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

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Hamilton. The Lin-Manuel Miranda musical about Alexander Hamilton. Live.

Sometimes, you want to do something justice, but you realize you don't have the depth of Soul required to do so. I've been in a very bad place for a while, and I still find myself humming the tunes from Hamilton. It was an experience that I will treasure.

Hawki:
The Dragon Prince: Season 2 (4/5)

The easiest way I could describe this seasons is "more of the same." As in, if you liked season 1, you'll like season 2. If you didn't, season 2 isn't going to win you over. Luckilly, I did like season 1, and I do like season 2. Overall, I'd say that the season is slightly better, but "slightly" is the key word. Something of note is that in The Last Airbender, the second season felt distinct from the first, even if it's continuing the same storyline. Here, while it repeats the whole 'book naming' thing, this is very much a continuation of a single story.

Key area where it has improved is the animation, but it could be that I'm just used to it by now. Apart from that, all the strengths from the previous season are here. There's minor things I could get into, but overall, I'd be repeating myself. Basically, everything I said in my review of the first season can more or less be applied here. Now I just need to wait for season 3.

I'm kinda suprised nobody on the forums was talking about this at all. At least, no threads about it. I remember Korra getting discussions and sadly I didn't watch Avatar and Korra until both were finished and the discussions were pretty much over.

Now I'm actually watching one of these when it's fresh and nobody else seems to be talking about it.

Yeah, I liked season 2 a bit despite spending a little too much time not really moving forward(but they made up for it by getting to Xadia this season). They also seemed to have fixed the Janky framerates(I thought it was my broadband until I noticed other people complaining as well) and Rayla's accent has held a lot better(in season 1 there was the occasional accent slip in the early episodes).

ObsidianJones:
Hamilton. The Lin-Manuel Miranda musical about Alexander Hamilton. Live.

Sometimes, you want to do something justice, but you realize you don't have the depth of Soul required to do so. I've been in a very bad place for a while, and I still find myself humming the tunes from Hamilton. It was an experience that I will treasure.

I do hope it gets a film or at least taped release at some point. Yeah, it's not the same as live but it's still something. I saw it live, loved it and want to see it again.

Dalisclock:

I'm kinda suprised nobody on the forums was talking about this at all. At least, no threads about it. I remember Korra getting discussions and sadly I didn't watch Avatar and Korra until both were finished and the discussions were pretty much over.

Now I'm actually watching one of these when it's fresh and nobody else seems to be talking about it.

Yeah, I liked season 2 a bit despite spending a little too much time not really moving forward(but they made up for it by getting to Xadia this season). They also seemed to have fixed the Janky framerates(I thought it was my broadband until I noticed other people complaining as well) and Rayla's accent has held a lot better(in season 1 there was the occasional accent slip in the early episodes).

I'm actually surprised they reached Xadia so quickly. Assuming there's going to be six seasons, and they reached their destination by the end of season 2...I'm actually wondering if there might be two halves to the season. Like, Zym gets back to his mother by the end of season 3, but they still have to deal with Aaravos by the series end (and if you don't think he's going to be the big bad, I have property on the moon I can sell to you).

But as for the lack of discussion...maybe it's because it's more niche? Avatar is fairly well known (least in geekdom), but it had the benefit of being free to air. Dragon Prince is meanwhile stuck on Netflix, and is kind of doomed to stay in Avatar's shadow. Like, I love Dragon Prince, but I'd still call Avatar the superior series.

And by Avatar I mean Last Airbender. Not Korra.

Bleh to Korra. :(

Hawki:

I'm actually surprised they reached Xadia so quickly. Assuming there's going to be six seasons, and they reached their destination by the end of season 2...I'm actually wondering if there might be two halves to the season. Like, Zym gets back to his mother by the end of season 3, but they still have to deal with Aaravos by the series end (and if you don't think he's going to be the big bad, I have property on the moon I can sell to you).

I have a feeling that we're gonna find out more about the Humans being expelled to the other side of the continent. Because so far the story is "Humans discovered Dark Magic.....Humans were expelled out of Xadia" with the implication the elves were just being dicks about it(from the Human POV). I can't help but think a lot more happened between those two events and we just aren't being told yet.

And I would not be suprised if Aaravos was neck deep in all of that.

Hawki:

But as for the lack of discussion...maybe it's because it's more niche? Avatar is fairly well known (least in geekdom), but it had the benefit of being free to air. Dragon Prince is meanwhile stuck on Netflix, and is kind of doomed to stay in Avatar's shadow. Like, I love Dragon Prince, but I'd still call Avatar the superior series.

And by Avatar I mean Last Airbender. Not Korra.

Bleh to Korra. :(

I didn't think about the netflix thing but that makes sense.

I liked Korra alright, but the series had a fair number of flaws, not including way too much time on the pro-bending and love triangle in season 1, among other things. Not to mention the Korra/Kasumi thing which just seems like it drops out of nowhere at the end(I don't mind that they're an item, but it felt like there wasn't much build up to that).

I kinda liked the "Game of Bending" feel to Korra but Avatar is the superior show by far.

Dalisclock:

Hawki:

I'm actually surprised they reached Xadia so quickly. Assuming there's going to be six seasons, and they reached their destination by the end of season 2...I'm actually wondering if there might be two halves to the season. Like, Zym gets back to his mother by the end of season 3, but they still have to deal with Aaravos by the series end (and if you don't think he's going to be the big bad, I have property on the moon I can sell to you).

I have a feeling that we're gonna find out more about the Humans being expelled to the other side of the continent. Because so far the story is "Humans discovered Dark Magic.....Humans were expelled out of Xadia" with the implication the elves were just being dicks about it(from the Human POV). I can't help but think a lot more happened between those two events and we just aren't being told yet.

And I would not be suprised if Aaravos was neck deep in all of that.

Hawki:

But as for the lack of discussion...maybe it's because it's more niche? Avatar is fairly well known (least in geekdom), but it had the benefit of being free to air. Dragon Prince is meanwhile stuck on Netflix, and is kind of doomed to stay in Avatar's shadow. Like, I love Dragon Prince, but I'd still call Avatar the superior series.

And by Avatar I mean Last Airbender. Not Korra.

Bleh to Korra. :(

I didn't think about the netflix thing but that makes sense.

I liked Korra alright, but the series had a fair number of flaws, not including way too much time on the pro-bending and love triangle in season 1, among other things. Not to mention the Korra/Kasumi thing which just seems like it drops out of nowhere at the end(I don't mind that they're an item, but it felt like there wasn't much build up to that).

I kinda liked the "Game of Bending" feel to Korra but Avatar is the superior show by far.

I was ok with LoK at first, but as the years went on, I hated it more and more to the point where I can't even stands the site of the sequel series anymore. I sold all the box sets to a Books-A-Million. Korra felt like an adaption of someones bad fanfic. I've already said this before in previous posts, but I hated how they derailed Aang and Toph, the love triangle went on way too long and went nowhere (this is not the only modern kids show to have this problem), annoying and useless side characters (Kai and Suuyin come on down use wastes of oxygen and carbon), getting rid of Ying/Yang for generics "Light vs. Darkness", explaining things that were better left mysterious/ambigous, and wasted plot ideas. Season 3 and 4 were better, but not by much. I'll say that S4 made me hate Suuyin even more and put the Spirits on mine and everyone else's shit list. Fuck them! The Korra/Asami (Dalislock you called her Kasumi; hilarious) pairing was an ass pull for some brownie points. I hate to say that, but it's true. The fact that this is from the original creators pissed me off even more, and showed they had not learned from most of their mistakes when doing the sequel comics, and their egos went up. I forgot the Dragon Prince, but I have almost no interest.

Dalisclock:

I have a feeling that we're gonna find out more about the Humans being expelled to the other side of the continent. Because so far the story is "Humans discovered Dark Magic.....Humans were expelled out of Xadia" with the implication the elves were just being dicks about it(from the Human POV). I can't help but think a lot more happened between those two events and we just aren't being told yet.

And I would not be suprised if Aaravos was neck deep in all of that.

It's certainly possible.

Something I complained about in my season 1 review is that while the show has Callum and Ezran unlearn their prejudice against elves, Rayla never seems to drop her prejudice against humans (by season 2 though it's kind of mellowed out though). Which, by extension, made it seem odd that no-one in the show ever mentions that humans were banished from Xadia for the actions of a single man. Whatever the risks of dark magic, I doubt that justifies banishing that man's entire race. Yet apart from the prologue, this act is never mentioned by anyone. Assuming it's an intentional ommission, it might suggest that:

a) Most people have forgotten about it (not out of the realm of possibility - 1000 years is a long time)

b) There's more to the story, or the story itself is a lie. After all, it's Aaravos delivering the prologue, but that's the only glimpse we get of him in season 1

CoCage:
The fact that this is from the original creators pissed me off even more, and showed they had not learned from most of their mistakes when doing the sequel comics,

If I may ask, what mistakes? I've certainly been interested in the sequel comics, but never got round to reading them.

I forgot the Dragon Prince, but I have almost no interest.

Well, for what it's worth, the first two seasons of DP avoid the mistakes of the first two seasons of LoK (I didn't watch beyond season 2). So, if you're after something that harkens back to Avatar, and actually does some things better (e.g. antagonists),* then you'd probably like it.

*Like, not better than Zuko, but better than Ozai for instance.

Hawki:

Dalisclock:

I have a feeling that we're gonna find out more about the Humans being expelled to the other side of the continent. Because so far the story is "Humans discovered Dark Magic.....Humans were expelled out of Xadia" with the implication the elves were just being dicks about it(from the Human POV). I can't help but think a lot more happened between those two events and we just aren't being told yet.

And I would not be suprised if Aaravos was neck deep in all of that.

It's certainly possible.

Something I complained about in my season 1 review is that while the show has Callum and Ezran unlearn their prejudice against elves, Rayla never seems to drop her prejudice against humans (by season 2 though it's kind of mellowed out though). Which, by extension, made it seem odd that no-one in the show ever mentions that humans were banished from Xadia for the actions of a single man. Whatever the risks of dark magic, I doubt that justifies banishing that man's entire race. Yet apart from the prologue, this act is never mentioned by anyone. Assuming it's an intentional ommission, it might suggest that:

a) Most people have forgotten about it (not out of the realm of possibility - 1000 years is a long time)

b) There's more to the story, or the story itself is a lie. After all, it's Aaravos delivering the prologue, but that's the only glimpse we get of him in season 1

CoCage:
The fact that this is from the original creators pissed me off even more, and showed they had not learned from most of their mistakes when doing the sequel comics,

If I may ask, what mistakes? I've certainly been interested in the sequel comics, but never got round to reading them.

I forgot the Dragon Prince, but I have almost no interest.

Well, for what it's worth, the first two seasons of DP avoid the mistakes of the first two seasons of LoK (I didn't watch beyond season 2). So, if you're after something that harkens back to Avatar, and actually does some things better (e.g. antagonists),* then you'd probably like it.

*Like, not better than Zuko, but better than Ozai for instance.

Several mistakes off the top of my head:

Forcing the reader to like a character that is unlikeable/unsympathetic (Mai). A character that was indfifferent about, got on my fuck you list.

The romance getting in the way of the plot or obnoxious (Aang/Katara and Zuko/Mai). Reading Smoke and Shadow pretty much kills Zuko/Mai as couple. Like I said in an older post, I'd always prefer Jin anyway over Mai.

Ruining the mystery of certain characters like Ursa or Koh. You do not want to know what they did with Koh's backstory.

Derailing characters like Azula of all things. Apparently she has "split" personalities and one of the most unrealistic depiction of mental illness it's insulting to those that are mentally ill. They kinda fixed this, but they should have not done it in the first place.

The comics having a fan fic feel due to the sloppy writing and disliked explanations.

If I can recommend you one of the comics, it would be The Rift. Other than that, you can skip the rest.

I will give Dragon Prince a shot since you enjoyed it.

Star Trek: Discovery: Season 2 (3/5)

If nothing else, season 2 of STD is better than season 1. However, that's by a slim margin, and it's rife with their own problems.

Funny thing is, for season 1, I compared its quality to a bell curve, where it starts off weak, gets good in the mirror universe section, then declines in quality again at the end. Season 2, it's the opposite. It starts strong, ends strong (but goes off the rails), but it's in the middle that it drags. Still, season 2 is better than its predecessor in as much that it has better crew chemisty. Burnham is less of a wooden block, and the show feels more like an ensemble now...sort of. Like, Saru gets to visit his homeworld, Pike's got his own thing going on, Stammets and his husband have their resurrection thing, Tilly gets, um, kidnapped by spores (yes Lil Devils, I remember that), and so on. However, I get the sense that the show wants me to care about all of the command crew. When Pike takes command, he has the characters sound off, but I challenge you to say much about them off the top of your head. This comes to a head when Airiam gets possessed by Control, but while the show expects us to make a deal about it, I'm left to wonder why I should even care.

Also, there's Spock. Which ties into an issue that Discovery's had since day 1, and that's how it fits into the Prime Timeline. Now, I've never really been bothered by this, but while the actor playing Spock does a great job, it's hard to wrap him around being a Spock between the events of The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before, where in both cases he was played by Nimoy. Like, when he finally shaves at the end he looks the part, but, yeah. Spock is emblematic of a lot of Discovery, least in this season - solid in many ways, but hard to fit in with the broader canon.

Also, minor point, but for a show named Discovery, it at least does some actual discovering, even if it's following the Red Angel around. And given the acrobatics Burnham does at the end, I defy anyone who claims Kerrigan is problematic in Legacy of the Void to handwave that aside. Also, remember what I said about fitting in? Apparently space battles got a lot less intense between Discovery and TOS. Like, again, I'm not a big Star Trek fan, but it's becoming increasingly hard to reconcile with what we see in Discovery with the broader Star Trek canon. And the thing is, the show knows it. It makes clumsy attempts to explain away the lack of holograms in TOS. And the ending is one big contrivance to explain why Spock never mentioned Michael, or why no-one mentions the spore drive. It's a case of, well, this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb7YpEpr3oc

Also, Discovery gets shot into the future apparently. 32nd century or something, when the furthest we've gone up to this point in any meaningful capacity is early 25th, or late 24th if you're ending the timeline with Star Trek 09. The whole thing feels contrived and an overreaction to fan nitpicks. And, fine, I've been nitpicking, but I could live without such an extreme solution.

So that's STD for you. By its own, it's at least decent, and again, it's stronger than the first season because its character interactions feel much more natural. I can't deny it's got a solid production budget. But I also can't deny that season 2 feels like it's stepped into an identity crisis. Thing is, I'm also watching the rebooted Lost in Space series (yes, I'll review that as well), and while that's as far away from the original LiS as you can get, it commits to its tone and style. Discovery wants to have it both ways apparently. And as far as I'm concerned, it can't have it without making a mess of things.

CoCage:

Several mistakes off the top of my head:

Forcing the reader to like a character that is unlikeable/unsympathetic (Mai). A character that was indfifferent about, got on my fuck you list.

The romance getting in the way of the plot or obnoxious (Aang/Katara and Zuko/Mai). Reading Smoke and Shadow pretty much kills Zuko/Mai as couple. Like I said in an older post, I'd always prefer Jin anyway over Mai.

Ruining the mystery of certain characters like Ursa or Koh. You do not want to know what they did with Koh's backstory.

Derailing characters like Azula of all things. Apparently she has "split" personalities and one of the most unrealistic depiction of mental illness it's insulting to those that are mentally ill. They kinda fixed this, but they should have not done it in the first place.

The comics having a fan fic feel due to the sloppy writing and disliked explanations.

But, but, Dark Horse sent me an email today saying that they're the "ultimate continuation of Avatar." Why would they lie? WHYYYY?!

Also thought it was James Cameron's Avatar for a moment there. Yes, Dark Horse has two comic series named "Avatar." Go figure.

Hawki:

CoCage:

Several mistakes off the top of my head:

Forcing the reader to like a character that is unlikeable/unsympathetic (Mai). A character that was indfifferent about, got on my fuck you list.

The romance getting in the way of the plot or obnoxious (Aang/Katara and Zuko/Mai). Reading Smoke and Shadow pretty much kills Zuko/Mai as couple. Like I said in an older post, I'd always prefer Jin anyway over Mai.

Ruining the mystery of certain characters like Ursa or Koh. You do not want to know what they did with Koh's backstory.

Derailing characters like Azula of all things. Apparently she has "split" personalities and one of the most unrealistic depiction of mental illness it's insulting to those that are mentally ill. They kinda fixed this, but they should have not done it in the first place.

The comics having a fan fic feel due to the sloppy writing and disliked explanations.

But, but, Dark Horse sent me an email today saying that they're the "ultimate continuation of Avatar." Why would they lie? WHYYYY?!

Also thought it was James Cameron's Avatar for a moment there. Yes, Dark Horse has two comic series named "Avatar." Go figure.

As for the new set of comics set in the Last Airbender continuity and not LoK, I have no idea. You are on your own there.

Hawki:
Star Trek: Discovery: Season 2 (3/5)Apparently space battles got a lot less intense between Discovery and TOS. Like, again, I'm not a big Star Trek fan, but it's becoming increasingly hard to reconcile with what we see in Discovery with the broader Star Trek canon. And the thing is, the show knows it..

Actually it reconciles it pretty well, they had to destroy a great deal of technology to prevent it from destroying all sentient life. This would mean that after the war against AI, they would be forced to use "dumbed down tech", like we see in TOS to prevent that from happening again. The experimental ship (Discovery) being sent into the future would also mean they lose all the experimental tech that was on board. They had mentioned earlier in the series that the technology on Discovery only existed on Discovery so when it went into the future, that technology no longer existed in the past. It was not just the technology from Discovery that was lost though, it was also the technology from Section 31. They likely passed laws at that time to prevent that from happening again, and classified the information on Discovery, Section 31 and the technology to keep people from trying to research it further and being able to weaponize it.

Lil devils x:

Actually it reconciles it pretty well, they had to destroy a great deal of technology to prevent it from destroying all sentient life. This would mean that after the war against AI, they would be forced to use "dumbed down tech", like we see in TOS to prevent that from happening again. The experimental ship (Discovery) being sent into the future would also mean they lose all the experimental tech that was on board. They had mentioned earlier in the series that the technology on Discovery only existed on Discovery so when it went into the future, that technology no longer existed in the past. It was not just the technology from Discovery that was lost though, it was also the technology from Section 31. They likely passed laws at that time to prevent that from happening again, and classified the information on Discovery, Section 31 and the technology to keep people from trying to research it further and being able to weaponize it.

Except clearly technology still progresses from TOS onwards. Like, maybe there's rules against AI, but that doesn't stop Starfleet from employing Data, or the Federation creating individuals such as the Doctor. Also, I have to ask if you want to employ safeguards against a repeat of Control, maybe don't classify those events to the point of treason? Like, learn from history and all that? And both the Discovery and Enterprise are using fighter craft in the final battle, which are completely absent from TOS (unless I missed something).

Thing is, whatever in-universe justification Discovery has, it can't hide the apparent out of universe justification, which is to avoid clashes with canon by removing Discovery from the timeline completely.

Hawki:

Lil devils x:

Actually it reconciles it pretty well, they had to destroy a great deal of technology to prevent it from destroying all sentient life. This would mean that after the war against AI, they would be forced to use "dumbed down tech", like we see in TOS to prevent that from happening again. The experimental ship (Discovery) being sent into the future would also mean they lose all the experimental tech that was on board. They had mentioned earlier in the series that the technology on Discovery only existed on Discovery so when it went into the future, that technology no longer existed in the past. It was not just the technology from Discovery that was lost though, it was also the technology from Section 31. They likely passed laws at that time to prevent that from happening again, and classified the information on Discovery, Section 31 and the technology to keep people from trying to research it further and being able to weaponize it.

Except clearly technology still progresses from TOS onwards. Like, maybe there's rules against AI, but that doesn't stop Starfleet from employing Data, or the Federation creating individuals such as the Doctor. Also, I have to ask if you want to employ safeguards against a repeat of Control, maybe don't classify those events to the point of treason? Like, learn from history and all that? And both the Discovery and Enterprise are using fighter craft in the final battle, which are completely absent from TOS (unless I missed something).

Thing is, whatever in-universe justification Discovery has, it can't hide the apparent out of universe justification, which is to avoid clashes with canon by removing Discovery from the timeline completely.

Data and the Doctor did not come until much later, not in TOS, likely after they had already learned to implement new safeguards necessary to prevent an AI takeover from happening again. When Admiral Cornwell died, Pike likely was promoted after, as he was an admiral in TOS. Pike was outspoken against certain tech and AI, and likely then would have voted to restrict it for safety after what he had just encountered. Pike is out of the picture by the time the next generation and voyager comes around, thus new leadership means new rules.

Here is a list of Star Trek Star fleet ships, not sure if it is complete:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Trek_Starfleet_starships

You also have to remember that TOS takes place in peacetime, not war and would not have a need to resort to use of certain military equipment and technology for that reason.

Lil devils x:

You also have to remember that TOS takes place in peacetime, not war and would not have a need to resort to use of certain military equipment and technology for that reason.

Um, sort of...in TOS, there's a constant undercurrent of Federation-Klingon Empire tensions that boils over at least once (Errand of Mercy), and the rest of it is a veiled analogy to the then-current Cold War. And if you want to argue that there's no reason to resort to certain military equipment, um, Balance of Terror? The Doomsday weapon? Even if the Enterprise is an exploratory ship, and little of TOS is based around action (partly due to writing, partly due to budget by my guess), it's still shown to be capable of engaging in action when the time comes. So when battles are far more 'simple' in TOS than the ending of DIS season 2, it's noticable.

Course, I don't care overmuch, in that a) the battle is actually quite well done, and b) I'm fine with just accepting the Doylist explanation, I feel the whole "send Discovery into the future and have no-one mention it ever" is a case of overcompensating. Like, at this point, I'm left to ask why even bother having STD as a prequel series. Say what you will about Enterprise (the show), it at least felt like the tech there was less advanced than TOS.

Serial Experiments Lain

Welp, guys, I did it. At long last I managed to find the only good anime. Nah, just kidding. There's also Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Seriously, though, Lain is an anime series from... Jesus, 1998. This thing was ahead of its time by fucking decades. Anyway, as I was saying, an anime series from 1998 about an introverted young girl named Lain living in Tokyo in what the show, somewhat sarcastically, assures us is "Present day, present time". Now, the Internet in Lain's world is referred to as "The Wired" and appears to differ from our version of the web, especially as it was at the time, in quite a few ways. Lain and her classmates receive messages from a dead person and other parts of The Wired seem to bleed into reality, yet Lain seems very drawn to it.

It's not easy to describe what the series is about, exactly, at the very least not without giving too much of it away. It's an absolutely fascinating series, twisting Cyberpunk, Conspiracy Fiction and very H.R. Giger-esque technofetishistic bodyhorror into a haunting transhumanist creation myth. Somewhat like Deus Ex, done by the way of Inland Empire and no less cryptic in its storytelling. As I see it there's conspiracy stories and conspiracy stories and there's a very clear line that separates something like, let's say the entirety of Dan Brown's work, from the writing of the likes of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow or Robert A. Wilson's Illuminatus. That line being a lot of research, of course. Something that Lain has certainly done, demonstrating a keen understanding of computer science, early internet culture, urban legends and various other esoteric subject matters.

Lain isn't the most accessible show but it's a fucking brilliant one. A meditation on identity, communication and technology in an increasingly connected world. I have no idea why I didn't watch it sooner but I'm glad I finally got around to it.

Started watching the Catch 22 series Hulu and George Cloony produced. Only seen the first episode so far but it seems good enough so far. The biggest change is that unlike the book, the show is doing it in linear chronological order, whereas the book and the film adaptation from the 1970's were infamous for jumping back and forth in the timeline as far as the narrative was concerned. So basically, this one begins with all the characters at bomber training school then then proceeding to them fighting in WW2.

I know part of it is to make the narrative a bit less confusing and partially so they could introduce all the characters early on by showing them standing in formation and displaying their names in massive subtitles one by one. Which kinda works and kinda doesn't because they are all 20 something young men who don't look that visually distinct from each other standing in ranks wearing military uniforms, so you get the names but that doesn't necessarily make their faces memorable. I initially questioned the decision to all the junior officer characters in the same training class together before going to the same unit together, but I noticed there were a lot more people training that aren't shown going to Italy so I can accept that it was just this dozen or so Airmen who went together.

I will give the show props for trying hard to recreate that feel of being set in the 1940's and damn if the B-25 aircraft don't look good on screen despite being a combination of mockups and CGI(since there can't be that many B-25's left at this point). The cast seems decent enough so far, though Jon "YoYo" Yossarian is the one who gets the most screentime so far(being the main character). George Cloony gets a bit of screentime in the first 10-20 minutes as Gen Scheisskopf, who is obsessed with Parades and yelling at people who don't Parade as well as he thinks they should(AKA Perfectly).

Star vs. the Forces of Evil Season 4 - I have to say, the finale was not that good. While better than Season 3's first half, this season as whole can be frustrating to watch. For one, the romance once again gets of the main plot. I swear, ever since Avatar and Danny Phantom (hated Sam by the way), it's mandatory in kids cartoon to have romanced shoved down the audience throat that is rushed and not that well developed, or predictable. To the current and future writers, please stop doing this! You are not being original and are wasting the audience's time!

Plot points are set up and quickly forgotten about before they start, and certain characters change off-screen for little to no reason other than to have a "twist". I hate to say this, but Star really got unlikable in the series finale.

I think because of this, I can't even go back and watch the whole series again.

PS - Apparently the shows drop in quality starting just after Season 2 was because the writer left to go work on the Dragon Prince. Go figure.

Doom Patrol

An overall pretty entertaining superhero show about a team of mentally damaged misfits fighting a fourth wall breaking villain. I'm not quite ready to call it a great show, while it had moments of great creativity I feel like it pulled its punches on some of it's weirder ideas too often but those ideas are still, for the most part, really enjoyable. It does show a potential in the superhero genre to embrace unconventional and progressive ideas. It did most definitely peak in its beautifully queer "Danny Patrol" episode, about a sentient street providing refuge to various outcasts and misfits, and never quite lived up to the standards that episode set but I still liked most of the series. The characters are all pretty well fleshed out and pretty well portrayed, it's very nice to see Brandon Frasier again, obviously having fun with his role. Other standouts include the releiably excellent Timothy Dalton and Matt Bomer, both of whom got some of the best emotional moements.

So, overall Doom Patrol is good fun. It's no Legion but then, what is?

Star Wars Rebels: Season 3 (3/5)

Something to keep in mind as I review this is that it isn't really a full review - the last three episodes of the DVD I borrowed wouldn't play. And that's in addition to the usual BS of the DVDs stopping and starting because kids can't handle them properly. But even that aside, I doubt I'd have much more to say about this than I already do. The prior season had a sense of 'drive' to it, as the inquisitors constantly hunt down Ezra and Kanan. This season, on the other hand, doesn't. It sort of attempts to it, with the Callus/Fulcrum plot, as well as Thrawn, but it doesn't have anywhere near the same level of impact. Like, I dunno, maybe the last three episodes would change my assessment of this, but at the end of the day, the season is just average. So average I barely have anything more to say.

Lost in Space: Season 1 (4/5)

Is it fair to call Lost in Space (the original) and Star Trek TOS rivals, considering that they were both soft sci-fi shows that aired at around the same time? If so, it's fair to say that Star Trek won the battle, as it went on to become a blockbuster franchise, while Lost in Space...didn't, to say the least. Still, come today, and the tables have turned a bit. Because on one hand, we've got Star Trek: Discovery, which is flawed in a number of areas. Then you've got the Netflix reboot of Lost in Space, which while not without flaws of its own, is easily superior to DIscovery in my eyes. So, let's get into how and why.

First thing to note, this isn't anything like the original, or so I'm guessing - like, I've never seen it, but I'm aware of its place in pop culture. So, when we're thinking of stuff like "the pain, the pain!" or "danger, danger!," then sorry, you won't find any of that here. This is a serious show - kind of like how Battlestar Galactica 2003 differs from the original. Whether that's good or bad is up to you, but in of itself, it's good. Also, this veers a lot towards the "hard" end of the sci-fi spectrum, as in, the solutions to problems feel scientifially plausible as opposed to technobabble. What also helps is that all of the characters, even the supporting ones, feel fleshed out. No-one's a stereotype, every member of the Robinsons has distinct character traits, and even the supporting cast feel real. I will admit that the show's Dr. Smith/June Harris is a bit off, like, not off in the way the show wants her to be. I can see what they're going for, as she tries to manipulate everyone around her, but it comes off as iffy. Also, sometimes, it feels like the characters are holding the idiot ball in regards to her manipulating them. But her aside, the characters are nice to be around. Even the robot gets something of a personality/character arc, but if you're guessing the arc is based around discovering its 'humanity,' then congratulations, you're not an idiot.

So, that aside, what about the season's downsides? Well, something to note is that this is very much a slow burn show. Like, every episode flows into the one after it, but the rate of flow isn't that constant, and at times the show can drag. Also, the show suffers a bit from a lack of worldbuilding, as we get vague allusions to what life's like back on Earth, but they remain just that - allusions. We know a meteor's hit the planet (though it's implied towards the end it might have been an alien spacecraft) that's coated the planet in dust, but there's reference to it being a "dying world." Also, Alpha Centauri. That's a colony that exists. Don't know how, don't know when, but the crew's part of the 24th Colonist Group. How did groups 1-23 fare beforehand? No idea. Was Alpha Centauri terraformed? No idea. When does this show take place? No idea. These are arguably minor gripes, but what amplifies them is that the show will use flashbacks, but irreguarly. Like, if I'm thinking of the gold standard of flashbacks in a TV series, Lost comes to mind, but here, it's not nearly as well integrated with the plot. Lost's flashbacks could payoff seasons later, and while that's a possibility that remains here, I'm skeptical that'll be the case. I guess a thing to keep in mind that you need to be patient with this show, because at times, it can drag. Worth it in the end, but still, slow at times.

Also note that the show's arguably a case of false advertising. Like, for the entirety of season 1, the Robinsons and all their fellow colonists are stuck on the one planet. So, not so much "Lost in Space," but "Lost on alien planet that's a lot like Earth in terms of flora, if not fauna." Trying to evade spoilers, but the characters don't really become "lost in space" until the final minutes of the season. I've got the sense that season 1 is kind of set up as a prologue, whereas the rest of the story will be more "lost in space," so to speak. If it's the job of season 1 to flesh out the characters of the Jupiter 2 before casting them out into the unknown, it does a good job. But if that's the case, I'm left to ask what happens to the other characters who aren't, ahem, "lost in space" as well. Like, will the show cut between the Jupiter 2 and the Resolute, or will they just appear at the end?

Dunno. But I'm eager to find out. Because while the season isn't without its flaws, it's certainly a solid start.

PsychedelicDiamond:

Lain isn't the most accessible show but it's a fucking brilliant one. A meditation on identity, communication and technology in an increasingly connected world. I have no idea why I didn't watch it sooner but I'm glad I finally got around to it.

You should give Texhnolyze a try. It's by the same creators as Lain and it's hands down the best show I've ever seen(anime or otherwise). Infact I can't think of any story that ever impressed me more. It's a product of visionary genius.

stroopwafel:

PsychedelicDiamond:

Lain isn't the most accessible show but it's a fucking brilliant one. A meditation on identity, communication and technology in an increasingly connected world. I have no idea why I didn't watch it sooner but I'm glad I finally got around to it.

You should give Texhnolyze a try. It's by the same creators as Lain and it's hands down the best show I've ever seen(anime or otherwise). Infact I can't think of any story that ever impressed me more. It's a product of visionary genius.

I've heard of it! Isn't it supposed to be super bleak and depressing?

I watched burn down the house on Netflix, it was fine. The only bad thing was Kristen Jello brand endorsing Neoliberal cuck Joe Crowley.

Samurai Jack Season 5.

Still the most disappointing thing since my son...

PsychedelicDiamond:

stroopwafel:

PsychedelicDiamond:

Lain isn't the most accessible show but it's a fucking brilliant one. A meditation on identity, communication and technology in an increasingly connected world. I have no idea why I didn't watch it sooner but I'm glad I finally got around to it.

You should give Texhnolyze a try. It's by the same creators as Lain and it's hands down the best show I've ever seen(anime or otherwise). Infact I can't think of any story that ever impressed me more. It's a product of visionary genius.

I've heard of it! Isn't it supposed to be super bleak and depressing?

Only a little. It is exceptional though. I love how the show contrasts the animalistic will to live with the passive complacency of a tranquil utopia, and how you can't remove the undesirable instincts without eradicating the very thing that drives us. In that way it examines the second half of nihilism, when there is no reason for existence the very will to live is the reason. Without this primitive drive, people become too depressed to even end their own lives and can only passively wait. The show examines the human condition and it's conflicting motives but also recognizes the element of fate. Not in some kind of supernatural sense but how the patterns of human behavior, both the individual and the society at large, are railroaded by our impulses and beliefs and draws them to their natural conclusion.

Like with the protagonist Ichise, Ran predicts he will die alone and unloved, and Ichise does everything to prevent this fate. He protects Ran and never loses himself like most people do, but his own character and the circumstances he finds himself in only ever allowed for a predetermined set of outcomes, and he ends up alone again. It's sobering, but I think it says something that is very true about life. Every person, in a way, is set on the trajectory of genetics and circumstance that allows for only a limited set of outcomes.

The cyberpunk element is also extraordinary, with invasive cybernetic changes allowing for a selective kind of inbreeding that changes human nature beyond recognition. This also is drawn to it's natural conclusion, with one of the main antagonists thinking reality itself exists only in his mind as he..well I don't wanna spoil. xD The show is just an absolute masterpiece in how it escalates it's philosophical themes in conjuction with story and character progression. In the end you're totally convinced that yeah, this is probably how humanity ends. However 'depressing' the pointlessness of suffering is in a life without implicit meaning, the show still makes a convincing case how only eradication of primitive impulses robs life of the only direct meaning it has; namely the mere will to live itself. Even if that, as life fades away, produces no more than a melancholical reminiscence of what could have been.

Happy! (Season 2)

The first season of Happy! was something I had very mixed feelings about. The second season is something I have mostly the same feelings about but I think now I am more confident about them. Happy!, the first season, was a show about an unhinged ex cop with an alcohol problem saving his daughter from a syndicate of child slavers lead by a depraved television host with the help of the daughters Imaginary Friend, a small blue alicorn named Happy. The second season is about the same cop confronting said syndicate and its leader once again. And his daughter getting kidnapped once again, even if this time it only happens about midway through.

I really tried my hardest to like the series, it's certainly a charming enough premise, but at the same time I can't help but feel it's trying too hard. Happy! is a show constantly trying to out-gross, out-weird and out-gore itself, it's a vulgar joke in desperate need of a straight man. And I think that's my problem with it. It's whole shtick feels like it's taking the inherent cynicism of the film noir genre and taking it to it's logical extreme, showing an almost surreal New York where practically everyone is violent, everyone is perverted and everyone is insane. Insane protagonist, insane kidnapper, insane mobsters, insane cops... there is certainly something kinda punk about Happy!'s depiction of a man on the edge taking on a world gone mad in a way mostly involving groteque violence, especially juxtaposed with the titular unicorns cheery attitude, but to me it feels like everyone's just a bit too self aware for the dark, gritty humor to really land. Chris Meloni, playing protagonist Nick Sax is just too exaggerated a caricature of the "cop gone over the edge" character and so is most of the supporting cast. It's not that everyone's pretty much a cartoon, it's that everyone seems to be aware that they're a cartoon and insisting they turn a film noir premise into a loony toons routine. And at some point the whole things become's too zany and too unrelatable too hit, especially seeing how it's just a bit too overproduced for the gritty, sleazy low budget action flick style to feel authentic.

About two years ago there was an incredibly underappreciated series named Blood Drive that was just slick enough to work as a high budget pastiche of sleazy 70s and 80s B-movies, succesfully navigating itself not only through a plot that managed to combine the earnestness of the movies it was parodying while still maintaining a self aware sense of humor about itself. Blood Drive turned hyperviolent, oversexed direct-to-video shlock into an entertaining posapocalyptic odyssey through a variety of American Anxieties, Happy! is not quite smart and not quite well made enough to justify how it indulges in its own disaffected cynicism. There's nothing wrong with mean spirited humor but humor does require a certain sense of restraint and timing that Happy! mostly lacks.

In the end it still has some creative ideas and neat action sequences but overall I don't feel it was worth sticking with as long as I did. It failed at entertaining me more often than it succeeded.

The Virtues (Channel 4, four episodes)

Shane Meadows, the director of This is England and Dead Man's Shoes, is well known for his harsh social realism. The Virtues might be one of his bleakest works yet. Stephen Graham stars as Joseph, who ran away from a children's home in Ireland to Liverpool aged nine, and has returned to Ireland to reconnect with his sister. It's an astounding piece of work. The performances are real and raw, and the cinematography mixes fantastically intimate and artful shooting for the present day sequences, and shaky handheld video for flashbacks. PJ Harvey's oppressive score complements all this beautifully. It's not a fun watch, but it's captivating viewing.

Been looking for anime with some really unique art/animation styles recently, and that brought me to watch:

The Tatami Galaxy/Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (No English dub so its English name doesn't give great search results)

Which I absolutely loved. Produced by Madhouse so it's already got that seal of quality, but the entire show has fantastic art direction, planning, and undertones that really makes it stand out in the end. The writings very fun too and creates an interesting Japanese take of a Groundhog Day type of scenario.
The only downside I can give it is that it's not a subtitled show to watch if you're a slow reader. The characters talk VERY fast and it takes a little bit to get used to the verbal pacing.

The other I just finished was Ping Pong The Animation, which while not the most aesthetically beautiful, I had to give a watch because of how grounded and normal all the characters looked.
Loved all the different artstyles the show used, and ended up being a very feel-good story. No real antagonists, just different people with their own problems, aspirations, and personalities.
Plus the opening is great.

09philj:
The Virtues (Channel 4, four episodes)

Shane Meadows, the director of This is England and Dead Man's Shoes, is well known for his harsh social realism. The Virtues might be one of his bleakest works yet. Stephen Graham stars as Joseph, who ran away from a children's home in Ireland to Liverpool aged nine, and has returned to Ireland to reconnect with his sister. It's an astounding piece of work. The performances are real and raw, and the cinematography mixes fantastically intimate and artful shooting for the present day sequences, and shaky handheld video for flashbacks. PJ Harvey's oppressive score complements all this beautifully. It's not a fun watch, but it's captivating viewing.

Yeah, been watching that also as Shane Meadows' work has always been of impressive quality and heartfelt characters. I read an interview recently he brought inspiration from his own troubled past with the subject matter in the show, and it shows. Very empathetic experience. Stephen Graham is consistently great whatever he does too.

X-Ray and Vav: Season 2 (2/5)

Season 2 is an improvement over season 1. That isn't to say that it's good. When you start out bad, just because you improve from being bad, that doesn't mean you're necessarily good, or even average.

Pretty much all the complaints I listed in my season 1 review still exist here, only they're slightly mitigated. The voice acting is slightly better. The plot is slightly better. The characters are slightly better. There's improvements here and there, but what improvements exist, they're not nearly enough to elevate this show into something I really want to watch. The creators said that there wouldn't be a season 3 because season 2 was the end of "the story," and I'm left to ask "what story?" Story about two man-children either messing things up, or saving the city from unengaging villains? Yes, it's a comedy, but it doesn't even really work as that.

Am I being harsher here than before? Yes. It's easy to forgive flaws in a show's first season, or at least, easier to forgive them than when compared to the second. By the second though, I've run out of patience. All I can say is that even if I confine this to Rooster Teeth, when it's got 2D animation like Camp Camp and Nomad of Nowhere (still waiting for season 2 guys...), the question is thus raised, what reason is there to watch X-Ray and Vav over them? Far as I can tell, the answer is none.

Good Omens

You know, sometimes you're just glad you got to see something. The novels of Terry Pratchett were a big part of my youth, I'd even go as far as to say that they were for me what Harry Potter was to most of the rest of my generation. And, well, the Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman novel this was adapted from was also something I grew up with and... man, it's just such a great adaptation.

Good Omens is a story about the biblical end times, you know, Antichrist, Horsemen of the Apocalypse and stuff. Our protagonists are angel Arziraphael (Michael Sheen) and demon Crowley (David Tennant) who, during their time on earth, have not only grown fond of each other but also of life on earth itself. So when both heaven and hell prepare for their last battle the two of them do their best to sabotage the coming apocalypse and sage earth. The book was a wonderful little piece of british humor and stands as one of the best works of both Pratchett and Gaiman and the series is a mostly very faithful adaptation. Almost all the characters look and act exactly the way they are supposed to, most of the humor lands, most of the setpieces are presented as well as they could have been on a made for tv budget.

I'm sure by the end of the year Good Omens will stand as one of my favourite... things to have come out in 2019, I was fully prepared to nitpick the show to death if it didn't do the book justice but it absolutely did. It was exactly what I wanted it to be, I loved it, go watch it. 'nuff said.

Nightflyers (1/5)

This show is crap.

The writing is crap. The characters are crap. The pacing is crap. The set design is crap. The music is crap. The whole thing is just crap.

Okay, maybe a bit harsh, but I can't think of a single thing this show actually does well, because all round the board, it's just lacklustre. Lost interest quickly, and it never regained my interest since that early point. Honest, it would take far too long to explain everything that's wrong with this, so all I can say is that it has no redeeming value. I mean, FFS, intentional or not, the series has elements cribbled from 2001 and Solaris, but somehow manages to be even worse.

Like, maybe it's a problem with the source material. I dunno. But if Syfy wanted to adapt sci-fi stuff from George R.R. Martin, couldn't they have chosen Tuf Voyaging instead?

PsychedelicDiamond:
Good Omens

I started watching this but just couldn't get into it -- I think both of the leads are good actors but it was a bit too hammy for me. They did a great job of making Tennant look a bit (but not too much) like a lizard though.

Firefly

A one season Science-Fiction series by Joss Whedon, the man responsible for Buffy, the worse half of the Avengers movies and guilty of Justice League and Alien Resurrection. Firefly is a cult classic among people slightly older than me and generally considered to have been cancelled prematurely.

Having now finally gotten around to seeing it I'm not entirely sure if it deserves that cult status. It follows a small group of outlaws under ruggedly handsome war veteran Malcolm Reynolds as they take on various jobs,run from the government and reluctantly protect a pair of siblings, one of whom has been experimented on in a government facility for her telepathic powers.

Firefly is going for a Western movie inspired approach to its genre which surely has a certain novelty and most of its characters are decently likeable (the always enjoyable Alan Tudyk as goofy pilot Wash and Gina Torres as his wife and first mate Zoe standing out especially) but... Let me be honest, I don't think Whedon is a very good writer. His approach to dialogue worked in Buffy, when it came from ditzy teenagers, having hardened space outlaws talk like that isn't cute, it's stupid. I feel like the series only really lives up to its potential in episodes neither wirtten nor directed by him. Highlights to look out for are episodes written by Ben Edmund, creator of superhero parody The Tick.

If Whedon had been more interested in setting up a larger plot and properly building his world than in Monica Baccharins cleavage and Jewel Staites feet his show might not have been cancelled after the first season but it is as it is. I'm not saying that what there is of Firefly is bad. By all accounts, it did deserve better than it got. But for having been hyped up as some sort of masterpiece it was somewhat less than I expected.

I have yet to see the movie. Maybe that's gonna change my opinion.

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