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UnBinged: Letterkenny's Clever Canucks, Castle Rock's Sweet Misery, and El Camino's Bad Boy - LA Weekly

You watch TV, we watch TV. But with more and more shows on cable and network TV, not to mention new streaming services popping up every day, television can get a little daunting. Don’t worry. UnBinged is here, ready to OD, hate-watch, or simply spill, chill and enjoy television, so you don’t have to — unless it’s worth it.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie | Netflix

Netflix’s El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is a full-length feature that brings Breaking Bad fans back into a world of complex characters, glass-quality blue meth and the dusty, beige tones of Albuquerque, New Mexico. While not as astounding as some of Breaking Bad’s best episodes, El Camino is a weekend romp back into a world a lot of us have terribly missed.

El Camino is Jesse’s story and Jesse’s story alone. The movie follows Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in two tandem storylines: one that explains how he survived his captivity as a one-man, mass-producing meth machine and another arc that details his escape from the law as a “person of interest.”

Directed and penned by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, El Camino picks up almost seconds from where the Breaking Bad finale left off, with Jesse headed down a dirt road in a Chevy El Camino.

Broken, beaten and scarred, both mentally and physically, Jesse first stop is to his chums, Skinny Pete and Badger, for a change of clothes, a shower and a moment to rest. But before he can come up with a plan, the LoJack on the El Camino is set off, alerting the authorities to his  location and setting the events of the movie in motion.

El Camino is a walk down memory lane and a continuation of an unfinished story. While Aaron Paul is the sole focus of the tale, the movie is littered with people and places from past adventures. From mild-mannered psycho Todd to good old Uncle Walt, Paul carries the weight of the production on his scarred shoulders as a broken specimen looking to rebuild his humanity.

Don’t worry, fans and internet critics. The legacy left by Breaking Bad remains untarnished. El Camino is just placing the finishing touches on the tale of Mr. Pinkman. This is the frosting on a messed up wedding cake. The cherry in a spiked Shirley Temple. The decorative twist tie on a bag of blue meth.

Good luck, Mr. Driscoll. Go where the universe takes you, and hopefully we’ll get to see more some day.

Letterkenny | Hulu

If you have never heard of Letterkenny, we honestly feel bad for you. In fact, it would be fair (cue music) to say that your life is only half lived. Letterkenny is perhaps the greatest Canadian export since Wayne Gretzky and Rush… and this comes from someone who isn’t that into Getty Lee, prog rock or hockey.

Created by Jared Keeso and based on the YouTube series Letterkenny Problems, Letterkenny has won stacks of prizes from almost every Canuck kudocast in creation. And rightfully so. Following the everyday exploits of folks in rural Ontario, the lightning-fast delivery of the dialogue makes Gilmore Girls and its follow-up, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,  look like a slow-paced character study.

Now in its seventh season, the gang — Wayne (Keeso), Katy (Michelle Mylett), Daryl (Nathan Dales) and Squirrely Dan (K. Trevor Wilson) — continue to raise the bar on barn banter by keeping their chatter at a highly entertaining and hilarious at 88 MPH (141.6 KPH for the Canucks). Known as The Hicks, Wayne and the gang explore important current events such as porn-viewing habits, Tony Danza impressions, the importance of marriage and modern agricultural trends.

And lucky for us, Hulu has opted to carry the celebrated show so we can get a heaping helping of Canadian culture.

In the words of multi-Juno award-winning Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams, Letterkenny is “Straight from the Heart.” In the words of Toronto-born rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur and former Degrassi star Drake, it is “The Best I Ever Had.” In the words of repeat international award-winning songstress Celine Dion, “I Surrender.”

Letterkenny is television at its very best, dare we say one of the best comedies currently on television. The brilliant stuff the characters utter and sputter here, filled with wacky innuendo, messed up metaphors, obtuse observations and a lot of truth, borders on poetry. You’ll want to quote this stuff. Watch with a notepad.

Castle Rock | Hulu

The new season of the original Hulu series Castle Rock makes use of the homicidal nurse from Misery as a central character for the show’s second outing. Yes, Annie Wilkes gets the Joker treatment.

Lizzy Caplan returns to her Janis Ian roots as she makes the role of Wilkes her own. Big shoes to fill considering the last woman to play her — Kathy Bates — took home an Oscar for her efforts. But Caplan wears dowdy well as the iconic figure who lives life on the run, working nursing gigs under assumed names to provide for her addiction and her daughter(?!?).

Annie Wilkes in the internet age is dependent on painkillers and has a daughter named Joy (played by Eighth Grade star Elsie Fisher). But she hasn’t softened. This Annie can fuck some shit up with an ice cream scoop.

Wilkes is only one small cog in this King-fueled nightmare machine, as satanists, hidden tombs, biblical plagues, the undead and occasional humping hobos all find their place within the cryptic narrative. Also returning to the Stephen King Universe is Tim Robbins, who trades in his rock hammer for a knit cap in the role of town elder Reginald “Pop” Merrill, a famous family in the SKU best known for its bullies and bad guys. Rounding out the cast is Barkhad Abdi and Yusra Warsama as Somalian refugees who made Castle Rock, where the show is set, their home.

The first season of Castle Rock offered an intriguing premise with a disappointing finale before Game of Thrones made it acceptable. And like the first season, the second season is off to a strong start. The sophomore outing teases recognizable people and places from the King’s books, which sets up an absorbing mystery filled with familiar characters,but that’s how the first season started as well. And look where that left us?

So, after the first season’s frustrating finale, should you give Castle Rock another try? The answer is a sign that once hung on the wall of Needful Things, the junk store from King’s book. While the performances and premise all show signs of overwhelming promise, that doesn’t mean the plot will go in a satisfying direction. Whether this season fulfills wants and needs remains to be seen.