Too Much TV Vol. 4

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A lot of TV made mat this week.

Yep, I watched the cheerleading show, which means I look forward to alienating my family and friends with opinions about why the pyramid is not worth it.

If you’re new to Too Much TV, welcome. Check out Vol. 3  for thoughts on Star Trek Picard, Little America and Shrill season two.

This week Apple continues their valiant push into streaming, Netflix are still obsessed with teenagers with superpowers and another excellent John le Carré adaptation arrives.

MythicQuest

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (Apple+)

The dream of Community is alive in Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.

The comedy series focuses on a fictional video game studio that’s responsible for the world’s biggest online multiplayer game. The Community vibes come from Greendale alumni, Megan Ganz, who shares a co-creator credit with Charlie Day and Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

Mythic Quest doesn’t just poke fun at the video game industry, it’s a workplace comedy that properly addresses issues in gaming culture and the working conditions at studios. The ensemble is perfect and everyone is a standout: McElhenney, Charlotte Nicdao (Content), Danny Pudi (Community), David Hornsby (Good Girls), Caitlin McGee (Modern Love), Jessie Ennis (Better Call Saul), Ashly Burch (Final Space) and Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris). A special mention goes to the legendary F. Murray Abraham who nearly steals the show playing a fantasy author in the spirit of Frank Herbet and George R. R. Martin.

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Locke and Key (Netflix)

Teenagers who discover they secretly have powers *drink*.

Netflix are at it again, but this time the powers manifest in magical keys. Locke and Key is based on the comic book by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez and it tells the story of the Locke siblings (Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones and Jackson Robert Scott) who move to their ancestral home after a family tragedy.

The mystery surrounding the magical keys, complete with a cross-generational back story, is enough to see out the first season. Mileage may vary if you’ve read the comics because they’ve softened this adaptation to make it safe in a very CW way.

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The Little Drummer Girl (SBS On Demand)

A dream team assemble for the latest John le Carré (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) adaption.

Director Chan-wook Park (OldboyStoker) throws Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Little Women) into the world of espionage, and she’s guided by Alexander Skarsgård (Big Little Lies) and Michel Shannon (Knives Out, The Shape of Water). Set in 1979, Pugh plays a British actress who is recruited by Israelis to infiltrate a group harboring a Palestinian assassin.

The Little Drummer Girl does justice to le Carré’s authentic portrayal of the spy world (as opposed to the spy fantasy of James Bond) and director Park keeps the plot tense and the setting vibrant; the series was shot on location in stunning parts of Europe and the costume design has all those colourful 1970s flourishes, a nice point of difference to the grey tones of most le Carré adaptations.

Cheer

Cheer (Netflix)

Have you watched Cheer yet?

I’ve been asked this the most in the past month but I kept my distance as to not get too caught up in the hype. Streaming services have a habit of creating the illusion of a TV phenomenon.

After watching Cheer I have no doubt about the worldwide obsession with the doco series about Navarro College’s cheerleading squad. Cheer is an excellent doco series that’s so much more than its subject matter. American life is filtered through the cheer squad and it addresses sport, class, social media, capitalism, race, sexuality and spirituality. The immersion into the world of cheerleading is done with ease, the terminology is a lot of fun and the sport is treated with the respect it deserves.

Cheer is Friday Night Lights set to a beat.

Cameron Williams