TV watching update

December 27, 2019

I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, because it seems like it’s been awhile since I watched any new TV. Like, I’ve spent the last two years watching all of Midsomer Murders and rewatching Babylon 5 and nothing else. Well, a smattering of things like The Good Place and Good Omens and catching up on Legion and Mr. Robot. But all the amazing TV people have been raving about? I’ve been running and hiding. Watching an episode and then just not committing.

Which makes it super weird that I’ve watched like 4 entire new seasons of TV in the last three or so weeks. It’s like something in my brain has switched and I’m ready for new things. Ready for non-comfort viewing. We’ll see if it holds.

Crisis on Infinite Earths.  I’ve given up on the CW shows because I just lost patience, which makes it weird to dive in on the big crossover. Like, Superman has a kid? Where’d Winn go? Where’s Felicity? So confused. But the crossover is nice because it’s like drinking from the firehose, and the cameos and easter eggs are fantastic. Brandon Routh as Christopher Reeves’ Superman, and all the tribute that entails, makes the whole trip worthwhile. Still two episodes to go on this, and yeah, I think this is enough Superfriends for me these days.

The Expanse season 4. Still one of the greatest space-based SF shows ever. This season includes the scenes I got to be on set for last year, so I loved finally getting to see them in context. This is a show where reading the books first and knowing what’s coming makes things even more stressful. More on that in a bit.

The Terror. This is based on the horror novel by Dan Simmons about the doomed Franklin Expedition to find the Northwest Passage, which vanished utterly in 1846 (except the wrecks of the two ships, The Terror and Erebus, were finally discovered just a few years ago). I’ve read it, and I wanted to see how they adapted it. The novel has one of my favorite scenes of horror of all time. . .and that scene was not in the show, alas. I think it should have been. Overall, this was uneven. It has some utterly brilliant atmospheric moments. Beautiful arctic hellscapes, the threat of cold personified. There’s a battle with the Creature in ep. 4 that is off the rails. And…then the show goes sideways. The last couple of episodes are kind of a mess, threads not carried through, characters who were looking fine just an episode previous suddenly turning cadaverous and dying, that kind of thing. And it diverges wildly from the novel. Wildly. Frustratingly. Like, in the course of simplifying the story the show just kind of lost the thread.

Anyway, The Expanse and The Terror are both shows where I have read the source material. Knowing what’s coming in The Expanse — knowing that the last scene of this season is actually the first chapters of Book 5, which is arguably the most harrowing, epic, tragic story of the entire series, is really super upsetting.  Nail biting. Like, when the settlers on Ilus start rubbing their eyes and I’m on the sofa screaming “OH NO ARGGGGHHHH!!!!” because I know what that means.

Versus The Terror where I know what the Creature is and I know what’s coming and I know more details than the show is giving us, and I’m liking the characters I’m supposed to be liking (crossover moment:  Jared Harris plays protagonist Francis Crozier here, and he also plays Anderson Dawes in The Expanse.  Isn’t this neat?). But I’m not upset? I kind of stopped worrying about them? Part of this is the difficulty of telling a story where I know from the outset that nearly every single person is going to die horribly. Anyway, I think it needed a couple more episodes to draw out the tension — and I really wish it had followed the book, which is a more interesting, fraught outcome than what the show gave us.

Next up:  The Witcher. I really know nothing about this at all, but the publicity stills of scruffy leather-bound Henry Cavill are so smoking hot I can’t not watch this.


4 Responses to “TV watching update”

  1. Jo Anne Says:

    How can I watch Crisis on Infinite Earths? I didn’t catch them live. Are they streaming?

  2. carriev Says:

    It’s streaming on the CW website.

  3. I’ve fallen out of watching a lot of stuff, too. Sounds like my current watchlist is about the same as yours. Finished The Expanse and started The Witcher. Enjoyed most of The Terror but haven’t read it yet. Need to finish B5 (I snagged a deal on the DVD sets after watching like half of the first season, so I’ve got a ways to go but at least if it drops from streaming I’m covered). And now I’ve added in the new season of Lost In Space.

  4. Jo Anne Says:

    I watched the first three episodes last night. I was a little confused since I haven’t been watching the series. It was neat to see the old Flash and the multiple Supermen. I like the mother Lois, too.

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