My 2018 holiday season was delightfully uneventful until a gastrointestinal ailment struck me down on the first of the year and hasn’t entirely let up even today. I will spare you the details.
So what did I do during this time of illness? Watched TV, of course. Too sick to do anything else. Let’s go over what I saw.
Diablero: A Netflix series that can be summed up as the Mexican version of Supernatural, complete with demons, humor, demons, family, demons, and tortillas. I was attracted to it because of the setting (Mexico City) and the style, which was entertainingly colorful and frenetic. Despite that it’s a Mexican production, it follows the new American horror tradition of Us vs. Evil, where demons are defeated by techniques and weapons instead of faith, and all the clergy are fallen or otherwise criminal. Despite this, it’s a fun show. The acting’s fine, the characters are likable, and the story’s got punch. Its attempts to integrate Aztec gods into Christian theology were less successful, but worth watching anyway. I’d like to see a season two.
Travelers Season 3: I’ve talked about Travelers before (having watched the first season during another illness; go figure) and how much I liked it. Season 2 was good: expanded the mythology, deepened the characters, included an overarching plot that was dark and disturbing. Season 3 was great until the last couple of episodes, where they ruined it such that I’m not sure I’m going to bother looking for a season 4. This is your spoiler alert. What they did with season 3 is turn the reason why the Travelers came into a global warming screed. They had to time-travel to the 21st century because this is when global warming becomes too horrible to stop. Which is stupid. Really stupid. I enjoyed the show before because it didn’t poke us with the standard Hollywood issues. Now it has and the bloom’s come off the rose. Not only that, but the screenwriters continued to write themselves into corners and then cheat their way out of it, starting with the first episode and ending with the last, where they’re essentially going to return to an earlier save point in the space-time continuum. Disappointing across the board.
The Frozen Dead: There’re not a lot of new ideas in The Frozen Dead, but it works pretty well and you wind up liking all the characters, which is a rarity on television shows. Set in the French Pyrenees, it starts with the murder of a horse and gets pretty dark from there. The madman in the asylum: is he pulling the strings? Is the lead detective drinking too much? What about the nosebleeds? And the wealthy industrialist? You get the picture. Comparisons to Hannibal Lecter are fair, but won’t get in the way of your enjoyment of the show. Think of The Frozen Dead as a frozen pizza: they’re always pretty good, they satisfy your hunger, and there’s always one around if you want a no-trouble meal. At six episodes long, what have you got to lose?
In Order of Disappearance: A Norwegian crime thriller/comedy starring Stellan Skarsgård as a man who drives a snowplow. I know, I know. Thing is, it’s good. Funny, exciting, exactly what you’d want from a movie like this. Vegan crime bosses, Serbian thugs, and stoic Stellan in the middle, dealing with the murder of his son. The more I tell you the more I’ll spoil it, so just take my word for it that it’s a movie you should see, and you’ll have a good time. That’s why we watch movies in the first place, isn’t it?