Party Down is back and gosh am I conflicted by this one. Reviews have been mixed - initially all the reviews seemed pretty negative, but in the last few days they are becoming quite a bit more positive. But reviews aside, this is absolutely a case of knowing that it was possible to bring back the show, but no one asking whether we should.

I've seen critics wave away the inherent sadness of watching these characters still working for the Party Down catering company over a decade since the series finished the first time - the critics have all latched onto the same notion: the characters were always sad - this is on-brand. For them to be working there is to imply that none of their dreams ever came to fruition. But my issue isn't so much that it is sad (which it is), but rather that it is just implausible. It doesn't matter how convenient the catering job may be to provide time for characters to audition/shoot parts, I struggle with the idea that anyone would stay working for this company for this long - Party Down was a terrible, terrible job.

General buzz around Amazon's thriller-comedy The Consultant and the Apple TV+ spy drama Liaison is that both flirt with being good TV shows, but neither quite get across the line. I'm keen to give both a look (a busy week has kept me away from screeners for most of the week.

My only recommendation this week is Cocaine Bear (playing in cinemas now), which is generally pretty fun. If you're into the idea of a horror comedy in which a group of people are killed off one by one by a big bear high on cocaine, then the film will mostly be exactly what you're looking for. If that premise sounds like the worst way to spend your time, this film isn't winning you over. It's basically a 2023 Snakes on a Plane that lives up to its potential.

End of the yellow brick road

This week marked the 20th anniversary of the conclusion of HBO prison drama Oz. The final episode went to air on Feb 23 in 2003. Oz is often overlooked in the discussion about the rise of prestige television. It aired on HBO a year and a half before The Sopranos first saw Tony make the drive out to Jersey and really did a lot of the heavy lifting to show what was possible on TV once the shackles of sanitised broadcast TV were removed.

Oz was great drama, which you would expect from the production team behind TV gem Homicide: Life on The Street. But it was also HBO, which allowed violence, honesty, sex, nudity, white supremacist, white supremacist violence, white supremacist sex, white supremacist nudity, and Luke Perry buried in a wall.

The production was always a little cheap and the show's regular efforts to be visually artistic were often a little on the nose. The result is a show that is now, 20+ years later, a bit difficult to watch. But it still mostly holds together pretty well. It also has a monster of a cast, wall to wall (sorry Luke Perry) with amazing actors (many who would go on to be well-known) who have impressed you in other TV shows and movies in the years since.

In a quiet week for TV, maybe take the time to press play on an episode or two of Oz.


Magnum PI (s05), Snowfall (s06), Bel-Air (s02), Outer Banks (s03), Rockwiz (s15)


Party Down - US: Starz | Aus: Stan

Stars: Adam Scott, Jennifer Garner
While chasing dreams of stardom, Hollywood wannabe actors and writers make ends meet by working for a posh Los Angeles catering company, which tackles a different event in each episode.

Liaison - Apple TV+

Stars: Eva Green, Vincent Cassel
Two agents -- and former lovers -- must work together to combat international cyberattacks threatening the United Kingdom while also confronting the buried secrets of their destructive relationship.

The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy - Apple TV+

Stars: Eugene Levy
Eugene Levy visits some of the world's most beautiful and intriguing destinations in Costa Rica, Finland, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States, exploring hotels and places.

The Consultant - Amazon Prime Video

Stars: Christolph Waltz, Nat Wolff
When a new consultant, Regus Patoff, is hired to improve the business of the app-based gaming company CompWare, employees experience new demands and challenges that put everything into question, including their lives.


Bruiser - Hulu

Stars: Trevante Rhodes, Jalyn Hall
14-year-old Darious explores the boundaries of his manhood with Malcolm, his strict but loving father, and Porter, a charismatic drifter. When Darious learns Porter's true identity, he is thrust into a conflict between the two men.

Die Hart - Amazon Prime Video

Stars: Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart tries to keep from being pigeonholed as a comedy wingman and attends an action hero school run by Ron Wilcox, where he must learn the ropes to become one of the industry's most coveted action stars.

That's it for this week. If there was another newsletter to publish, I'd be mentioning that it was announced a few hours ago that Succession is set to end with the current season. But I guess that'll be covered on Monday.