Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017: My Year in Television

At last, my television list is here. Unfortunately, due to a lackadaisical interest in movies this year, and a bunch of last minute release date/limited release only funny business from the film distributors, my film list must trail behind much further. Maybe it will be ready by February?  
     Below I have written about my year in television, some are my favorites, some were admirable in other ways. All these shows were very significant to my experience of the year in some way. It may seem like I included every show I watched, but this is not the case. This year, Fear the Walking Dead does not make it, nor does The Walking Dead. Then there is the witty Patriot from Amazon, and the glamorous Z: The Beginning of Everything, also from Amazon.  
     I am still working on Black Mirror but that is also absent. I am also still working on Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, but still haven’t finished it. Other shows not here are: Ozark, The Americans (quite addictive), Ash vs. the Evil Dead (despite some great effects), Jean Claude Van Johnson (still in progress, but something is lacking), One Mississippi, Iron Fist, The Punisher (also not finished), and Homeland.
     Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten around to The Crown or Orphan Black.
Big Little Lies

     When I saw Reese Witherspoon on an HBO banner ad, I was like, “What is that?!” Turns out, she was in a new series called Big Little Lies. She is one of the latest major movie staples to appear in a leading role on television. If Reese wasn’t enough, the young Shailene Woodley also appears here. Nicole Kidman got the meatiest role, and Laura Dern was here, too, but Reese and Shailene are the lovely actresses who sold me on this.
     Another neat thing about this series is that it’s set in the Monterey, California area, a very rare setting for film and television. While not a favorite of mine, I can’t deny the strength of the series and my faithfulness to it.
Twin Peaks

     I was turned on to this by a critic who said it outpaced the current season of Game of Thrones. This riled me up big time, and so I had to watch it. I started near the end of the season, and it didn’t take me long to binge it. This season had that dreamy, trance-like quality that I often enjoy in television shows. This show had uniquely avant-garde, art-house style sequences, and that has to be admired.
      Like Ewan McGregor in Fargo, Kyle MacLachlan portrays two characters, one clean cut and buttoned down (FBI Agent Dale Cooper), and the other with wildly long hair (Evil Cooper). He is fascinating. Like myself, Agent Cooper has a love of coffee. I must add that I was surprised by the appearance of Amanda Seyfried, but her character didn’t do much for me. More impressive was David Lynch’s major screen time as FBI Director Gordon Cole, which is rather intoxicating. Then there is the surprise of David Duchovny in a cameo as trans woman Denise. Laura Dern also shows up in a significant role.
     However, my favorite actor in this was Michael Horse as Deputy Chief Tommy “Hawk” Hill. His scenes have such a peculiar delivery, which results in a sort of dry humor, which many may not appreciate. His colleague, Deputy Andy Brennan (played by Harry Goaz), is similarly amusing, at times hilarious, with his quiet, yet similarly offbeat delivery. Then there is Kimmy Robertson as Lucy Brennan, a lovable secretary at the sheriff station with her own brand of offbeat characterization. Finally, there is Robert Forster as Sheriff Frank Truman, a warm yet relatively normal presence at the station. In fact, my favorite scenes play out at the Sheriff station, or involve these characters. 
Michael Horse
     Once again not a real favorite due to the ending, but this had some of the most sublime television moments of 2017. Furthermore, after finishing this, I binged the original run of Twin Peaks on Amazon Prime, often with plenty of donuts!
Game of Thrones

     This year made real many scenes only hinted at in prior years, such as dragons releasing flames upon Westeros, and beyond the wall. And Jon Snow meeting up with Daenerys Targaryen and reuniting with Tyrion Lannister.
Arya and Sansa Stark have rediscovered each other, leading to a satisfying fate for a major creep. Vengeance continues to be sweet, as well as liberation.
     Cersei Lannister reveals that she is absolutely irredeemable. Jaime Lannister remains torn between blood-bound lust and morality. Both take the rest of the Tyrells out of the game.
     Theon Greyjoy is rediscovering himself and showing that there is hope yet for the ironborn. Euron Greyjoy had perhaps the most savory and devastating moments of all the villains this season.
     Samwell Tarly luckily comes across the dying Ser Jorah Mormont in the Citadel, and miraculously saves him. A sort of dream team forms to fight for the living, including The Brotherhood Without Banners (shout out to Beric Dondarrion and Thoros). The wheels are in motion and balance will be restored to a chaotic culture.
     There may be problems with this season, such as accelerated rates of travel between distant lands. The build-up was so deliberate and painstaking, and now things are hurtling toward the inexorable conclusion. I urge you to remember how Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King (not that it was a perfect film, either, but it did win the big Oscar) did much the same thing and just enjoy the rest of the ride while it lasts.
Stranger Things

     I was so excited for this season, and because of that, I feared this season would disappoint on some level. Fortunately, stranger things have happened than a sequel to a fan favorite being every bit as good as the original.
     This year brought new residents to Hawkins, Indiana. Sean Astin turns out to be a surprisingly steadfast and nurturing presence as a father figure to Will Byers and boyfriend to Joyce, Will’s mother. Honestly, I just think of Joyce as the Winona Ryder character. For some reason, I had my suspicions of Sean Astin, fearing that he couldn’t sell his belonging in the Duffers’ world, but stranger things have happened indeed.
     Another new face was that of the frightening Billy Hargrove (played by Dacre Montgomery), but I just think of him as the big, scary stepbrother of the redhead. Billy stands out for a few reasons: he drives cars real fast, he pumps iron while smoking, he charms older women, he stares daggers into his perceived adversaries, and he will get under your skin. Of course, his top two accomplishments this season were psychologically abusing his stepsister, and laying out Steve Harrington (last year’s tough guy).       Paul Reiser shows up as Dr. Sam Owens. Once again, I just think of this guy as the Paul Reiser replacement of Mathew Modine. Paul Reiser has some surprises up his sleeve, showing that people deserve a chance to prove themselves.
     My favorite new resident was the redhead, properly known as Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink). She charms her way into the group. There are moments where she is left out of pivotal conversations, which many can assuredly relate to. She is a whiz gamer and skateboarder, which should make her a punk, in my book, but I couldn’t resist her outspoken energy. Interesting trivia: my mom said Sadie Sink appeared on Good Morning America, and that Sadie was a total sucker for candy, apparently loving everything. Her indiscriminate taste buds, or simply immense sweet tooth, make me like her character that much more. Trivia: host George Stephanopoulos didn’t like any candy.
     Then there is another new face, a non-resident, Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman), who is a conspiracy buff of great warmth and humor. Ultimately, we get to witness some match-making from this wise recluse.   
     Then there are all the original residents. When I think of the show, Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler is always the first face that comes to mind. There is something so mesmerizing about this kid. He is the ultimate best friend.
     Gatan Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson gives Finn the closest run for his money at being the face of the show. Not to despair, as Dustin Henderson is the heart of the show, in my book, Finn being the runner-up in this case. I will always remember him for his Lando Calrissian line in the first season, but this time he has some great lines concerning the rule of law.
     Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair is the reality checker much of the time. Then again, sometimes he’s the one in need of mediation. This year he finds romantic sparks and he also finds himself in need of forgiveness due to his fear of outsiders.
     Will Byers is more prominent this time, being back at home. Unfortunately, the dark forces of the Upside Down are not done with him, and things get quite chilling when we realize that Will cannot be trusted.
     Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) gets the biggest reveal of the season, being presumed dead. Her thread is by far the emotional center of the season. She misses Mike, and Mike misses her. She also misses the world. It’s ironic that she should escape one prison, only to find herself in another. There was one scene near the end, featuring her, that gave me chills and gooseflesh. When such a pure moment occurs when watching entertainment, it is transcendent. Last year, I didn’t fully appreciate her character, but now I have seen the error of my ways. I now look at Eggo waffles a different way, too.
     Then there is the teen trio. Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler returns preoccupied with the fate of her friend from last season. Fans of her pairing with Jonathan Byers last season, will enjoy a new pairing up this season. Speaking of Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton), he continues to be the character I most identify with, having his penchant for photography, lone wolf vibe, and continuing feelings for a woman who seems out of reach. Joe Keery as Steve Harrington (Nancy’s boyfriend) also continued to illicit sympathy.
     David Harbour is the driver of some of the greatest tension of this season. Fearing for Eleven, he keeps her on lockdown in a remote cabin, which eventually blows out of his control, leading to some riveting adventures for Eleven.
     Lastly, Winona Ryder finally gets to show a more balanced side of her character, thanks to Will being back. I am happy that one of my favorite actresses found this role.
     Lest I forget, Randy Havens returns as the cool science teacher, Mr. Clarke. More than any other character, he seems to bridge the worlds of the kids and the adults.
     Stranger Things is truly a cinematic experience. Put it next to Super 8 or It (similar youth-centered genre films), and you might be even more impressed with this one.  This is one of the greatest sequels ever made. The Duffer Brothers sure know how to sell. 

     When I learned that this was about the son of Professor X coming to realize who he is, I had to watch. When I experienced his torment by a dark parasitical mutant, I was enthralled. Legion is one of the most powerful characters ever, and I love seeing the folly of mere mortals who attempt to control him. This show had some truly experimental scenes, some involving the astral plane and fantastic mindscapes (just peak at the above scene). After watching this, I was obsessed with who were the most powerful superheroes, so I researched it online. I found, which ranks the powers of villains and heroes, and Legion is near the top. However, Spectre seems to be the top! Where are all the movies?

     I was intrigued when I learned that this show was based on the Archie comics, which my mom was a big fan of as a kid. I was hooked by the supple beauty of both Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper and Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge. Veronica is the naturally darker character, but Dark Betty will take your breath away. Anybody who doesn’t like that I openly find these women attractive should go fornicate with rotten fish carcasses, and probably marry them. Skeet Ulrich’s presence as the gangster father of Jughead was icing on the cake. K.J. Apa’s Archie is the dreamy male equivalent of his female counterparts.
Oh. The beauty, the beauty...
     Back to Jughead, he has the distinction of book-ending each episode with voice-over, which is apparently coming from his writing. This reminds me of CW’s Scream, in which the film buff begins and ends those episodes with narrated observations from his podcast. Both voices are fascinating to listen to and highly articulate for such young people. Moreover, I find these characters’ pursuits of documentation to be inspiring, wishing I was as consistent as them.
     Overall, this is not only one of CW’s best but one of the best overall.

     When I learned that Alison Brie (of Mad Men and Community fame), was starring in a 1980s set show about women wrestling, I was intrigued but skeptical. It turned out to be one of the Netflix gems of 2017.
     This show features the concept of selling and its importance to wrestling. The ladies’ auditioning and training process is difficult, as led by Marc Maron’s Sam Sylvia, a somewhat sleazy director of B-list movies, who’s under the pressure of putting together a female wrestling show that can sell to the public with all newcomers. Along the way, there are many fun moments featuring Alison Brie and the other women dressed in leotards reminiscent of Jane Fonda workouts.
     I should watch this again as I find myself forgetting much of the soundtrack, and many of the other characters, but I remember they were all enjoyable to witness.
Manhunt: Unabomber

      Once I made note of some major motion picture actors who had not yet done television (to my knowledge), and were unlikely to do so; one of them was Sam Worthington. So, I was immediately impressed with Sam Worthington’s starring role in this. The casting of Paul Bettany as Ted Kaczynski further cemented my interest in this series, which originally I was skeptical of.
     Manhunt: Unabomber is also the first original drama from the Discovery Channel to catch my attention. If that wasn’t enough reason, I was virtually an idiot on the Unabomber subject matter. So I was in. Then I watched the first episode, and I was really in.
     I’ve said it many times, but this could easily have been a mid-budget thriller at the multiplexes. Of course, that’s just surface. What about the story? There were numerous fascinating things in this.
     The field of forensic linguistics is born here. We have an inhumane villain who is surprisingly human and sympathetic. There is a flashback episode that gives a spellbinding glimpse behind the mug shot. Apparently, the well-known sketch was actually a sketch of the original sketch artist. Trust me, just watch the show for the full theory on that. Perhaps, what worked for me most was that anti-establishment, anti-system, anti-authority, individualistic and rebellious worldview that made films like The Matrix and Fight Club so sensational.
     This show is not for everybody. I was disappointed when one of the esteemed reviewers at didn’t like it as much as me. But, hey, nothing is for everybody. I say this is one explosive piece of television.
By the way, this was also new in 2017, but it’s a one-time only limited series. 

     This Netflix series is inspired by John Douglas’ book, Mindhunter, about the birth of criminal profiling, and, specifically, the career of John Douglas. I would say it’s also true to consider this series inspired by John Douglas’ complete body of work. I think it may have been more interesting to get a literal adaptation, rather than this fictionalization. I remember that I had a haunting, soul-hardening, enlightening experience during the summer after my first year of college listening to a library copy of Mindhunter on tape. This wasn’t on that level.
     Jonathan Groff plays Holden Ford (the John Douglas character of this series). Holden Ford seems to struggle more and be less naturally gifted than John Douglas. However, he is quite comfortable with interviewing twisted killers. Holt McCallany plays Bill Tench, Holden’s senior and mentor, and ultimately his partner in establishing the new unit, which will become the behavioral sciences unit. Unexpectedly, Anna Torv of Fringe shows up as a psychologist, Wendy Carr, who is recruited into the new unit to help with the actual scientific part of things.
     This series opens with an intense and gritty hostage negotiation. The interviews are the main events of this series and they can be quite chilly. All the killers portrayed are real life killers, most notably Ed Kemper, a killer who decapitated and defiled young women in the Santa Cruz area. This series is surprisingly cerebral, focusing on people talking as opposed to any action, or sex.
     Ultimately, there is much to savor here for those intrigued by true crime and, perhaps, those who simply enjoy smart thrillers.

     When I was browsing earlier in the year, a video ad for this series played, featuring high praise to accompany the exciting clips. I started watching and was instantly hooked by the moody opening title sequence. I never learned about Pablo Escobar, so this is an inherently fascinating glimpse, albeit dramatized, into fairly recent history. I haven’t yet gotten to the most recent season, still working on finishing the second season. It is interesting to note that I often find myself driving around at night while doing deliveries and find myself craving to return to the series when I get home.

     This show continued to portray Los Angeles as a beautifully fascinating world of crime and workplace politics. The villains this time were perhaps the best yet. Ultimately, I find Bosch’s relationship with his high school-aged daughter to be the most satisfying, followed by his relationship with his partner. And major revelations about Bosch’s murdered mother come to light.

     Once again, the big guy, Ethan Suplee as D, puts on the music of A Tribe Called Red when preparing for battle. He talks big, hits hard, and even finds romance! The antiques dealer, Carl, played by Clarke Peters (The Wire), further imbues his family estranged, homosexual black man with a Yoda-like wisdom and insight. Then there’s Chance, whose relationship with his troubled daughter, like Bosch, was particularly powerful this season. There is a particularly despicable villain this time around, and things get pretty dark, but this show finds the zen in between the shadows.

     Fortitude is a series set in and around an icy town in the Arctic Circle called Fortitude. This series is about gruesome murders surrounded by weird circumstances, which may or may not be supernatural. Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion in Game of Thrones) stars as the local sheriff. The first season featured Stanley Tucci in a special guest starring role as an out-of-town investigator. This season features Dennis Quaid. I love ice and snow, especially as a setting for intriguing stories like this.
American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story

     I remember the disappointment when The Playboy Club, starring Amber Heard, was cancelled after its second episode. I came to see this documentary series as a substitution to fill that void. Incidentally, I watched much of this show while being hulled up in an Extended Stay America hotel room while renovations were done on our apartment. There was something appropriate about having the complimentary coffee, hot chocolate and muffins to gorge on while vicariously indulging in Hugh Hefner’s excess and the gorgeous women he shared with the world and surrounded himself with.
     However, this series surprised me time after time. I didn’t know that the magazine was originally going to be entitled Stag Party. Nor did I know that Playboy was a car. Nor was I aware of Playboy’s Penthouse or Playboy After Dark. Nor did I appreciate how they invented the centerfold. Nor did I fully appreciate that the Los Angeles mansion was his second one, following Chicago. Nor did I realize his involvement in aviation and other industries. This was an attractively produced reminder of Hugh Hefner’s better contributions to the world.
Long Strange Trip

     The Grateful Dead was one of the bands that I was shamefully under aware and under appreciative of, for years. Incidentally, I took this particular trip after moving back into the apartment from the hotel. Now I have a proper appreciation of one of America’s most legendary bands.
Shark Week 2017

     This year, highlights included “Sharks and the City: LA,” “Sharks and the City: New York,” the gimmicky “Michael Phelps vs. Great White Shark,” and “Return to the Isle of Jaws.”
     Seeing how Santa Monica may be becoming a great white shark hotspot in “Sharks and the City: LA” is exciting (New York is similar). Then, whether or not Phelps could beat a shark in a race is not what makes his episode interesting. Rather, it is seeing Michael Phelps share the water with certain sharks and see his appreciation grow for these creatures. In “Return to the Isle of Jaws,” Andy Casagrande, my favorite shark week regular, returns to beautiful and remote Australian waters to observe great whites, and witnesses what appears to be twins, or even triplets, at one point. 
     In some ways, not as educational as 2016, but this was still a fascinating year in its own right.
The Vietnam War

     When Ken Burns releases another documentary series it is no less than a gift, years in the making, to anybody interested in our history. This time around, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (of Nine Inch Nails, of course) provide edgy, electronic music, a first for Ken Burns, who usually favors traditional, jazz, folk, and classical. He also employed the talents of the Silk Road Ensemble for their ability to create haunting oriental music with a traditional sound.
     This documentary had what seemed like an unprecedented focus on the Vietnamese perspective, especially that of the North Vietnamese. Moreover, this documentary provided that rich gathering of archival photographs and film footage that the Ken Burns viewers have come to expect. I also enjoyed seeing Tim O’Brien appear in this, as I had to read his classic Vietnam War-themed The Things They Carried a few years ago for a class, so now I feel some kind of connection with him.
     Simply put, if there is any reason to be proud of America, it is people like Ken Burns and the messages they share.
Ride with Norman Reedus

     This year starts with Norman Reedus visiting Spain with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Neegan) for The Walking Dead publicity. Norman revisits Sitges, Spain, which holds a sentimental significance for him, being a place from his past. Speaking of sentimentality, Norman Reedus provides a personal tour of New York as well. Another highlight is getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Dave Chappelle at one of his comedy gigs.
     This show follows a formula for these types of travel shows: first the host introduces their destinations and why they’re interesting, then they introduce themselves and why they’re interesting, then they give us more history on their destinations, then they do activities with a friend or guide in these destinations, then they ultimately reflect eloquently on the experience. This show excels at this, and I can’t get enough of it, and it continues to inspire my own travels. In fact, I recently drove to Dante’s View in Death Valley because of Norman Reedus. 
     I was pleased to see a Critic's Choice award nomination for the show (for "unstructured reality series").
Great American Railroad Journeys

     This is for the second season of this program (above trailer for the first season). I didn’t think to include the first season on last year’s list, plus, some part of me wanted to keep this to myself. That said, most of the shows I am writing about have already been extensively championed by critics and awards shows. This show, on the other hand, is something unique I can offer the reader.
     This series is hosted by a British man, Michael Portillo, who has hosted other railroad documentaries from around the world. The first season of this series focused on the east coast, specifically New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey. This time he features more western and central states such as Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 
     Michael Portillo is a voluble, passionate man. He relates a great deal of enthusiasm and it is contagious. In fact, his televised travels have inspired my own. For instance, it was his episode featuring Poughkeepsie that convinced me to visit the Walkway Over the Hudson, and still other featured places are now on my to-go list. Interestingly, both Portillo and I share a particular enthusiasm for Chicago.
     Ride with Norman Reedus covers travel from the celebrity and motorcycle angle, this show covers the railroad angle. Michael Portillo also conveys a great admiration for this country from his outsider’s perspective, which is reassuring for those of us conflicted insiders.  After these episodes, my sense of national spirit always soars higher. For that matter, Norman Reedus shares an insider’s affection for his country that is similarly comforting.
13 Reason Why

     I gave this a chance because of a bisexual woman from Santa Monica who I chatted with during a brief online dating attempt spurred on by a psychiatrist. I didn’t think a show about a high school boy listening to the tapes detailing the 13 reasons why a classmate committed suicide would be enjoyable, but I was surprised how riveting this series was. Lead actor Dylan Minnette is completely genuine throughout. The big highlight here was newcomer Katherine Langford. She is positively glowing on all spectra.  
The Handmaid’s Tale

     I decided to watch this after it won so much Emmys. Like 13 Reasons Why, I didn’t see how this could be enjoyable enough to tolerate, as I found the 1990 movie to be intolerable. I was surprised how contemporary this series was, and the scenes from before the totalitarian government helped break up the despair. A plot development later on in the series is also invaluable to that same end. Of course, Elisabeth Moss was great, as was the whole ensemble. Come to think of it, Alexis Bledel was one of the reasons I kept watching. Consider this truly impressive. “Blessed be the fruit!”

     This love-fest continued to showcase the charming chemistry between Paul Rust (Gus), Gillian Jacobs (Mickey), and Claudia O'Doherty (Bertie). Daniel Stern makes a strong appearance this season as Mickey’s disappointing father. Dave Allen returns for some fun appearances. When people say cheesy sounding stuff like the world needs more love, I tend to cringe. Well, in this case, I agree.
Red Oaks

     I still haven’t finished this season, but what I have seen was consistent with what came before. Perhaps I will take some time soon to finish this.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

     I feel a strange pride when it comes to this show. Unlike most networks, Amazon allows viewers to vote on pilot episodes, effectively making the greenlighting process more democratic. I watched the pilot season, as they call it, which included this. This was my definite favorite when I cast my vote, and submitted an in-depth survey. Hence, I feel they perhaps could not have done this without me.
     I admit that I was skeptical of Rachel Brosnahan (Miriam “Midge” Maisel) being featured in a comedy-drama about an emerging comedian given that the two roles I knew her for were incredibly dark (House of Cards and The Blacklist). I am so happy to see her thrive here, and this gets me thinking about Katherine Langford again. Brosnahan masterfully captures the funny accent for her Jewish New Yorker character. While she is not yet hysterically funny, she is more than fun and deeply sympathetic.
     A few other notable appearances by comedy powerhouses include Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s father, and Jane Lynch as an already established comedian. Alex Borstein portrays a nightclub owner and would-be manager of Mrs. Maisel whose vision for Midge is contagious.
     Like Glow, the ability to sell is paramount in the world of comedy. It is odd to note that a show about comedy is less funny than Breaking Bad or Dexter, but one must remember that it is about comedy more than it is comedy. That said, the humor is still being refined and something tells me that there will be more laughs in future season.I should also add that this season had perhaps the most romantic scene all year, certainly of any film and show I have seen.
Teen Wolf

     I was enthralled by the first half of this final season. Unfortunately, I totally missed the boat on the second half. I will get on the rest of this show as soon as I find time. This show continued its run as a supernaturally satisfying exploration of the teen years.
The Strain

     The conclusion to this sordid tale of New Yorkers vs. the body-seizing, blood-sucking strigori comes to a fitting conclusion. Of most satisfaction is the fate of the Master’s second-in-command, Thomas Eichorst. Guillermo Del Toro who is now being celebrated for The Shape of Water, a high watermark for his career, should also be long celebrated for helping to bring top-notch horror to television.  
Halt and Catch Fire

     The continuing physical and character evolution of fictional tech visionary Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) intrigues. His evolving relationship with coding wiz Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis) was also dreamy. However, what really captured my heart this season was Alana Cavanaugh as Haley Clark (the namesake of the big deal Haley’s Comet search engine this season) and her character’s relationship with her father, Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy).
The Flash

I must say that last season’s conclusion of the Savitar storyline was as hardcore as any in The Flash. And this season’s set-up featuring The Thinker was mesmerizing in a whole new way. Sometimes I feel that Barry Allen’s Flash is my favorite superhero ever, he’s certainly the flashiest.
Marvel’s The Defenders

     It wasn’t everything I could have dreamed of, but seeing Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and the Iron Fist come together with the continued presence of Claire Temple was fun all the same.
Sneaky Pete

Better Call Saul

     One notable thing about this show is that it always motivates me to cook up some Mexican food (chorizo, fish tacos, nachos, chili, etc.) to further enhance the viewing experience of this show.

     Seeing the big screen Ewan McGregor come to television for a double role, complete with receding hairline, and the rural Midwestern accent was bliss, reminiscent of seeing Matthew McConaughey chew up the small screen in True Detective. Being a superficial sucker for a cute woman, one of the reasons I enjoyed this series was Mary Elizabeth Winstead who also pulled off the accent quite convincingly to my untrained ears. This was sure great while it lasted.
American Horror Story

     Evan Peters was so good this season that I think this was his best work since the first season. It’s not that he was off any other season, but rather that the first season always holds the inimitable freshness of the first impression. Sarah Paulson (Ally) continued her own streak of screen intensity this season as well. It’s funny to note that originally Sarah Paulson was a supporting character in the first season, and over the years she replaced Jessica Lange as the alpha female of this series. It was also surprising to see Frances Conroy return this season.
     I would be remiss if I failed to mention that one of my favorite things about this season was the addition of Scream Queens’ radiant Billie Lourd as a babysitter and sister of Evan Peters’ Kai Anderson. Speaking of the babysitter, Cooper Dodson as Ally’s son is adorable. Billie and Cooper have scenes together that are a perfect mixture of cute and creepy.
     Of course, what will make this season truly unforgettable for me is that much of it was filmed in my hometown of Orange, California, specifically the Historic District (often called the Orange circle). Moreover, I happened to be there on the filming day, not knowing what was being filmed at the time (read more). I was ecstatic when I first identified Orange in the show and this stirred up stranger sentiments. In that odd way that Jack Torrance feels like he’s meant to be in the Overlook, I felt that somehow I was meant to be in the world of these characters this season.
     One more thing I enjoyed was the real life history lesson on cults that all led to mass suicides. This makes the series all the more relevant and chilling, as well as providing a nice documentary of sorts in the midst of this fictional madness. This is definitely one worthy of the collection.

No comments:

Post a Comment