The past 3 months ought to be the best 3 months for television shows. As a prolific TV viewer, the shows from the past 3 months are all impressive and well-executed. Some of these due to better technologies. Some of these we can probably thank to the investment coming from the streaming war. The pouring of money and talents certainly worked. On top of all these, one of the most interesting turns in the past a few months is the prolific international shows on Netflix. From Better than Us, Kingdom, The Untamed to Ad Vitam, Netflix is uniquely positioned to provide some international flavors to the U.S. viewers.
For All Mankind
The new Apple TV+ show gives a good 90s vibe when we still have The West Wing and Star Trek TNG. The future is hopeful, and the leaders are altruistic. It sets itself apart from the more recent twisted and darker themes from The Walking Dead to Breaking Bad. We had too many of these in this decade.
The Expanse Season 4
I’d be honest that this season is a bit dense and I am still working through it. But hey, it is back! No matter how few space operas we made this decade, or as a genre, it is dead to many. Somehow we made the best space opera yet with The Expanse (or do we?).
This is a surprise to me. Some of Netflix’s recent dump of fantasy / sci-fi genre such as The Umbrella Academy and Lost in Space are not exactly a runaway success. I liked Altered Carbon, but not many people share the same view. But The Witcher has to be one of the best game adaptation Netflix, or anyone had made so far. To someone has no background on the novel or the games, it is easy to consume. The 3 split timelines in the beginning are not that hard to follow and it gets merged relatively quickly. It has the right mix of independent stories and the main storyline. Comparing with other fantasy series such as Game of Thrones, the background is not as grandiose, but comparably interesting. Comparing to similar nordic origin Grimm, the character development is simply miles better.
Who says space opera as a genre is dead again? The Mandalorian if keeps its current momentum, would certainly cement a good position for Disney+ in the streaming war. It has some weaker episodes, but the storyline was kept on the right track. The baby yoda is a quick catcher but the Mandalorian himself starts to develop some very interesting background and characters. Besides the story, which always gave me an easy and enjoyable Friday night, the special effect is also superb. It is generally bright (Tatooine does have 2 suns), that contrasts itself from other sci-fi series often in a darker setup (in general, fewer light sources are easier to render) probably thanks to Disney+’s budget. The new movie-like special effect quality is less about awe you, but to keep the storytelling part unimpeded. I believe to many viewers, they don’t really feel the special effect.
To put the cherry on the top, all shows above now supports 4K HDR (with the exception of The Expanse, I think it only does 4K). The TV streaming nowadays is such a great experience if you can afford it and have Gbps internet connection :) Hope you all enjoyed these great TV shows as I do in this holiday season, and keep warm!