Season Three, How's That Going?

Star Trek Picard and The Mandalorian have entered their third season. How's that going for them so far?

Up to this point, the previous seasons of Star Trek Picard have been…fine. The show as a whole meandered a bit, and I'm not sure quite figured out what it was trying to be. But I still enjoyed it because, well, Patrick Stewart and Jeri Ryan, come on. Season three though is a different beast entirely. They've gone full on TNG nostalgia and I'm here for it! Every single episode has been great and I'm really really glad they finally figured this show out. It was The Next Generation all along.

The Mandalorian, however, has been quite the surprise. When they nailed the landing at the end of the second season I thought Favreau and Filoni could do no wrong. Then came the hot mess that was The Book Of Boba Fett. Made even more bonkers when it turned into The Mandalorian season 2.5 because reasons. Made even more bonkers because you had to have watched this lessor show for The Mandalorian season three to make sense. And we're now half way through said season and I still don't really have any idea what the goal is. The episodes haven't been great, the writing poor, and in places just outright silly. It feels very rushed like Disney just said "I don't care it isn't very good, just get it out there, we have more toys to sell".

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Recent Media Lost Edition

And so began the not insignificant time sink binge re-watch of the entire six seasons of Lost.

Arguably where the era of prestige TV began. Arguably one of the best TV shows of all time. It's been hovering around my own personal top three since it ended in 2010. Mind blowing to spend six years on the once a week release of a story that captured the internet of the era. So many fan theories on message forums and it was just so fun to trade ideas and have people point out easter eggs in scenes.

Look, here's a still capture of that Shark with the Dharma logo on it – what does it all mean wtfomgbbq!!!

So how did it hold up on a binge watch? Let's just say Lost has cemented itself as my favorite TV show of all time hands down. I did wonder how it would feel knowing the plot twists in advance. And it was ok. I must say though I do envy anyone watching this for the first time. You're going "wait, did Kate know Jack before the Island? I'm so confused." followed by the record needle scratch of Jack going "we have to go back" (mind explodes).

What I realized this time around was that even though they didn't (couldn't) answer every possible fan question, they still did a pretty damned good job. But the real thing that stood out on a binge was that Mystery Island wasn't even important at the end of the day. What really mattered were the characters, their stories, their interaction. This show has some of the best well written characters of any show I've watched and I just love them all. Locke, Sawyer, Kate, Jack, Desmond, Ben.

You know you've watched something special when you've got that sinking feeling of no more episodes. I can't recommend this enough. If you're one of the few people left on the planet who hasn't watched it, go do that immediately.

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Media I've Not Liked So Much July 2022 Edition

The other week I mentioned a series of three catch up posts of TV watched of late that I've loved, liked, and … not liked so much.

This is the third in that series. The ones I wasn't quite as enamored with. Disappointed even? You may have liked some of these, and I don't mean to yuck all over your yum, they just weren't all that satisfying.

Also, here be possible spoilers. So, SPOILER ALERT.

Invasion. The trailer for this alien invasion survival story on Apple TV+ looked fantastic. Sam Neill is in it! And he was in it for exactly the first episode. And we never return back to any of the characters/setting and it's never mentioned again. Ok, interesting choice, but maybe the rest of the season bears fruit? It does not. Meandering plot, unlikable characters, lackluster dialogue, huge budget that was spent where exactly? For a show that promised much, it didn't deliver. I don't think I'll be watching season two.

The Book Of Boba Fett. I mean, they can't all be "the best star wars tv show ever" can they? And this proves that rule. What a confusing season this was. In Star Wars fandom, Boba Fett is quite the cult figure. Over the years we've heard rumors of a standalone movie but nothing ever happened. His surprise re-introduction to the Star Wars Universe in The Mandalorian was pretty great. So when they announced he was getting his own show I thought we had another winner on our hands. But… the way his character was written, crime boss who needs to protect "his people". But there wasn't a lot of crime, or bossing, or any real explanation of his motives or why they're his people. And nothing really happens. And then the show morphed into a couple episodes of The Mandalorian season three because reasons. And at least those were good. Quite why "here, let us remind you of a vastly better show" seemed like a good idea to the showrunners I've no idea.

Star Trek Discovery. I really liked the first two seasons. Modern Star Trek, with a large budget, Jason Isaacs! Then Anson Mount and Ethan Peck. Great stuff. Then season three happened and there was just something about it that wasn't working for me. And then in the end, well, the "big bad" and explanation for everything was a bit of a let down let's be honest. Maybe season four will be better? I got maybe 2 episodes in before deciding this really wasn't my cup of tea.

(Speaking of Anson Mount and Ethan Peck, what is my cup of tea is Star Trek Strange New Worlds which was utterly fantastic – more on that in another post)

Star Trek Picard. So in season one they got the band back together. Sort of. And of course there was lots of nostalgia here. Patrick Stewart I could watch for days on end, in fact just let him read the phone book (kids, ask your parents what that is). Jeri Ryan also great, because well, Jeri Ryan. Was super excited about season two. And it started with promise, Q, the Borg Queen, Brent Spiner. But somewhere in the middle it meandered and never quite got back on track. Next year's season three I see they really are getting the full band back together, so of course I'll watch it.

Fear The Walking Dead. A show with lots of promise at the beginning. The Walking Dead but let's see more of the actual collapse of society at the start of the apocalypse. And it delivered. In fact it delivered for three seasons. Season three perhaps up there with the best Walking Dead content. Then they threw the baby out with the bathwater. And what has happened for the next four seasons is quite the roller-coaster ride of quality. I stuck with it because lots of time invested in The Walking Dead universe – and I want to see how it all ends. Season seven of this show has proven to be the breaking point though, I couldn't even get through it. Terrible writing, what appears to be a huge drop in budget, terrible effects and poor sets. What a shame.

Other posts in this series:

Part one: Media I've Loved July 2022 Edition
Part two: Media I've Liked July 2022 Edition

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Media I've Liked July 2022 Edition

The other week I mentioned a series of three catch up posts of TV watched of late that I've loved, liked, and … not liked so much.

This is the second in that series, the liked post. Shows certainly worth your time if you need something new to watch.

Foundation. I read the Asimov books when I was young and don't remember a lot about them if I'm honest. So went into this show with no expectations and turned out it's a pretty good sci-fi tale. I've since read they pretty much ignored the books and made their own thing. The Empire plot by far the more interesting, Lee Pace should just be in everything.

Hawkeye. After being very pleasantly surprised by how good Wandavision and Loki turned out, I was optimistic about the third Marvel live action TV show. Now, if you'd asked me watching The Avengers movies if I wanted to see more standalone Clint Barton content, I wouldn't have necessarily said yes. But this was a lot of fun. Hailee Steinfeld and Alaqua Cox were both great in this. And bonus Christmas Island by Depeche Mode!

After Life. I follow Ricky Gervais on Twitter so had heard about this show, but it wasn't until earlier this year that my wife and I decided to watch it one evening. We were hooked instantly. Superb writing – how a sad subject can be made both heartwarming and hilarious was a master stroke.

Obi-Wan Kenobi. Hello there. This was really good. A little meandering in the middle but, as they say, they stuck the landing. Spoiler alert: relieved it wasn't all set on Tattooine – to be honest I don't really need to see that planet ever again (there are other planets Lucasfilm).

Vigil. Heard this one recommended on a podcast and thought a murder mystery set in Scotland on a British Nuclear Submarine sounded interesting. And it was excellent.

Other posts in this series:

Part one: Media I've Loved July 2022 Edition
Part three: Media I've Not Liked So Much July 2022 Edition

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Media I've Loved July 2022 Edition

I'm really behind on posting these "hey I watched a thing" posts. So to catch up, this is the first in a series of three posts: TV watched of late that I've loved, liked, and … not liked so much.

This is the loved post. And I'd have to say the following are right up there in my list of the top ten best TV shows I've ever watched. If you haven't seen these, please do so immediately. Recommendations of the highest order.

Station Eleven. Post apocalyptic series unlike anything I was expecting. Heartwarming tale of the future. Standout performances from Mackenzie Davis and Hamish Patel. Wonderful cinematography and the whole thing looked so beautiful. The whole series was so well written, and just storytelling at its finest. The choice of Your Sweet Love by Lee Hazelwood to accompany such a sad scene in episode two worked perfectly.

Mr Robot. Hello friend. Everyone and their brother has already watched this show from 2015. But for me it was the revelation of 2022. I finished season four a couple days ago and I'm still processing it. A wonderfully accurate hacker series for one – actual real Unix here, real commands, great attention to detail. A story of sibling kinship, mental illness, and tragedy. The whole show has the best soundtrack from the synth score to all the individual songs added for great effect. How they incorporated World Destruction by Time Zone into an episode title sequence was so good. Carly Chaikin, Christian Slater, and Rami Malek are great.

The Leftovers. Not really post apocalypse per-se, but what happens when 2% of the global population just disappears? How to the titular leftovers deal with that? I love TV shows that answer questions I didn't even know I had. Tell a different story than expected. And this is that show. Great cast of Christopher Eccleston, Scott Glenn, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman. Damon Lindelof has created a masterpiece of television here. Up there with his work on Lost.

Other posts in this series:

Part two: Media I've Liked July 2022 Edition
Part three: Media I've Not Liked So Much July 2022 Edition

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Media Consumed July/August Catchup Edition

Things I've watched of late. Forgot to do a July one, so two months in one.

Schitt's Creek. My wife has raved about this show for a long time, and I've caught a lot of the episodes but never watched them all. So we did, every night, over many many weeks. It's just as good as everyone says it is. Ewww David. I'd watch it all again in a heartbeat.

Dark. "The end is the beginning, and the beginning is the end". A German sci-fi/mystery show. Three seasons of, well, perfection. The story is just so good. The characters are great. The cinematography impeccable. Know that this is a show set on medium difficulty level. You can't just put this on and scroll Twitter. Everything has a purpose and many scenes have a satisfying payoff many episodes/seasons later. When it ended I thought it was probably the best TV show I'd ever seen. It's one of those shows where you're genuinely disappointed there's nothing more. Watch this immediately if you've never seen it.

Loki. Speaking of cinematography, if this show doesn't win an award then it's a travesty. I think this was probably my favorite of the three Marvel TV shows so far. (Well, Wandavision was really good…) But Loki has Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson. Who, quite frankly, I could watch on screen all day. Some of these episodes had a big Dr Who feel to them. And I am here for that. Glad it's coming back for a second season. Can't wait.

The Tomorrow War. A thoroughly entertaining sci-fi tale. Got some negative feedback but don't let that put you off. Plotholes sure. But suspend disbelief and just have fun with it.

The Morning Show. This was a rewatch with season two approaching. Just as good the second time around. In general I didn't think I was gonna like this show at all but turns out I was hooked from the first episode. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are great. The real standouts for me though are Billy Crudup and Mark Duplass.

The Bad Batch. I absolutely loved The Clone Wars, some of the best Star Wars content around, particularly the season seven four episode Siege Of Mandalore arc. Now, could they really build an entire series around characters that appeared in a couple Clone Wars episodes? Turns out yes, kind of. The Bad Batch didn't hit the highs of The Clone Wars, but it also didn't sink to the lows of The Clone Wars. I'll be watching season two.

The Haunting Of Hill House. This was great, the story is good, well acted, and oh my did it ever look good.


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Media Consumed June 2021 Edition

Things I've watched of late. Well, in June. This is what happens when things sit in your drafts for weeks.

Lost In Space. I vaguely remember watching the original 1960s show on re-runs when I was a kid. Actually the only thing I really do remember is the robot saying "danger Will Robinson". Anyway, this is the 2018 re-imagining of that. And it's an utterly fantastic bit of sci-fi. Two seasons with a third and final to come. Great stuff.

Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. What happened was, I watched Terminator: Dark Fate and enjoyed it. Enough that I wanted to consume more & remembered the TV show from 2008. A younger Lena Headey as Sarah. Unfortunately cancelled after two seasons, it's some of the best Terminator out there. Plus Summer Glau so…

The Road. Post apocalyptic survival movie. I'm a total sucker for all things post apocalypse and this movie delivered. You never find out what happened to the world and why it got so bad. Just a father/son journey to the coast. Because things will be better there. Viggo Mortensen is just so good in this. Quite possibly one of the most depressing movies I've watched. But I couldn't look away as it's so well done. You'll want to do something a little more cheerful after watching this.

Ted Lasso. Now, I know I already mentioned it last year but the second season STARTS THIS WEEK. So what better way to get prepared than watching season one all over again. If you've never watched this, you really should, it's that good. We're Richmond till we die.

Army Of The Dead. So a group of mercenaries led by Dave Bautista have to go into a walled off Las Vegas full of Zombies. It's both utter crap and completely enjoyable all at once. You have to suspend your disbelief and there are plot holes wide enough to fall through. But I kinda liked it.


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Media Consumed May 2021 Edition

Things I've watched of late. Mostly good. Mostly.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. The most recent Marvel TV series on Disney+. As a whole I enjoyed it if viewed as one long Captain America movie. In weekly installments I'm not sure it worked as well. Anthony Mackie and Wyatt Russell were great. But the flag smashers were terrible villains, and I don't think the series really stuck the landing.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Speaking of Anthony Mackie, he's in this too. And this was a fun movie. What if Abraham Lincoln was a bad ass Vampire killer? Bonus points for Rufus Sewell, and who doesn't love them some Rufus Sewell?

Star Wars Biomes. If you own an Apple TV, you know how utterly fantastic the aerial drone screensavers are. So this is like that, but set in Star Wars locales. Hoth is just fantastic.

For All Mankind. Season two just came to a close. And it was one of the best seasons of TV I've watched in a long time. Actually this has got to be one of the best TV shows I've had the pleasure of watching. If you've not seen it, and have an Apple TV+ subscription, watch it immediately.

Fear The Walking Dead. There is no amount of apocalyptic end of the world media that I find too much. Possibly my favorite genre. A spin off of its big sibling show The Walking Dead, it started out well, faltered for a couple seasons, but is back to being good in season six.

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Here are a few things really worth your time.

Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. What started out as Jason Sudeikis commercials for NBC Premier League now turned into a series. And it's great. Heartwarming fish out of water story of an American coming to England to manage a football team.

Minimal Gallery on Flickr. Minimal photography is probably my favorite. This gallery is must daily viewing.

All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur on Amazon Prime. I'm biased obviously, because they've been my team since I was a kid. But an utterly fascinating look behind the scenes of life at Tottenham in 2020. Thoroughly recommended.

Sunday Live chat with Lol Tolhurst and cEvin Key on YouTube. Founding members of two of my favorite bands of all time Skinny Puppy & The Cure have a chat. And it's great.

World's Toughest Race: Eco Challenge Fiji on Amazon Prime. Bear Grylls hosts a grueling cross island race with 66 teams. You really get to like some of the teams and their own back stories.

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On Disney+

About a month ago my wife surprised me with a Disney+ subscription. Thoughts, I has them.

The Good

The UI is nice, responsive, and gets out of your way. Pleasant both on mobile and on a big screen TV. Categories make sense, and searching is easy. Well as much as "typing" on an Apple Remote is easy.

The nostalgia factor was strong. Watching movies from my childhood with the kiddo has been so much fun. In the last week we watched Tron, The Black Hole, Escape To Witch Mountain, and Bedknobs & Broomsticks.

The Mandalorian has single handedly restored my faith in the Star Wars universe. It's utterly fantastic and I think Disney should just hand over the keys to the kingdom to Jon Favreau. Liking the slow weekly release of episodes instead of the all at once Stranger Things approach.

The World According To Jeff Goldblum also very very good. It's Jeff Goldblum, doing an Anthony Bourdain style show. What's not to love?

The Not Quite As Good

In 2020 all streaming interfaces should have table stakes "remember what I've seen and my position". Disney+ doesn't always get this right. I was 20 episodes into the first season of Clone Wars when it reset and recommended I start watching. "You might like this show". You think?

Licensing is a bit wacky. Avengers Endgame is fine to watch, but Avengers Infiniti War is "coming soon". Maleficent also "coming in October 2020". These titles all happily appear in the UI mind you and are clickable which is frustrating when you can't actually watch them. The majority of Andi Mack season 1 is missing because reasons.

The lack of new TV show content is a bit worrying. After watching The Mandalorian and all the old Disney/Marvel movies there is an element of "now what?". I know they've got big plans for various Marvel TV shows and the Obi-Wan Kenobi show with Ewan McGregor. But that's not where we are today.


Good outweighs the bad. The kiddo has lots to watch. That plus The Mandalorian & promise of future shows set in the Star Wars universe probably makes this a keeper. We have a year subscription already paid for so it's not like we're gonna bail now. I'll let you know if we renew it in December.

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