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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Crime, Cops, and Supergirl

April 26th, 2016 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on our new podcast segment, Tell Me More.

The Pinnacle

Better Call Saul Season 2 (TV series, Vince Gilligan, AMC, 2016) Jimmy McGill moves up in the legal world, putting him on a crash course with the disapproving brother whose approval he craves but cannot have; Mike Ehrmentraut’s bid to protect his daughter-in-law and granddaughter draws him deeper into the cartel world. In its second season the show with the best written and acted two-hander scenes in TV achieves an even tighter focus.—RDL

Recommended

Available Dark (Fiction, Elizabeth Hand, 2012) On the lam after the events of GenerationLoss, burned-out punk photographer Cassandra Neary gets embroiled in an Odinist black-metal necromancy ring that somehow involves her ex-boyfriend Quinn. Hand’s combination of mythic power, sense of place, and emotional realism develop a crime novel that only shows the supernatural through its effects on flawed humanity. –KH

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 3 (TV series, Fox, 2015-2016) Insecure ace police detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) finds stability in his relationship with a fellow cop (Melissa Fumero) but still craves the approval of his boss. This year finds the show, still the best classic sitcom on network TV, seeing just how far it can push Andre Braugher’s preternatural deadpan.—RDL

KillingThemSoftly (Film, US, Andrew Dominik, 2012) Trio of small time crooks need killing after they foolishly knock over a card game, necessitating the services of hitman Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt.) A series of finely tuned acting duels featuring Pitt and the likes of James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, and Ben Mendelsohn, interspersed with eruptions of hyper-aestheticized violence.—RDL

Supergirl Season 1 (TV series, CBS, 2015-2016) Adopted alien girl adopts her new planet and her media coworkers while stopping mean aliens for the government. Even if you’re not in the target audience of tween/teen girls and their parents, the combination of old-school DC fan service and fun characters doing (mostly) good should be enough to keep you watching. Melissa Benoist is better than her scripted lines, but that’s always true. –KH

Good

Maker of Moons (Fiction, Robert W. Chambers, 1896) Perfect loves made fleeting by supernatural barriers dominate this anthology of weird tales written at about the same time as the Yellow King cycle. Chambers’ juxtaposition of tightly observed mundane detail with the uncanny remains evocative even as he returns again and again to the same twist. Best candidate for little-known gem: “The Messenger.” Rating does not apply to title story, which contains Yellow Peril.—RDL [title story is also just plain ridiculous. –kh]

Okay

Berberian Sound Studio (Film, UK, Peter Strickland, 2012) Nervous sound engineer (Toby Jones) used to working on children’s programmes and nature documentaries travels to Italy to work on a horror film, only to find that the process of mixing its soundtrack takes on the emotional violence of its subject matter. Meta psychological drama styled like a 70s Italian giallo offers too much slow burn, not enough payoff. —RDL

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