I, like many many people, thought that the Ted Lasso series wasn’t going to be anything special. I was vaguely aware of the character, designed for a one-off sketch, and yea, that fish-out-of-water trope can be funny. But to bring the Southern American football coach to the UK to manage a Premier League team seemed ripe for sub-par comedy. I was expecting there to be a lot of jokes at the expense of the British way of life, lots of men bouncing off each other in the locker room, and a bit of a boorish ten episodes.
Recently, I’ve really struggled to find a TV show that grabs me and keeps me interested and also sits outside of the Apple TV+ catalogue. I’ve talked at length about how great their shows are and for whatever reason, despite there being so much (too much?) choice out there, I’ve barely been able to get past the first episode of anything. I was starting to wonder if the quality of Apple’s shows hadn’t ruined other TV for me!
I’m well aware that this blog has basically become an Apple TV+ review site, but everything I’ve watched on there so far has been really good quality. Okay, sometimes it doesn’t completely hit the spot (Truth Be Told) and some things just don’t look that interesting to me to even start (Servant) but what I’ve seen, I’ve liked.
This time, it’s the turn of MythicQuest: Raven’s Banquet – a workplace sitcom based in a games company that have made a hugely successful MMORPG.
Little America, the anthology series on Apple TV+, came at the perfect time in our household, as we’d just finished indulging in Modern Love and were in the right head-space for the ‘different story every episode’ style.
Little America takes the formula and applies it to immigrant stories across a broad range of ages and lifestyles and all walks of life in the US. There were eight episodes and it was wonderful how the same theme shone through them all – people don’t necessarily want hand outs, to take up too much space, or even necessarily to fit in.
Having loved both For All Mankind and The Morning Show, I was expecting big things from the next AppleTV+ adventure – this time, a crime mystery with a podcast host at the helm. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite stand up to the competition even within its own broadcaster, let alone looking further afield.
Let’s start with the good, though, the cast were great and they did the best they could with the scripts they had.
Stumbling across the TV show Modern Love was a weird experience – it was promoted on the Apple TV homepage and warranted further investigation. When we saw it was created by John Carney, who was also behind some of our favourite Dublin-based films, then it was a given we were going to watch this one.
Anthology series’ aren’t always my favourite, but when they’re done well, like Black Mirror and now like Modern Love, they are a gem.
I knew I was going to love Dickinson because, from the trailer, it was a modern take on the early life of this infamous poet. I’ll be honest and admit to knowing little about Emily other than her name, but as soon as I knew Hailee Steinfeld was in it, I was on board.
And it was SO GOOD. Ten half-hour episodes of Hailee and her friends reinventing what a good period piece is.
Sure, the last thing the world needs is another television streaming service and yes, there is a question mark about where Britbox sits in the current market but you know what? I kinda like it.
Britbox is a long-in-coming platform initiated by ITV and the BBC, with Channel 4 and Channel 5 on board, to offer UK-based programming to mostly a UK-based audience. It sounds like a good thing, bringing together the main terrestrial channels from the big four, but it does get a bit wobbly when you start to look at what’s available.
The US version of The Office has been off air for over six years, but it is barely out of the public consciousness and rarely a day goes by that I don’t see an Office gif fly by on my Twitter stream. The success of the Office didn’t diminish the brilliance of the original UK version but it certainly dwarfed it in popularity – spreading its wings to be much more of an ensemble piece, and covering far more ground than the original two series ever could.
I recently discovered the podcast Robot or Not which is an audio show where: “Jason Snell asks John Siracusa to rule on the meaning of various words and concepts. It’s not just about robots anymore.” I have been listening to the entire back catalogue, partly because the episodes are so short but also because they’re so fascinating.
As the title suggests, the concept started out solely about robots but has branched out to food, ethics, religion and actually quite a lot about food.