TVON: A New Television Column Likes To Watch… This Week We See Plusses: Disney And Paramount
It has been a long time since covid-19 showed us a preview of the far future, and we have all been watching a whole boatload of TV because we can’t go to the theatre or concerts. Back then I averaged an hour on TV a day max though more on weekends. Today, you can triple that. what else to do? I passed on podcasts (the worst of all worlds, when you read you can put on music, when you watch you add another sense to the mix), I read a coupla hours a day, all the major newspapers religiously, and I am in the middle of Hermione Lee’s A Life Of Tom Stoppard, and I write maybe four hours a day, I work nine hours a day, I sleep incessantly, I listen to music nonstop… I know this would all add up to 36 hours a day but everything is so near everything that everything in my life operlaps.
What else? I am nearing the end of the first draft of “See Emily Play” and which I will undoubtedly completely eventually. I wrote it about a girl I really cared for (not loved) many years ago, and about grieving for my late nephew.
The problem for me in reviewing television and movies is that when you aren’t specifically good at something, it becomes easy to be very mediocre or even bad, with so many ideas simply received. having said that, here is the first column looking at two streaming services programs. To quote Van Morrison, it’s too late to stop now…
Big Shot (Disney Plus) – Just up to episode three, it is the reverse Ted Lasso Lasso was an inexperienced college coach who was hired to tank for a premier league soccer team in England. John Stamos portrays a men’s college basketball coach who gets canned after throwing a chair in frustration during a game and hitting a referee. Fred, he is hired by an elite all girl high school to coach their team. It is a warm and fuzzy experience except when it isn’t as much, and has a breakout role for the team’s top player performed by Nell Verlaque… Grade: B+
Clarice – Paramount+ – Yes, that Clarice. Continuing the story of the FBI agent months after The Silence Of The Lamb ends. Clarice is acted exquisitely by Australian Rebecca Breeds though I do wish they had one last storyline, and I hope they pay off the clearly section tension between Clarice and her roommate -it would be a good and certain LGBTQ cheer… and I wish they wouldn’t take weeks between episodes – B
Raya and The Lost Dragon – Disney+ – and also at movie theatres, the newer, smarter Disney realized that its reach went well beyond white Americans, and that Americans, and also citizens, of any color and stripe would like to be mythologized. Here it is the myths of ancient China getting a tackle, and it really misses a romance somewhere in the makeup, though you can see why we don’t have it with a Chinese princess less than willing to share that spotlight. The lost dragon, helping Raya put together the kingdom as it fragments, is a perfect piece of voice acting by Awkwafina makes it worthwhile – B
Star Trek Lower Deck – At first glance, this is a magnificent idea, making the zeros the heros, how wonderful… and animated. They didn’t believe in the concept and the ringleader of the lower decks is the Captain’s daughter. still, getting there was fun – B-
Star Trek Discovery – Paramount+ – 500 hundred years into the future and a warp drive fuck disaster has left the inhabitants of the Universe unable to get from one end to the other, except for the Enterprise – B+
Star Trek Picard – The last of Jean Luc, whose interference with the Federation had lead to the destruction of Romulus – B+
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier – Disney+ – Yes, we get it. Five years after the snap, we get the blip and a world living with it. WandaVision, possibly the greatest marvel story in the MCU, I’ll get to. The Falcon And The Soldier tells the story of the first black Captain America (Anthony Mackie) and his always sidekick Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Mackie is a better Captain than the born with a smirk on his face Chris Evans. And while the politicizing can be a drag, the action is sublime over a tight six episode arc – B+
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge On The Run -Paramount+ – leading up to the TV series reboot, it is poorly constructed because it had one job too many -to explain the prequel currently airing – C
The Stand – Paramount + – Taken from the Stephen King masterpiece, it never seemed to be a story capable of being translated to the film medium. It was truly incapable of fulfilling the fantasy, as he zipped back and forward in timelines and character shifts, it needed to be essentially chronological and it was a hugeTVON -a new column… mistake that ruined what should have ben a giant (also, Covid didn’t help selp the plague storyline since we know it wouldn’t look like that)… I bailed after three episodes – D+
WandaVision – Disney+ – Nine episodes on what amounts to the best Marvel Comic ever filmed, WandaVision starts as a parody of television sitcoms, and then explodes into a backstory for The Scarlet Witch. It made huge stars of the leads, the always sad and damaged Elizabeth Olsen and the charmingly bland Paul Bettany continue their story after Endgame -although Vision is clearly dead, and Wanda is certainly hiding something. The problem is that the science fiction story is if anything too good, and when it gets onto more normal grounds you can’t help but be disappointed – A