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Hi hi hi! I’m back from having feted our friend Whitney and am ready to talk TV again. I caught up with two buzzy items while I was away: Squid Game and The Many Saints of Newark, and am ready to take any questions or chat with you about what you thought. A few items about both:
The Many Saints of Newark has elicited a wide variety of reactions from Sopranos fans, ranging from full-blown HATE to a mild, “I’m not sure why anyone thought this needed to be made, but it’s fine.” Personally, I am not mad at it, but Sopranos fans should be very clear going into this film: this is a movie about a character you don’t know, don’t care about, and barely has any impact on the show you know and love.
This is a good article about how the actors in Many Saints tackled recreating iconic Sopranos characters. I didn’t actually recognize Corey Stoll as Uncle Junior until late into the film, and in fact, was kind of underwhelmed by his performance as Jun … until the end. As for Vera Farmiga, her portrayal of Livia Soprano was inspired, and while I don’t know if it was intentional or not, I couldn’t help but notice a physical resemblance between her and Edie Falco’s Carmela. Is the movie making a subtle Oedipal connection for Tony?
And TV Line has a list of 12 Sopranos Easter eggs featured in the movie, though I don’t know if “Tony likes music” really counts.
As for Squid Game, hoo boy. I enjoyed it very much: it is visually stunning, the story is well-told and holds up through all 9 episodes, it has something to say about inequality and human nature, and it is a perfect Netflix series in that episodes often end on a cliffhanger that makes you want to hit that “Play Next Episode” button. That said, I hesitate to recommend it broadly because it is exceptionally violent. I have a high tolerance for violence and gore, but this series pushed even my limits.
All THAT said, if you enjoyed Squid Game, or have not watched it yet but intend to, I have two recommendations: the Korean Academy-award-winning film Parasite and the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale. Parasite also tackles the issues of economic inequality and class conflict through a lens of horror and dark humor. And Battle Royale, in which a group of Japanese teens is taken to an isolated island and forced to participate in a game in which they kill each other until one victor remains, is an obvious precursor to both Hunger Games and Squid Game.
Here, creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk discusses how he had actually written the show 10 years ago, but investors and actors were turned off by the violence and supposed improbability of such brutality. But then the world caught up.
As for whether there will be a second season, Netflix definitely wants one, seeing as Squid Game has (probably) become its most popular series ever. I’m going to spoiler font some of this for those of you who haven’t seen the series:
“I’m getting a lot of pressure on Season 2,” he said. SCROLL OVER TO READ: “I still have the story about the Front Man and his relationship with his brother, the police man. And people are also curious about where Gi-hun is headed in the finale because he turns away from the plane. I think I do have the obligation to explain it to the fans and I’m thinking about Season 2, but at the time, I was so tired after finishing Season 1, I couldn’t really think of Season 2. But now that it’s become such a big hit, people would hate me if I don’t make a Season 2, so I feel a lot of pressure and think I’d have to. The big success of Season 1 is a big reward to me, but at the same time it’s given me a lot of pressure.”
In terms of Emmy eligibility: technically, Squid Game is eligible for both the Primetime Emmy race and the International Emmys — but Netflix has to choose one.
Everyone seems convinced that Squid Game costumes are going to be super popular this Halloween, and Netflix is selling merch (though no official costumes).
This viewer has some very good insight on some mistranslations in Squid Game that is worth your time if you’ve watched the series:
ok i made this really fast so it’s not very good but these are the small examples i could find in ten mins pic.twitter.com/5kIsrlWDjq
— youngmi mayer (@ymmayer) September 30, 2021
Finally, yes, Netflix has edited out that phone number so that poor man will stop getting so many calls and texts. This is why the 555 area code was invented, children.
Good news: CBS’s new comedy, Ghosts, is the most-watched new network comedy this season. If you haven’t watched — give it a chance, it’s very charming.
People are real mad about the aspect ratio Netflix is using on Seinfeld.
to emphasize, the titular pothole from the season 8 episode The Pothole is cropped out on Netflix https://t.co/gH4l5V8HfS pic.twitter.com/6G35eZQymW
— Brandon (spooky version) (@Thatoneguy64) October 1, 2021
SO, NETFLIX. YOU SPEND EIGHT SQUILLION ON SEINFELD AND THEN YOU SHOW IT IN THE WRONG RATIO. pic.twitter.com/SJiWNTOVIy
— 🥃Donald Clarke📽 (@DonaldClarke63) September 30, 2021
This Seinfeld aspect ratio is unacceptable pic.twitter.com/AZreAhPxZV
— Quinn. (@ShineUrLiteOnMe) October 1, 2021
I’ve been hearing about the aspect ratio/video quality problems with Seinfeld on Netflix, but honestly it looks normal to me. pic.twitter.com/wyIPYwrHPB
— Justin W. (@lousywithghosts) October 2, 2021
Roman and Gerri’s relationship on Succession was inspired by the actors’ actual flirting on set. I love this.
This writer watched Diana: The Musical so you wouldn’t have to.
Petri Hawkins Byrd, Judge Judy‘s longtime bailiff, was not asked to be on her new show, Judy Justice, and he seems pretty hurt over the whole thing.
LOL, Former President Groper has to be deposed in the Summer Zervos case. GOOD.
A quick political note: I’ve not really talked much politics here since President Biden was sworn in, in part because he’s not a TV president (unlike some people), in part because I don’t constantly feel like my hair is on fire over some new attack on our country and system, in part because the past five years exhausted me so much that I have been relieved for the past 9 months that I HAVEN’T had to pay as close attention: grown-ups are in charge and they are doing their jobs. However, the threat to our country is not gone, and we’d be foolish to not acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the far-right (and not-so far-right) to regain power in any way possible. Bill Maher often gets on my last damn nerve, but he’s not wrong about any of this. Pay attention.
- NCIS: Hawai’i and FBI: International have been given full-season orders at CBS.
- Lost in Space will end after season three on Netflix.
- A dark comedy about a closeted teen is in the works at HBO Max from the creators of The Other Two.
- The Survivor has been acquired by HBO.
- Ghislaine Maxwell: Life on Trial has been bought by Starz.
- American Born Chinese has been ordered to series at Disney+.
- RuPaul Charles has signed a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television.
- Getaway is no longer going forward at NBC. This frees up Matt Long and could allow him to return to Manifest.
- Ellie Kemper, Nico Santos, Luke Grimes, and Blythe Danner will star in Happiness for Beginners on Netflix.
- Taylor Kitsch, Ana Cruz Kayne, Tyler Ritter, John Ales, Sam Anderson, Carolina Bartczak, Jack Mulhern, and Ron Lea have joined the cast of Painkiller on Netflix.
- Eric Balfour has joined the cast of The Offer on Paramount+.
- Daveed Diggs, Jameela Jamil, Jason Alexander, and Robert Beltran have joined the voice cast of Star Trek: Prodigy on Paramount+.
Mark Your Calendar
- House of the Dragon will debut on HBO sometime in 2022.
- The Wheel of Time will debut on Amazon on November 19.
- Outlander returns on Starz in 2022.
- Doctor Who: Flux will debut on BBC America on October 31.
- Psych 3: This Is Gus will premiere on Peacock on November 18.
- Star Trek: Discovery will return on Paramount+ on November 18.
- Hanna will return on Amazon on November 24.
- Dune will premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22.
- The Trip will debut on Netflix on October 15.
- Crossing Swords returns on Hulu on December 10.
- Blade Runner: Black Lotus will premiere on Adult Swim on November 13.
- Alex Rider returns on IMDb TV on December 3.
- Danger Force will return on Nickelodeon on October 23.
- For Auld Lang Syne, a Peanuts holiday special, will debut on Apple TV+ on December 10.
- Homestead Rescue will premiere on Discovery Channel on October 17.
- Undercover Underage will debut on Discovery+ on November 2.
Alan Kalter, David Letterman’s announcer
Granville Adams, Actor on Oz
I lost my brotha today after a long battle with cancer.
I don’t do well with loss because I’m unfamiliar with it.
Yo Granny we’ll be chopping it up on the other side one day.
Rest easy my friend.
Granville Adams🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/mL04Mw4wjY
— KID VICIOUS🔪 (@kirkacevedo) October 10, 2021
Ava Ostern Fries, Producer and inspiration for Troop Beverly Hills
We’re Here: The queens return to Spartanburg, SC, where the pandemic cut short their first visit. Season premiere. 8 p.m., HBO
Baby-Sitters Club: Season two. Netflix
Thirteen Ghosts: Now, listen, I am not saying that this is a good horror movie — it’s not — but it has Matthew Lillard and Tony Shalhoub in it, and when do those two ever intersect. 7 p.m., AMC
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Chelsea Handler, Finn Wolfhard, James Blake featuring Slowthai
- Late Night with Seth Meyers: Ron Howard, Clint Howard, Hillary Clinton, Louise Penny
- Jimmy Kimmel Live: Martin Short, Jonathan Majors, Walk the Moon
- Watch What Happens Live: Mzi “Zee” Dempers, Capt. Sandy Yawn
|ABC||Dancing with the Stars
|The Good Doctor
|Bob ♥ Abishola
|CW||Roswell, New Mexico
|Roswell, New Mexico
|The Big Leap