James Donald Forbes McCann’s weekly TV reviews, as published by The Adelaide Review.
Stranger Things 2: The AV Club’s Bogus Journey is a massive, expensive, fantastic and flawed diamond. Despite a few missteps it remains, like its predecessor, the single best reason to take out a Netflix subscription.”
“The first two episodes set the series up to be a turgid, low-concept bastardisation of Gene Roddenberry’s vision. If you’re going to watch Discovery (and it is by no means certain that anybody should) then skip the introduction and jump straight into episode three, the latest episode at time of publication. There, there are signs that Discovery might be, if not great Star Trek, okay TV.”
“It’s not hard to figure out why the baby boomers love Jerry Seinfeld, because they’ll tell you, repeatedly, throughout his shows. ‘It’s so true! I really do eat all the cookies!’ The millennials agree, but in a philosophical sense and with an existential zeal. ‘It’s so true! Nothing means anything! The cookies are all we have!’ Notably, the two audiences laugh hard at alternating punchlines.”
“For centuries, Vikings raped and pillaged their way across Christendom. The old stereotype of a Scandinavian (a hulking, bloodthirsty Pagan who’ll kill you and everybody you love) is the polar opposite of the contemporary stereotype (a soft-spoken bureaucrat who loves arthouse cinema). The delicious comic conceit at the heart of Norsemen is to tell the tale of barbaric Vikings, but to give those Vikings the manners and concerns of modern day, namby-pamby Norwegians.”
“The Other Guy is different to its predecessors, however, in that it is better. Critics have noted that the show is especially indebted to Josh Thomas’ Please Like Me — and, indeed, there are many similarities. But where Please Like Me, and so many other millennial comedies succumb to ennui and introspection, The Other Guy is bold throughout. It is also, occasionally, very funny indeed. Go watch it on Stan at your earliest convenience.”
“The bad guys come out on top; not despite their moral failings, but because of them. It is, effectively, spiritual pornography. The wretched protagonist gets what he wants, and we viewers are expected to enjoy it as voyeurs. There is no pretence that either the characters, or the audience, are improved in any dimension as a result.”