CT's TV CV

Banshee

Show: Banshee

Verdict: Pretty Good

How much I’ve seen: All of it (four seasons)

You should watch it if you like: Any cop drama, but especially if you like The Shield or Luther.

Where you can stream it: Seasons 1 and 2 are free with Amazon Prime. The other 2 seasons are on Amazon streaming, but not free.

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Colony

Show: Colony

Verdict: Amazing

How much I’ve seen: All of season 1, 6 episodes of season 2 (everything that’s aired)

You should watch it if you like: This show has a lot of overlapping themes, so it’s hard to say, but definitely you should check it out if you like movies about resistance to authoritarian governments. At the moment for whatever reason only Red Dawn is coming to mind. Just read the summary below and see if it grabs ya.

Where you can stream it: As far as I can tell, you can see the 5 most recent episodes of season two on USA’s website, and that’s it, which is really a shame.

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Life in Pieces

Show: Life in Pieces

Verdict: Pretty Good

How much I’ve seen: All of season 1, 13 episodes of season 2 (everything to date)

You should watch it if you like: Family sitcoms (Modern Family especially), Parenthood

Where you can stream it: The show’s on CBS, which is like FX and makes stuff impossible to stream. As far as I can tell, you can watch season 2 episodes 9 through 13 on CBS.com for free or you can sign up for their subscription service and watch the whole second season but not the first?

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The Magicians

Show: The Magicians

Verdict: Amazing

How much I’ve seen: Season 1

You should watch it if you like: The book series its based on, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia

Where you can stream it: Unfortunately, I don’t think you can. Syfy, like FX, is too restrictive about streaming their shows.

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Atlanta

Show: Atlanta

Verdict: Amazing

How much I’ve seen: Season 1 (everything to date)

You should watch it if you like: Louie, Better Things, Master of None

Where you can stream it: You can’t, unfortunately. At least not as far as I know. FX is really restrictive with its original series, which is a real shame. But this show is so good it’s worth finding a way to watch it even though it isn’t convenient.

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The Man in the High Castle

Show: The Man in the High Castle

Verdict: Amazing

How much I’ve seen: Two Seasons (everything to date)

You should watch it if you like: period dramas, I guess? This is a hard one. It’s nothing like Mad Men or Downton Abbey, but those are the only shows I can really think to compare it to. It does also kind of remind me of the flashback bits in X-Files episodes when The Cigarette Smoking Man was … I don’t know, The Cigarette Smoking Younger Man? I guess just jump to the break and keep reading if you like the sound of the premise.

Where you can stream it: It’s an Amazon Prime exclusive, so Amazon.

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The Expanse

 

Show: The Expanse

Verdict: AMAZING

How much I’ve seen: First 4 Episodes

It’s kind of like: Game of Thrones IN SPACE

Where you can watch it: Syfy.com is streaming all four episodes, but episode 5 airs on Jan 5th so they might expire soon.

The Expanse was completely off my radar, but after hearing about it in an episode of Still Untitled I decided to check it out, and damned if I’m not glad I did. There have only been four episodes so far, but I can’t wait for more.

The Expanse takes place about 200 years into the future. Mars has been colonized. Long-enough-ago that it has severed ties with Earth, developed its own Navy, and is in a cold war scenario with the United Nations. Additionally, humanity has expanded far enough out into the galaxy that the asteroid belt has its own colonies, and its own citizens, referred to as Belters.

Wikipedia describes the show as a space opera, which is fine, but I like to think of it as Game of Thrones in space. Like GoT there are lots of things going on in lots of different settings, swapping back and forth throughout each episode, and there’s some kind of multi-layered plot involving all three groups (Earthlings, Martians, Belters), but we don’t know what is going on yet. But they’re on the brink of war.

So far I’m most interested in the UN Deputy Undersecretary character, but that’s probably only because she’s played by Shohreh Aghdashloo and I would listen to her read a phone book. Tom Jane plays an affected Belter detective on a privatized security force who caught a case of a missing rich girl. Somehow that’s going to tie into the overarching plot, but it isn’t clear exactly how yet. There’s also some stuff involving a salvage crew that got mixed up with the flagship of the Martian Navy.

One of the things I thought was most interesting is the emphasis on mormons in the show. Early on in the first episode I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a poster for The Book of Mormon, which seemed like odd product placement, but then mormons became part of the world-building. They have spread the good news to all of Earth, apparently, because now they’re expanding beyond the solar system. The show is based on a book series (the first season is going to cover only the first book) by “James S. A. Corey” which is actually the pen name of a pair of writers. I couldn’t find any info on this, but I’d venture to guess that they are LDS.

Although that bit of world-building is a little quirky, I think it totally makes sense, and the rest of it is really good. Early on they show Earthlings torturing a Belter by taking him out of a water tank and exposing him to Earth’s gravity. After 200-ish years, humans have already started evolving, and this guy is (by modern Earth standards) freakishly tall and thin. Like a whale, he can’t survive in Earth’s gravity out of water. Amazing. Not only that, but the UN has banned the practice of gravity-torture (which of course doesn’t stop them from doing it).

I don’t think I’ve reviewed a show mid-season yet, but I’m so pumped to see more of this that I’m sending this email out now in hopes that more people watch it, boost the ratings, and keep it on the air. The show’s on Syfy, which amazes me for a number of reasons. A) It’s good, 2) the production value is *way* high for a show on basic cable, and D) it’s actually science fiction and not ghost hunters or wrestling or fish-weather.

So, watch The Expanse. And tell your friends. (And tell them about this list while you’re at it.)

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The Bastard Executioner

 

Show: The Bastard Executioner

Verdict: TERRIBLE

How much I’ve seen:
All of it (cancelled after 10 episodes)

It’s kind of like:
Game of Thrones + Da Vinci Code?

Where you can watch it:
¯_(ツ)_/¯ (It aired on F/X; maybe it’s on Hulu?)

I really wanted to like The Bastard Executioner. It was created by Kurt Sutter, who created Sons of Anarchy and was involved in most of The Shield in various capacities. The Shield is the best TV show of all time (tied with The West Wing) and I loved Sons of Anarchy too. I had high hopes for TBX but it just straight up sucked. In fact, while watching the 10th episode last night, I noticed it had a longer than usual run time, so I checked to see if it was the season finale and found this on Wikipedia:
“On November 18, 2015, FX announced Sutter had canceled the series.”

I can’t think of another show that was cancelled by the creator (NOT the network). If a show runs its full course, like Breaking Bad, it isn’t “cancelled.” You know a show is bad when it gets mercy-killed by the guy that made it.

The whole show is based around this “secret,” except from the pilot most of the people who matter know the secret, but choose not to act on it. And as the show progressed more and more people learned it, and still no one did anything about it. It made no sense in the pilot and somehow got worse as the series went on.

The rest of the show was never really any better. When it wasn’t brutally over-the-top violent it was basically just white noise. Nothing interesting ever happened (until the weird Da Vinci Code plot twist halfway through the last episode). My guess is that Sutter sold the show based on the popularity of Game of Thrones, and then he just never figured out how to make it interesting. There were some characters with great back stories, like the ex-assassin priest, but the story was never really focused on that.

If Kurt Sutter wasn’t behind TBX I wouldn’t have watched past the 3rd episode. I kept waiting for the show to make sense or to get interesting, and neither ever happened.