Sunday, April 23, 2023

What I’m Watching: Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet: Season 1, Episode 9 “Not Scattered Yet” (B)

It’s interesting to see how different people relate to the idea of being able to communicate with the dead, and the value they place on whether it’s real or just simply a source of comfort. Nell was ready to expose Margaret Cho’s psychic she knew wasn’t actually speaking with Monty in the room, but then she was able to understand that there is something to believing that a loved one can hear your message or vice versa that can be truly powerful, regardless of whether it’s true or not. It was strange to see Nell lying down on that couch where people apparently come to fart while she was writing a eulogy for a therapist since I saw Gina Rodriguez in an altogether more serious role in “Parachute” at SXSW last month, playing a therapist working with a patient who had a severe eating disorder. Nell tried her best to have Monty’s wishes respected, only to discover along with him that being somewhere that would have meaning to Cricket was ultimately much more important. Edward trying to commune with his childhood pet and driving the psychic crazy was a fun coda. Sam and Lexi were way too enthusiastic about helping Dennis pick out the right egg donor, finding someone who was essentially just him in female form, and it was sweet that Ben was more than happy to accept Dennis as he was and make the decision together. While the antics of the situation were heightened, I do think that sentiment is pretty true to life.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

What I’m Watching: Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet: Season 1, Episode 8 “Not Friends Yet” (B+)

Though the way she went about it wasn’t perfect, it’s good to see Nell advocate for her friend Edward’s wellbeing. She even managed to earn the distinction of being more than just his roommate, something that still doesn’t come with the freedom to let her toes hang out while they’re watching TV. He really did seem like a different person around Charlotte, who appeared to be going out of her way not to clean up messes and to force Edward to hide pieces of himself. He was absolutely superb at trivia and came right out of his shell, leading to the humorous moment in which Charlotte, upon learning that he had been bottling himself up to seem “normal,” confessed how much she hated the environment and was relieved to get that off her chest. They don’t seem like a great match, and hopefully Nell pushing Edward to speak up for himself will encourage him to give dating another try even after this breakup. Lexi was unsurprisingly out of control when it came to her trivia enthusiasm, but it was fun to see her do a great job holding herself back only to be unleashed by Sam and Dennis when their top competition proved to be impossibly irritating and very much deserving of her wrath. Lexi is being used well as a character, and I’m glad to see that she’s becoming more and more believable with each episode. Paula Pell’s guest appearance was also endearing, particularly when she lashed out at Nell for reducing her life to a soap opera.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 21 “Mom” (B+)

Janine’s mom just showing up all of a sudden at the school was quite jarring, and everyone seemed relatively rattled by the experience. Taraji P. Henson was a fun choice to play Vanetta, someone who was much more like Ava than anyone else at Abbott and who was all about manipulating Janine into feeling like she should give up the money she had painstakingly saved for her “girl trip.” It was great to see Barbara swoop in and offer to give Vanetta the money so that she wouldn’t continue pressing Janine, and I’m glad that it didn’t turn into a moment where Janine thought Barbara was betraying her or trying to wade into something that didn’t concern her, which is how Vanetta responded. Deciding to give her only the first two installments of a payment plan that she was setting up felt like an appropriate middle ground, and it’s something that may even end up working for a bit. The intro with Jacob’s magic and Ava being astounded by it was fun, and I like that Melissa was genuinely shocked and freaked out that he was bending that spoon at the end of the episode. Gregory’s inability to connect with Shanae was awkward, but it was refreshing to see him manage to win her over just by connecting about sports, something that wasn’t all that expected but gave him a great deal of satisfaction after his previously unsuccessful efforts to be seen as somewhat cool and relatable to other people at school.

What I’m Watching: Schmigadoon

Schmigadoon: Season 2, Episode 3 “Bells and Whistles” (B+)

This episode featured some pretty fantastic performances, with its title indicating the show-stopping number featuring Jane Krakowski’s Bobby explaining just what it is that she does to dazzle the jurors and the crowd. She’s a phenomenal actress, and this was an excellent showcase for her that really allowed her to be put to tremendous use. There’s a certain hilarity to the concept of these hippies getting naked and telling parables for months without noticing any change, which has modern-day relevance for the echo chambers people create for themselves that don’t actually result in them transmitting their message beyond like minds. Josh’s reaction to the nudity was expected but humorous, along with his commentary that there were moles he was concerned about when he saw everyone’s bare bodies. When I had the chance to speak with a number of actors on this show, they all said they wished they could share scenes with Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, both of whom had great scenes in this episode. Melissa’s analysis that Miss Coldwell was selling the children was a fitting wrap-up for that appearance, and it’s really so striking how different Cumming’s character is this season. I am a fan of “Sweeney Todd” and appreciated the parody here that was still dark and chilling but also pointed out the flaws in his revenge plan that wouldn’t in fact accomplish the goals he truly wanted to achieve, focused instead on making everyone miserable when outright happiness and fulfillment might be much easier to attain.

What I’m Watching: The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 7 “Chapter 23: The Spies” (B+)

Well, this episode took things in a chilling new direction, sending the Mandalorians back to their home planet to recolonize it only to discover an insidious Imperial plan that was already in motion. A rogue group of Mandalorians freeing Moff Gideon from captivity would have been bad enough, but the Empire using Beskar steel to create its own army is much worse. I’m glad at least that Giancarlo Esposito remains a part of the show and returned in a big way, working against his own peers to ensure that the Empire has the comeback he wants. Ella is also reporting directly to him, which makes her a tremendous threat who has gained access to high places. Gideon laid a perfect trap for them to fall into, and there isn’t much hope of them retaking the planet or even all escaping at this point given the nature of the ambush. Bo-Katan and Mando have found a good dynamic and now Grogu even has a way to make his voice heard thanks to the droid that allows him to frequently yell no to state his objection to something Mando was telling him to do or to stop the different clans of Mandalorians from fighting with each other. This penultimate episode has set the stage for quite a finale, and I have a feeling that season four is all but guaranteed, even if there’s no official word on a renewal just yet. This show has managed to take on a new life and has definitely earned a continuation.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 2, Episode 5 “Signs” (B+)

So, apparently that’s it for Zava, who decided all of a sudden that he wanted to retire even though he just signed with Richmond. It’s hardly a shock given his penchant for self-indulgent unpredictability, and the team could use some unifying that might come from a different inspiration, like, say, Ted. Ripping up the sign didn’t seem to have the desired effect, but he should be able to get things back on track after finally connecting with Henry, who said exactly what he would have wanted him to even though he got him very upset earlier when it turned out that he was the bully. I enjoyed Beard’s readiness to get on a plane and go beat up whoever had bullied Henry and Roy’s terrifyingly specific revenge plan for how to deal with him. Trent coming up with an idea for the coaches was a fun addition, and it’s nice to see him being used in a productive way. I’m glad that Nate is being rehabilitated following his character’s dark turn, and that Jade felt bad for him when Anastasia was absolutely terrible and didn’t appreciate any of what he valued. It’s a relief to see Shandy finally fired, with Barbara standing in for the audience’s joy at savoring that moment, and Keeley hooking up with Jack is an interesting if not entirely surprising development that will likely create problems for her in a professional capacity down the line. Rebecca trying for a baby and encountering roadblocks is sure to keep her down for a bit, especially if she doesn’t have anyone to rely on with Keeley too busy to answer her phone.

What I’m Watching: Perry Mason

Perry Mason: Season 2, Episode 6 “Chapter Fourteen” (B+)

It’s hard to imagine Perry actually winning this case, especially after that very literal smoking gun that the judge came to his office to find, but things were looking up when Della took charge and was able to convince the witness to admit that Brooks strangled his sister. Such tactics are unfortunately used in our modern era to cast blame on victims, which is a terrible thing, but in this case, we all know that Brooks was not a good guy. Perry’s problem is that he always pushes too far, and now he has one of his formerly loyal investigators to blame, who got caught in the trap that he set, for the prosecution finding the evidence they very much needed to make sure that Perry and his clients don’t stand a chance. Things aren’t exactly going well in prison for the brothers, and Paul is out there chasing leads that are looking grimmer and grimmer by the moment. Hamilton refuses to even have a drink with Della shows that there’s something afoot which is very sinister, and she’s spreading herself thin by making big life decisions that couldn’t come at a worse time. After Della called Ginny “tasty” and it seemed like Perry could actually be happy, he went and ruined any chance of that by accusing her of listening in to his conversations and feeding information to opposing counsel. Perry can use all the friends he has, and he’s just lost an important one, whether or not she actually betrayed him.

What I’m Watching: The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep: Season 1, Episode 7 “Company Man” (B)

This show is definitely stretching the limits of believability - which I guess it’s been doing from the start - with the CIA crafting a perfect cover for Charlie so that he could accompany Daphne to sell weapons with Emma just a short distance away watching the whole thing. It doesn’t seem like a great idea for exes to work together in this professional context so soon after a breakup, especially when one of them has to listen to the other try to flirt in order to help take down the bad guy. A Charlie-Daphne hookup seems inevitable, and it’s possible Emma won’t be all that upset because she’s just that determined to put her behind bars,but she’s also risking quite a lot in order to protect her asset from being found out. Charlie and Daphne do make a great team, and it would be interesting to see if this show earns a second season and she might end up working with them or with Emma due to an unforeseen turn of events, though I very much doubt that. Simon is back in a big way after the circumstances of his disappearance were revealed, and he seems legitimately scarred by the fact that he nearly let his daughter drown. Leo left an intense impression by holding a gun to his head, but it appears that Bird is the one feeding lines through him now to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again with Olive finally getting a chance to spend time with her father.

Monday, April 17, 2023

What I’m Watching: Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets: Season 2, Episode 3 “Digestif” (B+)

That was quite the chilling opening, with Taissa horrified and asking who did this to Jackie, only to be told by Van that she’s the one who ate her face. Following her during her latest possessed sleepwalk was intense, and Van’s curiosity seems very dangerous, even if she’s trying to get answers about what Taissa somehow knows that she can’t remember when she wakes up (and hasn’t been able to shake in the present given that frightening mirror scene). That was one hell of a baby shower, an unusual event in these miserable circumstances, and we also got freaky moments with Natalie and Lottie both in the past and the present. Natalie is slowly getting to see the operation that Lottie has going and how that involves the same earthiness and camaraderie that hasn’t been her methodology in the past, and I appreciate the work that Nicole Maines from “Supergirl” is doing as Lisa, who chose to hug Natalie rather than use the weapon she was given to hurt Natalie back after what she did to her. Shauna was a typical MVP of the episode as she took her hijacker’s gun and pointed it at him and then tracked him down to get her car back, much to Jeff’s chagrin. I loved the collaboration between Misty and Walter, who was not on board with much of what Misty was feeding him through his earpiece, like them being in international waters. Elijah Wood has a perfect vibe to work with Christina Ricci and it’s a lot of fun to see them on screen together. He did push back about all that Adam stuff but he appeared to buy the lie she fed him, revealing how he bent the truth himself with his evicted friend who posed as his mother.

What I’m Watching: Succession

Succession: Season 4, Episode 3 “Connor’s Wedding” (B+)

I firmly believe that this is the most important show to watch as soon as possible if it airs since the likelihood of having something spoiled by a vague or not so vague post is incredibly high. This episode was a transformative one with a startling twist that was presented in a way none of its characters saw coming. To have Logan die and never once see his face is a bold decision, one that will surely pay off because of the performances and moments that event elicited. The not knowing whether he was actually gone was particularly striking since that uncertainty brought up a swell of emotions for everyone. His children were all far away and experiencing a range of feelings, and Roman getting stuck on whether he said he loved him was among the most potent of those. Kendall switched into action mode, trying to talk directly to the pilot even though there was nothing to do, while Shiv was upset that she hadn’t been there right away. Connor’s first response was about as harsh as his father always was to him, but he seems to have found himself in a good place with Willa while his siblings are still stuck trying to figure out what to do. Karolina and the team shifted right into action on the plane while Kerry was a mess, and there’s little question that she’ll soon be dismissed. That moment with Tom embracing Shiv for a second before she remembered their status now was one of the episode’s most haunting. Before all this craziness, we also got the humor of Greg insisting that he wasn’t just a word but a guy and a guest appearance from Jamie Chung as the wedding planner that sadly didn’t allow her to do much since the wedding was not the focus of this unforgettable episode.

What I’m Watching: Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole: Season 1, Episode 4 “The Person In Your Ear” (C+)

Hailey is now a full-fledged field agent after a few minutes of training from John and some clever improvisation with a police officer practically watching her shoplift something. This episode threw in a major twist that felt like it had to be impossible, and audiences got to experience that brief shock and then clarity along with Hailey after she nearly ran into people from her old life. It’s remarkably inconsistent what people, whether it’s John and Ben or the people they’re trying to stop, are able to dig up and what they’re not, and you’d think that Ben could have just forced Gao not to look at his phone for the duration of his visit rather than allowing himself to be photographed so that the real Crawley knows he’s alive. Similarly, how has the connection between Ben and John not been exposed, and, even moreso, that John has a son that his father doesn’t know about even though he really hasn’t done much to hide him? It does seem quite coincidental that people keep jumping off roofs, though the intern apparently improvised and threw Xander off to make a point, which seems reckless and likely to get him killed. The situation at their safehouse is getting ridiculous, with sound traveling everywhere and Edward obsessing over how his wife is cheating on him (even though she thinks he’s dead) with his neighbor. I did enjoy Edward explaining the Death Star reference to an entirely confused Ben, but I think I’m okay saying farewell to this show at this point even if it’s been a bit of over-the-top fun.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

What I’m Watching: Lucky Hank

Lucky Hank: Season 1, Episode 4 “The Goose Boxer” (B+)

Lily predicting that Hank would end up either in jail or in the hospital felt oddly specific, but she wasn’t wrong, and after his grandstanding goose boxing moment that temporarily endeared him to his faculty, he did find himself in jail after being punched by a guy who was on the goose’s side. I enjoyed seeing Diedrich Bader’s Tony in that context, first antagonizing the local reporter and then educating other arrestees on Nietzsche while Hank was pondering the direction of his life. Kyle MacLachlan was a superb casting choice to play Dickie Pope, who was convinced that the school had too much fat and actually needed less funding, and the whole Jeffrey Epstein initial tie-in felt not all that relevant if slightly amusing. The notion that their department uniting means something because they’ve filed more grievances against each other than anyone else is pretty entertaining, and it was nice that Gracie finally got to read her poem, even if it was shockingly short. One of the English teachers misspelling “humanities” on their sign was not a high point. I was thrilled to see Jennifer Spence and Chris Diamantopoulos as Ashley and Tom, and Lily was startlingly honest as she just went ahead and told her old friend that she was just trying to get leverage for her existing job (apparently this position wasn’t actually available anyway). Tom kissing Lily and then her telling on him right away was unexpected, though those continued missed messages between Lily and Hank indicate that she may be much more ready to leave her small-town life behind than he is at the moment, regardless of the claims he always makes.

Pilot Review: Transatlantic

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: Tiny Beautiful Things

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, April 15, 2023

What I’m Watching: Hello Tomorrow! (Season Finale)

Hello Tomorrow! Season 1, Episode 10 “What Could Be Better?” (B+)

It always feels a bit strange watching a show’s season finale without knowing if it will be back for more. That’s especially true with this show since it’s hard to imagine what could come next. Jack, as always, thought that he had the perfect plan, barricading the customers desperate to get to the moon in an elevator they thought was malfunctioning so they’d be disappointed and ready to go up when the infrastructure actually existed up there. Lester messed up that plan by deciding that he was finally open to not playing by the rules, and Elle wasn’t the least bit concerned about who might get hurt if she was able to turn a profit. Jack made the right decision to go be by Joey’s mother’s side when she finally awoke from her coma, though it was hard to keep up the charade that they really had been happy together. Everyone still remains loyal to Jack to a degree, with Herb at first refusing to let Betty convince him that Jack was to blame and Eddie swayed by the new robotic hand that Jack got him, even if it did end up malfunctioning and accidentally killing Big Fred. This show has been so much about the theory and the way that talking about things can make them feel real, like the safety vests and the “perfect weather for a launch.” It’s been intriguing and overall very interesting, and I think I’m hooked enough to continue watching if a second season did get commissioned.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Dewshane Williams as Herb and Matthew Maher as Lester

Pilot Review: Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies

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: Beef

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

Friday, April 14, 2023

What I’m Watching: Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard: Season 3, Episode 8 “Surrender” (B+)

Vadic really did terrorize everyone when she had control of the ship, and it’s hard to work with that whole shoot-one-random-prisoner-every-ten-minutes thing. Jack’s ability to see and act through other people came in quite handy, but of course they needed to use that carefully since Vadic was all too aware of what Jack might be able to do. Jack threatening to take his own life was a smart move, and Seven showed that she was willing to sacrifice herself too rather than leave members of her crew to fend for themselves. Data executed the perfect victory over Lore by tricking him into thinking that his memories held no significance when that wasn’t the case at all. Sucking the changelings out into space was a reassuring end to a rather grim storyline, though Deanna saying that she senses an all-consuming darkness didn’t exactly scream positivity. There’s also the matter of Picard’s body, which was on display when two long-apart friends were reunited, but which presents a threat that must still be overcome in the course of the final two episodes of this show, which are sure to be quite memorable. On a lighter note, I did enjoy that Data realized that he was apparently capable of using contractions now, something that equally surprised and delighted Geordi, and that Worf critiqued Raffi’s fighting, feedback she was not happy to receive. I’m ready to buckle up for the last two episodes, and I’m just hoping for a few more fun appearances like a certain Admiral Janeway.

What I’m Watching: Bel-Air

Bel-Air: Season 2, Episode 7 “Under Pressure” (B+)

I find it much less stressful when Will and Carlton are getting along, and the notion of friendly competition is never a good way to keep things cool. The reason that Will is a wild card choice is that he’s not the typical Bel-Air kid, and he doesn’t care about the history of the award because that’s not relevant to what he can do with his life. Things didn’t look good for Carlton when that video of him and his teammates came out, and he’s headed down an unfortunate road, recording yet another vulnerable confession and then indulging in drugs after that. Drew is easily the most detestable new focus of this season, just eager to get with Lisa and to do whatever he can to cut Will and Carlton down in the process. Doc at least seems to have some interest in shaping Will into a successful athlete, even if he knows that he’ll benefit as a result. Phil’s outrageously appealing job offer certainly seems great, but his history with Erika will likely be a problem. I was excited to recognize Joivan Wade from “Doom Patrol” as Frederick, who was relatively open to meeting his father but understandably hurt by the fact that everyone raved about how he was like family when he hadn’t gotten to experience that with him. Phil talking to him was an important moment that showed just how much he likes to reward loyalty with that very same loyalty to those closest and dearest to him.

What I’m Watching: Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary: Season 2, Episode 20 “Educator of the Year” (B+)

I was pleased to see June Diane Raphael from “Grace and Frankie” at the start of this episode but assumed she would have a bigger role, only to see her being very direct and unfiltered about the angle they were looking to cast this whole thing in to drum up the best, most politically correct press possible. Gregory and Melissa were both equally unhappy about her being selected to present him with the award, and though she was working from a framework of things she had been told about herself, it ended up being a moderately sentimental and appropriate tribute. Expressing that you can’t choose when people acknowledge you was a great point, and she made it through the whole thing sincerely, even if she and Ava mocked Gregory and Janine together right after with their imitations of their voices. It was fun to see Ashley again, given the teacher’s aide award and definitely not even close to deserving of it. Janine getting ripped to shreds by an unhappy mother was a brutal and difficult moment to watch, and it was sweet that Gregory marched her right to Barbara for affirmation, even if her mentor was getting something out of making her feel good too. Mr. Johnson teaching an intergenerational relations class was an entertaining concept, and the acronyms for the courses, F.A.R.T. especially, didn’t suggest that the entire system was all that superb, and certainly not worth Barbara taking the taking the time and effort she did put into it.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 9, Episode 8 “Partners in Time” (B)

I’m glad we’re getting to the end here, because it’s possible I would be considering giving up on this show. After a brief hiatus, there will be one episode followed by a four-parter, one that will hopefully invigorate some energy into this show as it crosses the 180-episode mark and signs off for good. It feels distinctly irresponsible for Barry to be preparing so extensively for Nora’s arrival, doing as much as he can to shape the present like the future and likely altering it as a result. What happened in this episode wasn’t directly his fault, but Iris has been cautious now for a while about fulfilling a destiny she knows about because she wants to be able to live her own life. Barry’s enthusiasm for a mold inspection brought in more trouble than he wanted, and then a weird escape room that required some creative thinking. I was pleased to see Diana Bang from “Resident Alien” as Inspector Tao, who turned out to be the time thief who didn’t really want to turn herself in but had to in order to ensure her survival. Chester accidentally saying “I love you” to Allegra led to an aggressive series of board game distractions, and I very much enjoy seeing television characters playing Settlers of Catan, which I consider to be one of my favorite games. As always, talking and being honest is the best route to a productive relationship, and, after plenty of awkwardness, that’s what they finally did and reached a good point that made it awkward only for Cecile.

Pilot Review: Hullraisers

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: The Crossover

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

What I’m Watching: Schmigadoon

Schmigadoon: Season 2, Episode 2 “Bustin’ Out” (B+)

This season is definitely darker, but I do appreciate the way in which it fully commits to the absurdity. The narrator doesn’t know if he’s omniscient or not, and Jane Krakowski’s Bobbie was intent on blaming jazz for inspiring Josh to without a doubt have committed murder. Josh’s refusal to play along doesn’t help matters at all, and the fact that the law is ten percent precedent and ninety percent “wow” doesn’t work if people don’t like the accused. Josh was also convinced that the happiness bus wasn’t real and that Aaron Tveit’s magnanimous hippie Topher was just tripping, but then they busted out and had a lot of fun fleeing from the law. Melissa somehow managed to get the part out of a troupe of dancers after she held up her driver’s license while the rest of them had headshots to show, and that chain dance with Jenny and Emcee was probably the standout musical number of the episode. Krakowski was the MVP, however, and did a great job sending up Billy Flynn from “Chicago” (one of the only references I immediately got since I’m hardly a musical theater expert). The song about needing to eat and how last night dinner was a candle was rather disturbing, but, again, this show commits. I was also intrigued by Sergeant Rivera telling Melissa not to stick her pretty little nose where it doesn’t belong since we don’t typically see Jaime Camil in such a villainous role, especially in season one of this show.

What I’m Watching: Schmigadoon (Season Premiere)

Schmigadoon: Season 2, Episode 1 “Welcome to Schmicago” (B+)

It’s a nice treat to have this show back, especially since Apple TV+ kept us in suspense for a while about whether it was actually going to be renewed. The lead-up to the characters’ decision to try to find Schmigadoon again was both entertaining and dispiriting, with Melissa being bluntly told “No one said corn pudding” in the supermarket and the endless montage of “There’s the foot” / “Does it hurt?” as they sleep-walked through their lives. The new town they found is definitely not Schmigadoon, and while it’s not nearly as shocking or scandalous as its performers would like to think, it is quite dark. It’s fun to see how Josh isn’t able to recognize anyone that had a different role in season one, while Melissa is definitely paying attention and wants to make sure that they don’t cross the wrong people. Dove Cameron is this season’s early standout as Jenny Banks, whose “We’ve Gone Kaput” was the musical highlight of the episode. I’m very happy with the two notable cast additions in this episode: Tituss Burgess as the Narrator and Patrick Page as Octavius Kratt. Things didn’t go too well for Josh as he ended up as the prime suspect in a murder, and the leprechaun cutting their car wires only made things worse. This is going to be a gloomy adventure, one that’s sure to have some comedic and otherwise just bizarre moments as Josh and Melissa struggle not just to find happiness but to make it out of this miserable place with their lives.

What I’m Watching: The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 6 “Chapter 22: Guns for Hire” (B+)

I guess I can understand the appeal for every actor of wanting to be on a Star Wars TV show, and this series seems to enjoy giving everyone a platform with its revolving door of guest stars. This episode featured the someone bizarre pairing of Jack Black and Lizzo as Captain Bombardier and the Duchess, who rule their new planet through what they insist is legitimate direct democracy but is definitely at risk of not lasting all that long. The notion of battle droids being repurposed as worker bees that meant that the human residents of the planet didn’t have to work anymore is both a brilliant and imbecilic one because of the tremendous danger them slipping back into their original programming presents. And then there are the Count Dooku loyalists out there like Commissioner Helgait, played by the dependable Christopher Llloyd who’s still going strong at age eighty-four, who are actively trying to sabotage things. I also was pleased to see names like Dale Dickey and Seth Gabel in the credits, playing an ugnaught and the bartender droid, respectively. The notion of a droid bar is certainly an interesting one, but what was most enjoyable about this episode was how it allowed Bo-Katan and Mando to partner up and sort of play nicely with each other. Mando’s eagerness to set off the droids so he could shoot them was rather impulsive and unnecessary, and things ended up working out pretty well in the end for them and for the planet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 3, Episode 4 “Big Week” (B+)

It’s nice to see that, especially given their very hostile beginnings, Roy and Jamie are in a much better place now. It’s still a rocky road, starting with Jamie thinking Roy was joking when he said they were starting at four in the morning and wondering how they were going to see, but they’re both dubious to a degree about Zava and his need to be the star. I enjoyed how Beard and Roy had a grand plan to outsmart Nate only to be asked whether Zava would actually do it, and showing the team the video of Nate destroying the sign created an unhinged anger among all of them that didn’t end up being helpful at all. Nate hiding in the corner of the elevator when it was just him and Ted there was definitely awkward, and it’s too bad Rupert showed up at exactly the moment that Nate seemed like he was going to offer some sort of reconciliation to his onetime mentor. Rebecca didn’t mince words when confronting Rupert, and may actually have reached him for the first time in a while. It’s hardly a surprise that Keeley had no idea who her boss was and that she was female, and their bathroom meeting suggests an interesting relationship to come. I was pleased to see Jodi Balfour, who previously played Jackie Kennedy on “The Crown,” as Alex, and I’m curious to see where that dynamic goes. I do hope that Shandy’s latest inappropriate solo decision will get Keeley closer to ousting her since she’s clearly bad news. I also enjoyed learning that, while he may be a mess, Ted has a five-star Uber rating because he regularly offers to drive if they look tired.

What I’m Watching: Superman and Lois

Superman and Lois: Season 3, Episode 4 “Too Close to Home” (B)

This season is really setting Cobb up as the big bad, with him taking unnecessary action to intimidate John after he went to meet with his sister of this world and then had to go save her because her life was in danger. That bomb-disarming was quite down to the wire, and he would have been devastated by a lot of guilt if it hadn’t worked. Lois deciding to sign up for treatment at Cobb’s hospital was a bold move that doesn’t speak well to her desire to actually get serious about her cancer, though he seems like the type who wouldn’t directly sabotage her care and instead try to get at her in a more nefarious way. It was interesting to see Clark opt to deal with Candice’s father not as Superman but as Clark, though I’m not sure exactly what kind of message it sends to utilize violence to show that violence isn’t the answer. Everyone got a chance to be featured in this episode, with Sam getting upset when Jordan didn’t want to get a haircut or take him seriously, and Kyle confronting Sarah about how she didn’t give him all the information when she said that her mother just slapped her. I do like this world and following these characters, but I’m not sure this is a show that I absolutely need to be watching. With so much on these days and this show no longer connected to the Arrowverse, I may feel comfortable ducking out and returning at a later date.

What I’m Watching: Perry Mason

Perry Mason: Season 2, Episode 5 “Chapter 13” (B+)

Perry is on the right side of history in the way he defends his clients and talks about society’s prejudices, but that isn’t endearing him to anyone at this point. The judge already doesn’t like him, and no one seemed bothered by the driver talking about how he “always watched those types carefully.” Arguing that the jury wouldn’t be able to identify anyone who wouldn’t want to kill Brooks didn’t help much, and hopefully his rather ironclad demonstration of how the fingerprint had to have been planted will sway the jury in the right direction. Finding that train set when he got home was an ominous way to end, as was seeing Pete with the prosecutor. Hamilton offering life in prison for both brothers with no possibility of parole or transfer suggested that their case is falling apart, but there are plenty of sinister things going on at the moment, particularly with Paul, who had to cross a line in order to get the answers he needed. Della’s newfound romance is passionate but also affecting her regular life, while Perry’s latest relationship may not actually be all that unhealthy. Ginny was clear-headed enough to remind Perry that he couldn’t just abandon his responsibilities and run away with her, and maybe she’ll be able to keep him on the proper path as he endures more intimidation in the process of this case. Nothing good lies ahead, and it feels like even getting the boys vindicated won’t end well for any of them.

Monday, April 10, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep: Season 1, Episode 6 “The Real Thing” (B+)

Charlie arguing that he just didn’t tell Emma the whole truth is hardly ironclad, though they did both express what they did when they first met even though neither thought the other was being truthful. She was ready to end the whole thing while he knew that he and his family would be much more closely linked to Daphne than they would like to be. But things do tend to move pretty quickly on this show, and Emma’s response to her one-on-one meeting with Daphne was to decide that she should work with Jack to take her down. It wasn’t a great episode for fathers, with both Emma and Jack’s dads being implicated in certain things they would rather their kids not know about and hadn’t previously told them. Joseph’s sins appeared to be far more grievous than Leo’s, but we still don’t know the extent of what happened with him and Simon. I’m always happy to see Geoff Stults, who I greatly enjoyed as the lead of the short-lived series “The Finder,” as Simon, who seems like a genuinely nice guy and just wants to be a part of the fun. He also learned some sign language, an indication he has an interest in getting to know the daughter who desperately wants to know him. It was also great to see Mark Ivanir as this episode’s big mark, who had a clever way of dealing with counterfeit art that made him seem like he didn’t care at all about security because he was just that wealthy.

What I’m Watching: Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets: Season 2, Episode 2 “Edible Complex” (B+)

It may not be at all pleasant to watch, but I can appreciate the way in which this show finally showed all its characters feasting for the first time on human flesh (this episode’s title is also superb). Taissa wasn’t having Shauna dressing Jackie up and talking to her for hours, and the suggestion to burn her body was rather harsh and unfeeling. But saving her uniform ended up being the least important part of the conversation when this hungry group smelled her burning body, and imagining themselves as being part of a ritualistic feast adorned in white clothing and crowns while in reality they were just devouring whatever they could was chilling. I’m glad that both past and present are now equally intriguing, and we’re seeing how things are anything but normal so many years later. Taissa calling her angry wife to say that their son came home during the day only to discover that she actually made the whole thing up was intense, and it feels like the car accident they got into might have been a deliberate way to cover up what’s happening to her. Natalie wasn’t convinced by what Lottie told her about Travis’ death, but it’s obvious that the post-plane crash experience seriously affected everyone in a lingering and traumatizing way. Callie is so angry at her mother and knows way too much about her involvement with Adam, but she doesn’t seem to be wielding it in the most destructive manner just yet. Maybe the detective played by John Reynolds can get something out of her without her having any idea that he’s working her. I’m most intrigued by the casting of Elijah Wood as the shorts-wearing son concerned about his mother’s care who is very much ready to get involved with Misty in a way that she doesn’t quite know how to process.

What I’m Watching: Succession

Succession: Season 4, Episode 2 “Rehearsal” (A-)

It’s taken me some time to get here, but I can acknowledge that this show has some of the best writing and acting on television. This episode was a superb example, putting the adult children together as they were supposed to be celebrating their eldest brother on the eve of his wedding but once again made everything all about themselves. Stewy and Sandi also got in their heads about whether the deal was worth taking or if they thought that Logan should be getting something better, and all Connor wanted to do was karaoke, albeit with a bit of family drama mixed in when he invited his dad there to talk to his siblings. That entire interaction was surreal, with Logan expressing that he doesn’t do apologies and then Roman pushing him to verbalize what he was sorry for while Shiv and Kendall approached the situation with more trepidation. His relationship with Kerry is also odd because she often communicates what she believes he’s feeling to his children, and now she’s trying to make a play for TV stardom that he’s quietly not endorsing to avoid any accusations of nepotism. Hugo nearly got caught laughing at her audition tape and Tom made Greg be the fall guy who actually had to talk to her, which resulted in her threatening to “take him apart like a human string cheese” if the focus group he made up wasn’t real. Greg and Tom trying to describe Logan’s behavior at ATN made for the best lines of the episode, with him “terrifyingly moseying,” like “if Santa Claus was a hitman” and “like Jaws if everyone worked for Jaws” as the highlights. Tom doing what Logan recommended and meeting every divorce attorney to make sure Shiv couldn’t felt quite cutthroat, but it is a protective measure that he just did first she definitely would have given the opportunity.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Take Three: Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole: Season 1, Episode 3 “The Algorithms of Control” (B-)

This episode answered some very important questions in a clear and direct way while bringing up a few more red flags that need to be addressed. It’s definite that Ben is John’s dad, and that he faked his suicide in order to make this invisible nemesis think that he was dead and thus protect his family from being harmed. His wife apparently knew, but John didn’t, and he ended up developing the company he built with his best friend Valence because they found John’s books. The closeness of their relationship and the reason for them parting ways makes it all more interesting, though disconnecting was obviously a bad idea because it led to all this. Being surveilled by Valence’s successor was a twist that made some sense, and Jo’s timely arrival and interruption helped to create some chaos for a minute. But then he went and did the same thing Valence did, suggesting that there’s someone so powerful who’s just able to keep encouraging high-powered individuals to end their own lives. The other major mystery is Hailey, who seems innocuous and just annoyed about being served eggs when she’s a vegan, but who also was signing into something on her phone when she managed to evade detection by the apple enthusiast who kept talking about how much he wanted to kill her. I’ll give this show another episode to see if all its disjoined plot points can actually create a coherent whole or if there are too many holes for it all to add up.

Take Three: Lucky Hank

Lucky Hank: Season 1, Episode 3 “Escape” (B+)

Hearing Hank’s thoughts as he thinks them gives us an important understanding of the kind of man he is or at least who he wants to be. Coming up with excuses to tell his wife where he was after Meg took all her clothes off when he drove her home led to him being very nonplussed about the whole thing and telling Lily all about it. She didn’t seem too bothered by his lackluster account of nearly cheating on her, but she was much more taken aback by the fact that he lied about her job prospects to get her to move on with her life, projecting his own hatred of where he is onto other people. We’ve heard a lot about his father, and having a storage unit with his entire office dumped in his driveway wasn’t quite as much of a crushing blow as hearing that his mother invited him back, feeling that he abandoned his son but not her. Lily isn’t finding much fulfillment at her work and had to endure not being reimbursed for the initiative she took on cleaning up the urine in the hallway, and she may have the last laugh if she comes to her boss with an offer from the prestigious New York City institution he didn’t believe was actually considering her. I don’t feel like this show can be what it is with Hank able to escape his hellish hometown, however, and so I don’t think he’ll be moving to the city anytime soon. This show does have great writing, particularly for Hank (“I specify in minor strife and insignificant irritation, my father is into life derailment”) and even supporting characters like Meg and Russell (“So your father-in-law tells me you’re an idiot” / “he has a lot of pain”).

What I’m Watching: Party Down (Season Finale)

Party Down: Season 3, Episode 6 “Sepulveda Basin High School Spring Play Opening Night” (B+)

This was a very fun finale, one that could serve as a second series ender if need be, but that would be a real shame since it’s got so much more to offer. Having it take place at Henry’s students’ performance and the subsequent surprise party Evie planned for him was a great idea, and every character got their own bit of closure that felt perfectly fitting for them. Ron dressing like he believed an owner should only to discover that his lawyer filled out the paperwork wrong and Constance actually owned a majority stake of the company was just his luck, and he showed that he’s actually quite good for something when he volunteered to deal with Vice Principal Mittman, played by Dan Bakkedahl from “Life in Pieces” and “Made for Love.” I’m glad that they gave him a little arc of his own, realizing that he missed being Mr. M and ultimately coming through to save Henry’s job. Kyle discovering that he was playing the dad, not the lead, was an amusing development, one that made a dejected Roman feel better. I also enjoyed that Lucy had her big ticket out of all this until Ron ate it and managed to regain her sense of smell. While it would have been nice to see Henry and Evie end up together, parting on good terms when he realized what he really wanted to do, and it was an important set-up for the unexpected mid-credits scene. I had forgotten all about Casey, and it was a wonderful surprise to see Lizzy Caplan return for such a superb ending. I so hope that we’ll see more of them in the future, and that this show’s revival has been a resounding success. It’s been a blast.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Zoƫ Chao as Lucy

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Pilot Review: The Power

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: Hello Tomorrow!

Hello Tomorrow! Season 1, Episode 9 “Certain Forces Once Unleashed” (B+)

Opening with Jack’s commercial suggests that things are going great, or at least back on track to the place they were before this. But that’s hardly the case, and Elle’s enthusiasm to make a profit has now made it so that what Jack always planned - building what he had been selling just in time for it to be real - isn’t actually possible. Her comfort with sending people up to the moon and making sure they couldn’t come back to tell everyone what it was really like was disturbing, and Jack seems to be out of options with no more room to delay. Herb and Betty are busy upselling and planning a way to get themselves there too, an unfortunate punishment that they don’t realize they’re bringing upon themselves. They also have no idea that going “over Jack’s head” is not something that will help them since he’s concocted the whole thing himself. Mildred got what she ultimately wanted and made it back on the launch list, disappointing Lester again, even though she’s sure to be right back there when she learns the truth. Joey coming in to offer testimony against Jack shows just how wronged he feels and, unlike everyone else who isn’t happy with Jack, how much damage he could actually do. Jack was surprisingly not angry about seeing the tape recorder fall out of his shirt and even confessed right into the microphone. It’s hard to know how this show will end, especially since the finale will presumably set up a theoretical second season while hopefully offering a decent conclusion just in case this is the end of it all.

What I’m Watching: Ghosts

Ghosts: Season 2, Episode 18 “Alberta’s Descendant” (B+)

It’s fun to see Alberta get the chance to try to be a mentor of sorts to a relative who isn’t keen on listening to her advice, especially since it’s filtered through Sam trying to be nice and parse together the many things she wants to communicate. As Pete hated to have to point out, Sam really was to blame for rehabilitating Todd’s reputation by editing out the objectionable and problematic stuff he says during the podcast, making him seem like a perfect romantic fit for Alicia. Sam was able to swiftly dash any relationship hopes they may have had by mentioning his maternal roommate, his back tattoo, and the toenail he had preserved, but Alicia was already set on quitting her career as a lawyer to pursue her dream of being a singer. While Alberta had plenty to say about that, her impromptu performance was very moving, as was Alberta joining in with her for the pleasure of Sam and the audience. We’ll come back to that whole business of Alberta’s sister having potentially murdered her at a later date, I’m sure. I enjoyed Jay’s overenthusiasm for dating app tips and how he took his microphone privileges for commercials to a complete domination of the podcast. Hetty being ashamed of Trevor after Nigel blackmailed them led to Trevor voicing some actual, sincere feelings, which led to Hetty’s big reveal that no one understood because she used such fanciful language. Sasappis being disappointed in himself for not knowing the gossip was an entertaining moment, as was Pete repeatedly questioning whether Thor was just trolling them because he knew words like stereo and leather but still calls cars landships. His confusion about “codblocking” and its relevance to the episode was just fantastic.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Pilot Review: Unstable

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: Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard: Season 3, Episode 7 “Dominion” (B+)

Given that I did grow up watching “Voyager” much more than “The Next Generation,” I was pleased to see Tim Russ back as Tuvok, who Seven warmly reached out to as a friend before revealing that she knew he was actually a changeling who had gained crucial information from Tuvok in order to maintain his deception. All this talk of Janeway makes me excited for the possibility of seeing Kate Mulgrew back in the role, though it’s unclear whether she would be her real self or if she’s been replaced as well. A character from one of the original shows I didn’t know much about was Lore, whose appearance came at a terribly unproductive time as he took over the ship just to cause chaos and was only subdued by Geordi successfully appealing to the humanity still present within Data. Vadic’s origin story was quite harrowing, and Beverly and Picard had to determine whether or not they should remain moral in their treatment of their prisoner. Jack communicating telepathically with Sidney was quite convenient but did freak her out quite a bit, and now it might be up to them to save the day given Vadic’s grandstanding and terrifying takeover of the ship. With just three episodes to go in this show’s run, things are not looking good for Starfleet and all the Federation’s allies. I don’t think there can be too many reinforcements still on the way, but I presume there’s still a way out of this that won’t end on such a bleak note for our beloved characters.

What I’m Watching: Bel-Air

Bel-Air: Season 2, Episode 6 “Let the Best Man Win” (B+)

It’s both fun and informative to see the extended Banks family in action and how much the relationships are shaped by previous generations. Phil pushing Hilary to make the best pie and Carlton to play his best game showed how he so desperately wanted to beat his brother, and fortunately they were able to connect on a deeper level when he revealed how his father told him he wasn’t going to college like Phil, which in turn led him to his strong belief in the value of grit and hard work. Before they came to that important moment, Carlton realized his cousin could use a win and threw the game, making his father proud of him in the process for that act of self-sacrifice. Viv getting a sign of approval from her mother-in-law was a nice win considering how much she had to do that shouldn’t have fallen on her, and Ashley even managed to connect with the older uncle she was tasked with watching over at the party. Phil inviting Lamarcus was a forgivable transgression, but his professed plan to win Hilary back is going to make it so that she and Jazz break up even if they’re not headed towards renewed romance, unless Will can encourage Jazz to make his case. It’s a good thing that Carlton got past his initially harsh reaction to Will’s expressed desire to remain in consideration for the scholarship, and Will showed plenty of maturity in encouraging Geoffrey to try to reunite with his son rather than letting him exist merely as an imagined invention in his son’s mind.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

What I’m Watching: The Flash

The Flash: Season 9, Episode 7 “Wildest Dreams” (B-)

Sure, Iris did come to some important realizations about what’s important in her life and how she enjoyed the dream of being a cop and her time working as a barista. But this episode was just as much about Dreamer and yet another reminder that maybe “The Flash” wasn’t the Arrowverse show that needed to keep going for one final swan song. Meeting the original Dreamer felt like a plotline that should have been handled on “Supergirl,” and all these mentions of other people from that series being off-world are disappointing given just how enticing it would be to get all the casts from the Arrowverse shows back together before this one signs off for good. Dreaming was a big part of this episode as Mark imagined that he and Khione were falling in love before he was woken up to the harsh reality that planning dates for someone based on who you want them to be and not who they are isn’t going to result in appreciation. That everyone groaned when Mark showed up to the big extended family meal is indicative of just how little Mark has fit in with this bunch since he first started, and now it seems like he’s finally parting ways with them, but we’ve seen this before and it hasn’t lasted then either. I think it’s time to bring on the future and maybe jump forward a bit in time so that we can see how everything turns out with the time we have left.

Pilot Review: The Big Door Prize

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 Mandalorian

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 5 “Chapter 21: The Pirate” (B+)

Just one week after a flashback showed us Jedis protecting a young Grogu, this episode had the entire covert of Mandalorians banding together to stage a rescue of the people of Nevarro, which was quite exciting to watch. Captain Teva proved almost immediately that he’s one of the good ones, determined to find a way to help Carga even though he got told by Tim Meadows’ Colonel Tuttle that it simply wasn’t going to be procedurally possible. The notion of the New Republic not being any better than the Empire is an interesting one, though of course it’s much more concerning to know that Elia works for Tuttle and has quite the sway over him despite Teva advocating that her newfound enlightenment shouldn’t be taken as sincere. Bo-Katan has more that proved herself as a leader, and she was quite startled to be told by the Armorer to remove her helmet before walking out in front of the other Mandalorians without it. It’s a smart, forward-thinking strategy, to have her walk two worlds and unite the entire people, which is going to be very important given what Teva happened upon on his way home. Seeing more Mandalorians is definitely a good thing, even if some of them have less noble intentions. Hopefully Teva reaching out to ask for help and promising not to reveal the location of their covert will be seen as a productive development that paved the way for Bo-Katan do outreach of her own to their people.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

What I’m Watching: Ted Lasso

Ted Lasso: Season 3, Episode 3 “4-5-1” (B+)

I was worried that Zava being focused on himself would make this show either too irritating or too predictable, but, so far, he’s actually helping to get Richmond back on the scoreboard and not bothering everyone all the time. Showing up late and just hanging out in Rebecca’s office was hardly the best start, and the same went for rearranging things so that he would be the star player. Apparently everyone is happy except for Jamie, who hilariously clarified to Beard that he was being hypocritical, not ironic, when he complained about how Zava was essentially behaving just like he was at the start. I love that Roy is going to mentor him now after explaining the difference between frowning and never smiling. That’s a twist I would not have seen coming when they first were introduced, and I appreciate that character development. Shandy is also overstepping and Keeley doesn’t seem to realize it, and Rebecca is now going to obsess over how the psychic she went to see might actually have some idea of what she was talking about, contrary to what she thought when she was actually with her. Ted was shaken by hearing his marriage counselor answer the phone when he called to check in on his son, but a session with Sharon and a distraction appears to have kept him at bay for now. Sam seemed thrown off by Zava talking about avocado at his otherwise successful restaurant opening, and hopefully Trent will display some restraint in utilizing the information he now knows about Colin. We didn’t get to hear much more about it, but I do love that Higgins registered the DJ name Damage Control but never used it.

What I’m Watching: Superman and Lois

Superman and Lois: Season 3, Episode 3 “In Cold Blood” (B)

This show is going all in on Lois’ cancer, and it feels like she has a very flippant attitude to the whole thing. Missing chemo two days in a row, once because she legitimately forgot and another because she was tracking down a lead, was definitely a way of avoiding the severity of her diagnosis, but it also felt a bit unrealistic. I’m still convinced that Lois will be fine since she’s part of this show’s title, and it’s already clear that other characters are getting more of a spotlight given her potential impending absence. I’m a fan of the two budding romances that are intensifying, and, while things were going well between Lana and Kyle previously, any positivity in their dynamic has now eroded. John Henry could use someone to connect to since he and Natalie are not on the same page about her attachment to this world’s Lois, and Lana is overwhelmed with the weight of her new job. Sarah’s attitude isn’t helping at all, and she definitely seems to be taking her father’s side in this whole separation. It’s only a matter of time before Kyle and Chrissy get found out, though they too could be good for each other. Jonathan is navigating his own romantic troubles, and it’s fun to see the second generation spending time together and getting into hijinks while giving each other a hard time for the unfortunate decisions they make. I’m okay with them just being teenagers, though obviously they’re not going to be able to resist the chance to take down some bad guys every once in a while.

What I’m Watching: How I Met Your Father

How I Met Your Father: Season 2, Episode 11 “Daddy” (B)

If there’s one thing that Barney really could relate to, it’s the idea that Sophie might have been dating her father. Robert was quite oblivious to that possibility, and it feels like a subject that probably should have come to light much earlier in their relationship. But Sophie and her friends aren’t great planners who actually think about the future, as evidenced by Valentina’s detached attitude to the engagement she’s just pretending isn’t a real thing. I do think that Barney’s guest appearance was appropriate in size and not too distracting, and the fact that he travels with a long list of the potential things he could have done to legitimize someone hitting him with a car - plus his new shock therapy triggered by his many inappropriate comments - is a fun coda to his generally overactive character on the original series. He also inspired Sophie to look for her dad, which is sure to be an interesting journey that will yield surprising results somehow. Jesse is clearly still very much into Sophie, and after Valentina won back that love poem, she set things in motion for Sophie to find it sometime down the road. The other big relationship development that we’ll have to wait two months for an update on is one that involves Sid and Hannah, who may not be destined for each other after all if Sid and his seatmate, played by Caitlin Thompson from “This Is Us,” turn out to be a better fit based on the circumstances of life.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

What I’m Watching: How I Met Your Father

How I Met Your Father: Season 2, Episode 10 “I’m His Swish” (B)

There is quite an age difference between Sophie and Robert (actor John Corbett is twenty-six years older than Hilary Duff in real life), but he’s certainly more active than her friends were suggesting when they were teasing her about it. That age gap did manage to throw everyone else off, prompting Valentina to widen her age gap so that she could include younger men and Sid and Charlie freaking out about their gray hairs. With Valentina, that was especially bad timing since Sophie was already stressed about having to host a date after he had put on so many wonderful examples, and having both her roommate and her infantile date in the apartment at that time didn’t help matters at all. And then she spiraled, thinking that she was just like Swish, someone who was ready to propose to Valentina at the very start of their non-relationship (and who she questionably said yes to thinking he would just forget about it soon). The unsurprising truth was that Robert was just tired, pushing himself to stay up late on their dates so that she wouldn’t constantly remember his age. Though Jesse came off as very creepy when he tried to find himself a quick date with Ellen as his wingman, I did enjoy that plotline most, with Ellen and Rachel opting to have sex in Jesse’s bed after Rachel came home early and Rachel giving him plenty of shade for not using his bed enough himself. She already didn’t get along with Valentina, so we’ll see if Rachel is in this thing for the long term if she continues to alienate Ellen’s friends and family members.

What I’m Watching: Perry Mason

Perry Mason: Season 2, Episode 4 “Chapter 12” (B+)

Perry is off the rails this season, and he’s allowing his life to implode on a number of fronts while attempting to get out of representing two men he believes are guilty. Della and Paul were both trying to talk him out of essentially letting the judge know that he had no faith in his clients, and instead he made a respectable case to Hamilton that ultimately didn’t get him anywhere, keeping them on a path towards the death penalty. Slugging another dad who insulted him when he tried to get Teddy to come home was a move he’ll surely soon regret, and that was after he drunkenly stole a racehorse and had an amused Pete there to serve as his announcer. Getting into a relationship with his son’s divorced teacher hardly seems like a smart move, especially considering the father of the deceased is gunning for him. Holcomb is also busting down doors, intent on getting the answers he wants, and Perry has few friends left in this town who are going to want to help him. Della hiding the gun on the bookcase as soon as Paul presented it showed decisiveness, and she’s not letting her newfound personal relationship get in the way of her work, even if it does make her look far too presentable in comparison to Perry, both to him and to Camilla. Paul is rightfully bothered that everything lines up so well, and he’s sure to keep digging and figure out what’s actually going on in what was likely a setup to get Brooks out of the picture by much more powerful people.

What I’m Watching: The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep: Season 1, Episode 5 “The Spy Who Loved Me” (B)

Things are accelerating fast here, and the way that Emma found out who Jack really was ended up being even more jarring than how Jack learned what she really did for a living. To be fair, they were both honest with each other when they initially met but mutually assumed it was a joke, and Emma telling Jack she loved him was enough of a red flag for him to know that he was in too deep and her to be upset that he didn’t say it back. It’s also Charlie’s own fault for going to Connor in an attempt to weaken Daphne, something she’s well aware of and is prepared to lord over his head for the foreseeable future. It’s a dangerous position for him and his family to be in, and the idea of leaving enemies out there with just a bit of leverage keeping them at bay is definitely worrisome. Take the old-school fixer played by Paul Blackthorne, who I first remember watching on “24,” who saw who Charlie was, pieced together the familial relationships, and is only not going to kill them because he feels like the woman he loves would be in jeopardy. I’m still surprised that Charlie didn’t have any sort of record when the CIA ran a background check on him, meaning that he’s apparently good enough at cleaning up his messes that he’s never had a documented brush with the law. I’m curious to see how Emma proceeds now with this new knowledge and the likely realization that Charlie is an asset she needs.