What shows are you watching?

Started by Jeremy Blackman, May 06, 2017, 04:03:18 PM

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They filmed some stuff for this here in Pittsburgh. My buddies record store (attic records) supplied all the vinyl! We skipped around a few episodes the other night looking for their branded slip mats (prop dept said they used them as much as possible if a scene had a turntable) but couldn't find any.

Glad to hear it's a good show! It seemed to be shot really well.


I've been feeling kind of cynical about shows lately. Certainly there is good stuff out there, but a lot of the stuff I like just ends up getting cancelled. Dirk Gently, Truth Seekers ....

I gave Search Party a try and really loved about 90% of the first season. The ending got a little bit odd in an almost uncanny way (like the Connecticut scenes in that Noah Baumbach movie Mistress America), and the beginning of the second season felt like that, so haven't watched that again. I watched a season and a half of The Leftovers, and it's pretty good but just didn't hold my interest (not a fan of that trope where a character hallucinates the existence of another character and we're shown that imagined character on screen). Watched season one of Peaky Blinders, and it's pretty good, but not outstanding.

Maybe I'll try some of the other recommendations here.

Edit: Oh yeah, Barry is really awesome. Haven't gotten around to watching the second season of that show, but that's one that's really great.


Barry just gets more and more bonkers.  The S3 finale was nothing short of amazing.  There are some missteps in the writing IMO, but if you can suspend your disbelief, it's fine.  And Barry goes down smooth, so it makes for a fun rewatch.  I'm on my third time through now.

Jeremy Blackman

It's overwhelming to have Better Call Saul, Westworld, and The Rehearsal all on at the same time. And they will all be wrapping up soon. Then I guess I'll just stare into the void.


Players, the new series by the guys who did American Vandal, is very solid and worth checking out. Recommended for fans of any combination of: American Vandal, Silicon Valley, and Netflix sports documentary series.
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Jeremy Blackman


The Joe Schmo Show is one of the most remarkable things I've ever seen. People usually compare it to The Truman Show or something from the Nathan Fielder universe, and that's accurate. But for me this is a better description: it's like Burning Love except one of the cast members is a real person. The subject believes he's on an actual reality TV show, but everything is meticulously scripted around him with improv actors (one of whom is a pre-SNL Kristen Wiig) actively guiding the plot while delivering pre-written lines and speeches.

In the end, it's a super effective skewering of reality TV, while also being reality TV, in a manner way ahead of its time. A secondary objective, and perhaps the more fascinating one, is putting their "Joe Schmo" through a series of moral challenges, giving him room to make himself the hero if he chooses the right path. (I've watched seasons 1 and 2; neither are exploitative or mean-spirited).

Clearly The Joe Schmo Show (especially Season 2) was a heavy inspiration for Burning Love. It actually verges on plagiarism at times. They even carry over an actor (Natasha Leggero in S2) playing the exact same character!

Jeremy Blackman

Coming from a show-only perspective, the finale of The Last of Us was very disappointing. I didn't believe a single plot point in the episode. This is a great example of when "contrived" writing is actually a meaningfully bad thing. Most of what happens in this episode is just scaffolding for something else and doesn't hold up on its own. And it's all bad enough the one thing they were supposed to pull off doesn't really land.

Spoiler: ShowHide
Every action taken by the Fireflies and Marlene just doesn't make sense. There's no way the Firefly doctor would immediately execute Ellie. Can we not run some experiments? Isn't she the first specimen of her kind? You're not going to test any of your hypotheses or explore other possibilities? For example, maybe Ellie could pass immunity on to offspring. But no, there's no curiosity, it's just "give brain."

And what was Marlene's plan? Set Joel loose while Ellie is being prepped for surgery? Then just hope for the best? Give me a break. It's like she's subconsciously sabotaging the whole thing. She specifically acknowledged how powerful Joel was – that he's more deadly and capable than her whole army — and then in the very next breath sends him off with two of these randos. What did she have going on that was more important? Clearly you have to shackle him until the deed is done, or just execute him because you know you'll never be safe from his wrath. Marlene is now a joke of a character to me.

It's all to set up the trolley problem that the whole story hinges on. But it didn't seem like much of a conundrum to me. The answer to this supposed moral quandary is simple – the operation shouldn't be done without Ellie's consent, and Joel was right to rescue her from these idiot butchers. With Ellie still alive, it can always be done later, likely with a more competent doctor. In fact this one probably would have failed, judging by his total lack of scientific rigor.

The more interesting question is whether Joel should have lied to Ellie. But even that fell flat for me, because his lie was so weak and she clearly doesn't believe him, and if she does even a little it's not going to last.

A bunch of random small stuff in the episode was also nonsensical. So... Marlene left this baby + pocket knife combo on Fedra's doorstep, and they did what with that exactly? Did they file the pocket knife in their vault with a note saying "this pocket knife of great sentimental value goes with X baby, return to baby when old enough"?

Also when Marlene gives baby Ellie to her henchman and says "cover her ears," this guy just... doesn't do it. Is that canonical or not? They didn't care about the details.