Welcome to the latest chapter of StreamChat, where we chat about what we’ve been streaming at home this month. It’s been a while since we last put together one of these posts, but hopefully we’ll start to do them a bit more regularly. If you have anything you’d recommend we watch, based on any of the shows in this post, then feel free to get in touch and let us know via our socials.
This is Us – Season 6 (Disney+ / Prime Video)
Lee: We’re now well underway with the sixth and final season of what is one of my favourite guilty pleasures in recent years, This is Us. Due to the time-hopping nature of the storylines within the show, we’ve been prepared for a while now as to where the lives of some of our characters are headed, which means that we’re now starting to experience the unfolding of some of the pain involved in reaching those moments. At the point of writing this, we’re 2 episodes into a three-part set that focuses on each of the Big 3, following the meeting that their mother Rebecca called during Thanksgiving. And the latest episode was a tough one. After learning recently that Kate doesn’t stay married to Toby, watching the both of them try to reconnect over a weekend in San Francisco was only going to end in heartbreak.
If I’m honest, the number of episodes that result in me having to fight back the tears has dropped over the last couple of seasons, but for me, This is Us has always remained consistently well written and I’m sure the finale will more than make up for the recent lack of tear-jerking moments. I’ll certainly be sorry to see it come to an end.
A Discovery of Witches – Season 3
Erika: The third season of A Discovery of Witches covers the events of The Book of Life, the final book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Diana (Teresa Palmer) and Matthew (Matthew Goode) return from the Elizabethan Era to find chaos and the death of a loved one. Shortly after returning to the present, Diana learns she’s pregnant with magical twins, destined to change everything. The race to complete and obtain Ashmole 782 continues, and everything is finally explained by the end of the series.
The All Souls Trilogy is one of my favourite series, so I was going to watch the final season, regardless. The Book of Life is my least favourite of the series because I’m not too fond of storylines around pregnancy, parenting, and babies/children. Those plot points are not my jam so I knew this would be an agonizing experience for me. Luckily, fast-forwarding exists, so I didn’t watch the sickly-sweet cooing over parenthood and birth scenes. After the fifth episode, I didn’t have to skip anything because the story picked up the pace.
This series was truly made for the fans of the books. The cast of characters is so large that the TV show couldn’t possibly cover all their backstories or give an explanation as to why they’re even necessary. This is definitely a problem for non-fans. However, the show is not necessarily in line with the books. Since Harkness was so involved with the production, I know the changes were approved, so I’m ok with them.
Overall, this season was alright. If you’re a book fan, you’ll at least know who all the characters are and their purposes within the story. People that have only watched the show will be slightly confused by the barrage of new characters. 2.5 stars
Sarah: Reminiscence is a sci-fi film noir set in a future version of Miami decimated by climate change, where Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) runs a business that allows people to relive their best memories. One day in walks Mae (Rebecca Ferguson), a lounge singer, and her and Nick instantly hit it off. However a few months into their relationship Mae vanishes, and Nick is desperately searching for clues to her disappearance, leading him to Mae’s murky past with the criminal underworld.
On paper, Reminiscence has everything to make a great sci-fi film noir, but in reality, everything just falls a little flat and feels very lacklustre. The setting looks good but doesn’t feel dark and gritty enough for a film noir, and the plot is not original enough to bring anything new to the genre. The performances are good from the ever-reliable cast (Thandiwe Newton as Nick’s friend Watts is a particular stand out) and the idea of reliving memories does at least bring something interesting, but it’s not enough to make this memorable, especially when it’s following in the footsteps of BladeRunner and MinorityReport. 3 stars
Outlander – Season 6 (STARZPLAY)
Lee: In addition to This is Us, Outlander is another of my guilty pleasures, and is also a show that both my wife and I can enjoy together, which is nice. We were both lucky enough to attend the red carpet premiere of season 6 in London last month and being able to watch the show on a big screen while accompanied by a full orchestra was certainly a pretty special experience. Back on the small screen, the sixth season has continued on its new home, STARZPLAY, much to the disgust of fans who now feel cheated at having to pay for a bolt-on channel to the Prime Video service that they’re already paying for in order to end their ‘Droughtlander’. Although to ease the pain a little, STARZPLAY has now been reduced to £1.99 per month for 6 months. Having STARZPLAY also gives me chance to catch up on the brilliant Doom Patrol series, which I may well talk about next month.
Anyway, I digress. When it comes to season 6, there’s certainly a noticeable period of calm to the show so far, especially following the traumatic and devastating events of the last season. A new family have been introduced and the settlement at Frasers Ridge is developing nicely, but drama is always never far off when it comes to Outlander, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out.
Joe vs Carole
Erika: Joe vs. Carole attempts to recreate the hillbilly magic of Netflix’s documentary series, Tiger King, as a scripted dramedy. One of the main aims of this series was to tell Carole Baskin’s side of the story and make her into a sympathetic person.
Why did I do this to myself? There were warning signs galore, the trailers were iffy and made this look like a dumpster fire. Baskin is played by the inherently unfunny Kate McKinnon and the CGI was low budget and whack with the show following the documentary to a T and offering nothing new. The main issue was that this story didn’t need to be dramatized. The real people involved in the Tiger King are generally batsh*t crazy and naturally funnier than any script. This series was boring; I played my Nintendo Switch during the last few episodes so can attest that it is excellent background noise but not great to watch. 1 star
Lee: I loved The Suicide Squad. After the disappointment of the previous Suicide Squad movie and the general messiness of the DC universe so far, the James Gunn helmed movie was like a breath of fresh air. However, I’m not really a big fan of John Cena, so out of all the great characters in The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker is the last one I that I thought would make for an interesting series. I’m only a little way into the show, but so far my suspicions have been confirmed. Thankfully, Cena once again has a good cast of characters to support his ‘acting’, but aside from having the best opening credits I’ve seen in a long time, the show is pretty hit and miss so far. As mentioned earlier, I’m currently catching up on Doom Patrol and at the moment I’m finding myself wanting to watch another episode of that rather than this.
Gaming Wall St.
Erika: Gaming Wall St is a two-part documentary series following the chaotic events of the GameStop investment saga, exposing Wall Street’s unsavoury side. When Robin Hood offered investments with no fees, amateur investors took advantage of the opportunity. Fueled by the Wall Street Bets subreddit and short-sellers targeting companies like GameStop in early 2021, the amateur investors bought up as many of those companies as possible, the prices soared. However, this was short-lived because Wall Street investing firms flexed back, leading Robin Hood to block the buying of popular Reddit stocks.
The focus of the first episode was the GameStop drama, but I found the second episode far more interesting. The second episode focuses on Wall Street Investment firms’ shady but not quite illegal practices. I’ve watched a lot of white-collar crime documentaries, and they all tend to have the same talking heads employed or formerly employed at large financial institutions. This documentary had a variety, from regulators to activist investors. It was one of the reasons I enjoyed this series. I highly recommend this series if you’re interested in the ongoing GameStop drama. 5 stars