Well, it’s December. December can encompass many things, of course—holidays, cold weather, bemoaning the inevitable and inexplicable passage of time. Currently, for me, it means isolation and mucus because, yep, Covid-19 finally caught up to me. (Hopefully, I’ll be feeling better by the time I actually post this.) Today, though, is not about sickness but television, specifically, TV Superlatives!
If you read this blog with any regularity, you probably already know that I have two modes of TV Superlatives: Ridiculously Long or just Unnecessarily Long. Today, we’ll be going Unnecessarily Long; in fact, for me, it’s practically brief. This is partly because I’m low on energy and partly because—as is often the case in autumn—I haven’t been watching that much TV lately. But here is a list of everything I have been watching (and in some cases, abandoning) over the past three months:
Star Trek: Lower Decks (Season 3)
Harley Quinn (Season 3, Episodes 8-10)
Running Man (Episodes 76-88 and 619-630)
Only Murders in the Building
The 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time
The Zone: Survival Mission
Last Week Tonight (Season 9, Episodes 23-30)
Link: Eat, Love, Kill
Star Trek: TOS (Season 3, Episodes 13-18)
Los Espookys (Season 2)
Floor is Lava (Season 3)
Nailed It! (Season 7)
Young Actors Retreat
Adamas (abandoned, possibly for good)
I’m only going to talk about a handful of these shows today, considering roughly half this list is made up of variety programs and the like. You should be pretty safe on spoilers, too, since I’m too lazy to create a Spoiler Section right now. (Unless you check out the links, that is. Some of the links do have spoilers, so beware!)
With that all said, let’s get to it.
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Favorite Comic Freakout; Favorite Platonic Friendship; Favorite Homage (TIE); Most Welcome Return (TIE)
I know some review sites were dissatisfied with Season 3, but I’m still really enjoying Lower Decks. I love the humor, the characters, the delightfully nerdy nods to the franchise. We get to see Deep Space Nine this season! We get Badass Tendi, an amazing D&D game, the goddamn Delta Flyer, Captain Freeman’s swing-by program (a damn good idea, actually), Boimler having a series of hilarious temper tantrums and surprisingly poignant existential crises, etc. Lower Decks is a fabulous comfort watch for me, and out of all the current Trek shows (Strange New Worlds, which I enjoy, Prodigy, which I haven’t started, Discovery, which I’m a season behind on, and Picard, which I cruelly abandoned after Season 1), it’s easily my favorite.
Favorite Episode: Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus
Honorable Mentions: The Least Dangerous Game; Reflections; Hear All, Trust Nothing; The Stars at Night
Favorite Canon Ship; Best Previously On; Best Hair; Favorite Vision, Nightmare, or Meaningful Hallucination (TIE); Favorite Homage (TIE)
Okay, so I watched and discussed most of Season 3 back in my Summer TV Superlatives, but then the last three episodes aired in September, so here we are. Look, it’s not a perfect system. That being said, I absolutely loved these last three episodes, particularly “Batman Begins Forever,” which, holy shit, is incredible; it’s easily one of my favorite episodes of the entire show to date. I continue and will continue to be deeply invested in the Harley/Ivy ship. I am basically obsessed with Poison Ivy’s villain hair. And I’m just really excited to see where they’ll go with Season 4. (Assuming HBO Max doesn’t somehow pull the plug even though they already renewed—when it comes to HBO Max and animated shows, I trust absolutely nothing.)
Favorite Episode: Batman Begins Forever
Honorable Mentions: Climax at Jazzapajizza; The Horse and the Sparrow
Only Murders in the Building
Favorite New Show; Best Miscellaneous Pairing; Best Use of Slow-Mo; Favorite Holy Shit Moment; Favorite Individual Song (TIE); Most Fabulous Fashion (TIE); Favorite Vision, Nightmare, or Meaningful Hallucination (TIE); Best Scene Stealer – Guest Spot (TIE)
Oh, I’m enjoying this show so much. No surprise there, really: Mek and I are such mystery nerds, and we had a lot of fun catching up on this one and playing whodunnit. I will admit that Season 1’s conclusion didn’t fully work for me—I thought the ultimate ‘who’ of the whodunnit was kind of boring—but I liked the Season 2 finale better, and anyway, this show is so funny and the whole cast is fantastic, up to and including its numerous reoccurring players/guest stars like Shirley MacClaine, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Jackie Hoffman, Nathan Lane, Andrea Martin, and—of course—Tina Fey. There are lots of fun twists and developments. I find myself very invested in Charles and Mabel’s friendship (also in Mabel’s wardrobe—S1 in particular), and I really enjoy the OST, too. That yodeled version of the OMitB theme song? Holy shit, I was dying.
Favorite Episode: The Boy From 6B
Honorable Mentions: True Crime; Who is Tim Kono?; How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors; Twist, Framed; Here’s Looking at You; Flipping the Pieces
Link: Eat, Love, Kill
Supporting Character Who Most Deserves a Shoutout; Favorite Scene Stealer – Main Cast; Favorite Villain; Best Sibling Relationship; Best Tragic Meltdown; Best Twist; The Stannis Award (AKA, The Blood Thirst Letdown); You’re Killing Me, Smalls (TIE); Favorite Individual Song (TIE); Favorite Fem Friendship (TIE)
I decided that Link: Eat, Love, Kill (AKA, Link: Eat, Love, Die) merits two teasers, since I can’t find just one that even vaguely references both A) the psychic bond, and B) the big murder mystery. Link is, well. It’s a bit of an unbalanced mess at times: it can get convoluted, and characters often make ridiculously poor decisions that I just don’t buy. (Da Hyun and her family are incredulously bad at being sneaky, but more importantly, how many times does Da Hyun wander around on her own at night, even when she knows someone is after her? It is maddening.) Also, there’s one side character who I personally needed to see smacked several times in the face or, I don’t know, hit with a car, a little. Something. Anything. This person is the worst.
Despite these things, I had a really good time watching Link, and there’s honestly quite a bit to recommend. I’m a sucker for both a good murder mystery and a mysterious psychic connection between characters. One or two twists really worked well for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much the show focused on trauma and healing, particularly for domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors. The OST is great; my favorite song is probably “Unknown World” by Janet Suhh, but there are several more that I really enjoy. And I just love this whole cast. Everyone’s fantastic, but special shoutouts go to Yeo Jin Goo (yeah, I’m a fan, but Christ, that boy’s got range), Ye Soo Jung (the most practical and hilarious of grandmothers—I would die for Halmeoni), Shin Jae Hwi (creepy, creeeeeeeeeepy), and both Ahn Se Bin and Kim Ha Eon (these tiny children are adorable and also seriously goddamn talented).
Favorite Episode: The Child Returns
Honorable Mentions: Lies; Confession; Don’t Turn Around; An Ordinary Evil
Most Painful Cancellation; Best WTF Moment; Favorite Vision, Nightmare, or Meaningful Hallucination (TIE); Best Scene Stealer – Guest Spot (TIE); Most Fabulous Fashion (TIE); Most Welcome Return (TIE)
I can’t say I’m surprised that Los Espookys is getting cancelled, but man, I’m bummed. This is such a bizarre, delightful little show like nothing else on TV. What other show introduces the Moon as a character in the second season? (She’s played by Yalitza Aparacio, by the way, and I adore her. I particularly adore her head-to-toe silver sequined wardrobe. The costuming on this show is absolutely iconic.) Where else am I supposed to find a water spirit who goes to work for a silly Barbie of a US Ambassador? I want to see the return of Bibi’s the Bunny Monster. (Yes, Bibi’s has an apostrophe.) I want to see Renaldo continue to figure out his sexuality. (I definitely headcanon him as ace/aro, myself.) How am I supposed to manage without Renaldo, Úrsula, and Andrés creating spooky schemes, getting into politics, and investigating visions of dead beauty pageant queens? Damn you, HBO Max. Damn you to hell.
Favorite Episode: El Virus
Honorable Mentions: Los Espiritus en el Cementerio; Las Ruinas
Favorite Sidekick; Most Annoying Romance; Least Improved Character; Best Dance Scene; Favorite Fem Friendship (TIE); Favorite Individual Song (TIE); Most Fabulous Fashion (TIE); You’re Killing Me, Smalls (TIE)
I have my criticisms of this show, and obviously I’m going to talk about them—uh, a lot, sorry, folks—but I really did have a good time binging Wednesday. I ADOREJenna Ortega here; I think she successfully makes the role her own while still paying tribute to a wildly beloved character, which is no small feat. I don’t think the show is quite as successful with Morticia and Gomez, who I wanted to love but just . . . couldn’t. Both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán had line deliveries I enjoyed, but rarely with each other; I didn’t feel like the chemistry was there, and I really didn’t like their backstory. Without getting into spoilers, one of my biggest issues with this show is that for a school with werewolves, gorgons, etc., everybody is depressingly normal. I like that Wednesday is an outcast among outcasts, but . . . there’s a scene where the vampires should be very happy, right (at least for a hopeful second), except the only happy person in the room is Wednesday. There’s a big showdown where our heroes are fighting a Big Bad, but everyone else might as well be a helpless Normie—like, come on, this is Nevermore, not Sunnydale. And Gomez and Morticia have Normie reactions in their backstory that I fundamentally do not buy from an Addams. I just . . . I really feel like Wednesday has a bizarre “not like other girls” problem, as if the writers were afraid to make anyone else weird and dark and interesting because it might take away from Wednesday, herself, being weird and dark and interesting. Which it totally wouldn’t! Wednesday is her own special brand of awesome goth murder weirdo!
(My other issues with the show are the words “outcast” and “normie” themselves—I don’t buy them, and good Christ, they’re used like 3 or 4 times per episode—and how whiny the love triangle boys sometimes get. Wednesday, ditch the boys and date Bianca. Or ditch romance altogether and focus on your true passion: homicide!)
Okay, so, that’s a lot of criticisms. But I still had a good time! (I mean, come on. I dressed up as Wednesday as a kid AND wrote Addams Family Values fanfic as an adult, so obviously, I am a fan.) As previously mentioned, I think Jenna Ortega is fantastic in this show. I adore any and all scenes with her and Gwendoline Christie. (My God, that woman. I have some Opinions about her character, too, but Gwendoline Christie is an awful lot of fun here, and goddamn, she is stunning.) Obviously, I was delighted to see Christina Ricci. I really like Enid (Emma Myers) quite a bit, too; Wednesday’s friendship with Enid is one of the bright spots of the show. I love all the fashion, the aesthetics, the music. (I’m 100% here for this “Paint it Black” cover, but this moment with Vivaldi is quite nice, too.) And the dance scene, holy shit, the dance scene. I have watched this so many times. I love that every iteration of The Addams Family has some iconic AF dance scene, and I hope we continue this tradition going forward in Season 2.
Favorite Episode: Woe What a Night
Honorable Mentions: Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe; Woe is the Loneliest Number; Quid Pro Woe
That’s it for now, but more TV overanalysis will surely come in three months!