shadowkat: (Default)
1. Work has been disheartening. Reflecting the weather, a constant rain, pours, drizzles, the sky either looks like gray smoke or a thin layer of dirty of dishwater. It has a smell, clean, but tainted somehow. And as I walk through it to and from work each day, I feel it's weight on my shoulders pushing me down, down...into the ground, although I stand upright, just bowed, umbrella with pretty blue flowers and books imprinted upon it, pressed across my head. Ugh. January. You are a depressing month.

2. Binge-watched The Good Place -- after I found the spoiler. I got curious. The last five episodes are actually rather clever. I particularly enjoyed episode 8, where Michael's assistant, a sort of pseudo robot named Janet, had to be rebooted after being accidentally murdered. (Yeah, I know she's a robot or artificial life form, but go with it.) Every time anyone asked her for anything, she'd produce a cactus.

Michael : I need the file on Eleanor.
Janet: here you go.
Michael: that's a cactus.

Later.

Janet: Good news I found the file on Eleanor.
Michael: is it a cactus?
Janet: no it's the file.
Michael : Okay, hand it over.
Janet hands Michael a cactus.

Eleanor: May I have a glass of water?
Janet hands her a cactus.

They did however, like most American situation comedies, take the joke one step too far...but still it was funny. That's actually my issue with it --- and most situation comedies, they don't know when to stop. To be fair, this is my own issue telling jokes or with comedy. When someone laughs, I feel the unnecessary need to repeat it. So maybe this is just human nature?

Another great bit? Michael gives Eleanor and Jsaon tests to see if they belong in the Bad Place. The questions are hilarious.

Michael: have you ever taken your shoes and socks off in a plane?
Eleanor: No, and ewww.
Michael: Have you ever watched the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, (lists all the Bachelor shows and spin-offs)?
Eleanor: No.
Michael: Posted on social media about any of the couplings that you were following?

I wanted to add a question. "Have you voted for a Republican for President in the last 50 years?"
But I can see why the writers might want to refrain.

spoilers on the twist )

3. Crazy Ex-Girl Friend -- I've decided Beer_good_foamy's description fits -- "OMWF the series" except more of a satire on romantic love and relationships.

Is it bad that I desperately want Rebecca to sleep with Nathan, her nasty boss? I'm actually shipping them. I think it is because I find Josh Chen and Rebecca annoying. I like Josh better when he isn't with her, also I think he deserves someone less crazy. Rebecca and Nathan have the same issues and are equally crazy -- they are perfect for each other. Both are narcissists and both seem to think external validation will make them happy.

I have to admit, while I find Rebecca interesting, I don't like her. She reminds me a wee bit too much of an old friend that I broke up with and not in a good way.
shadowkat: (Default)
Raining. Back aches, or rather neck. Tired of the rain. I'm one of those people who requires sunlight. I feel like a plant. A carnivorous plant. Less so than before. As I get older, red meat is harder to digest for some reason. Actually a lot of foods are harder to digest. What's up with that?

Finished watching the six episode series Mars on the National Geographic Channel. It's available on demand -- if you have cable and want to check it out. Do I recommend? Eh. It depends on what you like. The series is oddly told -- or has a rather innovative, if jarring, narrative structure. It's based on the book "How We Populate Mars", along with "Packing for Mars", and intertwined with the "scripted" narrative about a trip to create a settlement on Mars in 2033, is a present day documentary detailing how they got there - specifically the science behind the fiction, or what would be required to get to Mars, what risks are entailed, and what is currently being done to make this happen. In short, it's a bit like watching television novella with academic and scientific footnotes. Very odd experience. I found it a bit jarring, much in the same way that I find reading books with footnotes jarring. Mainly because I'm incapable of ignoring the footnotes, and so disrupt my reading to look at them. Here, you don't have much choice. At various breaks in the action, you jump back in time to a documentary explaining the science behind it.

In the second episode, we have the death of the commanding officer on Mars juxtaposed with the deaths on the Space Shuttle Columbia, Apollo 13, and a man who is spending a year in space, while his daughter explains how much she misses him. This is interspersed with interview footage of the team journeying to Mars. I got a bit lost in that episode, or rather my attention kept wandering.

It does get better. The series is at its best when they are problem solving. The human relationships feel a bit stilted. Mainly because the format doesn't quite lend itself to human relations. Way too much telling and not enough showing in that area. But with the problem solving, the juxtaposition of documentary with scripted story -- of what it would be like to go to Mars, does work. Like I said, it's a bit similar to reading a sci-fi novel with footnotes.

Captivated me enough to stick with it. Partly because I am a bit of a space nerd. I find the whole idea of journeying to a distant planet fascinating. And the science behind it -- compelling.
But I'm not sure you'd enjoy it if you weren't a space nerd.

Okay, off to bed. I'm up writing past 9 again. Can't help myself. I write better at night for some reason. Takes a while for my thoughts to gell, and they tend to do it best when I'm relaxed, which is at night.
shadowkat: (Default)
So, what television shows struck a chord in 2016?

In no particular order, or rather as I remember them. So many just blurred.

1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - uneven, like most comedies, but rather a joy for the most part, with it's spot on satire of the romantic love trope. The set-up? Rebecca Bunch, a successful attorney in Manhattan is miserable. One day she runs into her ex-boyfriend from High School, Josh Chen. And is struck by cupid's arrow. He represents the secret to happiness in his smile. So she quits her job, hops on a plane to West Covina, California, to basically pursue him. Thinking if she can just win him back, all will be right with the world. Needless to say things don't quite go as planned. Filled to the brim with satirical song and dance numbers, Crazy veers from laugh out loud funny to cringe-inducing satire. You'll either wince or laugh yourself silly.

2. Good Behavior - a satirical noir/black dramedy, about an Argentine Hitman and a ex-junkie Thief who hook up after she successfully steals from him, then sleeps with him, and attempts to stop one of his hits. She fails -- he carries off the hit. But as he puts it, they did something to bring him there. He doesn't kill innocent people. Stars Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey fame and a really Spainish actor.

3. Game of Thrones S6 -- better than expected. It veered widely from the books, because hello, S6. There are only five books at the moment and no clear sign when or if the final one will be published. GRR is taking his time. (I personally think he is mentally blocked). Best bits? Tyrion and Danerys, and oh Ayra and Jon Snow's trajectories. This season was a bit on the cathartic side and made up for last season. Catchy dialogue, and better pacing. Also the writers wisely cut some of the more sluggish plot points that were in the books, and combined a few lesser characters. Still have the Iron Islands plot arc, but not quite as expected, and in some respects it works a whole lot better, as does Brienne's story arc.

4. Stranger Things -- Netflix, a compelling and addictive horror series that is reminiscent of Stephen King and the 1980s movies made by Steven Spielberg. It's about a bunch of kids in an eerie small town in upstate New York, who run across a monster from an alternate dimension. Spooky and may keep you up at night. Stars Winona Ryder as the Mom, but the kids are the real treat.

5. Daredevil S2 -- Netflix -- Electra blew me away. In some respects it was better than the previous season. With the introduction of The Punisher and Electra, two villians that had a complexity that the Kingpin lacked. Although not to worry, he showed up too. The Punisher story arc was a bit on the slow side but did add depth to Karen, one of the sidekicks story arc. The best arc was Electra.

6. The Crown -- a compelling drama about Queen Elizabeth II's reign, starting with her father's death in 1950s. Clair Foy and Matt Smith star, and Smith is astonishingly good as Prince Phillip.

7. The Good Wife -- while uneven, it landed on its feet and delivered an intriguing ending.
Also delved deep into political satire -- timely political satire at that.

8. Lucifer -- uneven. But with a delicious lead, and some interesting mythology. The procedural plots are rather humdrum, but the rest is quite fun. That is when it doesn't get bogged down in Freudian territory.

9. Grey's Anatomy -- on it's 13th season, it's actually more interesting than before. Having killed off Derek Shepard (sorry Spoiler alert), Meredith Grey is being explored in a new way. Along with the rest of the denizens of the hospital. It does have its weak links, which are the new residents. The show isn't quite as good at adding new younger characters as it would like to be.
But the older characters continue to deliver the goods, and the storyline for the most part skirts just to the edge of melodrama.

10. Westworld -- a convoluted plot that was often confusing to follow, but had some intriguing ideas folded within it. The type of series that plays with one's head long after it has aired. The premise? Based loosely on Michael Crichton's film of the same name, in the distant future, people travel to a Western themed amusement park, populated by androids that feel, look, and act human. The point of view is the androids and their keepers. When the creator of the park decides to awaken his creations and make them truly human and conscious...things begin to get really interesting. Then of course the question arises, weren't they always? And to what degree is he responsible for their welfare?

On the To Watch List:

* Sense8
* Luke Cage
* Rest of Crown
* Designated Survivor
* Poldark S2
* OUAT S6 or is it 7? Part I
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Way back in 1973, sci-fi writer, Michael Crichton wrote and directed a science fiction film entitled Westworld about a Western amusement park where the androids malfunction and start to kill the human tourists. It starred James Brolin, Yul Brunner, and Richard Benjamin. There was a sequel, that I actually saw years later, entitled Futureworld which starred Peter Fonda and Yul Brunner made a cameo appearance in a dream sequence.

The film version of Westworld aired again recently, and I still have it on the DVR, but have had troubles getting into it. Also, in the 1980s, there was a short-lived television series that I vaguely remember watching entitled "Beyond Westworld".

Now, years later, JJ Abrahams and company have revisited and rebooted Westworld as a television series for HBO. A far shinier, a far more violent series than the original. Also in some respects better written. Spoiler alert? It sort of ends the same, or rather, as one might expect.
It also at one point, references the original movie by following the journey of two guests to the park, William and Logan, who weirdly resemble Brolin and Benjamin's original characters.

The series is a fascinating philosophical study of consciousness or how we reach it. And that to find oneself, one must travel within, not without. You won't find the meaning of life or figure out who you are by looking outside yourself or out there, but rather within. Which is a Buddhist concept, I think. Or rather it's what I've been reading recently within Buddhist teachings. Although, I seriously doubt the Buddhists would agree with the graphic violence or the need for it.

The writers of this series aren't that found of humans, it is rather misanthropic. And there is a heavy meta-narrative on the exploitative nature of television or film. Reminding me a great deal of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. Having now watched the whole thing, I'd say the two series have a lot more common than I'd originally thought and in some respects end on a similar note.

eh spoilers for the series Dollhouse and Westworld )
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
Beautiful day, sunny, crystal blue sky, mild temperatures...had a lovely walk down to a street fair on Courteylou Road, which was approximately 3 miles. And later to the fruit and veggie store on Church and Beverly in Kensington, Brooklyn. Tried to go church up in Brooklyn Heights, but after the subway platform added yet another row of people, to the extent there was barely any place to move, I bailed and walked to the street fair instead. There's no train service south of Church Avenue, so everyone is taking shuttles to Church, add to that, they have less trains on the weekends.

Picked up a couple of gluten-free baked goods, cinnamon buns, cupcakes, brownie, chocolate nutty bar, and apple-raspberry tart. (I really shouldn't have -- since you know, sugar. And sugar is a bit addictive. But alas..I did. At least I didn't binge eat all in one day. So progress.) Also goat cheese (again shouldn't, but goat cheese so not too bad), yellow beans, red onion, and raddishes - which were good ideas.

Came home, ate lunch, and proceeded to watch two things on the telly.

1. Wreck-it Like Ralph - charming in places, but mostly irritating and I had mixed feelings regarding the message. So, it's all well and good to want to rebel against your programming and do a different job, a new job, but at the end of the day -- that's the job you were meant to do, you stick with it, and just finds things you love about it. Like I said, mixed feelings. Yes, you should find ways to like what you do and your life, but I'm not sure "settling" makes sense, and we should have the ability to choose our lives to some extent.

After seeing these things, I'm happy that I do not have children.

2. Van Helsing -- felt a bit like the Strain meets The Walking Dead. I liked it better than both, which surprised me. There's three interesting characters in the middle of it - a female African-American Doctor, who got bitten and turned into a vampire, a super-powered young woman who can fight and potentially cure vampires, and a military guy sent to guard both of them - but not clear on why. Add to that a bunch of survivors. All hold up in medical facility in a post-apocalyptic world.

What happened? A couple of presumed inactive volcanoes in Wyoming, erupted, along with a few nuclear warheads, and dropped toxic black ash on everything and blocked out the sun. Vampires, long hidden underground, rose because there is no sunlight.

The story starts with Vanessa Van Helsing waking up from an apparent coma and fighting off a bunch of vampires. Flashbacks tell us what happened to bring this all about. The show jumps back and forth in time, which could be a bit jarring but wasn't, surprisingly enough. It's possible that I'm just used to it -- so many television series like this narrative trick.

It held my interest at any rate, and wasn't too scary, so I'm sticking with it. I couldn't watch The Strain and The Walking Dead -- too violent and too scary for my taste. So keep that in mind - in regards to whether you'll like Van Helsing.

[As an aside, the Nielsen ratings company has chosen my parents as a ratings household. My mother is rather amused by this turn of events. She's in her 70s. When she loved television and watched a ton of it, the Nielsen's ignored her. Now that she could care less about it and rarely watches, they select her as a Nielsen's household. See this is why I think the Nielsen's are bogus and television market research is idiotic. My grandmother had also been selected once as a household, along with a friend of mine...which is how I know what is involved. They basically keep a journal or in some cases give them a box that records what they watch. ]
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Finished watching Pitch and The Exorcist, now chilling watching a program on the history of American Folk Music on PBS entitled The is Your Land hosted by Judy Collins and the Smothers Brothers. So far The Kingston Trio and the Highwaymen have popped up. Unfortunately it's also a pledge drive...and not really just a musical celebration.

1. The Pitch - I really wanted to like this one, but it is just one baseball flick cliche after another, complete with a twist taken out Field of Dreams amongst others. It's about a young black woman who becomes the first major league baseball player for the San Diego Padres. She's a pitcher - which is basically the top and most difficult position - and got there for her screwball curveball special.

In flashbacks we see how she got there...and the fight she has with various detractors. And how everyone is counting on her to succeed. Finally, the Catcher tells her if she wants to do this -- to do do it for herself, no one else. And what do you know, she nails it.

It's well acted and has potential, but feels rather one note and somewhat predictable. Interesting approach to start off with her in the major leagues and struggling to make it work there then to take the usual route, which is to show how she got there. I'm tempted to see where they go with it, but my gut tells me that she'll end up in a romance with the Catcher.

I like the lead. Mixed feelings about the twist, which caught me by surprise. Not crazy about the other characters ...who feel somewhat boilerplate, including the ambitious sports agent (the actress who played Jennifer Jones best friend in Alias Jennifer Jones), team manager portrayed by Mark Conseuleos (Kelly Ripa's hubby), and her buddy from the minor leagues.

So, on the fence.

2. The Exorcist -- this is a television adaptation/update of William Peter Blatty's best-selling novel and the award-winning film starring Ellen Burnstein and Max Von Sydow. The television adaptation has to a degree maintained what made the book and film so frightening, which was the feeling of impending dread.

Much like the original - the point of view is either the younger priest's or the mother, Angela, (Geena Davis in the Ellen Burnstein role). The demon's target - her teenage daughter. Also much like the original, we have the dynamic of the older priest, Father Maros (Ben Daniels) and the younger priest, Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera), who is quite compelling in the role. Actually, the two priests pulled me in - much as they had in the original film. And I like both of the actors a great deal. The original much like this version is more about faith/hope and how we handle despair/hate and evil or deal with it when confronted with it head on then it was about the supernatural. The younger priest, Tomas is having a crisis of faith when he is called to be an "exorcist". He barely believes in God and is ambitious, an up and comer. In one scene, his sister asks if he really wants to be a priest, since he's corresponding with a young woman and had previously had a relationship with one. The older priest is tired and has almost given up, also questioning his faith, and has shut himself up in a retreat for aging and retired priests. He has lost a young boy to demonic forces in Mexico City and wonders if there is a God and a point.

I always thought Blatty's "The Exorcist" deftly tackled some of the fears that underly the Christian religion and our society. A normal upper-class family, living in an house in the city, with a demon insinuating itself within its walls.

Differences from the original -- not just Angela's young daughter appears to be affected. Her husband appears to have lost his mind, her older daughter is depressed and has retreated to her room, and Angela hears whispers in the walls. When she comes downstairs - the chairs are pulled from the table and the books are knocked from the shelves.

Meanwhile, Tomas is plagued by visions of Marcos attempting to exorcise a demon from a child and failing. It's quite horrifying and somewhat gruesome.

The protagonist here as it was in the original is The Exorcist - the priests, not the mother or the family plagued by the demon. If it is a demon.

There's a twist in the end regarding who has been taken over that took me by surprise but made sense.

I may continue with it to see where it goes, although it is rather creepy and I did spend a good portion of it with my fingers over my face. I don't really like horror that much...and have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
So, I just finished watching the new television shows Speechless (a family situation comedy) and Lethal Weapon, a buddy cop dramedy, and both were surprisingly entertaining. I was going in with low expectations.

1. Speechless stars Minnie Driver, John Reese Bowie and Cederic Yarborough. It's about a family of five, one of which has cereberal palsy. Mom has been dragging her family from school district to school district in a desperate attempt to find the best educational situation for her son with cereberal palsy, who is paralyzed and can't speak (hence the title Speechless). The humor is wry and absurdist comedy - completely character and situational driven, similar to Malcolm in the Middle and The Middle and other similar comedies. There's no laugh track or audience laughing at the proper moments.

The pilot episode -- the family just moved to a debilitated house in a rich area. When the kids ask how they can get into this great school district or even afford the neighborhood, the father explains that the trick is to find the worst house in the neighborhood and buy it. Look, it is next door to...not the highway, but the train, and that's not a tree, it's a cell phone tower in their yard.

I actually laughed throughout this comedy. And I found the characters endearing. The kids look like real kids. And John Reese Bowie and Minnie Driver have good chemistry. The conflict centers around the school and for the most part, what it is like to have a child with cereberal palsy. It's clever, unpredictable, and weirdly, not offensive.

Saved to the DVR, and given a season pass, for now.

2. Lethal Weapon - this didn't get great reviews, but I enjoyed it. It was fun, and I laughed in various sections. Reminded me a bit of the movie on which it is based, although they changed a few things here and there. Murdoch is not a few years from retirement. And Riggs lost his family in a car accident, not in a brutal murder. Also Riggs doesn't have PTSD, as far as I can tell. He's a little less nutso - then Mel Gibson played him in the original film.

Surprisingly Damon Wayans and the guy playing Riggs have good chemistry. And I like the guy playing Riggs a lot more than I'd expected. He's not pretty on paper, but he is charismatic and compelling on screen.

It was a little jarring at first -- having seen the films, albeit a very long time ago. Since I loved the films, the bits they kept from them worked for me. Which was the relationship between Riggs and Murdoch and Murdoch's family, which eventually becomes Riggs family.

The pilot felt a bit like watching a mini-action buddy cop film with comedy. Much more entertaining than last night's Bull.

Although, I probably should admit that I have a weakness for buddy cop dramedies. While I despise procedurals, I love buddy cop mysteries. Partly because they take themselves less seriously, there are less characters - so better character development, and the mysteries make sense.

In the pilot, the bad guy was portrayed by the same guy who played Dracula in Buffy vs. Dracula. He looks old and has not aged well.

Anyhow, it too has been given a season pass on the old DVR. At least for now.

If this year is anything like last year, I may run out of room on the DVR or time, and have to start canceling shows again.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Off and on since May, my mother would ask me, "When's Bull start?" [I'm like, uh, what? I had to actually look it up for them. Turns out it wasn't that hard -- NYC's subways and billboards were littered with the ads.] See, American Television Studios have this odd habit of marketing their new tv shows about five to six months before they are slated to air, with the hopes of creating a certain level of anticipation. (In actuality, they just confuse the heck out of people, but that's a whole other post.) Apparently, my father was interested in it, they are huge NCIS fans and one of the actors from that show [Michael Weatherly, who left NCIS last year] is playing the lead in Bull.

Also, Bull is a series that is co-created and co-written by the creator of House and Dr. Phil. (Yes, that Dr. Phil.) Apparently Dr. Phil McGraw, prior to becoming a popular and beloved television shrink psychologist with his own self-help series, entitled "Dr. Phil" championed by Oprah, was a high-paid jury consultant.

n 1990, McGraw joined lawyer Gary Dobbs in co-founding Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (CSI), a trial consulting firm through which McGraw later came into contact with Oprah Winfrey. Eventually, CSI became a profitable enterprise, advising Fortune 500 companies and injured plaintiffs in achieving settlements. McGraw is no longer an officer or director of the company.

Little known to most people, high-profile cases hire jury consultants. What these people do is profile the jury throughout the case. Whether this is truly effective is debatable. And since they tend to cost a lot, only high profile clients make use of them. But it is an actual career, and the series is loosely based on Dr. Phil McGraw aka Dr. Phil's real experiences as a jury consultant, and he is a co-executive producer.
[I looked into doing it once. Being a jury consultant, not co-executive producing a television series, well actually I looked into that too...]

The show is set up as a sort of legal procedural version of HOUSE, sans the charismatic Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edlesteian, and Robert Scean Leonard, who let's face it made that show work -- not the show-runner.

From a legal procedural standpoint, it's rather boilerplate. We have the tormented genius lead, who solves cases, and his team of helpers, who cater to his needs. The legal courtroom hijinks, which make trial litigation deceptively more entertaining than it actually is. Litigation, as anyone who has ever served on an American jury knows, is in reality about as interesting as watching grass grow. It's not Perry Mason, it's the OJ Simpson Trial - where you spend hours trying to figure out if you can admit an ill-fitting bloody glove into evidence. Actually, the only television series that got it right to date is The Good Wife.

The characters are interesting but not that compelling. And the mystery...well, the solution sort of fell in out of the blue. It wasn't built well. Or it could have been built a bit better. The story was less about who did it, and more about how to get the kid, who luckily was innocent, off.

The other problem is...that the clients are all wealthy and he can only help the wealthy clients, because no one else can afford him. So, basically, privileged rich people who get away with murder.
Not sure how many people want to watch that each week. Made me feel a bit on the skeevy side.

I think whether you like it or not hinges a great deal on Michael Weatherly's performance as Bull. I'm not a huge fan of Weatherly, who was previously in Dark Angel and on NCIS. While I adored Hugh Laurie, and watched House mainly because of him. Also, the degree to which you find jury manipulation and consulting interesting. I tuned in because I found the jury consultant bit interesting, but it's not interesting enough to me to hold my interest week after week.

It should be noted that I'm not a fan of procedurals, generally speaking. I rarely watch them and when I do, they rarely hold my interest. Particularly criminal and legal procedurals. Medical procedurals -- I'm more likely to watch, since I know zip about that field. I know a bit too much about legal and criminal procedure for the television version to hold my interest. I have a tendency to nit-pick, which throws me out of the show.

However, my parents are fans of the procedural format, not only that, they were looking forward to seeing Bull. They watched it last night, after NCIS. The verdict? They weren't impressed. My mother didn't think it worked. It wasn't believable, and she felt the mystery was clumsily handled. Also she didn't really like anyone that much.

So...I've cancelled it. Two new shows, watched, both cancelled after the pilot. About 100 to go. (I'm kidding, in reality, I'll only watch about 20 of them, if that.)
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Season Six of Geme of Thrones can pretty much be summed up in one sentence or phrase: Women rule, men drool. Actually, so can the US Presidential Election. Wonder if that was deliberate? Doubt it. But weirdly appropriate in any event.

Unlike the previous seasons, the female protagonists of this series kicked ass, big time. Every battle, conflict or skirmish, was pretty much won because of how the women manipulated, fought, and took charge. And it was well-earned. They also got justice or vengeance depending on your perspective on past crimes against them and their families, finally. Plus, they influenced the decisions of various men around them, the one's that they didn't or thought they could overpower them, got slaughtered mercilessly. And the women who catered to men or followed male dictates got slaughtered as well.

It was rather satisfying. Particularly after the excruciating and at times exploitive ill-treatment of women in previous seasons. If you'd spent the previous seasons wincing at how women were abused, this was your season to smile in triumph. Because the bad boys paid dearly for their crimes.
spoilers )
Overall...this was a great season, the best by a long-shot. While bits and pieces honored or followed the books, for the most part, it diverged completely and I think Martin will be hard-pressed to follow much of its arc in his own story. Shame that, for I find myself preferring the story on screen more to the one in his novels. They are different stories, of course, told in different ways. Martin is telling a tale through the eyes of millions of characters from all walks of life, while the television writers due to time constraints have focused on a scant few.

If you are waiting for Martin to finish his series to watch this season or the next, do not bother. It won't spoil you. Nor ruin forthcoming books. It's just not possible -- Martin is right about that.
And I think it is possible to enjoy both separately. Although I suspect many may just choose one or the other. Since I began reading the books long before the series came into fruition, I'll most likely do both. That is assuming Martin ever gets around to finishing them.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Well, I reviewed Entertainment Weekly's annual coverage of the Fall Television Season. The print was so tiny that I had to go to my reading glasses, the computer glasses wouldn't cut it. (I own three pairs of glasses including one pair of contacts. Distance, computer, and reading. My eyes are constantly adjusting to things. Getting old sucks, just saying.)

Anywho...only a few of the 137 television series covered leapt out at me. Most of which tended to genre series or off-the-beaten track. Many just old fare.

Of the newly minted?

1. Dirk Gentley's Holistic Detective Agency - premiering on BBC America, OCt 22, at 9PM. Stars Elijah Wood and Penny Dreadful's Samuel Barnett - based on the novels by Douglas Adams.

2. Westworld - HBO, October 2 (the other reason I can't seem to get myself to cancel my HBO subscription, even though I should) - stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden.
Based loosely on Michael Crichton's film that starred Yul Brenner. (Think the Wild West as a theme park for the rich and nasty.)

3. Falling Water - USA - OCT 13, 10 PM - Think Inception as a television series. It's a thriller about dreams bringing three people together on quest, using their dreams as the map.

4. Pitch - Sept 22, Fox, 8PM - a story about the first black woman major league pitcher for a baseball team.

5. Crown - Nov 4, Netflix - a television series about the life story of Elizabeth II from 1940s to present. Based on the play "The Audience", Matt Smith plays Prince Phillip and Clair Foy plays Elizabeth.

6. Divorce - Oct 9, HBO, 10 PM - Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church - a dark dramedy about a divorce.

7. Pure Genius - OCt 27, CBS, 10pm - the new drama by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) - about high tech's effects in a hospital setting.

8. Frequency - Oct 5, CW, 9PM - a young NYPD detective in 2016 contacts her long dead father on a ham radio in 1996, just before his death. Because of their conversation - he survives. But, with dire consequences to her life. Everything else changes.

9. Designated Survivor - Sept 21, ABC, 10PM - starring Keifer Sutherland, Kal Penn, Natasha McElhone. What happens when an explosion takes out everyone but one cabinet member, and that cabinet member is for The US Department of Housing and Urban Development? And he becomes President of the US by default?

10. No Tomorrow - Oct 4, 9pm, CW - Rom-Com about a girl who falls in love with a guy who believes in accomplishing as many bucket list items as possible before an asteroid is due to hit earth in eight months and 12 days.

11. Good Behavior - Nov 15, 9pm, TNT - about a female con-artist, as portrayed by Michelle Dockery of Downton Abbey, that steals, deals drugs, and reveals in a life of crime.

12. Bull - Sept 20, 9pm, CBS - stars Michael Weatherly, based on the life of Dr. Phil, who was a jury analyst prior to becoming Dr. Phil. It's co-written by Dr. Phil and the creator of House. Sort of a dark twist on the legal procedural.

13. Atlanta - Sept 6, 10PM, F/X (I missed the pilot and will have to catch it on demand) - stars Danny Glover of Community, who is also the creator/show-runner. It follosw Earn Marks, a pennisless twentysomething managing his up-and-coming rapper cousin Alred Miles while trying to honor the responsibilities he has to his best friend Van and the daughter they share.

14. Timeless - Oct 3, 10PM, NBC - written by Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan (which I mixed feelings about, because both are a wee bit on the sexist side of the fence) -- is a television series about a group of heroes pursueing a time-traveling terrorist intent on changing key historical events. One episode deals with Abraham Lincoln's assassination, another focuses on Rat-Pack Era Las Vegas and the rumored mistress of Frank Sinatra, JFK and Chicago Mobster, and a third on Ian Fleming helping them solve a problem in Nazi Germany during WWII. And the writers seem to be aware of the butterfly effect problem in regards to time travel -- so it will most likely work for me. (I only like time travel stories that deal with the butterfly effect.)

15. Better Things - Sept 8, 10PM, F/X - co-created by Louis CK. About struggling actress Pamela Aldon's semi-autographical life as a struggling actor, mother, and realist - dark comedy, in the same vein as Louis.

16. Van Helsing - Sept 23, 10pm, Syfy - sort of a twisted, mature, less campy, not as witty, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Vanessa Van Helsing is awakes from a coma only to discover that vampires have conquered the world and she has supernatural abilities, and oh both the vampires and humans are trying to control her. Apparently her bite can cure vampirism in a person and turn them human. It's interesting because the writers have created various types of vampires, and the slayer is female.
Stars the Kelly Overton.

17. Crisis in Six Scenes - Sept 30, Amazon, written by Woody Allen and Elaine May, starring Woody Allen, Elaine May, John Magaro, Rachel Brosnahan and Miley Cyrus. Basically think Woody Allen's version of All in the Family. Most of it ad-libbed.

18. Goliath - Oct 14, Amazon, stars Billy Bob Thornton, Willaim Hurt, Molly Parker, and Dwight Yokham - by David E. Kelly. It's about a hard drinking down on his luck trial lawyer who catches a malpractice case against a corporate behmoth and sleeps with his client along the way. (Reminds me a bit of Better Call Saul meets A Civil Action by way of Boston Legal.)

19. Good Girls Revolt - Oct 26, Amazon - The female response to Mad Men, inspired by the book "Good Girls Revolt - How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace. It follows a group of female researchers - at a newsmagazines that's holding them back due to their gender in the 1960s.

20. Incorporated - Nov 30, Syfy - 10PM - about a world run by large corporations and divided into Green Zones for the Wealthy and Red Zones for the poor. A man born in the Red Zone infilitrates the Green under a false identity to find a missing woman from his past. When she finally resurfaces years later, he struggles to leave his wife and cushy white collar life as a junior executive in the Green Zone behind. Basically corporate espinoage meets sci-fi.

21. Sweet/Vicious - Nov 15, MTV, 10 PM - About a college soriority girl who spends her nights beating up sexual offenders, friendship with another woman, a classic college loner. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer in College without the metaphors.

[I may also try The Good Place, This is Us and Aftermath, and possibly Chicago Med, but am on the fence.]
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
In case you are a television junkie and care about this stuff, in the age of about a million television series and counting, Here's the Start Date List for Over 90 Television Series. [ETA: Strike that, I found a much better source < a HREF="http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Fall-TV-Calendar-2016-42320623"> Go HERE - it has better details and is clearer not to mention more thorough and no annoying Kardashian commercials. Maybe not better, they left off PBS and a lot of Cable series. Sigh.) Okay maybe there isn't a million, but it certainly feels like it. Anyone remember the good old days when there was just about twelve channels and HBO? The fall series started in the fall. The summer was reruns and sporting events. Everything started around the same time. It was easy to find stuff? And if you missed an episode, your only chance to catch up was with summer reruns? Assuming they bothered to air them? OR if you are lucky, a friend sends you their taped recording of it?

Well, those days are long gone. Now we have multiple television seasons and start dates. There are fall television shows, winter, spring, and summer. And the tv show start dates are sort of placed randomly throughout each season. (I am drawing a blank on the word that says all of that. If you think of it, please tell me since it is driving me crazy.) As a result, television critics probably have a roller deck just to keep track of when each television show is about to start. How else do they keep track of this stuff?

In the days of DVR and streaming, and ahem the internet, you don't really have to choose between television shows. You can, assuming you want to devote your entire life to binge-watching, watch just about everything out there. You may lose your mind in the process, along with what's left of your health, but what the heck. Also no worries about missing an episode, you can most likely catch it "on demand" via streaming or the internet. Possibly youtube. Someone out there has recorded it and put it up online for your viewing pleasure, much to the considerable chagrin of the distributors who are attempting to make money off of it. (Copyright law has sort entered the wild wild west with the internet, policing it is a full time and thankless gig. I actually find youtube equal parts amusing and frustrating. Some vids get pulled due to copyright infringement or turned private, while others don't and there's real rhyme or reason to it, except that the copyright owner found one and not the others.)

As a result of all of this...I'm finding it really hard to care all that much about the new fall television season. OR the new crop of shows. Too much work to figure out when they are on and whether I want to spend time watching them. Also, a lot of them feel like rip-offs of something else that was done better elsewhere. (Seriously, do we need any more cop procedurals? Or true crime television dramas or reality shows? And Project Runway is still going? I thought it had gotten cancelled three years ago?)

OTOH - at least we have more genre series, or off the beaten track.

I looked through the list and thought: don't care, don't care, hmmm interesting, maybe, don't care, don't care, possibility, yes - I'll keep watching that, oh good that's back, that looks stupid, don't care.

New series that looked somewhat interesting?

The Good Place - mainly because I like the stars. Not sure about the concept, which sounds a bit silly. It's about a nasty girl who accidentally ends up in Heaven. Yes, pretty much what you'd think when reading the title.

The Pitch - on Fox and it's about the first black woman major league baseball pitcher.

Frequency - based on the sci-fi movie, in which a woman contacts her dead dad via a radio frequency. This is a crime drama with the radio frequency/time travel bit as a twist. The critics appear to love it. I just watched the trailer, and yes, it looks good. It treats the time travel problem well - which is if you change one thing, you change everything, and the result is a temporal distortion.
She saves her dad, but loses her fiance and her mom.

APB - a rich guy purchases the Chicago Police Department in order to find his best friend's killer. I kid you not. And no, it's not a comedy.

Bull - a procedural about a psychologist who manipulates juries for wealthy clients. Sort of a bizarre concept, but entertaining -- if you've ever done litigation or been on a jury.

Queen Sugar -- a family drama (potential soap opera) about three black women who deal with their family's sugar plantation in Lousiana.

This is Us - a story about various people who were born on the same day and their interconnecting lives. Think Thirty-Something or Brothers and Sisters style of drama.

There isn't much that's grabbing my interest even on that list. Feel like I've seen it all before. If you know of anything let me know. I tend to get my television recs via livejournal, along with quite a few book recs.
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Been puttering on my novel this week, struggling through a plot-bunny. My goal was to kill off two subsidiary characters tragically. They aren't really supporting, they are more like the novel equivalent of red-shirts actually. But alas, no, they refused to die or my protagonist refused to let them - one or the other. Who am I kidding, I'm not telling my story, my protagonist is -- I'm just writing down what she tells me.

Not sure many people reading that will get it. People write differently. My stories sort of come to me. It's why I can't do fanfic effectively -- I channel the story and its deeply personal. Sometimes I think it would be better if I could write fanfic effectively - because in today's publishing world, fanfic genre writers get stuff traditionally published faster due to a built-in fandom.

Oh well, not really writing for those reasons, so probably doesn't matter. Always a bit astonished when people enjoy or grok what I write and send out there. Writing is a solitary sport for the most part, you really have no clue how people will react to it. And usually by the time they do, you've forgotten what you wrote.

2. Game of Thrones

Hmmm, they stuck to the books after-all in some instances. The whole Sam/Gilly and Iron Islands storylines popped up in the third episode, Oathbreaker. Will state that they managed to make Cersei more likable in the television series than she was in the books, and a lot smarter. I think it may be the casting. Same deal with Jamie Lannister. It's odd to be rooting for the Lannisters, but I just can't root for the religious zealots or the Queen of Thorns aka Diana Rigg.

Rather like how they tightened up the Iron Islands story line. Appears they are threading Theon back into it, and separating that story line from the Stannis/Bolton/Winterfell war story line.

major spoilers for the rare few who haven't watched it yet and managed to avoid the entertainment media spoilers regarding a certain beloved character's death. I didn't but if you managed it, kudos. )

So....

May. 24th, 2016 10:21 pm
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Read a bit more of David Foster Wallace, this round a Fresh Air Interview with Terry Gross. It also contains quotes from End of The Tour.

Foster Wallace fascinates me because he discusses mindfulness in his work, or being mindful of what we are doing and how we live, and not allowing ourselves to become lost in the ironic metanarrative that our popular culture has become. I can't quite decide if he is right.

The interview is HERE in cas you are interested. Foster Wallace like many contemporary literary writers was more interested in philosophizing than story-telling. He tended towards personal essays and personal narratives, famously or infamously writing about a cruise trip in Harpers, entitled "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again". And in the novel "Infinite Jest" he writes about an independent film that is so entertaining that people want to do nothing else after they see it.
Has the quest for pleasure, constant though it may be, robbed of us of our ability to seek the pleasure in small everyday things, as opposed to on the television screen? I'm not sure he's saying that exactly.


GROSS: One of your essays in your new collection is about irony and how it's become the common language of TV and a lot of contemporary fiction. You talk about how television has institutionalized hip irony. Can I ask you to explain what you mean by that?

WALLACE: What sort of time limit is there?

GROSS: (Laughter).

WALLACE: No, I mean, the essay is really about the relation between TV and fiction and what it's like to be a fiction writer who watches a lot of TV. And I guess the basic point is that a lot of the tools that were used by literary fiction writers in, I guess, particularly the '60s, to help - I don't know if there was a social agenda. I think it was probably to debunk certain kind of hypocritical Ward Cleaver-ish assumptions that the culture was making about itself. Those techniques, including meta-discursive stuff, self-reference, irony, black humor, cynicism, grotesquerie and shock, that what's interesting now is - now that, really, television - I think it would be safe to say that television or televisual values rule the culture. Television is now successfully using a lot of those same techniques but using them for a very different agenda, which is to sort of create an ethos and please people and to sell products to consumers. So that - the essay is supposed to be a setup for sort of what is the literary rebel or the writer who wants to be engaged somehow with the culture do now? You know, how do you be a rebel when Burger King, you know, for two years their slogan was you got to break the rules? How do you rebel against anarchy or a kind of weird crafted anarchy?


And from End of the Tour:


SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) You know what I would love to do, man? I would love to do a profile on one of you guys who's doing a profile on me.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) That is interesting.

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) Is that too pomo and cute? I don't know.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) Maybe for Rolling Stone.

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) It would be interesting, though.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) You think?

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) I'm sorry, man.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) What's wrong?

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) It's just, you're going to go back to New York and, like, sit at your desk and shape this thing however you want. And that - I mean, to me, it's just extremely disturbing.

EISENBERG: (As David Lipsky) (Laughter) Why is it disturbing?

SEGEL: (As David Foster Wallace) 'Cause I think I would like to shape the impression of me that's coming across. Yeah, I don't even know if I like you yet. So nervous about whether you like me.


Wouldn't it be nice if we could shape others impressions of us? I've had situations in which someone has been really mad at me, but not told me why. I'm left to guess. Okay, what did I say or do? I find myself running over the dialogue and past conversations in my head, and of course without an actual tape recorder or video recorder, there's no way of knowing, on either side. It would be nice if the other person would tell you. Instead of being all passive aggressive about it. That way you could clear up the misunderstanding. Assuming such a thing is possible.

The problem with impressions, first, last, whatever...is the other guy is looking at you through his or her lense. They see what they want to see, and if you happen to have done something that reminds them of someone who pissed them off on the train that morning or their last girlfriend or boyfriend, than well, there's not a heck of a lot you can do.

In End of the Tour, much like The Great Gatsby or any story in which we see all the action through the narrator's lense...we learn more about the narrator. Foster Wallace is a supporting character in David Lipsky's story. Part literary hero, part cautionary tale, and to Lipsky, somewhat disappointing.
Small wonder that Foster Wallace was reluctant to be the subject of Lipsky's article and worse, hero worship. Both flattered and disturbed, Wallace allows it, to a degree. Realizing that what Lipsky really wants is to be Foster Wallace, somehow convinced that he could do it better.

I think the reason I find this all rather haunting, is it makes me a bit self-conscious of my own writing right now. I'm not an essayist. I know, I know, you would most likely disagree with me on that point. But you don't get a say in the matter. Because what I mean by that -- is I have no interest in publishing essays under my name for the world to see. It feels too much like dancing around in Times Square naked with a big sign stating my name, address, and telephone number. It's for the same reason that I've no interest in getting up on the stage of the Moth and telling folks, a crowd of 150 people, maybe more, in a packed room, a story about my personal life.

Here? It's different. There's a level of anonymity that does not exist at the Moth or publishing a personal essay. And it's safer somehow. I can delete negative responses, screen them, even the post.

Fiction feels safer to me and more comfortable. Like a warm snuggly blanket on a cold bitter day. I can coat myself in the metaphors. Also, I always have a story in my head, aching to break free. It's not the writing of it that has ever been the problem, so much as the sharing. And I'm no erstwhile philosopher, nor do I really enjoy reading them...the story, to me at least, is king.

It doesn't matter either way. Which I write. My chances of publishing personal essays are rather dim. Although I did publish two journalistic articles on racism in small publications, which sort of count.
Maybe.

While surfing the net for articles on Wallace, I also found this essay in Salon:


David Foster Wallace was Right Irony is Ruining Our Culture
.

Curious. I like irony. Use it a lot in my own writing. Dramatic irony, I find rather hilarious.


Irony is now fashionable and a widely embraced default setting for social interaction, writing and the visual arts. Irony fosters an affected nihilistic attitude that is no more edgy than a syndicated episode of “Seinfeld.” Today, pop characters directly address the television-watching audience with a wink and nudge. (Shows like “30 Rock” deliver a kind of meta-television-irony irony; the protagonist is a writer for a show that satirizes television, and the character is played by a woman who actually used to write for a show that satirizes television. Each scene comes with an all-inclusive tongue-in-cheek.) And, of course, reality television as a concept is irony incarnate.

For the generation that came of age during Vietnam, irony was the response to a growing distrust toward anything and everything. In the 1980s, academics such as Mark Jefferson attacked sentimentality, and Neo-Expressionists gave sincerity a bad name through their sophomoric attempts at heroic paintings. Irony was becoming a protective carapace, as Wallace pointed out, a defense mechanism against the possibility of seeming naïve. By the 1990s, television had co-opted irony, and the networks were inundated with commercials using “rebel” in the tagline. Take Andre Agassi’s Canon camera endorsement from that period. In the commercial, the hard-hitting, wiseass Agassi smashed tennis balls loaded with paint to advertise Canon’s “Rebel” brand camera. The ad wraps with Agassi standing in front of a Pollockesque canvas saying “Image is everything.” For all the world, it seemed rebellion had been usurped by commercialism.

This environment gave artists few choices: sentimentality, nihilism, or irony. Or, put another way, critical ridicule as experienced by the Neo-Expressionist (see Sandro Chia), critical acceptance through nihilism like Gerhard Richter, or critical abdication through ironic Pop Art such as Jeff Koons. For a while, it seemed no new ideas were possible, progress was an illusion, and success could be measured only by popularity. Hot trends such as painted pornography; fluorescent paint; sculpture with mirrors, spray foam, and yarn were mistaken for art because artists believed blind pleasure-seeking could be made to seem insightful when described ironically.



And...


Wallace called for art that redeems rather than simply ridicules, but he didn’t look widely enough. Mostly, he fixed his gaze within a limited tradition of white, male novelists. Indeed, no matter how cynical and nihilistic the times, we have always had artists who make work that invokes meaning, hope and mystery. But they might not have been the heirs to Thomas Pynchon or Don Delillo. So, to be more nuanced about what’s at stake: In the present moment, where does art rise above ironic ridicule and aspire to greatness, in terms of challenging convention and elevating the human spirit? Where does art build on the best of human creation and also open possibilities for the future? What does inspired art-making look like?


Finally ending with...


Artists must take responsibility for finding the form to make our dreams real. They must assess a work as honestly as possible, seeking integrity. At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion. But we can remake the world. In poetry, in music, in painting, we can reimagine and plot coordinates into the unknown. We can take an honest look, rework and try again. The work will tell us if it has arrived or not. We have to listen closely. What do we see? What do we hear?


From that, I gather irony is not bad in of itself, it is when it has no focus and is irony for irony's sake...that we become lost. Falling a quagmire of cynical disillusionment. Jim Carry famously stated after 9/11, that this was the end of ironic comedy, yet it was actually just the start.
Comedy in of itself is cruel and often cynical, with a biting edge to it. Wounding with a laugh.
We make fun of that which is distinctly foreign to us, and all too familiar. The prat full, the ethnic joke, the snarky one liner, the rejoinder, the clown tripping over a banana peel that he himself dropped while juggling those bananas.

The world has become snide. Practicing irony for irony's sake. Our elections have become satires, with cartoonish candidates ripping each other apart with snarky comments scripted off reality shows.
Everything is a joke in a world where television is a 24/7 operation. It's funny (okay not ha ha funny) that I remember a time when television was on maybe 12 hours a day, if that. At midnight the screen went to fuzz, after the National Anthem or the famous sign-off. If you rent the movie Poltergeist, you can witness it for yourself. It wasn't until the 1990s that stopped. We only had three networks. News was on maybe four or five times a day, not 24 hours. Cable was subscription only and only one Channel, HBO. We spent most of our time outdoors in the summer. Oh, I watched television, way too much, or so I thought, but not nearly as much as people do now. Oddly, I've been watching less. Each show that I see feels familiar somehow, as if it is a repeat of another one.
And each joke, wink, wink, nudge, nudge...I find myself reading and writing more. Odd considering how much I read and write for work. But there it is.

I don't know the answers, and I don't pretend to be a philosopher, found the subject deathly dull in college, actually. Did date a few of them, though. Rock singers and philosophers are deadly combinations, just saying. But I can't read philosophy without falling asleep, even if it is wrapped inside the guise of fiction. (I'm looking at you Roger Zelzany, Phillip K. Dick, and David Foster Wallace.) But, I do think there is happiness in small things. And watching a television show here or there after a tough day at the office is well, no nevermind. Any more than occasionally binging over a weekend.

It's when you let it or anything else for that matter take over. You die slowly. That's what continues to haunt me from the film, End of the Tour, when you just watch tv, stay home, do nothing else, maybe surf the net, discuss it on forums...you die slowly. I should know, it almost happened to me...once or twice. Now, I watch less, and write more. And try to let myself live in the world, to be mindful of it. As it drifts and whirls around me, rarely making sense, but always different and often interesting.
shadowkat: (clock)
1.)Feeling much better today, decided to eliminate a few new items from diet...and it worked. (ie. I'm no longer having green smoothies at breakfast, which have a higher natural sugar content, and no evening primrose or maca powder. I may be sensitive to something.)

2)Anyone still watching Castle? I don't watch Castle -- haven't since the first or second year.Anyhow...there was this weird blurb online about how Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic (who plays Beckett, Castle's love interest) hate each other in real life. (I can actually identify -- every workplace, if you stick around long enough, you will eventually either rub someone the wrong way or they will rub you the wrong way. The trick, I guess, is not to stay too long? Or to shrug it off? But imagine being an actor who has to do a romantic relationship with someone you can't stand? Ewww. No wonder these people are paid a lot.)

Anywho...here's the link. Apparently both Beckett and her friend the forensic specialist are being written out this year, assuming it gets renewed for a 9th season. (It's been on that long? I personally think television series should go for no more than 5 years, maybe 7.)

In other news? They apparently killed off the female lead of The Blacklist. My mother who is still watching it, was shocked. I gave up, too bloody violent. I can't watch television series with too much torture and violence and rape. Which is odd considering, I apparently have no difficulties with The 100...But, is it just me, or are television writers becoming increasingly bloodthirsty? What happened to the good old days when characters were written out to say...a new job or new state or a trip somewhere? Now -- it's, oh, I know, I'll kill the character off. That will show that stupid actor! And shock the audience. Bonus! (Note to writers...sad, not shocking. We live in anxious times, stop killing people. Although, admittedly, I do enjoy it at times -- since it shakes things up. But some shows have reached their quota. Grey's Anatomy, for example, is not permitted to kill off any more characters...five is more than enough. It's not a war drama or a crime drama, it's a medical drama. Who would have thought it would be dangerous to be a surgeon in a Seattle hospital??? Seriously???)

3) And to the bewilderment of the rest of the world, the Never-ending Political Satire Saga of the American Race for President continues...

Today was the NY Primary. And, before you ask, no, I didn't vote in the NY Primary. Green Party, remember? In NY, just in case you missed prior posts, you can't vote in the primary unless you are registered as a Democrat or a Republican, and only for the party that you are registered with. In other words, Democrats can't cross party lines to vote in the Republican primary and vice versa. Nor for that matter can the 1M + souls who are registered with other parties. I know that it may not seem like it, but the US actually does have other parties, Green, Independent, Libertarian, Families, etc. It's just we refuse to vote them into office. So, by default, we're a two-party system. I don't know why, some of the other parties candidates are actually a heck of a lot better than the Democrats and Republicans currently running.

There are allegedly over 160,000 registered Democrats in Brooklyn. But, according to various census takers posting on Facebook, 50,000 registered Democrats can't be accounted for. They don't know what happened to them. Did they die? Did they become inactive? Can they find their polling places? Did they just disappear?

Which brings up another problem, according to folks posting on FaceBook -- people can't locate their frigging polling location. Why? The board of elections changed the polling locations without notifying the voters. I don't know why they didn't notify the voters. I guess they assumed people would hunt it online? I remember the good old days when I got a notice in the mail.

Apparently there's a law that you are not permitted to bring any election paraphenial into the polling place. No buttons, pins, shirts, hats, etc. So ignore those twitter posts telling you to support Sanders with a t-shirt. You'll be booted out of the polling location and not permitted to vote.

A few confused souls went to the polling location and asked if they could vote in a primary that they weren't registered in. What follows is a true story that was related on the Kesington, Brooklyn, NY Facebook page:

At the polling location...

Volunteer: Which primary?
Male voter: Can I switch my affiliation from Democrat to Republican and vote in the Republican Primary?
Volunteer: Go ahead.
Female voter (who is next in line) - gives the volunteer her name.
Volunteer: Which primary?
Female voter: Aren't you only allowed to vote in the primary that you are registered in?
Volunteer: Ahh...
Second Volunteer: Yes. That's true.
1st Volunteer: Wait...oops. Do you remember the name of the man who was just before you?
Female voter: No.

Okay. This is going to be a really interesting election. The primary alone had record turnouts. The general election is going to be fun. I'm thinking we may need to overhaul our system after this.

Sort of glad that I couldn't vote in it.
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Beautiful day. Felt like spring, finally. In the 70s, clear blue skies, and soft breeze. Trees in bloom. Sprigs of soft yellowish green, white, pink, purple, and red flowers.

Had a lovely brunch with U and her boyfriend at a place in Brooklyn Heights. Was considering seeing the movie Batman vs. Superman afterwards, but chose to pick up food instead. Besides no time.

Me: Was considering Batman vs. Superman, but it's far too pretty a day to sit in a movie theater-
U: Why? Why would you want to see that movie? Why do that to yourself?
Me: Well, yes, it would most likely give me a headache.
U: It's had horrible reviews. As much as I love Caville, he's horrible as Superman...
Me: True. (We'd seen Man of Steel together and despised it.)

My mother asked me the same question on the phone.

Methinks I'll watch it on demand or HBO or something instead.

Proud of myself for nixes the Gluten-free Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and whipped butter and blueberries, and opting for the healthier burger and lettuce instead. I'm on a no grains, sugar, dairy, soy, potatoes, chocolate...diet for the foreseeable future. It gets easier every day. Just have to deal with it, with a sense of humor.

2. Once Upon a Time

This show at times feels like I'm watching cross-over slash fanfic for children's stories. This week's episode focused on, of all things, a romance between Red Riding Hood and Dorothy (yes, that Dorothy from OZ). Darn, I was shipping Red Riding Hood aka Ruby and Mulan. Although admittedly she had better chemistry with Dorothy. The Wicked Witch puts Dorothy under a sleeping kiss and Ruby aka Red Riding Hood, kisses her and she wakes.

So...so far, we have the following cross-over romances:

The Evil Queen from Snow White/ Robin Hood
Captain Hook/Emma Swan (daughter of Snow White/Charming)
Belle/Rumplestilskin
Wicked Witch/Hades
Red Riding Hood/Dorothy...

3.Haunting rendition of the Simon and Garfunkle Song - "The Sounds of Silence"



Also, oddly apropos...for what is happening at the moment in NYC and other urban areas...

4. Interesting New Yorker article on how Northern Europe views Bernie Sanders views. He gets his ideas from Northern Europe of the 70s and 80s, but even Northern Europe has drifted away from those policies towards a more pragmatic system. (Also, Northern Europe doesn't have the same cultural, economic, and government that the US does. This is important. There is a huge difference between a centralized parliamentary/constitutional monarchy and a joint federal constitutional republic with three balanced branches of government plus individualized and separate state governments. Trying to pull the socialist policies of Northern Europe, which didn't entirely work for Northern Europe into a country that is governed like the US is...
Sample section or quotes from the article )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
1.)Scrivener is really helping with the novel writing. No longer do I have to scroll a hundred and sixty-some pages to get to where I left off. And it provides the ability to write a little synopsis of each chapter as you go. Plus character sketches, settings, and an area for research. And, it has a built-in spelling and grammar check. Not to mention formatting for paperback, hardcover, e-book, and scripts. It's not that expensive for a software program - about $45 bucks and you just download it.

Highly recommend. I bought it for my birthday.

2.) Loving this new Shondra Rhimes/Betsy Beers series entitled The Catch - which was pitched by British author, Kate Atkinson, who wrote the novel Life After Life and serves as one of the executive producers. It's sort of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels meets The Thomas Crown Affair, with Peter Krause playing a con-man and Mirelli Enos portraying a private investigator who is chasing him, after he conned her out of millions and stole her heart. The catch is that he fell for her. But it is fiendishly clever in places. And diverse. With complicated characters and two cases of the week -- the con that Peter Krause (Christopher) and his associates are plotting and the investigation that Alice and her associates are investigating, plue Alice evading an interpol agent while she hunts down Christopher.

Last week he gave her a painting that was hanging in a museum. She thought he stole it to set her up. But what he actually did was forge the painting, switch the forgery with the actual painting and give
Alice the real one. With her lawyer, she discovers that he picks his aliases from the obituaries. (Hey, I came up with that idea first -- my con artist in Doing Time on Planet Earth chooses her aliases from the obitaries as well.) Adore that idea.

It's fun. And the actors portraying the lead roles are good. Also stars Penny from LOST as Christopher's boss/lover Margo, who he's been with for over 15 years. There's lots of back story and each week we get another intriguing tid-bit.

Sexy fun. With very little violence.

Although will state that like all television mystery shows...the mystery is somewhat predictable. (It's always the first person they suspect for some reason.) But, unlike Elementary, the mystery plot line holds together better. My problem with Elementary is their mysteries don't work, they sort of fall apart. (I watch Elementary for the characters not the plotting, the writers suck at plotting).
So far the plot of this series is working for me.

I know it got mixed reviews, but once again I find my taste diverging from the critics. It may just be me, but television critics seem to have a taste for raunchy, over-the-top, and violent television series. I'm wondering if it is just that they watch too many television shows? Must suck being a television critic.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Okay, just finished watching "Bitter Harvest" and alas, I am still struggling with this plot line. Apparently, I am not alone. I found THIS post validating my own feelings regarding how Bellamy's actions don't quite work...and how his subplot is coming perilously close to ruining the show and sending it careening out of control. It doesn't feel morally ambiguous enough to me, somehow.


Because this is a show that, until now, has differentiated itself from the smorgasbord of other post-apocalyptic worlds in science fiction by portraying a future where people are driven by more than reckless tribalism. Where enemies and allies can come from anywhere.

If Bellamy can no longer see that, I guess I’m relieved that Clarke, Lexa, and others still can. As it is, his botched storyline is a huge warning sign that The 100 might be starting to careen out of control.


Yup, that's my problem with this storyline -- it's following the cliche route of one too many post-apocalyptic worlds prior to it. And I'm wary of the Allia storyline...which reminds me a little too much of BSG. Up until now it had managed to veer around that. But the last couple of episodes have veered straight down that path. And this episode was particularly guilty of it.

And later...in another review, this time, AV Club, says the same thing HERE. Actually, I agree a great deal with AV Club's review.

But, I went and found THIS interesting and in-depth interview with the show's head-runner, Jason Rothenberg on IGN. It gave me pause.

spoiler for Bitter Harvest )
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
While I'm cooking root vegetable soup, a television poll or rather meme - where everyone who stumbles upon this checks off their current favorite television series, which they've been obsessing over. (I really should be working on my taxes...but, alas, the last time I did my taxes on Valentine's Day, someone broke in my apartment and stole my laptop while I was sleeping with all my tax information on it. So, I'm slightly superstitious, granted that was a different apartment, and it's close to impossible to do it here...but still.)

Anyhow, back to the poll/meme. Once you check off your favorite television series (the one you are obsessive about at the moment), assuming of course I managed to list it (if I didn't mark other and list in comments), go to the comments and make your case for the show - list any links to meta, fanfic, fanart, fan communities, boards, vids, etc - the links not the actual work. If someone else listed it first, reply to their response and list yours...who knows you might have made a new connection. Oh and here's the important part -- MAKE SURE YOU TELL PEOPLE, ie me, WHERE THEY CAN WATCH OR SEE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW! (otherwise, how will it get new viewers?? If people can't find it, they can't watch it. Keep in mind we live in a world with over 1000 different channels and distribution venues.)

For people like myself that watch television but aren't obsessed with any tv shows or in any fandoms at the moment - I have "Nothing at the Moment" listed, because I'm not obsessive about any television series at the moment -- but I'm curious to see where everyone else is leaning. And if there is anything interesting out there that I'm overlooking.

[As an aside, once you insert the poll - you can't edit it -- which makes doing polls a dicey enterprise.]

[Poll #2036851]
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
I threatened to do this in another post. I've saved so many television series to my DVR, and I've lost track of which are worth watching and which are a waste of time. I keep forgetting what's on when.

So, I'm curious to know what everyone else would recommend. What new television shows, assuming there are any, that you love or would recommend giving a shot? [Note if it's been on for more than a year or two, with at least 30 episodes, it's NOT new. Example: Agent Carter is new, the Arrow is not. That said, I'm making an exception with The X-Files (which is sort of a revival), American Crime (which is new each season, sort of like American Horror Story and Fargo), and shows that just started last year and popped up again now like Agent Carter.]

I'm limiting this poll to the television series that I've heard and can remember -- it's like the dreaded presidential poll, it's impossible to list them all. But, here's the thing, if your favorite isn't on this list - please put it in the comments, and be sure to include where it can be found and what it is about.

[Poll #2035240]


Thanks. Hopefully, I'll get more than five responses. LJ has been sort of dead lately in regards to posting.

ETA: I left THE COLONY off the list by accident. Has anyone seen it? Is it worth watching?
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
I'm losing track of television shows.

* Anyone out there seen the new sit-com "You, Me and The Apocalypse" ? It's apparently a Brit-American joint production which aired first in Britain. So I'm guessing a lot of people may have caught it? Worth checking out? Premiered tonight and I sort of forgot about it.

You need a rollerdex or a calendar to keep track. I had 62 hours of television shows recorded on DVR, I deleted five hours (Shades of Blue) considering deleting Shannara Chronicles and Shadowhunters. Which begs another question - were any of those worth watching? Haven't tried the new X-Files or Lucifier yet. I forgot about X-Files - so not taped. Lucifier is taped.

I'm tempted to do a poll.

Also, either my allergies are acting up due to the dry heat, mold, and dust build up, or I'm getting a cold. Been sneezing a lot lately. And can't breath. Have a humidifier, which is sort of helping. And I bought some Allegra, which you can apparently take with Zyrtec.

Better not be a cold. Although at least colds end. Allergies just hang around until the thing you are allergic to either dies or goes away.

Fanfic...was pondering this today. I've only read Buffy, Angel, Farscape, BSG, and Doctor Who fanfic. Trying to think...

Okay, there was a House fanfic that someone on my flist wrote, which I read, mainly because they wrote it.

I don't as a general rule tend to read fanfic based on novel series -- unless the writer is dead. I've read two - one in the Dragon-rider series (it didn't work for me) and one in the Kim Harrison Rachel Morgan series - (it also did not work for me). The difference between fanfic based on a television or movie universe and fanfic based on a novel universe - is if from television it's for different mediums. (The original is filmed/televised, while the fanfic is written). Or from a former copyright specialist perspective, they aren't really infringement, more an illegal derivative. If anything, they just help sell the original work. They don't compete with it in any way, not unless the original creators suddenly feel like writing novels - which doesn't quite work for television serials - too collaborative a process. (ie. There's about 150 original creators - the makeup artist, the sound editor, the writers, the actors, the musicians, the costume designer, the F/X specialist, the set designer, the lighting designer, the camera crew, the cinematographer, the director...it goes on.) While with a novel - you have just one creator, sometimes you might have a team, but usually it's just one person. And they are making their living selling books and stories based on the world and characters they created. If someone writes and publishes to the internet stories based on their world and characters for free or money, they are in direct competition with that creation and more or less piggy-backing or using the writers ideas to write their own stuff.

It's not the same thing as taking someone else's ideas and re-interpreting or adapting them to a new medium. Creating a derivative work - so to speak. That's more playful, and from my perspective permissible. But fanfic based on works like Harry Potter, Anne McCaffrey's series (although she's dead now, so maybe not), LoTR (also long dead), Chronicles of Narnia (ditto), Anne Rice's Vampire novels...feels a little skeevy. I can see why Ursula Le Quinn, McCaffrey (when alive), Anne Rice, and various other writers denounced it. It's not the same thing as writing a Doctor Who fanfic, or a Buffy fanfic. Nor is it the same as writing a Shakespeare fanfic. Again different medium.

Fanfic based on works of dead writers, long in the public domain, I have no difficulty with either. (Note LOTR and DragonRiders aren't in public domain. They are still owned by the families or estate.
Same is true I think with Gone with the Wind.)

But something about fanfic based on a novel, and to be clear, I mean written fanfic in the same medium, bugs the copyright attorney in me. Chaffs. (Although to be fair, I find the copyright law stance on the topic confusing and contradictory in the extreme. There's a reason, I ran away from copyright law. It's a quagmire. The rules change daily. Each country has its own. Some countries ignore it completely (*cough*China*cough*) while others only care about their own or close nieghbor's copyright laws (*cough*Germany*cough* -- although that may changed). )

Personally and for the most part, I tend to think fanfic is harmless. If anything, it just keeps your story alive. Hello, free advertising. I'd be flattered if people wrote fanfic using characters or a story that I wrote. But, then again, would I if it competed with my own work? If fans preferred it to my story? If it prevented me from continuing my own story in my own way? Or prevented me from getting paid for it?

Of course there is the view...that once your work is out there, you've no control over what happens to it. It is in essence no longer really yours. Sort of like having a kid graduate from college and get their first job. You see them occasionally, hear how they are doing, but that's it.

Regarding writing fanfic? Oh, I've dabbled. What writer whose ever been a die-hard fan, hasn't? (You may actually be able to find the dabbling in my livejournal -- if you look hard enough. If so, let me know, because I've lost track of the links.) But I'm not comfortable enough to do more than that...mainly because, it's someone else's sandbox that I'm playing in. And I feel like I'm this big hairy giant stomping about, Godzilla like, kicking up dirt and sand, trampling the natives. If I were to do their story justice, I'd have to be able to speak in their voice, see it from their perspective...or at the very least be able to see it from the majority of their fans perspective...and again, Godzilla trampling through town, stirring up a ruckus. OR worse, I lose myself, and my own distinctive voice in the process?

I'd rather be inspired by their work - I think. Blend it into my own. Which to a degree was what I did with Doing Time on Planet Earth - I was inspired by various television shows and books that I'd been watching at the time, and blended them into my work, creating something new. Felt a bit less like Godzilla that way.

That's not to say, however it may sound, that I don't appreciate what others do with fanfic. There some very good fanfic writers on my flist -- and I've enjoyed their fic. They've managed to play in the sandbox.

I think...it has a lot to do with well, how you personally think? It's like visiting someone else's house. Some people are comfortable going into a friend or acquaintance's kitchen, pulling out a bottle of beer/soda/water from the fridge, making a sandwich, and plopping in front of the telly. I'm not. Consider it to be a bit rude to be honest. I wait for the invitation. It's their house, after all. I'm a guest in it. I ask if I can help. I'm careful of the boundaries. If someone visits - I ask if they want anything and treat them as a honored guest (which may explain why I prefer not to have guests, too nerve-wracking and too much bloody work).

What can I say? I'm like a cat when it comes to territory, protective of my own and cautious in someone else's. (Well, except for the peeing part, have no desire to mark it, thank you very much.)
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