TMINE

Happy 17th birthday to The Medium is Not Enough!

A birthday cake

Crikey, as I always say, shortly after posting an image that was considered high resolution in 2005 – how did that happen?

Time has flown again. The Medium Is Not Enough emerged blinking into the world on 21 June 2005, and basic maths tells us it is now 17 years old. It feels all grown up now, now it’s doing its A-levels and is working out which universities to apply for. But we still all know that it’s basically still a bit childish and not yet ready for anything too important.

This year in review

Despite claiming to have got my my mojo back this time last year, following seemingly endless lockdowns, I can’t pretend year 17 was that much better than year 16. There’s definitely been more TV reviewing going on, but between my lack of daily commute, the introduction of yet more streaming services and a backlog of productions made during and before Covid all getting released en masse, I’ve not exactly been providing comprehensive coverage of the world’s TV, I’m afraid, have I?

Is that even possible any more? I doubt even someone who was paid to review TV could watch everything new that’s come out, there’s just so much of it now. Which is good, since it gives people great variety and all tastes will ultimately get catered for. And it’s not like everything’s been rubbish, either is it? There have been some great new shows from everywhere, even unexpected quarters (eg Peacock’s Bel Air), and AppleTV+ has finally got its act together, too, becoming alongside Disney+ one of the two streaming services you should probably subscribe to if you want all the best new shows – sorry, Netflix, you’re making too much that’s not good enough now.

But it does mean TMINE’s USP has gone. Ultimately, I think TMINE is becoming once again what it started out as: a personal blog that looks purely at what I’ve been watching on TV, without pretending to be anything major or important. The time of the blog is pretty much gone, though. There’s Substack for those who want to write and make money; Twitter and Insta for people who want to beam their thoughts out into the world to be read by the most amount of people possible.

A blog is now pretty retro. In my mind, though, this is just me chatting to you guys who still read this, trying to entertain you and maybe let you know about things I’ve found that you might like.

One big thing we did try this year was to open up TMINE to cover film far more comprehensively and make it more collaborative: to make it not just one regular voice but two. Unfortunately, that didn’t work quite as planned, with our new movie reviewer in residence ending up getting signed off with work-related stress – hopefully not because of TMINE but because of her evil megacorp employers but entirely possibly because of both. And maybe that thing that’s happening in Ukraine as well.

I’m hoping she’ll be back whenever she feels up to reviewing again (we have a ‘return to work’ plan, but maybe these birthday celebrations may prompt her to return sooner), since I feel she did bring both a new but compatible voice to TMINE, as well as fewer references to getting old and far more animated GIFs of Scarlett Johansson. We all have our styles of writing, I guess.

Thank you!

As always, a great big thank you to all the hardcore regular TMINE commenters: Mark Carroll, JustStark, and Adam Bowie. Bless your hearts for sticking with me all this time! Thank yous as well to the commenters on the TMINE Facebook page. You’re the ones who keep me going.

But thank yous as well to anyone who’s left even one comment this year, either here or on Facebook – it’s been great to hear from you!

Same time next year everyone? I say that every year, don’t I? Anyway, there’ll be cake, albeit the same photo of a cake as last year, so bring your friends.

The Old Man
US TV

What have you been watching? Including Ms Marvel, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Old Man

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Let’s keep this short and sweet or else I’ll never get anything down! And I have a lot to cover.

Superman & Lois (US: The CW; UK: BBC One) seems to be operating on a fortnightly to three-weekly schedule at the moment. It’s been interesting and as good as always, even if it starting to feel like Smallville: The Parenting Years, . There’s an interesting ‘post-Metropolis’ vibe to the whole thing, like Superman’s youth was in Metropolis and now he’s older, things that we took as read (he won’t tell people his secret, etc) are no longer clear cut, since honestly, he’s getting on a bit now. So there have been some interesting format changes, at least.

Star Trek: Picard (US: Paramount+; UK: Amazon Prime) I finally watched to the end and it turned out to be okay by the end. Not total bobbins and the finale almost made up for the bobbins that went before it. But it was all a supertextually ‘We’re all old now and isn’t it a bit young and silly to be having fights, even with your arch enemies, so why don’t we just be nice to one another before we’re all dead.’ Which is fair enough I guess.

I watched another episode of The Essex Serpent (Apple TV+), which did suggest that maybe there really was a serpent (interesting!), but as usual, hints of adultery and failing marriages put it in my bad books for a couple of weeks so I got no further. Some interesting points around mass hysteria, though.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+) has been really fun. Maybe a little too fun? Remember those old episodes of Star Trek with Harry Mudd and the like? Like that much fun. I mean we’ve literally just had space pirates that have a spaceship that has a steering wheel off a ship.

Still awesome, though.

The Orville (US: Hulu; UK: Disney+) is back in new homes on both sides of the Atlantic. That seems to have forgotten it’s a Star Trek piss take that’s supposed to be having fun and appears to now think it actually is Star Trek and there’s not supposed to be fun in Star Trek. One funny line in the latest episode (there’s three new ones already) and zero in the first, which was basically one of those vaguely philosophical ones they do: can suicide be justified? Seems like if you want to watch funny Star Trek, you have to watch… Star Trek.

For All Mankind (AppleTV+) has made its return and has made it as far as the early 90s. Except the show postulates in a vaguely Watchmen-esque way that the continuation of the space race means that we’d be about 10-30 years ahead of where we were back then, with people doing video conferencing on their Apple Newtons. This season: we’re going to Mars and maybe socialist black Elon Musk, rather than the US and USSR, will be the man to get us there. There’s reduced soapiness at least, and it’s nice to see that our old guard are maybe not as liberal as people would like them to be. So I’m actually enjoying this one a lot more than season two. Particularly since this season opened with an episode that was almost as good as Gravity.

Stranger Things (Netflix) also returned and while not a marked improvement over season three, did feel a lot less repetitive and more innovative. This first batch of eps from the season (there’s a couple more to come next month, then another season after that) is a lot more grown up than the previous episodes, too, with some properly scary stuff going on. But most of it has the show’s favourite characters split up at the beginning, with the rest of the season then either about getting them back together or how 11 is going to get her powers back – which ultimately involves an explanation at last for why Hawkins is such a horror show. I really enjoyed it. I watched it over one weekend, which is something I generally don’t manage to get to do these days. There’s at least one really good new character, maybe two (no spoilers), as well.

And even if none of that was any good, there is one truly great scene that has justifiably propelled Kate Bush to the top of the charts again as a result. Watch it for that scene at least, because it’s actually incredibly moving – oddly enough.

After the jump, the new shows I’ve been watching. Although I might have to be brief on that, too. Sorry!

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Ms Marvel, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Old Man”