Tuesday, June 16, 2020

PlagueWatch Roundup

Instead of another "Should I PlagueWatch It?" entry, instead I'll just give quick thoughts on the TV I am, or have recently been, watching over the past few weeks.


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  • One of my favorite shows on TV, but I think this season is clearly its weakest. The show feels like it may have just run out of ideas. Last season was interesting because it positioned Taylor as an antagonist to both Axe and Rhodes, and they were a worthy foe who forced the duo to actually work together. That was interesting. But now we've slid back into comfortable terrain: Axe and Rhodes going after each other, Taylor in a supporting role.
  • Mike Prince just isn't that inspiring as an antagonist. If you need a fellow billionaire for Axe to go head-to-head with, bring back Rebecca Cantu (who of course now has a huge bone to pick with Axe).
  • Axe and Rhodes appear to be retrogressing as characters, and while it would be one thing if this was the result of especially heavy stresses being put upon them, right now they seem to be under objectively less pressure than at any point in the series.
  • I hate everything about how academia and contemporary students are portrayed. It's a lazy, zeitgeist-y take that doesn't reflect my experience as either a law school teacher or a student.
  • Seriously, what is Rhodes doing taking a bunch of basically unknown, untested, untrustworthy law students and putting them on a super-delicate case like going after the U.S. Treasury Secretary? And then -- I'm sorry, but (a) no student who cares about the Muslim ban is going to care about investigating Todd Krakow -- what a eye-rolling moment that was -- and (b) why wouldn't they assume that Chuck has additional information relevant to the case he just isn't telling them?
  • Slowly but surely, Kate Sacker gets a larger role. I approve of this.


  • Arguably the show's strongest season. Issa, in particular, showed really strong forward momentum as a character.
  • To the extent the show meant to put roughly equal blame on Issa and Molly for their fight (and I'm not sure it did), it did not succeed. While Issa grew a lot, Molly came out looking really rough.
  • The crisis of the last episode was a very well done, but it would have been better if the show had dedicated more time to Kelli and Tiffany over the course of the season. Or the show in general. They really deserve to have some breathing room.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • My favorite entry on the "things that have lasted longer than the Confederacy" list, as it's gone seven seasons even though I think I'm the only person who's watched it. And I could not even begin to tell you the plot line from beginning to now.
  • That said, this season (the last) feels like a strong entry. Objectively, the plot is still as fuzzy as ever, but the core conceit (time travel to stop the bad guys from altering the past and changing the future!) is enough of a sci-fi staple that it's pretty easy to follow.
  • Sad we didn't get a true Agent Carter cameo.
  • Where are you, Agent Fitz?
Ultimate Tag
  • Objectively bad, but in an entertaining sort of way.
  • If you have a new show, you really can't do the "we're going to run some of our events while on commercial break, then recap them". We don't know how the events work!
  • I'm pretty sure I heard the hosts say things about so-and-so being "the fastest runner we've ever seen on this show" in the first episode.
  • The actual "events" are very, very poorly designed. The opening event ends up basically placing the runners in random order, depending on who happens to get singled out for a chase. You can effectively avoid the tagger for much longer than your competitors and still come in last. And then the point deficit is usually too much to overcome in the second event.
  • Every single tagger looks like they come straight out of 90s television. Also, some are clearly chosen for physical strength, even though that doesn't actually seem to be have any relevance to their job.
Titan Games
  • Slightly better than Ultimate Tag, mostly because The Rock is so adorably charismatic.
  • While I understand why one might think Ninja Warrior experience would translate well to this show, in reality it demands far more raw physical strength than the NBC staple. Hence, I was not surprised (though very sad) when Jessie Graff struggled.
  • I was more surprised at how much Claressa Shields underperformed, and given her personality I actually wonder whether it might do some lasting damage to her confidence.
Holey Moley
  • Didn't see the first season of this, and ABC is very stingy about making its back episodes available.
  • Joe Tessitore is very game. Rob Riggle is very annoying.
  • Even granting that it's mini-golf, and so intrinsically silly, this show maybe leans a little too hard on the wa-wa-wa-WACKO fun! energy.

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