I've got a lot to go back over!
The Wheel of Time
I've seldom seen a worse beginning to a fantasy story than the first episode of this. It gets a little better over its run, but dear god some of the performances are rock-bottom awful. Also, I don't give two figs about shonky CGI (and there's a lot of it here) as long as the characters are interesting, but 80% of them weren't and there was no proper villain. No villain! In a fantasy epic! It got better in its final few episodes, and I'm hoping it picks up in season 2 as aspects of it are really good.
Suffers some of the same issues as TWoT above, especially around acting ability (Brother Dawn is terrrrrrrrible) but has the benefit of a deep story and lore to carry it over the rough bits. Objectively it's not great, but the scale of the plot and the huge mine of ideas it's drawing from make it fascinating to me, even when the acting's end-of-the-pier standard.
Haven't heard much chat about this on the 'muk, so I'll do a brief synopsis: in 1995, a high school football team (girls)'s flight to a competition crashes in the Canadian wilderness. In 2022, we see the messed-up, PTSD-ed, dodgy, criminal lives these messed-up individuals are leading as secrets and revelations keep coming out.
This was a solid 9 for me until the last third, when it decided it wanted to be something else other than a mystery/crime drama. It's still great, and plenty shocking in places, but it did shift towards:
...near the end, which put me off a little. Hopefully they can integrate it better into season two. The show is kinda like Lost in a lot of structural aspects, although it treats 1995 as the 'now' with how those things impact the 'future' of 2022, as opposed to Lost showing how the past informs the present. The wilderness story is more interesting than the present day, but the present day stuff is packed with amazing women actors who you just don't see often enough: Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey and - best of all - Christina Ricci who slaps in a role she totally owns.
Despite some shaky missteps in places as it finds its feet within the layered world it's set up, the great premise and female-forward stories make it a strong recommend from me.
Continuing the trend of all Marvel TV shows being a... dog's dinner? Dog's breakfast? Whichever the messy one is. Although aren't both dogs' meals messy? And contain the same food?? A question for another time, perhaps.
I read the Ms. Marvel comics when they first came out - the first dozen or so anyway - and loved it. Pretty much all the stuff that's weak in this show is stuff that wasn't in the comic origins: duff superpowered enemies with cardboard personalities, a crappy will-they-won't they love interest plot with an anaemic bloke, too many 'secret departmental agents with limited and uninteresting powers and/or weapons' cannon fodder types, a plethora of supporting characters that never get fleshed out properly, an unwelcome (and slightly point-breaking) change to Kamala's core powers, and an uneasy mix of family conflict, politics, racial profiling, and a watered-down history lesson.
Despite it having tons of room to breathe - too much, in my opinion - the show still feels under-baked and incomplete. The irritating thing is that the template we get in the first episode, with reality mixing with fantasy, a focus on Kamala's ordinary life, coping with superpowers being a metaphor for coping with family/school/religion, the quirky teacher, the cliquey friend groups... all this stuff is great and makes a great return in the final episode. It's all the regular Marvel series nonsense that messes things up.
A supercut removing as much of the family backstory, the dull trip to Pakistan, pointless flashbacks, interminable wedding stuff and lots of the DoDC guff would help, but really the core fix would have been to add more of school life and family life, focusing on what it's like to be a young Muslim girl in modern society, versus the muddled and overlong gumbo of confusing origins, ill-defined powers, and hastily-sketched extended family we're given. I've added a whole extra point for how fabulously fun and watchable Iman Vellani is, though.