You’ve got plenty of time to catch up with those shows you’ve been putting off, and thankfully there are still some new seasons of prime television being aired during this lockdown and pandemic. We’re going to start a new QUICK SHOTS feature here, giving just a brief overview (and bible scores) for some of the latest geek-tastic shows that might be worth your time, and where to find them.
Let’s start right with the big one…
BETTER CALL SAUL (Season 5, AMC)
Ever since Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) said his pseudonymous name at the end of the Season 4 finale, nothing has been the same. And now that he’s fully entrenched with the terrifyingly charming, fascinating Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton, easily the creepiest, most unpredictable character in the Breaking Bad universe), the stakes have just risen to an incredible degree.
Starting off hilarious, and segmented (Jimmy, Mike, Gus, and Nacho mostly kept to the separate worlds the last few seasons), everyone is now fully intertwined, including an amazing, incredible presence in Rhea Seehorn‘s Kim Wexler, who, in the last three episodes of this season, took an unpredictable, yet fully deserved turn. To see that it’s her who’s transformed the most — or, perhaps, just finally embraced what was always there — is glorious. And, as always, this remains the most gorgeous, cinematic, classically shot TV show on the air. 6/5 Water Bottles of Pee.
DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE (Season 1, AMC)
The follow-up airing right after Better Call Saul is AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere. Based on the documentary The Institute, this show follows a group of four teammates-turned-friends, led by Peter (Jason Segal) as they bounce around Philadelphia in a massive, interactive game. Things get a bit dicey when one of the group, Fredwynn (a near unrecognizable Andre Benjamin) uncovers a possible abduction being conducted within the game.
Star/producer Segal really works his deadpan, puppy dog persona to his benefit here; at turns hilarious, and a more than a tad melancholy. A considerable amount of mystery, and fantastical imagery, abound, and the score by Atticus and Leopold Ross is incredible— easily the best aspect of this anthology series. There’s still one episode left to air, which feels a bit bizarre, seeing as the season reached its climax over the last two weeks. But this is definitely a series to catch, even if it feels like it’s slightly overstaying its welcome. 4/5 Dancing Sasquatches.
TALES FROM THE LOOP (Season 1; Amazon Prime)
Another anthology series with a serious sci-fi tilt, this series is based on the artwork of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag. Starring Rebecca Hall, and Jonathan Pryce, these loosely interconnected tales offer a slightly-less-bleak look at technology’s effect, and stranglehold, on society, all centered in a town within proximity of the futuristic, massive machine, the Loop, which twists time and space in often unexpected ways.
Wistful, especially the episodes focused on Pryce, and incredibly atmospheric –much like Stålenhag’s original artwork, nearly every shot could be hung up on a wall– the Philip Glass/Paul Leonard-Morgan score is lush, moody, and gorgeous. The production design is incredible, offering a convincing view of a near future that feels like it’s always got one foot firmly in the past. Very reminiscent of director David Michôd‘s 2014 dystopian sci-fi film, The Rover, but with considerably more hope. 4/5 Sentient Robots.