46 Comments

I remember thinking The Unicorn was such a left turn for Goggins when it was announced. But it quickly became a really enjoyable show and it was clear that he was relishing the opportunity to play someone so normal. He has just become one of those actors (I'd put Andrew Scott in this category as well) who I could happily watch in anything.

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A great show with a perfect cast.

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It was so well-rounded and you absolutely believed that all of these people would be friends.

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Great shout out to Searching for Bobby Fisher. One of my favorite sports movies.

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I love "Loot". Yes, it loses focus between the premise of the show and the workplace relationships (and there are two very underdeveloped female characters in the office) but it has jokes and it makes me laugh.

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It has jokes AND Joel Kim Booster AND Ron Funches AND an incredibly charming central performance by Maya Rudolph. (Though I agree with Alan, they haven't quite figured out who they want her to be or how we should feel about her.) I'm with you on the underdeveloped office women but Michaela Jae Rodriguez's character makes up for it for me. She's driven and serious and sometimes harsh, but it's because she cares and the show is 100% in her corner.

I'm not going to say it's flawless or prestige TV but it's a lot of fun and very, very funny.

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Exactly. To me, it's similar to "Not Dead Yet" as both are funny without being prestigious.

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The Ripley series looks great. Would you say that having seen the previous films and having some knowledge of the source material enhances the show (Hannibal-style), or is it preferable to go in blind?

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I don’t think it matters. There’s one bit towards the end that’s a wink to Highsmith, but it’s not essential to know; you’ll be amused no matter what, I suspect.

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First HBO licensed out a bunch of their prime content and Netflix gobbled that up and certainly seems to be enjoying curating all these HBO shows into the top of their feeds. Now Paramount dumps the Showtime-produced RIpley and critics are fawning over it. These streaming services all flailing to cut losses and figure themselves out yet again, Netflix just keeps profiting off their mistakes.

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It doesn't hurt that it's just easier to find and watch shows on Netflix than on any other platform. The Netflix interface is hardly perfect, but it's head and shoulders above everyone else.

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They curate that site so much better than any of their competitors, it's not even close. Amazon, Apple, and Hulu all make more of an effort than the other major studios, but they also each do things that undermine the presentation and make their UI frustrating to navigate and fail to utilize the depth of their libraries in creative ways. For all their many flaws, Netflix just gets it.

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The Apple web interface is just terrible. It's clear that figuring out a way for people who don't have Apple devices to use the service was barely an afterthought.

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It has terrible UI and it's by far the glitchiest of any streaming service app. Constant crashes, tons of latency, lots of "can't find this content now" errors. I do usually watch it through my Smart TV- maybe non-iOS app versions are afterthoughts?

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Plus, when you finish an episode (most of the time) that episode doesn't linger under "Continue Watching".

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I think Netflix is fairly bad at that but it's a huge annoyance I have with most streamers: If I watch the entire film/episode/whatever and stop at any point during the *end credits,* don't keep it under "Continue Watching." I've actually played through the entire credits at max speed just to keep things from sitting in that queue and Netflix is the worst because you have to get through all the translation credits too (those can run an extra three or more minutes).

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I had to go back and re-read your season review of Curb, because apart from the first two episodes, which had a few chuckles each but felt really shaggy, I think this has been a really strong late season of the show. After the second episode, when they teased the idea of Larry and Leon going to Africa, I even thought that maybe hitting the road would give the show a shot in the arm. But then they went back to LA, and all our friends came back, and everything was just clicking.

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Apr 5·edited Apr 5

Ripley looks dope. Interesting that the trailer calls it "a limited series." Wonder if they'll go the White Lotus route and try to win in that category before moving to full drama (if it's renewed)?

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Your phrasing about "Sugar" (which is, unfortunately, not a remake of the excellent baseball movie of the same name) made me wonder if we have a "Life On Mars" premise (British version) here. We'll see in episode six.

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Both versions of that show were bonkers but the finale to the American version remains one for the ages, and not in a good way. I still admire the willingness to just go for it anyway.

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Thought the same :)

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This season of Curb has been pretty stellar. Every episode had a strong moment or two, but some episodes were great beginning to end. Incredibly strong final season considering how long it’s run.

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In this piece and your Rolling Stone review you keep complaining about Netflix’s embargo and the caution needed to avoid spoilers with Sugar, but you really do kind of “spoil” the show — at least for me — just by trumpeting that there’s a huge giant twist in episode six which undercuts much of the story told up to that point. It doesn’t matter that you don’t say specifically that the guys’s a space alien or that the who show is revealed to be computer simulation or something. The specifics don’t matter. I now know that the first five episodes are a jerk-around and that’s enough to discourage me from wasting my time.

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Alan, re-reading your Sugar reviewed made me wonder: is The Good Place's first season part of the Surf Dracula phenomenon? Or was that a part of the whole, even if there was an epic twist in the final episode?

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I’d argue that’s different, because even after the twist, it’s still a show about how the afterlife doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. It’s just a different way after that, and things evolve from there. Sugar changes genres entirely with what happens.

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I've waited sooo long for Ripley to come out!

I'm a huge fan of Andrew Scott (since BBC's "The Hour") and Minghella's TMR film. I've watched the first 2 eps -- loving it so far.

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Every review or take I'v read on the new Ripley series always draws comparisons to The Talented Mr Ripley and always ignore the much better film IMHO, Ripley's Game. John Malkovich brought a new level of horror and fright to his version of Ripley, with Dougray Scott as his hapless "victim," so to speak. It's so disappointing to never see this film mentioned in any and all reviews I've seen of Andrew Scott's and Steve Zallian's version of Ripley.

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My review mentioned Ripley's Game. And the Damon version more frequently comes up because 1)It's an adaptation of the same story as the Netflix show, whereas Ripley's Game was based on a different book, 2)Talented Mr. Ripley was a big awards player, critical darling, still talked about today, whereas Ripley's Game came and went without much attention, and everyone I know who saw it said they thought Malkovich was great, and the movie around him was so-so.

But also, if you like Ripley's Game? You'll want to watch this. That's all I'm saying.

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My apologies, Alan, and thank you for correcting me. I had not read your review in RS. I do stand by what I wrote about Ripley's Game, though, but also appreciate than others weren't as impressed with the film. Malkovich's performance still haunts me to this day. He was terrifying.

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I have to say, I'm finding this final season of Curb painful. I feel like I'm 10 steps ahead of each of the jokes every episode. The Bruce Springsteen Covid episode was particularly bad because it felt like it was at least 3 years out of date and what was the point of the Matt Berry cameo?! Don't waste Matt Berry! It all feels so lazy. As soon as the court case started I knew he'd mirror the Seinfeld finale which is fine but leaves this ending less interesting as we already know where it's likely going. It's hard to believe it's the shame show that gave us The Doll and that great season where Larry was on Broadway. Ripley - loved it. It's a shame Loot doesn't work. Its another show like The Regime in as much as I expected so much given the talent on screen and behind the scenes but it just doesn't work.

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A couple of poor sitcom finales are mentioned here, but what are your favorite comedy show finales, Alan? I know you’ve mentioned your fondness for the Cheers finale in the past.

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It's Cheers.

If you consider Fleabag a sitcom, then Fleabag, too.

Parks finale is good. Office finale surprisingly good, given how terrible the final two seasons had been prior to the penultimate episode. (And UK Office finale is perfect.) "Holidays of Future Passed," which was written as a potential Simpsons series finale (the series is still around, 13 years later) is wonderful. Those are just a few that instantly come to mind.

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The other ones that to my mind are: M*A*S*H (that last image still hits hard), The Mary Tyler Moore Show (the gold standard that sitcom writers have said they want to reach), & Scrubs’ original finale.

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The Scrubs finale (before they decided to bring it back) was great - where JD and Elliot walk down the hallway seeing every character from the show had me crying.

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My wife and I watched a bunch of Friends episodes after Matthew Perry died, and I think that finale holds up pretty well, probably better than it did when it first aired.

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I thought the series finale of Veep was pure brilliance.

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The HIMYM slapsgiving episodes are a thanksgiving watch tradition for us, along with Friends. For both I don’t find their last episodes coming to mind when I’m rewatching

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