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Showing posts from April, 2020

Pandemic Viewing

Quarantine is both a great time for watching TV, and a terrible time for anything that requires more than a fleeting attention span. A lot of people seem to be drawn to comfort viewing, to shows that you can have on in the background and tune out for minutes at a stretch without missing much. I've done that, but I also feel that a weird period deserves weird entertainment. The shows I want to talk about here are all boundary-pushing in one way or another. Not always successfully--some of them are less clever than they think, and others are odder than they need to be--but they all capture the strange, otherworldly feeling that permeates our lives right now. They're also all really beautiful to watch, with lots of gorgeous natural scenery, vibrant urban settings, and psychedelic animation--just the thing you need when you've spent weeks staring at the same walls. I'm sure one of them will be a worthy distraction from the more dispiriting variety of strangeness that now d…

Better Call Kim: Thoughts on Better Call Saul's Fifth Season

When the creators of Breaking Bad announced, six or seven years ago, that they were working on a spin-off prequel series focused on Walter White's loud-mouthed, sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, I think I wasn't the only one to roll her eyes. The whole thing reeked of a cash-in: take a well-liked minor character, with a memorable catchphrase, played by a talented comedian, from a show that had become a runaway success a little too close to the end of its run to have really wrung all the benefits out of that, throw him in some new adventures, and watch the money roll in. That Better Call Saul has instead turned out to be a heartfelt, intelligent, winning series that has surpassed Breaking Bad in almost every respect is by now a commonly-accepted view, and yet despite agreeing with it wholeheartedly, I nevertheless approached the show's fifth, penultimate season with a feeling of, if not fatigue, then resignation. I wasn't sure the show had anything new to show me. What I want…