Gobbledygeek episode 306, “Unmaking Soup,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
This week, Paul and Arlo turn on and tune into the wonders and terrors of the superhuman mind by taking a gander at the first season of Legion. The FX series, developed by Fargo‘s Noah Hawley and theoretically set in the X-Men universe, is unlike most other superheroic media. David Haller is either schizophrenic, an extremely powerful telepathic/telekinetic mutant, or both. Witnessed through his eyes, the world is fractured, bizarre, disturbing, and a tad surreal. As such, the typical X-Men plot–David is rescued from a mutant-hunting government organization known as D3 by a group of rebels with a Magneto-esque leader–is given a swift kick in the pants. The boys discuss this inventive telling of a simple story, the show’s many visual flourishes, why it’s a powerful exploration of mental health, and Aubrey Plaza’s revelatory turn as a 50-year-old man. Plus, a surprise Rick and Morty pre-empts Samurai Jack, overjoying one of our hosts and causing considerable frustration in the other; and the boys rave about the fifth season of another brilliant FX drama, The Americans.
Next: film critic and horror expert Jess Byard joins Paul and Arlo to ask, “Where has all the good sci-fi horror gone?”
(Show notes for “Unmaking Soup.”)
Last week, we brought you our favorite movies of last year (finally saw Inside Llewyn Davis, by the way, and yes, it would have made the cut). This week, we change channels to focus on TV. We’re doing things a little differently this time out, with separate top 10 lists for new shows and returning favorites. Though there were a lot of new shows I enjoyed over the past year, I’ll admit I couldn’t stretch them to 10; instead, I’ve got 8, while Paul’s just crazy enough to have a full 10.
As always, there are shows we couldn’t get around to: I haven’t seen Rectify, Top of the Lake, Broadchurch, or The Wrong Mans, all of which I’d hoped to see in time for this list. Oh, and to absolve him of all guilt, I should mention that Paul has never seen Breaking Bad. Wait, I don’t think that absolves him.
PAUL: 10. HANNIBAL (NBC)
I wasn’t particularly interested in a television adaptation of the Thomas Harris characters. But names like Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Bryan Fuller pulled me in. It’s one of the most visually stunning and hauntingly…haunting shows ever to make it to network television. It’s also one of the most shockingly violent and grotesque. All positives in my book. But I can’t put it any higher on my list because it’s crushingly depressing.
On this, the eve of 2013, Paul and I begin to look back at some of our favorite things of 2012. First up, our ten favorite TV series.
Also, let’s give a slow clap to Paul, who struggled through severe illness just to get these words to you, dear reader. A speedy recovery to you, sir!
PAUL: 10. PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)
Season 5 gets out of the office a little bit, with Ben and April in Washington D.C. (with an evil robot congressman). Ron gets a new love interest (the always lovely Lucy Lawless). Tom starts a new business. And Andy finds a new career.
AJ: 10. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
What Game of Thrones did in its first season was nothing short of exceptional, a 10-episode narrative that goes down as one of the finest accomplishments the medium has seen thus far. And while the second season struggled at times to recapture that majesty, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The scope and breadth of George R.R. Martin’s world remains impressive; the cast, especially Peter Dinklage as the kind of noble imp Tyrion Lannister, continues to knock out high fantasy material that would crush lesser actors; and thrilling hours like “Blackwater” remind us that this is the closest thing we have to a Lord of the Rings on TV. And it’s a whole lot nastier and sexier, too.