Tuesday, October 17, 2017


There are five reasons I watch a lot of television. Insomnia is one of them, as is the need to wind down after a long day of writing. I watch TV because I believe I should watch as many of the comics-oriented shows as I can. I watch some TV shows with members of my family because it’s kind of sort of family time, which is hard to come by when a family is as busy as mine. Finally, I watch TV when I break for lunch and some other meals. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something while I’m eating.

GLOW is a Netflix series I watch with my daughter Kelly. I wanted to see it because it’s a fictionalized account of Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a syndicated women’s professional wrestling show that I used to watch late at night when I couldn’t sleep. At least, my memory is that I used to watch it late at night.

Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, this new GLOW evokes the 1980s while maintaining a more modern feminist viewpoint. All the heroines struggle with the male dominance of the era. Some succeed  better than others, but, to me, they are all heroic. They do take their lumps, but they keep fighting.

Kelly and I have been enjoying the heck out of this series. Alison Brie is amazing as Ruth, a not-very-successful actress who won me over with her first scene. She was doing a reading of what sounded like an unexpectedly strong part for a woman. Of course, what she was reading was a part written for a man.

Ruth is on the outs with Debbie [Betty Gilpin], a soap opera star who is a stay-at-home mom. Their besties relationship was marred by Ruth sleeping with Debbie’s dirt bag of a husband.

I could list almost the entire cast - these woman are incredible - but I’ll wrap this up by mentioning Marc Maron’s performance as Sam Sylvia. Sam is a quirky filmmaker on his last professional legs and determined to make GLOW a hit, mostly because the producer has said he will bankroll Sam’s next movie. The sort of friends relationship between Sam and Ruth is extremely well-played, as is the surprise relationship between Sam and one of the other wrestlers.

GLOW’s first ten-episode season is available on Netflix. A second ten-episode season is coming. I can’t wait.


The Simpsons are back for their 29th season. I almost always find the show at least minimally entertaining and have a real fondness for those characters. But, several times a season, the show hits it out of the park.

“Springfield Splendor” has Lisa and Marge drawing a graphic novel as part of Lisa’s therapy. The pages end up in the hands of Comic Book Guy’s wife, who publishes them as Sad Girl. The graphic novel becomes a hit and, before you know, Lisa and Marge are on a “Women in Comics” panel with cartoonists Roz Chast, Alison Bechdel and Marjane Satrapi. It was a hilarious episode with much to say about the comics marketplace. 
Following The Simpsons on Sunday nights is Ghosted, a supernatural comedy about two men, one a former police detective and the other a former Stanford professor, who investigate paranormal activities for a secret government agency. It’s X-Files without that series’ often brilliant acting and writing and also without the rollicking humor of the Cigar-Smoking Man. I watched the first two episodes because, during football season, I always set my DVR to record an extra hour beyond The Simpsons and other Sunday shows. Two episodes was enough to convince not to watch a third episode of Ghosted.

I binge-watched the last nine episodes of the previous season of Arrow. Though I like most of the actors, the series has fallen to my least favorite of the CW/DC shows. Oliver’s on-again/off-again refusal to kill is annoying as well. Sometimes, when dealing with an insane killer like Adrian Chase, you take the damn shot and, in doing so, save innocent lives. Naturally, more for the sake of the closing cliffhanger than anything else, Oliver was in sanctimonious “no kill” mode and thus allowed Chase to murder (or attempt to murder) almost every person that Oliver loves. That annoyed me, especially when...


...all but one of those people survived. Okay, sister Thea is in a coma until the writers want to bring her back. The one fatality was the mother of Oliver’s son...and that was done so Oliver could add “dad” to his other jobs as “mayor” and “vigilante.” Some villains could be assumed dead, except that, you know, they’re villains and can come back at any time.

Other things I didn’t like in these episodes and the first episode of the new season:

Russian mobster Anatoly Knyazev went completely to the dark side to the detriment of his formerly complex character. That’s largely on Oliver for leaving him in the flashbacks and then screwing him in the current story line. Oh, yeah, and Oliver’s “no kill” malarkey apparently allows him to hire Russian mobsters to do his killing for him.

The confusing Susan Williams, a reporter whose character seemed to changed depending on the episode du jour, was left out in the cold when Oliver and Felicity started knocking boots again. “Olicity” is apparently going to be a thing this season, though it’s been kind of put on hold while son William grieves for his mother.

Things I did like:

The reformation of Slade Wilson. Okay, it was a bit lame to dismiss his countless villainous acts as drug-induced. But Oliver could use an old friend right about now.

The return of Raisa [Kathleen Gati] as Oliver’s housekeeper and a nanny for William. As I said, Oliver could use an old friend right about now.

Mister Terrific (aka Curtis Holt as played by Echo Kellum) has been coming into his own. He’s currently my favorite member of Oliver’s team.

Katie Cassidy’s return, even if she’s playing the evil Laurel Lance from Earth-2. I would like to see the Arrow writers avoid reforming Black Siren. I would also like to see a good Laurel Lance from yet another Earth, but one very different from either of the two we’ve seen. Maybe Laurel is the lead vigilante of her earth’s Star City. Maybe, on her Earth, this new Laurel is romantically involved with either Curtis or Felicity. Because why not explore all the myriad possibilities of alternate universes?

Other things I would like to see:

Real consequences to the exposure of Oliver’s vigilante identity. This “Is he or isn’t he?” stuff has gotten old. Go ahead. Blow up his life and make something new and eventually better. Maybe drop some supporting cast members. But the one thing the show shouldn’t do is have him break his promise to be a father to William. Oliver needs to stop failing the people in his life.

I’d also like to see an end to smart people, heroes and villains, doing stupid things to advance the plots.


Arrow has had its ups and down, but it is still on my watch list. For now.

I might be coming to the end of my relationship with The Big Bang Theory. While the Sheldon and Amy romance is still fun, Leonard/Penny has stalled and Howard/Bernadette seems to be all about making them unpleasant people. Worse, Rajesh and Stewart have become the go-to guys for crude jokes. In one episode, they were both vying for the attention of a woman clearly much younger than them and resorting to horrible digs at the other, including the implication that one of them was a sex offender. It won’t take too many more tone-deaf scenes like that one to lose me for good.


Young Sheldon? The adventures of Sheldon Cooper when he was a young boy going to high school? The pilot episode had some laughs and a few heartfelt moments. I’m not sure that’s enough to overcome my lifelong aversion to stories about younger versions of characters I first met as teenagers or adults. Little Archie still gives me the creeps. Whether I continue watching Young Sheldon or not might depend on whether I keep watching Old Sheldon.

Scorpion is back for its fourth season. It’s an entertaining show, but not one I need to watch every week. Generally, if I’m done with my work for the day and Barb is watching it, I’ll sit down to watch it with her. However...

The geniuses are getting sloppy. A minor bit in one recent episode involved a urine-revealing pool chemical. For the genius scheme to work in this case, a swanky hotel pool had to be cleared of guests using it. However...

There is no such chemical. It sounded plausible and all, but, when I checked the Snopes website, I learned the truth.

One bit of “fake news” isn’t a deal-breaker for me. It might be the opposite. Fact-checking Scorpion could be a fun exercise when I’m in the mood.

That’s all for today, but I’ll have some more TV comments for you on Thursday. For tomorrow...Rawhide Kid Wednesday!

See you then!

© 2017 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I totally feel you regarding 'Arrow' and people doing stupid things for no reason other than to advance the plot. Looking at you, Lance and Diggle.

    Hope we soon learn the fates of Nyssa, Talia and Artemis.