The Punisher
Streaming TV

Boxset Tuesday: The Punisher (season two) (Netflix)

Available on Netflix

Marvel’s The Punisher is constantly surprising. It’s surprising that it’s so surprising. An unexpected spin-off from season two of Marvel’s Daredevil, its potential seemed limited: an ex-marine is a bit hacked off that his wife and children are killed by gangsters, so tools himself up to the nines with all the guns and ammo he can get his hands on to punish those responsible. And in an age of the alt-right and mass shootings, an angry white man shooting up the neighbourhood because he thinks it’s gone to the dogs doesn’t really have great optics.

Yet, season one of Marvel’s The Punisher was one of TMINE’s Top N shows of 2018, a musing on men’s role in society, class, the brotherhood of soldiering and the nature of war. It saw ‘The Punisher’ aka Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) facing up to former best friend Billy Russo (Ben Barnes) in New York to deal with moral infractions by the CIA, the alt-right and corporate greed, all while slowly realising that maybe he can no longer fit into a family thanks to the violence he’s seen – and meted out.

More surprisingly still, there was actually very little ‘punishing’. Indeed, I pointed out that “Frank Castle hardly feels like ‘The Punisher’ at all.”

Season two isn’t that different in that regard. Indeed, contrary to Netflix’s standard “first season as a pilot” rule, I’d say here, it’s “two seasons as a pilot”, with Frank only becoming The Punisher in the season’s – and perhaps the series’ – final scene. Up to that point, what we have is a curious retread of the first season, but with perspectives switched.

The Punisher

Pilgrim’s progress

Season two opens with everyone in very different places from where they started season one. Russo is laid up in a coma in hospital, his face now a mangled ‘jigsaw’ thanks to Frank’s work in season one. Department of Homeland Security special agent Dinah Madani (Amber Rose Revah) may now be in charge of New York’s DHS operations, but she’s obsessed with Russo, visiting him every day in hospital, convinced he’s faking his coma and, when he wakes up, his apparent amnesia about what he did in the first season.

Meanwhile, Frank’s in a good place, travelling the US. Unfortunately, one day he goes to the wrong bar and ends up having to save  Giorgia Whigham’s Amy Bendix from a group of highly trained killers. Soon, fundamentalist Christian ‘John Pilgrim’ (Shooter‘s Josh Stewart) is on his tail trying to kill both him and Bendix.

You can bet, of course, that those two plot threads are going to intertwine, but their resolution? Maybe not what you’d expect from The Punisher.

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International TV

What have you been watching? Including Forever

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

As the fall season hasn’t quite started in the US, it’s been relatively easy to stay ahead of the tele this past week. I’ve reviewed the first two episodes of the rather good You (US: Lifetime; UK: Netflix) and previewed the surprisingly not bad God Friended Me (US: CBS). And although I’ve not actually reviewed it yet, I’ve finally made it through the second season of Ozark, so I’ll be boxsetting that for you on Monday. I’ll also be giving at least the first episode of The First (US: Hulu; UK: Channel 4) a whirl.

That means this week’s WHYBW is going to be rather short and sweet, particularly as I’ve given up on Kidding (US: Showtime; UK: Sky Atlantic). I’ll be catching up with the latest episode of The Last Ship (US: TNT; UK: Sky1) and the final ever episode of Shooter (US: USA; UK: Netflix). I’ll also be taking a bewildered look at the first couple of episodes of Amazon’s Forever (no, not that one). Join me after the jump.

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One Dollar

What have you been watching? Including One Dollar, The Last Ship, Shooter and Kidding

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

WHYBW is back on Wednesday, following its August-friendly move to a Friday time-slot. That means, though, that there’s been a week and a half since the last WHYBW and TV has come back with a vengeance. Well, a trickle, maybe.

Elsewhere, I’ve been keeping up with most of the new arrivals, reviewing the first season of Amazon’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and the second season of Netflix’s Marvel’s Iron Fist, as well as the first episodes of Fox (US)’s Rel, ABC (Australia)’s Back in Very Small Business and Showtime (US)’s Kidding. In the next week or so, I should also be previewing CBS (US)’s God Friended Me and hopefully, I’ll have got through the whole of the second season of Netflix’s Ozark.

Those glued to their TV schedules will notice I’ve missed a few shows. But there are Reasons. First up is the USA Network’s The Purge, which is a spin-off from the popular horror/sci-fi movies in which everyone gets to go off and commit crimes for a day without fear of penalty. I’ve not seen any of the movies, they certainly don’t appeal to me and you can already see new episodes every Wednesday on Amazon in the UK, so I’m not going to make the effort. Soz.

Similarly, FX (US)’s Mayans MC might be hugely popular already in the US, but it’s a spin-off from Sons of Anarchy all about a Mexican biker gang. Again, didn’t like Sons of Anarchy, didn’t watch very much of it, and this doesn’t sound like my show, either. Maybe you’ll like it more than I would.

After the jump, I’ll be looking at the second episode of Kidding and the penultimate episode of Shooter, as well as the return of old favourite The Last Ship and the first episode of another show I missed off the list: One Dollar.

Continue reading “What have you been watching? Including One Dollar, The Last Ship, Shooter and Kidding”

International TV

What have you been watching? Including Ghoul, The Innocents and Karppi (Deadwind)

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

September’s just around the corner and TMINE will be resuming normal(ish) service on Monday with the return of the Daily News – although there have been all kinds of exciting developments over August, such as the return of Patrick Stewart to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, which you could have heard about via TMINE’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, if you’d been so inclined. I mean are there other news sources? I don’t think so.

As I mentioned last week, although it’s been very quiet for new TV in both July and August (RIP the summer season), the schedules are about to kick in again. The US networks have already started putting out big clips from their new shows, including Manifest:

Meanwhile, today, Netflix released season two of Ozark and Amazon gave us the return of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in the imaginatively titled Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, except now he’s played by that bloke from the US version of The Office. I doubt I’ll be able to boxset either of them over the weekend, but I’ll give it a whirl, although it might be next Monday before I can get through one/both of them.

I did promise last week, though, to try to boxset my way through at least one of various new releases last week: Netflix’s Ghoul, The Innocents and Karppi (Deadwind). After all, what were the chances of there being three duffs? Well… We can talk about that after jump.

Also after the jump, I’ll be chatting about the latest episode of Shooter, as well as the rest of the first season of Au service de la France (A Very Secret Service).

I’ll just mention in passing before we pass into that nether-realm that TVNZ has just released the first few episodes of an experimental non-linear show called Alibi. The innovation? You can watch the episodes in any order.

The way we view drama shows is about to change as a new non-linear TVNZ OnDemand series Alibi is about to arrive.

The show will call into question all your preconceived ideas as viewers navigate their way through six suspects’ witness statements given to a detective over the death of a young schoolgirl in Awatahi.

Just like a choose your own ending book, viewers get six episodes to watch and you draw your own conclusions.

The list of suspects includes a gang member, teacher, the local handyman and perhaps the creepiest of all – Father Sebastien, the leader of the local cult.

Who was playing the role of the murderer was even kept from the actors during production.

The final episode will be released on 13 September and that will reveal whodunnit. I imagine you have to watch that one last.

I’ll try to sneak that one in if I can, as I imagine it’ll end up on either Netflix or Amazon at some point. Plus it’s got Joel Tobeck (Xena, Westlife, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Ash vs Evil Dead). I like him.

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Sharp Objects

What have you been watching? Including Sharp Objects

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

July 4th continued to wipe out viewing last week, so not a lot of new shows for me to look at. As promised, I did manage to review the second season of Netflix’s GLOW and after the jump, I’ll be looking at HBO’s new limited series, Sharp Objects.

I’ll be reviewing The Outpost (US: The CW; UK: Syfy) in the next few days and I’ve made a start on Netflix’s first Indian original, Sacred Games, which is like an odd religious combination of The Game, GoodFellas and Narcos, but as I’m only a few episodes in, I’ll leave commenting on it until next week when hopefully I’ll have watched the whole thing.

I even had a little time to watch some fourth season iZombie on Netflix out of the corner of my eye as Lovely Wife binged it. It’s basically still the same, isn’t it, bar there being a lot more zombies than there were in season one? Still, it was fun to see the now traditional “lead foreign actor gets to use his/her real accent” episode of the show (cf Chuck, Bionic Woman, House), in which Rose McIver got to speak in Kiwi.

Given there was no Condor last week (July 4th, yadda, yadda), that means the only regulars I’ll have to talk about after the jump are Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger and Shooter. Gosh. Maybe I should take up reading books instead. Or is that too radical? The most I’ve managed recently is Winnie the Pooh…

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