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

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PsychedelicDiamond:
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.

The first half of the season is not very good. Didn't mind the silliness of Janetown but that's when a lot of people check out. Ariel is my fav by far, then Jubal Early.

Serenity isn't that much better. It won't change your mind.

And this comes from a person you likes Firefly, one of those old folks who watched it in the day

Edit: Only partially guilty of Justice League. I also thought it was better than MoS and BvS

trunkage:

Edit: Only partially guilty of Justice League. I also thought it was better than MoS and BvS

Yes, that's a fairly popular opinion but I don't agree with it. I'm a pretty big fan of Snyder and while I didn't like Man of Steel much, the Director's Cut of BvS is easily one of my favourite movies of the decade. Would Justice League have been better received or more commercially succesful if Snyder would have had the final cut? I don't know. But I do know that I'd have enjoyed it more.

PsychedelicDiamond:
I don't think Whedon is a very good writer. His approach to dialogue worked in Buffy, when it came from ditzy teenagers...

Did it though? Did it really? The problem with whedon, especially Buffy whedon, is that every character's dialogue is written is if they're the same person. That person being whedon wanting to quip about everything and explain their feelings out loud all the time is if no-one ever suppresses anything, so you might as well just replace each person's face with that of the writer and get a far more accurate experience instead. Ditzy teenagers still have individual personalities and a sense of not wanting to describe every personal emotion out loud. Some even aren't ditzy! Who would've thought? I haven't seen all his work, but what I have seen still follows that similar pattern of everyone basically being whedon's mouthpiece. Ever since youth, I found that style irritating and couldn't figure out why nobody around me noticed it. They'd all talk about how cool the show was and I'd just sigh as usual that another popular thing isn't as enjoyable as it was made out to be.

PsychedelicDiamond:

trunkage:

Edit: Only partially guilty of Justice League. I also thought it was better than MoS and BvS

Yes, that's a fairly popular opinion but I don't agree with it. I'm a pretty big fan of Snyder and while I didn't like Man of Steel much, the Director's Cut of BvS is easily one of my favourite movies of the decade. Would Justice League have been better received or more commercially succesful if Snyder would have had the final cut? I don't know. But I do know that I'd have enjoyed it more.

I actually don't hate Mos and BvS that much. I liked the bait and switch of Lex but the worst part of the movie was the fight (which everyone seemed to enjoy). It's pretty much Batman throwing heaps of green because Batman is actually useless. Sure he's prepared but it the exact same preparedness, there is no creativity there. But then, if your fighting Superman, there probably wouldn't be. Also, Martha.

I don't like the Christopher Reeves movies for pretty much the exact reason why I don't like Captain America 1. Pompous, Self-Righteous, Propaganda laden trash. MoS was better.

I've just hit season four of Scrubs. I tried to watch it once before about five or so years ago, but completely failed to get into it. Not this time. Been having a total blast, it's got just the right amount of wackiness a comedy needs while not being afraid to throw in some very dramatic or sad moments.

PsychedelicDiamond:
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.

Considering Whedon "borrowed" notes from Outlaw Star, just watch that instead.

Samtemdo8:

Still the most disappointing thing since my son...

Eldarion? 0_0

PsychedelicDiamond:
F

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 can't flaw Firefly for lack of worldbuilding. It's character rather than setting driven, and at one season long, any worldbuilding would be fairly redundant.

Want worldbuilding, go for the EU.

Hawki:

Samtemdo8:

Still the most disappointing thing since my son...

Eldarion? 0_0

PsychedelicDiamond:
F

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 can't flaw Firefly for lack of worldbuilding. It's character rather than setting driven, and at one season long, any worldbuilding would be fairly redundant.

Want worldbuilding, go for the EU.

Well he ain't no Dior the Fair that's for sure.

Murder on the Wireless (3/5)

If I had to sum up this stage play in one word, it would be "quaint." The premise is that we, the audience, are in the year 1959 watching a BBC radio play. Y'know, the type of stuff that was common before movies and TV took over. We're treated to two murder mysteries, one an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, the other an original work that emulates detective pulp fiction. So, less stage acting, and more recitation, as we see the actors reading their lines from set up microphones, plus the audio technician (a grumpy chain smoker who never says anything, but makes it clear that she's fed up with her job through her facial expressions).

Going into this, I actually expected an actual murder to occur, that the technician would murder one of her colleagues. That didn't happen. It's effectively us just watching a radio play. So, that's why I can call it quaint, because the material we're given is quite simple. Which is kind of the point, I guess, but still, while I can respect its originality, doesn't change how the material we're provided with lacks a lot of 'meat.' Still, not a bad time.

Lucifer Season 4 on Netflix

I liked it. Then again, I've always liked the series. I like the mix of seriousness and humor and think the show has always had a pretty good level of quality. And it certainly doesn't hurt that it seems quite obvious that the cast and crew are actually having fun while making it.

If I had any major quibbles about the direction they went in the current season, it would be that the previous seasons had moments of very good subtle acting mixed in with the over-the-top bits. The mixture seems to have slid more towards the overt side of the spectrum for this season. Not completely, but enough that it is noticeable.

It's a show that isn;t to everyone's tastes, but I love it and highly recommend it.

Good Omens.

I didn't read the book, just had a general idea from what people have told me so I went into this fairly blind. That being said, I rather enjoyed it. It was an interesting spin on the biblical apocalypse and a pretty good satire on christianity/christian mythology without going overboard into heavy handed preachiness(on either side).Particularly of the depiction that both heaven and hell are more interested in winning rather then any kind of principle and seem to consider the death of humanity as a result as mere collateral damage, making both sides come off as different brands of dicks. David Tennant looks like he's having a blast the entire time and he and Michael Sheen seem to have good chemistry together and the casting seems to work nicely. I'm told the series expands on certain characters and parts of the backstory somewhat, particularly a section midway through that shows the angel and demon continually meeting up at various times through human history, helping to better establish their relationship together.

If I had any major criticisms, its that the ending felt a bit anti-climatic with the last episode spending a good chunk of running time wrapping up peoples character arcs after the world "ended".

It definitely makes me want to read the book sometime in the near future.

666 beasts / 4 horsemen

Lucifer Season 4
Pretty good. I dont think Maze cant act other than angry. Please dont give her anything other than that. Tom Ellis is a delight and clearly relishes the role. I liked the finale probably the best but found a certain actor doing this way too similar to his role in Preacher 8/10

Umbrella Academy
So, similar issues to ST:D. Way too focused on the interpersonal conflicts that generally don't help tell the story. Also, the apparent big bad was hurt by their family and wants tondestroy the whole planet? That certainly doesn't jive with that character's personality.

I dont know what to make of this show. Some cool concept wrapped up in nonsense 7/10

Jessica Jones
The genius is utterly stupid. He was originally threatening but he lives off his brother which also goes completely goes against his philosophy/MO. What a mess. Also, Lofe is Strange anyone?

I like it's take on heroism. Everyone manipulates too much and are becoming irredeemable 7/10

I finally buckled and watched One Punch Man on Netflix, a charming little series indeed.

Too Old To Die Young

Someone at Amazon Prime felt it was a good idea to give Nicholas Winding Refn, the Danish bad boy behind Drive, Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon, a ten episode television show. The result is mesmerizing, beautiful, socially aware, violent, cynical and about as slow as an Australian internet connection.

Too Old to Die Young is a 13 hour epic (you heard me right, while the length of individual episodes varies, most of them range from 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes) about... well... about what, exactly? On face value, about a cop in Los Angeles (Miles Teller) descending deeper and deeper into its violent underworld after the murder of his partner. But there's also the mexican cartel member (Augusto Aguilera) who murdered his partner. And his mysterious girlfriend (Cristina Rodlo). And an Ex-FBI vigilante (John Hawkes) who gets his targets from a mystically inclined blonde woman (Jena Malone). And the cops 17 year old lover (Nell Tiger Free) and her father (William Baldwin) a delightfully sleazy and eccentric oligarch. As corny and perhaps overused this phrase is, the protagonist of Too Old to Die Young might very well be the city of Los Angeles, one single episode journey New Mexico and another one to... regular Mexico aside. The LA mystery has always been a genre on its own and Refn has set out to create a variation that's bleaker than Chinatown, more mystical than Mulholland Drive, more narcotic than Inherent Vice and timelier than Under the Silver Lake. Never has there been a depiction of LA that's more beautiful or more cynical. Refn presents it as a sun bleached, neon drenched nightmare, a place of unimaginable terror and unimaginable beauty, where dark secrets lurk behind every single corner. I described Under the Silver Lake as presenting the LA Mystery as a guided tour. TOTDY couldn't be farther from that. Rather than being guided through the cities seedier side from the inside of a bus with bulletproof windows it feels like waking up naked right in one of their darkest corners under the influence of various hallucinogenics.

TOTDY is surely a very interesting work, it's just... well, it's slow, at points excessively so. Shots linger on and on, between almost every single line of dialogue is a long, meaningful pause, conversations take forever to get to the point, it's very hard not to get distracted. It's loose approach to plot arguably works to its benefit. Once you realize that it's not building up towards a definitive climax or conclusion it becomes easier to simply go with the flow and embrace it as a maximalist portrait of a specific place rather than a narrative. And as much as the series is concerned with mood and style, it most definitely has clear themes and messages to back them up. It presents an uncompromising view of the urban American wasteland (and briefly one of rural America and Mexico that's no less bleak), a society at the verge of collapse, dystopian, not post-apocalyptic but pre-apocalyptic, a world just moments before its descent into violence so extreme it might mark the collapse of civilization. The world it depicts surely is an exaggerated one. We see the officers of the LAPD, depicted as a bunch overgrown fratboys, gleefully chant "FASCISM, FASCISM!" at a meeting, we see a preacher in New Mexico talk about the holy power of the Swastika, we see Teller's ex-cop hunt down the producers of unsimulated rape porn. It's pulp, when you get down to it, but Refn treats it with cerebral sincerity that dares you not to take it seriously.

Overall To Old To Die Young reperesents both the advantages and disadvantages of auteur driven television. It's both profound and indulgent, meaningful and silly, artistic and sleazy, fascinating and hard to watch. It's not nearly as unpredictable as Lynch's return to Twin Peaks or as entertaining as Paolo Sorrentino's Young Pope and I'm sure many people will find it unengaging if not downright boring. But it's nevertheless a unique, meaningful and artistically challenging work with amazing production values and quite a few things to say. It's difficult to recommend but if this description makes you suspect that you might be the target audience for it you might just find it wort your while.

Star Trek: Discovery - 3/10

Easily the worst Star Trek series of the whole lot. Come back, Deep Space Nine, all is forgiven.

Titans: Season 1 (3/5)

At the end of the day, this series is actually really stupid.

I'm not saying that because it's superhero fare, I'm saying that because of its extreme tonal whiplash. Remember the ads for this, how Robin's "fuck Batman" moment had people declaring it would be terrible? Well, that moment isn't bad in of itself, and it isn't even that representative of the show's problems as a whole. But if it was a case of the producers trying to do a "dark and gritty" moment, then yes, it is partially systemic.

Okay, thing is, the show's premise is absolutely bonkers. Like, no different from the Titans as a whole, right? Rachel/Raven has a demon inside her, and an alien who's lost her memory wants to help her, not knowing that she's come to Earth to kill her. Also, we've got a guy that can turn into a green tiger, and Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Robin, a.k.a. dark and tortured guy. Also the Doom Patrol, and casual sex, and Superman, and torture, and vigilantism, and PTSD/sexual abuse, and...okay, are you starting to see the problem here? Titans takes itself seriously. But I can't take it seriously when the aesthetic is so dour, and the costumes look like cosplay. I think the show actually kind of knows this - Robin/Dick fights a lot, but most of the time he's in civie clothes. I think the show's aware that most superheroes would just be shot in the real world if they did crimefighting without guns and the like. I mean, except Batman in the last episode, who shows the viewer why he's the god damn Batman, and why even SWAT teams with automatic weapons are no match for the god damn Batman, but congratulations, that's a dream sequence. I mean, when we have Donna Troy/Wonder Girl rolling around before using the Lassoo of Truth, while wearing civie clothes, in a house out in the rust belt, it isn't some grand moment, it looks like a fan film. I mean, people complain about the DCEU being too dark, but this is, I feel, actually worthy of the critique. Not that being dark is bad, but it is bad when there's such a tonal clash. I mean, FFS, did we really need it to be explained that Beast Boy has to strip naked every time he transforms? I mean, yes, it makes sense, but my suspension of disbelief can extend to clothes y'know, you're already asking me to deal with demons, and aliens, and every other piece of bonkers stuff the DC Universe has. Least the Doom Patrol episode actually knows it's bonkers, sort of.

So, in spite of all this, why's this a 3, rather than a 2? In truth, I dunno. The show's insane, and not in a good way, but it didn't irritate me so much that I'd call it bad. But it isn't good. It's crazy, but not the good kind of crazy that Teen Titans Go is (yes, I said it). It's crazy, but too dour to be an enjoyable kind of crazy. I guess it makes Robin the most viable member of the team for once, but only because everyone else is nerfed. Like, the Arrowverse shows are a mixed bag, and they can get as crazy as hell (see Legends of Tomorrow), but at least they usually keep themselves isolated from each other, so I don't need to rationalzie that the Green Arrow is on the level of the Flash for instance. But this? Bleh. Not good, but bleh.

The 100: Season 2 (4/5)

The 100 Season 2 is better than Season 1 about 4 times out of 5. That may be an odd thing to say, but I'll put it this way - in most ways, season 2 improves off season 1. However, in some key ways, it falls short. So to that end, I'm going to get into its shortcomings first.

S2 is slightly looser with its science than S1. Now, The 100 isn't exactly "hard" sci-fi, but at least in S1, there was a noticable commitment to at least make it feel "hard" in a number of ways, at least when it came to the Ark. As in, in regards to the dilemma of getting to the ground, the orbital mechanics felt accurate - can't comment if they were, but it felt that way. The mutations on the ground at times felt like something out of the Transall Saga, but it never felt too out there - like, far away from the level of insanity in Fallout for instance. S1 doesn't exactly commit to scientific realism, but it always had one foot in the bucket of said realism. S2 however, leaves only a toe. For instance, Thelonious gets to Earth, because there just happens to be a missile left on the Ark that wasn't mentioned to now, and he can somehow ride it down to Earth. In less than 100 years, the "Mountain Men" of Mount Weather have completely lost their immunity to radiation, and are so sensitive to it that stepping outside will kill them. Apparnetly Grounder/Sky People blood can give them temporary immunity, and bone marrow can give them total immunity. Now, I get that there's arguably some precedent for this, but it's a noticable stretch of credulity when previously, the series was much "harder" with its science. You can argue that by the year 2052, medicine improvements allowed for this tech to be used, but I can just as easily argue that improvements in medicine should have allowed for better radiation treatment. Also, we've got an AI at the end, and Ark Security gets guns from a depot that the 100 visited last season, because the kids just happened to miss them there. Um, okay. S2 is noticably less tight in its worldbuilding and science than S1, even if it actually expands the world in other ways. Like, the Grounders have their own language now, that was conveniently absent in season 1, and I'm asked to believe that 97 years is long enough for a language to develop. Like, would English change? Yes. Would it change so much as to become unrecognisable? Yes. Makes even less sense that only Grounder warriors can speak English, so somehow they developed an English spin-off, while retaining the original language intact. Um, okay.

Right, now that that's out of the way, let's get into what the season does right. Basically, what S1 got right, namely its characters. S1 kind of pulled a bait and switch in its trailers, making you think it was a teen drama, but quickly dispelled that notion within its first few episodes, as people started dying very quickly, very horribly. S2 continues down the path of "this is a harsh world," but any traces of teen drama are long gone by now. I think the show actually knows it, considering that characters like Clarke and Bellamy are now on par (in terms of level of influence/authority) with the actual adult characters. I won't go into every character (I will mention that Octavia is now bearable, so that's an achievement in of itself) but suffice to say, every character feels "real," and there's a constant sense of unease, with alliances being tested, frayed, broken. Like, not Game of Thrones level, but enough that you can't really name any "bad" faction or character, and you're constantly guessing as to how things are going to end...which isn't well. Like, tragically not well. S2 is, at the end of the day, a tragedy, and it's a pretty damn good tragedy at that. So good that even as the plotline for season 3 is teased in its last couple of episodes, I found myself asking why it couldn't just end, because I don't see them topping this season. And from what I've read online, the CW never did, that the show apparently peaked in season 2 and never got its groove back. I don't know if that's true, but...yeah. This season is really, really good, and it's building off a prior season that was already downright solid. If you're a stickler for the science, maybe season 1 will be more your thing, but at the end of the day, I can't imagine S1 existing without S2 at this point.

So, yeah. Really good stuff. If you haven't watched the 100 yet, and were possibly put off by the trailers, I really advise you give it a chance. Because if you're looking for a series with strong characters that develop over time (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), with grey morality, solid plot, and reasonably solid worldbuilding, and post-apocalyptic sci-fi is something you enjoy, then you should probably enjoy this. If S1 is the "YA" part of the story, then S2 is the "A" in more ways than one.

Black Lightning: Season 1 (3/5)

Black Lightning and Titans are both DC-based TV shows, but are on opposite ends of he spectrum. On the one hand, Titans is utterly bonkers. On the other, Black Lightning is utterly drab. I bring this up because after having seen Titans, and having finished the first season of BL, I feel that's the show's most pertinent issue summed up - it's BORING. The protagonists are boring. The antagonists are even more boring. The music...okay, can't call the music bad, but it isn't my thing. What's more, there's kind of a crisis of identity going on in the show. Because on one hand, it's political, or at least, trying to be - poverty, drug use, police brutality, Confederate monuments, a Charlottsville equivalent, racism in general, etc. On the other hand, when you have spandex-wearing superheroes walking or jogging around, there's a kind of tonal whiplash that this is a world where real-world problems exist, along with problems that...AREN'T, real world. I can't believe I'm saying this, as someone who thought having Arrow and The Flash in the same universe was a bad move, but I've found myself wishing that the show was in the Arrowverse, because the whole metahumans thing feels really out of place here. Existing in a wider universe where green light isn't the only method of getting powers would kind of make the show more palatable for me.

Remember when I said this show was political? Well, credit where credit is due, it's much, MUCH better than Arrow's piss-poor attempts at it. And it at least has the guts to delve into the issues I mentioned above, while Supergirl did it through analogy, albeit analogy with the subtlety of a brick. I mean...oh God, am I talking about other shows rather than this? Well, I'm sorry Black Lightning, but you're BORING. Like, I think I might have liked you more if you dropped the superhero stuff and just focused on socio-political themes, because the two things just clash so much.

So, yeah. That's Black Lighting. Has a bit of a spark, but there's no echo of thunder. Just a smouldering ember where the lightning struck.

Gotham. Final season. This show is nuts with so much backstabbing and unrealistic situations but tries to ground it in reality. It sort of only just works and this season was no different. Another season where they jump the shark at least once an episode. 6/10

Doom Patrol. You know, not too different from Gotham. Pretty crazy. They do try and ground it but this is far more effective. There is way more character growth here and they delve deep into the mistakes of each character. They really lean into the bunch of misfits and outdo Guardians of the Galaxy by a long way. The ending was set up to be different from a normal story which is good but the execution was not the best. Danny and Nobody were also fun.

Frasier is clearly no where near the set and the movement of Robotman does not match his inflection. Probably the same for negative man but its not as noticeable.

Extra points for Admiral Whiskers' Indigo Montoya routine. 8/10

Derry Girls. It's enjoyable, though having never been to Ireland I'm sure I'm missing much of the nuance (assuming there is some I'm missing).

The Wire

It's been a decade since I last watched it, so I'm giving it another go. That's all I'm going to say about it. Anyone who's seen it doesn't need any further explanation. Anyone who hasn't seen it only need to know one thing: you should watch The Wire.

trunkage:

Doom Patrol. You know, not too different from Gotham. Pretty crazy. They do try and ground it but this is far more effective. There is way more character growth here and they delve deep into the mistakes of each character. They really lean into the bunch of misfits and outdo Guardians of the Galaxy by a long way. The ending was set up to be different from a normal story which is good but the execution was not the best. Danny and Nobody were also fun.

How would you say it compares to Titans (if you've seen it)?

Stranger Things: Season 3 (6/10)

It was fine. I could have done without the vomit-inducing garishness of the accurately depicted 80's shopping mall it takes place in. It really didn't break any new ground, still a dual villain of horror from the "upside down" and shadowy government trying to "harness" the dark powers. I won't spoil, but they did one daring thing and took a chance with some fairly bold storytelling right at the end... and couldn't even get out without undoing it in a post-credit scene making it meaningless.

I'm not saying I need one of the main cast kids to die, but currently I'm going into every episode with the same confidence they are all going to live as I am watching The Goonies for the 6th or 7th time. They should kill or maim and cripple one of those kids, just to prove they can and might. Otherwise it is becoming pretty toothless, horror-wise. Personally I'd chose Dustin. Yup, I know he has kind of become the heart of the piece... that's exactly why you rip that heart out and make it as bloody and terrible as you possibly can.

It is still focusing on being a small town character piece with occasional monsters. And it would be fine at that, but they are highlighting some bad writing doing so. Horror doesn't have to rely on people making dumb decisions (don't go in there, lets split up, must have been my imagination, ect?) but it often does. Correspondingly, drama doesn't have to rely on people making dumb decisions and yet ST is writing its drama in a very similar fashion. Examples, Hopper "I don't know if this kid who literally risked his life several times for my daughter is good enough to date my daughter" and Mike "I don't think I have to show any respect for this guy who literally risked his life to save and protect the girl I love." Realistically there shouldn't be much conflict between these 2 characters... so the writers make each MASSIVELY STUPID to inject some drama into the situation. Eleven needs a permanent home, so by the end of season 3 she goes to live with... Joyce, Will, and Jonathan? What the hell? Lets burden the single mom with the smallest house as opposed to El living with... anybody else would have been a better fit. Mike's family has a huge house and seemingly plenty of income, ditto Dustin who can afford fairly expensive stuff. Nope, it has to be the family struggling to get by. And the drama it adds is slightly spoiler-ey so

And FFS, why aren't we doing anything more with Mr. Clarke. He's the best teacher ever and an interesting character. Screw #justiceforBarb... give us some more Mr. Clarke.

Its still good, but I'm losing my patience with it to deliver an experience as good as season one.

Hawki:

trunkage:

Doom Patrol. You know, not too different from Gotham. Pretty crazy. They do try and ground it but this is far more effective. There is way more character growth here and they delve deep into the mistakes of each character. They really lean into the bunch of misfits and outdo Guardians of the Galaxy by a long way. The ending was set up to be different from a normal story which is good but the execution was not the best. Danny and Nobody were also fun.

How would you say it compares to Titans (if you've seen it)?

I didn't mind Titans. First episode was not great but gradually got better. But the Doom Patrol episode was probably the best. 6/10

Doom Patrol leans way more into the weirdness of the comic. It has Ezekiel, Beard Hunter and Danny and those are some strange characters if you know anything of the comics. Unlike most "loser" show/ movies, (see IT and me never really getting why they called themselves losers) these feel like real losers. They feel like they are really working through stuff. Titans didn't really do that.

I'd say at least two point above Titans, as long as you can handle the weirdness. Noting that I didn't hate Titans but wasn't excited for any more.

(One side note, as I cant remember how this was in Titans. There was a lot of melodrama between characters but I don't think it was forced like sometimes in ST:Discovery. More like a DS9 level where the inter-group conflicts usually felt real. But not as good as Babylon 5 where people were placed in a path years in advance to heighten an internal conflict)

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Season 1 (3/5)

TBH, this is probably more a 3.5 out of 5, but if I had to choose between 3 and 4, I had to go with 3. Because this season...okay. I've commented in the past that if we look at MLP as a whole (and when I say MLP, I'm referring to G4 specificcally), then season 1 feels prototypical. I've voiced the theory that the shift from season 1 to 2 can be attributed in part to a shift in viewership. Like, along the line, Hasbro realized that they'd snagged a teenage to adult fanbase, and therefore, had to accomodate them. Having since done a "proper watch" of season 1, I think I have to reframe that statement a bit. Season 1 is arguably a lot more twee than later seasons, and I don't think I can attribute that entirely to the difference age I'm now at from when I first watched it. However, it isn't fair to say that it's "prototypical," because the foundations are in place here, and from what I've seen of the series, it never strayed significantly far away from them. However, season 1 is still 'tame' compared to later seasons, which over time, would focus less time on "friendship lessons" and more time on what I call 'adventure episodes' or 'wacky episodes.' Season 1 isn't entirely without these, but the adventure side of things is very tame, and the wacky episodes, while there, are very much the minority.

So, is that to say that the season is bad? No. But "tame" is the operative word. Assuming season 2 is as good as I remember it, then I remain tempted to say that newcomers should start with season 2 and then go back to season 1 later. There's certainly some gems here, but overall, this was a moment in MLP's history where it was aiming for the children demographic, and pretty much stuck there. So, not bad, but what MLP became is something noticably different from what it started out as, and while the evolution was pretty natural, it's a noticable evolution regardless.

Black Lightning: Season 2 (2/5)

So, yeah. 2/5. By my scale, that gives this season a stamp of "bad." Not so much because of what this season does, but because of what it doesn't, namely give me an emotional connection with the characters. I kind of touched on this stuff in the review I did of season 1, but I'm going to try and detail here why this show just doesn't work for me. I'm also going to compare it to the Arrowverse shows, because while not part of that universe, it's still produced by the CW.

First of all, the music, and ergo, the fight scenes. There's a constant barrage of what I guess one could call "black music," as in, blues or jazz. Okay, fair enough - like the constant presence of religion, not my preferred genres, but sure, whatever. However, I draw the line when these tracks are played over fight scenes. I can't help but reflect that the first two seasons of Arrow gave us villains like Dark Archer and Slade, and that the first two seasons of The Flash gave us Reverse-Flash and Zoom. The first two seasons of Black Lightning have had...um...street thugs and a corrupt businessman. Yes, I know, there's been some metas, but while Flash got creative with its villain roster, Black Lightning hasn't. So when there are fights, it's slowly, it's lethargic, it's boring. The action is anemic, as are the emotional stakes. Yes, our protagonists have a grudge against the big bad (Tobias Shaw), but it's a hollow connection, at least in regards to the action. The fight scenes on the CW they, well, MOVED, and you can't attribute that to lack of super speed or anything, because even Arrow pulled it off.

Second issue is the pacing. I'm not just referring to individual scenes here, I'm referring to the plodding of the season itself. It's slow. Really slow. It's actually a shorter season length than the average CW show, but it just goes on, and on, and on. Like, with a season in serialized television, there's usually a pace, a flow, that picks up towards the climax or whatnot. Here, it starts slow, and it keeps being slow. It's hard to explain, and it might be less to do with actual flow and more to do with lack of interest, but there's a constant sense of plodding in this season, and by extension, the other one. Which is arguably odd, as our titular hero can't even go a full season without getting a sidekick (Thunder), and I will grant it that it does the whole "family with powers" thing far better than The Flash ("you get powers, and you get powers, everyone gets powers!"), but it isn't enough to save it

Third of all...okay, fine. Let's talk about racism. Black Lightning deals with racism. I admit I'm feeling guilty as to what counts as a good exploration of racism here and what counts as a bad one, so all I can say is that sometimes it does it well, sometimes...not so well. But this does tie into what I said earlier, that the show feels chained to its genre. It can only explore racism so far without returning to what is obstensibly its roots, in that yes, this is a guy with lightning powers, and the audience is expecting those powers to be used. Supergirl has never shied from political themes, but it almost always explored those themes through analogy. What hampered it is that it was analogy with the subtlety of a brick, among other things. Black Lightning on the other hand explores its themes directly, or at least tries to. Because again, it can only go so far without being yanked off the ground of reality into half-hearted lightning, thunder, and fire stuff.

Also the Blackbird hoodie is cooler than any of the actual costumes. Just saying.

So, no, I'm not fond of Black Lightning. I like it less than Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and heck, even Legends of Tomorrow. LoT is basically "Doctor Who, but for people who want pew pew rather than dialogue," but there's a kind of grim pleasure to be gained in the insanity. Black Lightning is too serious for that. And a serious show is fine, but its seriousness is at odds with its genre. At this point, I'm not even sure making it part of the Arrowverse would help it, because its take on metahumans is so different from the Flash, that it would be hard to imagine they belong in the same universe. I mean, that would be like putting mutants in the MCU and contriving a reason for people to be afraid of them despite already being familiar with whacky shit. I mean, who would do that?

Oh. Wait...

Star Trek: Short Treks: Season 1 (4/5)

So, it's kind of dubious as to whether this warrants a review, because it's tied to Discovery. Still, the Short Treks series is grouped by season, so ergo, I can review the season. And as an aggregate, Short Treks: Season 1, is better than either season of Discovery.

Funny thing is, it kind of follows the so-called Star Trek movie rule, in that the even-numbered episodes are better than the odd-numbered one. Ep. 1 with Tilly and "alien princess girl" (forget her name) is the weakest - it's basically feel-good stuff that requires me to believe that alien girl can somehow get on and off Discovery without anyone noticing. Episode 2 is much better though - nothing sci-fi hasn't done before, as a man is trapped onboard a spaceship with an AI that may or may not develop feelings for him, but it's well done. Though I have to ask about spoilers, I mean, we now know the fate of the actual USS Discovery, so...yay? Episode 3 is okay. Episode 4 is bloody hilarious. Honestly, at this point, I like Discoery-Mudd more than TOS-Mudd, because the latter is blood hilarious while also a bit psychopathic, while the latter was only slightly hilarous and a bit pathetic.

So, yeah. Good stuff.

New show, "The Boys" on Amazon Prime Streaming. It is sort of like, what if John McClain decided the JLA needed a major spanking (including killing) upon occasion as are abusive to humanity. I read it is based upon a comic book. So far, it is dark and terrific.

(Re)Watching Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix. Intially kinda put off because all the VA have been changed up and I was so used to the originals, despite not having watched the series since 2012. Now that it's back in the news again(SuperBunnyHop and Writing on Games both talked about it recently) and the fact the 4th rebuild film is apparently FINALLY coming out next year(8 years after the last one), I felt I should give it another try.

I keep forgetting how slow the first couple episodes are. The intro to NERV and Tokyo 3 is a bit of a slow burn and then there's the entire episode of Shinji riding the damn train for what feels like forever during his hissy fit. It does pick up after that and gets a nice rythem, before of course plunging into an emotional death spiral starting around the series midpoint all the way up that bleak acid trip ending(The movie, the series ending was just more bizarre and introspective due to the complete lack of money).

I do still like it and while Shinji does get annoying at times, he was physiologically and emotionally unfit to ever be put in that position to begin with, both by virtue of Gendos complete neglect and emotional abuse and the fact he's literally a child soldier being not quite forced but heavily pressured into fighting lovecraftian horrors on a near constant basis. Then again, few other cast members are exactly models of emotional health either, which makes it quite fitting when it's revealed much later that no matter how well they did,

Strangely enough, it also reminds me of LOST in a way, with mysteries piled on top of mysteries, except unlike LOST, it doesn't drag on and does reach a conclusion after a relatively brief period of time(having a single season and a film helps). It does suffer that context from a lot of the questions in the show comes from the Manga or the obscure Japanese Video-games that haven't really been translated or exported and even then it only makes a little more sense.

So yeah, 5 Evas/18 angels.

Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 3 (3/5)

So, funny story. I reached the point where I went back into Netflix to start season 4, only to see that the episode was labelled as Season 4, ep. 2. Frowning, I checked the episode list and realized I'd gone from season 3 to season 4 without even realizing it. Considering the massive drop off in episode number per season post-season 2, maybe that isn't surprising.

Well, whatever. I've talked at length about the first two seasons already. Season 3 is an improvement over them, but that's not to say that it's "good." I've said it before and I'll say it again - when you're throwing around terms like "fate of the unvierse," and have characters apparently able to travel between galaxies at will, there's no real sense of scale. Everything becomes so big as for me to lose investment in it. Still, season 3 does improve a bit in that there's a bit more of an impetus for the plot. Galra Empire's starting to crumble. Lotor comes out, but does his own thing. More and more planets are rebelling. I mentioned before that the first two seasons kind of just stumbled to the end of the season 2 finale, with no real buildup from "new lion paladins" to "we're going to take out Zarkon and end this," but season 3 does alleviate it somewhat.

You know what it doesn't alleviate? Colour. Like, Keith ends up piloting Black Lion, Lance ends up piloting Red Lion, and Allura ends up piloting Blue Lion...and none of their uniforms change to match it. In the words of Schafillas to Lance, "wear red you hack!" Oh, and the alteans have evil dimensional counterparts that appear for one episode, potentially demonstrating that alteans aren't inherently good, and galra aren't inherently evil...and they never get mentioned again, nor is this really reflected on. Least what I've seen so far.

So, yeah. That's VLD S3. Fine, average, but nothing special.

Dalisclock:
(Re)Watching Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix. Intially kinda put off because all the VA have been changed up and I was so used to the originals, despite not having watched the series since 2012. Now that it's back in the news again(SuperBunnyHop and Writing on Games both talked about it recently) and the fact the 4th rebuild film is apparently FINALLY coming out next year(8 years after the last one), I felt I should give it another try.

I keep forgetting how slow the first couple episodes are. The intro to NERV and Tokyo 3 is a bit of a slow burn and then there's the entire episode of Shinji riding the damn train for what feels like forever during his hissy fit. It does pick up after that and gets a nice rythem, before of course plunging into an emotional death spiral starting around the series midpoint all the way up that bleak acid trip ending(The movie, the series ending was just more bizarre and introspective due to the complete lack of money).

I do still like it and while Shinji does get annoying at times, he was physiologically and emotionally unfit to ever be put in that position to begin with, both by virtue of Gendos complete neglect and emotional abuse and the fact he's literally a child soldier being not quite forced but heavily pressured into fighting lovecraftian horrors on a near constant basis. Then again, few other cast members are exactly models of emotional health either, which makes it quite fitting when it's revealed much later that no matter how well they did,

Strangely enough, it also reminds me of LOST in a way, with mysteries piled on top of mysteries, except unlike LOST, it doesn't drag on and does reach a conclusion after a relatively brief period of time(having a single season and a film helps). It does suffer that context from a lot of the questions in the show comes from the Manga or the obscure Japanese Video-games that haven't really been translated or exported and even then it only makes a little more sense.

So yeah, 5 Evas/18 angels.

My problems with Eva was that I never really liked most of the cast; especially Asuka Langely. By the time I found out about her backstory: I was basically fuck you, too late, Imma play the world's smallest violin. Shinji could be annoying some of the time, but Asuka's overbearing bitchiness, boasting hot shot attitude, and know-nothing-know-it-all I am the "best" pilot around than baka Shinji. Fuck her. I heard the 2nd series of Eva is better than the first, because Asuka is less annoying, and everyone mostly gets a happy ending. Only for the 3rd season to screw it up, and turn everyone back in to major jackasses. I could not care less for a 4th Rebuild, and I'm surpised Gainax is going through with it, as they don't seem to do much these days when a lot of their staff (the people behind Panty & Stocking and Gurren Laggan) left to form Trigger. If I do decide to watch any of these, it will be the 2nd series, and ignore the rest. Because I don't have the patience for bullshit that waste my time.

The Boiz Boys
Went into this with the main impression of "who watches the watchmen??" And came out of it instead with an "ooh, that scratched the itch Brightburn couldn't figure out."
So it hasn't anywhere near the depth of Alan Moore, but it comfortably occupies a niche of its own. Karl Urban adopts a somewhat iffy cockney accent with about 90% accuracy, sometimes slipping into Australian with a few vowels here and there. Though considering he is Kiwi, I think my brain must be subconsciously Aussie-washing those due to his rather eerie Hugh Jackman features enhanced by the beard (could be a good ringer for Joel from The Last of Us, too).
The antagonist hybrid of Superman and Captain America works pretty effectively with Anthony Starr channeling the punchable sneery smugness of an evil-universe Jimmy Carr. There's not really much surprise to be found, nothing challenging or inspiring, but it does what it sets out to do rather well, unlike Brightburn. The direction is alright, if consistently by-the-numbers. The soundtrack unfortunately feels more picked to appeal to the widest audience possible as opposed to something more unique and memorable. The humour, while definitely aiming for dark, isn't sharp and cutting enough (though I do appreciate the calling out moment of guys telling women that wearing a skimpy outfit is "empowering" without bothering to hear her personal opinion when she's the one expected to wear it, oh and a laser baby moment that brought a chuckle). Overall an easy, enjoyable watch though, and am interested to see where they intend to go from here. Anyone disappointed with Brightburn may find solace in this, as I did. Maybe not. There's also a Simon Pegg cameo with a dodgy American accent, for interesting meta reasons that I shan't elaborate on.

Conclusion; they should've gone with this theme from Bazzie Boy's Romeo and Juliet. The title card drop just always beckons the audio memory, regardless of how indifferent i feel towards it.

Lastly I am a little confused by their understanding of what the phrase "date rape" means, according to one episode. It didn't seem to mean what it's supposed to mean. Is the definition different in the US or is the show doing a dumb?

CoCage:

My problems with Eva was that I never really liked most of the cast; especially Asuka Langely. By the time I found out about her backstory: I was basically fuck you, too late, Imma play the world's smallest violin. Shinji could be annoying some of the time, but Asuka's overbearing bitchiness, boasting hot shot attitude, and know-nothing-know-it-all I am "best" the pilot around than baka Shinji. Fuck her. I heard the 2nd series of Eva is better than the first, because Asuka is less annoying, and everyone mostly gets a happy ending. Only for the 3rd season to screw it up, and turrn everyone back in to major jackasses. I could not care less for a 4th Rebuild, and I'm surpised Gainax is going through with it, as they don't seem to do much these days when a lot of their staff (the people behind Panty & Stocking and Gurren Laggan) left to form Trigger. If I do decide to watch any of these, it will be the 2nd series, and ignore the rest. Because I don't have the patience for bullshit that waste my time.

Oh, I agree about Asuka. She an awful person, a physically and emotionally abusive bully who for some reason is allowed to get away with outright assault on her roommate and random strangers(Shinjis friends) on numerous occasions without anyone stepping in to shut her down or tell her to knock it off. Her backstory does explain a lot of her behavior, but not excuse it.

And yeah, if you don't like the cast, I there's not much reason to watch it and honestly, it is a bit of a toss up between finding them deeply flawed and downright unlikable. It does feel like certain parts of EVA have really not aged well(and as a former Navy guy, the episode with the pacific fleet was really painful to watch).

The 2nd rebuild movie has Asuka being a bit more bearable though she's also not in it for nearly as long(due to the running time). The 3rd on the other hand, well, the story takes a massive swerve, there's a 15 year time skip and the world is a lot worse off(as in it's implied most of the world is unlivable and humanity is at a fraction of it's size because Shinji dun fucked up and kinda started 3rd impact himself).

And yeah, everyone in 3rd rebuild ends up being really jerkish towards Shinji without actually explaining why they're mad at him, but rather everyone gives him a "YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID" silent treatment. Sure, it was a hard 15 years for everyone while Shinji was essentially asleep but it's pretty shitty that nobody actually tells him why they're mad at him until a fair bit into the movie. The other issue is that 3rd rebuild is basically buildup to the 4th one, whatever that's going to be. I'd honestly given up hope I was ever going to see a conclusion to the rebuild series, since it seemed to be taking so fucking long for that last film to get made(and even getting a DVD release of 3rd rebuild took took way longer then it should have, instead there was a very limited US theater run).

Voltron: Legendary Defender: Season 4 (3/5)

If I had to rank the seasons of VLD right now, it would go 3>2>1>4. Though honestly that's pretty arbitrary at this point, since they're all stock average, not to mention that seasons 3 and 4 feel like one overall season split into two parts without any break in the storyline. That said, I'm ranking season 4 the lowest because each season up to this had some kind of angle to it. Season 1 was an introduction, both narratively, and for the characters themselves. Season 2 had a lack of focus, but still coalesced on defeating Zarkon. Season 3 is the immediate fallout of Zarkon's 'defeat and Lotor coming to the fore. Season 4 is...um...well, it's an extension of seasons 2 and 3 really. But that aside, there's two episodes that stick out. One is "The Voltron Show," which had me in stitches as the crew are forced to do propaganda shows to stir up rebellion. It's brilliant, it's hilarious, it's an affectionate parody, and I love it. In contrast, there's the final season episodes where it's just action, and action, and more action, and God does it get boring. Y'know, episodes ago the show was making fun of technobabble, whereas in the final, a planet's going to explode that will destroy "ten adjacent star systems." This is said by Pidge, who was previously complaining about technobabble. First of all, that would mean the blast would travel faster than light. Second of all, what does "ten adjacent star systems" even mean? The distance between stars isn't uniform! I know this seems like an odd thing to get hung up on in a show about space lions, but I've said it before, and I'll say it again, there's no sense of scale in this show. I don't have any idea how big the Galra Empire is. Sometimes it's across galaxies, sometimes it's across the universe, but apparently it's also small enough that a line of star systems can cut it in half. How does astro-geography even work here? Y'know, VLD has people who worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender, and among everything that show did right was give us a sound sense of geography, where everything was in relation to, well, everything. I know that's much harder to do in a space show, and VLD isn't the only one guilty of this, but the scale is so vast, yet so small when the plot calls for it, I've got so little sense of the stakes other than "galra are bad, stop galra."

There's actually another issue with this season though, and that's Keith. I...really don't know what the writers were going for here. Maybe it'll pay off later, but in season 2, Shiro tells Keith that he'll be he leader after him. End of season 2, Shiro is gone. Start of season 3, we have our 'lion swich' and Keith becomes the leader, although with a lot of growing pains. Okay, fair enough. Character arcs. But then Shiro comes back and Keith is like "yeah, I'm just gonna hang out with those Marmora guys now, see ya." So, Shiro's the Black Lion pilot, but Lance is still the Red Lion pilot, even though him piloting Red was contingent on Keith piloting Black, but he's still Red, and oh God I'm overanalyzing space lions! But that aside, what's the point of Keith's 'arc,' if in less than ten episodes, the entire point of the arc is nullified? Apparently Shiro was speaking out of his arse in season 2 because the status quo is reverted.

Also Matt's still alive, because we can't have anyone die in this series. Like, Pidge crying over her brother's grave, among a sea of graves that commemorates everyone who fought against the galra, but nup. We get Matt. Because hey, if we can't develop Keith as a character, then we can't develop Pidge either.

I'm just...I dunno. I'm on season 5 now and I don't know why I'm even bothering, because five seasons in, and all of the problems that were present from day 1 are still present, and I don't see how they can be solved. I feel at this point VLD is at its best when it's being comedic, like "The Voltron Show" episode or that space mall episode. Because when nothing makes sense, I figure running with the insanity is the best bet.

Neurotic Void Melody:
The Boiz Boys

Neat. Actually came in here to ask if anyone had seen Da Boyz The Boys. Will give this a look. Been hankering for some good superdickery after watching Brightburn a few days ago.

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