Bald Move TV

BALD MOVE TV
Jim and A.Ron’s semi-weekly round up of ALL the television!

Table of Contents

2018


“Sharp Objects” Wrap, “Castle Rock” Thoughts… 9/4/18
We're back to finish up (?) our coverage of HBO's Sharp Objects, and discuss our thoughts on Hulu's Castle Rock through S01E08 (00:26:04).

The Deuce – 201 – Our Raison D’être 9/11/18
Jim and A.Ron are happy to be back into the swinging 70's with the cast and crew of HBO's The Deuce, with it's return episode, "Our Raison D'être". This time and setting are so colorful, fun, and alive that it's easy to forget the layer of decay and menace that lurks just beneath each scene. Whether it's pimps losing their grip on the game or mobsters that have grown fat and lazy from politicians looking the other way, there are a lot of dangerous people that could quickly decide that they are being squeezed out. Who knows what kind of damage they could wreak on their way out? We hope you join us each week here on Bald Move TV as we watch another David Simon-led look into the intersection of politics, money, crime, and corruption.

Castle Rock Wrap Up 9/13/18
So Jim and I saw the final two episodes of Hulu's Castle Rock, and unfortunately for any Bald Movers that walked away as fans looking forward to season two, we're not among that number. We're not upset with the people who do like the show, as it's charms are evident; it looks great, boasts an incredibly talented cast, and cribs from very highly regarded plots and material by genius of horror Steven King that should add up to a mystery box show that we're desperate to open. Maybe that's the problem, that we're not as steeped in King lore, so we don't connect as much to this material? Or maybe we just don't have faith in the show runners to give us a satisfying end? Ultimately a show either grabs you or it doesn't, and we flat out slipped through Castle Rock's creepy grasp.

The Deuce – 202 – There’s an Art to This 9/18/18
A.Ron and Jim check out another funky episode of HBO's The Deuce. Lori and Eileen's careers heat up as the pimps are left out in the cold! Vincent gets nostalgic with Abby, while Paul and Bobby do their best to fight off rivals to their trades.

The Deuce – 203 – Seven-Fifty 9/25/18
HBO's The Deuce moves out the LaLa land in the latest episode, "Seven-Fifty". The title reminds us that even people that we think of as "good" are capable of terrible exploitation in this world, a reminder that Simon and Pecalanos like to give us every 10 minutes or so. Lori gets her time to shine without her pimp clouding her view, Eileen makes some slight headway towards securing the budget for her high concept adult film, while the first shot is fired in a mob war for control over NYC's sex trade.

Ozark – Season 2 Wrapup 9/30/18
For the first time since The Young Pope, Jim and Cecily come together to record a podcast, this time on season 2 of Netflix's Ozark. We talk about the many things we liked and the few things we didn't. We also christen the deadliest road in all of the Ozarks, squeeze a baby for all of its juice, and find out just how much Cecily knows about poison.

The Deuce – 204 – What Big Ideas 10/2/18
A.Ron and Jim are down to talk about the latest episode of HBO's The Deuce, "What Big Ideas". The Deuce drops another couple of bodies, which draws the increasing attention of the Public Morals Task Force. Unfortunately, that attention is incompetent, corrupt, or often both. Bobby and Vincent have trouble dealing with their involvement in the flesh trade, even as Abby and Dorothy beat the streets trying to organize and help their fellow women, often to little result. Also, C.C. innovates, Larry is packing, and Frankie's misadventures running the dry cleaning entertain.

The Deuce – 205 – All You’ll Be Eating Is Cannibals 10/9/18
Jim and A.Ron go cruising for the latest episode of HBO's The Deuce, and wind up going home with "All You'll Be Eating Is Cannibals". The Deuce has always featured duality; Frankie/Vincent being the parade example. But here we see two raids; one on an underground card game by a professional crew of criminals, another by professional law enforcement on an above ground massage parlor. We found ourselves sad and disquieted by both. We also see members of the gay community step out of the shadows and emerge as successful businessmen, politicians, neighbors working on the local council; as people, basically. And Vincent is confronted by his duality being converged, with Abby demanding him to take a side, either with her helping the women sex workers achieve safety and stability, or the mob that profiteers off their exploitation. But even if he wanted out, we're reminded of his scene last week with the volcanic Tommy, "what do you mean, you want out?" Wanting and doing are two very different things, as we're predicting we'll all come to appreciate as season two enters it's final act.

The Romanoffs – 101 & 102 – The Violet Hour & The Royal We 10/15/18
It's been three years since Don Draper and Peggy Olson left our televisions, and now Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner is back with something to say? Is it good, is it bad, is it something even worth saying? After seeing 180 minutes of his new series, The Romanoffs, we're still oddly divided on answering those basic questions. It's beautiful, and thoughtful, and at times absorbing, but are the disconnected lives of eight (perhaps delusional) offspring of the fallen House Romanov interesting enough to merit our attention? Over the next seven weeks we'll see what we make of it together!

The Deuce – 206 – We’re All Beasts 10/16/18
A.Ron and Jim blow all the doors down on the latest episode of HBO's The Deuce, "We're All Beasts". It provokes a lot of meta discussion about progressive politics, America's long lost battle against vice, and offensive analogies. We also talk about Eileen's guerrilla film-making campaign for what looks to be the very watchable Red Hot. Finally, A.Ron reacts to a 70s-era porno!

The Romanoffs – 103 – House of Special Purpose 10/22/18
Jim and I watched an unexpectedly spooky episode of Matthew Weiner's The Romanoffs, "House of Special Purpose". Starring Christina Hendricks, Jack Huston, and Isabelle Huppert, it's a tale that asks us whether we believe in ghosts or if one or perhaps more people are actually losing their minds. Does the spell work, and what is Weiner saying about coercive / abusive directors and set environments? Perhaps Hollywood's legacy of sexual abuse is the spookiest story of all? And despite the super serious subject matter, we also find time to pitch a sequel to Twister, somehow, because of Paul Riser? Perhaps it is us losing our minds after all.

The Deuce – 207 – The Feminism Part 10/23/18
Jim and I checked out the latest episode of HBO's The Deuce, "The Feminism Part", and boy, just a lot happened. There's mob money, murder, attempted murder, betrayals, breakups, Bobby's kid lost his virginity! The stakes can be as low as Vince losing himself for a few days tending bar in sleepy Vermont towns, or as high as a dead prostitute washing up and into Detective Alston's case load. That's life on The Deuce.

The Romanoffs – 104 – Expectations 10/29/18
Jim and A.Ron have a split decision on the forth episode of Amazon's The Romanoffs, "Expectations". A.Ron found it pointless and borderline unwatchable, where Jim was drawn into the human element of Amanda Peet's Julia struggling to deal with a secret that has been weighing on her conscience for 20 years. Regardless, the episode does feature engaging performances from very likable stars (the previously mentioned Peet, and John Slattery).

The Deuce – 208 – Nobody Has to Get Hurt 10/30/18
Jim and A.Ron are here to gush about the penultimate episode of this season's The Deuce, "Nobody Has to Get Hurt". Of course, that means that someone will have to. The person who gets the hammer felt shocking and also inevitable in hindsight. There's a lot of story left to unfold, the question now is how much resolution will we get and how much will be irrelevant once the show fast forwards to the 80's. We consider Eileen's career trajectory, Frankie tempting fate, the fall of House Pimp, and much more.

The Romanoffs – 105 – Bright and High Circle 11/5/18
The fifth episode of Amazon's The Romanoffs has something to say, but we're not sure what it is, if it's worth saying, and if Matthew Weiner is the right spokesperson for the message, which seems to be; the worst thing you can be accused of is accusing somebody else of something they didn't do. Regardless of how we felt about the themes at play, the presentation left a lot to be desired as well, featuring clunky dialog and either stagey acting and/or bizarre editing choices or both. You know, hallmarks of Mad Men, the series that made Weiner famous.

The Deuce – 209 – Inside the Pretend 11/6/18
HBO's The Deuce wrapped up it's second season in fine style, with the finale episode "Inside the Pretend". Simon and Pelecanos did an admirable job putting all their players in position to make the jump to the 80's. The pimps seem on the wane, the porn industry is still waxing, but the men and women of the industry don't seem to be enjoying their ascent as much as it would have seemed at this season's outset. It's hard to have a sunny outlook when people you care about wind up dead; that goes double when you're the one doing the killing. Can't wait to see how things shake up next year, we'll see you then!

The Romanoffs – 106 – Panorama 11/12/18
Jim and A.Ron think this latest episode of Amazon's The Romanoffs, "Panorama" is a mess. At best, it's a mildly interesting yet gorgeous travelogue for Mexico City. At worst, it's a poorly, written, directed, acted, and edited mess that seems to have no idea what it wants to say, and doesn't know enough about the topics to offer any depth to the things it reaches for. The only thing that kind of works is the relationship between the two ridiculously photogenic protagonists, but they are also the least interesting of the premises. Our hope for this series is now that Weiner can make one really exceptional episode out of the next two, or the finale episode is truly "The One That Holds Everything" and somehow ties this all together.

The Romanoffs – 107 – End of the Line 11/19/18
This, by our estimation, is the second best episode of Amazon Prime's The Romanoffs, but unfortunately, that's not saying much about "End of the Line". It features fairly engaging material involving a couple desperate to have a child engaging in grey-market adoption shenanigans in Russia, and the man and woman in question are appealing and sympathetic as leads. The script also approaches "crackling" in places, as these potential parents begin to fight over how far they're willing to go and what compromises they're willing to accept for their child, as the adoption environment itself plays on their paranoia and prejudice. Unfortunately, all this is betrayed by what has become as much of a Romanoffs trademark as it's nebulous connection to the titular theme; uninspired directing and editing.

The Romanoffs – 108 – The One That Holds Everything 11/26/18
Amazon Prime's The Romanoffs arrives at the finish line in "The One That Holds Everything". If you were hoping that this would be the one that really brings into focus Weiner's thesis for The Romanoffs, you're probably walking away disappointed. An ambitious story framing device that doesn't quite work leads to a surprise ending that doesn't feel earned, and we're still left at the end of it all confused and asking "why?" What is so fascinating about the Romanovs and their lives of various levels of privledge and quiet desperation that justifies the time and expense that went into making this, or watching it? We don't have great answers, but we're relieved to see this particular line of Romanoffs brought to an end.


2019


Bandersnatch 1/11/19
Jim and A.Ron have explored the latest Black Mirror mindf$#%, Bandersnatch. Essentially a choose your own adventure book turned into an interactive Netflix app, Bandersnatch periodically pauses to ask you how the narrative should proceed as you attempt to guide a troubled young 1980's programmer on the cusp of creating an acclaimed video game of the same name. With branching parallel storylines that can have outcomes that can be mundane, psychotic, or extremely meta, we ask if this is the future of television? We stay spoiler-free for a good portion of the beginning of this podcast, so if you're curious if it's worth your time feel free to listen up to the spoiler segment!

The Punisher and Star Trek: Discovery 1/18/19
We take a look at the first few episodes of seasons two of both Netflix's The Punisher as well as CBS's Star Trek: Discovery!

The Punisher Season 2 Wrapup 1/25/19
Jim and I haven't finished The Punisher season 2 yet, but we've seen enough to tap out as viewers. As we discuss in our spoiler filled review, The Punisher has the chief sin of all these Marvel/Netflix collaborations; a bloated 13 episode runtime, and adds to it ludicrous character details and plot-points until this grimdark ultra-violent fantasy pushes through the drama boundary and hits unintentional comedy. That's not the zone where The Punisher successfully operates. 8 episodes in, we still don't know why we should care about Amy, or what makes the Pilgrim tick, or why Frank let Russo off the hook when he should be worm food except, oh right, this is a 13 episode season instead of a more reasonable 8-10 episode season and if things made sense and had dramatic urgency they'd be five hours of content short.

Kingdom, Black Earth Rising 1/31/19
Jim and A.Ron give their thoughts and opinions on the entire first season of Netflix's Korean medieval zombie series, Kingdom, as well as the first two episodes of Black Earth Rising. Kingdom is much needed breath of fresh air in the mouldy zombie genre, with lush locations and sets, impressive costuming, excellent plotting and performances, and genuinely creepy and terrifying monsters. The boys both were very into the premise and promise of Black Earth Rising, but are worried two episodes in from the series penchant in getting distracted with Jason Bourne types of intrigue and assassinations as well as the complex and confusing personal lives of the main characters. Whether the excellent performances and important questions the show has to offer can overcome the clunky writing and execution remains to be seen.

Russian Doll and Black Earth Rising 2/6/19
Jim and A.Ron take a look at Netflix's new darkly comedic take on the Groundhog Day concept, Russian Doll (00:00:10).Starring Natasha Lyonne, it offers a funny, inventive, and interesting take on the human condition, what being happy and connectedness means, and what obligations we have to our fellow humans around us. At a binge time of less than 4 hours, we both feel like it's worth just about everyone's time to check out. We also circle back around to Black Earth Rising (00:43:05), which is still phenomenally interesting at its core, but can't decide which of a million sub-plots and character details it wants to focus on and remains a bit of a jumbled mess.

The Umbrella Academy / Lorena 2/15/19
Jim and A.Ron have seen The Umbrella Academy and Lorena, Netflix and Amazon originals respectively. The Umbrella Academy is a smart, fun take on the X-Men universe with some Noah Hawley DNA mixed in. Lorena is a four part documentary examining the 1993 dismembering case of Lorena Bobbitt. While the case is no doubt interesting and probably a big landmark in the struggle for equality of the sexes, we're not sure this production is doing a great job of raising these issues or presenting the facts in a straightforward way. We'll be back next week to give The Umbrella Academy and Lorena another whirl!

The Umbrella Academy, This Giant Beast, Documentary Now, Lorena 2/22/19
Jim and A.Ron watched a near record amount of television this week! We finished The Umbrella Economy and Lorena, as well as offering first looks at the third season of Documentary Now and the new Prime Original, This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy. Buckle in, this is a mega round up with lots of deep dives into political and economic topics!
The Umbrella Economy (00:01:03), This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy (00:28:58), Documentary Now (01:07:26), Lorena (01:11:24)

This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy 3/1/19

Into the Dark: Treehouse, Leaving Neverland 3/8/19
Jim and I cover two semi-related topics, the horror genre take on #metoo that is Hulu's Into the Dark: Treehouse (00:00:54) as well as the documentary on Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland (00:17:05) that paints a compelling, credible, and disturbing picture of the pop superstar. It's also an excellent primer on understanding and preventing child abuse, which every parent or potential parent should watch.

American Gods – 201 – “House on the Rock” 3/13/19
Cecily and A.Ron take over Bald Move TV to talk about the new season of Stars American Gods. While we have previously discussed the show in passing, we'll be taking longer looks at it this season, beginning with this premiere episode, "House on the Rock". There are a lot of reasons to be excited for this show; it's unique world and lush visual style, the performances and characters are delightfully over the top, and it's an adaptation of a highly regarded work where the literary creator is deeply involved in the production. But, there are reasons to be skeptical, as the production of season two is a story filled with delays and creative differences, leading to the firing of several showrunners, and has lead to numerous negative reviews of at least the early goings of season two. Still, we're committed to seeing this show to whatever end it meets, either of running it's natural creative course or at the hands of the hammer swinging execs at Stars. They don't call us the "Undertakers" for nothing!

Love, Death & Robots / The Case Against Adnan Syed 3/15/19
Jim and A.Ron give some brief thoughts on the brief episodes of Netflix's new gonzo animated anthology, Love, Death, and Robots, before beginning deliberations on HBO's new documentary, The Case Against Adnan Syed.

American Gods 202 – “The Beguiling Man” and 203 – “Muninn” 3/27/19
A.Ron and Cecily are back and catching up on season two of Starz American Gods! We're definitely seeing some of the weaknesses the critics and some disgruntled fans have been complaining about in isolated scenes; the road trip with Wednesday and Nancy being a particularly glaring example. But overall, we're still in love with the world, style, and characters being established here. We discuss hot topics from the past two weeks before getting to your feedback!

Barry Season Two Opener and American Gods Episode 204 4/3/19
Jim and A.Ron discuss their thoughts and feelings about the season opener for HBO's hilarious and thought-provoking Barry, then Cecily swings by the studio to talk American Gods (00:31:07) episode "The Greatest Story Ever Told".

Bald Move TV – Black Summer, Special, You vs Wild 4/12/19
Jim and I talk about our initial thoughts on Netflix's new shows; Black Summer, Special, and You vs. Wild. We ponder the age old question, what's harder to kill, the zombie genre or Bear Grylls?

can Gods 205 & 206 – “The Ways of the Dead” and “Donar the Great” 4/19/19
Jim, Cecily and A.Ron are here for a round table on Hulu’s new comedy, Ramy, and the latest two episode of Starz, American Gods. We all found Ramy to be really funny as well as insightful, and if you’ve had to struggle with your religious identity with a strict upbringing (cough, cough) we’re sure you’ll relate to the material. And then, there’s American Gods, which is all over the place, as Gods are wont to do.

Grass is Greener, Bonding, Beyonce’s Homecoming, Vice’s The Future of Work 4/26/19
We have a buffet of TV offerings this week, including two documentaries (one about the history of marijuana in America and the other on the future of employment in the face of robotics and AI), one amazing concert experience, and one micro-comedy about BDSM and sex-work. Join our round table featuring Jim, A.Ron and Cecily as we discuss!
Grass is Greener - 00:00:00, Bonding - 00:14:35, Homecoming - 00:23:42, The Future of Work - 00:28:54

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile / Knock Down the House / Tuca & Bertie / American Gods Season 2 Wrapup 5/3/19
We’ve got the whole crew together today, forming up like a TV-reviewing (and definitely the least rad) Voltron to tackle yet another Netflix original about piece about Ted Bundy, a powerful documentary on the fight to give power back to the people, a modern animated tale of the ups and downs of relationships and the final verdict on season two of American Gods.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile – 00:00:59, Knock Down the House – 00:30:13, Tuca & Bertie – 00:40:50, American Gods – 00:48:11

Chernobyl – Episode 1 – 1:23:45 5/8/19
Chernobyl is already one of the most fascinating and relevant disaster movies I can think of, and we’re only one episode into it’s five episode run. “1:23:45” does a great job of introducing us to the men and women that will be affected by the nuclear power plant’s explosion, sets up the political dysfunction that will impede the increasingly desperate and heroic attempts to contain the environmental catastrophe, and visually and audibly highlight the dangerous, hellish conditions the rescue workers and plant technicians were forced to confront. Is the Chernobyl disaster a uniquely Soviet phenomenon? Could something like this happen in the West? And what lessons about a pervasive culture of lying and misinformation can we apply to our lives today? We hash out these questions and much more. If you’re interested in further reading, here is thepictorial essay I mention in the podcast, containing detailed background details around the plant’s construction, what went wrong the fateful day of the explosion, and the immediate aftermath and resolution of containment. Obviously, massive spoilers if you’re unfamiliar with the Chernobyl reactor explosion. Here is also an XKCD comic that effectively helps one appreciate the massive doses of radiation the people working and living near Pripyat could have faced.

Watchmen, State of the Union, Tuca and Bertie, Harlots 5/10/19
Jim, Cecily, and A.Ron have a round table discussion about the new Watchmen trailer from HBO, the latest micro-comedy from Sundance, State of the Union, an update on Netflix’s Tuca and Bertie,and Cecily and A.Ron pitch Hulu’s Harlots to Jim.

Chernobyl – Episode 2 – Please Remain Calm 5/15/19
Jim and I strap on our lead shielding and check our dosimeters before doing a deep dive into the second installment of Chernobyl, the HBO miniseries about the doomed nuclear facility. In “Please Remain Calm”, the stakes increase as the lives of over 60 million Europeans are threatened by the crisis, and decisions are made that will lead to the deaths of individuals to potentially save millions.
Some further reading / viewing material submitted by the Bald Move audience:
Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich
Chernobyl Heart
Chernobyl. 1986.04.26 P.S.
Chernobyl. 3828
PBS American Experience documentary “Command and Control”“Command and Control” by Eric Schlosser

Catch-22, Fleabag, Muhammad Ali: What’s My Name? 5/17/19
Jim, A.Ron and Cecily discuss their thoughts on the latest offerings from the gods of television.
Catch-22 (00:00:00) – a new dark comedy/drama from Hulu based on the novel of the same name.
Fleabag (00:22:50) – returning for it’s second season for Amazon is this extremely funny off-beat comedy about a woman trying to get her life together starring the crazy talented Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Muhammad Ali: What’s My Name (00:34:59) – a new sports documentary from HBO, about the famed boxer’s life in and out of the ring with an emphasis on his civil rights and humanitarian work.

Chernobyl – Episode 3 – Open Wide, O Earth 5/22/19
Jim and I have seen episode three of HBO’s Chernobyl series, “Open Wide, O Earth”, and are shaken by the graphic depiction of the Chernobyl first responders’ last days. We get to see the horror from multiple perspectives, the victims themselves, the and the friends and family who struggle to cope with this strange manner of death and the danger it poses to them. Meanwhile as the Soviets manage to contain and stop the fire, we gear up for the long war ahead; to fully contain the death and destruction of Chernobyl it will require 750k lives and three years of sacrifice. Will they be up for the challenge? And will they solve the mystery of the reactor’s destruction, so that it might never happen again? All this plus some light discussion on the relative merits of free market capitalism vs centrally planned economies in feedback. You know, kids stuff.

Fleabag Wrap, Dead to Me, The Perfection 5/24/19
Me, Cecily and Jim have some recommendations and thoughts for your weekend viewing! We rave about the nearly flawless two seasons of Fleabag we just saw on Amazon Prime (00:00:00), Jim gives a bit of a preview for Netflix’s new dramedy Dead to Me (00:06:34), starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, and then… we get to our review of The Perfection (00:11:54). This is a movie that Jim walked out on. Twice. Yet people are loving this film. What gives? Cecily and me try to defend the film on it’s merits, but the truth is it’s a hot mess of a film that tries to get away with a lot it probably shouldn’t be trying, and you’re either up to seeing it or you’re not.

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