Welcome To The Party Pal: The Mind-Bending Film & Television Podcast You Didn't Know You Needed!
Episode 104: The Best TV Shows of 2022
In this episode of Welcome To The Party Pal hosts Michael Shields and Ryan O’ Connell share their choices for the best television shows of 2022. In a year absolutely chock full of brilliant offerings, across a multitude of genres, whittling it down to just ten was no easy task, but that was thej ob. And so, join in on a celebration of 2022's bounty. Does Barry, The Bear, Better Call Saul, Rings of Power, Abbott Elementary, Severance, Andor, or Reservation Dogs make our list? Tune in to find out what entertained most this past year.
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Episode 123: Loki, Season 232:23This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates the second season of the Disney television series Loki, based on Marvel Comics, which finds Loki working with Mobius M. Mobius, Hunter B-15, and other members of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) to navigate the multiverse in order to find Sylvie, Ravonna Renslayer, and Miss Minutes. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. Eric Martin served as head writer and Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead lead the directing team. Tom Hiddleston reprised his role as Loki from the film series, starring alongside Sophia Di Martino (Sylvie), Wunmi Mosaku (Hunter B-15), Owen Wilson (Mobius), and Jonathan Majors (He Who Remains / Victor Timely). In this episode hosts Michael Shields and River Jordan celebrate Tom Hiddleston's 14 year run as the infamous Marvel God Loki while tipping their horned-hat to the terrific ensemble cast in general. They remark about Natalie Holt's enthralling score and the unexpected conclusion to the series all while sharing their undying love for entertainment revolving around time travel.
Episode 122: Killers of the Moon38:10This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates the epic Western crime drama film, Killers of the Flower Moon, directed by Martin Scorsese, who co-wrote the screenplay with Eric Roth, based on the 2017 book of the same name by David Grann. Its plot centers on a series of Oklahoma murders in the Osage Nation during the 1920s, committed after oil was discovered on tribal land. Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone lead an ensemble cast, that also includes Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow and Brendan Fraser. It is the sixth feature film collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio and the tenth between Scorsese and De Niro, and the eleventh and final collaboration between Scorsese and his musical partner, Robbie Robertson, who died two months before the film's release. Join in as hosts Michael Shields and River Jordan dissect one of the most captivating, and disturbing, events in American history, a story that was brought vividly to life to one of the greatest directors of all time.
Episode 121: The Creator30:29This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates The Creator, the 2023 science fiction film produced and directed by Gareth Edwards, who co-wrote the screenplay with Chris Weitz. The film stars John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Allison Janney, and Madeleine Yuna Voyles (in her film debut). Set in 2055 after a nuclear detonation in Los Angeles and a war against artificial intelligence, an ex-special forces agent is recruited to hunt down and kill the "Creator," who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Douglas Grant discuss the film tributes that Gareth Edwards employs within The Creator while tipping their hat to the gifted director's science fiction worldbuilding prowess. They talk about the remarkable film debut of Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Allison Janney's foray into action films, the thoughtful social commentary present in the film, the best use of Radiohead's music in film and television, and so much more.
Episode 120: Winning Time34:59This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, the sports drama television series created by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht for HBO, based on the book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman. The first season, comprising 10 episodes, chronicles the 1980s Showtime era of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team featuring notable NBA stars Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It features an ensemble cast led by John C. Reilly, Jason Clarke, Jason Segel, Gaby Hoffmann, Rob Morgan, and Adrien Brody. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Justin Wells laud the extraordinary cast, the massive (often disjointed) scope of the series, and the fascinating stylistic choices present in the series, while bemoaning how the series was unceremoniously cut short after two season.
Episode 119: Oppenheimer37:59This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates Oppenheimer, the epic biographical thriller film written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Based on the 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, the film chronicles the career of American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The story predominantly focuses on Oppenheimer's studies, his direction of the Manhattan Project during World War II, and his eventual fall from grace due to his 1954 security hearing. The film stars Cillian Murphy as the title character, Emily Blunt as his wife, "Kitty," Matt Damon as head of the Manhattan Project Leslie Groves, Robert Downey Jr. as U.S. Atomic Energy Commission member Lewis Strauss, and Florence Pugh as Communist Party USA member Jean Tatlock. The ensemble supporting cast includes Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck, Rami Malek, and Kenneth Branagh. Listen is as hosts Michael Shields and River Jordan marvel over the genius of Christopher Nolan, tip their hat (a hybrid of a porkpie crown with a somewhat Western brim) to Ruth De Jong's brilliant production design and Ludwig Göransson's gripping score, and show their undying love to the great state of New Mexico!
Episode 118: Barbie43:16This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates Barbie, the fantasy comedy film directed by Greta Gerwig from a screenplay she wrote with Noah Baumbach. Based on the Barbie fashion dolls by Mattel, it is the first live-action Barbie film after numerous computer-animated films and specials. The film stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken on a journey of self-discovery following an existential crisis. It features a supporting cast that includes America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, and Will Ferrell. In this episode hosts Michael Shields and Ryan O'Connell explore the surprisingly weighty themes present in Barbie while marvelling about the stunning production design present in the film. They discuss the phenomenon the film grew into, the tremendously gifted cast, Greta Gerwig's future following this gargantuan success, and so much more.
Episode 117: The Bear, Season 251:47This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal tips its hat to the second season of The Bear, the comedy-drama series created by Christopher Storer. The first season premiered on Hulu in 2022 and starred Jeremy Allen White as a young, award-winning chef who returns to his hometown, Chicago, to manage the chaotic kitchen at his deceased brother's sandwich shop. The supporting cast includes Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Ayo Edebiri, Lionel Boyce, Abby Elliott, and Matty Matheson. The second season recently concluded and this episode attempts to explain why it is one of the best things you are going to see on television all year long.River Jordan, the featured co-host of this episode, is the author of four southern gothic novels and three spiritual memoirs. For fifteen years River hosted Clearstory Radio from Nashville where she interviewed award-winning best-selling authors. She is currently at work completing A Muddy Grace, a new novel set during the Great Depression in the deep south. River has returned to her saltwater roots and currently lives on the coast of North Carolina.
Episode 116: Succession, Season 444:33This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal dives deeply into Succession, the celebrated television series created by Jesse Armstrong that aired on HBO from June 3, 2018, to May 28, 2023, for four seasons and 39 episodes. In Succession, the head of one of the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerates decides to retire whilst each of his four grown children follows a personal agenda that doesn't always sync with those of their siblings, or of their father. The series starred Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Alan Ruck. This episode hones in on the inarguably successful final season and concluding episode to the Roy family saga, cementing the black comedy/drama's reputation as one of the finest series in television history.
Episode 115: Perry Mason, Season 231:36This episode of Welcome To The Party Pal celebrates the second season of HBO Max's Perry Mason, a compelling series which portrays the origin story of the famed criminal defense lawyer (played by Matthew Rhys). The series was created by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald for HBO and it is based on the character of the same name by Erle Stanley Gardner. The series also stars Juliet Rylance as Della Street, Chris Chalk as Paul Drake, Justin Kirk as Hamilton Burger, and Shea Whigham as Pete Strickland. Season Two finds Perry in the throes of the Los Angeles legal system during the height of the Great Depression. Months after the Dodson trial that comprised the captivating first season shook the city, Perry is readjusting to life as a civil attorney when a high-profile murder case brings him back into the fold. In this episode hosts MIchael Shields and River Jordan expound upon how the story told in HBO's Perry Mason is the unflinching story of America's soul. They explore the knotty, fascinating case at the center of the second season while contemplating what might come next for the series. Ultimately, they celebrate what is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable seasons of television to be released in 2023.