The Weekend Roundup – 02/03

This week in the Roundup: singing knights, unfortunate events, con-men, and time travel.

Hello, readers and welcome to the first edition of The Weekend Roundup!

You’ve stumbled upon a new recurring series where I do mini-reviews of what I’ve been watching in the past week. Given my recent entry into full-time employment, I have much less time to watch TV and even less time to write about it than I did previously. So this series is my attempt to have my cake and eat it too. I’ll still be writing dedicated reviews for certain shows but this format is a way for me to offer my opinions on shows that aren’t necessarily worth a full review or that I don’t have time to review in depth.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Sneaky Pete (Amazon)

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This one is a real winner for Amazon. When you put a show in front of me that was created by Bryan Cranston and is showrun by Graham Yost (Justified) you’ve all but guaranteed that I’ll watch it.

Sneaky Pete follows the story of Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) who after being let out of prison, assumes the identity of his cellmate Pete in order to hide from a New York gangster (played marvelously by Cranston) to whom he owes a debt. Marius decides to hide out with Pete’s grandparents (played by Peter Gerety and Beloved Character Actress Margo Martindale) who run a bail bond business in Bridgeport, while he plans his next move. The only problem is, Pete’s family has secrets of their own and they soon start to come to the surface.

If that sounded complex that’s because it is. The great thing about Sneaky Pete is that its premise is so untenable. The characters are constantly scrambling to get a foothold and it creates a very propulsive story filled with constant tension. It helps that said tension is sold by a top-notch cast. Aside from the main cast, there’s great supporting work from Alison Wright (The Americans) and Jacob Pitts (Justified) just to name a few. Everyone involved is clearly having a blast and that in turn, makes it a blast to watch.

I’ve seen eight out of the 10 episodes of Sneaky Pete‘s first season and things are truly starting to heat up. I can’t wait to see how it ends. You really should watch this show.

Galavant (ABC)

TIMOTHY OMUNDSON, JOSHUA SASSE

I missed this show when it aired on ABC in 2015 and 2016 but was pleasantly surprised to find both seasons available to stream on Netflix.

Galavant is a fantasy musical comedy series from Dan Fogelman featuring music from Alan Menken and it’s about as silly as you’d image it to be. Characters randomly burst into song and no one is taking this thing too seriously and for that, I love it. Galavant truly isn’t that great of a show but it’s just so much fun to watch and it makes me happy to know what a show like this existed. The plot isn’t going to enthrall you and the characters aren’t exactly what I would call nuanced but this is a show that you enjoy for what it is. It’s the TV equivalent of comfort food and sometimes that’s all you need.

There are worse things you could watch plus, this song really gets stuck in my head…

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)

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The word I keep using to describe Netflix’s adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events is whimsical. Which I’ll admit, probably isn’t the best word since the show is still as dour as the name would suggest, but the whole thing perfectly captures the tone of author Daniel Handler’s (who was heavily involved in the making of the show) beloved series of children’s novels. It also looks like what I imagine a Wes Anderson TV show would look like.

I’ve only seen one episode as of this writing but I was delighted but how much the show was able to bring me back to my childhood, right down to my endless frustration with how useless the adults are. Seriously, as a kid, it killed me that all it would take to save the Baudelaire children from all this misery would be one adult just listening to them. Watching this show brought all this back to me in a way I wasn’t expecting (or perhaps had forgotten).

While the actors who play the Baudelaire orphans didn’t do much to stand out in the pilot, Neal Patrick Harris makes quite the impression as Count Olaf. I’m sure as the season progresses all will settle into their roles well. Another cast standout is Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, who serves as the show’s narrator. His constant asides and dry commentary on the story really helped immerse me in what was going on. Plus, I just feel so gosh darn sorry for those kids. It’s all very……unfortunate (I’m sorry, I had to).

Timeless (NBC)

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I’m very pleased to say that my initial impression of Timeless hasn’t changed from what I wrote last fall.

The show continues to deliver a great time traveling adventure with each episode and the characters remain well drawn and have great chemistry with one another. While the overarching mystery has moved more to the forefront as the season has gone on, it still feels like a relative afterthought to the characters and the time period of the week. Which, if I’m being honest is fine by me. I’d rather have a show with interesting characters that takes the time to develop them than one with a complex mystery featuring people I don’t care about.

I’ll likely check back in with Timeless after the season ends but I’m glad I’ve stuck with this one.

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