Spring 2017

There was lots to like about Stranger Things. But it felt like an extended movie rather than a TV show. All the character beats were big and broad. The plot flew along predictably toward a happy ending. And none of that is bad. But I don't see a point in producing a season two. The story has been told. I could see this as an anthology series but would have little interest in revisiting Hawkins itself.

Atlanta reminded me quite a bit of Girls. Where Girls brings us a slice of modern female life, Atlanta does the same for young Black people. I see both shows as more like dramatised think-pieces than actual TV shows. I enjoyed Atlanta a lot. It's a point of view I liked seeing and the lead characters were all well played and sympathetic. But there was a formula to it that was eye rolling. In each episode, without fail, a guest star would have a surreal or exaggerated reaction to one of the main characters. And then things would close with a 'moral of the week' moment. Some of these were good and all of them interesting. But I don't think Donald Glover realises how predictable this was and judging by the reviews, neither did the critics.

Both shows have their place though. Like Louie they are all trying to bring social commentary to the scripted format because there is an absence of it elsewhere. We may be living through Peak TV but a lot of what is produced is just aiming to claim another slice of the market, rather than tell an interesting story. As fun as it was Stranger Things is a great example of that. It offered us a reformulated version of classic 80s movies because Netflix knows its target market a little too well.

I will update this when the current season of The Walking Dead ends. So far Legion has been excellent but its difficult to tell what the show will be once we leave our main character's mind. I'm a couple of episodes into The Night Of but am wary of it. It has the potential to combine my two least favourite TV tropes - murder mystery and grand conspiracy but we'll see. 

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