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The fruits of all that binge-watching

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

“[Nothing] says you’re trying to cash in on the success of the Lord of the Rings films than The Rings of Power‘s ultimate villain […] Sauron. After a brief tease at the start, just as with the movie trilogy, he mysteriously disappears. […] That hollowness is intentional, for [it] hangs itself around the suspense of Sauron’s true identity. Take a trip around the Internet, and you will notice that a majority of the discussion about the first season during its six-week run revolved around ‘Who is Sauron?’”

Jamtara: Season 2

“As my mind began drifting thanks to the unengaging plotting and problematic choices, I began to wonder: what is Jamtara really trying to say? On one level, [it’s] about how a lack of good jobs and opportunities drives small-town India into get-rich-quick schemes. They’ve got nothing better on offer. On another, it’s about how money is also power. […] Politics may be more central than ever, but Jamtara season 2 doesn’t have anything new to say.”

Andor

“There’s a degree of murkiness in every corner of Andor—and that makes sense. After all, there are no Jedi here chasing a purity of mind or heart, no do-gooders who believe in the Force, and no heroes with a hurrah can-do spirit willing to put everything on the line. This is the gritty end of the line, following the non-lightsaber folks who must get by with ingenuity, negotiation, and hardiness. It’s about those sketching out an existence on the fringes of the Empire.”

House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon is a thing of beauty […] Of course, the Thrones prequel benefits from existing world-building—Westeros, King’s Landing, and the Red Keep aren’t foreign to us now—but the writing, direction, and performances elevate it further. It nails scene construction, narrative momentum, and the moment-to-moment flow. These might seem like small things, but they can make or break a TV show.”

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

“At times, [Jennifer] Walters talks to us as if she’s like one of us—a She-Hulk viewer herself. Walters is hyper-aware that she’s inside the telly, and who’s who in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. […] But just because she’s aware of how filmmaking and ‘film criticism’ works, doesn’t always help She-Hulk as a show. It’s a blatant attempt to have your cake and eat it too, and unfortunately, the ingredients of the newest MCU series can be pretty mundane at times.”

Shoorveer

“Everything shot against the sky is fully reliant on green screens or computer-generated imagery (CGI). The latter is plain awful. Video games from 10 years ago have better graphics than the quality of CGI on Shoorveer. Look, I wasn’t expecting Top Gun: Maverick … but Star Wars did better with its miniatures in the 70s and 80s than Shoorveer does with its computer animation.”

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan Kenobi had no time for the character to have a journey. And hence, despite [Ewan] McGregor’s best efforts to imbue some depth to the role he reprised after a gap of nearly two decades, he couldn’t make him feel like a living breathing human. There wasn’t any room for that growth, of a disillusioned Jedi Master, who had pulled himself away from the Force, finding his way back to his old way of life.”

She: Season 2

“[One] of the worst things Imtiaz Ali has ever put on paper. From the start of season 1, Ali’s tenet with She has been that sexuality can empower women. But he hasn’t had the faintest idea how to go about it. […] Ali’s scripts … are entirely incapable of sketching its characters and its world out for themselves. Basically, he doesn’t know how to show it, so it’s shoved into empty dialogues.”

Ms. Marvel

“[Inspired] by her Marvel comics … in more ways than one. Its titular protagonist loves to fantasise and doodle, and as such, her chats and conversations are turned into larger-than-life animation on walls, are imprinted on roads, or take over neon lights and building signage. To me, it felt reminiscent of both Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In their vein, Ms. Marvel‘s comic book-inspired stylisations are spot on.”

Stranger Things 4

“[In] trying to be bigger, grislier, and longer than ever, Stranger Things 4 … ends up feeling a lot like standard genre stuff of its ilk. The bigger problem though isn’t that the new season of the hit Netflix series is formulaic. It’s that it’s in lacking in joy and humour. Stranger Things 4 is so immersed in its plot demands that it forgets what made the previous seasons exciting.”

Modern Love Mumbai

“[Most] of its stories—each Modern Love Mumbai episode is standalone, since it’s an anthology—are humdrum. While some episodes start off poorly and never get you on their characters’ side, others begin in a promising manner only to fade out eventually. Many don’t earn their insights, consist of clunky dialogues, or make superficial observations. And some cram too much into their 40-minute runtimes.”

London Files

“[A] hilariously bad cop show. [… Arjun] Rampal’s police detective is stuck inside the TV, except he doesn’t know it. After all, that’s the only way to explain his bewildering actions, things no cop in his position would do.”

Mai

“[A] thoroughly unconvincing transformation of a 47-year-old housewife … into an ice-cold operator who’s thinking two steps ahead of everyone. She repeatedly discovers key information simply through luck, mostly by being at the right place at the right time. If your protagonist’s superpower is chance, you’re going to get eyerolls if not outright laughter. She also survives … through plot armour or because of others’ incompetence.”

Moon Knight

“[A] snooze fest. Most of it is about MacGuffins … and as the hero and villain chase, find, and procure them, the new Marvel series becomes too plot driven. […] Lead director and executive producer Mohamed Diab—the first Arab man to take control of a MCU property—has made a big deal of how Moon Knight will fix pop culture representation of Egyptian culture, but that doesn’t mean anything when scene to scene, it’s not fun to watch.”

The Fame Game

“[Despite] being made by some of the biggest insiders in town—Karan Johar is a producer—The Fame Game has very little of concrete to say about the underbelly of being famous. If anything, it comes across as fan fiction at times, like outsiders projecting what they hear in the news. It ought to offer a deeper reflection—but too often, it ends up treading in clichés and surface-level observations.”

The Book of Boba Fett

“[Poor] and lazy writing. The first four episodes, devoted to [Boba Fett], were entirely useless. The backstory was largely boring … and the present-day story moved at a humdrum pace. Stuck in one place … The Book of Boba Fett ground to a halt. It could have overcome that if it had something to say or show [… But] when they ran out of Fett’s past and present, [it] simply ditched him and switched over to Din Djarin.”

The Great Indian Murder

“Most scenes land with absolutely zero impact—as we push deeper and deeper, it’s mind-bogglingly excruciating to watch as [director Tigmanshu] Dhulia haplessly struggles with the material. […] The Great Indian Murder is disjointed, a mess from start to finish, and ends on a whimper. It’s quite possibly the worst thing Disney+ Hotstar has ever said yes to.”

Rocket Boys

“[Largely] speaking, a masterly act. As a character drama, Rocket Boys deftly balances the personal and professional worlds of its dual leads. […] Ruminative at times, [it] reflects on the characters’ internal struggles, pursuits, and challenges. It chronicles their brilliance and perseverance (aside from their friendship), but it’s also not afraid to reckon with the fact that [Homi] Bhabha and [Vikram] Sarabhai didn’t always deliver on their promises.”

Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein

“[Wants] to depict the slow but inevitable descent of a man who is caught between sticking to his principles and pulling out of [an admirer]’s orbit. Except Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein takes too long to get there—and the journey is not remotely interesting or intriguing enough.”

Human

Human‘s biggest undoing though is in thinking that it’s an operatic drama. It pushes its narrative elements—trauma therapy, heedless ambition, and class commentary among others—to such a comical degree that its characters threaten to boil over into caricature. [It] tries to tackle too much [and] in doing so, Human drives itself off the cliff in the process.”

The Witcher: Season 2

“The beauty of Game of Thrones wasn’t just the size of the ensemble, but how it made full use of it. How you came to feel for or feel the wrath of its characters who were spread across the moral spectrum. The Witcher is lacking that. The second season shows its filmmakers … are more confident at executing their vision. But The Witcher still has a ways to go.”

Hawkeye

“Deep into Hawkeye episode 2, Kate [Bishop] notes that [Clint Barton] lacks branding. Clint protests that he is not trying to sell anything. ‘That’s your problem,’ Kate says, ‘you’re too low-key. People want sincerity.’ […] And like the title character, Hawkeye has the same issue: it lacks branding.”

Cowboy Bebop

“[At] its best when it’s channelling the same energy the original anime it’s based on was inspired by: pulp fiction. It’s hard to get it right because if you go overboard, it’s on the nose and you stop caring. But Cowboy Bebop really nails its pulpiness.”

Foundation

“Foundation … fixes [the book’s drawbacks. …] Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as often as it ought to. The action is in spurts. Even elaborate scenes are directed in a manner that flattens the excitement. There’s little joy in the romantic pairings and escapades. The dramatic happenings come out of nowhere, and do not flow organically from a previous entanglement.”

Star Wars: Visions

“[What] better way for Star Wars to expand its horizons than to return to its roots—and trust the next generation of filmmakers from whence it came? It’s the circle of life.”

Loki

“Death has always been sort of a joke in the MCU. Characters miraculously escape from it. They cheat it. They fake it. Or they return from it thanks to an omnipotent gauntlet. With Loki, given his arc had finished emotionally and narratively, Marvel simply plucked an earlier version of him. […] I’m not complaining. [Tom] Hiddleston is a constant delight.”

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

“[Where] it mattered most, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was found wanting. I enjoyed the episodes as I watched them because there was a lot happening, but it doesn’t feel like it amounted to a lot now that it’s over. Overall, it just felt like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had little purpose, other than to pass the Captain America baton.”

OK Computer

“Today’s broken ‘digital India’, extrapolated to 2031 with sentient AI robots, is ripe fodder for a sci-fi series. But OK Computer has none of [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy]’s satirist powers or the intellect to imagine [a dystopian India]. Its creators have digested some of the world’s leading sci-fi works, but what they’ve produced is essentially the series equivalent of Deep Thought’s answer. It’s Pav Bhaji.”

WandaVision

“Grief is usually the first act of a story, more so for the likes of Marvel that are in the business of making action epics for the big screen. […] Grief is the catalyst, not a destination. But not so for WandaVision. [The] longform nature allowed [it] to explore a character’s inner life like never before. No other MCU property has had this amount of time to navigate how a Marvel superhero is feeling.”

For All Mankind: Season 2

For All Mankind seems interested in exploring the ugly and bloody legacy of post-World War II USA, one that has been involved in countless wars across decades. What it feels like it’s trying to get at is that [Americans are] doomed to repeat cycles of violence, no matter what timeline they are in. But the messaging on season 2 is a bit muddled, almost as if it’s afraid of alienating its primary audience: Americans.”

The Mandalorian: Season 2

“In contrast to the Star Wars lore-lite that was season 1, The Mandalorian season 2 intertwined itself more with the franchise’s past. […] If season 1 was about bringing in new fans to the Star Wars galaxy far, far away, then it seemed like The Mandalorian season 2 was about rewarding older fans. I mean, you can’t go much bigger on the nostalgia chart than Luke [Skywalker].”

His Dark Materials: Season 2

“Two [Ruth Wilson] scenes stand out particularly because they showcase a vulnerable side of her character, rarely seen in the series, and because they aren’t about moving the plot along, which His Dark Materials is unfortunately too much about. […] But these moments are all too rare, and [the show] is a lot less powerful and revealing when it’s left to the young adults.”

The Boys: Season 2

The Boys‘ anti-superhero satire doesn’t go beyond surface-level jokes too often. Rarely is the Amazon series able to dig into the excesses, absurdity, and power fantasy of the superhero culture. Where [it’s] more successful is in touching upon themes that are largely out of the [Marvel]’s PG-13 purview: sexual harassment, white supremacy, political polarisation, and America’s gun laws.”

The Umbrella Academy: Season 2

“[It] thinks it’s a ‘cool’ show but it’s not. That doesn’t stop season 2 from trying, over and over. […] What it actually needs are characters with depth, interesting conversations, and a meaningful journey. Instead what it serves up are scenes after scenes set to a peppy soundtrack.”

A Suitable Boy

“You might understandably struggle to keep up with who’s related to whom. More so because writer Andrew Davies (BBC’s War & Peace) has been tasked with condensing nearly 1,500 pages into six hours—an impossible feat—which means A Suitable Boy throws a lot at you from the start, even as it must leave a lot out.”

Indian Matchmaking

“Netflix makes a lot of cringeworthy, regressive, trope-heavy reality TV and it keeps making them because people keep watching them. If Indian Matchmaking gets a season 2, you know where to look.”

Dark: Season 3

“Deconstructing Dark‘s takeaway towards the end is a curious choice, not least because it negates what Dark has been trying to say since the beginning, but also because it helps bring about what’s bound to be a polarising end. Maybe it’s a case of the Dark creators trying to outsmart the audience and the fans with their endless theories, but in doing so, Dark season 3 prioritises surprise over internal logic.”

Betaal

“[A] three-hour horror series that operates in clichés and tropes, which makes Betaal feel like it belongs to the classic genre era. Graham and the team have talked about introducing Indians to zombies, but frankly, in 2020, there’s little need for that. Even those with a passing knowledge of horror know how zombies work. But Betaal has zero self-awareness, be it with its plot or characters.”

Westworld: Season 3

“[Season] 3 … felt like a semi-reboot of the HBO series’ original designs, as it brought us into the human world. Gone were the sun-kissed Western visuals, in came desaturated cityscapes. With it, out went with the endless love for confounding mysteries … and was replaced with the more straightforward embrace of high-octane thrills. But in changing its skin, Westworld looked to have lost some of itself. And it’s never felt like HBO’s next flagship to take over from Game of Thrones.”

Hasmukh

“[It] could do well to learn from its close cousin in Barry, whose co-creator and star Bill Hader also comes from a comedic background, but does a much better job handling the wacky end of the spectrum. Hasmukh is unfortunately all over the place, as it dissolves into a B-grade cable sitcom now and then.”

Four More Shots Please!: Season 2

“If anything, [it] has further dialled up some of its worst instincts. Thanks to a near-constant use of background songs and an obsession with montages, Four More Shots Please! season 2 feels more akin to a series of music videos. […] Too afraid of depicting something raw, the Amazon series is happy to jump from one cutesy, cheesy, and clichéd moment to another.”

Special Ops

“Things literally happen because the writers needed them to happen, and the movie lies to the audience to serve its plot twists, prioritising plot mechanics over its characters. […] Special Ops is both incoherent and rudderless as the finale approaches, and there are more loose ends than you count by the time it wraps up.”

Afsos

“All too often, Afsos finds itself in a much different comedy subgenre, an absurdist one, one where the laughs are dependent on the audience leaving its brains behind. That in itself may be generous, as [Anirban] Dasgupta largely fails to channel his comic talent on screen with few exceptions.”

The Forgotten Army

“[Kabir] Khan & Co. … fall prey to Bollywood’s love for grandstanding. At various points during The Forgotten Army—sometimes laughably in the middle of a battle—the good guys will launch into a mini-monologue to talk about their heart-breaking, righteous, and powerful backstories, value systems, and capabilities. This is the poorest kind of message filmmaking.”

The Witcher

The Witcher has plenty to offer … spellcasting, genies, or supernatural beasts, and dealing with colonisation, xenophobia, infertility, or superstition. [And] it boasts a bona fide Hollywood star. It’s easily Netflix’s most coherent attempt at a [Game of] Thrones, one that’s similarly based on a property with an existing fanbase. But it doesn’t have the requisite depth and takes too long to get going.”

Inside Edge: Season 2

Inside Edge continues to be an unnecessarily over-the-top TV show in season 2. In fact, given how melodramatic it usually is, it’s less of a TV show and more akin to a soap opera. Slot it alongside today’s Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and no one would bat an eye.”

Out of Love

“[The creators] display no understanding of pacing, momentum, shot angles, character play, or emotional beats, and have no idea of what notes they want their actors to hit. Out of Love manages to make [Rasika] Dugal look bad, and that’s a shame.”

Little Things: Season 3

“The lengthy discussions between the two … form the bedrock of Little Things. That also partly explains its talky nature, which functions as a double-edged sword of sorts. It helps what it’s trying to get at, but results in Little Things explicitly spelling out its themes through dialogue at times.”

His Dark Materials

“[Though] the visuals are on point, the writing isn’t. Despite the elements at its disposal—talking animals, a modernised Victoriana fantasy, and scheming, tyrannical individuals—it’s made to feel ordinary, especially the farther it gets from its fantasy trappings.”

Jack Ryan: Season 2

“It’s a shame … that Jack Ryan succumbs to the pitfalls of being an action spy series, by way of an audacious rescue mission in the season 2 finale. In doing so, it undoes its intent to look at American overreach by itself overreaching. It’s possible it’s meant as additional commentary, but Jack Ryan season 2 doesn’t seem self-aware about it.”

See

See has nothing to offer beyond its surface-level premise and violence—no gripping plot, no interesting characters, and no relevant messaging. It’s an empty husk of a show.”

Watchmen

“The meat and potatoes of the new Watchmen … is a deep-seated exploration of racial inequality in the US, with [Damon] Lindelof … seemingly interested in delving into its cross-generational effects. Watchmen goes to great lengths to showcase the hate, violence, injustice, and disregard meted out to African-Americans, and how that leads to a corrosion of society itself.”

Bard of Blood

“[The] irresponsible travesty that’s on display with Bard of Blood. For a show set in the troubled Pakistani province of Balochistan, that deals with cross-border terrorism, and involves rogue Indian agents contending with Pakistani intelligence services, it’s laughable that its makers think the Netflix series isn’t political.”

The Family Man

“[Merely] knowing which relevant topics to deal with does not a good series make. TV shows—like any piece of entertainment—are about presentation and execution, and The Family Man falters more than is acceptable.”

Carnival Row

“[An] intriguing mixture—which descends into a hotchpotch now and then—of several genres in one. At times, it’s a murder mystery, a political drama, a love story, or a supernatural fantasy. [… For] a show that offers so much on paper, it’s surprising that not much of it is very engaging in execution.”

Sacred Games: Season 2

“While the larger idea of Sartaj and Gaitonde’s self-worth exploration and ultimately ending up in each other’s position looks good on paper, the execution wasn’t always convincing […] Most of it is down to how illogical some of their actions felt, or how it was inconsistent with what we had known about the character until that point.”

Typewriter

Get Out explored racism through the vein of horror, A Quiet Place was about the fears of parenting, and closer to its Netflix series home, Stranger Things is a coming-of-age tale wrapped up in a supernatural mystery. And even as Typewriter has some of the latter’s ingredients, it has none of its soul, charm, or intrigue.”

Stranger Things 3

Stranger Things 3 benefits from the change of setting. It’s set in the (American) summer of 1985, which allows it to leave behind the gloomy autumn that contributed to the mood on the first two seasons. On screen, that also contributes to a vibrant blast of colours and nowhere is that more obvious than at the new locale that brings everyone together: Hawkins’ shiny new Starcourt Mall.”

Black Mirror: Season 5

“[None] of them is as disturbing, prescient or memorable as what Black Mirror has given us before [… Charlie] Brooker still has the teeth—and the imagination to craft tales that link into our techno-paranoia, showing us a world gone wrong where we are not too careful—but the bite is somewhat lacking.”

Game of Thrones: Season 8

Game of Thrones‘ butchering of the Dorne storyline was the first major warning sign that the writers were incapable of successfully deviating from the written word.”

Good Omens

“With [Neil] Gaiman at the helm, there’s a whimsical charm to Good Omens, which blends eccentric humour that takes pot-shots at everything from religion to Hollywood, historical fantasy and sci-fi happenings that span the Roman Empire and nuclear power plants, and adolescent drama.”

Delhi Crime

“[Paints] a scathing picture of India as it signifies the omnipresent nature of sexual violence, and that the Nirbhaya case was simply different for the attention it garnered. And it says a lot more about our society that local producers and filmmakers have kept their distance.”

Made in Heaven

Made in Heaven is meant to be a satire of the extravagance of Indian weddings, but in practice, it’s more a display and celebration of the culture alongside perfunctory remarks about the social ills, monetary waste, and family one-upmanship.”

The Umbrella Academy

“[It] sheds the vibrant colours and the fantastical elements that gave the comics its wacky feel, leaving behind a production with a dour, gloomy aesthetic that makes it feel as generic as many others.”

Four More Shots Please!

Four More Shots Please! wants to be an easy, frivolous comedy that also tugs at your heartstrings, [but its] story threads [aren’t] set up and executed in a convincing fashion.”

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 3

“[On] the third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events, its insistence to adapt every book and stick so closely to the written word partially ends up being its undoing.”

Selection Day

Selection Day has nothing to say about modern-day India beyond its checkbox recognitions of the maladies stemming from cricket turning into a new capitalist tool, and the problems of identity faced by a new generation that’s being pulled in different directions.”

Mirzapur

“It tends to stumble and appears half-baked in certain corners, but at its best, Mirzapur is an engrossing human drama about ambition, fulfillment, and pride wrapped into a tale of unrelenting blood and gore.”

Daredevil: Season 3

“What begins as a homage to [the season 1 hallway scene] turns into a nightmarish walkthrough of a prison riot, involving dozens of actors including [Charlie] Cox and lasting for 10 minutes, over twice as long as the previous one.”

Iron Fist: Season 2

“[Fails] to punch through in satisfying ways and ends up being another middling entry in what has been a disappointing year for sophomore runs in the Marvel universe on TV, after Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.”

Ghoul

“Save for one video game-y twist in the final episode, which turns Ghoul partly into a find-the-zombie mystery, the Netflix series lacks the kind of ingenuity that horror audiences have been witness to earlier in the year.”

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger

“The option to enter minds and see different takes on events that can’t be witnessed by the two leads or easily told becomes a fascinating narrative device the further the season progresses.”

Luke Cage: Season 2

“Being a local celebrity vigilante is a double-edged sword: people worship you, but they also hold you to a higher standard. The latter plays into the series’ exploration of the black experience in the US, and having a bulletproof hero as your lead magnifies the issues. That’s a close metaphor for season 2, in that a prominent adaptation of a beloved comic property invites more scrutiny, and it’s a shame it doesn’t deliver.”

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2

“[In season 2,] the show further pushes on the new world order’s tenet that women are mere tools who are to be silenced, threatened, or harassed into following orders in any way possible, and as often as required.”

Westworld: Season 2

“[Season 2] brings up the question of what the newly-conscious androids will do with their freedom, and though one hopes the new world Dolores speaks of will be a better one, the answer for now involves a lot of bloodbath. Violent delights, violent ends.”

Lost in Space

“The bigger worry is how blind [Lost in Space] is to issues of class and privilege. [] Ultimately, the show wastes a good premise by being lazy with its storylines and character work.”

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 2

“Because [everything] changes every two episodes, A Series of Unfortunate Events lives and dies by what those settings bring, how much fun it’s able to have with the new guardians, and whether it allows for the kids’ talents to be showcased. The second-season output goes up and down as the setting changes, and there’s more listening and reacting to Olaf than watching the Baudelaires come up with ingenious solutions for their problems.”

Krypton

“An origin story for the origin story—you’re already looking at a narrow, dedicated Superman audience. Unfortunately, even those fans will have a hard time finding something that piques their interest: poorly-sketched characters suffocated by a boring story that assumes importance by attaching a bombastic score is a recipe for disaster.”

Jessica Jones: Season 2

“The themes it presents and the lessons it imparts are still important, but the road it takes is full of potholes that it can’t avoid, and the scenery around it isn’t remotely as interesting as the one we’ve been witness to in the first season.”

Altered Carbon

“Though [Laeta] Kalogridis does well to introduce us to the new concepts and ideas in early episodes, the show loses its grip on matters midway through the 10-episode season. […] Altered Carbon has an expensive sleeve—Netflix reportedly spent $6-7 million per episode—but the stack is missing.”

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams

“The works of science fiction author Philip K. Dick have been a near-constant source of inspiration for Hollywood. […] And for the first time, his name itself has become part of the title.”

Black Mirror: Season 4

“The fourth season of Brooker’s show – which adds six more stories to the existing canon of thirteen – revisits some familiar themes in a new approach, while expanding the topics it tackles in frightening new ways. And when everything clicks in place, Black Mirror is still one of the smartest shows around, giving us a prescient look at our inevitable future if we act before we think.”

Star Trek: Discovery

“Essentially, Discovery has used war and violence the way HBO shows use nudity, to draw audiences in, and will then pivot into the kind of show it wants to be. It’s why Game of Thrones cares a lot less about asking its actors to undress now, because it already has our attention.”

Marvel's The Punisher

The Punisher is far from a publicity grab on the growing popularity of Marvel superheroes, and pushes the notion of what we’ve come to expect from the Netflix vigilante dramas. Thanks to Castle’s propensity for gunfire and Micro’s use of technology, the new series can deliver action sequences that will feel fresh to Marvel fans, and contributes into making a show that truly understands the character, warts and all.”

Marvel's Runaways

Runaways doesn’t just follow the kids’ adventures, but also places a heavy focus on the adults, making for a total cast of 16. The show is centred on both generations – a staple of Schwartz and Savage’s, who are masters of weaving older characters into teen shows – giving them equal screen time in early episodes. And oh, did we tell you there’s a dinosaur in the mix?”

Blue Planet II

“Sixteen years later, and four years in the making, Blue Planet II – the sequel with a wiser and older Sir David Attenborough in the same role – has arrived, promising us a better view thanks to improvements to technology.”

Stranger Things 2

“By allowing the kids gang to branch into their own sub-plots and inter-linking that to explore their evolving friendship, creating a bigger universe of monsters that provides action-packed thrills, and honing the art of the unexpected while knowing when to upend existing tropes, Stranger Things is a more refined version of itself in the new season.”

Rick and BoJack

“Both like to deal with our place in the universe, and their shared love of subversive and upending tropes tends to leave the characters in psychological distress (rather than moments of shared joy) more often than not.”

Marvel's The Defenders

The Defenders tries so hard to drive up the stakes, but since ultimately everyone who has their own solo series must come out of it unscathed, there are no real stakes. Despite the ubiquity of superheroes today, there are not enough stories that are willing to send their heroes to the darkest of ends, after they’ve been put through the wringer.”

The Tick

“For some audiences, that might feel a tad too heavy, especially in what originated as a superhero parody. This Amazon version of The Tick does feel it’s like attempting a balancing act, of playing out as an action-packed superhero comedy, as well as create a more sombre tone by exploring the emotions under the surface.”

Game of Thrones: Season 7

“[The] books are called A Song of Ice and Fire for a reason. Jon is the son of Lyanna Stark (Ice) and Rhaegar Targaryen (Fire), which literally makes him the title of the series; the show’s name – Game of Thrones – comes from the title of the first book. He can bring Westeros together in a way no ruler can.”

Silicon Valley: Season 4

“Of course, it helps that the people out in the real world contribute so easily to satire – so much of what happens in the Bay Area seems stranger than fiction – and the show’s writers extensively research what goes into the episodes, including sitting down with the heads of the tech giants.”

American Gods

“Those moments and asides have given us the season’s best moments – an empowering gay scene involving an Omani native, and commentary on vigilante gun violence and Mexican immigrants among others – which have hopefully shone through despite American Gods’ emphasis on experience over narrative. Now, we pray and wait for season two.”

Twin Peaks: The Return

“Yet for all its flaws, it’s great that Lynch isn’t simply interested in revisiting the glory days of Twin Peaks. A lesser showrunner would have given us more of what audiences loved from the show’s first season, the perfect nostalgia throwback to the past. Instead, Lynch is serving a continuation of the story 25 years later, while still being its own wacky thing.”

The Handmaid's Tale

“The show – like Atwood’s book – is a fictional representation of a future that has existed in the past, or exists in parts today, if you know where to look. It argues for us to be eternally vigilant, and by way of Offred’s tale, it shows us why that’s so important.”

The Expanse: Season 2

“The show’s events, based on a series of books written by James S A Corey – a joint pen name for writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck – take place over two hundred years from our time, mostly across three different societies living millions of miles away from each other. But the show is still strikingly relevant, and even prescient in other matters.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

“Funnily enough, thanks to Netflix, MST3K does live right on my phone now. And just like that, the show’s return – after an incredible gap of 18 years – is proof that even the wildest dreams can come true for fans thanks to our new golden age of television. Finally, we’ve got movie sign again.”

Netflix behind-the-scenes

“When it comes to content recommendation, Netflix looks at your likes from the time you signed up, the titles you bother to rate, and much more importantly – what you watch, and how much you watch it. Shifting from a five-star rating system to a binary option – thumbs up or thumbs down – is again part of that, as Yellin believes what you say with thumbs is a lot more relevant than what you say with stars.”

Amazon India: Stand-up comedy specials

“If Amazon is truly interested in being more inclusive, it may well need to look beyond its current partnership. […] “If their logic is ‘there isn’t anybody good enough’, then you know there’s a problem,” says Mittal. Vaz thinks the men in the industry need to be much more vocal about the issues, and even more conscious when they’re setting up a show.”

Best TV shows of 2016

“2016 was another brilliant year for television series, and with the end of the year upon us, we’ve decided to put together a list of the best shows that aired in the past 12 months. At Gadgets 360, our entertainment focus is around things that inspire intense fan conversation, and drive conversation in pop culture – stuff that wouldn’t be out of place at Comic Con.”

The Grand Tour

“It’s their genuine passion for motoring, mocking known and oft-repeated idiosyncrasies, revelling in their own stereotypes, and engaging in silly banter amongst themselves that made a car show involving three old blokes such fun to watch for over a decade. And so when The Grand Tour gets down to business, it feels a lot like the old Top Gear. “


Marvel's Luke Cage

“With Luke Cage at its centre – a man with unbreakable skin and near invincibility in combat – Coker gets time to explore the other variables that affect him and the community at large: a potent mix of prejudice, societal conditions, hierarchy, and police neglect. While Cage grapples with his new-found hero status post an event or two, the consequences of his personal agenda against Cottonmouth sends ripples for everyone living in Harlem.”