The past few months have been overwhelming.
For those of you who are just discovering Podflix & Chill or who may not have noticed, I took some time off following my last episode in March. It was a decision that was made out of necessity because of the direction my life was headed. To clarify, it was not a bad direction at all!
In April, my girlfriend of seven years and I finally got married. It was a beautiful ceremony, surrounded by family and friends and I don’t think it could have been more perfect. Following the wedding, we embarked on a two-week honeymoon to Hawaii. We swam with sea turtles in Maui and enjoyed a sunset sail on a traditional, double-hulled wooden canoe in Oahu - all while eating all the food we could stand.
When we came back, my now wife walked in the graduation ceremony for her Masters Degree in Dietetics, and we celebrated the strong women in our lives on Mother’s Day. The priority and focus has been completely about family. And I have loved every second.
However, even during periods of shifting priority, there is downtime. And when there is downtime, there is streaming. So here is a list & brief review of everything I have been streaming since my last episode.
For All Mankind (AppleTV+)
Listeners of the podcast will recognize this title. It was one of the first shows I ever reviewed and it has remained one of my favorites on Apple’s streaming platform. The second season finale aired in April and the show has already been confirmed for a third season.
For All Mankind takes a look at what the world might have been like if the Soviet Union landed on the moon first. Advancements in technology, troops being pulled out of Vietnam and the militarization of the moon are just a few alternate histories that the show explores. During the most recent season finale, the audience sees a pair of boots touch down on the surface of Mars in the 1990s.
One of the best parts of the show’s second season has been the inclusion of other mediums to further tell the story. Krys Marshall, a cast member, hosts a companion podcast where she interviews fellow cast members and former NASA astronauts and scientists to talk more about the reality of the show. An AR app was developed to help tell additional stories of some secondary characters. And right in the show’s dashboard on the AppleTV app, we get a chance to see clips of the real life history that inspired the show’s alternate version.
AppleTV+ is $4.99/mo and is eligible for a free 1-year trial with the purchase of a new Apple device.
The Falcon & The Winter Soldier (Disney+)
In my last blog post from March, I mentioned that this was one of the shows I was most eager to see. After what I thought was a very dry, very slow first episode the rest of the series exceeded my expectations. The action was brilliantly choreographed, the character development was intentionally deep, and the writing was extremely thought-provoking. I may have even shed a tear or two during Sam’s final speech.
I think what may have shocked most viewers was the changing of the title to “Captain America & The Winter Soldier” after the final credits rolled (Spoiler Alert). We finally get to see Sam don the mantle of Captain America and I don’t think it disappointed. I’d love to see this story continue into the films, with Sam having to not only face off against Batroc but also the people that don’t think he should wield the shield.
Marvel has consistently done a fantastic job of developing characters with real world struggles - that was Stan Lee’s superpower when writing the comics, and it is Kevin Fiege’s superpower when it comes to adapting these stories to the screen. No story, no film, no universe is without its flaws (I mean, take a look around), but the MCU has a way of making people care about their characters deeply. I’m excited to see what comes next.
Disney+ is available starting at $7.99/mo, or bundled with Hulu and ESPN+ for $13.99/mo.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (Disney+)
Another Disney+ original that I started streaming during my hiatus was the Mighty Ducks reboot. When this project was originally announced, I had mixed feelings. The original trilogy of films was such a quintessential part of my childhood that I was excited to revisit their universe, but I did not want to see it tinkered with.
With the first season almost complete, I can say that I am pleasantly surprised. It is apparent that the show is geared toward two audiences: children and their parents (who are all around my age or slightly older) who grew up with these films. That said there are a lot of cheesy jokes and lame dialogue. However, seeing a grizzled, run down Gordon Bombay who hates hockey and learns to fall in love with it all over again more than makes up for that.
Dylan Playfair, son of the former Calgary Flames head coach, plays “Coach T” the villainous head coach of the new Ducks. What I enjoy about this appearance is that Playfair also stars on the Hulu original series Letterkenny as a loveable, yet slightly dim hockey player named Reilly. In fact, I couldn’t help but laugh when it seemed that several of Coach T’s lines seemed to be references to Reilly’s head coach on the Canadian series.
And of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cameo appearance by several of the former Mighty Ducks players. Fulton Reed (Elden Henson), Adam “Cake Eater” Banks (Vincent LaRusso), Connie Moreau (Marguerite Moreau), Guy Germaine (Garette Henson), Les Averman (Matt Doherty) and woo woo woo Kenny Wu (Justin Wong) all make an appearance in the show’s sixth episode.
Mythic Quest (AppleTV+)
If you are unfamiliar with AppleTV+, you may not have heard of this one. Fans of Always Sunny, however, may recognize the title. Rob McElhenney and Charlie Day have once again joined forces to bring us this original series. Set in the office of a video game company, Rob McElhenney plays Ian, an egotistical, dense creator of the Mythic Quest video game.
Fresh into its second season, the show seems to feature a number of previous collaborators of McElhenney’s and Day’s. It is laugh-out-loud funny while still bringing a fair amount of heart and depth to the story and the characters.
Two of the best episodes, in my opinion, premiered as special episodes between the close of the first season and the start of the second. One was a quarantine episode, where each of the characters was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in their own way (some not so pleasant). The other episode was the return to the office, again using the backdrop of the pandemic to promote hope and never giving up (through an office LARPing tournament).
The Bad Batch (Disney+)
Okay, back to Disney+. And Star Wars. The Bad Batch premiered on Star Wars Day and to my surprise, the first episode was a whopping hour and 14 minutes long! I loved being thrust right back into the world of The Clone Wars, especially hearing the voiceover in the beginning of the episode. We get a glimpse of the young Caleb Dume, the padawan who would grow up to be Jedi Kanan Jarrus on Rebels. We are reintroduced to Clone Force 99, who first showed up in Season 7 of The Clone Wars, and we follow them after the execution of Order 66 and the establishment of the Empire.
The Bad Batch is slated for 16 total episodes, and has already further developed familiar characters, such as Moff Tarkin and Fennec Shand. At the time of writing this blog, we have not yet seen Captain Rex, but it seems to be speculated that he will make an appearance before long (he was already name-dropped in the second episode).
The final entry I will leave you with is the Searchlight Pictures film, Nomadland on Hulu. Nomadland previously won 3 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Frances McDormand), and Best Directing (Chloe Zhao).
The film follows a woman who has to leave her home after her husband’s death and the zip code she is living in gets dissolved. She begins living in her van and traveling across the country. While it seems like a depressing movie to begin with, as it unravels it depicts community among the “modern day nomads,” it depicts happiness, freedom, and gorgeous landscapes. Yes, the themes of loss and fear of the unknown are present, but it does not leave you feeling heavy.
A few of my favorite quotes:
“One of the things I love most about this life is that there's no final goodbye. You know, I've met hundreds of people out here and I don't ever say a final goodbye. I always just say, "I'll see you down the road." And I do. And whether it's a month, or a year, or sometimes years, I see them again.”
“You know, when you were growing up, you were eccentric to other people. You maybe seemed weird, but it was just because you were braver and more honest than everybody else. And you could see me when I was hiding from everybody. And sometimes you could see me before I saw myself. I needed that in my life.”
And of course, an Easter Egg:
The movie begins in 2011 and must move into 2012 because at some point, our main character walks past a movie theatre that is showing The Avengers. Chloe Zhao, the director, was slated to work on one of Marvel’s upcoming releases, The Eternals.
Let’s not forget the four-hour saga of the Snyder Cut, the Hulu original time-loop action movie Boss Level, the sobering Cherry on AppleTV+ starring Tom Holland, and the [beginning of] the Prime Video animated super series Invincible. For more about why I only watched the beginning of that show, check out the latest episode of the show.
But that’s what I’ve been streaming since you last heard from me! Let me know in the comments what you have been streaming lately. What would you like to hear me cover more in-depth on the show?