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Amazon‘s surreal new series, Tales From The Loop, is produced by Matt Reeves who’s now directing Robert Pattinson in The Batman, which might spark some nerd intrigue. Even without Reeves’ name, however, the show will likely pack in a built-in audience of sorts due to its source material. The show brings impossibly surreal digital paintings from Simon Stålenhag to life by constructing stories around them, and that additional magic happens courtesy of creator and writer Nathaniel Halpern Legion, The Killing. And folks who aren’t already aware of Stålenhag but who are fans of Black Mirror and sci-fi anthologies in general might find this show to be a kinder, gentler, and more thoughtful option. That’s especially valuable right now, when we really don’t want the bejesus scared out of us, but some softer surrealism might be nice.
To sum up the Tales From The Loop concept, the show doesn’t take place within the same alternate Sweden as with Stålenhag’s work, but within a small Ohio town that’s situated above “The Loop” machinery. Basically, that’s an experimental physics center that unlocks and dig into the universe’s mysteries. In turn, the townfolk are subject to some mind-bending happenings, which gleefully dive into sci-fi realms with the visuals bending like a twisted marriage between Isaac Asimov and Salvador Dali. Stålenhag’s art is wildly popular, to the point where a crowdfunded narrative-art book landed in 2014, so seeing those works come to life in story form will be a treat for existing fans.
If none of that was enough to draw you in, the show emits a futuristic aroma resembling whiffs of many Black Mirror episodes, but it’s a more retrofuturistic take. We see robots and tractors and time travel and open fields and freeways and farmhouses, all meshed together in soft visuals that resemble a moving oil painting. The abundance of technology on display gently intersperses itself with stories about navigating all the resulting strangeness, which eventually gets distilled into meditations on what it means to be human, or not human. However, there’s heart in this Amazon series, and it doesn’t set out to shake viewers to their very cores with shocking and ultimately terrifying happenings. In that way, Tales From The Loop doesn’t sensationalize or dive into cautionary tales about technology like Black Mirror often does while arguably running itself into the ground at least half the time but acts in a more reflective manner.Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios
At its core, I do believe that viewers who gravitate toward Black Mirror will enjoy Tales From The Loop but feel oddly comforted, rather than anxious, by tucking into a few episodes. The energy of Amazon’s series is certainly lower, and calmer, and that’s not a bad thing right now. The episodes do meander but in a pleasant way. They’re almost...
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, find out how to make Harley Quinn‘s beloved egg sandwich from the man who made it in Birds of Prey. Plus, watch as a fan recreates the Back to the Future theme park ride from Universal Studios at home., and listen to a Star Wars story read by Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actress Ashley Eckstein, better known as Ahsoka Tano.
First up, Variety had Bruno Oliver, who plays the cook Sal in Birds of Prey, reveal how to make the eff sandwich that Harley Quinn loves so much in the movie. Now is the perfect time to give yourself the perfect breakfast from the comfort of your home without having to worry about other criminals or police officers ruining it.
Next up, since Disney and Universal theme parks are closed, some fans are taking matters into their own hands by recreating theme park rides from the comfort of their home. In this case, Kevin Bosch recreated Back to the Future: The Ride, a now-defunct attraction from Universal Studios. It’s basically a sweded version of the ride, and it’s a lot of fun. There’s even a gift shop!
Finally, give your kids some storytime with Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actress Ashley Eckstein, who reads from the Star Wars children’s book The Galaxy Needs You. Not only is it a wonderful way for kids to connect with Star Wars who may be too young for the movies, but it also has a good message in it.
Social distancing continues this weekend amid the global pandemic, and several new TV seasons are here for the binging along with The Matrix Trilogy and The Social Network landing on Netflix. If nothing here suits your sensibilities, check out our guide to What You Should Watch On Streaming Right Now.
Coffee & Kareem Netflix film — The Office fans, rejoice! Ed Helms, Terrence Little Gardenhigh, and and Taraji P. Henson star in this action-comedy movie about an unlikely team-up between a 12-year-old kid and a cop. Helms and Henson's characters date, and the kid's not crazy about the couple, so he hires some fugitives to take out Coffee the Cop. That will get messy, especially after a criminal network gets involved. Yikes.
Tales From The Loop Amazon series — This surreal new series is a sci-fi dream based upon the digital paintings from Simon Stålenhag. The show revolves around an Ohio town situated above a mysterious machine, and Black Mirror fans might find this show to be a kinder, gentler, and more thoughtful option during these stressful times.
Harley Quinn: Season 2 DC Universe series — The animated streaming show is back, and still better than Birds Of Prey, with total anarchy in the streets of Gotham. Mr. J is gone, Batman is missing, and Harley must throttle the situation with her baseball bat while 1000 a-holes attempt to seize power. This series is so much fun, and it's also an economic watch, so jump into the pandemonium and embrace it.
Future Man: Season 3 Hulu — The Josh Hutcherson series takes a final bow with Josh, Tiger, and Wolf all on the run as fugitives. They're attempting to clear their names, naturally, as well as to fix history by sprinting through time.
Money Heist: Season 4 Netflix — The chaotic, cash-grifting series continues with explosions in Rio and Tokyo, as the gang endures its toughest times and an enemy within that could endanger the whole damn heist.
Here's the rest of this weekend's notable programming:
Charmed Friday, CW 8:00 p.m. — Parker joins up with the Charmed ones after a demon endangers Mel, all while Harry risks danger to infiltrate the Faction.
Dynasty Friday, CW 9:00 p.m. — Parenting turns out to be NBD for Fallon and Liam yeah, right while Sam and Kirby work on an opportunity together, and Alexis makes a recruit for a health matter.
Westworld Sunday, HBO 9:00 p.m. — The confusion continues as the third season of this series finds that the truth oesn't always set you free. Theories abound already, so get dive into the futuristic dystopia.
The Walking Dead Sunday, AMC 9:00 p.m. — The Whisperer War is coming to a head, which is strange because wars are usually named after their conclusion and by the winner. In the meantime, Princess meets up with Eugene's group, oh boy....
“Tales From the Loop” has all the elements of a mystery box show, except it’s largely — and wisely — uninterested in its mystery. Set in a small Ohio town at an undisclosed time, the new science-fiction series from creator Nathaniel Halpern a writer on “Legion” tracks the lives of various locals who are affected by the titular “Loop”: a massive black machine housed underground within an experimental physics center.
So, what’s this machine do? As the company’s founder, Russ Jonathan Pryce, explains to his grandson, Cole Duncan Joiner, The Loop “makes the impossible, possible.”
If your mind is already racing with possibilities, slow it down. While most writers would treat a statement like that as a starting gun, sending viewers through a maze of puzzles to find out the truth behind The Loop’s exact origins, express purpose, and explicit capabilities, Halpern isn’t interested in puzzles. He’s interested in people. Each episode of “Tales From the Loop” focuses on a different citizen of Mersa, Ohio. Each episode sees The Loop create a bizarre, inexplicable event. But each event and episode are designed to bring you closer to the individual, not the machine.
Told with a delicacy and patience, “Tales From the Loop” is better for not being another ambling mystery box show, yet carries a few of the common flaws seen in other episodic anthologies especially hourlong ones. Detailed character work from Rebecca Ferguson, Jonathan Pryce, and a slew of lesser known actors help build emotional ties quickly, and gorgeous countryside compositions from directors like Jodie Foster, Andrew Stanton, and So Yong Kim create a distinct yet familiar world worth investing in again and again. The show is inspired by co-executive producer Simon Stålenhag’s artwork. Even when arcs are a little too simple, to fit within the story’s abbreviated runtime, these creative tales should prove absorbing for more than just genre enthusiasts.
The first episode tells you all you need to know about “Tales,” especially related to the machine. Ostensibly about a little girl whose mother performs risky experiments for the company, “Loop” sets up the audience’s relationship to its characters, world, and The Loop itself. Really, the show couldn’t care less about the machine. The company barely even guards it. Kids make their way down to look at it, grab chunks off its rocky facade, and are barely scolded for intruding. Halpern acknowledges the allure of The Loop by letting his characters ask questions and get hands-on experience with it, but they all more or less move on. While The Loop is obviously important — it’s quite the literal interpretation of a story engine — Halpern carefully guides...