'Ahsoka' & 'Loki' disappoint, plus 'Only Murders,' 'Lupin,' 'Starstruck,' and 'Our Flag Means Death'
Late to the party, but I wanted to finish Only Murders in the Building before I read your newsletter (and review). I agree, it was a very weak year. Like Oliver, the show seemed more interested in the Broadway show than with the murder. We guessed most of the twists right away (including who Ben was talking to in his dressing room and who killed him) so waiting for them to figure these things out was tedious. Also, Selena Gomez was a bit of a drag. Her general affectation is very flat, which normally works very well against The Martins, but this season her ennui made the character almost totally lifeless. Let's hope this was just a mid series slump and they come back with a strong (presumably) last season.
I thought Loki season 2 episode 1 was pretty good, pretty fun, especially everything with Ke Huy Quan and the ridiculous analog-tech stuff (love the massive duct attached to Mobius' space-suit) but I agree it was extremely plot-dense and full of techno-babble.
I don't mind continuing stories at all. They just have to be done by writers skillful enough to entertain the audience that doesn't do the homework while rewarding those that do.
The problem with Loki isn't Kang or the multiverse or whatever...
It's that it was so boring. Literally the first 15 minutes centered around bureaucrats arguing.
The worst part is, as you note, the writers "lost any grasp on what made Loki compelling enough to get his own series in the first place"
The ads for the first season showed President Loki grinning and saying "What did you expect?"
THAT's the charming rogue we want to see on screen every week.
Instead this show has given us a character who goes from confused to scared and back again...
I read on Bluesky (so I will not take credit for the insight), that someday Disney is going to regret how they handled two great franchises in Marvel and Star Wars. They should have treated them as jewels of the crown that should be treated with respect and trotted out yearly or so to keep them special, but instead they just constantly churned out sub-optimal content to the point where fans lost interest.
It reminds me of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" that was a surprise hit for ABC, so they started putting it on prime time almost every day of the week, and what was once a fun show you looked forward to became this ubiquitous thing that was on All. The. Time.
Can I just watch Ashoka (I’ve seen the Star Wars movies plus Mandalorian) or is there a bunch of homework I have to do first?
I don’t want to say goodbye to Jessie, but I’ll take as much Rose Matafeo as the universe will grant me.
Couldn't let the Legion of Superheroes reference pass unrecognized though I expect my memory of the comics from the 50s and 60s predates your probable interest in the reboot during the 80s. Always had a soft spot for Mon-el who in his 60s incarnation was not affected by the difficult to find (unless the plot required) kryptonite but rather the much more common lead. He always seemed to be Superboy-lite. Thanks for the throwback - though probably further than your reference intended.
Wait, Alan, you've only ever watched the first few episodes of BoJack?!
If that's the case, I highly, highly recommend you go back to it. The first few episodes actually DON'T do a very good job of showing what the creators would eventually be doing with it. Obviously this stuff is subjective, but I consider it one of the most rewarding TV series I've ever watched.
I haven't seen Clone Wars and gave up on Rebels after about a season, so that's completely killed my enthusiasm to try Ahsoka. Star Wars and Marvel were a lot more fun when new films were events. Now they're just homework. Huge bummer. It's just too much to keep up with.
Agree that Only Murders seemed to lose a little energy this season. It seemed like they were trying out some work in a minor, melancholy key. It didn't help that the murder resolution ultimately involved a character we'd barely spent any time with. Would love to see the comic energy return in season 4.
My problem with Starstruck, beyond what you've pointed out, is that Jess is neither a good person nor an interesting character. Her motivations, when she has them, are all over the place. She has no goals or ambitions, is extremely prickly and she treats everyone badly.
This gets papered over because Rose Mateo is such a fun and engaging performer, but that only takes you so far. Eventually I realize there's no reason to root for her or for her relationship with Tom.
Speaking of Tom, he has a real Vincent Chase problem. He's supposed to be this big, popular movie star, but he's super low energy and has very little charisma. Sometimes, when I'm watching the show, I have to remind myself that he's supposed to a famous celebrity and not, say, a podiatrist.
Lupin: I'm sorry, but my reservoir of "suspension of disbelief" was used up in S1. Putting a wig and mustache on Omar Sy does not make him invisible.
Starstruck: Please end it after this season. No show needs to be continued just because it pulls in viewers.
Ahsoka: Some good action, but a story that barely held together without investing in the background.
So they are really going to do a Jedivengers movie? Ashoka and Ezra and Sabine and Grogu and Mando and Boba Fett and Bo-Katan and etc etc fighting Thrawn and zombie stormtroopers?
Good comments about "Starstruck"--it was great but stop. I was sorry that it was over but it ended nicely. We don't need another six eps of "will they or won't they?" but I like seeing these characters and they don't overstay their welcome.