Television Man | Aidan Morgan

“Remember, remember the sixteenth of November. Prairie Dog, TV Man, hot.”
—An uninspired television man, writing to deadline

Blue Eye Samurai

After almost four months, the SAG-AFTRA strike is over. The negotiating committee struck a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is a fancy term for a gang of wealthy executives who’d rather deal with digital doubles of actors than flesh-and-blood humans. The committee exacted concessions that regulate the use of artificial intelligence, stipulate consent and ensure compensation. In other words, if you see Robot Downey Jr. in some downstream version of Iron Man, you can at least be assured that the original Downey got paid.

Loki: Two And Done

The second season of Loki (Disney+) recently ended and it appears this is the end of the series. Head writer Eric Martin and Tom Hiddleston (Loki, High Rise) have implied as much in recent interviews. Considering the ending of the season, which provides a complete and deeply satisfying arc for its main character, it would be anticlimactic to continue. Despite some baffling episodes, season two of Loki is probably the best thing so far in Marvel Studios’ television run.

It will also likely be the last big live-action Marvel series we’ll see for a while. After the “Marvel Spotlight” series Echo (Disney+/Hulu) drops all five episodes Jan. 10, nothing is set in stone. Daredevil is being completely overhauled, Agatha: Darkhold Diaries is “coming soon” and Ironheart is apparently in post-production. Wonder Man, starring Yahyah Abdul Mateen II (Watchmen), started filming in April but may have stalled out.

All Patrolled Out

Speaking of superhero series ending, the always-odd Doom Patrol (HBO/Crave) danced to its finale on November 9, ending one of the weirdest runs in Marvel or DC television. Despite a budget that seemed to shrink with each episode, Doom Patrol remained idiosyncratic, vulgar and sweet to the end.

The Big Apple

Meanwhile on Apple TV+, the fourth season of For All Mankind has begun. In this alternate history of the space race, the moon and Mars have been colonised by humanity, and now it’s… an asteroid’s turn? Okay, why not. According to early reviews, this season leans heavily into soap opera antics at the expense of its playful forays into geopolitical what-ifs, but I’m hoping we’ll get plenty of technobabble and bureaucratic squabbling to go with the show’s more humid elements.

For The Binge

If you’re in the mood for beautiful nonsense over the weekend, may I recommend the animated series Blue Eye Samurai (Netflix)? It’s a blood-drenched tale of revenge set in 17th-century Japan. I didn’t expect to enjoy this one nearly as much as I did, but I ended up downing all eight episodes over the course of two days. The voice cast is 98 per cent Asian actors, with the notable exception of Kenneth Branagh as the season’s biggest villain. My favourite performances were Masi Oka (Heroes) as the cheerful apprentice Ringo and Randall Park as the oily arms dealer Heiji Shindo. ■