TV Diary

For All Mankind

For All Mankind is my current entry for the best tv show you’re not watching. I don’t know why this show hasn’t gotten more traction. There have been two seasons on AppleTV+ and I have barely heard anyone talk about it. It’s an alternate history of the space race starting in the 1960s and leaving off in the 1980s in season 2. It looks like season 3 is going to jump ahead to the 90s. From the little I saw other people saying about the show it seems like people like season 2 better. I still really liked the second season, but I did like season 1 a little bit better. The show has lots of good storylines for women. There’s a good balance between character development and really good plot driven action. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will just say that it’s actually kind of a miracle that nothing like what happens towards the end of season 2 has actually ever happened in regards to the moon. If you have AppleTV+ and haven’t watched this show, go start now. If you don’t have AppleTV+, pay the five bucks for a month and treat yourself to this and Ted Lasso.

The Other Two

The Other Two started off as a show on Comedy Central, but it moved to HBOMax for season two. It stars Molly Shannon as the mother of three kids. Cary and Brooke are in their twenties and trying to make lives for themselves in New York. Their teenage brother Chase winds up becoming a famous singer because of YouTube and all of their lives start to revolve around him and his career. I resisted watching this show for a long time because everything I heard about it when it started made me think that it involved a lot of cringe comedy, which I cannot abide. I have to watch that kind of stuff through my fingers, so a whole show whose premise revolved around it did not appeal to me. I heard such good stuff about it when season two premiered that I finally decided to give it a chance. I feel like I was a bit misled on the cringe comedy thing. Cary and Brooke do a lot of dumb stuff trying to get ahead in their lives and their careers that usually backfires on them, but I wouldn’t actually label it as cringe comedy. I don’t think it has quite as much heart as Schitt’s Creek, but it is one of those shows where some people that on the surface seem kind of terrible grow and develop and actually make you like them.

Only Murders in the Building

People seemed to really love Only Murders in the Building, a Hulu show starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez. After a murder happens in the building that their three characters live in they band together to try and solve the murder through a true crime podcast. I liked it well enough, but I didn’t love it the way everyone else seemed to. I will say that the season finale featured some A+ physical comedy from Steve Martin. The episode that was focused on Sting potentially being the murderer was also fantastic.

The Chair

The Chair on Netflix stars Sandra Oh as the newly appointed chair of an English department at a small New England college. She winds up having to deal with all kinds of problems including older tenured faculty whose classes are no longer drawing students, her sort of boyfriend and fellow professor saying something offensive in a class that sends the college into an uproar, and a young adopted daughter who she has a difficult relationship with. Sandra Oh was great as always, and as someone who works in higher education there were definitely some things that rang true about this show.

Girls 5Eva

Girls 5Eva is a show on Peacock about a girl group that was famous in the 90s reuniting in present day after their song is sampled by a hit rapper. It stars Busy Phillips, Paula Pell, Sara Bareilles, and Renee Elise Goldsberry. We Are Lady Parts is the superior Peacock show about a ladies in a band, but Girls 5Eva was a decent comedy to watch if you happen to subscribe to Peacock or get it free somehow like we currently are. I don’t know that I would both resubscribing to Peacock just to watch this when season two comes out, but if we happen to be subscribed for some other reason I would watch it.

The Big Leap

The Big Leap is one of the few new network shows I’m watching this season. There weren’t a lot of them to begin with because of COVID, and I wasn’t super excited about most of them. It’s about the production of a reality show in which people a who live in the Detroit area and are down on their luck are cast in a production of Swan Lake. This show is really terrible, but also I love it. It is not good by any stretch of the imagination. Nothing about the actual show or the show within the show make any sense. It’s entirely ridiculous that so many of these randomly cast people wind up having past connections of some sort and that they all immediately fall in love with someone else on the show. The dance scenes are fun though, and it’s mindless entertainment that is entertaining even if it is objectively not good. Fox declined to pick it up for a second half of the season. Supposedly they’re saying that it was only ever intended to have 11 episodes, but 11 episodes is not a number of episodes that tv usually travels in so I’m dubious that is true. At any rate, I’m not holding my breath for a second season, and I don’t really care if there is one. If Fox had pulled the plug at any point during the season due to the low ratings I would not have been up in arms about it.

Ghosts

Ghosts is the one other network tv show I’ve stuck with this season. It’s a CBS comedy about a couple who inherit a big old house in the country, which it turns out is haunted by centuries worth of ghosts. After a freak accident she winds up being about to see the ghosts. The comedy comes from her being the only one who can interact with them and the fact that the ghosts are from all different time periods who don’t always understand each other’s references or what is happening the world today. Apparently it’s based on a British show that I have never watched. I might go back and watch it at some point as well.

Zero Chill

Speaking of terrible tv shows that I continued to watch, I submit to you Zero Chill, a British teen drama available on Netflix. It’s about a family who moves from Canada to England so that their son can join a prestigious hockey team. His twin sister, who is a figure skater, does not take the move well. The storylines in this show are kind of dumb and unbelievable, and the acting is super questionable. However it has really great music including a bunch of songs by the band Chvrches, who I love and am super sad that I will selling the concert ticket I have to see them in a few weeks because Covid cases are going up again instead of down and it seems like a poor decision to go stand cramped in a crowded concert venue with 6,000 other people.

Squid Game

Hi it’s me the person that watched Squid Game and didn’t like it. I do not really understand why everyone was so obsessed with this show. I just didn’t care about any of the characters enough to worry about who was going to be killed, and it was patently obvious that the person who one was going to win. Pretty much it was easy to know who was going to be the next character that they spent any time on who was going to get killed. There was one good episode in my opinion and that was the marble episode. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t watched, but if you have then you probably know why I liked that one the best.

The Wonder Years

I tried the new remake of The Wonder Years based on a Black family in the 60s. In theory it’s a really good idea, but it’s just not a show I’m that interested in. I never watched the original regularly either. This one has the same beats, and it just doesn’t draw me in. I’m sure people who liked the original one would like this version too.

Ordinary Joe

Ordinary Joe was one of the few network tv shows I tried. I quit it after two episodes. It stars James Wolk in a sort of Sliding Doors type story in which he winds up with three different versions of his life that you’re watching based on a decision he made in college. I wasn’t super invested in what was happening to him in any of the timelines and I just couldn’t see where the show was going to go. Like am I just supposed to watch him living three separate but sort of related lives for multiple seasons? Maybe some larger picture came into play in subsequent episodes after I quit watching, but I’ll never know.

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