NEW SHOWS AND SPECIALS
Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special (A-)
Though initially unpolished, this posthumous special shows Norm was sharp and hilarious right up until the end. I passed on hearing commentary from the likes of Dave Chappelle afterward, but the hourlong special – recorded in Norm’s home the night before an operation – delivers the goods.
“Payback” (A-) / season premiere
“The Only Man in the Sky” (A)
“Barbary Coast” (A)
It may have seemed at the end of Season 2 that this show had wrapped everything up. But really all it did was put its characters in a pressure cooker, and now everything’s ready to burst. Antony Starr continues to give one of most terrifying performances on television as Homelander. While other characters are showing their resolve (notably Hughie and Starlight), they’re unfortunately no match for an unhinged god.
Stranger Things – Season 4, Part 1 (B average)
The show still remains compelling, but by cramming this much story into seven jam-packed episodes, not all of them are done justice. Even by binging, it’s easy to forget what this group is up to or why this group is now in trouble. Oh, and there are even more new characters, meaning some of our beloved cast members only get one note to play, if that. But every bit of the supposed $30 million-per-episode budget looks like it’s on-screen, unlike some other series on competing streamers. And it’s still capable of transcendent moments, like Max levitating while listening to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” or [redacted] explaining his evil plan and tragic backstory set to Philip Glass.