Discuss and Rate the Last Thing You Watched (non-movies)

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Dalisclock:
This kinda reminds me of how I feel about people who apparently really love the idea of the post apocalypse. Not just as a setting for the story and character potential, but those wierdos who apparently relish the idea of society collapsing so they can be free to do what they want unconstrained by rules and regulations and such. Or maybe just want the government to collapse for the "Libertarian Paradise" or some such bullshit.

Because they somehow assume They'll be the ones to survive and thrive, rather then think about the misery and ramifications of services and supplies being cut off, possibly forever and how that effects people.People who just assume they'll go live in the local walmart or the mall or some such because they saw it in a film, or that they could totally learn to live off the land given a few weeks because wilderness survival and farming is easy.

Not to mention the idea of power vacuums that would be caused by the government ceasing to exist in any meaningful way.

Granted, most fiction really doesn't bother to show this kind of shit. How gas has a shelf life of like a year, how society is based on integrated and vast supply chains, how much of what we do now is networked and computerized, etc. So people just don't even think about it.

God, I remember how cool some of my friends thought it would be to live in the post apocalypse. And I remember looking at them with side eye. We're talking hard stereotypical nerds and geeks here. Gym was the bane of their existence in high school. Never put on an ounce of muscle in the entire time we've known each other. But they suddenly feel that when the time came, they would be able to outrun a horde of zombies while doing perfect headshots all the time.. and never seeing a gun up close.

And I'm SO GLAD SOMEONE TALKS ABOUT GAS SHELF LIFE. In Jurassic World, where they took a jeep from the old abandoned park (the jeep covered in uncontrolled plant growth, fixed it up, and drove it off into a park. Seriously?

Thaluikhain:

Dalisclock:
This kinda reminds me of how I feel about people who apparently really love the idea of the post apocalypse. Not just as a setting for the story and character potential, but those wierdos who apparently relish the idea of society collapsing so they can be free to do what they want unconstrained by rules and regulations and such. Or maybe just want the government to collapse for the "Libertarian Paradise" or some such bullshit.

Argh, yes.

Now, fair enough for the ones who've got a bunker and 20 different AR-15s that they've customised themselves and they are always doing paramilitary training (of which there's a lot available in the US). That's taking it seriously and being honest, at least.

And rich enough to be able to buy many more AR-15s than you need.

As an aside, apparently once a Dirty Harry film came out, people suddenly would buy .44 magnum revolvers, and then suddenly there'd be second hand ones for sale a month later once people realised that there's a lot of recoil associated with the most powerful handgun in the world (even if it technically wasn't).

I can admit hypocrisy when I say a few of those guys scare me. I know to others I'm just a hardcore paramilitary class away from looking exactly like those people, but what can I say, I'm in my mind and I know I truly just want to be self reliant if horrible things come to pass.

Some of those people want horrible things to come to pass. Not all, but some. Those people worry the hell out of me.

ObsidianJones:

God, I remember how cool some of my friends thought it would be to live in the post apocalypse. And I remember looking at them with side eye. We're talking hard stereotypical nerds and geeks here. Gym was the bane of their existence in high school. Never put on an ounce of muscle in the entire time we've known each other. But they suddenly feel that when the time came, they would be able to outrun a horde of zombies while doing perfect headshots all the time.. and never seeing a gun up close.

I worked recruiting for the US Navy a couple years back(and yes, it can be brutal). You'd be shocked(or maybe not) how many people say they want to be a Navy SEAL and apparently believe its realistic on a short timeline(as opposed to, I'm gonna spend a year or so doing a lot of physical training first). Dudes who can't even run a mile and half without falling over from exhaustion or do 50 pushups in a row.

But man, they could totally be a commando. So yeah, I see the same kind of thing in the wanna-be apocolypse survivors.

The Great Martian War 1913-1917, a mockumentary based on War of the Worlds happening instead of WW1.

They put a lot of effort into making it look like a somewhat over the top historical documentary, some nice historical touches there, but a lot of flat out stupid stupid that annoys me. Yes, in the real world, bolt action rifles with bayonets were widely used in that time period, you don't keep making them to fight 20 foot tall martian war machines. Now, sure, the original footage you are editing (and that's a bit murky as well) has real world stuff in it, of course, but nothing stopping you from getting some people in period costumes holding large calibre rifles and reducing the image quality.

ObsidianJones:
I can admit hypocrisy when I say a few of those guys scare me. I know to others I'm just a hardcore paramilitary class away from looking exactly like those people, but what can I say, I'm in my mind and I know I truly just want to be self reliant if horrible things come to pass.

Some of those people want horrible things to come to pass. Not all, but some. Those people worry the hell out of me.

Yup...I've got a youtube video paused in another tab that's by a survival teacher talking about how to make a fire in the rain, I definitely agree about increasing one's skills base for that sort of thing, but the wannabe straight to dvd dystopian action heroes...yeah, no. Same as the people that get a gun because they want someone scary to break into their house to kill.

Not to mention, in most dystopian fiction, it's certain types of people that get to be hardcore survivor types, a lot of demographics just don't exist anymore, which may or may not be part of the appeal.

True Detective Season 3

From what I haven't forgotten, it's decent. It goes weirdly cookie-cutter near the end. Why did Amelia ever fall for Wayne? Physicality only, I guess.

Dalisclock:

This kinda reminds me of how I feel about people who apparently really love the idea of the post apocalypse. Not just as a setting for the story and character potential, but those wierdos who apparently relish the idea of society collapsing so they can be free to do what they want unconstrained by rules and regulations and such. Or maybe just want the government to collapse for the "Libertarian Paradise" or some such bullshit.

It's quite simple, really. In the post-apocalypse only survival matters. No complexities of modern life to care about. Very much romanticized, but a lot of people yearn for a simpler life. Sometimes it sucks to be a modern person, soft and dependent.

Watchmen, the television show.

Damon Lindelof has been one of the more distinguished voices in American television for a while predating the more recent era of creator driven television by almost a decade and while it's debatable whether he is or has ever been a unique enough voice to justify his omnipresence in Hollywood it's undeniable that he has quite a bit of prestige. That might be the reason why he was chosen to spearhead a follow up to the massively influential and critically acclaimed graphic novel Watchmen, originally by Alan Moore, an author famously dismissive of all adaptations of his work. Lindelof's Watchmen is most definitely a project that aims high bit I'm not sure what it's aiming at, exactly.

For what it's worth, the graphic novel isn't exactly the timeless masterpiece it's sometimes made out to be, both its political commentary and it's genre commentary are a product of the 80s. One that has stood the test of time, sure, but both superheroes and politics have gone through various changes ever since the novel came out and Zack Snyder's late 00s adaptation, while well realized, didn't present much of a case for how Watchmen can fit into the new millenium.

Lindelof sure tries his hardest to drag the property into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Robert Redford is the president of the United States, a racist militia is terrorising the country, police are now wearing masks to protect themselves from assault, Vietnam is the 51st state... Ocassionally it feels like the show can offer pertinent social commentary but I feel like most of the time it's just being cute. Which is really what it comes down to,Watchmen gestures towards our current cultural anxieties but it has very little in terms of coherent commentary on them. It certainly has moments of being clever and witty but it's never exactly insightful.

The plot is not bad, not when it comes down to it, it's realitively tight, relatively unpredictable, follows a few compelling characters both old and new, standouts including Jeremy Iron's refreshingly eccentric take on an elderly Adrian Veidt and Tim Blake Nelson as drawling vigilante Looking Glass, and doesn't overstay its welcome wrapping up in 9 relatively well paced episodes.

I'm sure some people will consider HBOs Watchmen a much needed modernization of the classic comic book and I do respect a lot of its bolder decisions but now that it has ended I can't help but wonder if there was a greater point to it. What is Watchmen in 2019? A quirky dystopia? A parable about the nature of power? A liberal manifesto? A work of very well made fanfiction? An epilogue to a story that never felt like it needed one? It sure tries to be all of those things but it still struggles to justify its own existence. It was a wild ride for sure, sometimes even a fun one, but it doesn't manage to present a case for why the novel that was never meant to be a franchise has now become a franchise.

McElroy:

Dalisclock:

This kinda reminds me of how I feel about people who apparently really love the idea of the post apocalypse. Not just as a setting for the story and character potential, but those wierdos who apparently relish the idea of society collapsing so they can be free to do what they want unconstrained by rules and regulations and such. Or maybe just want the government to collapse for the "Libertarian Paradise" or some such bullshit.

It's quite simple, really. In the post-apocalypse only survival matters. No complexities of modern life to care about. Very much romanticized, but a lot of people yearn for a simpler life. Sometimes it sucks to be a modern person, soft and dependent.

I mean, I get that. I just notice a lot of the people who apparently want this "Survival of the fittest" scenario are likely going to be the ones least likely to actually do so. People who complain when their internet goes out or their air conditioning stops working.

Then again, people romanticize about being farmers for the "Simple life" and most of them have no idea how tough farming actually is. Hell, go ask a bunch of farmers in the midwest who lost half their crop yields this year from flooding how much fun they're having, or whose soybeans are rotting unsold because the chinese are looking for different markets due to tariffs.

McElroy:
It's quite simple, really. In the post-apocalypse only survival matters. No complexities of modern life to care about. Very much romanticized, but a lot of people yearn for a simpler life. Sometimes it sucks to be a modern person, soft and dependent.

There's that, but I think a lot of people don't differentiate between "like this fiction work" and "want to live there". Stephanie Meyer apparently said she wants to live in the Mortal Instruments world, where one mistake by a group of angsty teens dooms the world. Any number of people want to go to Hogwarts, and bad stuff happens there every book, especially the last one.

Dalisclock:
Then again, people romanticize about being farmers for the "Simple life" and most of them have no idea how tough farming actually is. Hell, go ask a bunch of farmers in the midwest who lost half their crop yields this year from flooding how much fun they're having, or whose soybeans are rotting unsold because the chinese are looking for different markets due to tariffs.

Not to mention, if someone really wanted to be a farmer, they don't have to wait for the apocalypse, there's farms and farmers right now.

Thaluikhain:
Any number of people want to go to Hogwarts, and bad stuff happens there every book, especially the last one.

Well, to be fair, bad stuff only happens to the protagonists. Your average student is probably going to go through the year commenting "hey, did you hear what that Potter guy did?"

Though on the other hand, Hogwarts does seem to be a bit lax when it comes to student safety, to put it mildly.

Thaluikhain:

McElroy:
It's quite simple, really. In the post-apocalypse only survival matters. No complexities of modern life to care about. Very much romanticized, but a lot of people yearn for a simpler life. Sometimes it sucks to be a modern person, soft and dependent.

There's that, but I think a lot of people don't differentiate between "like this fiction work" and "want to live there".

I think people can separate fantasy from reality. A fictional world is already pretty good if the reader/audience can picture themselves in there. Another idea tying to why zombie apocalypses are so overdone: It's a good quality to be able to build an engaging world for your readers/audience, and now when it's known that a lot of people gravitate towards certain elements it reveals a lack of creativity to include them every time.

PsychedelicDiamond:
Watchmen, the television show.

For what it's worth, the graphic novel isn't exactly the timeless masterpiece it's sometimes made out to be, both its political commentary and it's genre commentary are a product of the 80s. One that has stood the test of time, sure, but both superheroes and politics have gone through various changes ever since the novel came out and Zack Snyder's late 00s adaptation, while well realized, didn't present much of a case for how Watchmen can fit into the new millenium.

Watchmen gestures towards our current cultural anxieties but it has very little in terms of coherent commentary on them.

I'm sure some people will consider HBOs Watchmen a much needed modernization of the classic comic book and I do respect a lot of its bolder decisions but now that it has ended I can't help but wonder if there was a greater point to it. What is Watchmen in 2019? A quirky dystopia? A parable about the nature of power? A liberal manifesto? A work of very well made fanfiction? An epilogue to a story that never felt like it needed one? It sure tries to be all of those things but it still struggles to justify its own existence. It was a wild ride for sure, sometimes even a fun one, but it doesn't manage to present a case for why the novel that was never meant to be a franchise has now become a franchise.

I definitely have to disagree as the Watchmen movie fits amazingly into current times (I haven't read the comic, only watched a Youtube video summarizing it). I love the change to the ending the movie made as it basically changes the commentary on humanity from basically "humans can be good if they work together against a common threat" to "humans are only good in the face of a threatening god", which makes Watchmen thematically the darkest superhero movie ever made. Of course, it also functions as commentary on superheroes and superheroes are probably bigger than they've ever been in pop culture. The show IMO basically morphs the message into only a god can fix race issues as something like a government program like the Refordations couldn't and really only someone with god-like power (assuming the ending is what you think it is) could have the ability to somehow equal out the immense disadvantages from systemic racism over the 200+ years in America.

Arrow season 6/7/8

I've left this show. It was getting a bit much. But Crisis on Infinite Earth sounds pretty cool, so I'm catching up.

Season 6 was great. Felt like season 3 of Daredevil. It recaptured what I thought was great about Arrow. Taking the focus away from world destruction and on manipulating various factions was great,

Season 7 was back to the old problems. Vendettas for perceived slights. Utterly silly family nonsense right out of days of ours lives. The flash towards were the exact reason why I dislike Star Wars. The only saviour of the universe is a person who is related to a certain bloodline. Luke being born to save the universe is bollocks. I did find the whole prison segment interesting

Season 8. Collectathon. Treasure hunt. This is always a bad. See also last season of Final Space. Actually, Endgame was very similar but I feel like the McGuffins had their own traits. Similarly, the whole season is a nostalgia trip like Endgame, which has been generally okay, if sometimes forced.

Watchmen show
I had similar problems with this as the movie, About half way through, the movie/show stops and does flashbacks. A lot of them. In fact, at the 50% point, you realise they only have 15 mins of story left and they are just stringing it out to pad the run time. (45 mins for the show). If I remember correctly, this happened in the comics too.

I liked the investigation of legacy. That the average white person can looking at a common history and see that they are driving much of society. Many inventions come from white people, as well as societal norms.. But similarly, an African American can see their legacy as non-existent due to circumstances out of their, and their ancestors, control. Which, you know, triggered a bunch of people

But, I'd agree with Psychedelic Diamond. Why was this even part of the Watchmen franchise? Lindelof has already stated that this might be a one and down series. Which is unsatisfiimg, Mirror man and slippery dude have much more room to be fleshed out. I don't know why either of them needed to be there. Angela was just there to receive an egg and didn't drive much of the plot. If She taken out, how much would have the plot changed. Certainly, the first date episode, but much else? Things happened and some of the main character didn't make choices,

Also, I want more Reznor soundtracks

Dragon Prince Season 3

This season wraps up the current arc of getting the baby dragon to his mom and dealing with a number of plot threads the series had been working for a while. The finale was nicely done and if it ends up being the last episode/final season, at least it's a good note to go out on. There are apparently 4 more seasons planned(1 for each type of magic, including Dark magic) and it would be interesting to see where they go from here.

It also looks like the show finally gave some more implications about the backstory of the human expulsion from the eastern half of the continent, though the picture is still hazy what exactly was going on. I can definitely see why the elves are so touchy about the Dark Magic thing.

The Witcher

I'm about 3 episodes in so not quite halfway finished but so far it's pretty good. It generally tracks with what I liked about the games and Cavill is doing a good job of channeling his game counterpart in his depiction. I do have to question some of the editing decisions in the 3rd episode, notably the two scenes of screaming women alternating in the climax and exactly why it was done this way. I also question exactly the Sorceress Lodge is looking for in their new recruits considering the price of failing out and the fact Yen somehow managed to avoid that fate and even graduate.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series when I get some more time this weekend.

The Mandalorian

You know, it's alright. I'd probably be a lot harsher on it if the last movie had been less of a trainwreck but as it is, it's the best Star Wars production we're gonna get this year and we should cherish it. It's a very straight forward western riff about a mercenary kidnapping a child for the remnants of the Empire, developing an emotional connection and deciding to protect it. That's just about all there is. There are a few episodic stories that provide some insight into the state of the galaxy right after the war but nothing terribly surprising or terribly creative.

But it's fine, it really is. It captures the visuals of the Original Trilogy quite nicely, and... look, about 70 % of Disney's Star Wars consists of things fans of the Original Trilogy can point to and scream "I recognize this!" and Mandalorian is no different. There's Jawas and Tattooine and Twi'leks and that one kind of robots. You know. Star Wars stuff. The characters are fairly simply but decently likeable, Pedro Pascal as the eponymous bounty hunter does a believable enough quiet gunslinger, Werner Herzog has what's basically a glorified cameo as an imperial loyalist, Nick Nolte plays an elderly alien on a desert planet and does an actually very compelling job. The less said about some of the other supporting actors the better. Martial Artist Gina Garano sure looks nice but a gifted thespian, she isn't and let's not even talk about whatever the hell Natalia Tena thought she was doing there.

Basically, it's a straight forward Star Wars serial. Probably a pretty good callback to the type of show that inspired Star Wars in the first place, honestly. It's good, predictable fun. If you consider subscribing to Disney+ just to see it, don't. It's not worth it. But if you want to check it out through other means, go ahead. It's the best Star Wars related thing you're gonna see this year and, you know, maybe the series future is on the small screen. Mandalorian makes a decent case for it.

Sense 8 (Season 1)

Another pair of acclaimed film directors to venture into television or, rather, streaming, are Lana and Lily Wachowski, the two sisters behind Matrix and some really good shit you have, statistically speaking, most likely not seen, like Speed Racer, Jupiter Ascending and Cloud Atlas, which is most definitely up there with my favourite movies of the past decade.

So what is Sense 8 about? Well, it's about 8 people, all over the world, who are somehow telepathically linked. A hacker in San Francisco, a police officer in Chicago, a martial artist in Korea, an actor in Mexico, a thief in Germany,a DJ in London, a bus driver in Nairobi and a bride in India. The nature of that connection is the shows central mystery, though one it seems in no particular hurry to explore, not in its first season, anyway. Is there a shady organization trying to hunt them down? Sure, but the show puts all of that on the back burner to focus on these characters personal lifes.

If there is one thing to be said about Sense 8, and this might sound a bit bitter, is that it feels like a relic from a slightly better world. The computer specialist from San Francisco is a trans woman in a lesbian relationship. The Mexican actor is gay. The show never treats these characters with anything other than compassion. It has a positive portrayal of human sexuality that is very rare in American television, one that doesn't feel voyeuristic in the way sex in media often does but rather intimate and uplifting. The Wachowskis work seems to have fallen out of favour with the wider audience, which is sad, because there is something to it that feels very lacking in mainstream cinema. There is a sincere humanism that informs their productions and while I would have wished for a stronger overarching plot in the first season of Sense 8 the focus on individual character arcs comes from a place of genuine sympathy with their personal struggles.

Sense 8 is not the most tightly written or the most stylishly directed work of the sisters but it provides a strong argument for why we need their directorial voice more than ever. It's a bold statement on human connection beyond nation, gender and sexuality. Sense 8 is two seasons long and I don't know whether the show will tie itself together into something greater than the sum of its parts but so far even the sum of those parts alone is quite enjoyable.gotta be honest, I'd much rather see more of this than another Matrix sequel.

Forensic files

I can't get away with nothing

"Hizzonner the Penguin" and "Dizzoner the Penguin", from the 1960's live action Batman series.

It seems very unrealistic to have a rich criminal run for election (using cheap showmanship rather than addressing real issues and hoping to install over the top criminals in the government if he wins) when they are played by someone cool like Burgess Meredith as the Penguin.

Too Old To Die Young

I think I wrote about this back when I was around episode 4 (out of 10). This was months ago. Only now have I just finished it.
I went in solely out of a morbid appreciation for Refn's "work" (Drive and Only God Forgives as far as I'm concerned) and nothing else, since at first glance the cast didn't sell it for me and neither did the paper-thin bent cop & cartel angle. The show's layered with some folksy chicano nonsense about tarot and santeria, and leans on the supernatural towards the end, but otherwise the plot is pretty basic. A corrupt cop (Miles Teller) performs hits for a Jamaican ganglord, grows something close to a conscience and starts performing hits for a social worker (Jena Malone) who tips him and another fellow hitman about roaming rapists. Meanwhile there's a chicano mobster on the rise on a bloody quest to avenge his dead mother and also reclaim the LA underworld from the Jamaicans.

I'm making it sound more exciting than it really is. Not that it doesn't get intense - especially when it becomes clear how the plotlines will converge and intersect towards the end, which throws away any predictions you might have about the show - but the action is paced like ice cubes slowly cracking in water, with episodes lasting up to 90 minutes but detailing maybe 20 minutes of actual story. In tapping the dreamlike ("artsy") vibes every line of dialogue is spaced with unnatural amounts of dead air, the action and characters tend to be blocked at weird angles - entire conversations go by Bergman style - and the camera likes to slooooowly dolly one way and then sloooowly dolly the other, covering entire scenes like massive tableaux vivants. I quite like the style but for a while I feared that was all we were getting from the show. And I guess it is *mostly* a style-over-substance series, plus whatever you make of its portentous conclusion.

By the way, this is an extremely violent and lurid series. I mean that in a good way. Feel like pointing it out. It gets dark, dark, dark.

Once Upon a Time: Season 7 (3/5)

OUAT S7 is to the show what season 9 is to Scrubs, or Cursed Child is to Harry Potter. It's an installment that follows from what came previously, but is clearly the odd one out. Considering that this season was devised as a soft reboot, that's kind of to be expected. Question is, did it sell me on the show when after watching the previous six seasons and detailing my frustrations with them, you should know why I've never been able to love this series? Well, no...but it's by no means the worst season. In a way, I think that because it got rid of so many things I disliked about the series, it made me more inclined to like the season.

For starters, Henry. I've made no secret as to my dislike of his character, but here, he's tolerable, and I realized something. It isn't Henry I dislike per se, it's that the attitude he held in season 1 never really developed. It's why I like Lucy here, who is to season 7 what Henry was to season 1, because she's got the excuse of age and naievete. Henry as an adult is far more likeable...mostly. Yes, sometimes we go down the route of "finding my happy ending," but as someone more cynical, we thankfully get less of the "all you have to do is believe!" schtick that made me want to throttle the little brat. It actually touches on the belief thing, pointing out that as an adult, blind faith is harder to come by, so nice job there.

Also, the characters. We get a far narrower selection of characters to focus on here, which is good. I'm now inclined to believe that Robert Carlyle is to this show what Patrick Stewart is to Star Trek - an actor that can give gravitas to scenes even when the dialogue is hackneyed as hell. Also get Wish Hook and Regina, and Zelina to a bit. Oh, there's new characters, but point is, most of the cast don't return. And honestly, I'm fine with that. The season benefits from the narrower focus, and it helps that the characters who DO return, Henry aside, are ones that I'm generally inclined to like. I mean, Zelena and Regina have had way too many second chances for my liking (see my review of season 5 for more on that), but here, the whole redemption thing is played out decently. At the very least, Regina is at the end of her arc, and like her or loathe her, it's at least presented well, even though you have to forget the piles of bodies she's left behind her. But that aside, what about the new characters? Well, Lucy's adorable, Jacinda's dull as dishwater, and almost everyone else ends up somewhere in-between. Y'know, it's not the best move in the world when season 6 concludes with a villain that we're meant to believe is the series's big bad, and then we have to get introduced to new villains. Bit of an anti-climax there. Still, Gothel is one of the better villains in the series, even though her motivations don't go beyond "humanity sucks and I want to wipe it out."

Actually I'm not being fair. But given the source of her motivations...well, for those of you who've seen the "it was Earth all along!" episode, if you like this episode, your opinion is bad, and you should feel bad. I mean, OUAT has got away with stupid shit before, but THIS?

Minor point with Gothel, but the show does dabble in something approaching actual paganism with her rather than traditional fairytale magic. Whether this is a good, bad, or neutral thing is up to you. But moving onto other villains, there is Victoria Belfrey, who's...okay, at best. Really, it's okayness that comes from her fairytale backstory being more interesting than anything occurring in the storyline's present. And finally, there's Ivy. A.k.a. Drizella. A.k.a. the best character in this whole season and the most squandered one. The weird thing about Ivy is that by all rights, she could be regarded as a walking cliche. Middle child syndrome, never got enough love, addicted to her phone in the real-world setting, silver-tongued bitch, but deep down wants to be loved, but willing to manipulate everyone to get what she wants...you know the stereotype, right? Well, I don't know why, but for Ivy, it's a case of the stereotype being...not exactly surpassed, but a case of where I don't mind it. Unfortunately, she doesn't stay around till the season's end, nor does she appear in the finale. Honestly, I'd take an Ivy redemption arc over Regina or Zelena as her sins aren't nearly as bad as hers, and...okay, fine. I ship IvyxHenry, and a quick search tells me I'm not the only one who does. Frankly, Ivy's one of the most enjoyable characters in the season, if not the series, and yet the season doesn't do nearly enough with her. It can't even be bothered to give her a proper send-off, more like "yeah, I'm leaving now, have fun cleaning up the Gothel mess I made for you." Why did this happen, you ask? Well, I suspect that some of it had to do with the show being cancelled. Yes, our soft reboot lasted one season. Imagine that. I don't know when the decision was made, but the fact that Wish Rumple comes back in the last two episodes to be the villain despite having not appeared since, like, forever, gives you a hint.

Actually, the finale is pretty decent, especially if I'm right about the writers' hands being forced. 7 seasons and hey, the relationship between Belle and Rumple proper is no longer toxic. That only took, like, seven seasons. And all the Realms of Story (a term that no longer makes sense in the context, but whatever) are put in a pocket universe (I assume) at Storybrooke because, hey, why not? Y'know, I can't help but wonder if some of the denizens of the realms wanted to be left alone, not to mention that the Wish Realm now means that there's probably two of everyone walking around now. But hey, happy ending, with speech on happy endings that...isn't so degrading that I want to beat my head and yell "shut up!" But still, no Ivy. Boo.

So. That's Once Upon a Time. A series that I watched to the end, and a series that was...okay, at best. I didn't love it. A lot of the time, I didn't even like it. As I've said, it uses the Lost formula (reliance on flashbacks), but Lost is vastly superior. And in a world where shows like Game of Thrones exist, Once Upon a Time comes up short. Even fantasy shows that are more light-hearted than GoT have done a better job. OUAT started out with a great premise, but squandered it, and even season 7, while less irritating than some of its predecessors, never reaches greatness. Considering that the last shot of the series is the "Leaving Storybrooke" sign, I think it's appropriate. Because I don't forsee myself returning to this setting anytime soon.

Titans S2

It's fine. Got a Watchmen problem (comic, movie and show) of spending heaps of time of backstory that doesn't add much to the experience, particularly breaking up the pacing.

Deathstroke was a pretty good villan. He was definitely focussed on planning and *mind manipulation*, using the teams weakness against itself. But he had plenty of weaknesses, including his own plan and... that doesn't sit right. Still liked him better than Arrowverse.

Jorah being Batman was... a bit weird. Alfred is English, not Bruce. But it does make it clear why he's standing back and influencing the youngen'

And I don't know how this all wrapped up. It would seen that heroes are now bad guys but they got a clap at the end. Plus the whole Wonder Girl thing was stupid.

I'd watch a third season but I'm not hunting for it. Which puts it on par with the Arrowverse

6/10

Cyber City was a pretty good OVA. The dub is no means bad, but there is a lot of cursing to make it sound more edgier than the Japanese version. The forced cursing just makes it all the more hilarious, and screams: " You're a big boy watching cartoons made for adults!". For those that don't know, the anime has one of the most hilarious lines in anime history.

Cursing is an interesting thing because in Japanese you don't really have cursing. You just have varied level of respect in your words. So you can just say hi in a way that makes it come off as "you bitch!" but it still just means "hi".

Also about the worst thing you can say to someone is to go die, so when you hear very over the top villains screaming shineeeee you really are hearing them say fuck you lol.

So in a way, to be accurate to some things you will actually have to add curses when you translate something. But at the same time, you can easily overblow it or go for rank 10 cursing where it was more like rank 4 in Jp, which is what often happens in dubs.

Dreiko:
Cursing is an interesting thing because in Japanese you don't really have cursing. You just have varied level of respect in your words. So you can just say hi in a way that makes it come off as "you bitch!" but it still just means "hi".

Also about the worst thing you can say to someone is to go die, so when you hear very over the top villains screaming shineeeee you really are hearing them say fuck you lol.

So in a way, to be accurate to some things you will actually have to add curses when you translate something. But at the same time, you can easily overblow it or go for rank 10 cursing where it was more like rank 4 in Jp, which is what often happens in dubs.

I've heard Politeness is a very, very important quality in Japanese culture, being tied in with respect. That and being reserved is a virtue so over the top characters are meant to come off as crazy or unstable(thus all the NPCs in Dark Souls cackling for no particular reason).

Which makes me wonder if (MY! NAME! IS!)GYOUBU MASATAKA ONIWA(!)s increadibly hammy entrance in Sekiro is meant to show that he really, really hates you as opposed to "I'M REALLY EXCITED TO BE HERE FOR MY BOSS BATTLE" that it comes across in the english dub.

Dalisclock:

Dreiko:
Cursing is an interesting thing because in Japanese you don't really have cursing. You just have varied level of respect in your words. So you can just say hi in a way that makes it come off as "you bitch!" but it still just means "hi".

Also about the worst thing you can say to someone is to go die, so when you hear very over the top villains screaming shineeeee you really are hearing them say fuck you lol.

So in a way, to be accurate to some things you will actually have to add curses when you translate something. But at the same time, you can easily overblow it or go for rank 10 cursing where it was more like rank 4 in Jp, which is what often happens in dubs.

I've heard Politeness is a very, very important quality in Japanese culture, being tied in with respect. That and being reserved is a virtue so over the top characters are meant to come off as crazy or unstable(thus all the NPCs in Dark Souls cackling for no particular reason).

Which makes me wonder if (MY! NAME! IS!)GYOUBU MASATAKA ONIWA(!)s increadibly hammy entrance in Sekiro is meant to show that he really, really hates you as opposed to "I'M REALLY EXCITED TO BE HERE FOR MY BOSS BATTLE" that it comes across in the english dub.

The clip I just showed. That voice actor who does the "goddamn vampire" line plays a character in dark souls. Check the YouTube comments.

The Rest of Sense8

Sense8 is either a beautiful, excuberant celebration of the international and intersectional brotherhood of mankind, or a meandering mess of comic book cheese and cornball melodrama, held together by hippy dippy new age spirituality and preachy millennial wokeness. Whether you'll see one or the other in it depends on how willing you are to engage it on its own terms.

As we've established, Sense8 is the brainchild of Lana and Lily Wachowski, a globe trotting, character driven Science Fiction drama about a "Cluster" of 8 psychically linked individuals, so called Sensates. The first season focussed strongly on the personal lifes and struggles of these people, the second season still does, though with a somewhat greater interest in actually developing the overarching plot. And this is where this really starts to feel like a Wachowski production.

Sense8s story is that of every single Wachowski movie, perhaps quintessentially so, the story of good, free spirited people banging their hearts against the cruel, inhumane forces of institutionalised evil. Very likeable people, actually, the eight eponymous Sensates do have amazing chemistry and, by the end, really feel like a family. There is a disarming sincerity to the series wide eyed celebration of human connection. The show ends on a feature length special called "Amor Vincit Omnia", Love Conquers All, and Sense8
puts this message forward without even a hint of irony.

Sense8 is a work of hopeless baroque romanticism, even moreso than Cloud Atlas, a series that treats the power of love and the magic of friendship as if they were tangible forces of nature. It's all heart, no common sense and goofy as it is, it's undeniably sweet. I have rarely ever seen anything that offers such a positive view on human sexuality. Gay sex and straight sex and, quite notably, group sex, Sense8 finds beauty in all of those.

Sense8 is... different. It dared to march through the modern landscape of dark, cynical prestige television wearing flowers in its hair and waving a pride flag. God knows, it was too pure for this world. A carnivalesque mess of psychic orgies, stylish action scenes, campy humor, random bouts of madness and plenty of melodrama. I think it really won me over when it actually went and featured the soundtrack of Southland Tales. Was it actually good? Hell if I know, but it sure was a wild ride. "Love Conquers All"? Well, who am I to argue with this.

Black Cockatoo (3/5)

This play...isn't really that good. It's a case of trying to do too much and too little at the same time.

The play mainly focuses on the story of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team who toured England (the so-called "Black Eleven"), selling itself as a story that needs to be told. Fair enough, though while I can't speak for everyone, this wasn't some obscure piece of Australian history for me. I certainly knew of the tour in question, even though I wouldn't be able to tell you the date or names of the players off the top of my head. But hey, fair enough, always ready to learn more, right?

Well, here's the thing. The play is 90 minutes with no interval, and divides itself between some Indigenous activists breaking into a museum to get it to "tell the truth," and flashbacks to the tour in question, centered around John Mullagh (the lead player), and Charles Lawrence, the captain/coach. Not the worst setup in the world. However, both of these things feel way too haphazard. For starters, the activists each have an archtype, ranging from the guy who wants to burn it down (metaphorically), isn't afraid to voice his feelings on white people, resents the lack of monuments to massacres within Victoria, to the girl who's just there to get her picture in the paper when the police come round. Fair enough. By itself, this works - emotions are genuine, and you could argue that the play came out at the 'right time,' given the yearly debate about Australia Day. The problem is that the activist sideplot feels very tangental to the cricket team plot, even though their initial goal is to get the museum to "tell the truth" about the tour. This spirals into a wider discussion about indigenous affairs in Australia. And fair enough, there's plenty there you can make a story out of, but it's a story that's relegated to these characters occasionally showing up. It also doesn't help that one of the characters outright states (paraphrased) that "this play is a metaphor for First Nations people in Australia, cue symbology of bat and boomerang together." Y'know, I'm not a published playwright (but I will be a published author within the year barring any stuffups, so suck it Gradius), but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that if you need to state your theme to the audience via monologue, you either haven't successfully conveyed that theme, or you don't have enough faith in your audience and/or yourself. To draw upon a writing maxim...no, it's not "show, don't tell," it's the maxim of "showing and telling." And it's what the play does in this case.

That aside, the 'present' sections of the play are in the minority, so what we're left with is stuff that's decent, for the most part. We deal with John, who has to deal with his love of cricket on one hand, to everything from racism and unrequited love on the other. I'm going to say that I'm a bit dubious of the plot where he falls for a British dowager woman who's very feminist/progressive (well, for someone at the time), who's pushing him to read Das Kapital, and waxing lyrical about how with the US civil war having recently ended, America will soon be a land of racial harmony (I admit, I laughed there, and I wasn't the only one). If this actually happened, I'm going to take this criticism back, but if your play is selling itself as telling the true story, then it's dubious to include a story that's almost certainly not true. I did some research and couldn't find any mention of the woman in question, but maybe it is true. But then, the play does acknowledge through the 'present' sections as to what can't be verified, so either the romance stuff IS verified, or it's completely false. But that aside, John carries the play (or technically his actor does), for the reasons I described above. There's referenced racism, and he has to deal with the condascending manner of his coach/team captain, on top of losing a player to sickness, and being homesick. There's quite a few powerful moments in the play, such as his quiet comments of the moon looking the wrong way, or his shadow being on the wrong side, or how quiet the birds are compared to back home. You could argue that it's the noble savage archtype, but I disagree - Indigenous peoples generally have connection to nature (or Country as it's referred to in Oz, and yes, capitalized) via their culture, so while it isn't a cultrue clash that's going on per se, it is a...cultural manifestation, I guess you could call it? Like I said, there's powerful stuff, because on one hand, he's not only falling in love, but it's shown that there's a lot of things in England that he likes. But on the other hand, as he puts it, "I want to know what's supposedly so horrible about this country that people are so desparate to leave it and invade mine." The play doesn't pull any punches on the darker elements of the British Empire, but the 'past' sections are more succinct in it, and serve by focusing on the individual. It's just a shame that we have to keep cutting back to the 'present.'

So, that's that then. If I had to offer one piece of advice (as pretentious as this sounds), it would be to cut out or minimize the 'present' sections of the play so we could get more time with the cricket tour. But in the end, what we're left with is 60% of a play that's pretty decent, with 40% that drags that 60% down, give or take. Also, it has audience participation, so that's another black mark for me.

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 (3/5)

You might recall my review of season 3 of Rebels, how I didn't like it much. I will say that season 4 is better than season 3, but not as good as season 2. Yes, fun fact, I've now seen every season of Rebels except the first. But I mean, hey, it's better than Last Skywalker at least. Not that that's saying much.

Honestly, I don't have much to say about this season for good or ill. It's less a story at this point about the Rebellion and more about just a small group of rebels, with the majority of the plot taking place on Lothal. This is neither good or bad by itself - I mean, it does allow character focus I guess. And maybe it's a case of "doomed by canon," where the Rebellion can't score any major victories against the Empire before Scarif. Still, it does make the series feel small, and not in a good way. I've never been that enamored with the Clone Wars TV series, but that at least befit the franchise title of "Star Wars" and the sub-series of "Clone Wars." Rebels is a series where few people actually die, and when they do, it's hidden. I know, I know, child friendly, stormtroopers are human while droids aren't, but still...

Anyway, it's fine. I will admit that the ending got me in "the feels," though it's such an undignified way for Thrawn to go out, considering he's a pretty major character. Also, not sure how anyone could survive going into hyperspace with a shattered bridge, but whatever. Overall, Rebels is fine. It's average, but unlike Rise of Skywalker, not aggressively so. It benefits from more focus than season 3, but season 2 still comes up on top in that there was a constant sense of danger with the inquisitors constantly pursuing the cast, plus it had the showdown between Vader and Ashoka. So far, nothing in Rebels has topped that.

Night on Earth: A good netflix nature documentary series on what goes on our world when the sun goes down.

Dalisclock:

Dreiko:
Cursing is an interesting thing because in Japanese you don't really have cursing. You just have varied level of respect in your words. So you can just say hi in a way that makes it come off as "you bitch!" but it still just means "hi".

Also about the worst thing you can say to someone is to go die, so when you hear very over the top villains screaming shineeeee you really are hearing them say fuck you lol.

So in a way, to be accurate to some things you will actually have to add curses when you translate something. But at the same time, you can easily overblow it or go for rank 10 cursing where it was more like rank 4 in Jp, which is what often happens in dubs.

I've heard Politeness is a very, very important quality in Japanese culture, being tied in with respect. That and being reserved is a virtue so over the top characters are meant to come off as crazy or unstable(thus all the NPCs in Dark Souls cackling for no particular reason).

Which makes me wonder if (MY! NAME! IS!)GYOUBU MASATAKA ONIWA(!)s increadibly hammy entrance in Sekiro is meant to show that he really, really hates you as opposed to "I'M REALLY EXCITED TO BE HERE FOR MY BOSS BATTLE" that it comes across in the english dub.

What you're describing applies to certain contexts, in a battlefield (and in a period piece, no less) you will have bravado and shouting aimed at intimidation because when you're shouting you're in essence projecting the power of the lord you're a vassal to and warding off anything that'd threaten them, so it's more like fervor rather than someone being unstable. Now, if someone was to speak like that to the actual lord they serve directly or even in their presence, yeah, that'd be disrespectful and the guy would be seen as having gone insane. You can see how Wolf is towards the little boy emperor for example.

In a more modern context, there's a whole lot of emphasis put on things like seniority, status and experience, and it's literally hard-coded into the language you speak. So for example, there's two words you can use to say "mother", one if you're speaking about your mother and one about any other mother but your mother, and the one for your mother is a more humble term, whereas the other one is more polite since you're trying to be respectful for other people's mothers. Being respectful about your own would come off as being arrogant or unduly proud of your mother and would rub people the wrong way...buuuuut if you're actually TALKING to your mother and you don't use the respectful word to speak to her but use the word you have to use when you refer to her in talks with other people that's rude too cause you gotta be nice to your mother. Having fun yet? XD

There's tons of little things like that, you don't even think about it in the context of the language since it's just all a blanket of "polite" and "correct" but when you sit and think about it it's very bizarre lol.

A very easy example is when someone calls themselves name-Sama, which is a honorific that means master or lord, and most people tend to not use it outside of specific contexts where people are being formal but don't really mean it, so if someone actually does mean it then yeah that guy is just being an asshole. (this is literally how they characterize Vegeta as being an arrogant asshole during the saiyan saga, just a little word and you know what you're dealing with lol)

Just caught They Shall Not Grow Old on TV tonight. Peter Jackson put together film, colorized movie footage, and photographs with recordings of interviews with World War I veterans. It was an incredibly interesting way to describe the nature of trench warfare from the first "big one" and bring it home, using the emotion and memories of those who went through it. The down-to-earth viewpoint of the infantryman they interviewed is eye-opening. The choice of footage is extremely well chosen and the entire production is beautifully done.

Seriously, if you get a chance to watch this program, do so. It is a wonderful tribute, not only to Jackson's grandfather (to whom the program is dedicated), but to everyone who had ever served.

Black Sails: Season 1 (3/5)

Black Sails is a series I seemed to hear a lot about back in the day, but then abruptly stopped hearing about it. I knew vaguely it was something to do with characters from Treasure Island, and that's about it. Having actually seen the first season, well...well, first thing is to acknowledge is that this wasn't a 'proper watch,' and with a series that's heavy on episode-to-episode continuity, that's a bit of an issue. But, for what it's worth, my thoughts.

So, for starters, least as far as season 1 goes, any links to Treasure Island are pretty much name recognition only. We get James Flint, Billy Bones, Discount Will Turner (sorry, John Silver), and...that's it. This isn't a bad or good thing in of itself, but really, if you didn't have these three characters, you'd have no idea that this series is supposedly a prequel to the Stevenson book. Maybe the links become more evident later on, but as far as season 1 goes, again, name recognition only. But if I judge it as a series on its own right, it's a mixed bag. Like season 1 of Game of Thrones, Black Sails uses a lot of sex and a lot of nudity, presumably under the assumption that sex sells, or, "it's 18th Century Nassau, people fuck each other a lot." And look, maybe it did, but just as GoT Season 1 lagged here, sex in of itself isn't a turn on for me. If I want sex, I'll watch porn. And while I'm fine with sex in fiction, don't use it as a substitute. Because for a series named "Black Sails," we don't actually spend that much time at sea. Indeed, about 80% of the season is spent on land. And while I'm guessing that some of that is due to a limited budget, it's still a pirate show, and when I watch pirate shows, I expect the pirates to do piratey things. But nup. Sex, and serious discussions that aren't enough to carry the season.

So, average. Started season 2, but season 1? Average. And if I'm treating this as a Treasure Island adaptation, it ranks below pretty much every adaptation of Treasure Island that I've seen.

The Expanse (Seasons 1 through 4)

It's a pretty good sci-fi show that despite having a sort-off generic set-up ends up feeling pretty fresh due to overall pretty well-written characters and surprisingly good political intrigue, the visual effects are also pretty well-done for a TV show, I don't know what else to say it kinda gives me vibes of what would be a Cyberpunk world (Mostly due to the state of Earth & Ceres Station) but set on the space part, like in Blade Runner when Roy talks about what happens in space, I kinda picture something like this.

I get that a lot of people might not like it especially since I can see them interpreting Holden as a Mary-Sue but considering how many mistakes he makes even if he's too idealistically nice they tend to have pretty severe consequences, most of the time unexpected, also Detective Miller is just like the best, I get that he's mostly just a trope but he's pretty well done and I'm a sucker for the gritty cynical detective types.

I will add that so far the first season has been my favourite and while some of it may be attributed to it being the only season in which Miller is a main character, everything else has been worthwhile but the worldbuilding has severely declined in most recent seasons, I guess it's mostly because they mainly take place in spaceships and stuff and that the groundwork was pretty well laid in the first 2 seasons that it's not as necessary, but they do feel considerably less alive, and the new characters especially the antagonists of the 4th seasons don't seem as dynamic and complex as in previous seasons, which really had you guessing as to who was in the right and were morally pretty grey, or at least appeared to be as the story was unfolding.

Kaleion:
The Expanse (Seasons 1 through 4)

It's a pretty good sci-fi show that despite having a sort-off generic set-up ends up feeling pretty fresh due to overall pretty well-written characters and surprisingly good political intrigue, the visual effects are also pretty well-done for a TV show,

I don't know what else to say it kinda gives me vibes of what would be a Cyberpunk world (Mostly due to the state of Earth & Ceres Station)

Um, really?

I've only seen the first two seasons, but I wouldn't associate either of those settings with cyberpunk, since both are well maintained (Eros could be called cyberpunk though). If anything, I was a bit perturbed by how season 2 handled Earth, since it depicts Earth being far more pleasant than how it's portrayed in the books. Granted, later seasons might have accounted for how this is a planet with 30 billion people, before...

I get that a lot of people might not like it especially since I can see them interpreting Holden as a Mary-Sue but considering how many mistakes he makes even if he's too idealistically nice they tend to have pretty severe consequences,

I've never seen anyone call Holden a Mary-Sue. TBH, that he makes so many mistakes in the first book/season is part of what made me initially dislike his character. He never learns from his mistakes, and the Sol system suffers for it. He does mellow out in later books though, though on the other hand, this arguably contributes to his Stu status as the personal attack dog of Avasarala.

I will add that so far the first season has been my favourite and while some of it may be attributed to it being the only season in which Miller is a main character, everything else has been worthwhile but the worldbuilding has severely declined in most recent seasons,

Of the two seasons I've seen, I liked season 2 more - flowed much better, and I was more invested in the characters. Though it's funny you mention worldbuilding, because I have a similar problem with the novels. The worldbuilding is its greatest strength, but the characters populating that world aren't that interesting. So by its nature, each book is going to get 'diminishing returns' for worldbuilding, so ergo, I've liked each book less than the one before it with the exception of Nemesis Games (reading book 6 right now).

I finally sat down and watched Community. Though it never shined as bright as the Office or Parks & Rec online, I heard good things about it. There is some interesting and funny moments, but it's probably one of the weaker comedy series I've watched. The first season is rough, even parts of the second. By the time it really gets going, Chevy Chase and Donald Glover have peaced out. The replacement for one of them doesn't work at all with the rest of the cast. Don't see me finishing this one.

Ah well, onto New Girl.

Jack Ryan (Season 1)

It's 24 with Michael Bay money. Now about the title character.

I love John Krasinski. In my limited view of who would make a good Jack Ryan, he should be the perfect casting. He hits all the checkpoints as Jim Halpert: smart, sensible, by-the-book and has a boy scout morality. He was the perfect foil to The Office's wackiness, and kept the humor anchored with a realness that made everything around him so much more cringey. And even though he's physically buffed up to action hero standards, I just find him severely miscast as Jack Ryan.

One of the problems is that there's nothing to the character of Jack Ryan. I read a review that compared him to walking curriculum vitae, which about sums it up. He's a collection of degrees and awesome attributes. Top of his class, rowboat champ, has a degree in economics (so he can get called Doctor Ryan), served as a marine, came back with some sexy scars and mystery PTSD, works as a wunderkind analyst for the CIA where his hunches always prove him right. He's just so bloody awesome at everything. He walks into a room and everybody marvels at him. He enters another country and he's immediately the center of attention.

He's essentially a male Mary Sue. But he's also a blank slate. If the actor brought anything to the table he might be able to sell it, but to me Krasinski is a big flatline in this. He's cold and morose and comes across as someone who just wants every scene to be over, either because he's too focused on looking good or too scared of getting out-performed by the rest of the cast (which he is, routinely). He has little to no screen presence. And I never got to know the character, so I never liked him.

Some parting thoughts:

* There's a weird and totally unconnected subplot involving a drone pilot and his guilty conscience that basically kidnaps the show for a couple of episodes in the middle. It takes some very weird turns but ends up going nowhere.

* Abbie Cornish plays "the girlfriend character", who of course has to get roped into the plot at the last second in the most improbable way but mostly just furnishes Ryan with almost mandatory romantic squabbling. She's good but the writing sucks. In one episode she wants to dial things back to casual with Ryan, the next she's angry because he isn't upfront about his work. What? Oh yeah, we're 3/4 of the way there, which is where you schedule couples fighting.

* The CIA investigates a terrorist cell in Paris for a large part of the show, and the French police is depicted as almost suicidally inept. I'm talking shoot-each-other level of stupid, which happens on separate occasions involving SWAT and the gendarmerie. Jesus. Lucky for them Ryan is tagging along.

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