Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Netflix gets Criminal in a state of perpetual Disenchantment

David Tennant, Bean
Photo: Netflix

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21. All times are Eastern.


Top picks

Criminal (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete first season) and Disenchantment (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m., season one, part two): First, some clarity. Netflix calls this block of Disenchantment episodes the conclusion of the show’s first season, which premiered in August 2018. So, it’s been a year, but please, don’t call it season two. Criminal, on the other hand, arrives as a complete first season—but it’s made up of four distinct blocks, set in a different country, with its own cast, director, through-line, and so on. Each will be listed separately on the platform: Criminal (the German block), Criminal: Spain, Criminal: France, and Criminal: United Kingdom.

Twelve crime stories, four sets of characters, four locations on Netflix, one season. That may sound a little confusing, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. As Liz Shannon Miller describes it, Criminal—all four of it—is Netflix’s take on Law & Order.

[B]y offering up a weekly crime being solved by engaging detectives, the series combined satisfying stand-alone storytelling with interesting character arcs, the television equivalent of comfort food. Criminal scratches that itch, but also brings with it some important innovations and tweaks that elevate it into a truly interesting narrative experiment.

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As for Disenchantment, it’s still Disenchantment, ready to tie off some threads and stitch some new ones.

Vikram Murth’s recaps of the adventures of “Juanita, um, Demonheimer” will run throughout the weekend.

Regular coverage

The Great British Baking Show (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m.)

Wild card

Between Two Ferns: The Movie (Netflix, Friday, 3:01 a.m.): Here’s Erik Adams on the latest (and longest) installment/evolution of Zach Galifianakis’ symphony of deadpan discomfort:

Framed as a behind-the-scenes documentary, the movie depicts its fictionalized Zach as a small-town dreamer with designs on getting his own late-night talk show, making Between Two Ferns with the help of producer Carol (Lauren Lapkus), camera operator Cameron “Cam” Campbell (Ryan Gaul), and sound mixer “Boom Boom” De Laurentis (Jiavani Linayao). When their malevolent online benefactor Will Ferrell (also playing a heightened version of himself) promises to make Zach’s dream a reality if he delivers 10 new episodes in the span of two weeks, the team embarks on a cross-country trip that blends Ferns’ signature interviews with heavily improvised road-movie hijinks.

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Look for William Hughes’ review later today; meanwhile, you can read more about the film in Adams’ interview with Scott Aukerman and Lauren Lapkus.

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