I don’t know how I didn’t mention Outer Range in my last post. I enjoyed it as much as, if not more than, Severance. It’s an unabashedly & pretentiously weird and arty show that, based on what I’ve read online, is very divisive. I was honestly shocked at the negativity and hostility directed at the show online, because I never felt like it hit a wrong note. But on the other hand, I know when something feels that way to me, it’s probably going to really upset other people.
It’s got all the hallmarks of a future cult classic and I am totally there for it. I don’t really know how to say much else about the show. If you like David Lynch but think his stuff is too lacking in coherence, it’s great: dream logic, magical realism, science fiction all rolled up into one big beautiful package. I think you liked John from Cincinnati, which I love with all my heart and soul, you’d like Outer Range as well. How much that last sentence offends you should be a pretty good measure of how much you may like the show.
I’ve been watching season 3 of Westworld, because I watched the prior two seasons, for better-ish (season 1) and for worse (season 2). What a gorgeous, but insultingly stupid, show. I’m not done with the season so I can’t pass solid judgment, but there are writers who can handle deep concepts (like the nature of reality, the self, expansive future technology) without getting all tangled up in them, and then there is whoever is writing Westworld at this point. Yuck, but I’ll keep going…
We watched Belle over the weekend. I’ve been dipping my toes into Japanese culture over the past year or so, not really on purpose, but after playing Paradise Killer I’ve been on a journey to be less close-minded about Japanese stuff like, ahem, anime, JRPGs,
little girl ASMR on Twitch (🤮), and so on. I saw that Belle was really well received online by sites that, I’m realizing, make a business about receiving anything well (Polygon, Verge), so I figured I would check it out. It was … okay. Visually beautiful, over-long, and mired further by the (shame on us) English versions of the songs. Wish we had watched it in Japanese; at least the stupid songwriting could be somewhat obscured by vocals we’re unable to understand. Shucks!
We wrapped up Ozark last week as well. This is another situation–like Westworld, like Weeds–where I should have just walked away at some point. With Ozark, hard to remember exactly what season first really started to lose me, I’m not quite sure. The show probably reached its peak when Ruth called Wendy “a bitch wolf” in a fit of angry hysteria. Little did anyone know that from that point onward “angry hysteria” would be the driving force behind many–if not all–of the characters, to varying degrees of outward flailing. What a painfully dumb and disappointing show. To its credit, and I say this as begrudgingly as possible, the show remains consistent up to the very end, despite (I assume) every single person on earth wanting things to go differently for the Byrdes just once.
I watched the Reacher show on Amazon last week. It was actually really good. Felt a lot like a Hercule Poirot mystery, except in this case Hercule is a guy with muscles the size of his head who can beat people to death if he wants.
At one point Reacher says something like, “you better chose your next words very carefully, because they will determine how well your jaw works for the rest of your life,” and it basically paid for the whole show in my book. I’m a simple man: I like seeing dudes who can cash the checks their mouth writes.
If there’s one negative to Reacher, it’s that the show plays it pretty straight for the whole series until the last episode. Then it goes full on cheese-ball and not in a particularly graceful way. I also really wanted to see Reacher slowly beat the bad guy to death at the end. While the bad guy got a decently painful death, I don’t think it was enough. We should have gotten a shot of the bad guy spitting out their broken teeth, missed opportunity for sure.