Daily Archives: January 7, 2023

The Big 2022 Binge Watch Summary

I keep starting a fresh binge watching post every time we finish up a couple of shows then never get around to finishing the write up beyond getting a draft with a couple of titles in it.  So this is going to be my rapid fire, 2022 binge watch round up.

2022 is what we get

No deep analysis, no title cards, just quick observations and reactions.

Really wanted to like it, but didn’t finish watching it.  It turns out Amazon didn’t have the rights to the Silmarillion, so they had to create whole cloth tales based on hints and suggestions in the appendices at the end of Return of the King.  They seemed to feel Tolkien was right, that his stories without Hobbits aren’t as compelling, so they made some up.  Also, Gandalf origin story is… well, now I want to know how they think Radagast and Saruman showed up.  I would, however, watch a second age sitcom about Elendil and his family on Numenor, with young Isildur fighting with siblings and goofing off in boating school, which is what one of the episodes seemed to be developing into.

Wasn’t really that interested in it to start with but, you know, more Game of Thrones stuff.  We are required to watch by law or something.  Finished watching it, but wasn’t impressed.  Turns out I don’t really care about the Targaryens.  Paddy Considine was solid, but 10 episodes of court intrigue with a supporting cast that felt at times both indifferent and under utilized… Matt Smith had such menace at the start and then fell off into sulky tedium… left me looking at my iPad a lot.  Seriously, court intrigue in Game of Thrones worked because the characters were all so interesting on their own… Tyrion, Cersei, Little Finger, Varys, Olenna among many… and interacted so well with each other and every new character that showed up.  That cast was golden.  The Dragon Clan just doesn’t get there.

I read the William Gibson novel when it came out (see my 2019 books post), so had to watch the show.  Does translate some of the concepts from the book to the screen well, and actually comes out and explains “the jackpot” to viewers, unlike the book.  But the story was still somewhat choppy and diverged from the book.  I know, different media requires a different telling, but it was coming close to leaving the theme of the book in my view.  But that is my hangup, and if you didn’t read the book I doubt you’ll care.  I’ll watch the next season, but I wasn’t fully satisfied with it.

I mean, I didn’t hate it.  It had some compelling points.  But it didn’t really sell me in the end.  It suffers some from doing the “telling the story in two different time settings” thing, which is both over used and easy to do badly.  Not sure how it fits into the whole Resident Evil universe… and, also, I don’t really care about the Resident Evil universe… a problem Netflix had as well I guess, since it was cancelled after one season.

Star Wars is for adults… again.  Because Star Wars wasn’t all a Muppet kiddie universe until Return of the Jedi.  Slow, with insights into how things worked in the empire before Rogue One, as we see the formation of the rebellion.  The dark side of a lot of things, and even the “cute” droid is old and cranky.  Very much a slow drama, though not without some *pew* *pew* now and then, it is much more about bureaucracy and organization and keeping secrets and eventually enabling space battles.  Star Wars through a  John Le Carre prism, and much of what that implies.  I wanted a full, US, 22 episode season of this.  Mainly suffers from the name sounding a lot like Endor, the planet with the moon where the Ewoks lived.

I’ve always been a big Charles Addams fan, so we had to watch this.  The story is kind of shaky, but Jenna Ortega in the titular role carries it through rough patches.  I enjoyed it.  Normally I fret about who plays Gomez… John Astin was only topped by Raul Julia in the role… but the parents matter less than Wednesday.  The show is named after her.  Also, props for Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday back in the day, being included.  I don’t know what she is like in real life, but I adore the characters she plays these day.

The wrap up of the Breaking Bad prequel about the rise of Saul Goodman ended well as it tied up loose ends and fitted itself smoothly into the original show without feeling the whole thing was predictable or pre-ordained.  The whole series was high quality, if not exactly the same feel as Breaking Bad.  But that is fine.  The self-sabotaging Saul, in his own world with his own story, was a good time.  Enjoyed the whole series, would recommend.

By this point all I wanted to know was what happened to Rick and Michonne, and they wait until the final episode to even get there.  11 seasons in, and the show stopped caring about zombies around season 6, I was tired and just wanted it to end.  My wife insisted we finish, only to find that the final season was all about launching new spin-off shows in the Walking Dead universe.  I am so done with this franchise… or will be once Fear the Walking Dead winds up.

How do you take a quirky, funny show that worked for a season and go for two?  Well, another murder, of course.  And maybe frame up the main cast for that… and toss in some more quality supporting characters… and get Tina Fey in there more.  Yeah, it works.  It isn’t as charming or compelling or fresh as the first season, but it is still quality work.

A quirky, humorous, anachronistic telling of the life of 19th century poet Emily Dickinson whose works were largely unknown until after her death.  Technically not a series we binge, because it is one of those “better in small doses” shows, but still very good.  And I was so very much there for the portrayal of Henry David Thoreau.  So very much there.

David Simon, who you may remember from creating The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets, has returned to Baltimore, this time to tell the story of police corruption and specifically that of the Gun Trace Task Force.  This is a dramatization of real events and not a character development police drama, so it isn’t as engaging as The Wire, but it still hits pretty hard.

We will literally watch anything with Stanely Tucci in it at our house.  And we were rewarded with this show, enjoying pretty much every moment he was on screen.  We also like David Tennant, but almost every minute of him on screen evoked exasperated “Why would you do this? What are you thinking? Are you an idiot?” comments from us.  Not his fault.  Bad script.  But still, there we were hating it.  And almost every moment that had neither of them on screen was just kind of okay.  Tough to recommend outside to the Tucci performance, but it is only four episodes.

So that is me sort of catching up.  There are a few other shows that might have made the list, but which I want to write more about.  We shall see if I get to that.