The medals may have been presented and the Japanese courts handed back to the public, but in South Korea the thwack and swoosh of the shuttlecock still signifies serious competition. Out in the sticks, hours from Seoul, that is, where badminton coach Yoon Hyeon-jong (Kim Sang-kyung), struggling financially, has had to move to find work. His deeply unimpressed children, Hae-kang (Tang Joon-sang) and infant sister Hae-in (Ahn Se-bin), must adjust to life in a rudimentary village house – while also acquainting themselves with unpolluted air and the possibility of bear attacks. So let play commence in oddball comedy-drama Racket Boys (Netflix, series one now complete), in which the inverted snobbery of grumpy, suspicious rural folk can’t disguise their warm-heartedness for long and the big, forthcoming sports event is known as the Haenam Sweet Potato Competition. This is where Hyeon-jong must first earn his corn, because the middle-school team he is now training, while once feared and famed, is so short of players it hasn’t entered a tournament in years – and if it doesn’t improve quickly the school’s funding will be cut. Hae-kang, who makes much of his devotion to baseball and apparent dislike of badminton, must come to his father’s rescue, which is a handy reminder that Racket Boys is really about team spirit, parent-children relationships – among the sometimes neglected villagers as much as these big-city transplants – and appreciation of the cultural conventions and quirky charms of people unlike oneself. Even if one’s instinct is to disparage one’s new neighbours as “fish head curry” eaters. A breath of fresh air (and surreal bursts of fantasy) Josh Corman is a fish out of water. Worse: he’s not even sure exactly which water he was supposed to be in in the first place. Mr. Corman (available now on Apple TV+) is the alter ego of its creator, director and star Joseph Gordon-Levitt , who plays a schoolteacher forced by his class of 10- and 11-year-olds to dust off and face his long-abandoned dreams: specifically, those of being a rock star. But Corman is less Walter Mitty than Walter Misfit, at heart a loner in the midst of the melee that is Los Angeles, with loser friends and a scruffy flat to call home. He’s also minus one fiancée (Juno Temple) and plus one flatmate, who moved in when she moved out. All of which, understandably, leaves Corman floundering as he struggles to find meaning in life and his place in the world. Dejected, bored and unfulfilled, Corman feels bad about not feeling as good about life as he believes he should, while a nagging mother and religious fundamentalist sister do little to help him to count his blessings. He’s also given to awkward sexual fumblings with a potential new partner and wears the badge of the cash-strapped mid-lifer in crisis whose self-respect is crumbling: a broken bumper on a “piece of s***” car. While the 30- or perhaps 40-something Corman is stuck in a personal and professional trough, breaking up his days are sudden, surreal bursts of fantasy, which see him flying through the night sky, inhabiting a street-fighting video game or appearing in a Technicolor song and dance number. Everyone’s on a power trip in Mine, Netflix satire on lives of the rich Less tangible, but more baffling to anyone observing his trances, are the panic attacks symbolised by a flaming meteor streaking towards Earth that he alone can see. Gordon-Levitt effortlessly renders himself the perfect everyman in this obliquely funny six-part series. And with Mr. Corman having been filmed in New Zealand to avoid Covid-19 issues, perhaps the environment should be credited with having helped shape Gordon-Levitt’s creation, which feels like a breath of comedy-drama fresh air.