Here's this week's roundup of pop culture nonsense:
• The CBC’s “Schitt’s Creek” had its fourth season drop on Netflix, and my wife and I gobbled up its 12 episodes like fun-size Snickers. The show follows the Roses, a wealthy family of video store magnates who were robbed blind by their accountant and, with the government coming after them with a mighty tax bill they can’t pay, have to live in the one asset left them, the tiny rural village of Schitt’s Creek, which the family patriarch, played by Eugene Levy, bought his son, David (played by Levy’s son, and the series co-creator, Daniel Levy), as a joke.
This is one of the few newer scripted TV shows that I actually enjoy, and part of it is the writing. The characters have actual story arcs and true character development and growth. By the end of Season 4, the two Rose children, David and Alexis (Annie Murphy), hardly resemble the characters they were in the first season. The acting is also amazing, with Catherine O’Hara turning in performances as matriarch Moira Rose that are as filled with pathos as they are hilarious.
Something else that I enjoy is the fact that where most network sit-coms would take some of the plot complications “Schitt’s Creek” deals with and make them into entire, tiresome season-long themes, “Schitt’s Creek” just deals with them and moves on. Y’know, like real people do. Fantastic show.
• My wife and I have watched the first couple episodes of Amazon Prime’s much-hyped “The Romanoffs” and… it’s okay, I guess? It’s an anthology series, with one episode coming out every week, all loosely tied together by the fact that some of the characters claim some connection to that ill-fated Russian royal family. It’s created by the creator of “Mad Men,” and there are actors from that series who show up, but so far I haven’t seen anything that really keeps my particular attention. It’s well-shot, well-acted, with self-contained episodes that are about interpersonal human dramas of varying kinds. But, in all, it just feels very monotone.
• Netflix recently premiered the costuming for Henry Cavill’s character in the upcoming “The Witcher” series, complete with long whitish wig. Unfortunate comparisons to Legolas followed.
• Also announced lately was that the upcoming season of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” will be its last. Which is perfectly fine with me, since the show hasn’t been up to its usual standard since Season 2. OITNB and “House of Cards” were Netflix’s headlining TV series, and with one sunsetting, and the other being heavily retooled after the Kevin Spacey scandal, it’ll be interesting to see where the service goes from here.
• The long-awaited sandbox cowboy video game epic Red Dead Redemption 2 premiered almost two weeks ago, and my twitter feed was divided into two groups: Those who were playing the game and those who weren’t playing the game and lamented that fact. I haven’t played a video game since about 2014, and only use my PS3 to play Blu-Rays so… that’s all I have to say about it. If you clicked on this article thinking you’d get a review of the game, you got punked.
• I’ve been a fan of spooky and true crime podcasts, my go-to being the powerhouse that is Last Podcast on the Left. However, by complete chance last week I saw a tweet mentioning a podcast called “Ghoul on Ghoul.” Hosted by Pittsburgh-area residents Sarah and Amanda, these ladies plumb the depths of the haunted, the weird and the outre with a characteristically wild sense of humor that’s genuinely hilarious. The first episode I happened to listen to was “Medieval Butt Science” and, believe me, it’s got me wanting to come back for more. A definite recommendation.