Category Archives: TV

Stuff about television.

Manhattan

Charlie: You’re working on an atomic bomb.
Akley: We prefer to call it a gadget.

I’ve got a thing for 20th century history. In fact, I think my favourite works of fiction revolve around recent history: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Boardwalk Empire, Maus… Hey, my whole moving-to-Germany adventure? Started with Good Bye Lenin. Guess I’m kind of a nerd.

So it’s surprise to precisely no one that I instantly fell in love with Manhattan. A show set in Los Alamos, the top-secret base where the Manhattan Project unrolled, starring the physicists that developed the bomb? If there’s an itch that can never get enough scratching, that’s the one.

Manhattan revolves around Frank Winter, a brilliant physicist in charge of creating the atomic bomb. Surrounding him is a team of cracks – and their accompanying wives and children, who gave up their lives to follow their husbands to a top-secret city in the middle of the desert, not even knowing what their spouses were doing. The show’s a fantastic mix of personal stories and espionage, told against the backdrop of the biggest (and scariest) invention the 20th century has given us.

Unfortunately, the show completely flew under the radar, gathering a small following of rabid fans completely enthralled by the brilliantly plotted espionage and intrigue the show offers – so it surprised no one when it was canceled after two seasons (I think three were planned). And while I know how insanely frustrating it can be to watch a show knowing there’ll be no exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, know that the end-of-
season-two cliffhanger is one of the most cathartic TV moments of the year and one of my favourite scenes ever.

So if you’re in love with big dramas in small settings revolving around huge explosions but not actually featuring any – this is your show!

And if you’re not convinced – check out its Emmy-winning intro:

Who’s the worst? – You’re the worst

Before you start thinking this is the blog post in which I finally snap, pull out my mile-long shit list and start insulting everyone who’s ever wronged my poor snowflake writer’s soul, let me put your mind at ease: You’re the worst is a delightful romantic comedy series with a twist:

The couple (pictured above) in question are absolutely horrible.
Which is saying a lot because they live in LA.

Jimmy’s a failed British writer who’s written more about death than Goethe, Gretchen’s a ruthless PR agent who can spin words around faster than the hadron collider (Actually- Does the hadron collider spin? Or do I need to go for a more collidey comparison?). They meet crashing a wedding, have an insane one night stand and then… start seeing each other. What follows are the ups and downs and the what-and-how of two assholes who fall in love and absolutely hate.

I know what you’re thinking – it’s not exactly an attractive pitch. And to be honest: I postponed watching the first season for ages because it felt like a cynical comedy that I just couldn’t like.

But the thing is: I’ve actually grown to like these assholes. The scripts don’t pawn the protagonists off as unlikely – rather, they find hilarious ways to explore what makes a person the way they are, and what happens when people who are out of touch with their emotions are steamrolled by love. Moreover, this approach is wonderfully supported by Chris Geere and Aya Cash, who manage to play their characters tough-as-nails and totally vulnerable at the same time.

You’re the Worst boils down to one of the most realistic and honest portrayals of love. It showcases the give-and-take of a fresh relationship using two characters who don’t know how to do either.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention through all the sappiness: It’s hilarious!

Check it out. You might just like it.

Rick and *buuuurp* Morty

Imagine you have a crazy scientist grandfather.  A bit of a boozer, and a borderline asshole, but in his own quirky way, he loves you and you love him. Now, you’re thirteen, hormones are dancing around in your pants, and you’re in love with this girl way out of your league. Your scientist grandfather decides to help you out with a carefully crafted concoction of insect pheromones that should make you irresistible. And it works! You’re irresistible! Only side effect: The object of your desire turns into a huge roach. You and your gramps try to fix the mistake, but things only get worse, until you grandfather just burps, shrugs and opens a portal to parallel universe in which parallel you and your parallel grandfather die a horrible, horrible death. Problem solved – just take their place! All you have to do is bury your own decaying corpse…

Welcome to Rick and Morty, one of the darkest, funniest, most existentialist animated comedies currently on TV! Penned by Community’s Dan Harmon at his absolute worst and thus, if you know the man, absolute best, Rick and Morty takes the tried-and-true Saturday morning cartoon setting – excited kid and his extravagant gramps have scientific adventures – and completely rips it a new one. Morty isn’t excited, he’s existentially/hormonally confused and in constant fear of his life; Rick isn’t just extravagant, he’s a narcissistic alcoholic with no moral compass or regard for human life. This is Back to the Future on LSD, guys. Better strap yourself in.


Hey look! It’s my biggest fear!
 

For me personally, Rick and Morty hurts to watch. It’s disgusting, it’s weird, it makes the universe around us feel gargantuan and that scares the beejeesus out of me. But in its own weird way, through all the dark humor, this show’s got a brilliantly functioning emotional compass. The two titular characters and their dysfunctional family might constantly be on the verge of a neurotic breakdown – they still do have each other. And that’s the one ray of light that makes this show more than just a dark sci-fi comedy.


“Oh man!”
You can check out this wonderful gem of a show – currently in its stellar second season – on Adult Swim. They’ve even got half of their episodes online. Most episodes work on their own, so start watching!