We Wish You a Merry New Year, and Lots of TV!
Hello again, all! Happy New Year! I hope it finds you well.
To begin, my everlasting thanks to K and P, for suggesting The Good Place. It quickly became one of my ‘can’t wait!’s of the week, for sure. Ted Danson is a national treasure, unquestionably. Also, I’ve been getting caught up on The Orville, and it has been so much more than I expected it would be, and quite a bit better.
Okay. On to the new.
The Punisher. Duh. Violent (sorry, A!), but such a redemption for Netflix from Iron Fist. Personally, I enjoyed The Defenders, overall, though it was pretty unconscionable what they did to all of the sidekick-type characters (all those wonderful characters and you just throw them in a room and forget about them? Really, Netflix!?). But The Punisher brings them back to what made Daredevil so great; namely, excellent storytelling.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Duh. Even before the show won a couple of Golden Globes, I was recommending it to everyone. It’s on Amazon Prime, sadly, but is definitely worth finding a way to watch, if you can. It’s about a 1950s housewife-turned-standup-comic, and is just delightful in so many ways.
DuckTales. Nostalgia duh. I loved the original DuckTales as a kid, so them making the decision to reboot the series, especially with David Tennant as Scrooge, was a no-brainer for me. And, to my personal eye, they’ve held true to the original, which is great to see.
Mindhunter. Not exactly a ‘duh’, but definitely worth the time. It looks at the development of behavioral psychology as a discipline, specifically as applied by the FBI to identify and begin to understand serial killers. It’s not generally directly violent, but it’s got a lot of disturbing descriptions and images of gruesomeness, so do be warned. It’s also heavily based on real-life events, so, while it’s not a documentary per se, it’s nonetheless very much real, in many ways.
Finally, Shrink, which I somehow missed when it first came out (spring of 2017, I think), but have been very much enjoying. It’s a comedy about a guy in Chicago who went to med school but couldn’t become a doctor, so turns to psychiatry instead, despite being $500,000 in debt. To obtain his license regardless, he decides to see people for free. It’s been silly and definitely cringe-worthy, quite a bit, but overall, it’s been pretty great.
Okay, on to the things that are solid, but can be missed if you choose.
First on that list is a couple of cop shows – Tin Star and Absentia. Tin Star is about a sheriff in small-town Canada who suspects that a local gas company might be murdering locals and covering it up, to obtain their land for drilling. The opening is not exactly family-friendly, though, so do be warned if you go into this one. Absentia, on the other hand, is about an FBI agent who goes missing and is found after six years, and after being declared dead, and who needs to find a way to get back into her life while dealing with the aftermath and fallout of her kidnapping. Both are pretty much what you’d expect, but there are definitely worse things out there to watch (and believe me, I’m sure I’ve seen some of them).
Next, we have Valor. This one is about a couple of US Army helicopter pilots who, while on a mission that goes sideways, make a choice that leads them into a conspiracy they then try to unravel, while helping to bring back one of their compatriots. The show has its flaws, certainly, but one of the things I’ve appreciated about it is that it hasn’t been a “the military is always good, no matter what” kind of thing, like can happen sometimes. It does, in its way, challenge the notion of the inherent goodness of the government.
I’m going to include a trio of superhero picks here, though I suspect at least one of them will be controversial – Marvel’s Runaways, The Gifted and Inhumans. Each deals with superheros in their own way. Runaways is about a group of teens who begin to realize that their parents might in fact be pretty terrible people, while at the same time finding they have powers the didn’t know about before. The Gifted is another X-Men-verse show, set in a world where much of the populace has turned on mutants, about a family needing to come to grips with the notion that mutants are, on the whole, very much human, after the two children are revealed to themselves have powers. Inhumans is a completely different premise, about a race of superhuman beings who live on the moon, and who go through a mutation process to reveal their powers upon reaching a certain age. But there’s a giant teleporting bulldog, so it’s all cool. But seriously, I enjoyed it quite a bit, though I should add that it’s very much a show that bypasses any pretense of normal life, and as such, can get pretty damn absurd at times.
To round out this installment, here’s a show whose first episode was promising, and could be a pretty great comedy – LA to Vegas. I expected a dumb, unfunny sitcom, and instead found myself rather tickled by the dysfunction of the characters. It just started, so could certainly go south FAST, but for now, I’m remaining hopeful that it will continue to be enjoyable and entertaining.
I’m going to leave it there, as I figure this is long enough. There are several shows that I would NOT recommend, based on what I’ve seen so far (Ghost Wars, Superstition, and Knightfall), but I don’t see much point in discussing them beyond this mention, so I won’t.
As always, let me know what I got wrong, what’s missing, or your own thoughts on all of this, and I hope y’all are doin’ well! Stay warm!