TV Catch-Up: 2022

TV Catch Up 2022
TV Catch-Up 2022

I can’t possibly review every show I watch. I have a job. And a little bit of self respect. So rather than sit there looking at the the overwhelming list of shows I watched in 2022 that I never reviewed, I’ll just put them all (or mostly) here. Because, as you’ve probably figured out, this site is just a giant cataloging excercise anyway. I’m sure I missed a bunch. And am only including those series that I completed. Here we go.

Bad Sisters: Season 1
Network: Apple TV+
Capsule Review: I’m still on the fence about this one. It has a great cast — mostly due to the amazing Sharon Horgan, who is unafraid to make herself look absolutely foolish, terrible and awful. She’s just amazing. But we also get Bono’s daughter and somehow yet another Gleeson. It is, at times, a fun and funny show. And also really, really dark and kind of shocking. Only in Ireland, amiright? But, honestly, those people really aren’t scared about mixing tones, going from slapstick to sexual assault in about-faces that will… well tear your face off. Overall, this is supposed to be an uplifting story about family (and a group of sisters committing pre-planned murder), but it can feel overly heavy at times, and also a bit repetitive. That said, when there is a season two, I’m totally in.

The Book of Boba Fett: Season 1
Network: Disney+
Capsule Review: I had a stop-start relationship with this show. The first few episodes I could honestly classify as achingly slow. Especially after the first couple seasons of The Mandalorian, I was put off by old-ass Boba walking around with his helmet off all the time. I don’t know Mandalorian lore, but I was just confused how and why this dude was so casual. There was also an unusual feeling of fakeness to things. Like you could tell they were on sets. I don’t know; there was just something off about it. And then it weirdly turned into a series about Din Djarin from The Mandalorian, and in came Luke Skywalker and Grogu and out went old-ass Boba Fett. As if this series essentially exists as a bridge bewteen season two and season three of the more popular series. It’s all kind of odd, but got much better as the season went on, and even showed us the gnarly Darksaber at work. Point is, it’s almost as if they knew people would have to watch this kind of dusty series if they wanted to understand what was going on in their premier Mandalorian series. Smart, but also a weird backdoor methodology.

The Boys: Season 3
Network: Prime Video
Previous Full Review: The Boys: Seasons 1 & 2
Capsule Review: Any show that starts with an exploding penis you know is gonna be nuts. And The Boys never disappoints on that front. I think there’s also some octopus sex, some roasted Nazi sex and just some absolute depraved nonsense throughout. It’s… ribald? But, yeah, the show remains absolutely insane and fun and surprising. Though less surprising than the first couple seasons, because we’ve already seen heads explode and bodies explode and some seriously gnarly shit that is tough to match. The show has certainly leaned into more of the corporate and political commentary, expanding the world and stakes a bit. I do have to watch the show through squeezed eyes on occasion, as I don’t know what kind of grossness and/or cringe that may flash across my screen. It remains inventive and fun as hell, and I’m looking forward to the next season.

Cobra Kai: Season 4
Network: Netflix
Previous Full Reviews: Cobra Kai: Seasons 1 & 2 / Cobra Kai: Season 3
Capsule Review: Yes, I’m aware this came out on 12.31.21, but that essentially makes it a 2022 show as far as I’m concerned. Though in season four they’ve essentially run out of existing IP to mine and are set off on their own to… well, to just jump right back into the same old stuff. Because, I suppose, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Thing is, this show’s superpower is the tongue-in-cheek nostalgia of the original movies, the 80s and all the cheese and silliness that they engender. So when they try to make a movie-of-the-week out of this thing, it falls flat on its face. Nobody gives a shit about karate. That was never the point of this show. So we don’t need to see another “battle” or five. That’s not what we’re here for. Sure, heart is fine. But the thing has become the snake eating its own tail at this point, and rather than pivoting, they leaned into cartoon-y characters while trying to apply adult thematics that just don’t work.

Dead to Me: Season 3
Network: Netflix
Previous Full ReviewDead to Me: Seasons 1 & 2
Capsule Review: I’m gonna say it: this season of TV made me sad. Poor Christina Applegate looks incredibly unwell, and is obviously struggling to the point where they look for any excuse to have her sitting down in scenes. She’s on a couch. She’s in a car. She’s at a table. And considering they continue season three immediately after season two concludes in the timeline of the show (though about 2.5 years in real time), the change in her appearance is pretty jarring. They seemingly make a weird excuse for this on the show that I won’t spoil (if that was pre-planned or not is unclear), but it’s impossible to not focus on. In fact, they go as far as making the other actress in the series, Linda Cardellini, the one with the terminal illness in order to maybe… Well, I don’t know. In any case, I didn’t have the heart to do a full review of this season, because my mom always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say…

The Dropout
Network: Hulu
Capsule Review: I’d had my fill of the Theranos story before watching this series. I’d listened to the podcast on which it’s based back in 2019 and had followed subsequent news reports. The whole Elizabeth Holmes thing is something I found pretty fascinating. Scammers always are. Especially ones who fool all the experts and power brokers. So this series couldn’t really shed any additional light on the case, but was proposed as a darkly comedic take on the whole situation. Despite, I guess, the folks who may have died because of Holmes’ deception? In other words, nervous laughter about the situation may be warranted, but trying to paint Holmes and any of her colleagues as buffoons or sympathetic in any way is probably a bridge too far. Amanda Seyfried, with her dead-on impression of Holmes’ artificially lowered voice and apparent love of really bad thrash dancing, brings it right up to the line of parody, but never crosses it. Only because these characters are so incredibly cartoonish in their presentation in real life. What with Holmes and her weirdo Steve Jobs obsession, complete with a signature black turtleneck. This would be a good series for those who hadn’t already listened to the terrific podcast or read much about the scandal, as it’s almost to bizarre to be believed.

The Flight Attendant: Season 2
Network: HBO Max
Previous Full ReviewThe Flight Attendant: Season 1
Capsule Review: The first season of The Flight Attendant was a fun, frothy romp with star Kaley Cuoco as a drunk flight attendant who gets wrapped up in a murder mystery. Which turns into an international CIA thing. The second season finds her in a completely different circumstance, moved to LA, being handled by the CIA, sober and mostly happy. It’s a pretty jarring 180 from season one, and was a bit too much of a swing for me. The move of her character to LA also felt production convenient more than anything, and the international intrigue angle they throw into the show becomes unnecessarily complicated for a series that is ostensibly a comedy. Though, at times, it certainly felt like anything but. Cuoco is still a charismatic lead, and Zosia Mamet is always a perfect sidekick. The show is entertaining and zippy, but got a little caught in its own net trying to work out twist after twist in the spy narrative. Still worth it, but not as snappy and fresh feeling as season one.

For All Mankind: Season 3
Network: Apple TV+
Previous Full ReviewFor All Mankind: Seasons 1 & 2
Capsule Review: What are we doing here? This alternative history show about the space race turns into a Mars-shootout-meets-Lifetime-movie hybrid that satisfies just about about nobody. The acting is incredibly suspect, the wigs and aging makeup terrible and the passion for the project a little shaky. I think the main problem is that the characters are just not realistic or likable in any discernible way. They killed off the two better actors/characters, so now we’re left with an achingly over-amped Joel Kinnaman performance that is a complete turn off. And this weird soap opera subplot about a short-affair-turned-psycho-obsession that is just over-the-top absurd and detrimental to anything and everything the show is trying to do. Season four is sure to be more of the same nonsense, but hopefully not.

Hacks: Season 2
Network: HBO Max
Previous Full ReviewHacks: Season 1
Capsule Review: I really liked the first season of Hacks. It had the amazing ability to introduce the main characters, Deborah (Jean Smart) and Ava (Hannah Einbinder), in an exciting and surprising way. This is usually the weakness of a lot of shows. It takes an entire season to get to know the characters, and it’s only in season two where we get to stop with all the backstory and get into the main storyline. But, it turns out getting to know the two of them IS the fun part. So season two basically becomes a road movie. And who doesn’t love one of those? The season itself is a little more uneven than the first. Or maybe just not as funny. But more heartfelt, if that’s a thing. Maybe, at times, a little too earnest. Weirdly, a thing that neither of our leads seemingly have an ounce of. So the show almost pushes against the characters themselves. Which is probably intentional. Anyhow, the show still surprises at times, but also cruises a little because we’ve kind of developed the personalities so well in the first season that there is sometimes more telling than showing.

Kevin Can F**k Himself: Season 2
Network: AMC
Previous Full Review: Kevin Can F**k Himself: Season 1
Capsule Review: I said in my first season review that pulling off a second season of this show would be a challenge. Turns out I wasn’t wrong. The creators mostly abandon the high concept idea of a woman living a sitcom life while suffering the humiliations of said life off screen. Instead we get almost exclusively the non-sitcom side of the fence while the show leans into the relationship between Annie Murphy and Mary Hollis Inboden and Annie’s attempt to exit her life. The series bogs down a bit as they spin their wheels to get to the final episode of the series finale. There are some good moments, but at times it felt like early season Better Call Saul with the dreary machinations of paper work. And this is ostensibly a comedy. But, as the final, absolutely bizarrely jarring ending tells you, this show became something else as it drove itself off the cliff in the finale. It’s almost as if the show’s creators didn’t know the last episode was going to be the last episode and just wrote the final page of the script the day of shooting so they could roll credits. Yikes.

Killing Eve: Season 4
Network: AMC
Previous Full Reviews: Killing Eve: Season 1 / Killing Eve: Season 2
Capsule Review: This was one of the most disappointing series I’ve ever encountered. It started with such promise and then just nosedived after the season one finale. And kept falling and falling until it literally became unwatchable. I dare say that the fourth and final season is one of the most confusing and terrible seasons of television of a once-decent show I’ve ever seen. They essentially turned it into a giant music video where at times the music blared so loud it pretty much drowned out dialogue and everything around it. Not that it would have made a whole lot of difference, honestly. Utter nonsense for a series that ultimately deserved better.

MasterChef: Back to Win (Season 12)
Network: Fox
Previous Full Review: MasterChef: Season 6
Capsule Review: This show has all the charisma of a putrefying sea slug. It is a truly uninspired cooking competition show that takes place on a set dressed up to look like, uh, the set of a kitchen on a cooking show. In this particular season the home chefs are not returning champions, but people the producers liked from previous seasons? Frankly, it’s unclear and I ended up caring about as much as I thought I would. Which isn’t much.

Mythic Quest: Season 3
Network: Apple TV+
Previous Full Review: Mythic Quest: Season 1
Capsule Review: This show seems to have lost its way. Originally a send-up of the gaming industry, focusing on Rob McElhenney’s tech bro character and Charlotte Nicdao’s nerdy coder, we’ve now kind of scattered the narrative to cover what were originally secondary and tertiary characters who are… well, they’re just less interesting. There is one very well done flashback episode that gives us what amounts to Ian and Poppy’s origin stories, and I almost wish they would have leaned into that. Sure, it’s way more serious than the workplace sitcom setup of the series, but it’s also heartfelt and considered in a way the broadness of the show generally isn’t. This season just became too fragmented and inconsistent and fever-dreamy, which seems to be something the creators realized as they pulled a Simpsons in the final episode and pretty much wiped away everything that happened in the season with the magical reset button for season four.

Only Murders in the Building: Season 2
Network: Hulu
Capsule Review: Look, man, this was a fun idea the first season. Two familiar older dudes solving a murder Scooby-Doo style, while also struggling with modern tech and other geriatric shit that old dudes go through. Season two doesn’t really stray too far from the plan, but adds layers and layers of stuff on top of it. Someone on the writing staff read a lot of Encyclopedia Brown books before putting this season together and just overcomplicated the hell out of it. To that end, the energy levels waxed and waned through the ten episodes as our investigative podcasters tried to unwind clues. While we watch Selena Gomez continue to look uncomfortable on screen, and Steve Martin sometimes struggles with the dense script. It’s not a bad season of TV — and, at times, is light and fun — but the season is overly long and unnecessarily complicated. While also trying to stuff some storylines for the individual characters, which feel kind of out of place and/or bolted on to the whole murder mystery endeavor.

Ozark: Season 4
Network: Netflix
Previous Full ReviewOzark: Season 1
Capsule Review: It should be a pretty bad sign that I never reviewed any of Ozark beyond the first season. Oh, I watched it. But the incredibly repetitive nature of it, the absolutely humorless approach and the general ickiness of it left me with very little to comment on. If it was your thing, it was probably glorious. If you like those Showtime shows that seem like they hung around a couple seasons too long, then you’re in for a treat. In fact, thinking back on this show, I’m left with a really melancholic blech that just seemed to pervade everything about it. The performances, the color pallet, the fact we’re stuck in this stupid town in much the same way we were stuck on that stupid farm in The Walking Dead for twenty seasons… It just wasn’t good.

Pieces of Her
Network: Netflix
Capsule Review: I hate to shit on anything that involves Toni Colette, but this series is horrendous. An “American” show stocked with Australian and Brit actors clearly filmed in Canada and Australia is a bad look, but even worse is the plot, the acting and the generally overly-confusing narrative. I can only think of one word for what happens in this “oh my god, my mom is a skilled killer and isn’t who she says she is” series: absurd. It’s drek, dude. Drek.

Reboot: Season 1
Network: Hulu
Capsule Review: This show is pretty dumb. But perhaps this is what passes for a mainstream network sitcom these days. Even one on Hulu. One whose concept is not bad — rebooting a twenty-year-old sitcom with the same cast — but becomes a boomer vs. millennial punchline. With our aging, very Gen X cast of Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer and a weird-looking Johnny Knoxville. The pieces are all there for this to be decent, but the scripts are too “jokey” to be the premium television it aspires to be. Too hokey. Too expected. And Johnny Knoxville and that ginger kid from Austin & Ally, Callum Worthy, are incredibly annoying. Granted, Callum’s character is supposed to be annoying, but that doesn’t mean I have to put up with him. And Knoxville is less an actor than a hard-to-watch celebrity. I feel like Paul Reiser — a true pro — should take that dude aside and give him some pointers. The whole thing feels a bit forced and gimmicky. Which is a shame because Key and Greer are fun together and the concept isn’t all together terrible.

Rick and Morty: Season 6
Network: Cartoon Network
Previous Full ReviewRick and Morty: Seasons 1-3
Capsule Review: This show continues to be endlessly entertaining. In small doses, of course. I imagine the writers all getting together, digging into a big pot of mixed drugs and going to work. Because there’s no way the twisted shit that happens in this show isn’t drug fueled. This season starts with mixing up all the characters in the multiverse to the point I’m not sure who is the “original” version of anyone. It even brings in a new version of Beth (called “Space Beth”) who ends up having an affair with the actual Beth. Or is she the actual Beth? Who the fuck knows, honestly. They also try several episodes without the portal gun, which felt like the writers creating an issue for themselves in order to avoid the crutch of the portal gun always being the Simpsons reset mechanism to put everything straight. Anyhow, the season feels like most others, but there is some unevenness from episode to episode in terms of stakes. Though I suppose the fate of the world or the universe can’t always be in the balance, or it just becomes rote. They do tease that season seven might be a more focused one with Rick going after Rick Prime with Morty. Which could be fun. Whatever the case, I’m sure it’ll be filled with nonsense and craziness.

Russian Doll: Season 2
Network: Netflix
Previous Full ReviewRussian Doll: Season 1
Capsule Review: I loved season one of Russian Doll. I thought it was clever and funny and pushed the Natasha Lyonne energy to the very hilt without tipping over into absolute mania. It was a great, self-aware update of the “loop” trope. And, honestly, I thought they could have left well enough alone and had a great season and series of television. Now, bringing back Lyonne’s Nadia character and Alan, the other looper, we’re treated to a sort of worm hole time-travel thing that allows the two of them to essentially inhabit the bodies of their mother/grandmother as younger women. To, uh, walk a mile in their shoes. The concept is a decent one, but I found the mechanics of it pretty clunky. I don’t need sci-fi in my familial allegories or whatever, but when you just kind of yada-yada the time travel and body swapping/inhabiting part, it can become a little confusing. As the show lost focus and got a little hectic with the plot, I too started to wander a bit. It’s certainly an enthusiastic and worthy show, but one that I wish they’d spent a little more time tightening up. Which would have made it a great show. Hopefully season three can follow the pattern of inventiveness and make more interesting television for all of us.

Search Party: Season 5
Network: HBO Max
Previous Full Reviews: Search Party: Season 1 / Search Party: Season 2
Capsule Review: Look, I’m a completist. Even after realizing this show wasn’t made for me after a season three that went completely off the rails, followed by a fourth that made me want to stab my eyes out, I stuck with it through its fifth and final run. In which it took the absurdity of the fourth season and dialed it up to one billion, as it moved the plot out of Brooklyn and to a more national and global scale in a way that completely outstripped the show’s original scale and ambition. Something that made me really hate myself for weeks afterwards.

Servant: Season 3
Network: Apple TV+
Previous Full Reviews: Servant: Season 1 / Servant: Season 2
Capsule Review: Ok, people, we have lost the string. There’s a cult. There’s a character that may or may not have powers who ran away from said cult. Who are now living in the park that is now magically next to the house where the former cult member is living. The show’s creators are all coy about what the hell is going on. They’re constantly hiding the ball and feinting at things. But never really going there. Never really telling us what the hell is going on. And it’s super frustrating. And, frankly, annoying. I’m also kind of creeped out by the Harry Potter dude’s hair and face. And his “American” accent is somehow getting worse. Worse than the main character’s “American” accent, which is also not always great. Whatever they think is going on in this season of television, it feels like — as a viewer — they’re just kind of running in place and spinning confusion in order to get to their fourth, and final, season. Where, if this season is any indication, they’ll continue to tease us with fake-outs as to Leanne’s story before ultimately disappointing us with some M. Night shenanigans.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Network: Disney+
Capsule Review: I’m honestly not sure why this whole lady Hulk thing exists. Some podcast I listen to mentioned that it was originally some sort of pre-emptive attempt to keep Hulk intellectual property around the 1970s TV show or something. But, I don’t know. The whole endeavor seems kind of weird. That said, in practice it’s actually okay. A goofy law procedural where your protagonist is a seven-foot indestructible whatever-a-Hulk-is. And, unlike her cousin, Bruce Banner, maintains her human brain when in Hulk form. And after washing out as a regular attorney is hired by a defense firm to defend other super-powered humans in court. Most of whom are kinda scumbags. Anyhow, Tatiana Maslany is great in the lead role. Though it’s a little unbelievable that she can’t seem to get a date as… Tatiana Maslany. The antagonists in the series are pretty random and mostly not compelling — especially Jameela Jamil’s Titania, who seems to just Kool-Aid Man her way through walls for no reason. Side note: the Tatiana/Titania thing can’t be a coincidence. Also, the CGI is just atrocious at times. It almost makes you miss painted Lou Ferrigno in his jorts. But overall it’s a fun series with a great lead and some decent side characters, but it could have benefitted from a little more focus on the larger conflict. Or just kind of eliminated it and made it the weirdo Ally McBeal show they wanted to make it.

Slow Horses: Season 2
Network: Apple TV+
Previous Full Reviews: Slow Horses: Season 1
The show’s second season — which came right on the heels of the first — was actually a better story then the first. The stakes were higher, the world larger and the characters a bit more rounded out. The tenor of the show is a terrific mix of humor, mystery and espionage. And it seems like something that could essentially go on in perpetuity. Like an international version of Law & Order, but way better acted and with much more detailed details. I feel like Gary Oldman doesn’t fart as much in this season, but maintains his down-and-out persona in such a quirky and funny way that you almost start to admire and root for the old crank. The show also proves that it’s not afraid of throwing in some action and even murdering a recurring character if the plot calls for it. But, to my earlier point, this just makes the way for new blood. Which could keep the show from getting stale in coming seasons. It’s a fun hang.

The Staircase
Network: HBO Max
Capsule Review: These true crime re-enactment mini-series dramatizations are all the rage. In this one a woman “falls” down the stairs. Which should be obvious from the title. The question at hand is if her husband played by an incredibly naturalistic and creepy-ass Colin Firth is the culprit. Honestly, though, you kill the queen, Toni Collette, and I find you guilty. Guilty! But this real life crime has a ton of twists and turns and is weird in ways you just don’t expect. I didn’t know anything about this case going in, but it’s hard at times to believe this shit was real. Which is probably why they made this min-series to begin with. It’s a good little distraction, though you really need a strong stomach and some patience to stick with the slow burn of this incredibly odd crime trial.

Stranger Things: Season 4
Network: Netflix
Previous Full Reviews: Stranger Things: Season 1 / Stranger Things: Season 3
Capsule Review: I’m a little confounded why creators of a show would take a gang of “kids” that everyone loves and break them up? I get that’s where the plot of the previous season took us, but I think one of the main reasons people like and admire this show is the interactions of its cast. All together. So when you take some of the lesser characters and cleave them off, it exposes some of the weaknesses of them. I think we can all admit at this point that Noah Schnapp isn’t much of an actor, and that his character, Will, is a wet blanket that the show’s creators didn’t know what to do with after the chemistry of the others jelled without him after the first season. And the whole digging into the whole Vecna mythology and making him the big bad after going three seasons without a mention seems like a weird move. And one that I just didn’t love. Granted, I could hang with Steve, Robin, Eddie and even Murray all day long. So as long as we’re doing team-ups (or even spin-offs), maybe more Steve/Robin and less boo-hooing from the rest of the crew. Seriously, Charlie Heaton, would it kill you to smile?

Top Chef: Houston (Season 19)
Network: Bravo
Previous Full Reviews: Top Chef: Colorado / Top Chef: All-Stars L.A.
Capsule Review: You know what’s boring? A show that is ostensibly about the cuisine in a very specific city that the show never gets to actually explore. COVID has absolutely massacred the appeal of Top Chef, and I’m not certain it will ever survive the slide. Even Tom Colicchio seems incredibly annoyed with the series’ inability to move beyond the studio kitchen. It feels like a show about the Galapagos shot inside the conference room at the island Ramada. The series is also very chef dependent, and they’ve kind of moved away from the “bad guy” narratives that used to spice the thing up. Now everyone is nice. Everyone is respectful. And their food just kind of feels that way. I get that the industry badly needed a re-tool, but now the whole thing feels less like magic and more like accounting.

Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99
Network: Netflix
Capsule Review: This docuseries brings us into the world of the disaster that was this ill-fated concert at the turn of the century. But only sort of. I should hate hyperbole. I should hate hype. But in the case of this doc, they could have used a little more. A little more turnt-up-to-eleven action and less talking heads. The shit was crazy, but somehow they undersell it. I think this would have just been a matter of better editing and music supervision (ironically) to just amp the thing up a little bit. Granted, there are some funny characters and some loathsome people (ahem, Limp Bizkit), but I just wanted more out of this thing. Some mythology and world building that they just missed.

The Umbrella Academy: Season 3
Network: Netflix
Previous Full Reviews: The Umbrella Academy: Season 1 / The Umbrella Academy: Season 2
Capsule Review: Look, ma, another multiverse show! Yes, it’s true, The Umbrella Academy has gone all alternative timeline on us. Though — and I have no Internet research to back this up — it seems all of this was seriously hampered by filming during COVID. The show literally sequesters our main characters in a hotel on a crumbling Earth, on which they’re pretty much the only people. Which makes me think this wasn’t the original plan, but was a compromised solution to limit the number of people on set and keep everyone six feet from each other. Characters sit in the huge hotel lobby many feet apart for seemingly no reason. People are constantly in rooms with only one other character. It feels weird. I think if they were given free rein, the show could have continued being the dark, weirdly weird show that it was. But they felt a bit stunted by their circumstances. Hopefully the fourth and final season can get back to the larger world and finish this out with a bang.

Undone: Season 2
Network: Prime Video
Previous Full ReviewUndone: Season 1
Capsule Review: I had honestly hoped that this would be a one-and-done series. What turned out to be the first season of at least two was a great, self-contained story about a daughter and her father. This, season two, delves deeper into family lore, investigating both the Mexican and Polish Jewish side of our protagonist’s family. Through the lens of a magical realism that at times can fee a little, uh, floaty. Which I guess could be attributed to the rotoscoped, dream-like sequences. Or maybe it’s just a little confusing. Whatever the case, I didn’t enjoy season two as much as I did season one, but it definitely had its moments. It’s rare these days to tell a relatively straight-forward family tale like this that doesn’t involve singing or some sort of murderous secret. So instead we have this magical realism, which feels like the right way to use it. But it’s a very delicate balance between the magical and the realism which is tough to get 100% right.

Upload: Season 2
Network: Prime Video
Previous Full ReviewUndone: Season 1
Capsule Review: I honestly have no idea why I watched the second season of this trainwreck. I kinda hated the first season, but for the two leads. It’s a comedy that isn’t funny. It’s sci-fi with not much science and pretty awful fiction. Season two continues to be unfunny and pretty listless when it comes to entertainment. The motivations of the characters are completely unclear and my interest waned with every passing second. I have a lot of issues treating any entertainment as background noise, but this one was actually pretty easy to ignore. It’s kind of a mean-spirited show that doesn’t think it’s a mean-spirited show. Or a “nice” show that is afraid to be too nice. It’s unclear tonally, and that, ultimately, is its downfall. It just leaves you with an icky feeling that isn’t like icky in a good way.

Westworld: Season 4
Network: HBO
Previous Full Reviews: Westworld: Season 2 / Westworld: Season 3
Capsule Review: I think maybe I’m stupid. But maybe not as stupid as I was after slogging through another kind of crappy season of high-class sci-fi television that made absolutely no sense. The creators clearly got ahead of themselves on this one, swung for the fences and ended up pulling an oblique in the process. So much so that HBO canceled a planned season five and yanked the series off the platform all together. I’ve met very few people who actually enjoyed watching this show. I thought I was one of them, but even I couldn’t hang with this shit.

What We Do In the Shadows: Season 4
Network: FX
Previous Full Reviews: What We Do In the Shadows: Season 1 / What We Do In the Shadows: Season 2
Capsule Review: This is consistently one of the best sitcoms on TV. Yet it’s still under the radar. It’s almost as if its consistency dooms it in a way, though. Mainly because it’s a one-gag show that can feel a bit stuck in the mud narratively, but always delivers in terms of performances and writing. This season feels a bit like a bridge season, with the assumption that there will be some serious developments with Guillermo in season five. His character gets some love this season, which, as the one human dude in a house of vampires, seems like the natural outlet to get us into the wider world. They really play out the “baby Colin” plot line this season, which I imagine could be a bit divisive, but there is enough else going on with the other characters that we can be entertained wherever we look.

Willow: Season 1
Network: Disney+
Capsule Review: I have absolutely no connection to the original Willow. It was 1988 and I had more, non-kiddie things to be doing. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a minute of it. But Hipster Jr. Jr. was interested in watching this series, and I pretty much capitulate to anything and everything she wants if it means having and hour here and there hanging with her. Thing is, I liked my time with her. My time with this show? Less so. Warwick Davis? Oh, my. His acting is less acting than reading lines awkwardly from a teleprompter. It’s a tough road when the titular character is almost unwatchable. It’s also strange watching characters in a fantasy film speak in American accents (for whatever reason). Especially when said actors, like Ellie Bamber, are so obviously British. They kind of mix the accents, so why force her to [poorly] cover her real accent? It’s fantasy! Otherwise there’s a strange mix of modern language, modern music and whatnot in what is clearly an ancient fantasy tale. And it’s all just kind of confusing. I think the actors in general are charismatic and entertaining, but they just couldn’t nail the tone or balance of the show. Nor what audience they were going after. It’s not like us Gen Xers were clamoring for a Willow sequel. And, frankly, I can’t imagine who the heck was.