What I’ve been watching in June/July

Orange Is The New Black – Season 4

oitnb-season4I wrote about this show when it first debuted in 2013. Since then, we have been on a rollercoaster of a journey with the inmates of Litchfield, resulting now in the prison being privatised and seeing an influx of new criminals.

This in turn means racial tensions soon increase, creating some quite unsettling moments. There are also the usual fascinating flashbacks, including an incredibly shocking one showing how Suzanne (aka Crazy Eyes) ended up in prison, and a battle to get one inmate out of unwarranted solitary confinement.

Much has been written about the controversial and truly tragic event in the penultimate episode of this season, but I don’t want to go too far down that road. All I would say is I did not think it was unjustified or needless or insensitive as some has said. On the contrary, I believe it was extremely hard-hitting, approached well throughout the season and will bring awareness to that particular issue to a wider demographic.

Taskmaster

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Greg Davies & Alex Horne

Where is the hype for Taskmaster?! The second series just finished and it makes me burst out laughing constantly.

It’s a different cast from the first series and almost as funny – plenty funny enough still to make a great hour of TV. Greg Davies is the Taskmaster, and with the help of trusty admin assistant (and comedian in his own right) Alex Horne, sets ridiculous tasks for the five contestants to compete at.

It’s between Katherine Ryan, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Richard Osman and Doc Brown. It’s such a mix of personalities that there’s never a dull moment. Richard is (usually) the logical one, Doc panics under pressure, Joe just doesn’t care (or gets irrationally angry), Katherine is creative and also goes on a spectacular rant about how one particular task is much easier for the men, while Jon is just peculiar, precise and often picked on.

If you want to see a bunch of comedians thrust into increasingly odd situations, two more mocking them from the sidelines, and a large sprinkle of competitiveness, this is the perfect show for you.

Bojack Horseman

Season 3 of possibly the world’s darkest yet punniest animation show is on Netflix now. Bojack is back and he’s in the Oscar race for the movie he made in the second season, Secretariat.

But of coubojack-horseman-season-3-posterrse his life never settles down and he still uses alcohol to get through a lot of the time. Housemate Todd continues his usual crazy hijinks, Diane and Mr Peanut Butter have marital troubles, and Princess Carolyn struggles to keep her new agency going.

Although the plot would probably be enough by itself, my favourite thing about this show is all the clever animal jokes and references. Bojack is interviewed by a particular species for a feature in Manatee Fair, while a hamster TV writer has plastic tubes running around his house. There’s even a whole episode set underwater in Pacific Ocean City inhabited by every fish going, with amazing visual jokes including sardines packing themselves onto a bus. The end of that episode, largely silent, is also incredibly clever.

Bojack Horseman is also very bingeable and listening to the sound of Will Arnett’s voice is hardly a chore.

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