Mercado on TV: When it comes to what to watch next, do you choose something fresh and original, or are you more likely to pick the familiar? In an increasingly crowded field, too many TV series are starting to resemble each other, and it’s the wild cards that are standing out.
Check out the TV Gold podcast to help guide you through the TV dramas on offer. Listen here.
Beef (Netflix) is a nine-part series that kicks off with a road rage incident. Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong) are both unable to let go of their anger, and the repercussions from their acts of revenge get more and more demented.
Everybody should be talking about how crazy good Beef is, but instead, the conversation is turning to co-star David Choe. Comments from 2014 about his “rapey behaviour” and alleged sexual assaults have led to the two lead actors having to put out a statement about why he was cast. The incident is detracting from the show’s watchability, and it’s all self-inflicted damage that could have been avoided.
Let’s hope there are no such scandals lurking in Mrs Davis (Binge), a bizarre new sci-fi comedy about a nun. Sister Simone (Betty Gilpin) is fighting a new form of artificial intelligence with guest stars like Margo Martindale and David Arquette. Who knows where this is heading, and given Lost’s Damon Lindelof is one of its creators, maybe he doesn’t know yet either.
Those looking for something more logical might prefer The Last Thing He Told Me (Apple TV+). Based on yet another bestselling mystery novel, a man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) runs out on his wife (Jennifer Garner) and daughter (Angourie Rice), leaving them to figure out why.
The only reason to keep watching is for the performances of Jennifer Garner and Angourie Rice. They’ve got a testy relationship, but I don’t care enough to stick with it. Seriously, all of these mystery dramas are becoming interchangeable.
Hot on the heels of Gaslit (Stan), there is yet another series about the Watergate break-in. White House Plumbers (Tuesday on Binge) goes for a more comedic feel as it follows government operative E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) meeting G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux) and the crazy schemes they practice in the lead-up to the re-election of Nixon.
White House Plumbers spends far too long setting up their dynamic, even with a great supporting cast like Lena Headey and Judy Greer. So far, nothing in it makes it more interesting to watch than Gaslit.
Maybe it’s best to go for something familiar, crossed with the unpredictable. Kevin Can F*** Himself (Tuesday on ABC) is a typical American sitcom with a laugh track, until it switches gears and you realise that put upon wife Allison (Annie Murphy) wants to kill her boorish husband Kevin (Eric Petersen). This is one worth recommending.
Top image: Ali Wong in Beef
Read more Mercado on TV here.
Welcome to TV Gold: The almost all-new weekly TV podcast
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Listen now on your favourite podcast platform for 30 minutes of TV reviews and recommendations every week from Mediaweek’s Andrew Mercado and James Manning.
Strap yourself in for the new episode where Andrew goes to town on Dead Ringers. Andrew differs from James on Fatal Attraction and they try to understand what’s happening in Mrs Davis.