I’m back! And ready to talk about ‘Many Saints’ and ‘Squid Game!’

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Dogs chase mouse into field, but it outsmarts them from gifs

All Other TV News

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:

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.

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.



In Development

Casting News

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.


Alan Kalter, David Letterman’s announcer

Granville Adams, Actor on Oz

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

Late Night:

  • 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

MON. 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
ABC Dancing with the Stars
The Good Doctor
CBS The Neighborhood
Bob ♥ Abishola
NCIS: Hawai’i
CW Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
FOX 9-1-1
The Big Leap
NBC The Voice
Ordinary Joe

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