Diablog: October Sinner’s Roundup

Not quite this version of Luke Cage.

Rasha: So what is happening?

Gemma: I have much less TV time than I used to and much less focus for new things! So I haven’t even finished Luke Cage yet!

R: The later episodes are not necessarily as satisfying. But Mahershala Ali as a villian who just wanted to be a musician! And Alfre Woodard as a villian I am living for.

Dude, that Biggie poster, and then her Basquiat.

G: It’s actually the first time I’ve really found Mahershala Ali interesting, but I’m loooooving him. I’m up to I think Ep. 6.

R: He is so underserved by House of Cards, but he’s out of Luke Cage, and I guess he’ll be returning to that. I would like to them give him more to do than be a love puppy at this point, but I do not hold out much hope.

G: I think he might just be miscast. I liked him on HoC until they started centralizing his love-puppy story, and then a) it wasn’t well-written enough and b) he wasn’t bringing enough to it.

R: His character was never developed to the level of threat that the first season made him out to be. I think Remi Danton’s a good character and Ali could play him well if given more content, but the Jackie plot line seems thin. It seemed like a way to keep him in the show once he wasn’t tied to a lobbying firm anymore. Anyway, Luke Cage: Watch for the later scenes with Misty and Rosario Dawson’s character. I was pleased.

G: Yeah, I just watched the first ep with Rosario Dawson’s character. I’m on board.

R: Who is the actress in the Misty Knight role (eta: Simone Missick, nee Cook)? She is amazing, and keeps reminding me of both Abbie Mills and Wendy from The Good Wife.

Watching her on the screen like yes!

G: She’s newish, sort of the Breakout Star from LC from what I’ve been reading. I don’t know her name but we can look it up.

R: If she and Nicole Beharie got a buddy cop show, I would watch that with popcorn.

G: Boom. Let’s do it.

R: I know they play kind of the same character, but I feel like they could find some contrasts and fault lines. If nothing else, rural vs. urban cop.

G: Well, Luke Cage is so much about Black life in an urban setting, I’d like to see Abbie’s small-town sensibility engage with that.

R: I’ve been trying to watch the backend of the last season of Sleepy Hollow, and Nicole Beharie is just everything. Abbie’s scene with her father in the diner…she makes the most outlandish and cartoony plots feel so emotionally honest. She was too good for that show. Or at least what the show knew to do with her character.

Abbie, we miss you. Nikki, don’t leave us like this.

G: I still haven’t gotten to SH yet. I’m dreading going back to it, much as I love Abbie. I watched a couple of last season’s eps and I couldn’t bear it anymore.

R: The Franklinstein returns!!!

G: Does it? Okay, that makes me feel better.

R: It’s one of the cuter episodes, maybe.

G: I’ve been mostly watching the ABC family sitcom slate and rewatching BoJack Horseman.

R: But it is AWFUL. Shoshanna’s villian plot is like lower stakes Cartoon Katrina 2.0. Yes, what is this thing?

G: Ugh, yeah, that does not surprise me. That show does not know how to female villain.

R: Newp. That’s the level of NO you say to Newt Gingrich, btw. It is high.

G: Speaking of Newt Gingrich, although I recognize that this is a horrible way to transition into something very important and way more substantial than Newt Gingrich being in it–I watched 13th! And it is amazing.

Stunning movie. In every sense of the word.

R: DuVernay does not miss. Or mess. I need to take enough vitamins before I watch it because I know that after I do I’m going to need to go do a lot of things, and I have not been training hard enough lately.

G: In many ways a far better display of her filmmaking skillz than Selma (which is still the only other work of hers that I’ve seen). The pacing is astonishing. It’s taking a place in my pantheon of awesome documentaries that make me both understand how horrific things are and make me feel it is possible to change them, alongside The Corporation.

R: I am glad to hear that. Which reminds me that I still need to find Queen Sugar somewhere online.

G: Oh, yes, I too need to do that! Although I can guarantee nothing about my viewing habits these days.

G: I understand. I think I was in the same position at the beginning of this year when I went up to full time.

R: I have cut a lot of shows out. Empire: Done.

G: I haven’t gone back to Empire either. I figure I’ll be sick at some point and binge the new season.

R: I tried the first two eps of this season just because, but eh. It feels like the characters are being pulled through such tropey plots like puppets. Jamal’s on pills! Cookie’s going to Get Her Groove back with Taye Diggs!

Is Taye Diggs really going to be the one to help Jamal get treated for PTSD/anxiety?

G: Far be it from me to say someone shouldn’t get their groove back with Taye Diggs, but the writing lost its edge sometime in the middle of last season. An odd combo of too much and too little soapiness.

R: Are you going to watch Jane the Virgen this year?

G: I am, still.

R: I hear she’s going to lose la virgen.

G: Well, it would be hard for them to keep it up much longer.

R: I am sure I will watch it, but I’m glad we don’t have to scream blog it anymore.

G: But I’m guessing she’ll lose it to Rafael while Michael struggles to recover and she feels lonely and desperate. Or something.

R: Oh no! I think she’ll lose it to Michael and then he’ll die sometime this season.

G: If he was gonna die, he will die of this. I don’t think they’ll have him recover from being shot and THEN die. But who knows. I’m wrong about TV death all the time.

R: No no no, this is the fake out. I absolutely believe they will!! They had Susanna straight up peel her face off.

G: Don’t we ever exceed our capacity for fakeouts? Meh, I guess if Orphan Black didn’t I can’t expect anyone else to.

R: Michael is dead by the end of this season, or I will ….watch every episode of Blindspot featuring Archie Panjabi. That is torture.

Almost as bad as being shot by your alleged partner.

G: Even with Archie Panjabi?! That’s sad. But I have watched Archie Panjabi in some terrible material.

R: So close, yet so so far from what I want. If it was just awful, I could hate it with impunity and laugh. Like I did watching SyFy’s Dark Matter last night. I don’t know how that got nearly 5 stars. Like, can we not afford shirts that cover our belly buttons in space??

G: Space just exposes our belly buttons, okay? It’s how space works.

I hope that fans making fun of the more exposed outfit they had Captain 2 in for the pilot led to the total erasure of belly button images that I found when searching for evidence.

R: Add it to the list of shows with terrible blocking.

G: The Rizzoli and Isles disorder? So sad. I just reread a Rizzoli and Isles novel and was reminded of how very much more interesting the books are.

R: Do I need to read them? I don’t think I need to.

G: And yet, the TV show’s badness was hypnotic.

R: Anyway, anything good on the comedy slate? You still haven’t told me what BoJack Horseman is and why I should watch it.

Explain to me!

G: Yes! BoJack! BoJack is a brilliant cartoon that takes place in a version of LA where humans and animals are all part of the film/TV industry and can all intermarry, interact, etc. Bojack is a washed-up ’90s sitcom star, from one of those Full-House-style family sitcoms, and his rival is a dog named Mr. Peanutbutter who had a similar sitcom on another network. I find it insightful and hilarious and really, deeply moving in weird, unexpected ways, in the main because the creator commits so fully to the weirdnesses of the world. It’s a brilliant, brilliant example of world building. I don’t know that you’d find the content as funny as I do.

R: Is it like Son of Zorn?

G: Never watched. My suggestion would be to watch Season 3 Episode 4. It stands on its own, and if you don’t connect to it, you won’t find anything in the show.

R: That is a clear directive. I’ll give it a shot.

G: But it’s voiced by some absolutely incredible people, and you can get a kick out of that too. Amy Sedaris as a cat agent named Princess Carolyn. Angela Bassett as an “Oscar whisperer” human named Ana Spanakopita.

R: That all sounds hilarious. Will Angela Bassett whisper to me even if I don’t have an Oscar?

G: Patton Oswalt as a Penguin Publishing executive named Pinky Penguin who’s going under with the print publishing industry. She will whisper to you in your dreams.

R: Dude, last week in my dreams I had to protect a team of people from Ben Affleck. He was trying to kill everyone but using Zombie Matt Damon to do it.

G: Damn. Your dreams are making me wish I remembered more dreams. Also, on ABC family sitcoms: I like older matured Minnie Driver in Speechless way better than I liked younger failing-at-ingenue Minnie Driver.

Maya DiMeo might be a winner for Minnie.

R: I think I remember liking Minnie Driver most in Grosse Pointe Blank rather than Good Will Hunting. She has some satire in her, but I don’t know that I could commit to her in a show.

G: I’m kinda having fun with her and her ensemble so far. It’s very formulaic in some-to-most ways but pushing interesting little boundaries in others. I never liked her in the ’90s, but I’m having fun watching her now.

R: Elementary is one I’m still watching, though the new season hasn’t hit its stride yet. Lafayette from True Blood (Nelsen Ellis) is the new recurring character, and while I’m curious to see his character’s story with Joan Watson, I’m worried that they’re just slotting him in where Sherlock’s AA sponsor Fredo used to be as the black friend character. I do enjoy Ellis as an actor, and it’s fun to see him in a more subtle role.

Please do not make him a bad guy. Can he just be a human person, and not in the Shinwell ex Machina kind of way?

G: I’ve tried an episode or two, but it’s never quite clicked. I like both actors, but I’m not in love with them as you are, so it doesn’t fully push me along.

R: I’m susceptible to Sherlock Holmes franchises in general.

G: That is entirely reasonable.

R: And to Lucy Liu in particular.

Her ties are amazing. Also, there is a turtle. Something for everyone.

G: Also reasonable. I may be ready to throw in the towel on SVU, and I have held out for a loooooong time.

R: Dude, you know my thoughts. Here is one more I had the other day: why would we EVER expect a franchise named after a speech used by Nixon and written by Roger Ailes to dog whistle at white folks angry about the civil rights movement and anti-war movements to be at all progressive?

G: I hear that loud and clear. And yet: I was teaching a lesson about fan fiction last week, and one piece of my lecture noted that if you spend any time at all on the SVU fanfic boards, you will find dozens of stories that are clearly written by victims of sexual assault who wish they’d had Olivia Benson. There has been something aspirational about the character and the creation, and they have ripped it to shit so slowly it became difficult to notice. Emily Nussbaum gets at the internal contradictions of being an SVU fan really well. Any final shows to mention?

R: I’ve been binge watching Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23 and it is delightful. James Van der Beek is Chris Hemsworth levels of self-satirizing.

G: Ooh, is it?  High praise! I am officially ready to declare myself a Krysten Ritter fan, so maybe I’ll give it a shot.

Don’t deprive the fans.