Tag Archives: Lucifer

Binge Watching into Another Autumn

The pandemic isn’t over and we’re still staying home rather than going out as much as we used to, so I’m back again with another post about what we have been watching on TV.

This was one we were going to give a pass to, then we heard some good things, watched a couple of episodes, stopped watching, and then several people told us we had to finish it because there was a huge surprise twist involved or some such.

And I guess, technically, if I let you watch episode one and told you how it ended up, you would indeed be surprised.  But each episode is designed to pull the viewer’s attention in a different direction, so whatever you thought was going on in episode one will be superseded by episode two and so on.  There isn’t a big surprise twist at the end because you don’t even get the information to know it was possible until the next to last episode, at which point you’ve been yanked around so much that your reaction is likely to be just, “are we there yet?”

The biggest deal about this show for me was that according to IMDB, it was mostly filmed in Australia, but it takes place in Oakland California, so I spent a lot of time looking for details that were wrong.  They did a pretty good job on that front. (I can’t really ding them for making up a fictional University of Oakland to give the story setting I suppose.)  Still, didn’t really do much for me as a show overall.

Billy Bob Thorton is back for the final season of the series and it takes place in San Fransisco.  Or is sort of takes place there.  There are a lot of exterior shots that are clearly from the city by the bay, but Billy McBride lives in a strange side street in Chinatown where it is always either raining or has just stopped… it feels like a set from Blade Runner at times… and I want to know where in the Bay Area it rains that much, because the weatherman isn’t telling us.

Anyway, Billy is up in SF for an opioids case, because the TV and movie production pipeline has finally caught up with the opioids epidemic.  A really sold and strange performance with J. K. Simmons and Bruce Dern in the mix.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.

A dead body is found by a US Marine Fisheries agent near Provincetown, MA.  The case is picked up by the state police task force as the victim was involved in an investigation into a local drug ring, and also the opioid epidemic is in there somewhere.  The agent is also a drug users and turns out to be connected to the murder indirectly and tries to get clean and interferes with the investigation and we spend a lot of time with their problems, which keep bringing them back to the whole crime, while the lead from the state police task force sleeps with the stripper wife or the imprisoned drug kingpin who… oh, I don’t know, it is kind of a mess.  It was okay, and was popular enough to get a second season, which is out now, but I was fine with stopping at the end of season one.

Jeff Daniels as a small town police chief taking on the scourge of the… wait for it… opioid epidemic.  Jeff Daniels gives a solid performance and I quite like him, but the whole thing felt like it had been done with Mare of Easttown already. (About which I wrote here.)  Small town, murder, drugs, woods, relationships, something about a union, and opioids.  It isn’t bad, but it felt like ground already covered a lot of late, small town America, poverty, and opioids.  Also, it ends somewhat abruptly.  At the end of episode nine I assumed there was another episode to be seen, as there was enough left unresolved to fill out another hour.  But no, that was it.

Ten final episodes to wrap up the series, though there really felt like the writers only had about five episodes of content to work with, so there is a lot of what feels like filler as Lucifer has to solve a time traveling mystery that involves his daughter, Chloe, and whether or not he wants to take up dad’s position and run the universe.  You could probably just watch episode 10 if you needed closure on the series.  Otherwise is suffers from what I call Castle-syndrome, where once the Lucifer and Chloe love connection gets resolved, the show has to fish around for a reason to continue.

We watched the first episode of this back when the first season landed, didn’t like it, and stopped watching.  Then, two years later, with a second season available and it still lingering in my “continue watching” queue, we picked up with episode two and watched both seasons.  So maybe episode one is optional?

Anyway, aliens show up on Earth at some future date where we also have a spaceship with faster than light travel tech, so Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff flies off to find the source of the aliens while her husband leads the research team that is trying to figure out what is going on with the monument the aliens dumped on Earth.  Also, they have a daughter who, in any sane world, would have been picked up by child protective services half way through the show.

The show kind of builds roughly, as the FTL ship runs into trouble and they have to hang out on a couple of planets to find food and on both somebody in the crew takes their helmet off and you just know that is going to end badly… and it does.  While the show veers off course now and then and gets caught up in some crew drama, we did watch it all the way through and were eager to see how they wrapped up season 2.

Pandemic Binge Watching Part Three – The New Season

In parts one and two I went on about shows we started on fresh.  But the binge-watching life isn’t all about brand new shows.  Sometimes the agonizing year long wait ends and something you watched before comes out with a new season.  So I am going to cover a few of those shows we’ve watched and, in the process, answer the most important question: Do you need to go back and watch past episodes? (You should just watch everything if you haven’t started on a show, but if you’re up to date and a new season comes along, the question is valid.)

  • Homeland – Showtime production, most seasons on Hulu
  • 8 seasons total

We watched the first three seasons of Homeland way back in the day, back when it wasn’t clear that Carrie Matheson was really the central unifying figure of the show.  Also, I think we watched on DVDs from Netflix.  Somewhere along the way we caught season four.  And then, when surfing around for something to watch I saw that Hulu had all but the final season available, so off we went.

Carrie is clearly the center and a pattern is now apparent where she must at some point each season:

  • Fight with Saul
  • Make a bunch of promises she won’t keep
  • Screw over somebody who trusts her
  • Join forces with Saul
  • Go off her meds or otherwise off the reservation
  • Eventually turn out to be right

She is both the best and worse of the show.  Fortunately, there is a host of excellent supporting roles to hold things together when the script sends her off the rails and I find the stories interesting… though some seem very quaint given our current president.  Somebody agonizes over doing a mildly bad thing that Trump would approve in a heart beat.  I keep thinking, “Remember when somebody would resign over that?”

Now we just need to find season 8 to finish up the series.

Good for: A look back at some old school political and spy drama.

Do you need to rewatch past seasons: No.  Carrie will mouth enough connecting exposition about her current status with the agency and Saul to let you know where things stand.

  • Marcella – Netflix
  • Three seasons total

A psychological police drama about a detective who comes back to the force and is back following a serial killer who was active before she left.  Trouble at home and her of mental trauma play into her view of the world and make her a compelling character.  We burned through the first two seasons pretty quickly.

Good for: Somebody who wants an investigation that might leave unanswered questions

Do you need to rewatch past seasons: No.  For the first couple of episodes of season three you’ll think you have to, because nothing makes any sense, but eventually they explain.  Just ride it out.

The unorthodox time and space bending super hero story about a set of kids, all born on the same day, who were collected and adopted by one Sir Reginald Hargreeves who wants them for their super powers.  Crazy, compelling, interesting, and fun to watch.  I enjoyed it.  Season two just makes things all the more crazy and compelling.

Good for: Somebody sick of the scale of MCU.

Do you need to rewatch past seasons: Oh fuck yeah.  If you go into season 2 and haven’t recently watched the first season, you’ll end up having to pause and look things up just to keep things straight.  There are way too many moving parts.  They do a quick summary, but it isn’t enough.  If you don’t know their numbers and their powers by heart, just watch the first season again.

  • Killing Eve – BBC America, available on Hulu
  • Three seasons total

A charming, fresh, exciting new show in its first season, featuring spy craft and assassination in the current day, Killing Eve grabbed a lot of people  Then the show didn’t quite know what to do with itself after the first eight show run.  First season good, second season okay, third season… unsatisfying.  The Eve and Villanelle dynamic is what gives the show life, but they can’t always be sneaking up on each other I guess.  And Jodie Comer (who was also one of the Elizabeths in The White Princess which I mentioned in part one) plays the quirky Villanelle so well that even unsatisfying was fun at times.

Good for: Somebody in search of something that seemed charming, fresh, and exciting in 2018.

Do you need to rewatch past seasons: The past seasons are the good stuff.  If you dive right into season three you’ll feel a little lost, but I’m not sure you’ll care.

  • Lucifer – Netflix
  • Five seasons total

The devil has left hell and got himself a nightclub in LA… you’d probably think Vegas first, but really, LA is where he would go when you think about it… under the name Lucifer Morningstar.  He can help people get what they desire for a price.  And then he runs into Detective Chloe Decker of the LAPD and the whole thing turns into Castle set in LA with the devil rather than a mystery writer.

Still, I liked Castle for a few seasons.  The problem is that in both the main question is whether the devil/writer will finally get together with the homicide detective and you can only put that off for a few seasons before the question has to be resolved, after which the show dies.  Or, at least that was what happened with Castle.

It is dumb, and was a Fox show for three seasons, so there are a lot of episodes where the quality varies, but the actors are mostly good.  Lucifer his siblings and parents become part of the plot and they are often much more interesting than the petty grievances of mankind.

Good for: Somebody who wants a remake of Castle with the devil?

Do you need to rewatch past seasons: Nah, it really isn’t that deep.

  • Hanna – Amazon Prime
  • Two seasons total

Based on the 2011 film, there is a secret government super soldier program, some wolf DNA, some young girls, and… well… call it a girl’s school version Jason Bourne.  Lots of action, evil government operatives, top secrets stuff, and so on.  The first season was okay, though not all that memorable.  The second season goes a little more into project Treadstone… erm, UTRAX… and the girls, their school, and their mission.  Things are still over the top, but I found it more interesting.

Good for: Somebody who wants a girl’s school version of Jason Bourne?

Do you need to rewatch past seasons:  The first season is so narrowly focused that you’ll get by even if you’ve forgotten it.  Flashbacks and characters stating exposition will fill in the gaps.