All Things TV Series Recommendations/Reviews

BleedGopher

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'The Many Saints of Newark' is a stylish, worthy prequel to 'Sopranos'​


"The Many Saints of Newark" begins with death.

The first shot in the prequel to "The Sopranos" is of a cemetery, filled with the rotting corpses of thugs from the crime families that populated the HBO series. One of the corpses, Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), is our narrator, telling us of mentor Tony Soprano, "After he murdered me, Tony gave my wife and baby his pocket change."

The idea that life didn't mean much for the crime families of Newark in the middle of the past century hangs over "Saints," with the voice of poor Christopher constantly reminding us of the human cost of the robberies, arson and murder we see on-screen. The protagonist is Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), a Jekyll-and-Hyde figure who is kind to Tony (played as a young man by "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini's son, Michael) but is prone to eruptions of shocking violence.

If the opening images set the tone for "Saints," it's a song in the closing credits that offers a clue as to what "Sopranos" creator David Chase — who wrote the film with Lawrence Konner — is after. The song is "Calling All Angels," by Jane Siberry and KD Lang, and it repeats the line, "How many times before it's too late?" That seems to refer to young Tony, who is given opportunities to take a different path in "Saints" but who keeps getting steered back to the life of crime that "Sopranos" already told us he'll embrace.

Directed by frequent "Sopranos" director Alan Taylor, "Saints" stands on its own but it's likely to appeal to fans of the series. It's a visceral movie — Taylor makes the frequent violence devastating and awful — and it supplies character details that drive the story forward. The complicated motives of a crime rival played by Leslie Odom Jr. adds nuance, for instance, and fans will enjoy fitting that into what they already know about existing characters. One such in-joke: Every time infant Christopher sees Tony, he starts to bawl.

Nivola is gripping as Dickie, who seems always to expect the worst and who keeps getting it. And young Gandolfini is fine as a wobbly, unformed version of the character that made his late father a star (here, Tony is less about bashing heads than taking ice cream trucks for joyrides).

The biggest aha moment for fans of the show, though, will surely be the appearance of Vera Farmiga as Tony's troubled mother, Livia. Nancy Marchand's titanic performance on "Sopranos" is a hard act to follow, but Farmiga is spectacular as a matriarch who was not gifted with the compassion gene. Farmiga is hilarious when Livia tries to avoid a teacher conference by claiming to be double-parked in front of a hydrant, but she also hints at the emotional toll of living in a family where she knows sending a kid to the deli for provolone could end in somebody getting rubbed out.

The rueful quality Farmiga lends "Saints" is perfect for a film that's less about how Tony became who he was than a portrait of someone for whom the idea of choice may always have been an illusion. At one point, Dickie pulls his protege aside after he's done something wrong and advises Tony, "You say to yourself, 'This is the last time I'm ever going to steal something,' and then you stick to it."


Go Gophers!!
 

stocker08

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just hopped onto HBO Max and was greeted by a new series by Steve Dildarian (creator of The Life and Times of Tim). Animation style is the EXACT same and so is the tone of the entire show. How great is that? Nice list of actors too: Dildarian, Gillian Jacobs, Edi Patterson, John Malkovich, Todd Glass, and Bang Rodgeman! Hilarious!
 

OldBob53

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I recommend the Science channel. At least its worth a look, there might be something that strikes your interest. There's still commercials to deal with, mute button at the ready.

Oh, and the Sopranos if you haven't seen it. In a league of its own.
 

MplsGopher

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Think I'm done with Billions. Season 5 really seemed like it had Jumped the Shark, and the post covid final episodes just seemed worse to me.

The actor that plays Axe is bowing out of the show moving forward, even though a season 6 has been ordered.
 



golf

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Just finished bingeing season 1- 3 of Yellowstone. Would rate it right up there with Seal Team (I realize I have just lost all credibility with some for promoting a network series.). Can't wait for season 4 of Yellowstone to start next month.
 

stocker08

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Just finished bingeing season 1- 3 of Yellowstone. Would rate it right up there with Seal Team (I realize I have just lost all credibility with some for promoting a network series.). Can't wait for season 4 of Yellowstone to start next month.

Sooo.....like a 4/10? :cool:
 





Nax5

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This is pretty wild to me. I'm a couple episodes in and it's totally my jam. But it's not something I would expect to be mainstream. The Japanese book/film Battle Royale would probably be the proto-Squid Game.

 

MplsGopher

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Yeah I'm two episodes in, and I will continue.

It's very slow .... lot of backstory telling. And that's fine .... if the story telling is actually good.
 

monk10

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I watched Squid Games. I really didn't like the ending but liked the series.

I am 2 seasons into Money Heist and I really like it. I am addicted to the folksong Bella Ciao.
 

Ope3

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I didn't know Curb was back this fall!! YES!! I just did a quick Google search to see what I could find:

J.B. Smoove celebrated his Creative Emmy Award win for Outstanding Actor In a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for Mapleworth Murders by teasing what’s ahead on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm when it returns in Oct.

“What I can say is that it’s going to be another amazing season. Season 11 is something else,” Smoove, who portrays Leon Black in the hit comedy series, told Deadline at the Creative Emmy Awards on Sunday. “Where does Larry end this? I don’t know. When I first met Larry in season 6, I asked him when he was going to end this and he said he didn’t know. I do think that him taking those years off to shoot the movie and do the play, he came back with new energy. And, you know what? He’s having a ball. And as long as you’re having fun, it’s effortless. I think he’s having a blast right now. The cast is amazing. As the world keeps challenging him, he keeps making Curb as cringe-worthy as possible.”

As to whether or not the comedy series will tackle the pandemic, Smoove teased that there’s a possibility.

“I can’t tell you guys everything but what I can say is Larry is really good at attaching his humor to the world and that’s consistently what he has done since Curb has been on HBO. He’s a master at it. He has this thing he does where he attaches himself and his thoughts and his opinions to the beat of whatever is going on in the world. You gotta watch and see what Larry does. He’s a genius, he really is.”

Smoove confirmed that he has no plans to depart from the show, no matter how many seasons David chooses to write. He said matter of factly, “As long as Larry’s going, I’m going.”


Go Curb!!
Curb Season Premiere just aired. It's pretty, pretty, pretty good.

She plopped.

Great to see Albert Brooks (as himself) in the episode, brother of Bob Einstein (aka Super Dave) who portrayed Marty Funkauser in the show. The whole "funeral while living" had to be a tribute to Bob/the Funkman.
 



From the Parkinglot

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Just finished bingeing season 1- 3 of Yellowstone. Would rate it right up there with Seal Team (I realize I have just lost all credibility with some for promoting a network series.). Can't wait for season 4 of Yellowstone to start next month.
Great show just wish Costner would talk louder as you can’t hear him with all the action going on.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just hopped onto HBO Max and was greeted by a new series by Steve Dildarian (creator of The Life and Times of Tim). Animation style is the EXACT same and so is the tone of the entire show. How great is that? Nice list of actors too: Dildarian, Gillian Jacobs, Edi Patterson, John Malkovich, Todd Glass, and Bang Rodgeman! Hilarious!
My Fellow Timite, glad to hear this is worth my time! When I saw it pop up. I knew it had to be the same guy! Yipee!
 

stocker08

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My Fellow Timite, glad to hear this is worth my time! When I saw it pop up. I knew it had to be the same guy! Yipee!

It's very much worth your time. No character as good as the boss.....but it's very funny. Ben Rodgers (great podcast guy) as the bus driver stands out. Tom is the same character as Tim. Dildarian doesn't even bother to change his voice which is also very funny. Basically trade a mid 20's aged character in an office who is easily convinced by bad advice for a ten year old in a school who's easily convinced by bad advice from the adults around him. It works well....even if it doesn't reach the heights of Tim.
 

MplsGopher

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I watched Squid Games. I really didn't like the ending but liked the series.
Didn't hate the ending, but wasn't a fan of it.

I really just think good endings are really hard to nail. Could also be a factor of wanting to "trick" the audience more than anything, and/or not wanting it to leak.


Must be frustrating, to know you've got something really good ... but you can't figure out how to tie it off.


I suppose they could also have been trying to leave it open to do another season.
 


WilliamsArenaGuy

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No one mentioned Only Murders in the Building yet?? Fantastic series, only I wasn't wild about the very end (last 2-3 minutes). Steve Martin is a national treasure.
 



MplsGopher

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Yeah but then your eyes are down reading the words the whole time. Might as well read the book.
 

Nokomis

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No one mentioned Only Murders in the Building yet?? Fantastic series, only I wasn't wild about the very end (last 2-3 minutes). Steve Martin is a national treasure.
I agree. Good balance of comedy and murder mystery. I don't usually care for Martin Short but enjoyed his character here. I also thought Selena Gomez held her own with these two comedy vets. There were a few "that doesn't make any sense" moments for me, but I suppose that's maybe by design (amateurs solving crimes motif). Also agree on the very end, but I suppose it sets up a season two.

Mini-spoiler: Jane Lynch as Steve Martin's stunt double was a great bit.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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It's very much worth your time. No character as good as the boss.....but it's very funny. Ben Rodgers (great podcast guy) as the bus driver stands out. Tom is the same character as Tim. Dildarian doesn't even bother to change his voice which is also very funny. Basically trade a mid 20's aged character in an office who is easily convinced by bad advice for a ten year old in a school who's easily convinced by bad advice from the adults around him. It works well....even if it doesn't reach the heights of Tim.
Just what the bassoon ordered! Txs for the insight; my soul needed it after watching four seasons of Gommorah - brilliance into the darkness of the human soul.
 




GopherWeatherGuy

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Curb Season Premiere just aired. It's pretty, pretty, pretty good.

She plopped.

Great to see Albert Brooks (as himself) in the episode, brother of Bob Einstein (aka Super Dave) who portrayed Marty Funkauser in the show. The whole "funeral while living" had to be a tribute to Bob/the Funkman.

I love Curb, but I thought this episode was a step down from the last two season premieres - Foisted and Happy New Year.
 

Ope3

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I love Curb, but I thought this episode was a step down from the last two season premieres - Foisted and Happy New Year.
Even a step down for Curb is better than more than the vast majority of any other show out there.

Maybe he just needed to set the table for some other story arcs. I hope Lucy Liu and Jon Hamm are featured the rest of the way.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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Bill Burr has a new show on Roku for those inclined - I think that my be a Thanksgiving binge for me.
 




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