Because of the holidays, I haven’t seen the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead yet. It’s on the DVR, along with American Idol and all the British comedies that I usually watch. I’ll review it in the upcoming few days, even though I’m sure everyone has moved on by now. One fun thing about having your own site is that you can set your own schedule.
Here’s a few thoughts on what I did watch:
61st Street (Sunday Night, AMC)
Arriving with very little fanfare, 61st Street is AMC’s latest original series. It takes place in Chicago and it deals with a burned-out defense attorney (Courtney B. Vance) and a high school track star (Tosin Cole) who is just trying to survive long enough to make it to college. Unfortunately, Cole is in the wrong place at the wrong time and, as the premiere episode came to a close, he was being pursued by the Chicago cops.
Judging from the pilot, the show is attempting to do for Chicago what The Wire did for Baltimore. The problem, however, is that 61st Street never feels as authentic, unpredictable, or downright dangerous as The Wire. In the pilot, at least, the characters came across as being caricatures and, for a show that is set in a very real neighborhood, there was little sense of place to be found. The show could have been taking place in any generic city.
Interestingly enough, the show as created by Peter Moffat, an British writer who is best-known for writing a series of films and television shows about recent British history. He also wrote the script for the worst film that Clint Eastwood ever directed, Hereafter. You have to wonder just what exactly led Moffat to try to capture the spirit of Chicago. For that matter, why do we even need yet another show about Chicago? There are other cities in America.
2022 Masters Golf Tournament (Sunday, CBS)
I watched a bit of it with Jeff on Sunday afternoon. The golf course was really pretty. I’m going to learn how to play golf. I already kind of know but I want to learn how to play golf well! Why should my boyfriend have all the fun?
The Brady Bunch (Sunday Morning, MeTV)
During this Sunday’s block of The Brady Bunch, Bobby became a pest after saving Peter’s life, Jan freaked out because she wasn’t good at anything, Bobby and Peter imagined what it would be like to live on another planet, and some weird new family showed up as a part of backdoor pilot! While it’s best not to spend too much time thinking about The Brady Bunch, I have always been amused by backdoor pilots. It’s always like, “Oh, hey, people we’ve never seen or head about before! Wait …. why is the show following them to their home?”
Full House (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)
The Tanners are going to Hawaii!
Sunday’s 4-episode bloc of Full House opened with an episode in which Danny, the girls, the uncles, and aunt Becky all went to Hawaii to celebrate the two-year anniversary of Joey and Jesse moving into the house. The cool thing about this episode is that it had plenty of Hawaiian scenery and Becky got mad at Jesse for talking about Elvis all the time. You tell him, Becky!
This was followed by three episodes in which everyone learned an important lesson. DJ and Stephanie learned about the importance of going to school. Becky and Jesse learned how to communicate as a couple. Stephanie learned not to make fun of her nerdy friend and Danny really should have learned to stop inviting Joey to appear on Good Morning San Francisco.
The Girl From Plainville (Hulu)
As I mentioned in that post, I’m pretty much over the show and I will probably, from now on, only offer capsule reviews of the 3 remaining episodes in my Week in TV posts.
Hard Cell (Netflix)
This British sitcom takes place in a women’s prison in which the majority of the characters are played by Catherine Tate. I watched the first two episodes on Wednesday and, unfortunately, neither one of them really worked for me. There really wasn’t much gained by having Tate play multiple characters and the mockumentary approach no longer feels that fresh. Tate is undeniably talented but the show just fell flat.
It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Apple TV+)
Erin and I watched this on Saturday afternoon. Erin wrote about this special a few years ago.
Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)
This week’s “ripped from the headline” case was based on the Ed Buck murder trial and featured a wealthy, old white man who liked to pick up young black men and then shoot them up with drugs. Occasionally, the younger men died. He was brought to justice, just as Ed Buck finally was. This was an okay episode and it gave Camryn Manheim a chance to shine.
I do have to say that I still always find it amusing how the Law & Order franchise has imagined a world in which a bunch of blue collar, unsentimental New York cops all talk like panelists on MSNBC. I kind of doubt that many cops voted for Bernie Sanders but you wouldn’t know that from watching this show.
The Love Boat (Sunday Afternoon, MeTV)
On this week’s cruise: Telma Hopkins, Theresa Merritt, Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Noble, Raymond St. Jacques, Holland Taylor, Adam West, and Alan Young! The highlight was Adam West, parodying himself in the role of an overly macho buffoon.
Midnight Mass (Netflix)
This horror-themed miniseries from Mike Flanagan was released in October of last year but, at the time, I really didn’t feel like watching a show about a demonic priest. However, with the Emmy nominations coming up, I figured that I should go ahead and give the show a try. At the very least, I wanted to see if it lived up to all the acclaim.
It’s a show about life on an isolated island and what happens to the community when a mysterious priest shows up. I watched the first episode on Sunday night and it was pretty effective, even if some of the dialogue felt a bit overwritten. Flanagan knows how to create a creepy and intriguing atmosphere and I liked Hamish Linklater’s menacing-but-friendly portrayal of Father Paul Hill. I did not like the episode’s final scene, which involved a bunch of dead cats washing up on the beach. Normally, that’s the sort of thing that would make me stop watching but, because of my faith in the storytelling abilities of Mike Flanagan, I decided to make an exception in the case of Midnight Mass.
That said, Holy Week (especially one that I was spending with my sisters) didn’t really feel like the right time to watch a miniseries about an evil priest so I decided to put off watching the rest of the show until next week.
The Outlaws (Amazon Prime)
This British comedy/drama hybrid deals with seven strangers who are forced to due community service as punishment for breaking the law. At first, they start off as strangers but then they bond and steal a lot of money. You can probably guess the story. Christopher Walken plays Frank, an old con artist who has recently been released for prison. He’s a delight, as always.
I watched the first episode of this show on Monday night and I have to say that it kind of annoyed me. I appreciated the performances of Walken, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Darren Boyd but otherwise, the show itself often seemed to be trying a bit too hard and the mix of comedy and drama occasionally played a bit awkwardly. Largely due to the fact that it was only a 6-epiosde series and the presence of Christopher Walken in the cast, I decided that I would give the show a second chance but that first episode didn’t do much for me.
I watched the second episode late on Tuesday night. It was a definite improvement on the second episode and featured plenty of good Walken moments but the hour length still made the episode feel as if it was punishingly overextended and the show’s balance between comedy and drama continued to be a rather awkward one.
I’ll watch the four remaining episodes of the show next week.
Survivor (Wednesday Night, CBS)
I finished up Yellowackets on Monday afternoon. I cried with Laura Lee blew up. I was also really upset when Jackie froze to death. And don’t even get me started on the dog! This was actually kind of a traumatic series. Still, it was a fascinating show to watch and I look forward to seeing how things plays out during the second season.