The title says it all, really. Last week I was watching the penultimate episode of Riverdale’s first season, and Liam and Regan invited me to join them to podcast about it. I was on their first podcast about a year ago when we discussed the Lost finale, which was fun. This was even more fun because Riverdale is a zeitgeist show, and we’d just found out who the killer was. About an hour after we finished recording, I posited that perhaps Nana Blossom was the one who killed Cliff, because it’s the kind of crackpot theory I can get on board with – I knew it was basically impossible, but crackpot theories are supposed to be fun. Anyway, you should give it a listen with the rest of the podcast. They watch mystery television shows and try to solve them. Next they’re watching a show called The Sniffer that’s on Netflix. From what they’ve told me it’s not very good. Let’s see where that goes.
Master of None was one of my favourite shows of 2015, and I’m so happy it’s back. The first episode is in black and white, and it’s stunning. In a world where television creators are constantly saying “It’s like a novel for TV,” Master of None is a series of short films following the same characters (most of the time), and musings on certain topics. As much as I loved the two episodes set in Italy (they made me really hungry – I meant what I wrote about not watching on an empty stomach), I was thrilled to get back to New York and hang out with Denise and the rest of the gang. Ansari’s directing is stunning, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
I haven’t seen anything else on this list just yet… okay, I’ve seen Chicago, Serendipity and Shall We Dance?. Chicago is one of my favourite films, so I’ll always recommend it. I finally watched the second episode of American Gods last night, and I enjoyed it much more than the first. The Coming to America short with Orlando Jones was SO SO GOOD, and makes me think they didn’t really know how to use him on Sleepy Hollow. Mildly amusing story: I hit “continue watching” on Amazon, and there was no previously on section. It turned out that it was playing the premiere again, which I fixed quickly. That’s all I have on streaming for this week!
This is your spoiler warning, hopefully it’s long enough that the facebook people don’t get spoiled.
Last week’s iZombie was one of the most emotionally devastating episodes of television I’ve seen this year, topped only by *that* episode of Jane the Virgin. Major believed he was going to permanently lose his memories when he took the zombie cure, and his last night with Liv was meaningful. iZombie emphasised story over plot, and this week they did the opposite. The episode was overstuffed, encompassing Major’s memory loss, Don E’s zombie client who wants a cure, Peyton and Blaine’s relationship and a pretty uninteresting case of the week.
Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May (which means sometimes it will fall on my birthday), and this is the first year I’ve actually been aware of it. I didn’t grow up reading comics, and I only started getting into them about 18 months ago. All Star Comics in Melbourne has a monthly Women’s Comic Book Club, which I’ve been going to for a couple of months now, so I headed there yesterday to meet my sister-in-law (wearing her handknitted Jughead beanie) and get some free comics. My original plan was to get the Riverdale one-shot comic, but then I learned that it was just Archie and Veronica, and what’s the point of getting a Riverdale comic without Betty or Jughead? Then I read the recommendations from ASC, and I wanted about 12. Luckily they let us get up to 6! In the end, I ended up with an extra free one, and I bought a trade paperback as well. Reviews to follow (I haven’t read all of them yet).
I don’t watch Sense8 (Sens8?), so this is the last week before Netflix completely takes over the Northern Hemisphere summer. The first season of Patriot drops on Prime Video for Australia today, and I’ve heard really good things about it, so I might check that one out. Now that we’re in May, it’s time for season finales including The Last Kingdom, Billions, The Circus and Underground. This means that I will finally catch up on Underground, as well as Designated Survivor, which has a double-episode finale in two weeks. It’s a relatively quiet week in streaming, and I’m perfectly happy with that. Happy watching!
Wildcard pick of the week:
Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie. I have no idea what this will be like, or if it’s any good, but as soon as I saw that Netflix was putting out a mystery movie, I went to tell my friends Regan and Liam, who might watch it for their podcast if we’re lucky. Right now they’re covering Canadian hockey/PI show Private Eye, which I’ve never watched but has a catchy theme song.
It’s a good week for streaming television. Dear White People is already on my hypothetical “Best of 2017” list. I saw the whole season on screener, and it’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen this year. It’s a show I wanted to review, but didn’t know how to, because as this A.V. Club headline says,
The excellent Dear White People doesn’t care about white people.
I am a white person, so I can’t claim to know anything about what this show gets right and wrong, because I don’t have that experience. The kneejerk reaction people have had about the title is exactly why it’s called Dear White People. What this show does so well is explore the different perspectives of students at Winchester. Do you work within the system like Troy and Coco, or do you rally against it like Sam and Reggie? Or do you try to expose the system by being a journalist like Lionel? A social movement isn’t a homogenous group of people with the same opinion, and Dear White People shows us that everyone has their reasons for the way they act.
Mo Ryan’s review at Variety touched on how the humour worked even when other parts of the show didn’t, and there are two specific jokes that stuck out at me: the first was a comment about wine, and the other one was about Drake’s career. I know very little about Drake other than that I don’t like “Hotline Bling,” but I was in the car the other day listening to the radio and thought “Who was it who said that thing about Drake?” before remembering it was a joke on Dear White People. Mo’s review also mentioned some characters who were overlooked, namely Lionel and Joelle. For reasons I watched episode 2 first, which was a Lionel episode, and he immediately became my favourite character. Joelle was the most prominent character who didn’t get any point of view episodes this season, and that needs to change when it’s renewed.
As for everything else: The Games is on iView, and I started watching an episode last night when I was writing the guide, because I couldn’t remember what my favourite episode was called. It’s titled “A Management Course,” and John, Gina and Brian have to go on a team building retreat. John and Gina think it’s pointless, but Brian seems to enjoy it. American Gods starts Monday on Amazon Prime, and I decided to put Eagle Vs Shark in because it was directed by Taika Waititi. Unfortunately there’s still no news about when The Handmaid’s Tale will be coming to Australia, but it had better be soon.
The streaming guide is constantly changing. Most of the programmes are new to Australian streaming platforms, sometimes films are taken down and get put back up, which is the case for While We’re Young on Stan. There are things that aren’t on the press releases, and sometimes things drop earlier than expected. This week legendary satirist John Clarke died, so I wanted to highlight The Games, but it’s not on streaming. For those who don’t know, The Games was an Australian satire about preparing for the 2000 Olympics, and some of the best comedy this country has ever produced. I’m embedding the most well-known clip below, about the 100 metre track. (My favourite episode is the one where they go on a team building retreat.) That’s all for this week.