Good Watch: Catastrophe @SharonHorgan @robdelaney @PrimeVideo

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Running through Amazon Prime has brought me to season 1 of the Expanse and Bosch, and all of Man in the High Castle and the Boys. My latest watch is Catastrophe, which like the Boys before it was too good to stop watching.

It’s an easy watch. Each of the four season are only six episodes of less than 25 minutes each. The story centers around a one-week stand in London between and American man and an Irish woman. It results in an unplanned pregnancy, which in turn leads to a marriage. The humor, and how it’s delivered, are right up my alley.

Eventually, it takes on a completely different tone. The humor suffers a bit as a result, but it didn’t disappear, and I still really liked it where the show went. I say that despite not being able to relate to the story in a significant way. I’ve never been married, and this show is in large part about problems that arose in a marriage.

I also have to say that it was a pleasant surprise to see Carrie Fisher one last time. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: The Boys @KarlUrban @JackQuaid92 @antonystarr @ErinMoriarty_ @KarenFukuhara @chacecrawford @lazofficial @The_JessieT @TheBoysTV @PrimeVideo

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I had until November 25, to finish watching everything Amazon Prime has to offer. I ran out of time, but not before finishing both seasons of the Boys. My plan was to watch season one of as many shows as possible, but the Boys was so good that I couldn’t stop.

The show was part comedy, part drama (more drama) in which superheroes are real but are as flawed as the rest of us. Think about how screwed up you’d behave if there were no consequences. Pretty ugly, huh? Well, these guys are worse, or at least what we hope is worse.

It was good enough that I decided to pay Amazon Prime for another month.

Up next are Catastrophe and Carnival Road. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: Bosch, Season One @welliver_titus @JamieHector @lancereddick @aquino_amy @BoschAmazon @PrimeVideo

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I have until November 25, to finish watching everything Amazon Prime has to offer. Due to the conflicting advice I’ve gotten, I’ve decided to watch season 1 of as many shows as possible. I just finished season one of Bosch.

Bosch was good, but not great. It’s not because of the acting — I love Lance Riddick in everything he does — or the writing. I think it’s a matter of the genre. Despite my love of The Shield, I’m not into cop shows. Many people think that The Wire was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, show ever to hit television. I couldn’t make it through the first season. I was bored.

I mean something *else* on TV.

Despite my ho-hum approach to cop shows, I still liked it, so if you’re into the genre, you may very well love it. Also, as I said, I liked the cast, and the story was reasonably compelling. It’s just not enough to get me to extend my Amazon Prime subscription.

Up next, season one of The Boys. As always, YMMV.

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Great Watch: Jack Ryan, Season One @johnkrasinski @WendellPierce @dinashihabi @jackryanamazon @PrimeVideo

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I have until November 25, to finish watching everything Amazon has to offer. That’s because the (mediocre) Borat sequel inspired me, at last, to activate a free, 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. I have no intention of adding yet another pay streaming service to my suite of paid streaming services, and I don’t shop through Amazon very often, so there’s no reason for me to choose Amazon Prime over one of my existing ones. I really loved the Man in the High Castle, but the rest of what I’ve seen hasn’t sustained the aforesaid inspiration.

With time running out, I requested recommendations from the Facebook hive mind. I was told that Jack Ryan season one was really good, but that subsequent seasons were a let down. So, I watched it, with the intent of moving on to Bosch after I finish that season. I’ll be damned if season one wasn’t awesome. Perhaps you need to be into spy thrillers to like it, but I wouldn’t say that describes me, so I’m willing to guess that the average person would like it. I think it’s just a matter of it being a good show … or at least that season one is. I may never know whether season 2 is.

I also love shows and movies taking place in the Washington, DC area. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: The Mandalorian, Season 2 @themandalorian @starwars @disneyplus #GoodWatch

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Yeah, I know. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

The Mandalorian is back! But why is Tatooine? I get it. Tatooine and a few of its inhabitants hold a special place in the hearts of all who watch Star Wars, but the whole premise of the planet is that it’s an obscure place where nothing interesting happens, making it the perfect hiding place for a young Luke Skywalker. Yet here it is. Again. The center of a Star Wars story.

But let’s move past that. Jon Favreau should be handed the reins to Star Wars. He knows not only how to tell a story, but also specifically a Star Wars story. Two episodes in, and this looks to be as good as season one was. I still love the sign language of the Sand People. Nice touch. Though I’m not sure everyone else is happy with the structure, I also like when a TV series is episodic (original Star Trek for the win!) with a larger story subservient to that.

I also hope their paths cross again.

Rodians cook their meat well done.

No universal translator? Star Trek >> Star Wars.

Someone needs to stat out that Krayt dragon for D&D.

Boba Fett must have been the runt of the Mandalorian litter. He was a wimp. As always. YMMV.

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Great Watch: The Man in the High Castle @alexaKdavalos @CHTOfficial @rupert_evans @FredrikSewell @lukekleintank @joeldelafuente @TheOnlyDJQualls

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For the past few weeks — perhaps months – I’ve had terrible luck with shows I’ve watched that should be right up my alley. I was worried that I was becoming Stan Marsh. Fortunately, I found the Man in the High Castle. There’s hope for me yet.

I love historical “what if” dramatizations regardless of how much of my disbelief I must spend to buy into it. But hell, if I can watch a superhero movie, I can watch this. TMitHC is set in an alternate reality in which the Nazis developed the atomic bomb and thus won World War 2. The eastern part of what should be the United States is run by Germany, and the Western part is run by Japan. The central states are a neutral territory. I’m no expert on history, but I don’t see how either country could have taken over so much of the United States even if they defeated us. That’s a lot of ground to cover by such small, foreign populations, especially as well armed as our citizenry is.

So, forgetting that aspect of it, much of the show seems plausible to me, especially the relationship between the Germany and Japan. Whether it is realistic (not and expert, remember?) is another matter. It’s clearly enjoyable, though.

I’m just starting season 2. I was warned that the series ends in a disappointing way, but I’m enjoying the story and actors so much, I remain undeterred!

I think Hellboy must have had something to do with the story. As always, YMMV.

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Terrible Watch: Undone @PrimeVideo

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I watched this show because someone suggested it, and at four hours of content, I knew I could bang it out quickly. Now I want to commit a homicide. (Not really; he’s great.)

The first thing that bugs me is that it seems a lot of shows are trying to one up the last show on time travel, multiverses, etc., but each of them fails to do anything I haven’t seen before. Moreover, the main character, Alma, at one point says, “I don’t have time for this!” We’re talking about time travel. She literally has all the time in existence for “this.” Do you know a single third grader that wouldn’t be able to understand that? When a plot depends on stupidity to create tension or move the story along, the writing sucks (see, e.g., the horror genre).

The second thing that bugs me are the characters. There isn’t a single one I liked. The show centers on, among other things, a car crash and time travel. Once that becomes obvious, I find myself hoping that Alma will bring all the characters through time, place them (and herself) in the car, and they’ll all just die. Problem solved, and it would have taken 2 minutes to watch. Then I could have gone on with my life.

Then Alma pissed me off by stealing a line I’ve used for decades (something to the effect of “of course you love me; I’m just so damn loveable”). Where are my royalties?

Okay, ignore that one.

Alma is played by Rosa Salazar, but she’s partially obscured by animation, so she looked a little like Aubrey Plaza. Imagine being expected to root for Aubrey Plaza when she’s constantly being obnoxious but not trying to be funny. That’s Alma.

Based on the ending, all of this was almost explainable, but only in a Wizard of Oz sort of way, but if I’m supposed to treat this as the Wizard of Oz, then the ending can’t be reconciled with the knowledge Alma had. Besides, it was too little, too late for me. I can’t care about the story if I hate all of the characters, and no ending can possibly justify 4 hours of that. I have no idea what you all saw in it.

As always, YMMV.

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Letdown Watch (So Far): The Expanse @ExpanseOnPrime #Good Watch

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I’ve been itching to activate a free, 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, mostly because of the Expanse. I’ve heard scientists explain how the show gets the physics of space travel better than any other show or movie before it, which also piqued my curiosity. I never thought I’d say this about this show, but with only a couple of episodes to go in season 1, I’m a bit bored. Surprisingly, the fact that it gets the science right isn’t that big of a deal. They produce drama around it, but they could (as so many other have) produce just as much drama around bad physics.

I haven’t given up hope on it. A fan of the show admitted that it starts off slow, and two of my all-time favorites, The Office and Parks & Recreation, both had weak first seasons to set up the series.

As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: The Onion Movie @TheOnion @STARZ #GoodWatch

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I wanted to do something stupid, so I did. I watched the Onion Movie, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s the kind of movie that you can’t review. It’s just a ridiculous mess of funny anecdotes, each serving as a segue into the next. Just when I think it’s getting old, I suddenly find myself again laughing out loud at something ridiculously funny. It’s also great to see a snapshot of Hollywood in 2008, seeing which actors were on the rise, and which were on their way out. Plus, Jed Rees has a nice skit making fun of D&D players. That’s always fun for me. The Onion Movie is showing on Starz.

If you have a stupid sense of humor, this could be your thing too. As always. YMMV.

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Overrated Watch: Good Omens @michaelsheen #GoodWatch

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As I mentioned last Monday, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm inspired me to finally start my 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. I’m otherwise uninterested in adding a 100th streaming service to my monthly bill. So, I asked the social media world what I should after Borat and received a ton of suggestions. Looking up everything, I settled on prioritizing the Expanse (I can’t believe I forgot that was available), Good Omens, Man in the High Castle, the Boys, and Undone. If there’s time, I’ll add Jack Ryan, Catastrophe, and Bosch. Practicing an analogue of Occam’s Razor, I chose Good Omens to start because it’s only six hours of content so far. I watched all six, 50-minute episodes this weekend.

Overall, it was decent, but I’ve seen too many movies and shows reimagining the apocalypse for modern times. Each adds a tiny twist. Tiny, not clever. I also get a bit annoyed by the overuse of flashbacks. Sometimes, holding back the history leading up to an event makes a lot of sense. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just a gimmick. The first 30-some minutes of the sixth episode is a flashback, but it’s also the conclusion to the main story. There’s absolutely no reason for that, and little reason for the last 25 minutes. Finally, I was particularly annoyed by the theft of Sandra Bullock’s joke from Demolition Man (“lick butt v. kick butt”).

But it certainly wasn’t “bad.” If it were “bad,” I wouldn’t have finished it. Besides, if none of these things get on your nerves, you’ll probably like it a lot. It was still a good story delivered by a great cast. It was just a bit trite for my tastes.

David Tennant’s delivery reminded me of Bill Nighy. Every now and then, my mind would see Nighy delivering Tennant’s lines.

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