January 2021 in Media

What are you watching, reading, and listening to these days? Here’s mine:


Last year was a big year for streaming TV, thanks in part to the astoundingly well-timed launch of Disney+. The Mandalorian was effectively required viewing in my circle. More like the Mandatorian, am I right? Personally I really enjoyed the show about a socially distant silent type guy and his developing parental relationship with a non-verbal child. Something struck a chord for whatever reason.

Anyway, that’s over for this year, so here’s what we’re watching now in the Parle household:


Hard to talk about this one without spoilers, so I’ll just say that I absolutely love the mid-century suburban Americana and I unironically enjoy the old style sitcom humour. But if that’s not your cup of tea, give it a couple more episodes and see where it goes.


The fantasy sibling of Futurama is in its third season. Coming from Netflix, it all arrived on the same day, but we’re working through it more slowly so only about half way at this point. Extra points for the addition of Richard Ayoade, but points off for lack of Matt Berry.

Ted Lasso

An American football manager moves to London to manage a floundering Premiership football club. No knowledge of or interest in either sport is required.

We came late to this because it’s on Apple TV+ and we’re not much of an Apple household outside of the Mac (no iPhones or recent iPads). But I got myself one of the new M1 MacBook Pros as soon as they were released and it came with a year’s free subscription. There isn’t support for watching Apple TV+ on a Chromecast yet, but it turns out there’s a PlayStation app.

As many before me have said, Ted Lasso is a perfect show for these times. It’s funny — really funny — but it’s also optimistic.


New films haven’t really been a thing for me this last year. I have been hanging out with friends in a Discord voice channel every Wednesday night since April watching some rubbish we can talk over. Or occasionally something good we can talk over. Most recently was Cyborg 2, the straight to video sequel to Jean Claude Van Damme’s Cyborg, featuring none of the original cast or indeed anything else resembling the original in any way. It does have a young Angelina Jolie in the title role, though she has no redeeming effect on the film whatsoever.

In an attempt to balance the quality level a little, I’ve also been trying to find time to watch all of the Oscar Best Pictures of my lifetime. That means from 1983’s Terms of Endearment onwards. Optimistically I think I can manage about one a fortnight, which means there’ll be at least a couple more on the list before I finish.

I only managed one this month, 1992’s Unforgiven. I’ll say this for it: it’s better than Cyborg 2.


When the whole… everything… started last year I recommended Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven to anyone who thought that reading a book about a global pandemic and its apocalyptic aftermath was a good idea.

I stand by that recommendation, and I can now add Sarah Pinsker’s A Song for a New Day. It’s hard to know whether it was good timing or bad to publish a book about a musician in a future where concerts are illegal because of pandemics and terrorism at the end of 2019. It won the Nebula award for best novel though, and I’m enjoying it.