Jury Duty: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a delightfully eccentric look at a more than absurd scenario.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.

A security camera.

Jury Duty Review

I have seen a lot of different setups for a tv show, but whenever I have watched a scenario where one of the participants is not in on the joke, it always falls flat. Which meant I came into this with a bit of trepidation. It is so easy to slip into cruelty when everyone knows what is being withheld. You are walking on a high wire perched precariously with disaster all around. That is why it is so much fun that it actually worked.

So to set the scene, an ad was put out there to join a documentary about jury duty, and Ronald Gladeen (Ronald Gladeen) signed up. He is told that he is part of Judge Alan Rosen’s (Alan Barinholtz) final court case recording. Trevor Morris (Ben Seaward) has been alleged to have passed out work and destroyed an order for boss Jacquiline Hilgrove (Whitney Rice). It is an exciting case even before we discover that one of the potential jurors is X-Men actor James Marsden (James Marsden). However, when the paparazzi arrive, all the jurors are sequestered away, and the short court case turns into a three-week slog. The only issue is that everyone, but Ronald, is an actor. Now from here, we will be looking at the series as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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Ted Lasso: So Long, Farewell and Season 3 – TV Review

TL;DR – Builds upon everything that made the series great by focussing on the character development of every kind  

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this episode.

Ted sits alone in the stands

Ted Lasso Review

If there has been one consistent feature over the last few years of that evert the 2020s has been so far, it has been the joy that has come from Ted Lasso. I know this show is stylised, so it could almost be magical realism like The West Wing. But I don’t care. Every moment, every kick of a football, had me on the edge of my chair, and this final season of the show that maybe/probably/we’ll see was no exception. With today’s review, we will first look at the final episode aptly titled So Long, Farewell, and then we will look at the season as a whole.   

So to set the scene, at the end of Season 2, the Richmond Greyhounds fount back from relegation to make it back into the Premier League. This is a triumph for the coaching staff Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt), and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein). As well as team owner Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham). As the season went on, there were struggles as “The Wonder Kid” Nathan “Nate” Shelley (Nick Mohammed) and his West Ham United team destroyed the team leading to a massive slump. However, as we come into this final episode, things are looking up, but in Mom City, Ted reveals to Rebecca that it is his time to drop a bombshell, and we open this final episode with Rebecca having breakfast in her house and Ted coming out to join her. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode and season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead. 

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The Diplomat: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a delightfully amusing show for one delving into such topical stories. Like if The West Wing met Utopia by way of The Crown.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this series

A British funeral

The Diplomat Review

In a former life, I got very much down the rabbit hole of the world of international affairs. While that is now deep in the past, it is nice to dip your toes back into what could have been from time to time. I thought I would do this when I saw a new show about being the new Ambassador from the USA to the UK. I am not quite sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch, but I am not sure that a show that is equal parts drama and farce was one of them.

So to set the scene, after years of being the deputy chief of Mission for her husband Hal (Rufus Sewell), Ambassador Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is getting ready to step up and be the next Ambassador to Afghanistan. However, there was no ambassador in London, which was a problem when an external actor attacked the Aircraft carrier HMS Courageous. So without warning, Kate is dropped into the thick of it as most people see this as an Iranian attack to avenge the Americans for taking an oil tanker earlier in the month. However, while Kate is trying to find her feet, what she is not aware of, but what White House Chief of Staff Billie Appiah (Nana Mensah) has given Stuart Heyford (Ato Essandoh), Deputy Chief of Mission, has given the heads up about is that Kate is on a shortlist to replace the Vice President who is about to get turfed in a scandal. Kate would be good for the job if not for the fact that her marriage is about to implode. Now from here, we will be looking at the series as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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How Ted Lasso Perfected the Nothing/Everything Episode with Sunflowers – Article

TL;DR – This article explores how a show can have an episode focused on nothing, yet still be everything.  

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this show.  

Van Gogh's Sunflowers.

How Ted Lasso Perfected the Nothing/Everything Episode with Sunflowers

One of the significant shifts in the Television landscape was the move from more episodic episodes to more serialised outings. It started taking steam in the 1990s with shows like Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine. But this would explode in the streaming era, with nearly every show you watch having some serialised component. Whether the show works with the serialised content does not matter. With the insertion of boilerplate narrative arcs becoming more of the norm, looking at you Wednesday. In this world, can you have a stand-alone, nothing episode anymore?

There was a time when shows like Seinfeld built themselves around being the show about nothing, where there was no character growth. However, today if you have an episode, let alone a series, where nothing happens, you will get a chorus of comments claiming condensation over there being filler. I have seen a claim championed time after time, whether the show was filler. But can you still have an engaging episode of TV that does not move the plot along in the current landscape? Well, you must trust your audience to come along with you if you want to attempt something like this. Trust which is something that is earned, not given.

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Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – It is a glorious, joyful symphony of comedic talent when it lands.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I watched this on the ABC iView service

Morning Brown Coffee Café

Aunty Donna’s Coffee Café Review

Back in 2020, the local absurdist Australian comedy troupe Aunty Donna who pioneered being a ‘Chuffed Dad’ and how to do a ‘Roll Call’ struck out from the local scene and made their way to Hollywood with Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun. Coming back to Australia, I was interested to see what they would do next, and the answer to that question seems to be opening a café in Melbourne. 

So to set the scene, it is Stephanie’s (Gaby Seow) first day on the job at the new café in town called Morning Brown. But this café does not have just one boss. It has three. Broden (Broden Kelly) is a pretty cool f-ing boss. Zach (Zachary Ruane) is the more classic professional boss, and Mark (Mark Bonanno) is the goofy one around here. It feels like an average trendy, overpriced Melbourne café. However, unlike the rest of the cafés, they don’t have a hook. Every café has a hook. You need to find a hook, just as long as that hook is not heritage-listed wasps. Now from here, we will be looking at the series as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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That ’90s Show: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – While it had a rough start, it found its feet and became something full of charm.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this series.

The gang on the couch.

That ’90s Show Review

The wheel of nostalgia always grinds on, and I think that was why I didn’t think much of when they announced that they would be doing a follow-up to That ‘70s Show set in the 1990s. This was a nostalgia ouroboros. But today, I needed something on the TV as I cleaned and packed the house, and as time went on, I found myself becoming more and more entwined with the show.  

So to set the scene, it is an excellent day in the Forman household because Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) is getting ready for a visit from Eric (Topher Grace), Donna (Laura Prepon), and their daughter Leia (Callie Haverda). Red (Kurtwood Smith) is happy with the quiet, but Kitty misses the sounds of the house being busy. While they were only meant to be there for the weekend, Leia found a bunch of friends, including her neighbours Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide) and Nate Runck (Maxwell Acee Donovan), Nate’s girlfriend Nikki (Sam Morelos), the sassy Ozzie (Reyn Doi), and of course a Kelso, Jay (Mace Coronel). Leia was meant only to stay the weekend, but after making connections, she cons her parents into staying for the whole summer. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead for the show.   

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Star Trek: Lower Decks: Hear All, Trust Nothing – TV Review

TL;DR – A perfect blend of nostalgia and fun.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The USS Cerritos at Deep Space Nine.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Review

I have made it clear in the past when looking at Lower Deck’s First and Second Seasons that I have enjoyed this someone irreverent take on the Star Trek universe. However, in those two seasons, while they may have dipped their toes in referencing Deep Space Nine, my favourite Star Trek show, today, they dive in phasers blasting.

So to set the scene, the USS Cerritos is en route to a meeting to support the USS Vancouver and their trade negotiations with the Karemma. But when the Vancouver was diverted for an emergency evacuation of a colony, the Cerritos and Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) had to take charge. Dropping out of warp at Deep Space Nine, Freeman asks the crew to buy her some time, and Ransom (Jerry O’Connell) suggests pretending to be in awe of the pylons or something. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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She-Hulk Attorney at Law: Mean, Green, and Straight Poured into These Jeans – TV Review

TL;DR – This week’s smaller episode focused more on setting the stage for the fight going forward.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Titania's ad for her new perfume.

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

Looking back at the halfway point in the show, I have to consider how well She-Hulk Attorney at Law nailed the premise from the start. Every episode has been a tight 30min-ish romp through the MCU that also works as a pitch-perfect law procedural. With that strength in mind, we take a kind of pause this week as the show reorientates itself towards that back end of the season.

So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s Is This Not Real Magic? Jen (Tatiana Maslany) was served with a legal summons to stop using the name She-Hulk because Titania (Jameela Jamil) had trademarked it. On the one hand, Jen was never comfortable with the moniker She-Hulk, but then she is confronted by someone else using it everywhere she goes. But when Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter) makes it clear that she will be out of a job if she does not fix this, well, it is time to send in the lawyers. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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She-Hulk Attorney at Law: Is This Not Real Magic? – TV Review

TL;DR – I am not sure we needed to meet ‘Wongers’, but I am fundamentally glad that we did.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

A dude reading 'Bad Feminist' by Roxane Gay.

She-Hulk Attorney at Law Review

In the MCU, some films tend toward the more light and jovial, like the Ant-Mans and the more recently Thor: Love and Thunder. However, while Marvel had nailed the comedy movie, I was wondering if they would be able to nail a comedy series and this week’s episode shows that I think they have.

So to set the scene, we open in Los Angeles as a ‘magician’ The Great Donny Blaze (Rhys Coiro) is performing to a very not sold-out audience that feels less than impressed with his act. Trying to woo them, and from the encouragement of Cornelius P. Willows (Leon Lamar), Blaze calls for a volunteer from the audience and Madisynn with two N’s, one Y, but it is not where you think (Patty Guggenheim) comes up on stage. Things take a turn when Blaze opens up a portal behind her, and after a long trip, she ends up in Kamar-Taj just in time to spoil Wong’s (Benedict Wong) night. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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Murderville: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – While I don’t think they quite nailed the concept, it is a delight when it lands.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this show.

Murderville. Image Credit: Netflix.

Murderville Review

I always love when someone takes a new spin on a familiar concept. While Police Procedurals have led into the realm of comedy, most notably with Brooklyn Nine-Nine. There is still a vast untapped gold mine of choices that you could explore. With that in mind, let us look at a show that combines police and improvisation oddly and uniquely.

So to set the scene, we open in on Terry Seattle (Will Arnett), a senior detective in the City Police Department. Things have not been going well for Terry, with the lingering death of his partner Lori (Jennifer Aniston) 15 years ago and the very recent divorce from his wife Rhonda (Haneefah Wood). She also happens to be the Police Chief. Well, on this day, things are going from bad to worse because there has been a murder, and Terry has just been lumped with a new partner Conan O’Brien. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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