Category: television

Ted Lasso: Season Two

NOTE: there are most definitely going to be spoilers in this post, so if you haven’t finished the season yet, you’re better off waiting to read this until after you have.

Okay?

Okay.

Denisa and I finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso last night, and naturally I Have Some Thoughts. I know the season has been somewhat divisive with fans of the first season, particularly Nate’s character arc. I’ve read many complaints that “Nate would never act like that” and “it was just too forced.”

Having seen all of it now, I have to say I definitely come down on the side of thinking it’s all too believable for me. In season one, Nate is a victim of bullying. He’s constantly belittled, and Ted takes him under his wing and frees him from all of that. While it’s nice to think that from there on it would be happily ever after for Nate, it’s not very realistic to think that.

First of all, as a victim of abuse, statistics say there’s a significant chance he’ll become an abuser himself. The show is very open about this early on in the season, showing the way Nate treats the new water boy. When given the chance to be free from abuse, Nate begins to do to other people what was done to him. Is it enjoyable to watch? Well, not if you’re a fan of Nate. But I found the arc believable and compelling.

In addition, it’s right in line with the “power corrupts” adage. I’ve seen multiple instances of this in real life, where people are essentially promoted to a place where they stop being the person I knew and turn into someone who’s . . . different. You really don’t know how someone’s going to respond to newfound authority until they have it.

For Nate, his values change. He begins to be much more concerned about his image and how he’s perceived. In many ways, he seems to be overcorrecting for the self-hatred he feels. (Spitting on himself in the mirror as a way to feel better about himself?) He’s constantly insulted that he isn’t automatically more important in everyone else’s eyes. Roy Kent doesn’t see him as a romantic rival. Ted doesn’t see him as the end-all-be-all of coaching wisdom and mentorship. Waitresses ignore him.

When it comes to his big final speech to Ted, detailing all the ways Nate’s been slighted over the course of the year, you can see why he might feel that way, but I also see how he’s chosen to interpret things the worst way possible time after time after time. When you set people up for these unknown tests (“Will Ted put the picture I gave him up in a place of importance?” “Will everyone listen to my latest coaching plan?”), you set everyone around you up for failure. They just don’t realize how important those seemingly random events are to you. Nate should have gone to Ted or Roy or Coach Beard or anyone and talked. Expressed how he’s feeling. Instead, he bottles it up inside and assumes the worst.

That’s not unrealistic. That’s all too believable for me. And by the time Nate actually shares what he thinks, his feelings are set in cement. He’s already made up his mind, and there’s nothing anyone around him can do to change it.

I can understand why some might not like that arc in a show they viewed as a lighthearted comedy. What’s up with this season suddenly bringing in topics like suicide and abusive relationships and affairs and more? But if you look back in the first season, it was doing that then as well. Ted Lasso isn’t just a comedy, and it’s not just a drama. It blends both, playing the whole emotional keyboard. For me, that makes it more powerful, not less.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second season, and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

TV Series Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society

I read The Mysterious Benedict Society a while back. Just the first book (I believe it’s a series now?), but I enjoyed it, even if it quickly faded in my memory to “book about a secret school, with students who go there under cover to save the world.” It’s a cool premise, but I couldn’t remember much more than that. But when I saw Disney had done an adaptation of the first book on Disney+, I remembered enough about the book that I thought the TV version would be worth checking out.

And . . . it was! If you’ve seen the Netflix version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, then you should know about what to expect. (Minus the doom and gloom.) It’s well produced, with a cool design that consistently pops. It stars Tony Hale (Buster from Arrested Development) and four child actors who do a decent job. I watched it with the whole family, and everyone enjoyed the whole season. (Anytime a show can pull that off, entertaining the ages of 8, 13, 17, and 40+, that’s noteworthy right there.)

I especially liked the humor of the show, which took me a bit to figure out. It’s pretty dry, but once I got it what the show was going for, it worked really well.

The general premise is as I remembered it: a group of four students are recruited to go undercover at a school for the gifted that seems to be the front for a sinister operation. They need to find out what’s going on and how to stop it, and they need to do it largely on their own. Adventure ensues.

Is it going to change my life? No, but it consistently delivered a good time. Tony Hale turns in a solid performance, and even when the show’s pace ebbed now and then, it was still fun to just watch the screen and appreciate the design work.

If you’re looking for a show to watch with the whole family, and you have Disney+, then check this one out. Not too scary, but not too simple either. 7.5/10, but not many kids shows can score that highly for me.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Television Review: Broadchurch Season One

Ah, the wonders of streaming. Where I can “discover” a “new show” 8 years after it first aired. Well, if you’re like me, and you haven’t watched Broadchurch (available to stream on Netflix), then let me bring it to your attention.

David Tennant (the tenth Doctor Who) stars as DI Hardy, the lead detective on a case of the murder of an 11 year old boy in Broadchurch, England. He’s assisted by Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth in the latest Crown seasons). Jodie Whitaker (the twelfth Doctor Who) plays the murdered boy’s mother. The show features great acting and the first season has a fantastic plot. 8 episodes, all of them well done.

I enjoyed the way the show delved into the impact an event like that can have on a relatively small town, as well as the impact the investigation of that event can have. You get to know the characters of the town because the investigation goes on for so long. True, there were a couple of plot developments that felt like a bit of a stretch to me (and they used practically the same plot device twice, which was a tad weak), but by and large the investigation doesn’t feel padded.

I also really enjoyed the interaction between Tennant and Colman. Tennant is brash and inconsiderate, a newcomer to Broadchurch. Colman is a lifelong resident. She knows all the people and thinks the best of everyone, but in a murder case, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Seeing the two of them argue about approaches and techniques set up a great dichotomy that plays out wonderfully.

The tensions rise with each episode, and the finale of the season was fantastic. Always a big plus for a television show. (Sadly, two episodes into the second season, it’s felt much more contrived. Hoping that changes soon.) The show is TV-MA for some harsh language, but there’s not much in the way of blood/violence and no sex I can recall. Overall, I gave it an 8.5/10. Very good television.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

TV Review: The Goes Wrong Show

When I find a British show that I love, my biggest complaint is always (inevitably) that it’s just too short. Seasons across the Atlantic are like five episodes long. Six, if you’re lucky. Thankfully with The Goes Wrong Show, it’s a “long” season of 6 whopping episodes, available on Amazon Prime even as we speak. And if I were you (which I realize I’m not), I would stop whatever you’re doing this instant and go watch this show instead.

Oh wait. That would mean you’d stop reading my blog, wouldn’t it? Well, whatever you planning to do after you finished reading my blog, I would watch this show instead. Someone had recommended it to me (I’ve sadly forgotten who), and I decided to watch it when I got around to it. Don’t be like me. This is some of the funniest stuff I watched in a good long while.

The premise is straightforward: a fairly amateur acting troupe in England prepares a weekly live play that they film in front of audience and then broadcast to the nation. Except their entire production is just plain awful. They’ve got set design folks who make an absolute mess of things, their actors are all highly unprofessional, the writing is a mess, and pretty much everything you can imagine ends up going wrong. (It couldn’t have taken them long to come up with the title for the show.)

A lot of the time I have trouble really laughing at people in painful situations. I can’t typically last too much of The Office for that reason. It’s so uncomfortable for me to watch people making such poor life choices, and then laugh at them. However, with this show, I don’t have to worry about that. I’m not laughing at real people’s lives (even if they’re fictional), I’m laughing at people who are just flat out bad at what they do professionally. For some reason, that makes all the difference.

It also helps that a lot of the humor from the show comes from things other than just “these people can’t act” over and over. The set design crew makes tons of errors, like building a court room where they thought the measurements were in inches, not feet. Or building a dining room vertically, so the table’s on the wall. Not every single episode is a grand slam, but they’re all a lot of fun, and I was often laughing so hard I had to pause it.

Fair warning: the humor does get a bit ribald now and then. We watched it with the whole family, and there was a time or two when I felt like it crossed the line for MC (though it likely just sailed right past her), but I don’t like wholeheartedly recommending something and then risking it being too much for some people. I’d still say it’s squarely in PG range, and it is indeed rated TV-PG, so maybe I’m being too fussy.

In any cast, I gave it a 10/10, and I can’t wait until I can watch season 2.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Television Review: For All Mankind (Season One)

The premise behind For All Mankind intrigued me right away. What if the Russians had been the first to walk on the moon instead of the Americans? What sort of an impact might that have had on history? Ronald Moore (creator of Battlestar Galactica) poses that question in the first episode, and then proceeds to play out the what if from then on. The result is an intriguing season, bogged down occasionally with too much melodrama.

The show shines when it can have fun with the premise, showing both how some things might have changed and how some things would have stayed the same. In a fairly non-spoilery example, the Chappaquiddick scandal in Ted Kennedy’s life was avoided, since the Russians landed on the moon the same evening Mary Jo Kopechne died in our normal timeline. Kennedy left that party before the death occurred, and voila, he was then scandal-free, letting him win the presidency in 1972. (Of course, since Kopechne was still alive in this new timeline, he was then bogged down in a sex scandal later on, when the affair came to light.)

On the other hand, sometimes I felt like the series got hung up on the lives of its characters, to the detriment to the plot. I know that sounds like a pretty lame reason to critique a show (the characters are too important!), but when the main engine of the show is running on “what if,” taking the time to explore universal issues like the stress of the space program on the families involved feel like the show spinning its wheels. I can get that in any number of shows about the space race. Give me more of that sweet alternate history action, thank you kindly.

But thankfully, that bogged-down feeling is generally kept to a minimum, and the show moves forward quite quickly. (Yay for binge watching.) It’s rated TVMA for a bit of language here and there, but nothing that should cause too much of a hangup for most audiences. (A number of episodes are actually TV14. The show seems to want to appear more “mature” than it really is, as if audiences don’t want to watch a TV14 show. I do wish they’d just trim the content to be more squarely in the TV14 range, since that’s what the show feels like it wants to be.) Honestly, the biggest strike against it is probably that it’s on Apple TV+, which just isn’t that widely used as of yet.

Overall, I gave it a 7.5/10. There’s plenty to like, and I’m intrigued enough to move on to season two, but it isn’t complete bliss. Season two might well make or break the show. We’ll see. If the premise seems interesting, or you’re a sucker for space exploration or light science fiction or alternate histories, this is one I’d definitely keep an eye on.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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