Summer time brings lots of new television to watch.
However, we must first look farther back than the previous week. We must look back to 1966, to one of the shows that I loved to watch (albeit in reruns, as I am not old enough to have watched it live). Batman had taken the characters of Batman and Robin and recreated them for a new audience and created quite a stir. Some of my earliest memories were watching this show in the afternoons. I was a fan of Robin, and I remember making my mom make me a robin half mask that I could wear. I did not understand the series at that time, but later on I was able to see it with new eyes. Batman was a hilarious spoof of super heroes, with the over-the-top acting, cheesy dialogue and the bright colors. The show was amazingly entertaining. A big part of that reason was because of Adam West. Adam West embraced the role of Batman and was so perfect int he role because he understood and was in on the joke. This was a comedy, and Batman was the ultimate boy scout, a title that Superman would one day take instead. Batman was the goodest of the good, though he would hate the use of that incorrect grammatical term. His “Bat-leap” becoming a phrase that we used anytime someone made a leap of logic that was anything but logical. Glu Glutton’s Glue Factory? Of course! Adam West was how the world saw Batman for decades, until the darker shade of the Dark Knight arrived. Yet, there is an audience for the good old days, as there is a Batman ’66 comic and a limited release movie The Return of the Caped Crusaders, where Adam West voiced his greatest role once again. Adam West passed away this weekend and I want to thank him for the role that he played in shaping my love of the super hero genre and the goodness of the hero, a hero who would never toss away a bomb into a group of little duckies. RIP Adam West.
Netflix had a big week this week. First of all, I finished binging the fifth season of House of Cards. With the resignation of Frank Underwood and the swearing in of Claire Underwood, House of Cards continued to show us the worst of the politicians of the US. Now, the argument is that the show is not as enjoyable now because it is too close to reality, and I think that is a big part of it. Still, there is no denying that the show is top quality and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are at the top of their game. Will Claire pardon Frank or will she let him flap in the air? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.
Secondly, I found a seven-part docuseries called The Keepers. This series told the true story of Sister Catherine, a nun who was murdered in 1969, and the circumstances around the case that had never been solved. The cold case was tremendously engaging, as we had two of Sister Cathy’s former students (Cathy worked as a high school teacher) who wanted to solve the case. The case took us through a ton of twists and turns including the Catholic church sex scandal, a mysterious man named Brother Bob, and laid the groundwork for several possible suspects. I kept hoping that this series would end with a big “gotcha” moment, much like The Jinx, but unfortunately, the mystery remains unsolved. There were some episodes, in particular episode 5, that were just creepy, scary and left you disturbed.
And thirdly, Netflix dropped the fifth season of Orange is the New Black this past Friday. If you remember, season four left off with the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary surrounding a guard who had brought in a gun to exact some of his own justice. That gun found its way into the hands of Daya Diaz. Well, she wound up shooting the guard in the leg, setting off the prison riot. The entire season dealt with the ramifications of the few days of the riot. The inmates took the remaining guards hostage, started running free around the campus, and engaging in shenanigans. There were also several of the inmates who kept mourning Poussey Washington, who had been accidentally killed in season 4, leading to the unrest in the riot. Taystee led the way in trying to make sense of the tragic loss of her friend. Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee, was absolutely brilliant this season and deserves an Emmy nomination for her work. This was the absolute best season of Orange is the New Black since season one, with an amazing story and deeply motivated and three dimensional characters. Throw in one of the series’ best villains in Desi Piscatella as well. The only drawback to the season is the use of the flashbacks are weak. LOST used to do this tremendously, but these flashbacks felt as if they did not inform characters, but were included simply to fill time. Very few of the flashbacks (Taystee’s being a notable exception) felt as if they were a waste of time. Still, the flashbacks did not deter how much I enjoyed OITNB this year, and I am anxious to see where it goes from here.
I rarely watch Smackdown on Tuesday nights. I watch RAW on Monday, but you would think that I would watch Smackdown instead. Many more of my favorite performers are on this show (Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, The New Day, etc), but I still watch RAW. However, I tuned in this past Tuesday for a specific match. The first time ever (in WWE at least) that Shinsuke Nakamura would take on Kevin Owens. That dream match made me watch Smackdown. Unfortunately, the match itself was a letdown. It only got about ten minutes of match time, they went to commercial a minute into the match and there just felt a lack of big match feel to it. Nakamura won cleanly, which is fine, but I would have loved to see a 20-30 minute classic between these two instead of what we got.
Twin Peaks continues to be the weirdest show on television. David Lynch unfiltered keeps getting stranger each week. Now, I must say that I have been very impressed with Kyle McLaughlin’s performance as Agent Cooper, but I am ready for Cooper to get back to his full functioning federal agent state. The whole Dougie thing has been okay, and funny at times, but it really has made me want to see Agent Cooper bust through the haze. There have been signs of this starting to happen, and I hope that tonight is the night that we actually get him back. I would also love a little more time spent in Twin Peaks itself.
Gotham had its season finale and it really kicked some ass. So much happened… from Gordon killing Fish Mooney in a Tetch virus induced rage to Mr. Freeze creating a Riddler ice sculpture (from the Riddler himself) to the first bad guys stopped by a dark and mysterious vigilante. We found a Tetch virus cure, killed Butch (only to discover that Butch’s real name was Cyrus Gold (hint…Solomon Grundy) and had Lee bolt from Gotham once again. Oh… and Ra’s Al Ghul. Season four has been, start to finish, easily the best season of the show so far. As Gotham gets closer and closer to the era of Batman, the future only looks brighter.
Poor Emmett in Fargo has taken a turn for the worse. He has began to unravel after his killing of his brother last week. This week, we got a time jump of three months, after a brutal and violent conflict with the assassins Yuri and Golem who attacked the prison bus and a team up of Nikki Swango and season one deaf baddie, Mr. Wrench. Last week I said how unhappy I would be if Nikki were to meet such a sad fate, being executed on this prison bus. Well, those concerns left quickly as the battle in the woods between these two factions was just amazing. Body parts strewn around and the decapitation of Golem with the chain that bound Mr Wrench and Nikki together was off the charts. Fargo started the year weaker, but it has really been great the last 3-4 weeks.
Whose Line is it Anyway is a great way to spend some time on Monday nights. This past week, we saw the Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie from the WWE as the special guest stars on the show featuring the fourth seat filled by Jeff Davis. We also got a Hoedown, a special treat that we have not gotten as much on the CW version of the show. The Bella Twins did sound effects, which never fails to entertain, and then Colin put on perhaps the most terrifying mask ever seen on “Questions” before.
Upcoming this week includes the Showtime mini series featuring the interview with Vladimir Putin conducted by Oliver Stone and the season finale of American Gods.