Marvel’s latest series is accessible to newcomers – and catnip to fans
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
One thing about all of these dozens of Marvel movies and TV shows is that they’re essentially a men’s (well, mostly men’s) soap opera that’s been around for over a decade now. And just like you can’t start to watch Days of our lives then get someone to pause and explain why this guy has been wearing this eye patch forever, you can’t waste time worrying about everything you don’t know. You just need to pick a location and get started.
The most recent starting point is this six-part miniseries. And – as you would expect from a Marvel release – it offers truly spectacular actions to seduce you. This action involves The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), a former pal of Captain America who now flies solo as Seal Team Six, doing things for the US military that no one else can do. He flies in his high-tech flight suit over a politically sensitive North African desert to rescue a hostage from a hijacked military transport plane. – but when his judicious application of violence forces the bad guys to bail out, that’s just the start. Next comes an extraordinary aerial pursuit through rocky canyons so narrow that whoever flies the Millennium Falcon this week would likely take a hit.
Marvel, however, likes to keep one foot in an approximation of reality. After his heroic acts of service are over and he’s back home in the Southern United States, our Falcon feels the familiar sting of public ingratitude as a bank manager demands a selfie but refuses it. the loan that would save the Falcon family fishing trawler. Oh, what about the Winter Soldier? Those of us who only saw the poster for Captain America: The Winter Soldier might have thought that Captain America has been the Winter Soldier. Wrong! The Winter Soldier is actually Cap’s old friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who spent around 70 years as an assassin who was brainwashed for various villains. He’s in therapy now, but like most tough guys, he’s not happy about it.
Disney has only made one episode available for review, but the action and effects sequences are spectacular and you get a general idea of what’s going on: our titular duo are heading to some mysterious new villains known as the name of Flag Smashers. Directed by Kari Skogland (Emmy nominee The Handmaid’s Tale) and largely written by Empire alumnus Malcolm Spellman, he is accessible to newcomers and presumably catnip to fans.
Designed for love
Stan, from Thursday April 1
Of Black mirror at Palm springs and this disturbing but darkly comedic new series, Cristin Milioti is your go-to girl when you want a doe-eyed but steel and unpredictable woman held captive under bizarre circumstances. Here she plays a woman named Hazel, who made the mistake of marrying a pretty crazy young tech titan named Byron (Billy Magnussen). Byron kept her in the golden cage of his California desert resort under 24-hour surveillance, intrusive enough to make George Orwell vomit.
With the worst in the way, Hazel’s only hope is to step under the wall and reconnect with her drunk, broke, desert-living father (Ray Romano, agreeably Ray Romano-ish). Too many tech-related shows are all black skivvies and gray walls, but Designed for love gets a big contrast with a backpack desert full of brightly colored strip clubs, bars and trailers, while the brilliant music supervision evokes a dry inner darkness without touching any obvious notes.