Mr. Robot (USA) – Season 2
Mr. Robot premiered last year and it was the shock hit of the summer winning a Golden Globe as best drama and for Christian Slater in a supporting role. Rami Malek the star has just been nominated for an Emmy, as has the show for best drama. This cyber-hacking drama follows Elliot (Malek) who is a brilliant but disturbed computer wiz who falls in with a group of hackers intent on bringing down an “Evil” corporation and disrupting the infrastructure of the country. There are many twists and turns during season 1 but for those who haven’t seen it, I’ll leave it at that. I can’t say as I ever quite knew what was going on and some of the technical hacking sequences are out of my league but the story is intriguing and the acting very good.
Season two premiered this week with a 90 minute show that picked up somewhere after the massive season ending hack that brought down the economy. Elliot has left his computer world and is struggling with himself and “Mr. Robot” as he tries for some normalcy in his life. His former buddies, fsociety, is moving forward with more hacks and coming to grips with what they have achieved. We aren’t really sure what Wellick and his wife are up to nor what role Wellick played in the hack but they are probably not up to anything good. Several new characters have been introduced which should provide some interesting plotlines. I can’t say as I completely understood everything in the premier but that was partly because I was very tired and kept falling asleep, waking up and rewinding. Looks like a good season again and I’m totally in. I’ll do an interim update after getting through more episodes.
Stranger Things (Netflix)
Stranger Things starring Winona Rider dropped on Netflix Friday the 15th. Normally stories about the paranormal aren’t really my thing but this has very good reviews so I thought I would check it out. I believe it is meant to be homage to all things Spielberg. It has the feel of E.T., Poltergeist, a little Star Wars and Super 8. I’ve seen the first 2 of 15 episodes and there is some sort of electrical force/monster that has kidnapped a young boy and potentially killed others. This “force” is connected to the Department of Energy facility in a small Indiana town in the early 1980s where a bunch of employees are clearly quite knowledgeable about what is going on.
There are several intersecting plots that are introduced in the initial episodes. The first is the search by 3 young nerdy boys for their kidnapped friend Will. They enlist the help of an almost mute young girl who they are hiding from their parents. We don’t know much about her except that her name “11” is tattooed on her arm and that several nefarious men are tracking her down. The second storyline involves Will’s older brother and one of the boy’s older sisters. We also have a romance between Winona Rider’s character and the police chief who isn’t exactly on top of his job. Finally we have Will trying to communicate with his mother (Ryder) through the electrical light system. So far it is interesting but they are going to have to give me a little more in the way of answers before I say that this is the next E.T. Ryder is great, however, and it is nice to have her back in a leading role.
The Night Of (HBO)
I covered this last week so just a reminder that it has started, it is great and I can’t wait for Episode 2.
Thought on the Emmys
Just some random musings:
- The Americans finally got nominated for Best Drama, Best Actor and Best Actress. These are LONG overdue for what is arguably the best show on television. I doubt the show will win anything but at least it is finally being recognized. This is a real stunner in that shows that have been overlooked for years by the Academy almost never are rewarded later in their run.
- HBO’s wonderful mini-series “Show Me a Hero” with such an amazing performance by Oscar Isaacs was inexplicably left out of the nominations.
- The Leftovers had a brilliant 2nd season, won a Peabody for it’s excellence and yet wasn’t nominated for an Emmy? All the actors in this show do a great job but Carrie Coon in particular should have gotten a nomination. This is more typical of what I expect from the Academy.
- Rectify is another great show that missed out
- Loved the nominations for Mr. Robot and Rami Malek but where was Christian Slater’s Golden Globe winning performance!
- The OJ Simpson mini-series walked away with a gazillion nominations – most of which were well deserved although I thought Cuba Gooding Jr.’s and John Travolta’s nominations could have been given to more worthy performances.
- The academy nominated a wide variety of some of the great newer comedies but wish “You’re the Worst” and Aya Cash’s work was recognized.
- Loved the Constance Zimmer nomination for UnREAL but no Sheri Appleby?
- I’m ok with no Orange is the New Black nominations because Season 3 was not that great but I hope this year’s much better Season 4 results in some nominations next year
- Game of Thrones is one of my favorite shows and I’m happy it walked away with nominations but it seems overly generous for a season that was up and down.
- Samantha Bee deserves a nod – her show is great.
- Unlike the Oscars, the Emmys nominated a very diverse slate of actors and actresses, showing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science how it should be done.
- While some old tired shows like Modern Family, Downton Abby and Homeland (although last season was a bit better) keep getting nominations, the Emmys are making progress in recognizing some newer shows that are really good. I doubt the voters actually watch even a small portion of all the shows out there so we’ll see what actually wins but I am encouraged. Usually on Emmy nomination day I just throw things at the TV – this year I’m in a much happier place!
- It might be time for the TV Academy to rethink how they can reward these performances when there are over 450 scripted dramas a year in addition to comedies, mini-series, movies etc. Even I can’t watch 450 drama let alone the academy voters who are passing judgment on these shows.
Jane the Virgin (the CW; Season 1 on Netflix)
When Jane the Virgin premiered a few years ago, I watched the pilot and decided it wasn’t really for me. After on-going critical acclaim, I decided I would try it again this summer. It is always difficult getting through an hour-long show with 22 episodes a season but I’m several episodes in and it is pretty good. The show has a lot of heart and strong performances by the actors. The writing is great and I’m enjoying the world of the “Telenovela”. With several new shows starting and vacation looming, I’m not sure how much more I’ll get through but I’m going to give it a go.