I’ve been meaning to do this for a while so I’m just going to throw these out there:
Stranger Things Season 3
I’ve been a vocal fan of this show (Not as strong a fan as *some*, because I don’t want to be scary, but still) since I first watched it, but season three started off very badly. Characters I’d liked and who should have grown together were now snickering and making fun of each other. Hopper had become a complete mess. He’d gone from real life hero to obnoxious buffoon.
It took me a while to realize what they were doing. Season three had become an homage to romcoms, so we get clips of Sam and Diane, and we get endless bickering between characters who are attracted to each other but can’t admit it. And a show so used to leaning on homages ought to understand that homages of old jokes is just recycling an old joke. It’s not actually funny.
So yeah, that part wasn’t fun.
Everything else about the show? Loved it.
As the kids are getting older, the horror is getting scarier, more action-oriented, and gorier, too. And being Stranger Things, they nail it.
So, yeah. Not my favorite season, except for the parts that very much are.
Jessica Jones Season 3
One of the least interesting story lines a superhero show can tell is the “What does it mean to be a hero?” thing. Usually, it involves getting up off the ground after a round of grueling physical punishment.
I’m looking at you, Spider-Man, into the Spider-verse.
Of course, in superhero stories, the consequences of most fights are to make people feel a lot of pain, and also to make them incredibly tired. That’s why it’s such a struggle to get off the ground. To prove themselves to be heroes, protagonists need to stand up despite the pain and punch-induced exhaustion to return immediately to their pre-fight levels of physical capability, and finally make the bad guy super tired. Through punching.
Jessica Jones (the show, I mean, although the character, too) flips this on its head. When this show asks the question “What does it mean to be a hero?” they don’t mean putting on a mask and beating up “bad people.” It means finding evidence, getting confessions, capturing the criminal, and turning them over to the courts.
Based on her performance in this show, Rachel Taylor really ought to be getting a lot of high profile stuff. If you were annoyed by the way the writers portrayed Queen Whatshername’s descent into murder and darkness, check out the long, slow, tragic journey that Trish Walker makes from Beloved Celebrity Who Pulled Her Live Together into a Villain Who Thinks She’s Doing Right. Trish is all the worst instincts of the superhero genre, and because it all comes from her, and from the depths of her character, it never feels like a cheap commentary.
What I’m saying is, the last season of Jessica Jones might not have been the MCU/Netflix signoff/victory lap/low-budget Endgame remix that people expected, but it’s excellent in its own right.
C.B. Strike Series 1-3
I liked the books (I like private eye novels) and I liked the shows. Things are shortened and simplified, obviously, but these are solid PI stories.
What puts them above (and warrants mention here) is Robin’s subplot throughout. She has always wanted to be an investigator of some kind, and has everything stacked against her. But she is determined.
And I loved it. Everyone who has ever worked really hard for a dream that seemed unreachable ought to feel that pull. It’s a small part of the series, but it’s what put that show over the top.
Two terrific scenes, a bunch of great performances, and an otherwise dull movie.
Doctor Who Season 11
I’d given up on this show years ago, but thought I’d give it another shot with a new show runner and actress in the lead role. Verdict: I liked it. Very little frantic nonsense, a fair amount of actual drama and tension. We’ll be watching more of this.
Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. Wow. Loved it. I guessed the twist pretty early, but I loved it.
The Boys Season 1
I didn’t like the comic so I was planning to skip the show, but enough people liked it that I gave it a chance, and I’m glad I did. Like the comic, it was dark but not in a childish way. The characters felt real, and so did their problems. If you don’t mind stories about violence, murder, and sexual assault, The Boys was effective.
Hannah Season 1
Based on the movie, which was decidedly more ruthless and brutal than the show. It’s one of the rare spy shows where the characters did things that were better than what I’d expected. Solid stuff.
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