film fatales #32: persepolis (marjane satrapi and vincent paronnaud, 2007)
music friday: fats domino

tv catchup

Better Things. Season One: "Adlon is the perfect center of a show like this, and all three of the actresses who play her daughters are strong (casting of kids is often the downfall of shows with families). Definitely looking forward to Season Two." So far, so good. Season Two is getting raves for being even better than last year. I can't say I notice the difference ... it's still the same show, with the same strengths. Adlon directs every episode this season, and if it wasn't already clear, Better Things is her show. The show's family feels real, no matter if the events of a particular episode are a bit outrageous. And despite Adlon being the perfect center, she is very generous with the actresses who play her daughters. An excellent show. The most recent episode as I type, "Eulogy", was outstanding, called the season's best by many, and the show has been renewed for a third season.

Broad City. Abbi and Ilana are actually showing signs of growing up a bit, best personified by Ilana's new job, which she is actually good at. Having said that, it's still Broad City. Last year I said, "Comedies like this are never 100% perfect, but when Broad City hits, nothing compares." That still holds true. And the episode where they do mushrooms is an all-time classic. The follow up, where we meet Abbi's mom, was also wonderful.

Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nothing seems different, a few episodes into the first new season in six years. This is not where you start if you've decided to dive in, nor is it the place to give it another try if you've seen it before and found it wanting. But fans are happy, I imagine. Perhaps it's just a matter of degree, but at times Larry seems even more cruel than ever.

The Deuce. Some typical David Simon tics: lots of characters, most of whom get plenty of screen time, and a slow, gradual movement into the milieu of the show. Also some great acting and writing. Another winner from Simon.

Mr. Robot. The Season Three premiere featured a monologue by Elliot that will be watched long after the series has died. A sample:

I can stand here and blame Evil Corp and every conglomerate out there for taking advantage of us, and I can blame the FBI, NSA and CIA for letting them get away with it, blame all the world leaders for aiding and abetting them, and blame Adam Smith for inventing modern day capitalism in the first fucking place, and blame money for dividing us, and blame us for letting it — but none of that's true. The truth is, I'm the one to blame. I'm the problem. This was my fault. All of it. I did this. Fuck me.

Outlander. The first several episodes kept Claire and Jamie apart, and the show is always better when they are together. But the wait was worth it ... their reunion episode, "A. Malcolm", made up for lost time while reminding us once again of how much the male gaze is absent on this show.

The Strain.  Done after 4 seasons and 46 episodes. Four seasons may be just right ... The Strain never got too crappy, although I'd argue it also never got great. But it was good enough for four seasons, thanks in part to a cast that was generally solid (although Zach was always irritating, I think he was written that way).

Supergirl. I bring this up because the new season has just begun. I don't know why I still watch, which isn't to say it's a bad series, just that it's nothing special and there are other things to watch. They have done a good job with the lesbian relationship.

The Tick. Half a dozen episodes in what is either a truncated first season, or the first half of a longer season. Every version of The Tick has its moments, and this one is a bit darker as it deals with Arthur's semi-traumatic real life. It's OK, but my wife likes it more than I do, as she always has.

If you are looking for a show to binge, I'd go with Better Things, since there is still a reasonable number of episodes. Besides that, the best shows on the above list include Broad City, Mr. Robot, and Outlander, with The Deuce likely to join them.


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