Wes's TV Corner: TV Shows
I hope you are all staying safe and well.
I'm doing my best to keep you updated on the latest TV shows I am watching during this pandemic. Here's an update on what I've been watching.
War of the Worlds - B+
Apple TV and the Epix channel. This stirring contemporary update of the H.G. Wells classic is brutal, intense and filled with above average visuals. Starring Gabriel Byrne and Downton Abbey's Elizabeth McGovern, it'll please those who didn't care for the 2005 Spielberg/Cruise movie version. Also renewed for a second season.
Modern Love - C+
Prime Video. Loosely inspired by The New York Times essays of the same name, this warm occasionally uneven anthology drama series explores the many avenues that love can take. Some episodes work better than others, with the Tina Fey/John Slattery and Jane Alexander episodes are among the more memorable.
Westworld - B
HBO. The sci-fi series based on the Michael Crichton book (which had inspired an early 1970's movie with Yul Brynner) from Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan (Christopher's younger brother), is currently one of HBO's most popular series. With some stunning visuals, nice action sequences and an all-star cast, that's not surprising, though with some dense, heady storytelling, Westworld is not an easy show to follow. The final episode of Season 3 airs this week.
Insecure - B
HBO. Insecure is a witty contemporary comedy series exploring the lives of several African-American women in Los Angeles. It's created, written by and starring the charming Issa Rae, who is the show's heart and soul. It can be occasionally redundant, but it's still warm, entertaining and funny. It's currently airing its fourth season on HBO.
Upload - B
Prime Video. Upload is the breezy new comedy from The Office's Greg Daniels, set in a futuristic society where people can "upload" themselves to their afterlife of their choice upon their passing. The high concept afterlife thing has been done before, most recently with The Good Place, but there are still some clever touches, entertaining moments and nice chemistry with its cast.
Watchmen - B+ HBO. This limited series from Lost's Damon Lindelhof is based on the DC Comic book series of the same name from Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore, and features an all-star cast headlined by Oscar-winners Regina King and Jeremy Irons. With superb visuals and an excellent turn from King, it's really geared for comic book enthusiasts, who'll likely enjoy this the most.
The Morning Show - B
Apple TV. The Morning Show is a behind-the-scenes morning show dramedy has a terrific cast, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. Loosely based on the Matt Lauer/NBC fallout, it's not exactly groundbreaking and veers toward the over-dramatic, but it's also a tremendous amount of fun, highly entertaining and highly addictive. Aniston is especially good.
Never Have I Ever - A
Netflix. Never Have I Ever is a Mindy Kaling-produced Netflix dramedy that follows an Indian-American teen as she navigates life. Funny, touching and with a big heart, it's something that'll stay with you after it's over. And yes, that's tennis great John McEnroe who provides the hilarious narration (and who cameos in the final episode). My TV show recommendation for the week.
Into the Night - C+
Neftlix. This Belgian-produced sci-fi drama has a group of passengers on a plane trying to find a way to stop the Apocalypse. Tense yet convoluted, Into the Night reminds of Lost, and like that show, leaves too many things in the air, and not just the plane.
Hollywood - C
Netflix. Hollywood is the new miniseries from American Horror Story's Ryan Murphy, and features an all-star cast as they navigate the ups and downs of trying to make it in Tinseltown, exploring racial, gender and sexual stereotypes. Hollywood is rushed and sloppy, yet also smutty, over-the-top fun, which is both a criticism and compliment for Murphy, who usually isn't one for subtlety. Patti LuPone, Jim Parsons and Holland Taylor are all standouts among a large cast who don't always keep their clothes on.
Devs - B
Hulu/FX. Devs is the thought-provoking new sci-fi miniseries from Annihilation's Alex Garland. Starring Nick Offerman and Allison Pill, this concerns a high-profile Silicon Valley software company in their quest for building a machine that can help solve the meaning of life, even if it means killing many innocent people. Imaginative, well-acted and with some memorable music, it's hurt by slow pacing and a few overlong sequences. The two standout performances in Devs are from familiar character actors whose names you probably don't know: Stage actor Stephen McKinley Henderson, as a wise colleague, and The Good Wife's Zach Grenier, as a brutal head of security.
I also watched the latest episodes of the terrific new HBO dramedy Run, as well as the most recent episode of the well-acted, highly entertaining Hulu/FX limited series Mrs. America, starring Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett. So far, I give the following grades to these series, both of which I recommend:
Mrs. America: B+