(Editor’s Note: Episode spoilers ahead, just the first couple minutes of each episode except where noted otherwise.)
I finally got around to watching the last half of the first season of Twilight Zone, admittedly a bad idea as I had just spent a long car ride listening to the Twilight Zone BBC radio dramas and had high expectations for where the second half of the season would take me.
With some faults the second half of the season was consistently better than the first, and actually has me wanting to see where the show goes for season #2. Which has been confirmed.
Thanks to my own habit for procrastination, we’ve managed to get through two episodes of the How About Notflix podcast before I got around to publishing them. The audio quality isn’t studio-level, but we’re working on that.
Check it out, and stay tuned for more episodes. We are looking at a new episode every Wednesday.
Now I’ve been around the block long enough to see a lot of comedy films and TV shows, and one thing I can say right off the bat with Astronomy Club is that it definitely subverts your expectations. Generally comedy films/shows have a habit of placing their best and in some cases only funny scenes in the trailer. Astronomy Club, judging solely from the trailer, looked like completely cringeworthy garbage. Imagine the worst Wayans brothers film and then multiply the suck by ten.
The show itself actually wasn’t that bad.
Safe to say there are large swaths of the internet that are not going to like Astronomy Club. It’s not that those people are automatically racist, it’s just that Astronomy Club is a show primarily focused around black humor and is mostly intended for audiences that relate to that kind of stuff. There’s a cultural element to the show’s line of comedy that a fair amount of people aren’t going to connect with and it’s not because they’re racist.
And then there’s racists who won’t like this show because the cast is almost entirely black. But those people won’t admit that’s not why they hate the show. They’ll whine about identity politics and anti-white racism, despite there having been a show by a comedy troupe literally called “The Whitest Kids You Know.”
There is an overarching plot, that being the actors involved in the sketch show are in a house for some reason but there’s no prize. Running gags make this the most consistently funny part of the show, like a bit where the actors make up some nonsense and follow it up with ‘and that’s why we’re called the Astronomy Club.’ James is the self-proclaimed leader and gets absolutely no respect from his housemates who routinely interrupt his confessional scenes. He also eats mayonnaise because he acts the whitest of the group.
As a sketch show from an improv group, it comes with the territory that not all of the sketches are going to be a hit. Unfortunately the sketches that don’t work seem to be the ones that the crew is intent on pushing the longest. Maybe it’s just because the show is only twenty minutes that each sketch feels so much longer.
The first season is six episodes at 20 minutes apiece, and you can power through the whole thing in two hours.
Magical Negro – Sketch centered around a rehab center for black characters in films whose only reason for existing was to help a white person. Funny, topical.
Robin Hood – Topical humor of a white Robin Hood robbing a rich black home and giving to the poor whites.
Dungeons & Dragons – Urban fantasy party sets off on a quest to a store across town to buy ingredients to make cheese grits. The end brings it all together.
Child’s Play – An adult takes questions on how he killed Chucky because he’s an adult and Chucky is a doll.
Auditions – A group auditions for an all-black film that still seems to be incredibly racist.
Gingerbread House – Gingerbread family gets murdered by children. There are no jokes.
Twilight Zone – “parody” of Twilight Zone, man sees a woman twerking on the wing of his plane. It goes too far to over explain the joke.
DJ Reparations – A DJ talks about reparations and racism until everyone leaves the dance floor. No jokes.
Date Night – A group of men and women independently talk about how hard it is finding someone who likes being rolled in a rug and trampled.
Good Ol’ Days – Old people reminisce about the old days, but they’re talking about being kids.
Disney? It’s me. I was hoping you could give Jon Favreau a bigger part in the Star Wars writing.
All too often in a series like Star Wars we see the events without the aftermath. The heroes fight the bad guys, get in a win, and move on to the next adventure. Nobody really sticks around to see what happens to Endor after the Empire’s big defeat, nor do we hear about what happens with the trillions of tons of debris being scattered around space after the Death Star is destroyed.
(Editor’s Note: Spoilers for Season One of The Twilight Zone ahead)
The Twilight Zone isn’t good, certainly not what the product of a long-dormant television show and the mind of Jordan Peele should be capable of producing. While some didn’t appreciate the political messages in his films like Get Out and Us, it’s hard to deny that they were well shot films.