TV in Late 2022 and Early 2023

I haven’t updated in a while regarding television I’ve watched (apart from Miami Vice). That’s partly because I’m still in a relative lull for television. I did watch some stuff, and most of it was ho-hum.

Let’s start with what was not ho-hum: the twelve episode series “Andor“. This is by far the best Star Wars endeavor in the franchise to date. It has a depth and richness of story that makes all other Star Wars stories seem cheap and two-dimensional in comparison. And there’s not a single jedi in it. Great acting is part of it, but there’s something very sincere in the story. I highly recommend this series, and I’m glad to see hints that there is another season coming.

Also not ho-hum was the finale of “Better Call Saul“. The whole series was some amazing television, but the final episodes wrapped the whole thing up so completely, so satisfyingly. I recommend this series even more highly, although you should really watch “Breaking Bad” first, even though this is a prequel. Solely on the strength of this success, I’ll probably try out “Lucky Hank“, even though I know almost nothing about it except who is involved.

The fourth season of “Stranger Things” was quite good, if you hadn’t heard.

A fourth season of “The Sinner” came out, and it was pretty good.

A four-episode run of something called “Inside Man” was entertaining, even if the whole consulting detective trope is starting to wear out.

The second season of “Russian Doll” was as weird as the first one, replacing chronic reincarnation for mystical time travel.

The second season of “The Mandalorian” was alright. It wrapped up neatly, and the appearance of Boba Fett wasn’t too distracting. As I write this, a third season is in progress, streaming a week at a time.

The Book of Boba Fett” started out alright. It had potential, carving out a late background for the character. But then it was, for no good reason, and completely out of character, about establishing rule over Mos Espa. Just when it had reached a low point of entertainment, the show jumped the shark and somehow we were watching new episodes of “The Mandalorian” instead of “The Book of Boba Fett”. The last episode wrapped everything up, and I guess Boba Fett is now the boss at Mos Espa.

(There are reports that explain the mess that was made of “The Book of Boba Fett”. Allegedly, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy stepped in and demanded that Grogu / Baby Yoda by brought back to “The Mandalorian”, because of the character’s merchandising power.)

Obi-Wan Kenobi” had so much potential, especially with the acting prowess of Ewan McGregor, but they had to make it into another confrontation between Obi-Wan and Vader. That might have been okay, except that they didn’t have the budget for it. Or the director. Or the build up. Instead of an epic settling of scores, Obi-Wan and a straw man dressed like Darth Vader met in a dirt lot and had the weakest jedi fight ever, and exchanged the most meaningless lines. The writing and acting for the first episodes was pretty good. Young Leia was badly miscast. Some of the new characters invented for the show (Inquisitor Reva, and Tala Durith) were fantastic, and the Fifth Brother’s hat was a bold choice. Overall, the show was a disappointment.

The first season of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” was pretty good. They’ve taken a step back from the hot mess that is “Star Trek: Discovery” to focus more on single-episode stories, much like the original Star Trek, but with modern production value. Anson Mount makes a really great Captain Pike, and several of the characters are gems. That said, it isn’t very emotionally deep.

Speaking of the hot mess that is “Star Trek: Discovery“, I am plodding through the fourth season, which is to say that every several weeks I am able to muster up the motivation to watch another episode. It just isn’t connecting with me at all. We’re in this distant future, and the writers haven’t made me care about it. I figured this would be the last season, but I see there is another one coming.

The first two seasons of “Star Trek: Picard” were pretty good, and I’m watching the third season as each episode drops. It’s not perfect, but it is the Star Trek property I’ve been enjoying the most. For this third season, they are trying to bring in as many ST:TNG characters as they can, obviously for the nostalgia. Even Ro Laren has made an appearance. I’m waiting for them to work in Tasha Yar. Ed Speleers is doing some great acting as Jack Crusher. Six episodes in, I’ve mostly learned to see past Gates McFadden’s ridiculous plastic surgery. Amanda Plummer has been an interesting casting choice. Captain Shaw as a central antagonist is a brilliant piece of writing, and I’m eager to see where he ends up.

Oh, I finished off the third season of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” a while ago. It was very good, and I’m still suffering from withdrawal. It looks like there may be a fourth season in the works.

I choked down a second episode of “Star Trek: Prodigy“, and … no thanks. It’s clearly intended for children.

I watched maybe five seasons of “New Girl“, and it was entertaining, but not quite enough to keep me going.

The second season of “Space Force” was … more “Space Force”.