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Added by PvtCaboose91 on 16 Jan 2022 06:23
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TV Shows Viewed in 2022

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Viewed: All six episodes (technically Season 1, but it's technically Season 4 of Toast of London...)

I binged all three seasons of Toast of London back at the beginning of 2019, so it's a treat that Toast of Tinseltown became my first television binge for this year, three years later. Luckily, it doesn't really feel like any time has passed; it's back to business as usual, and the cast slips back into their respective roles without missing a beat. Matt Berry is still hysterical as the titular Steven Toast, while the series also incorporates longstanding characters like Ray Purchase, Clem Fandango, Ed Howzer-Black, and more. Meanwhile, the selection of cameos throughout these six episodes is hugely impressive, and it would be a crime to spoil all of the surprises therein. Suffice it to say, with Berry's elevated profile, he appears to have called in every favour imaginable - and, amusingly, he doesn't shy away from cameos on screens since this was made during the pandemic. Speaking of, it's clear that even though most of the series is set in Los Angeles, it was filmed in London. However, since it would be impossible to convincingly accomplish the LA setting from London, they play into the fakeness with relish. From the phoney rear-projection techniques in cars to the obvious soundstage sets for interiors, it adds another layer of hilarity to the proceedings. I wouldn't say it's Steven Toast at his very best (the lack of songs was a bit disappointing), but this is one of the best belated seasons in recent memory. After 2020 and 2021, having Toast back on our screens feels like a warm hug. Now, when can we expect to see more?


Viewed: Season 3

For the first time, Ricky Gervais has eeked out a third series of one of his television shows after a long history of two seasons plus a special. After Life seemingly appeared out of nowhere nearly three years ago in 2019, and the show's popularity has only continued to grow, leading Netflix to convince Ricky to concoct a final season. I still consider the second season borderline perfect and a masterful continuation, but, unfortunately, this third series starts showing signs of diminishing returns. It's still very good, of course, and better than most other sitcom tripe, but it's not as strong as its predecessors for a variety of reasons. Sandy and Roxy are noticeably absent, and their absences don't feel like a creative decision: it feels like the show was compromised for the first time. (Plus, Paul Kaye as the psychiatrist doesn't return. I know some people dislike his role, but I wanted to see more of him, especially given that Ratty and the Nonce do make an appearance.) Sandy's replacement is pointless and mainly gets in the way (a more ambitious, intelligent and experienced journalist in her stead would've worked a lot better), while Roxy is mentioned but not seen, making her feel unimportant after playing such a significant role in the first two seasons. This is her sendoff? Additionally, while I understand that Mandeep Dhillon (Sandy) wasn't available, not giving her character any closure feels outright wrong. Would a Zoom call with her and the whole office have been too much to ask? She could've moved to London or even overseas to start a new and exciting journalist job, paying off the discussion in the first season about the Tambury Gazette being a stepping stone.

The narrative material of this third series is not as strong, too, which ultimately makes large segments of the series feel aimless. It feels like Ricky didn't quite know where to take this season, and perhaps this would've been better as a 90-minute special akin to The Office UK focusing more on the Tambury Fair. Additionally, the formula is starting to feel repetitious and the series doesn't really have anything new to say, exacerbating the feeling of aimlessness. Tony's character isn't developed any further and his big contribution is wanting to help people...but he already underwent this arc at the end of the first series. There's also the feeling that the show wants to dismantle everything that Tony has, which makes everything that came beforehand feel slightly pointless. Unfortunately, too, I didn't find this third series as funny or as poignant. Oh, sure, there are still some great scenes, but overall I was left feeling a tad unsatisfied. I've watched the first two seasons a lot, more than is healthy or necessary, but I don't feel compelled to rewatch Season 3 yet. Maybe I'll just skip to the final episode of the season, which is admittedly very good and the best that the season has to offer.


Viewed: Season 1

Boba Fett has been my favourite Star Wars character since I was a child, which is reflected in my extensive Fett collection, and it was incredibly satisfying to see the fearsome bounty hunter finally receive a canonical resurrection. In lieu of the planned Fett spinoff movie, we now have the seven-episode The Book of Boba Fett on Disney+, masterminded by the dream team of Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez - I mean, how can you miss? Despite the talent behind the show, I can't help but feel slightly disappointed by the end result. Flashbacks in the first four episodes reveal how Boba changed following his escape from the Sarlacc, but such an angle is slightly meaningless when we never got to see him as a fully fleshed-out character before the Sarlacc. On that note, the flashbacks should have instead featured Daniel Logan as Boba in his prime prior to A New Hope, but one supposes that a structure of watching him collect bounties and being a badass was already used for The Mandalorian. The main storyline of the first four episodes is hit-and-miss, with a distinct lack of any show-stopping action set-pieces. We also get a young biker gang who look like something out of a Power Rangers movie - I'm sure everybody would've greatly preferred characters like Bossk on hand to help, instead. Things like vehicular chases and a train heist are underwhelming, though it is interesting to see Fett kicking butt without his armour. Nevertheless, there's no getting around the fact that this is 'Disney Boba Fett' who's gone soft, rather than the ruthless bounty hunter we have long thought him to be. Temuera Morrison himself has talked about taking off the helmet too often and saying too much dialogue ruining the character's mystique, and he's absolutely correct - this is another case of a character being less interesting when he's the main focus.

Luckily, things improve for the fifth and sixth episodes, which, yes, are just new episodes of The Mandalorian and Boba only features briefly in one of those episodes. The digital Luke Skywalker looks incredible in the sixth episode, showing that digital recreating such characters is now ready for prime time after several misses (Rogue One and the Mandalorian S2 finale). The series finale luckily sticks the landing, with director Rodriguez finally cutting loose and delivering the type of action we've wanted to see since that standout episode of The Mandalorian. It's a blast to see Fett and Din Djarin working together to blast away hundreds of enemies, and Fett finally gets his edge back during a brutal showdown with fan favourite Cad Bane. Rodriguez goes bonkers during the finale, paying off the introduction of a Rancor and letting every character get their moment to shine. It's goofy as hell but extremely entertaining, executed with incredible confidence and production values. Whenever I feel like rewatching this show, I think I'll just stick with episodes 5-7. With that said, though, it is cathartic to watch Boba escape the Sarlacc in the first episode, as brief as the sequence might be - I watch it at least once a week, to make up for all the times I've watched Return of the Jedi and seen him be knocked into the pit.

I would like a second season... With the return of badass Fett.


Viewed: Season 1

I can't say I followed the production of Reacher with any great interest, especially since news of a certain book series being adapted for TV drops at least twice a day and has begun to lose meaning. Luckily, my non-existent expectations were confidently surpassed with Amazon Prime's interpretation of the titular character, which nails the Jack Reacher of the books. Rather than someone of Tom Cruise's stature, we get the muscular monster that is Alan Ritchson, an intimidating presence who also proves himself as an actor. Plus, in stark contrast to the PG-13 movies, this is an extremely violent TV show which is, again, more faithful to the books. One standout sequence is the major action set-piece in the final episode which doesn't shy away from bloodshed, while some of the smaller action beats scattered throughout these debut 8 episodes are just as vicious. With the TV format, the show has ample time to develop these characters properly and authentically; aside from Reacher, both Finlay and Roscoe are fantastic characters, and it's easy to become invested in their respective fates. The series isn't perfect, and it's not like it ever becomes more than a skilful action-thriller story, but it's rock-solid and it's one of my favourite things currently on TV. I mean, it's not afraid to showcase a white man as a hero, there are no politics, and there's no unnecessary gender-swapping (looking at you, The Equalizer). I'm looking forward to many more seasons of this fantastic show. Between this and Jack Ryan, I've got a good reason to stay subscribed to Amazon Prime!


Viewed: Season 1

Peacemaker delivers the type of pure joy that only James Gunn can create. Written by Gunn over the course of a few weeks during COVID lockdowns in 2020 out of sheer anxiety, this is an uproarious and highly entertaining debut season which once again demonstrates Gunn's unparalleled skill when it comes to quirky ensembles. First things first, the opening title sequence is perhaps the best in history - set to the retro rock tune "Do Ya Wanna Taste It" by Wig Wam, the cast engages in a fun dance routine with completely blank expressions...and Eagley also gets involved. The humour throughout Peacemaker is pure James Gunn, and John Cena continues to show that he's a comedic force to be reckoned with, especially when given the right material. Another standout here is Freddie Stroma as Vigilante; he's hilarious and charismatic beyond words. The show also delivers in the action scenes, maintaining the same level of violence glimpsed in The Suicide Squad, which is such a pleasure to see for a superhero show in 2022. The climactic action set-piece is a pure treat. The only drawback is the touch of politics, with characters lecturing the audience about hot topics like race and climate change. Such things are completely unnecessary and feel like pandering to a certain political crowd. Thankfully, instances of dialogue like this are sparse. I'm also slightly baffled that the show is only in HD as opposed to 4K HDR. I guess that's a HBO Max decision, but that will need to change considering that Disney+ and Netflix original shows are 4K HDR. Nevertheless, Peacemaker is a home run and I can't wait to see more.


Viewed: Season 4

Wellington Paranormal is one of my favourite current TV shows, and I'm happy to report that the fourth and reportedly final season delivers another six episodes of fast-paced hilarity. It adheres to the set formula with each episode centring around a paranormal figure or object for Officers O'Leary and Minogue to investigate, and some of the stories during the season are absolute crackers. The pairing of O'Leary and Minogue remains a treat, while Sergeant Maaka continues to steal scenes and score huge laughs. The writing is still razor-sharp and there are no signs of fatigue, though it's disappointing that there are no appearances from other What We Do in the Shadows characters this season. (I would love to see the show crossover with the American TV show for an episode. That would be brilliant.) It saddens me that this show has come to an end so soon after a mere 25 episodes - it's quite simply not enough. At the very least, it would be nice to see a proper finale in the form of an hourlong special, though I guess something could eventuate in the future. Then again, four brilliant seasons is one hell of a legacy. If you appreciate this style of comedy, you must check out Wellington Paranormal.


Viewed: Seasons 1&2

I've heard a lot about Ted Lasso since it debuted in 2020, all of it insanely positive. With my free 12 months of Apple TV+ coming to an end in a matter of days, I hurriedly binged the first two seasons of this feel-good comedy-drama - and I have no regrets about doing so. Blessed with a pitch-perfect ensemble cast (led by Jason Sudeikis who's just sublime as Ted) and an incredible selection of writers, Ted Lasso is full of heart and humour, and I was completely invested in the story and characters early into the first season. There is a moment between Ted and Rebecca in the episode "All Apologies" late in the first season (you'll know it when you see it) which brought tears to my eyes, and reiterated how much I've grown to love this show. I became invested in every failure and success, and I appreciated that one of the show's most unlikeable characters (Jamie) was given the chance to redeem himself in a way that feels true to life as opposed to contrived. There are ample surprises throughout Ted Lasso of this ilk, which is a huge part of its charm. The show looks gorgeous to boot, with authentic production design and slick digital photography bringing this world to life. Although the show revolves around the world of soccer, it's not really about soccer - it's about people. Barely any football action is even shown. Thus, the show is accessible to everyone, even if you don't like sports.

As much as I love Ted Lasso, I do have an issue with the structure of the second season since Apple turned around and ordered two additional episodes late in the game. As a result, there's a Christmas episode and a completely pointless Beard-centric episode. While the Christmas episode is quite good, it contributes nothing from a story standpoint and feels divorced from the overarching story. Ditto for "Beard After Hours," which is also just an oddly unenjoyable episode that diminished my liking for Coach Beard and gave me second thoughts about the Scorsese film on which it is based. I mean, yes, the writers were faced with a hard decision to create two episodes out of nowhere when the season was already mapped out, but they surely could've done a better job than "Beard After Hours," which I'll be skipping for any rewatches.

A third season of Ted Lasso is coming in 2022 which will reportedly be its last. According to Sudeikis, they planned a three-season arc from the start and intend to follow it, which I completely admire. I'm also more confident about the storytelling for the upcoming third season given that it was twelve episodes from the start and they won't need to improvise unnecessary filler again.


Viewed: All eight episodes

The Pamela Anderson sex tape is endemic to popular culture, immortalised through jokes and references (including one particular scene in 2006's Borat), to the point that the actress is synonymous with the video. Pam & Tommy reveals the wild true-life story behind the sex tape, looking at how it was stolen and distributed, while also depicting the relationship between the titular pair who got married after only knowing each other for a matter of days. It's a story that I certainly wasn't aware of, and had me instantly jumping onto Google to find out how much of it is actually truthful - as it turns out, it's largely accurate, at least in terms of the broad strokes. The resulting miniseries is a compelling human drama despite the inherent sleaziness of the source material, and it's actually surprising that something so graphic and occasionally uncomfortable could even be produced in 2022. The casting is absolutely spot-on, with Lily James and Sebastian Stan looking almost too convincing as Pam and Tommy, respectively. The insanely detailed and convincing make-up, combined with their fully immersive performances, renders their portrayals wholly definitive and it's hard to imagine them ever being topped. The period recreation and production values, on the whole, are staggering from top to bottom, while the soundtrack is also filled with awesome period-specific tunes that thoroughly evoke the 1990s. I do feel that some of the dialogue is too on-the-nose and cute, and the miniseries does feel its extraordinary length from time to time, but these are minor criticisms. It's also unfortunate that Pamela herself refused to be involved in the creative process, particularly since the show is fully on her side - I mean, hell, Tommy looks like an absolute douche and he consulted with the creators and met with Sebastian Stan.

I wouldn't say that Pam & Tommy is essential television per se, but it is well worth your time and it's a story worth telling.


Viewed: Seasons 1&2

Let's not mince words here: Chappelle's Show is pure genius. My comfort show for several months that I savoured (in much the same way as Da Ali G Show), I can't say enough positive things about this television gem from the early 2000s which helped turn Dave Chappelle into a household name. It seems that almost every comedian has had their own show following this format, but Chappelle was committed to quality over quantity - and quit the show, effectively cancelling a third season, purely for artistic reasons despite standing to make several millions of dollars. The laughs come quick and fast, and there are ample instantly iconic skits which are now viewed millions of times around the world on social media. Sure, not every sketch is a home run, but there are far more hits than misses - and with each episode clocking in at 20 minutes or less, it's easily digestible and the weaker scenes don't stretch on for too long. The early 2000s vibe is unmistakable and endearing, and Chappelle's brand of comedy was (and still is) wildly audacious; network TV wouldn't allow anything this offensive to air nationwide in 2022. I was sad when I got to the final episode, but I plan to rewatch this show again and again.


Viewed: Season 1

Moon Knight is yet another hit-and-miss Disney+ Marvel TV show, and it is brought down by the same flaws that have handicapped the other MCU shows made for the streamer. First and foremost, it concentrates on the least interesting aspects of the character and the story, with tonnes of narrative filler which leads nowhere and murders the pace. Take, for instance, the inclusion of the main character’s wife who is present for no reason other than to detract story focus and...become yet another strong female Marvel hero who’s a better hero than the namesake of the show. It is also really telling that the six-episode series contains less action than a typical Marvel movie despite being double the length. The whole concept in the first instance is that the split personality means we only see one perspective for the first few episodes, but that only denies us the chance to see some really cool, brutal fights - we don’t see the ceremonial armour very much at all throughout the series. It’s not that we need infinite action, but if the narrative itself is not overly interesting and the pacing is all over the place (the asylum episode is pure filler), there isn’t enough to compensate. I would be interested in seeing some kind of fan edit which compresses the series into a two-hour movie. On a more positive note, I liked the way that the show sometimes feels like the 1999 The Mummy, and the violence is a bit more brutal than what we usually see in Marvel movies (even though it’s nowhere near the brutality of the Netflix shows). Oscar Isaac is also a terrific pick for the lead role, and he manages to play Steven and Mark distinctively; the facial expressions tell you which he is at any given time, to say nothing of the accents. Overall, the show has its moments, but not enough of them.


Viewed: All three seasons

Upper Middle Bogan came to my attention courtesy of Kath and Kim fans, who stated that the show has a similar vibe and characters. With Upper Middle Bogan leaving Netflix in May, I decided it was time to binge the series so I didn't miss out. And, boy, I'm glad I took the plunge - this is easily one of my favourite Australian sitcoms of all time. Key to the show's success is the impeccable ensemble cast, with not a single weak link among them. The standouts are, of course, the bogan Wheelers who feel like an authentic Australian family who enjoy the simple pleasures in life, deeply love one another, and believe in traditional values. It's a hilarious contrast against the family of the protagonist, Bess, who's more upper class and is initially horrified to learn she's the biological daughter of bogans. Yet, the ensemble cast all share amazing chemistry, and it's the depth of each respective character which makes this show such a fantastic watch - they all have their own struggles and dreams, with successes and failures. And, for Australians, you feel like you've met these people in real-life due to how realistic and authentic they are. Added to this, Upper Middle Bogan is just hilarious all the way through, never showing signs of fatigue or becoming forced, even when the show returned for its third season after a two-year hiatus. As with most shows of this ilk, I'm now depressed that I'm out of episodes, as I grew such a big connection to the show and these people. The (outstanding, cathartic) finale was indeed bittersweet in that sense, but at least I can rewatch the show again and again - and I can explore the deleted scenes and bloopers on the DVDs that I bought before even finishing the show.

I wish there were more shows like this.


Viewed: Season 1

It gives me no pleasure to state that Obi-Wan Kenobi is an enormous disappointment. Rumblings of an Obi-Wan movie have existed for years, ever since Disney bought the franchise, and it was an exciting prospect to see a TV series featuring the return of Ewan McGregor in the title role. The problem is that this is Disney Star Wars, with a bone-headed woke agenda, a lead character who's now a coward, forced diversity, and, most predictable of all, a bait-and-switch angle. You see, Obi-Wan is barely the main character in his own show... this show is all about introducing Reva and young Leia who are the real protagonists. And in a show with Obi-Wan, Darth Vader and the Grand Inquisitor, it's so crushing to see potential being thrown aside in favour of agenda. Up until the final episode of the show, Obi-Wan is weak and cowardly. An early showdown with Vader is a complete disappointment, as Obi-Wan doesn't even seem to try to defend himself, and the subsequent escape from Vader (with fire separating him from Obi-Wan) is some of the most idiotic and contrived writing ever seen in a Star Wars movie. Also, the first person in Star Wars history to survive being stabbed through the chest with a lightsaber is Reva, the diversity hire. Come on! Furthermore, the attempts at comedy are ill-advised and come off as contrived as hell, such as Leia mumbling "Grandfather is more like it..." when Obi-Wan says he will pose as her father. Kumail Nanjiani's character is also extremely annoying, mugging the camera for laughs.

The return of Hayden Christensen was also exciting, and it's great to see more of Vader being a badass villain, but it does lack a genuine show-stopping set-piece like the hallway massacre in Rogue One. It's also distracting to see a 40-year-old Hayden playing a teenager in the prequel era again. Given the de-ageing techniques used for Luke in The Book of Boba Fett, it's baffling that no attempt was made to make Hayden look like a teen again. The production values are otherwise impressive, with the show looking largely cinematic. A showdown in the final episode between Kenobi and Vader is a highlight, but it's intercut with a poorly motivated attempt by Reva to kill Luke. There is also the fact that Leia has no idea who Obi-Wan is during the events of A New Hope, even though he saved her during this series. Overall, this show has its pleasures but there are too many drawbacks, and it's crushing to see the fan community at large being so unsatisfied with what should be a complete slam dunk. I feel pure apathy for Star Wars in Disney's hands, and now I'm not even sure if the next season of The Mandalorian will be any good.

If there's a season two, can we please get better writers? Please?


Viewed: All 9 episodes

I'm not entirely sure why Man vs. Bee is a TV show as opposed to a movie. With only nine pint-sized episodes (most of which only run for 10 minutes), there is scarcely 100 minutes of content during this season and it plays out like a movie. But here we are, and Man vs. Bee exists as a very easily binge-able Netflix series - and it's a lot of fun. Rowan Atkinson has this sort of physical comedy down to a fine art; this is essentially a more talkative Mr Bean trying his hand at housesitting, and it's surprisingly enjoyable. Although not a patch on classic Mr Bean, this is still a slick, funny and easily digestible production, and it's clear that Atkinson had fun making it. It's inoffensive, too, so it will appeal to most age groups. I can't see myself watching this again and again, but I'm glad I gave it my time.


Viewed: Season 6

I can't remember the last time I followed a TV show on a week-by-week basis from the first episode until the last over multiple years; Better Call Saul might be the first time for me. Indeed, I watched the premiere episode on the week it landed, and I watched the final episode on the night it was released, and I've kept up to date in between. And what a knockout final season this truly is, confidently exceeding my expectations with the last selection episodes we might ever see within the Breaking Bad universe. The acting is incredible right across the board, with Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn carrying the show, surrounded by an able selection of supporting actors, including the likes of Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks. Naturally, like the previous seasons, these final 13 episodes unfold at their own pace and are deliberately slow at times, but I would never call this show boring or uneventful, and the payoffs are always extraordinary. The writing remains top-notch all the way through to the end, and it was amazing to watch the final few episodes on a week-by-week basis; this brings back memories of Breaking Bad's superb final season which similarly stuck the landing. The final season had the unenviable task of completing the prequel timeline, filling in any gaps during the Breaking Bad timeline and giving Saul an ending in the post-Breaking Bad timeline, but the writers manage to pull it off without anything feeling rushed or underdone. There are so many standout episodes in this season, with the likes of "Point and Shoot" being almost unbearable in terms of tension. My heart sank when I realised the prequel timeline was over and we would never again see Saul carry out one of his schemes with Kim. And, likewise, my heart sank when the final episode finished; I kept watching the credits hoping for something more. This is an amazing television show in every respect, and it's incredible that we got a Breaking Bad prequel which didn't diminish the brand name. If you've never watched this show, now is the time to binge.


Viewed: Season 4

Another year, another fantastic season of What We Do in the Shadows, which is still one of my favorite shows currently airing. Somehow, the creative spark of the show is still present, and none of the show's leads have left at this point (Mark Proksch returns as the creature who crawled out of Colin Robinson's corpse, with his face being placed onto babies and small children... it is gold). Not every episode is a hit necessarily, but there are some excellent ideas and episodes throughout this 10-episode season, including one episode which is shot, edited and presented to be an episode of a renovation reality TV show (and the payoff is magical). The lore of the world is further explored, and there is more welcome development for the main characters. I love watching these actors play their characters, as they have their roles down pat and continue to have a lot of fun. It's probably fortuitous that the show is only 10 episodes per season, as the writing quality remains top-notch and we continue to reliably get one season per year, even despite the COVID slowdowns. Even better, new seasons now debut in the lead-up to Halloween time, which is appropriate. Plus, shorter seasons means the actors are available for other projects and hopefully won't burn out or lose interest. The show has already been renewed for another two seasons which I eagerly await.


Viewed: All episodes

I've been meaning to watch this one for several years, especially since I wrote a script for an Australian Christmas movie, but, due to my prevailing interest in films, it was not a priority. As it turns out, however, A Moody Christmas was perfect viewing for my Christmas Eve, and I gladly binged all six episodes in a single sitting. Rather than building up to a single Christmas like a movie would do, each half-hour episode of A Moody Christmas is set on Christmas, showing the Christmas Day festivities for another year. In other words, it cuts right to the chase and I greatly appreciated how refreshing that felt. The attention to detail is staggering here, from the decor of a typical Australian home, to the types of festive decorations we expect to see, and even the costume choices (lots of thongs and sandals, one character has white joggers and white socks all the time, and the daggy Christmas outfits ring true). The show always feels authentic, and incorporates many of my country's holiday traditions, from carols in the park to wearing paper crowns from bonbons at Christmas lunch, and all manner of alcoholic beverages complete with stubby holders. The characters also feel real, though some characters are somewhat archetypal and broad by design. The narrative through-line relates to Dan Moody, who flies from London to Sydney every Christmas to dutifully visit his immediate family, and has feelings for Cora, who is often in a relationship with his cousin. The progression of the family throughout the years is fun to see, and I grew extremely attached to the characters and invested in their personal lives - by the end, I knew their names and felt like I came to know them as people, rather than characters. How fortunate, then, that I still have an additional eight episodes about this family to watch in the new year. Some aspects of the story don't sit right, include an awkward side plot involving a homeless person who steals from the family without consequences, not to mention Annie Maynard's Ukrainian accent is cartoonish at best, but the show still has far more successes than failures. It's funny and touching, and accurately depicts what life is like in Australia during the Christmas period. I've since purchased the DVD and I look forward to watching it again and again.


Viewed: Season 3

I have something of a strange relationship with The Boys. As much as I admire the show for a myriad of reasons, I can't say I'm ever necessarily compelled to binge it or watch it on a weekly basis; instead, I just watch episodes here and there when I have time, rather than making time to watch several episodes because I'm hooked. Still, this isn't to impugn the show as a whole, as I still quite like it, and the third season is extremely solid. It retains the polished, cinema-level production values we have come to expect from the series, the story remains interesting, and the season's secret weapon is Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy. The overarching Soldier Boy arc is compelling, and it has gotten to the point where I'm not sure which of the main characters will actually survive at this point in the show, which amps up the tension a hundredfold during the key showdowns. There are some standout episodes in this season, including the iconic "Herogasm" which will be referenced for many years to come, and there are some truly memorable scenes such as one involving a shrinking man entering his gay lover's genitals. To say more and spoil the secrets within would be unthinkable. I still love the cast, especially Karl Urban who remains a note-perfect Billy Butcher, while Anthony Starr is formidable as Homelander. The only downfall of this season, in my mind, is the way it starts to pander to progressive politics, wandering into issues that are too complicated and controversial by simply repeating talking points from both sides without going into any true nuance. This is minor, however. It's a shame that the wait time between seasons of this show remains so long. Bring on the fourth season!


Viewed: Season 1

Despite practically nobody wanting this series, or asking for it, or even looking forward to it, Andor is arguably the best thing to emerge from the Disney Star Wars era. This is resolutely a Star Wars show for adults, more concerned with espionage and intricate politics than nostalgia or colourful action sequences. Masterminded by Tony Gilroy (who oversaw the reshoots for Rogue One), this is a rock-solid and frequently engrossing television series that once again reinvents what a Star Wars product can be. Moving away from the virtual reality stage used for previous Star Wars shows on Disney+, Andor was shot on location and on beautifully vast sets, which gives it a unique visual aesthetic that's further spiced up by the polished cinematography which does not look like classical Star Wars. The production design is equally unique, with sets looking more like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and it's fascinating to see another side to the Empire and the Resistance. There are action sequences, of course, and they are spectacular; brutal, memorable and beautifully staged. It doesn't carry the appearance of a television show; it's clear that everyone involved strived to make something cinema-quality, and the effort paid off. It's arguably too good to be relegated to Disney+. Perhaps most miraculously of all is that the show is free of agenda. Whereas the Obi-Wan Kenobi show was mired in its feminist overtones, Andor's diversity is not forced or in your face; the ensemble feels organic to the story. It doesn't need to put men down to raise women, or satisfy diversity quotas - the show is diverse without shoving an agenda in our faces, and that's precisely what we need in contemporary cinema (and TV). Admittedly, it is slow-moving and drawn-out, sometimes painfully so, and these pacing issues do reoccur in most episodes, but the show gets far more right than wrong. Andor was originally designed as a five-season show that recounts a year in Andor's life leading up to Rogue One, but the cost was deemed too prohibitive, and the show will only last two seasons instead. Although it's a shame that we won't see everything that the writers had planned, it does mean that there will likely be less filler and the storytelling will be more proficient in the upcoming second season, which I can't wait to watch.

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Cal's Viewing Diaries (22 lists)
list by PvtCaboose91
Published 5 years, 4 months ago 1 comment
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list by lalaman
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