Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 9/5/21 — 9/11/21


Jeff and I have been up at Lake Texoma since Wednesday so I haven’t watched much television.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  Sometimes, it’s important to take some time off.

Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being absent for a few weeks, Allo Allo is back on PBS!  Having won his freedom from the Communist Resistance, Rene finds himself still expected to marry the head of the Communists.  Meanwhile, Herr Flick continues to search for the missing painting, Edith somehow does not realize that Rene is cheating on her with literally everyone on the show, and Crabtree continues to speak very bad French.  It was a strange but entertaining episode.

Bachelor in Paradise (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

This week, temporary host Lance Bass was replaced by Tituss Burgess.  Unlike the sarcastic David Spade and the overly earnest Bass, Burgess was just kind of boring, though it was fun to watch the Bachelors and the Bachelorettes all pretend to be huge Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fans.  Anyway, though I watched them, I didn’t really pay much attention to either one of this week’s episodes.  It’s a show about attractive people hanging out on the beach.  You really don’t have to pay that much attention to what’s actually going on.  Just enjoy the scenery.

Big Brother (All The Time, CBS and Paramount Plus)

It’ll be over by the end of this month!  Until then, I’m writing about it over at the Big Brother Blog.

Dragnet (Weekday Mornings, MeTV)

I finished binging Dragnet this week, watching the final three episodes of the show’s fourth season on Monday and Tuesday.  In a minute, the results of that binge.

Monday got started with an episode in which Joe and Gannon were investigating a string of robberies.  A woman called them and claimed that her ex-husband was responsible.  However, it turned out that he wasn’t responsible and that his ex was just trying to get him in trouble because she was still angry over the end of their marriage!  However, it then turned out that, even though he wasn’t responsible for the crimes his wife accused him of, he was still holding up other stores!  It was actually kind of an interesting story though, Dragnet being Dragnet, all of the action did stop for a lengthy explanation of how fingerprinting works.  This was followed by another episode in which Joe and Gannon tracked down a thief, this time a safecracker.  The safecracker was well-played by G.D. Spradlin, who later played Sen. Pat Geary in The Godfather Part II and Col. Corman in Apocalypse Now.  This episode was also memorable for featuring a crime victim named Mr. Letterman.  Needless to say, whenever his name was mentioned, I immediately pictured David Letterman looking annoyed.

On Tuesday, I set the DVR to record the final episode of the 60s revival of Dragnet.  This episode, called “The Victims,” followed Joe and Gannon over the course of one night, as they investigated a series of crimes.  They investigated a few robberies and yet another murder at a boarding house.  Throughout it all, the emphasis was placed less on the detectives and more on the traumatized victims of the crimes that they were investigating.  Throughout the show’s run, even during the campy third season, Dragnet centered around the idea that that the job of the police was to protect and serve the public and this episode emphasized that point.  With the exception of a scene where Joe (rightly) reprimanded a patrolman who didn’t show enough compassion for a robbery victim, there was no moralizing.  Instead, Joe and Gannon did their jobs as best they could and tried to help out the innocent victims of terrible crimes.  It was the perfect final episode for this series.

Now that my binge of Dragnet is over, I can say that it wasn’t a bad show at all.  Yes, it’s dated, as any show that ran from 1967 to 1970 would be.  And yes, the drug-and-hippie shows were frequently campy.  But there really weren’t as many episodes about drugs and hippies as I imagined.  Instead, for the most part, this was just a show about two men trying to do the right thing and protect their community.  Some of the episodes were undeniably silly and it’s easy to laugh at any episode in which Friday and Gannon went undercover but quite a few of the episodes hold up well as police procedurals.  If nothing else, the show is an interesting time capsule of when it was made.  As a history nerd, I enjoyed it.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

On Monday night, there were two episodes of Hell’s Kitchen, meaning that two chefs were eliminated ahead of next week’s finale.  Steve was the first to go, with Chef Ramsay saying that Steve had talent and a good attitude but that he wasn’t vocal enough in the kitchen.  Second to go was Brynn, who Rasmsay said had the makings of a great chef but who still needed to learn how to control her emotions.  I don’t think anyone who has watched this season was surprised to see those two chefs eliminated but I did appreciate that Ramsay emphasized their positive traits and encouraged them, even as he sent them out the door.  I like the kinder, gentler Ramsay.

Three chefs remain and the finale is next week!  Personally, I’m rooting for Trenton.

Impeachment: American Crime Story (Monday Night, FX)

This is the third installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story series and it deals with the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

The first installment of American Crime Story dealt with the O.J. Simpson trial and it worked largely because the involvement of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski worked as a buffer against producer Ryan Murphy’s worst instincts.  The second installment, about Andrew Cunanan and Gianni Versace, started out strong but ended up getting so bogged down in its reverse chronology gimmick that it lost whatever narrative momentum it had going.  It’s too early to pass judgment on the third installment but I’ve had my doubts about it from the beginning.  In what world, I wondered, could an Arkansas hillbilly like Bill Clinton, a living caricature of everything that is wrong with American politics, somehow be played by the handsome and charming Clive Owen?  Even with Monica Lewinsky reportedly signing on as a co-producer, it was hard to imagine Ryan Murphy ever producing a show that would truly be critical of a Democrat, even one as terrible as Bill Clinton.

The first episode was uneven.  It dragged a bit, lacking a dramatic set piece like O.J. Simpson getting arrested or Versace getting shot, in broad daylight, outside of his mansion.  Instead, this episode built up to Bill Clinton calling Monica Lewisnky for phone sex but the effect was ruined by the sight of Clive Owen wearing a prosthetic nose.  The majority of the episode was taken up with Sarah Paulson, acting up a storm as yet another obnoxious character with no social skills and while Paulson did her usual good job, it all felt rather familiar.  The episode worked best during the few scenes that focused on Paula Jones, well-played by Annaleigh Ashford.  Jones was the first woman to accuse Clinton of sexual harassment and, in the days before Me Too, she was ridiculed and caricatured as being “trailer trash” by the rabidly pro-Clinton national media.  In the scenes in which Jones faced a barrage of ridicule and outrageously sexist questions from the press, Impeachment showed why this decades-old political scandal matters.

Mom (Weekday Afternoons, Paramount Plus)

On Tuesday afternoon, as I was packing to go up to the lake for the week, I had Mom playing in the background.  I think I went through about four episodes.  I didn’t pay much attention but, from what I saw, each one seemed to be more depressing than the last.  This show always reminds me of why I could never be an alcoholic because there’s no way I’d ever be able to bring myself to sit through those AA meeting with all of their rules.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

After being gone for a few weeks, Moone Boy is once again airing on PBS on Sunday Night.  This week’s episode featured Padraic running away from home and Debra trying to launch a new career as a marriage counselor.  Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned for either one of them.  It was a funny episode, as they tend to be.  I especially enjoyed it when Martin and Padraic attempted to take up shoplifting.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Open All Hours is back on PBS.  This week, Arkwright went to a funeral and left Granville alone at the store.  Though Granville seemed to enjoy having some time to himself, I’m going to guess that he probably spent most of the time wondering how he had ever ended up trapped in a go-nowhere existence, living in a run-down shop as an indentured servant to a greedy old man who cared not whether his employee lived or died.  It was a pretty dark episode.

Talking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

It was fairly dull Talking Dead this week.  Sometimes, Talking Dead is the perfect way to recover from an intense viewing experience.  Other times, it just reminds you that it’s essentially a one-hour infomercial for The Walking Dead.  This week was a case of the latter.

The Ultimate Surfer (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

Much as with Bachelor in Paradise, I have no idea what’s actually happening on this show.  I just know that it features attractive people surfing and that’s really all that matters.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

On Sunday, I rewatched the first episode of Upstart Crow, with Will working on Romeo and Juliet, Kate lobbying for a chance to play the lead role despite the law against allowing women on stage, and Will’s family wondering why his poems don’t make much sense.  I had seen it before but it all held up very well.

The Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I (finally) reviewed this week’s episode earlier today.  You can read my thoughts by clicking here.

Yes, Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)

Yay!  Yes, Minister is back on PBS!  They’re reshowing the show from the beginning so I rewatched the first two episodes on Monday morning.  The first dealt with Jim Hacker learning about his new ministry and getting expertly manipulated by Sir Humphrey for the first time.  This was followed by the episode in which Jim discovered that the world’s newest dictator was an old college classmate.  Both episodes held up well to repeat viewing.  In fact, having to deal with the daily reality of a Biden presidency has led me to have a greater appreciation for this show’s satirical portrayal of shallow politicians and devious civil servants.

TV Review: The Walking Dead 11.3 “Hunted” (dir by Frederick E. O. Toye)


Seeing as how it’s been nearly a week since it aired, I guess I should go ahead and review the latest episode of The Waking Dead. No doubt about it, we’re all about timely reviews here at the Shattered Lens!

The latest episode of The Walking Dead was …. well, it was okay. Actually, it was better than okay. It was actually pretty good. It was well-directed. It was well-acted. There was plenty of gore, if that’s what you’re into. There were a lot of walkers. The Reapers continued to do villainous things for vague reasons. Duncan and Agatha died, so we won’t have to keep track of them anymore. After being absent for the previous two episodes, Carol showed up long enough to do her whole “compassionate but ruthless” thing. Gabriel announced, “God isn’t here anymore” before stabbing a guy in the head. It was all well-done and effective but, and I say this a lot when it comes to The Walking Dead, it was also pretty familiar. That’s the problem when a show like this goes on for 11 seasons. By this point, almost any show is going start to repeating itself and that’s been the case with The Walking Dead for a while now.

The repetitive nature of the show always leaves me with mixed feelings. Yes, the Reapers are frightening and evil but how are they any different from any of the other frightening and evil groups that have showed up over the course of this show? Yes, being eaten by a walker is not a pleasant thought but, by this point, we know that, unless it’s a season finale, only minor characters have to really worry about getting eaten by a walker. Maggie is not going to get eaten by a walker, at least not this early in the season. Neither is Negan, if just because it’s fairly obvious that show’s writers enjoy coming up with sarcastic dialogue for him. That said, I do think The Walking Dead deserves some credit for remaining consistent in its portrayal of a world without hope. The world of The Walking Dead has always been dark and dangerous and the worst thing that the show could do, at this point, would be to pretend like things will ever get better. Even Gabriel has lost his faith, accepting that the world is now ruled by chaos and random destruction.

The stuff with Carol and the horses felt like it was mostly just tacked on to give Carol and Rosita something to do but I enjoyed the interplay between Negan and Maggie. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan had an interesting …. well, I guess you’d have to call it chemistry …. in their scenes together. The first three episodes of the season have devoted a lot of time to comparing and contrasting Maggie and Negan’s leadership styles and, interestingly enough, it seems like Maggie has more in common with Negan than she wants to admit. One gets the feeling that her refusal to abandon Alden was as motivated by Maggie’s need to not turn into Negan as it was by any humanitarian impulse. Still, one can see that Maggie is starting to see that Negan might be right. Survival in world ruled by chaos often means abandoning compassion.

Overall, this was a good episode. At this point, The Walking Dead has lost its power to shock but it’s nice to see that it can still occasionally tell an effective story.

Quick Review: Malignant (dir. by James Wan)


James Wan’s newest horror film, Malignant is something that really needs to be seen without any prior input on it. If there’s any way you can watch it – whether you see it in theatres or on HBO Max up until October 10th – It’s definitely worth it. Right after watching it, I contacted my cousin and begged her to watch it without moviepooping it. She never watches a movie without already knowing the outcome – who lives, who dies. If she doesn’t, the anxiety that hits her is great. She twitches in her chair, covers her face, screams and gives every reaction you to hope to experience in a movie theatre. She agreed to do so, and I can’t wait to hear her thoughts on this. I’m almost compelled to head out to a theatre, sit in the back and watch the audience.

You’re better off not reading this and just coming back later, after you’ve seen it. I’ll try not to give too much away.

When I think of popular couples in horror, the first one that comes to mind is Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel. James Wan & his wife, Ingrid Bisu may be joining that group. Along with screenwriter Akela Cooper (The 100), the three writers provide Malignant with enough jumps and mouth covers for me to enjoy the ride. Is it perfect? No. It might actually be offensive and/or triggering to a few people, depending on what they’re going through in life, but every movie has the capacity to do that without realizing it.

When mother to be Madison (Annabelle Wallis, Annabelle) suffers an injury, she begins to have visions of a figure causing murders. Much like Neil Jordan’s In Dreams, Madison visions give her a tie to the killer, who may be someone from her past. With the police involved in the form of Agent Kekoa Shaw (George Young, Containment) and his partner, Regina Moss (Michole Briana White, She Hate Me), they work with Annabelle to pursue the killer.

Malignant has it’s share of great shots. There’s one wonderful overhead sequence that takes place which reminded me a little of Minority Report, along with Wan’s usual work with lights and shadow. Smoky alleyways and barely lit hallways just add to Malignant’s creepiness. All of this is anchored by both Wallis’ performance, a mix of quiet tension and wide eyed horror, and by Maddie Hasson (Underdogs), who plays her sister Sidney. Sidney is the source of Malignant‘s more comedic quips, along with Ingrid Bisu, who plays the Forensic Investigator. The movie strikes a good balance there, I felt.

From a writing standpoint, there’s enough misdirection to keep the audience guessing, but it doesn’t do in a way that lies to them. On my 2nd viewing (I’m on my 3rd while writing this), the elements that seemed strange really do make sense. There’s also tidbits of humor placed throughout the movie. It doesn’t make it a comedy by any means, but it’s nice to be to chuckle once in a while. It does make one huge mistake (for me, anyway) that almost completely lost me early on, a conversation between sisters that made me wonder why such information wasn’t already known between them over all the time they knew each other. You’ll probably be able to recognize it when it occurs.

Malignant is a tight 1 hour and 51 minutes, but it’s paced so well that the film feels like it’s almost over before you know it. As much as I enjoyed it, that was one of the other problems I had with the film. Not a terrible thing in any way. It hooks you from the start, gives you some great jumps and reveals through the middle. The 2nd half of the movie kind of pushes the pedal to the floor and guns it. I can think of at least two films that Malignant references, but I’ll maybe write about them some other time.

Overall, Malignant is a great Halloween treat, with James Wan & Co. showing everyone how it’s done. It gets strange, but when all’s said and done, you’ll be thankful for the ride. Just go in blind, turn off all the lights, take it for what it is and enjoy.