I started a few more shows today, and sadly none of them reached the top spot. Sometimes, it takes time.
1) Only Murders In The building (Hulu)
English Audio Description: Yes
The winner today was everyone’s favorite gang of podcasters, who continue to try and solve the mystery of why they are being framed. but, it was the injection of some heavy hitting guest stars that sent this episode over the top, from Tina Fey’s unnecessarily cutthroat rival caster, Jane Lynch’s always welcome return as the one time stunt double, Amy Ryan’s deliciously evil killer, or Michael Rappaport’s exhausted lead detective. These welcome faces injected some hilarious moments in each of their interactions. My favorite was Ryan’s reaction to Martin’s character believing that when she tried to kill him, it meant that they were broken up. “I said I was sorry. Are you going to hold that against me forever?”
Episode Grade: A
2) The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)
English Audio description?: Yes
i loved watching Mickey figure out a way to sleep at night, which was the major theme behind this episode, as he worked to get a juror out without it tracing back to him, causing a mistrial, or making it look like he had anything to do with it to his client. It was like watching chess pieces move, and one of the benefits of having this as a series was the ability to devote time to this. In the movie, you don’t have the luxury of playing with the moment, but this episode really made good use of this event.
Episode Grade: A
3) What We Do In The Shadows (FX/Hulu)
English Audio Description?: Yes!
Holy shit! An FX title with audio description! I hope it’s not just the first episode. I’m a big fan of Shadows, and there were so many moments here that I loved, from mistaking a raccoon for the new Colin, to having sex while being told the story of where a character has been. It was a bit clunky having everyone randomly show up at the same time. That’s pretty much my only problem with the Season premiere.
Episode Grade: A-
4) The Staircase (HBO MAX)
English audio Description?: Yes
Finally finished this series. I still think Colin Firth did some great work here, and in the few moments she’s given, Toni Collette is fire. Obviously, we already knew how the story ended, so the final hour becomes somewhat anti-climatic, but I enjoyed the focus on Michael’s separation from everyone and everything. He either manages to drive a wedge between anyone who might still want to spend time with him, or people just realize it’s time to move on, and in the end, Michael is just alone. Whether he did anything or not, he will forever be Michael Peterson. And his choice to not leave Durham, creates a vacuum of loneliness that he is now trapped within.
Episode Grade: A-, Series Grade: A-
5) The Terminal List (Amazon)
English Audio Description?: Yes
This Chris Pratt/Taylor Kitsch action series has an interesting and problematic pilot, interestingly directed by Antoine Fuqua. The playing around with Reese’s (pratt) memory has to start from the moment that he experiences the concussion, and not before. unfortunately, there’s too much shown in the initial fire fight, so that when it comes back into contention, we know what we experienced and that shouldn’t be up for question. unfortuantely, when Reese starts experiencing his memory shifting, and realizing there is a conspiracy around him, the episode plays with things that should have been fact. in the pilot, you use the time to lay out the groundwork and the “bible” of how the series operates, who the players are, and the direction we are heading. By telling the audience that what we saw wasn’t real, even before Reese experiences any trauma, you’re going to really need one hell of an explanation as to why that is. And I just feel like we will never get that. Also, the episode ends in a way where Reese should know to get out of where he currently is. With all the smart decisions he’s made so far, having him still there is a bit out of character.
Episode Grade: B+
6) Everything’s Trash (Freeform/Hulu)
English Audio Description Available?: No
in your first episode, not only do you have to establish tone, but you also have to establish characters. It’s a similar problem I had with Maggie, where I felt like I was watching a solid 3rd or 4th episode, but not a pilot. While this episode did make me laugh, because of its lack of intent to structure like a pilot, and no existing audio description, I’m not even sure who is who, or how many main cast there are. Some hilarious moments can’t necessarily make up for being borderline incoherent, but for now, I’m willing to follow this.
Episode Grade: B-
7) The upshaws (Netflix)
English Audio Description?: Yes
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was coming back for season two. I was lukewarm on Season 1, walking away with the basic thought that it had an interesting approach to trying to make a marriage work, but oddly (but not really) enough Wanda Sykes becomes the reason to watch, and she’s a supporting character. She’s a legend, and always great. And in this season premiere, dealing with a paternity test, she stole the show, despite the show not being about her character. I think that still defines my problem with The upshaws. You would think that Mike Epps would match her, and you’d be wrong. If anything, the more serious moments reveal his inability dramatically. Will I finish Season 2 just because of Wanda? possibly. Not likely.
Episode Grade: C+