It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week
Previously on TMINE
I had a holiday. So it’s been a while, basically, since TMINE has reviewed anything.
I did watch some TV but not a huge amount, and what I did watch, I watched a little while ago, so I’m a little hazy about it. But I’ll do my best to recap, ready for September and the Autumn schedules.
Next on TMINE
…it’s worth noting that the US networks have basically pushed all new scripted shows to January 2021. Because of You Know What. So that means there won’t necessarily be a lot of new TV for the next few months. Or this week. But we’ll see what I can see.
In the schedules, at least, is Woke (US: Hulu) and The Duchess (Netflix), but I’ll probably give the latter a miss since I’m not the biggest fan of Katherine Ryan. So Woke it is.
What TMINE has been watching
Long-time, observant readers will note that I didn’t apply my usual ‘Can I be arsed to catch up with this when I get back?’ rule to the Regulars list before I went. That’s because, with viewing fare scant, there was a big chance that even shows I couldn’t be bothered with I might still stick with. Conversely, holidays being what they are, there was also the possibility that I might not have stuck with shows I actually really liked.
So rather than second-guess myself, I decided to use empirical science to determine what I could actually be bothered catching up with and/or starting retrospectively.
The good news (for fans of those shows) is that I stuck it to the end of Baron Noir, Condor, Corporate, Doom Patrol, and Stargirl. I’ll discuss all of them after the jump.
The bad news (for fans of those shows) is that I really couldn’t be bothered watching any more of Das Boot, Dark or The Twilight Zone. I won’t be discussing them after the jump, but I watched a couple more episodes of Brave NewWorld before giving up, so I will talk about that after the jump, as well.
In terms of new and returning shows, The Boys was back on Amazon on Friday with three new episodes, so I watched them. Young Wallander also showed up last week on Netflix, so I gave that a whirl, too. Earlier in August, The Umbrella Academycame back for season two, and I watched all of that. My thoughts on all of those after the jump as well.
I gave the second season of The New Legends of Monkey a go, but that was feeling a little too young for me this time round, so I never made it to the end of the first episode, although at least Monkey got his cloud powers back. But I might give that another go at some point.
That made me want to watch old episodes of The Water Margin, so I caught of couple of those, which were actually really good. You remember that, don’t you? I might watch more of them at some point…
And in an unrelated development, Lovely Wife saw that Cobra Kai (seasons one and two) had come to Netflix, so we watched them in the space of about three days. She loved it for more or less the same reasons I did when I made it one of my top shows of 2018 and it really does hold up well on a second viewing, too. So if you’ve not watched it, I recommend you do.
The first season of Cobra Kai was far, far better than a modern-day sequel to classic 80s movie The Karate Kid had any right to be.
Set 30 years after Danny Lerusso (Ralph Macchio) defeated former school bully Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in the All-Valley Karate Championships in California, Cobra Kai sees Zabka down on his luck, divorced, estranged from his son and unemployed. But when he uses karate one night to defend a put-upon kid (Xolo Maridueña), he’s soon finding a new calling in life and reopening the karate school that caused him so much pain as a kid – Cobra Kai. Could he put the mistakes of the past behind him and learn from his failures? And would the man who once defeated him be willing to forgive and forget?
One of TMINE’s Top 14 shows of 2018, the first season of Cobra Kai was a sort of American Flashman for the streaming age. It managed to be faithful to the original and its characters, referring back constantly in flashback to the most famous moments of the first movie and its sequels and embodying their philosophy and attitude to karate.
Yet at the same time, it was clearly a show that knew it would have two audiences. The first is the standard youthful YouTube viewer who only ever saw the movie on reruns, if at all, and would be less interested in Macchio and Zabka than their students and children, their relationships and rivalries, and their experiences as they followed the paths walked by their elders 30 years earlier. The second is a middle-aged audience who saw the movie when it first came out, have had children of their own, and know full well that life’s no simple parable of good and evil. Bullies become bullies for a reason and the oppressed can become oppressors, and heroes villains – and vice versa.
Cobra Kai – season two
Cobra Kai and Impulse were the first/only two incontestably good shows produced by YouTube’s premium ‘Red’ service – subsequently renamed YouTube Premium and soon to not be premium at all. It therefore wasn’t a big surprise when both was renewed for a second season. The question was whether a second season could be as good as the first.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report that Cobra Kai‘s second season is every bit as good as its first. Mild spoilers for both the first and second season after the jump. And in the trailer.