Television Man | Aidan Morgan

“I see you are a man of television” —Television Man 

Embark on a journey with me, dear Reader, into the misty fantasyland of 2019, when everyone breathed freely and the only urgent concern was HBO’s prestige series Succession. Season two had just wrapped up and everyone wanted to know what would happen next. Would Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) finally take down his tyrannical father Logan (Brian Cox)? Would Roman (Kieran Culkin) and Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) get together? Would Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) continue to shamble his way to success?

One pandemic later, we finally have some answers to these vital questions from the distant past. Season three picks up immediately after Kendall’s bombshell presser. The family is split into factions, everyone is actualizing their worst possible self, and Cousin Greg continues to orbit around the inner circle despite being the sort of person who could barely operate a vending machine. If you already have a taste for Succession, season three will give you all the Succession flavour you desire. 2019, how we’ve missed you.

A Solid Foundation

Sooner or later, all showrunners must solve the riddle of Lee Pace. That is to say: you’ve cast Lee Pace in a show that takes place over hundreds of years. How do you maximize your Lee Pace content? Foundation creators David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman decided to clone their Lee Pace so they could get more Lee Pace in their Lee Pace.

Confused? You’re not alone. Many hardcore SF readers were confused and bemused at the decision to adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels into a television series. Spanning millennia and tracking the rise and fall of galactic civilizations, Foundation (Apple TV Plus) runs counter to the character-centric storytelling of television shows.

Not everyone will grok Goyer and Friedman’s choices for the first season, which include an endlessly cloned galactic emperor (Lee Pace!) and a close focus on a relative sliver of the text, but their achievement is remarkable. Foundation makes high drama out of abstruse mathematics, sometimes devoting entire scenes to characters manipulating symbols and breathlessly rattling off numbers to computers. There’s plenty of intrigue and spectacle as well, but it’s refreshing to watch a science fiction show with such an earnest faith in the possibilities of the human mind.

Seven Seasons for Nine Cast Members

Meanwhile, the pandemic has bent television schedules into pretzels. In fitting Legends of Tomorrow (The CW) form, the show’s seventh season debuted only a month after the season six finale. As the season starts, the crew of The Waverider are stranded in Texas c. 1925. What’s the surefire strategy for blending in when you’re stuck in an unfamiliar era? Pretend to be a travelling circus, of course. When that fails, pretend to be a gang of glamorous bank robbers. But whatever you do, don’t impersonate J. Edgar Hoover, because he may show up on an exceedingly flimsy pretext to chase you down. I love this show so much.