Jim and A.Ron give some brief thoughts on the brief episodes of Netflix’s new gonzo animated anthology, Love, Death, and Robots, before beginning deliberations on HBO’s new documentary, The Case Against Adnan Syed. We’ll be off on vacation all next week! See you when we return!
Cecily and A.Ron take over Bald Move TV to talk about the new season of Stars American Gods. While we have previously discussed the show in passing, we’ll be taking longer looks at it this season, beginning with this premiere episode, “House on the Rock”. There are a lot of reasons to be excited for this show; it’s unique world and lush visual style, the performances and characters are delightfully over the top, and it’s an adaptation of a highly regarded work where the literary creator is deeply involved in the production. But, there are reasons to be skeptical, as the production of season two is a story filled with delays and creative differences, leading to the firing of several showrunners, and has lead to numerous negative reviews of at least the early goings of season two. Still, we’re committed to seeing this show to whatever end it meets, either of running it’s natural creative course or at the hands of the hammer swinging execs at Stars. They don’t call us the “Undertakers” for nothing!
Jim and I cover two semi-related topics, the horror genre take on #metoo that is Hulu’s Into the Dark: Treehouse, as well as the documentary on Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland that paints a compelling, credible, and disturbing picture of the pop superstar. It’s also an excellent primer on understanding and preventing child abuse, which every parent or potential parent should watch.
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Jim and A.Ron watched a near record amount of television this week! We finished The Umbrella Economy and Lorena, as well as offering first looks at the third season of Documentary Now and the new Prime Original, This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy. Buckle in, this is a mega round up with lots of deep dives into political and economic topics!
Jim and A.Ron have seen The Umbrella Academy and Lorena, Netflix and Amazon originals respectively. The Umbrella Academy is a smart, fun take on the X-Men universe with some Noah Hawley DNA mixed in. Lorena is a four part documentary examining the 1993 dismembering case of Lorena Bobbitt. While the case is no doubt interesting and probably a big landmark in the struggle for equality of the sexes, we’re not sure this production is doing a great job of raising these issues or presenting the facts in a straightforward way. We’ll be back next week to give The Umbrella Academy and Lorena another whirl!
Jim and A.Ron take a look at Netflix’s new darkly comedic take on the Groundhog Day concept, Russian Doll. Starring Natasha Lyonne, it offers a funny, inventive, and interesting take on the human condition, what being happy and connectedness means, and what obligations we have to our fellow humans around us. At a binge time of less than 4 hours, we both feel like it’s worth just about everyone’s time to check out. We also circle back around to Black Earth Rising, which is still phenomenally interesting at its core, but can’t decide which of a million sub-plots and character details it wants to focus on and remains a bit of a jumbled mess.
Jim and A.Ron give their thoughts and opinions on the entire first season of Netflix’s Korean medieval zombie series, Kingdom, as well as the first two episodes of Black Earth Rising. Kingdom is much needed breath of fresh air in the mouldy zombie genre, with lush locations and sets, impressive costuming, excellent plotting and performances, and genuinely creepy and terrifying monsters. The boys both were very into the premise and promise of Black Earth Rising, but are worried two episodes in from the series penchant in getting distracted with Jason Bourne types of intrigue and assassinations as well as the complex and confusing personal lives of the main characters. Whether the excellent performances and important questions the show has to offer can overcome the clunky writing and execution remains to be seen.
Jim and I haven’t finished The Punisher season 2 yet, but we’ve seen enough to tap out. As we discuss in our spoiler filled review, The Punisher has the chief sin of these Marvel/Netflix collaborations; a bloated 13 episode runtime, and adds to it ludicrous character details and plot-points until this grimdark ultra-violent fantasy pushes through the drama boundary and hits unintentional comedy. 8 episodes in, we still don’t know why we should care about Amy, or what makes the Pilgrim tick, or why Frank let Russo off the hook when he should be worm food except, oh right, this is a 13 episode season instead of a more reasonable 8-10 episode season and if things made sense and had dramatic urgency they’d be five hours of content short.
Netflix and Hulu had dueling documentaries on doomed Fyre music festival, Fyre, and Fyre Fraud respectively. With slightly different focuses, the documentaries broadly outline how founder Billy McFarland built several ponzi schemes on the idea of selling a fictionalized “baller” lifestyle to young, naive, rich people and took them for a ride. Built on the back of a few dozen paid influencers and a long list of impossible promises, Fyre was supposed to be the event of the decade. Instead, it barely avoiding being a genuine humanitarian disaster. We discuss influencing, the morality of excess, and engage in the kind of barely contained glee at seeing narcissists fall from grace that you’d expect in this discussion of all things Fyre.