FoCC Reactor: What Are You Missing – Winter 2020 TV Edition

By Miclpea

As each season passes, television viewers are reminded that we are truly in an era of exceptional television. HBO was at the vanguard of this revolution in television but Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, AMC, Hulu, and others are jockeying to take the crown. They have offered new and wondrous programming from comedy to drama to fantasy to science fiction. With so many new and great series, it is easy to miss the truly exceptional offerings available. Here are four series that are worth a look.

Messiah-Netflix

Messiah is a controversial series on Netflix that asks the question: if the Messiah appeared today, what would happen? Would he be viewed as the real Messiah or a fraud? What are the implications if he is a fraud or real?

The series centers around Al-Masih (Mehdi Dehbi), who erupts upon the world stage as possibly the new Messiah. Eva Gellar (Michelle Monaghan), a CIA case officer, pursues Al-Masih from the Middle East to the USA to discover Al-Mashi’s background and his true purpose as well as who controls him. Gellar believes that he has nefarious intentions. She is helped and hindered by Aviram Dahan (Tomer Sisley), a troubled Israeli intelligence agent who carries a dark secret from his past that constantly haunts him.  He too follows Al-Masih from the Middle East to America. 

Messiah takes viewers on a roller coaster ride of faith, hypocrisy, mysticism, death, redemption, and resurrection. The writing, directing, and production values are excellent. The writers keep viewers guessing as to whether Al-Masih is a fraud or the real thing. This series is definitely worth a watch and needs a second season.

Watchmen-HBO

Damon Lindelof took on the impossible task of continuing the story of Watchmen by updating the setting to 2019 while maintaining the wonder of the original Watchmen comics.  Alan Moore, the writer of the original comic book series, decried this new effort and asked people not to watch. Anyone that took his advice missed one of the best series of 2019.

This new version is set in the Watchmen universe but in 2019. The series boasts a stellar cast with Regina King as Angela Abar, Jean Smart as Laurie Blake, Hong Chau as Lady Trieu, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Calvin Abar, Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt, Louis Gossett, Jr. as Will Reeves, and Tim Blake Nelson as Wade Tillman. 

As with its namesake, Damon Lindelof unapologetically takes on a controversial issue, racism in America. Lindelof attacks the issue with incredible writing that is supported by exceptional acting and superb production values. He deftly interweaves the fantastical elements with historical fact to create one of the most compelling dramas of 2019. With this series, HBO reminds viewers why it is first among the premium channels. 

The Witcher-Netflix

The Witcher adds to the already exceptional lineup of series from Netflix. It is based on stories and novels by Andrzej Sapkowski as well as video games that are based on the same works. The Witcher tells the story of Geralt of Rivia (a perfectly cast Henry Cavill), a magically enhanced fighter, as he travels a mystical land killing monsters for hire. Whether he believes it or not, Geralt’s destiny is intertwined with that of Cirilla (Freya Allen), an orphaned princess, who possesses unknown powers. Geralt also crosses paths with a powerful sorceress, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), who has her own agenda.

The writers tell the story in a manner that keeps viewers on their toes as they intertwine the stories of Geralt, Yennefer, and Cirilla. The series combines humor, pathos, tragedy, great fight sequences, and music to tell a compelling story. Fortunately for viewers, Netflix has already promised a second season of The Witcher. We really want to see what happens to these extraordinary characters. 

Harley Quinn (animated series)-DC Universe 

Any fan looking for a truly laugh out loud take on Harley Quinn, should watch Harley Quinn on DC Universe. This series captures the maniacal and madcap life of Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) and her oddball crew. This includes Poison Ivy (Lake Bell), Dr. Psycho (Tony Hale), King Shark (Ron Funches), and Clayface (Alan Tudyk)

The series centers around Harley Quinn’s effort to move past her breakup with The Joker (Alan Tudyk) and establish herself as a criminal mastermind in her own right. It’s hard to take Harley seriously when she recruits Clayface (a humanoid-shaped pliable mass of protoplasm), who has to be one of the hammiest actors ever to walk the stage. Poison Ivy literally has a giant plant, Frank the Plant (J.B. Smoove), who is always talking trash. The dialogue is crisp, funny, and very adult.

The series is an insane canoe ride down the rapids that occasionally hits the rocks but never stops.  DC Universe has already renewed the series for a second season. If they can keep up the mad pace from the first season, season 2 will be a hit as well. However, be warned that Harley Quinn is definitely for mature audiences. 

Of course, there are so many more new and exciting series out there. Currently, on network television, fans can find Emergence on ABC and Manifest on NBC. Picard premieres in January on CBS All Access while Devs will be premiering in March on Hulu. 

For fans of superheroes, fantasy, and science fiction, it really does not get better. These are just some of the television series that are worth watching. Please join us on the Friends of Comic Con forum to continue the discussion. 

Miclpea

I love going to conventions around the US. I'm an ardent fan of all things science fiction and especially The Expanse. I'm a staff writer for Friends of CC and I have co-written a science-fiction script called Punctuated Equilibrium.

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