Postcard: Salt Lake City 7/28/2020
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For years, I've read that we're hitting Peak TV.
It's a time when the number of shows will finally start to drop. We're not there yet.
Marlin Fitzwater flatly called him an idiot after a short and uncomfortable interview.
The TV Pantheon
The best of the best. My Hall of Legends. Not in order:
- Six Feet Under. Perfect. Fascinating characters, especially the women.
- Halt and Catch Fire. "The computer isn't the thing, it's the thing that gets us to the thing." A thousand times yes. Lee Pace was astonishing.
- Banshee. I didn't know how well lightning + metaphorical crack cocaine + artful TV could go together. A great, great show.
- Mad Men. Sometimes slow, but truly amazing most of the time.
- Da Ali G Show. Marlin Fitzwater flatly called him an idiot after a short and uncomfortable interview. Genius.
- The Wire. Brilliant in every way. Even Season 2, which I loved.
- Breaking Bad. I didn't know how well lightning + actual crystal meth + artful TV could go together. Oh, and I liked Skyler.
- The Leftovers. Season 2 was arguably the most perfect season of TV ever, climaxing at Episode 8, "International Assassin."
- The Office (UK and USA). Nothing to say other than they were fantastic, hilarious shows.
- The Shield What would Vic Mackey do? Turns out, anything. Addictive and just a little bit different.
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People. The BBC miniseries with Sir Alec Guinness as George Smiley. I loved the novels and I watch these series every couple of years. They're magnificent.
Unless they pull a House of Cards, Game of Thrones, or Penny Dreadful, (ie, complete derailment), these shows may enter the Hall of Legends when they're over:
- Billions. Dick-swinging is usually boring. Not here.
- Engrenages (Spiral). In France, both cops and criminals love this show.
- Better Call Saul. Better Call Breaking Bad: I like this even more.
- Fleabag. Just enough neurosis. She's a riot.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm. Anger at the little things, plus Susie and Leon. My kind of show.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Pure fucked-up brilliance.
- Le bureau des légendes (The Bureau). Might be the show most perfectly suited for me, specifically, ever. Phenomenal.
- Barry. The only problem with S2 E5, "ronny/lily," was the dearth of Noho Hank. Other than that, I could watch the episode every week or so.
- Archer. A few weak seasons, but the hardest I have ever laughed in my life has been when they caught me by surprise with a good line.
- Black Mirror. When it's on - which is most of the time - it's brilliant, sad, and scary.
- Ozark. After every episode, I'm grateful for my normal life and relationships.
After every episode, I'm grateful for my normal life and relationships.
Shows I'm looking forward to watching someday soon:
- The Handmaid's Tale
- BoJack Horseman
- The Chi
- Mr Robot
- The Good Place
These shows are good - even very good - I just don't think they're great - and I'm in the minority:
- The Crown. Honestly, not much happens - but they make it look fascinating.
- Russian Doll. Good show, but I liked Run Lola, Run better.
- Altered Carbon. Great idea. I enjoy the show, but it has a gimmicky feel.
Ended too soon
This list is about bad numbers or dumb network executives or, in the last case, simple tragedy:
- Deadwood. Stopped right in the middle of the arc. The movie didn't really make things better.
- Marco Polo. I loved this show. Did someone get greedy? What happened?
- Watchmen. WTF? Really? You're just going to stop?
- Au service de la France. This show was hilarious if you know how France and the French were in the 50s and 60s. Actually, through the 90s. Actually - maybe still?
- Patriot. It's criminal that this brilliant show never saw Season 3. Criminal.
- Parts Unknown. I think of Bourdain and I cry. His death was deeply personal for me.
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