Here's our second of three episodes on the first season of the Australian comedy Please Like Me! This week we talk about episodes three and four, in which the show gradually reveals its beating heart and Niamh once again proves to be Just The Worst.
After our recording hiatus, we come back to talk about some really gross, disturbing, concerning stuff surrounding this season of Bachelor in Paradise. Heads up - this includes some descriptions of alleged sexual assault. We talk about our collective lack of surprise that this has happened and how this makes us feel about the franchise more broadly. If this discussion is not something you're comfortable listening to (trust us, we get it), please skip ahead to 21:55, where we talk about all the things we've been watching over our break.
For a brief maternity leave hiatus, we're doing a lightning-round TV Book Club - the first season of Australian comedy Please Like Me. In our first episode we talk about episodes one and two, and chat about coming out stories, awkwardness, the comic potential of suicide attempts, and Margaret's fear that she's actually Niamh.
The first part of our conversation this week is about the shows we intend to watch during our recording hiatus, a wide-ranging list of stuff we really should have gotten to by now. Then we talk about socially conscious TV criticism, how it breaks from previous traditions of criticism, and how issues of representation and social justice affect our viewing habits.
Our trek through the stars comes to a conclusion this week, as we chat about the double-length time-hopping series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. How does series newcomer Margaret feel about this sci-fi touchstone? Does the finale help to make up for the pilot? And how would we rate every character's old age makeup?
This week, we zoom and enhance on how TV uses modern tech to tell good stories (or to do the opposite, as the case may be). Why doesn’t anyone on TV lock their phone with a passcode? What does it say when a character leaves their phone’s sounds on? And are crime shows even trying to get it right?
This week we spend a little more time with Q, everyone’s favorite trickster (Captain Picard notwithstanding). As the series went on, Q was softened and given more dimensions than he had in early appearances, and he was helped along by his chemistry with Patrick Stewart. This will all be good stuff to keep in mind as we warp toward the finale!
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! This week we hit the pause button to do a little navel gazing, getting into some listener questions about how we met and how our show came to be, and then we dive a little deeper into what we like to watch and how.
It's Borg Week on Star Trek TV Bookclub! We skip our usual short segment so that we can cover four episodes of Borg-y goodness, which includes thoughts on why Picard is such a fitting Borg opponent, what exactly is going on with Guinan's hats, and why no one thought to program "this is what a Borg cube looks like" into the Enterprise computer. Margaret and Kathryn also have several thoughts about Picard's wardrobe and physique. Spoiler: they are complimentary thoughts.
This week we start things off by talking about conventions, tropes, and storytelling techniques that get in the way of the action and pull us out of shows we otherwise really like. Then, we chat about what makes Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale adaptation unique and effective, even in a field crowded with Peak TV dramas.
We've got four Star Trek TV Book Club episodes to get through this week, so it's All Trek, All the Time. We cover some TNG greatest hits, including the much-lauded episode The Inner Light. We may or may not have some feelings about the costuming choices there. Kathryn has some thoughts about poker.
This week’s show is about endings. Resident professional TV critic Kathryn VanArendonk tells us how she feels about HBO’s Girls wrapping up, and then the three of us discuss the finales that we feel wrap their respective shows up right (and also wrong).
After speculating wildly about the new Amy Sherman-Palladino pilot for Amazon, we watch and discuss the first episode of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and talk about how it (mostly) exceeded our expectations. We then move to a discussion about television we once loved, and then found our affections had soured.
This week we do the briefest of check-ins with the state of TV in Trump’s America—specifically, the post-election cancellation of Reza Aslan’s ABC sitcom about a Muslim-American family.
Then, we jump to warp with week two of our Star Trek: The Next Generation TV Book Club, in which we discuss season 1’s The Big Goodbye, season 2’s Measure of a Man, and season 3’s Yesterday’s Enterprise.
We begin this week with a TV vs TV, in which Margaret and Kathryn go head to head in a debate about the best way to spend your money if you're only going to buy a single standalone streaming service. Many elements are considered, many factors are weighed, and in the end, no one's particularly happy about the decision. (Except the winner). From there we move into a broader discussion of the proliferation of streaming outlets, with a particular focus on CBS All Access and Seeso.
We've got just one thing on our minds this week - Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's our newest TV Book Club, and we'll be watching a series of hand-picked episodes from its seven-year run over the next few weeks to introduce Margaret (and, hopefully, some of you!) to its charms.
Sadly, those charms are largely absent from its sprawling, messy pilot. It's a poorly paced, poorly plotted, and incompetently assembled collection of parts that bears just a superficial resemblance to what the show would later become. But! It's important for continuity reasons, and it'll make it all the more fun in a couple weeks when we start getting into the good stuff.
Did you know that Amy Sherman-Palladino has a pilot for a new series streaming on Amazon? Yeah! We consider the potentially dubious wisdom of that project and imagine how we'd advise Jeff Bezos on its prospects. For our second segment, we consider the brutal onslaught of new TV that'll be appearing over the next several weeks, including new shows like Handmaid's Tale and Feud, and returning series like Catastrophe, Better Call Saul, and Veep.
This week we also promo our next TV Book Club - Star Trek: TNG! We'll be discussing the two-part pilot episode for episode 82, so hop on the bandwagon!
We get started this week with some listener mail that takes issue with our characterization of Kate from This Is Us; we don't AGREE with the listener, but we do take some time to more fully flesh out our talking points from before.
After taking about an extremely unfair and damaging iTunes review, we then spend some time in the Archie-meets-Pretty-Little-Liars world of The CW's Riverdale, a small town about sexy teens, the people who want to have sex with them, and the mysterious murders they commit.
This week we talk about the recent announcement that The Bachelorette has cast its first black lead, and dissect the weird spoilery timing of that announcement. We consider why this is an important milestone for the franchise, and why it's total nonsense that ABC actually be applauded for it.
We also turn to the end of our Fargo TV book club, discussing the final three episodes of the first season. It's hard not to spend the entire segment just jumping up and down and squealing about how great the show is.
First up, an apology: this is a recording of our recent live show at the Free Library in Philadelphia, and unfortunately the audio quality falls far short of our normal standards. We have learned a very important lesson about Having Contingency Plans and Packing Extra Equipment, and we should hopefully be able to avoid a repeat of this in the future.
For those of you who listen, it's still a good show! We talk up beloved 90s TV dog Wishbone, and debate the merits of letting a talking dog re-enact literary classics. Then, guest judge Craig Getting joins us to help us decide which is the best book-to-TV adaptation.
This week, upcoming remakes of both Will and Grace and Queen Eye For The Straight Guy show us that just because you CAN reboot something doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD. Then, we revisit the frigid, murderous Midwest for another installment of our TV Book Club segment on season one of FX's Fargo.
After mentioning HBO's The Young Pope in our episode on notable new TV for winter 2017, we return to discuss the depths and breadths of Andrew's distaste for it. Kathryn attempts to provide some cinematic context for the show; some singing is involved. We then pick up with the second installment in our Fargo book club, discussing episodes two through four. Topics include viscera, the purpose of viscera, pure evil vs pure goodness, and locusts.
On this week's show we're joined by Christina Grace of the Unfriendly Black Hotties podcast (@theblackhotties on Twitter) to talk about ex-Vice President Joe Biden's odd turn on SVU earlier this season; it doesn't really make any sense but it's also a reminder of a less bleak time. We also dig way into the surprisingly effective schmaltziness of This Is Us.
Have you ever noticed that people are rarely cold on TV? We did! Well, some of us did, and Andrew has some (reasonable) questions about whether that's even an interesting thing to notice, much less talk about. Regardless, talk about it we do.
We then move onto the inspiration for our cold TV thoughts, the first part of our book club on the FX show Fargo. This week we look at the pilot, and talk about the differences between it and the Coen brothers' film, representations of evil in naturalism, and what it sounds like when you fake an orgasm with a Minnesotan accent.
Inauguration Day looms, so we've devoted a good chunk of this episode to discussing whether you should watch Donald Trump on Friday. It's a spirited discussion, but not a bad one.
We then move to a lighter subject: namely, Netflix's modernized-yet-anachronistic reboot of Norman Lear's One Day at a Time.