film fatales #66: fleabag (tony grech-smith and vicky jones, 2019)
revisiting the passion of joan of arc (carl theodor dreyer, 1928)

tv in the 2010s: the half-hours, part one

(Cut-and-pasted from an earlier post.) I don't write as much about TV these days. One reason is that there is indeed too much good stuff ... it's hard enough to keep up with the watching, much less the writing. But I've found a catch-all way to inject TV into the blog, AV Club's "The 100 best TV shows of the 2010s". It's an obvious way to make my point about too much good stuff ... the list has 100 shows, and I haven't watched many of them (about a third). (Not to mention the thing about all such lists: each of us wonders why our favorite show didn't make the cut? Shout out to The 100Lights OutAgent CarterSweet/ViciousOutlander, and Hot Ones.) What follows is a few comments about the shows I did watch. This will be a multiple-post thread.

There are so many excellent half-hour series nowadays. Something about the format allows the creators to delve deeply into characters, infusing the shows with humor but always about more than just the jokes. Most of these series make room for people who are usually shunted to the side, when they turn up at all. I wrote earlier about Fleabag ... here are a few more that made the AV Club list (numbers are their place in the poll). In reverse order:

Vida (90). The formerly marginalized group here is Mexican-Americans. Showrunner Tanya Saracho put together a crew of all-Latinx writers (mostly women) and expanded this into the crew in general. Vida has a strong queer feel, and won a GLAAD media award. It introduced new-to-me actors Melissa Barrera, Mishel Prada, and Ser Anzoategui. Season Two took the groundbreaking of the first season into a better series overall.

Master of None (87). Deserves to be on this list because of the phenomenal Season Two episode "Thanksgiving", featuring Lena Waithe, who won an Emmy.

Catastrophe (78). Sneaks up on you. Four seasons, 24 episodes, about an Irish teacher in London (Sharon Horgan) and a visiting American executive (Rob Delaney) who have a brief fling that leads to pregnancy and eventually marriage. Sounds blandly generic, but in the hands of Horgan and Delaney, it is anything but. Also features a solid supporting cast, capped by Carrie Fisher in her last TV role.


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