Category Archives: TV

The Patient

nemesis

  • Someone’s nemesis is a person or thing that is very difficult for them to defeat.
  • (a cause of) punishment or defeat that is deserved and cannot be avoided:

Nemesis and Greek Mythology (Source: Merriam-Webster Dicitionary)

Nemesis was the Greek goddess of vengeance, a deity who doled out rewards for noble acts and punishment for evil ones. The Greeks believed that Nemesis didn't always punish an offender immediately but might wait generations to avenge a crime. In English, nemesis originally referred to someone who brought a just retribution, but nowadays people are more likely to see animosity than justice in the actions of a nemesis.
‘The Patient’ Streaming on Disney Hostar

The Patient is about a psychiatrist and a serial killer, whose interactions form the crux of the TV series, made for Hulu, now streaming on Disney Hotstar. It stars Domhnall Gleeson (Sam Fortner), Steve Carell (Alan Strauss), Laura Niemi (Beth), Andrew Leeds (Ezra), Linda Emond (Candace) and David Alan Grier (Charlie).

Imprisoned, and displaced to an unfamiliar setting, and that too by a compulsive serial killer, who seeks help to curb his homicidal urges, Alan Strauss wonders if he has met his nemesis. Several questions plague him during the course of his captivity including that of his personal life, related to his wife’s recent death and troubled relationship with his son. His struggle seems uphill with imaginary conversations with his dead mentor, and the biggest question hanging in front of him—will he come out of this situation alive? If he cannot, can he hope for some form of redemption?

The TV series is engaging for most part with excellent performances and terrific script. It offers a unique take on therapist-patient relationship, and presents it with as little theatrics as possible. One can debate about the ending, but relationships can never be fully reconciled. This is true even when there is forgiveness and acceptance, as the residue still pours into the future. Life and death are inevitable, and life after death of loved ones, changes forever.

In treatment is another interesting TV series on therapist-patient situations.

Related Links
Agastya Sastry’s ‘Aa geethaki atu itu’

Ted Lasso Season 1

It’s very difficult to do a comedy show, let alone in the sitcom mould. Ted Lasso achieves that, with effective and efficient writing.

Here are a few brilliant examples.

  1. All the main characters are set up interestingly early on and their arcs (Past problems, present dilemmas and future goals/worries) established (Ted, Rebecca, Jamie, Roy, Keeley and Nathan). The support characters are etched into these.
  2. Self-depecating/Loser type of characterisation for Ted lasso and the conflict with Rebecca is brought out very nicely, with their own reasons. The fact that Rebecca has an ambivalent relationship with Ted, helps in building the comedy, during the first phase of Joseph Campbell theory (where the hero is brought into a new world and adjusts to it).
  3. The overall plot and the individual character arcs are seamlessly blended.
  4. The entire show is peppered with lot of quotes from management and philosophy.
  5. The pub scene with the darts, though tweaked for dramatic effect, works well and delivers a knock-put punch.
  6. (Spoilers ahead) The resolutions towards the end are done well, with Ted forgiving Rebecca. There is a valid reason, which is a rarity in writing (writers hide behind the ‘to err is human, to forgive’ kind of principle) as he himself understands how painful and chaotic a divorce is. This suits Ted, as he has both a heart and brain.
  7. (Spoilers Ahead) The reason for the fish out of the water scenario, though a bit unclear at the beginning is revealed slowly (in the episodes where his wife visits him and late, he signs the divorce papers) in the subsequent episodes, and with crystal clarity, in the end when he forgives Rebecca.
  8.  Last episode ending though predictable, works as we all love the characters and want them to come back in Season 2. (I for one, thought the team wouldn’t be relegated, and it would be Ted who would move on to something else like Hoosiers)

Here are some brilliant quotes and books from the show.
Books
Quotes

Vinyl

Vinyl is a TV series co-created by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger. There are a few articles below about why the series wasn’t renewed for a second season.

Vinyl is fiction alright, but draws inspiration from real events and people. It is about a music executive and his partners, in the early 70s, who made their mark in the industry but now forced to sell their company to come out of the hole they dug themselves in. But all of them look forward to the silver lining—the moolah each one will get in the process. And then things go south. Almost killed in a building collapse accident, and having killed someone else in another accident, Richie (Bobby Cannavale) gets an epiphany and decides not to sell.

What follows is his tumultuous journey and his struggle with reality and imagination, full of drug induced highs and lows. 

Overall, the series offers enough elements for fans of Martin Scorsese and old music, to keep them hooked. But things would have worked even better if it were a few episodes less, and if the other characters were allowed to unravel in flourish. Instead, all the supporting characters seem to get some good starts but somewhere during the course of the series, left stranded. Not to draw comparison, and giving enough respect to the writers and creators of Vinyl, Mad Men kind of an approach would have done the series much good, with every character’s backstory etched in wonderful detail, yet driving the whole plot and supporting the main character.

In Vinyl, the ever-drugged Richie is so away from the reality he cannot create some cohesiveness of feeling with other characters. He moves one step forward and retracts a dozen. He does manage a little bit towards end, especially in the last two episodes, which are infact the best of the lot, but it is a bit too late in the game.

Tailpiece: Just like his wife comes to know about the secret behind Richie going on the wagon again, how about audience does too…then, the second season would have had something to interest to build on? Guess, we will never know.

Related Links:

HBO Cancels Vinyl Season 2

The Mercer Center collapse

Wikipedia on Vinyl

Music of Vinyl

History behind songs in Vinyl