s developing between Portia and Albie, both of whom are dealing with wild personalities who are dominating the time they’re spending in Italy. It’s hard not to be most enticed by Harper thanks to Aubrey Plaza’s terrific performance, and I especially enjoyed how she reacted to walking in on Ethan and then having her time-of-day sex preferences broadcasted to people who don’t like her and who she doesn’t like just as much. I don’t think I properly appreciated Valentina in the first episode, as her exchange with Dominic about how Lucia and Mia would be sleeping with his father was certainly one of the highlights of this installment, and I’m sure her unapologetic sarcasm will be back in successive episodes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Pilot Review: Dangerous Liaisons

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: Mood

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, November 8, 2022

Pilot Review: Lopez vs. Lopez

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: The Mosquito Coast (Season Premiere)

The Mosquito Coast: Season 2, Episode 1 “The Damage Done” (B)

I’m still genuinely surprised that this show got renewed for a second season, and even more startled that this episode finally addressed what happened to make Allie such a wanted man. The biggest revelation was that it was Margot who was actually responsible for killing an innocent person when that woman went back into the lab with her headphones in. That explains why it is that the two of them went on the run together, even if it’s Allie who appeared to be the primary target. This episode found him interacting with a lot more people than usual, displaying his typical lack of desire to be helpful, but he was also all about protecting Margot. It’s understandable that Allie didn’t want his software to be used for expressly the opposite purpose that he had developed it, and it didn’t take him much effort to lock those who wanted to abuse it out of it completely. Margot’s partner was more than happy to leave her behind when she tried to go back, and what could have been a tremendous destruction of property turned into something that does show why they need to have consequences for their actions which they’re not interested in facing. Dina was unimpressed with the story and why her mother had just dropped everything and gone with him, and it seems like they’re not going to get as much information as audiences did. While this episode was informative and answered some long-brewing questions, it didn’t give any indication of what comes next on this ever-meandering show.

Monday, November 7, 2022

What I'm Watching: Atlanta (Penultimate Episode)

Atlanta: Season 4, Episode 9 “Andrew Wyeth. Alfred's World.” (B)

I guess there’s something to be said about simplicity, which is what this second-to-last episode offered, just following Alfred on his “safe farm” as he fought nature and almost lost. I was amused to recognize the episode’s featured guest star, Steve Coulter, from the other very different role he’s had this season on “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” portraying Holden Holliway, Jen’s soulless new boss. Alfred didn’t seem sure what to think of him when he saw the “We don’t call the police” sign and then expressed that he knew Alfred was just going to buy what he needed from Amazon rather than waiting for him to order it, but ultimately he had some good advice that Alfred seemed determined not to follow. He didn’t want to talk about whether the feces were wet or not and laughed off the idea that he was going to have to kill the feral hogs before they killed him. Yet that’s precisely what happened, though Alfred may have been in more danger from the tractor that he struggled to fix and then finally did just long enough for it to nearly roll over on him and kill him. Escaping that fate and then having to contend with the hog lunging at him gave him exactly the adrenaline rush he needed to pretty much beat it to death. Earn’s phone call made things seem less intense, and ending with him laughing as they talked made it all feel a lot more serene and relaxed. My favorite line was Earn’s response to Alfred suggesting that Captain Phillips couldn’t get sunburnt when he very clearly meant the Somali pirate played by Barkhad Abdi and not Tom Hanks.

What I'm Watching: Ghosts

Ghosts: Season 2, Episode 6 “The Baby Bjorn” (B+)

Not that this show is meant to be taken literally, given that it’s about ghosts being stuck for centuries in the house where they died, but it does feel a bit convenient that all these people have access to family members nearby who have also died in pursuit of a reunion. Bjorn being two houses away and having to shout from a window - thanks Jay! - is a creative solution that enables them to bond but never to physically meet, and now that Bjorn is aware of it, Sam and Jay don’t need to go back over to the swingers’ home in order to facilitate conversation. Jay is right that he should have this power since it would be so helpful at nearly every turn, like when Henry’s dead mother commented on how much of a disappointment her son has been. It’s good that Isaac and Flower were able to talk Thor out of chewing out his son out upon meeting him for the first time, and I like that his conclusion is that he wasn’t able to teach him hate, something he can now do to show him that marrying a Dane was a horrific choice. Hetty convincing Trevor that friendship was more important than wealth was a humorous storyline, especially since she clarified that she was urging him to consider it for himself, but that she had already made the decision that, for her, wealth was definitely much more worthwhile. Alberta’s obsession with Jason Mamoa is an amusing subplot made all the funnier by her character having died long before Mamoa and movies were a thing.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Capture (Season Premiere)

The Capture: Season 2, Episode 1 “Invisible Men” (B+)

I’m absolutely thrilled this show is back, and it’s the definitive early pandemic show that I remember watching and trying to recommend to as many people as possible, most of whom didn’t have Peacock. Given that season one was already premiering almost a year after the show’s UK debut, a second season didn’t seem guaranteed given production shutdowns and all that. But fortunately, just a few short months after its overseas debut on BBC One, season two is here. Like with season one, the whole thing is available all at once but I’ll definitely be spreading it out. That opening with the lights being triggered by an evidently present body and the lights going on and off as no one walked by was chilling, but the best surprise of all was saved for the very end, when Isaac Turner saw a new way of using the technology as he watched someone who looked and sounded just like him endorsing the very company he had no intention of endorsing on live television. I’m excited by the addition of Emmy nominee Paapa Essiedu from “I May Destroy You” as Turner, along with Rob Yang from “Succession” as Yan, whose motives may not be as nefarious as he thought but definitely are not good. The new DC, Chloe, made an immediate impression, especially when Patrick mistook her for the Cantonese interpreter. But now he’s been shot, not dead yet but in critical condition, pulling Rachel back in to all this in a big way. I’m not sure how involved she’ll be as just as an interviewer speaking to someone over video, but I did recognize Indira Varma from “Human Target” and “Game of Thrones,” and I imagine she’ll have a bigger role in this surely engaging season.

Pilot Review: Blockbuster

I had the chance to review the new Netflix sitcom “Blockbuster” for - head over there to read my take!