My original blog was Hoses of the Holy (ca. 2003), which ended up being abandoned in the dark days of 2007. I started this one in 2011. Scroll down for the archives!

Television in a time of cholera

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I’ve more or less watched everything worth watching on TV, to the point that I was reduced to watching a Netflix film: News of the World, which has had mixed reviews it’s fair to say. It was all right, I thought, it passed the time. There were some longueurs, but the overall experience was fine. Like most films, it could do with more women being represented in it, but there were some, I guess.

I also watched The Map of Tiny Perfect Things on Amazon. Very much the kind of film I prefer over the gangster/action/superhero fare that washes over us, although I’m also not really the target market. But this time loop film, which spends too much of its time acknowledging other time loop films that we have seen, was quite well done, if a little over-sweet. 

I also watched The Map of Tiny Perfect Things on Amazon. It’s definitely the kind of film I prefer over the gangster/action/superhero fare that dominates, although I’m not really the target market for teenage love stories. But this time loop film, which spends too much of its time acknowledging other time loop films that we have seen, was quite well done, although it too had its longueurs.

I’ve been watching The Expanse on Amazon, which isn’t very good, but what are you gonna do? I feel I’m on the horns of a dilemma. I love SF, so I want to encourage people to make more of it. So I trust that my individual streams are counting for something. Star Trek Discovery it ain’t.

Amazon and Netflix’s problem is the same as Microsoft’s: they have no taste. There’s so much tripe on both platforms you feel like you’re browsing in a 1950s butcher’s shop. A case in point is Amazon’s latest offering: Soulmates, which takes as its premise the idea that technology exists that will identify your One, out of all the people in the world. It’s kind of a mini Black Mirror, really, because in every case (in the episodes I’ve watched), this discovery of The One ends in unhappiness and confusion. It’s not very good, but what it makes me think of is Robert Charles Wilson’s novel The Affinities, which is the series about our algorithmically connected times they could have made, but didn’t. And why didn’t they? Because they have no taste.

So with Disco over and everything else a little bit shit, where do we turn? Well, I have a recommendation for you: The Good Fight, the first three seasons of which are on Amazon. This is a CBS All Access show, and it’s a kind-of sequel to The Good Wife, a popular network show of a bygone era. But I’ve decided you don’t have to have seen The Good Wife to enjoy The Good Fight, which is a far more political and edgier show. It signals its edginess with a bit of swearing, but most especially with its interstitial animated songs which explain the ripped-from-the-headlines issues covered in the show.

The premise: The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart, ready to retire, finds that her life savings have been wiped out in a financial scam and is forced back to work. She joins a previously all-black Chicago law firm, and together they… well, it’s in the title.

I recommend this now because he whose name shall not be spoken is gone, and these first three series are mired in events from the first two years of the hell he wrought. At the same time, the issues are so relevant: high crimes and misdemeanours, voter suppression, cancel culture, you name it. And all delivered with the kind of cynical wit you need. 

The cast is excellent, from Cush Jumbo’s reprised Lucca Quinn and Delroy Lindo as the head of Lockhart’s new firm, and Nyambi Nyambi as the firm’s lead investigator. A few familiar faces from The Good Wife.  There’s a surprisingly high British contingent (but not the ones you’ve seen in all the Marples), and of course there’s an excellent representation of both people of colour and women. The most woke show on television? Oh, and, if you like Michael Sheen, you will love his star turn as compellingly crooked lawyer Roland Blum in Season 3. There’s a 4th (and 5th) season out there somewhere, so hurry up Amazon.

What else is there? Oh yeah, I’ve been watching Angel on All4. And I realised, somewhere in Season 3, that I hadn’t seen it beyond the end of Season 2. So that’s somewhat of a treat, notwithstanding current (recycled) controversy about the show’s creator. Let’s not lose the trees for the wood here: whatever your opinion, this is a show (like Buffy before it) with several compelling and prominent female characters, and that’s not something you can say about everything.

Angel isn’t as good as Buffy, nothing could be,and it does seem to lose its way a bit, which makes you wonder about the turmoil in the background, but it has its moments.

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