Homecoming
Internet TV

Boxset Monday: Homecoming (season one) (Amazon)

Available on Amazon

TV doesn’t have many auteurs – that is, people whose work you can recognise pretty instantly simply from their ‘look and feel’. Largely, that’s because TV seasons are so long and production so collaborative that one individual, even a showrunner, is unlikely to have enough control over every episode that their ‘fingerprints’ can be spotted.

Sam Esmail seems to be one of the few who can claim to be a TV auteur. The creator and frequent director of Mr Robot, he has a distinct, innovative, experimental directorial style, as well as equally distinct thematic concerns about the nature of the reality.

Or so I’ve gleaned from Homecoming, Amazon’s new original series starring Julia Roberts as psychiatrist at a medical facility helping veterans recover from PTSD, all 10 episodes of which are directed Sam Esmail. From the opening titles of the first episode to the final post-credits scene of the tenth episode, if you’ve seen Mr Robot, you’ll never be in any doubt whatsoever that you’re watching a Sam Esmail drama. And that’s a double-edged thing.

Homecoming Pineapple

Homecoming

Back when I was reviewing Alex Inc, I pointed out that US firm Gimlet Media has discovered the only way to make real money from podcasts: get someone to adapt them as TV series. Gimlet seems to be getting quite good at this, since Homecoming is another adaptation of a Gimlet podcast, albeit a relatively loose one. Ironically, it’s also vastly more interesting for its visual style than for its actual storyline.

The show runs in two parallel timelines, each of which has its own aspect ratio. The first is set in a blurry, 1970s-style 1:1 aspect ratio 2022, when Roberts is working in a seaside diner as a waitress. Into her life comes DoD complaints investigator Shea Whigham (Waco, Vice Principals, Boardwalk Empire) who wants to know about an incident at a facility at which Roberts used to work involving Stephan James (Shots Fired), one of the ‘Homeland’ veterans in the facility’s care. Roberts denies everything and pleads ignorance.

Meanwhile, back in crisp, HD 16:9 2018, we get to see Roberts’ evolving relationship with James as she provides therapy to him in an effort to help him deal with what he’s seen while fighting overseas. We also get to see the increasingly angry phone relationship she has with boss Bobby Cannavale (Mr Robot, Antman, Jumanji), as it becomes clear that maybe Homecoming has a slightly different agenda to the one its participants have been told.

What isn’t Roberts telling Whigham and why is she now working as a waitress when she’s a trained social worker? More importantly, over the course of the season, what Roberts isn’t telling Whigham increasingly becomes less important than why… Spoilers after the jump.

Continue reading “Boxset Monday: Homecoming (season one) (Amazon)”

Jean-Claude Van Johnson
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Jean-Claude Van Johnson and Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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

It’s the last WHYBW of 2017, since TMINE is taking its traditional end-of-year break next week. But never fear – it’ll be back in January to play catch up with all the Christmas TV.

It’s been quiet-ish for new tele this past week, so for the most part, we’re going to be looking at the regulars, with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Mr Robot and Travelers winding up their latest seasons and even series in one case. But I also watched the Christmas episode of Will and Grace, as well as the latest episodes of Happy! and Marvel’s Runaways, so I’ll be discussing all of those, too, after the jump.

I did try to watch episode two of Knightfall as well, but after 15 minutes of reasonably lifeless runarounds and the arrival of Pope Boniface, I found myself too bored to carry on with its bargain basement Vikings intrigues, so I’ve dropped that from the schedule.

All of which still left me a little time on my hands, so I went out! Out the house! Out out!

At the theatre, I saw The Twilight Zone and at the cinema, I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Then I got bored of out, so although I’d already reviewed the pilot, making it ineligible for Boxset Monday, I watched the whole of the first season of Jean Claude Van Johnson at the weekend. All of that after the jump as well.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Jean-Claude Van Johnson and Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Mr Robot
News

Mr Robot, Give My Head Peace renewed; German Plan B remake; + more

International TV

  • Olivier Martinez to star in Mercenary/Subotica’s action-adventure series Soldiers of Fortune

German TV

UK TV

US TV

US TV show casting

New US TV shows

  • NBC developing: interracial brothers-in-law comedy Family’s Family

New US TV show casting

Knightfall
US TV

What have you been watching? Including Knightfall, Travelers, No Activity and Mr Robot

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

So much TV, so little time, particularly if you’re stranded in Germany, queuing for three hours to arrange a new flight home and then get a stomach bug on top of a cold. Grrr.

There are also too many boxsets for me to take in: I’m still only on episode 3 of Dark, and I’ve seasons 2 of Professor T, The Crown and Babylon Berlin to hit up, as well as seasons 1 of Godless and She’s Gotta Have It; there’s more due out this week, too, including season 3 of The Tunnel and season 1 of Jean Claude Van Johnson. What should I watch, hey, pop-pickers?

Still, I did manage to watch the first episode of Happy! (US: Syfy), as well as of Knightfall (US: History; UK: History UK), which I’ll discuss after the jump.

Also after the jump, the remaining regulars: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Marvel’s Runaways, Mr Robot, No Activity and a double-helping of Travelers as Showcase in Canada tries to get the finale out before Christmas and Netflix starts airing it in the rest of the world. One of these is for the chop, best beloved, two are about to walk the plank, but which will it be?
Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Knightfall, Travelers, No Activity and Mr Robot”

Professor T
International TV

What have you been watching? Including Professor T, Les témoins (Witnesses) and Marvel’s Runaways

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

I keep forgetting I end up having a social life in December for a change. You may have noticed there was no Boxset Monday this week. Sorry about that. I’ve not even managed to get through an episode of Netflix’s Dark – perhaps because I kept having to switch it from “English (Dubbed)” to “German (Subtitled)”. Fingers crossed, I’ll have got to the end of by next Monday, but seeing as I’m away in Germany (how ironic) this weekend, I’m not sure I’ll manage it. Still, let’s see how it goes.

Elsewhere this week, I passed a fourth-episode verdict on Marvel’s Runaways (US: Hulu), but while there are some new shows on their way this week, including Happy! (US: Syfy), that was about all I could review since everything else new was boxsets. Hopefully, I’ll get round to them at some point, hey?

After the jump then, let’s look at the regulars: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Mr Robot, No Activity, Les témoins (Witnesses), Marvel’s Runaways and Travelers. Oh yes, Professor T‘s back, too. As a boxset. Sigh.
Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including Professor T, Les témoins (Witnesses) and Marvel’s Runaways”