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Discussion on: What have you been watching on TV lately?

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Kevin McGinn
  • The Handmaid's Tale - It's a good thing that Hulu does not drop all the episodes at once, because WOOF this is a heavy and suspenseful show. June, now Offred, lives in Gilead: the theocratic authoritarian nation that rose after extremists destroyed the US government in reaction to a fertility crisis. As one of the few women who has been able to have children, Offred has been ripped from her old life and assigned as a Handmaid to one of Gilead's Commanders to help him and his wife have a child. It is very bleak (but not entirely without hope), and has brilliantly/horrifyingly expanded past Margaret Atwood's original novel in the second and third seasons. Everything about this show is exquisitely well done: the heartbreaking performances from all the actors; the incredible costumes, props, and set design that add unspoken depth to the world; the harrowing writing; and the beautiful cinematography, which gives the actors captivating Silence of the Lambs-esque close-ups.
  • Good Omens - Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett, Good Omens is a highly witty and heartfelt show that follows Aziraphale and Crowley, an angel and a demon who are certainly not best friends, what would ever give you that impression? Aziraphale and Crowley have enjoyed living on earth for the past 6000 years, and they would quite like to keep doing that, so they decide to try to stop the upcoming Apocalypse. Mix in the young antichrist, a witch's book of prophecies, a Witchfinder, and a fake psychic among other things, and you're in for a great time. Refreshingly, this is a one-and-done limited series; the 6 episodes on Amazon Prime Video (and later the BBC) are all there will ever be of this show.
  • The Tick - We're still working through this one, but so far The Tick has balanced being a wacky superhero comedy alongside taking a compassionate look at trauma and mental illness. Amazon cut this show short after two seasons, which is a shame, but we're enjoying the ride so far.
  • Marvel's Agents of SHIELD - I've stuck with this show from the beginning, and while there have been some rough spots and not-always-satisfying ties to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, this show has really come into its own in the past few seasons as it fully embraces the wild opportunities of comic books. For example: in one of the recent episodes, two of the agents found themselves hallucinating and very high in an alien casino after eating a treat that wasn't intended for human consumption. Follow Agent Coulson after his not-death in Avengers as he builds a team of SHIELD agents to keep the world safe from the shadows - and soon you'll fall in love with each one of them.

I'm cheating a bit on these two, since we finished their most recent seasons a little while ago, but I couldn't stop myself from mentioning them:

  • What We Do in the Shadows - This hilarious mockumentary-style show follows a mostly-dysfunctional house of vampires as they live their undeaths and maybe sometimes try to conquer North America from their home in Staten Island, NYC. I also highly recommend checking out the original movie set in New Zealand.
  • Barry - Barry is a hitman who is very good at what he does, but not fulfilled by it. When a job brings him to an acting class and ignites a new passion in him, Barry decides that he's going to quit his old life and try to make it in LA. His partner and the Chechen mob are... not exactly thrilled about this. This dark comedy created by and starring Bill Hader has floored me so far; one of its most recent episodes was almost entirely action, and aired the same day as Game of Thrones' Battle for Winterfell. Despite only having 3 characters fighting (including a little girl), I think Barry's fight scene was tenser and more thrilling than GoT (and maybe even parts of Endgame, which also came out that weekend).