During the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to get through a few (mostly) new TV releases and here are some very brief final thoughts on all of them:
Lost in Space (Series Three)
★ ★ ★
Despite only just finishing its third and final season, Netflix’s Lost in Space appears to be a series that no-one really talks about, which is a bit of a shame because, although it’s hardly the “sexiest” or most interesting programme out there, there’s also nothing majorly wrong with it. Indeed, the show really looks immaculate – with all the special effects, production design and cinematography being of the same calibre as any modern sci-fi film – and the acting is solid all round, with performers like Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Taylor Russell, and Parker Posey all doing a fine job and additionally, the story and writing all hold up (heck, many modern feature films aren’t written as well) and the main theme is a real blast.
So what’s wrong with the show? Well, despite there being no major problems, Lost in Space is still not that remarkable of a show, nothing that you’d remember for very long despite the show’s best efforts, and it really just lacks the “X Factor”, the unique nature that would set it apart from all the other popular on-demand shows that are out there these days. Or maybe it’s just the programme’s marketing that has let it down.
So all in all, now that it’s all finished, Lost in Space remains a perfectly decent sci-fi series but regrettably, it doesn’t do enough to “stand out from the crowd”.
After Life (Series Three)
★ ★ ★ ★
A show that is simply too easy to binge watch, the third and final outing for Ricky Gervais’ acclaimed Netflix show sees Gervais’ Tony continue to mourn the loss of his wife and to keep his acquaintances at arm’s length but this time, he learns the value of helping people. I’d have to say that this season of After Life is technically the weakest as, although it has the best intentions, it just continues to do what it has done before, not really saying anything different, and it didn’t move me or make me laugh as much as the previous series did. Still though, it’s a four star series because the writing is good, the heart is there, and, as I said, it’s all just so easy to binge watch.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Series Fifteen)
★ ★ ★ ★
The fifteenth season of TV’s longest running sitcom (though fans of Last of the Summer Wine aren’t exactly happy with that particular honour) continues to have the gang do all sorts of rude, crude and outrageous stuff (this season does provide us with some really gross moments involving some stew that Frank prepared, a pretty nasty monkey bartender, and a scene involving a corpse and a cliff) and they do something a little different this time around by moving the action to Ireland at the series’ halfway point. I don’t think that Sunny has quite the same “power” that it once did but still, the awful characters are still entertaining to watch and I guess that it’s something that they “kept it relevant” by weaving the current pandemic into the writing of the show, as well giving us an opening episode all about how they were unwittingly involved with several big events that happened in the US during the tumultuous election.
The Book of Boba Fett
★ ★ ★
Another of Jon Favreau’s Star Wars shows that has been made available on Disney Plus, this Mandalorian spin-off (and believe me, this one is unavoidably “spin-off-y”) tells us a little about what happened to the notorious bounty hunter from the time he fell into the Sarlacc pit to when he crossed paths with Din Djarin, going on to see him wage war against the villainous Pike Syndicate, and although the show is as technically proficient as its “parent show”, as well as giving us a few cool action setpieces (the train heist in the second episode being a particular highlight) and some committed performances from Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen, this series never really rises above – I do so hate to use this word – mediocrity and it isn’t as good as The Mandalorian because it doesn’t have many interesting characters, the story is quite “small” and isn’t anything particularly exciting, and Favreau’s writing isn’t as ambitious as it could have been. It’s also a shame that the once super cool Boba Fett is, in his own show, a character who is not that memorable.
Saying all of that though, Boba Fett does have two excellent episodes – the fifth and sixth ones – and it is here where the series truly come to life and this is because, let’s face it, these are actually Mandalorian episodes, not Boba Fett. Episodes five and six are arguably the most exciting and most visually pleasing instalments as they shift focus onto the more charismatic Din Djarin but although they proved to be series highlights, I made a perhaps controversial decision to NOT take them into account when deciding on an overall “score” for the series. Because they’re clearly Mandalorian episodes.
Oh, and speaking of “score”, Ludwig Göransson’s central theme is quite extraordinary and EPIC.
Disenchantment (Series Four)
★ ★ ★
Much like the aforementioned Lost in Space, this is another Netflix series that no-one seems to be talking about and this would appear to be because of a similar reason: it’s only average, nothing memorable or exciting.
While it’s a slight improvement over the series that directly preceeded it – seeing as how series MVP King Zög is back to normal, with thankfully far less “honking”, and how Elfo is slightly more bearable this time around – the series still remains uncertain of itself and what it wants to say and it still remains insistent on “prophesying”, continually setting up plot threads that are left unresolved by the series finale.