shadowkat: (work/reading)
More other things...

1. A friend of mine on her FB page is having multiple heated discussions with various Doctor Who fans about well, a female Doctor Who. She's for it, of course, they aren't. Her discussions are reminiscent of the debates she had regarding Hillary and Trump.

She's a great debater. But people are...stubborn. Her best point was this Original Creator told BBC to cast Woman as Doctor in 1986.

Here's a link to an interesting article in The Mary Sue about negative female reactions to Doctor Who. And how ingrained misogyny is in our culture. I know it is, I've read a lot of romance novels and literary novels by female writers...and oh dear. Also, notably, I know a lot of men who are happy with Doctor Who being a Woman, voted for Hillary, and loved Wonder Woman, and a lot of women who need well a strong male lead and can't handle powerful women. I saw it in the Buffy fandom, Doctor Who fandom in regards to River Song, and Battle Star Galatica fandom in regards to Starbuck.

2. What I just finished reading?

King's Rising - The Captive Prince Part III and The Summer Palace by CS Pascat. Both were okay. Kings Rising was better. Summer Palace sort of works as a fanservice epilogue. Lots of boring sex, not a lot of story. I'd skip Summer Palace and just end with King's Rising.


What I'm reading now?

Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson -- hmmm, apparently I'm on an initial kick.

This is fantasy, told in a fairy-tale style, with a romance at the center of it, at least for the first two books. The later three in the series apparently focus more on the battles and conflict apparently.

Not sure I'll make it that far. The writing style is not exactly captivating me. I'm having issues with how the writer perceives gender. Also she's very conventional, as is her story. It follows the established tropes.

That said, she says some interesting things about our culture, via fantasy, and is an excellent world-builder. From a thematic, world-building, and plot perspective, she's pretty good, somewhere in line with CS Lewis. And her style is in some respects similar to Anne McCaffrey. (I don't like Anne McCaffrey's writing style now, which is odd. I recently tried to re-read her Dragon Rider's of Pern series and gave up mid-way through. I have a feeling that I'd react the same way to CS Lewis. I loved both as a child, but now certain aspects of their writing and how they viewed gender, get on my nerves.)

I'm admittedly a little obsessed with gender issues at the moment. There's a reason for that -- points at current President, and last year's election.

3. Claws

Made it through five episodes of this series on "On Demand". (Adam Ruins the World -- almost ruined the episodes. He kept popping up in the commercial breaks -- which is every fifteen minutes for On Demand. And I kept muting him, because I cannot abide that man's voice. It's the human equivalent of nails on chalk board. Seriously, people, watch Bill Nye Science Guy instead of Adam. His show is on TruTV. The US has more television networks than it requires. I don't know, I think 1000 is a bit much, don't you?) BTW, the later episodes (of CLAWS not Adam) are really good. You sort of have to get past the introductory stuff...or I did. Actually this is true of most television shows. I rarely get hooked with the first episode. And when I do, the show tends to lose me after the third one.

I loved the fifth episode. Although, I feel a little guilty for loving it. It's hilarious in places.
There's this scene where ...you sort of have to see it for yourself. Too hard to explain. Oh and a great dance sequence to Lady Marmalade.

It also has a lovely twist, that had me giggling.

The series reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad -- except with a John Waters flair.

4. Struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I think I may have to go off fruit. Broke out in hives after having a dish of berries, truwhip cream and a little ice cream. Had the same thing last night, no issues. Not sure why I had a reaction tonight.

Super promises he'll paint the living room soon. Just hasn't happened yet. I'm waiting for it to get painted prior to doing anything else with it. I want a table so I can paint. I miss painting. I watercolor, not oil paint or not with acrylics. Although I have painted with acrylics in the past. Taught myself in my twenties. Just have had more watercolor courses and I'm more comfortable with the medium.

Considering taking another class -- but it meets on the upper East Side, and is at 6PM after work, and I just don't know if I can get there in time and if it's doable.

At loose ends. Want to do something, just not sure what. I want to paint, but do I really want to take a class? I need a table. I can't paint on my lap or the floor effectively. And I tend to spill things, so... Also, I have a bad back.

Also struggling with my novel. I don't really know why.
shadowkat: (Default)
Finally got around to watching Claws on Demand. (The problem with On Demand is you can't fast forward over the commercials, and I binge watched the first four episodes. At some point, I got hooked on it, because I was willing to put up with the extremely annoying "Adam Ruins the World" commercial breaks. I don't know, I think I'd have preferred watching this on Amazon Prime. The commercial breaks are annoying.)

Anyhow, Claws is sort of a female version of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul", except the protagonist is more sympathetic and likable. It's a bit over the top in places, and reminds me a great deal of the Carl Hiaasen novels that I'd read several years ago. Hiaasen sort of is Florida's answer to Elmore Leonard. With quirky characters, a noirish setting, and an absurdist somewhat black sense of humor.

Took me a little while to get into it, but, after awhile, I began to fall for the female characters. (The only weakness in the series is the male characters...who, well, to be fair that's the opposite of the weakness in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, which are the female characters. So I found this sort of a breath of fresh air in that regard. It's nice to female centric series in this genre finally.)

The story is about a nail salon owner in a Southern Florida strip mall, who is laundering money for the Dixie Mafia. Desna dreams of owning a nice big nail salon, and then a franchise. Having a nice place. And getting out from under the mob boss who has her by the purse strings. Along with Desna, big black and beautiful, are her gals, who are a bit of a family within the salon. Polly, portrayed by Carrie Preston, has just gotten out of prison and is con artist. Jenny is big and blond, married to one of the Mob boss's sons, and is trying to keep her husband out of the mob. Quiet Anne is a lesbian, and Hispanic. Virgina, Ginny Lock, is the new gal, who is Asian, and makes the colossal mistake of sleeping with the Mob Boss's older son, who Desna is also sleeping with.

The Mob Boss is portrayed by Dean Norris, who was Hank on Breaking Bad. And Harold Perrineau from "Lost" portrays Dean, Desna's autistic brother, who is a bit of savant, but with a mind of a child.

After a while, I started to fall for Desna and root for her to achieve her dream, no matter how impossible it seems. All of these women feel stuck and are trying desperately to get unstuck. (Although I think if they found a way to get rid of Uncle Daddy, Dean Norris' mob boss, that might help.)

It is over-the-top in places, and crude in others...similar to John Waters style of humor or Jonathan Demme. But the characterizations, plotting and world are rather well done.

The only problem is to get caught up, you have to watch it on demand and put up with that Annoying Adam Ruins the World commercials. However, new episodes are on TNT on Sunday at 9PM. If you liked Breaking Bad, Cybil, Absolutely Fabulous, or series similar to that, or say Weeds, you should try this. Actually think Breaking Bad meets Absolutely Fabulous and Weeds by way of John Waters and Carl Hiaasen.

I've decided to add it to my DVR recording. Because now I'm hooked and want to know if the ladies survive Uncle Daddy and manage to achieve their dreams.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Cliff Hangers Are Ruining the Golden Age of Television

Although, actually, I think it's more than just cliff-hangers. But, the writer addresses something that's been bugging me for some time now -- the need for television serials to have "shock value" twist or "big plot twists" often at the expense of character and plot, just to grab ratings. It's a current phenomenon. As in post 2000. I don't remember seeing it as much pre-2000.

As seasons advance, a fantastic series can get indefensibly artificial, running on fumes and cliffhangers, until “Who will die?” is the main reason to watch. Part of artistry is to elicit an emotional response; but to elicit and elicit (and elicit) is commercialism.

Agonizing is not the same as being left in suspense, and a constant state of cliffhanger suspense gets boring. For example, the point of “House of Cards” — created after Netflix collected and analyzed subscriber data, then synthesized our tastes to guarantee our obsession — has become to watch more of “House of Cards,” a point I’ve taken to heart.

So it’s the golden age of television with an asterisk. Now TV can be surveyed and engineered. Now it’s art by algorithm, with artistry going with the whim of data analytics and gimmicks.

I wonder if, in some way, we’ve spoiled our appetite for artistry.

Maybe artistry has gone down and cliffhangers have skyrocketed because art gets us out of the house. Art puts us more in touch with life outside and doesn’t compel us with cosmic force to actively submit, to alternate between trance and withdrawal, between replenishment and exhaustion.

But streaming as a medium and cliffhangers as a tool haven’t turned us into fanatics. Rather, it’s the behavior and attitude toward our lives that media consumption has been orchestrated to encourage. Bingeing, aided by cliffhangers, sells engagement by way of disengaging; together they make a sport of spectatorship.

Most of us can’t stand an open narrative loop, so we persevere and sprint back to our devices, again and again. Cliffhangers deny us resolution and closure so that we may never find peace, may not turn off the machine, may continually dissolve into some violent or exotic disaster involving a volcano.


I think a lot of what the critic states is true, and she's seen more television shows than I have. What I know is that over time, I've become underwhelmed and almost immune to the shocking plot twist. In some cases, such as Scandal and Grey's I find myself waiting for it.

Nashville has started to impress me a little by swinging away from it, well for the most part.
There was that one shocking plot twist...the big character death. Reminiscent of The Good Wife's big character death, except the Good Wife did a better job of keeping theirs a secret.

Also, big character deaths happen a lot in television serials, due to the actors pesky habit of wanting to leave the television serial before it has completed its run. The writers aren't left with a lot of options. Because with few exceptions, actors don't tend to tell them years in advance, so much as weeks in advance. It's sort of like giving two weeks notice for a job your leaving, except your job is a major television show and you play one of the major characters or leads. Whoops.

This is why I don't get that angry at the writers. Usually, I just think, damn, I liked that character. Sometimes it is story dictated, but in the cases of Grey's Anatomy, the Good Wife, and Nashville, really not.

But the cliffhanger ending, particularly at the end of a season arc, or even worse as a series finale, is irritating. Joss Whedon did it with several of his television series. Granted he wasn't given a lot of choices, since the network ended his series before he was ready.

You'd think television writers would pre-plan for the eventuality of cancellation and just write a season ender that can double as a series ender. Sort of like what Once Upon a Time did.

But going back to the above article? This is why a lot of people, such as my parents, prefer episodic television series which can't be easily binged, and are wrapped up in one or two episodes, tops.
Less commitment of time and energy.

I'm admittedly addicted to the cliff-hanger format. I like binge-watching. TV turns off my busy brain effectively. So too does reading a book. Which is why I love both pursuits. Writing also keeps the busy brain active.

But, I have fallen into the trap of...just one more episode, and I'll stop. I did that with Sense 8 and Iron Fist. And Iron Fist wasn't even that good, but...I thought, just one more episode then I'll stop... eight hours later, frigging hell, where'd the weekend go!!!

I think the writer has a point about there being a sort of artistry in the slow build, in forgoing the cliffhanger. Cliffhangers used to be associated with pulpier fare such as those Saturday Maintainees way back when, before I was born, which Spielberg and Lucas paid homage to with Indiana Jones. Or daytime soap operas, which always ended on a cliff-hanger on Friday, leaving the audience sputtering over the weekend. Not so much any more -- due to pre-emptions.

But with the insane amount of cultural media available, audience's are less patient. So the slower build or more artistic series are often left by the wayside. I know I'm guilty of this, I didn't have the patience for Rectified or Left-Overs. Preferring faster paced and pulpier fare. But this too has to a degree always been the case. Many of us worker bees want the thrill ride, the roller-coaster, and then the ability to let it go. The appeal of the commuter fast paced novel to the literary work of art.

Although, then again...whose to say what is art? Or what moves us? Or informs us? I no longer know.
I've read more books than I can count or even remember, and I've gained something from them all, along with television series, of which I've seen just about as many. Some stay with me, some don't.
I can't really say any more which is quality and which isn't for certain. So much as I think it is in the eye of the beholder.

I am critical of things I love. I am trying to be less so. Since I've noticed it doesn't make me happy always. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1.) Just finished watching the two episode season premiere of the new TNT series Will which airs at 9/10 pm on I think, Monday nights.

It's surprisingly good. If you enjoy Shakespeare, are interested in theater and how it is created, love poetry slams, and ahem, pretty men, not to mention a few pretty and strong women, this is the show for you. (It does, however, feel a bit like I'm watching Shakespeare in Love meets the Protestant Inquisition by way of Slings and Arrows. With a 1980s British Pop Rock soundtrack. The Clash's London Calling was playing in the background. Not that I mind, I happen to like the Clash.)

"Will" takes place in Elizabethan England, and follows the escapades of a young William Shakespeare who has journeyed to London to make his fortune as a playwright, against his family's wishes. He's married to Anne Hathaway, with three children, and is Catholic. With a job as a glove maker. His devout parents want him to take a message to his cousin, a Catholic rebel, Robert Sutcliff, placing his own life in danger in the process. So off he goes, and well the message doesn't get to Sutcliff because a young street kid, slashes his hand and steals it. The kid hopes to sell it to Tomkins, one of her Majesty's agents, to save olderhis sister from a brothel. Tompkins is a nasty piece of work, a Cromwellian Protestant, who tortures people for being Catholics, instead of the true Protestant faith.

Will is torn between two worlds, his duty as a Catholic and to his wife and family, and his art and dreams of being a successful playwright. His wife is less than enthusiastic regarding his artistic dreams, and wishes he'd settle down as a tailor and support the family. But in London he's found a tribe of like-minded spirits, and in Christopher Marlow, a tempting devil.

This sounds more hokey than it actually is. Because all of the above is sort of in the background. Front and center is the Burbidge theater troop's struggle to become successful and avoid bankruptcy.
It also serves as the conflict in Shakespeare, who is guilt-ridden for doing what he feels driven to do. At one he tells Marlow that what he most wants is freedom. Marlow's response is to gleefully kiss him.
Read more... )

2. Update on my bathroom ceiling. After a difficult work day, in which various co-workers half convinced me that no work would get done on my ceiling this weekend and I should be hunting a way out of my lease...I came home to a pleasant surprise, my super had come in and completed his work on my ceiling patching it up and scraping away the peeling paint. He also patched up the living wall a bit and scraped away the bubbled and peeling paint. Readying it for a new paint job.

Silly co-workers.

Note to self - stop venting about things at work. It's hard, there's a limited amount of things I can discuss with various co-workers.

3. Reading this funky fantasy series, that's won all sorts of romantic fantasy awards, but has a rather juvenile writing style -- in that it reminds me a bit too much of stuff that I wrote when I was 17. Except my writing was a little less hyperbolic. However, the world building is excellent, and the detail is consistent and logical. It also builds plot. So...not sure what to make of it.
shadowkat: (Default)
Well, somewhat concerned about the growing water stains on my ceiling above the tv and down the wall, I decided to move the tv down a bit. So now, my armchair is against my far wall, across from the windows, the tv just slightly to the right of the windows, and the space beneath the leakage empty.
If it does drip, it will only damage the floor and nothing else.

As an aside, I bought renters insurance on Friday.

Seriously, I resign my lease for two years...about four weeks ago. And all these irritating problems pop up. I have extension cords across my kitchen floor, because the outlets closest to the stove and fridge fritzed out. No idea why. They are new outlets.

In other news, picked up a TV Guild for the Sci-Fi Preview, and...ghod, there are a lot of television series. Seriously there is literally something for everyone. It's gotten so that if the television series doesn't hold my attention within the first fifteen minutes, I'm gone. Also, if it premiered already elsewhere, and was canceled before it could wrap up its storyline, I don't watch any longer.
(Learned my lesson with Sense8. It's too bloody painful. Also Sense8 is getting a two hour wrap-up movie due to the outcry.)

BTW -- Better Call Saul got renewed. But Downward Dog and Girlboss were cancelled out of the box. Read more... )

For Supernatural Fans? Apparently the YA author SE Hinton, who wrote all those young boy ganster wannabe books, starting with the Outsiders and ending with Rumble Fish...is a huge fan of the series. Read more... )

TV Shows premiering in July and August, in case you find yourself bored, and with nothing better to do with your time but binge on television shows:

Read more... )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR WHO STORY RANKED FROM BEST TO WORST for the DW fans on my reading list.

Reading through it, I was reminded of why I found the series far too scary to watch when I was eight in the 1970s. It also reminds me a great deal of two sci-fi anthology US programs in the 1960s and 70s, which were reprised briefly, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone. I liked Twilight Zone better -- it was psychological horror, while Outer Limits was basically monsters came to eat you from outer space.

The 1950s in the US seemed to spawn a lot of scary sci-fi movies. I think most if not all of them were allegories of the fear people had of the Other, or Communism. We'd just come off of a brutal war, where no one was necessarily a good guy. (If you disagree, go google the Battle of Dresden and read Slaughter-House Five. Also google the US internment camps for Japanese Americans, and what happened with the two atomic bombs.) Anyhow, WWII spawned US and Japanese sci-fi horror films. Our fear of nuclear warfare, communism, nazism, fascism...all show up in those, along with Doctor Who.

Anyhow, it's hard for me to quibble with the rankings, I only saw a smattering of the episodes. Agree with Blink, Midnight, Listen, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Day of the Doctor, The Doctor's Wife...have never really understood the appeal of the Vincent Van Gough episode and the Girl in the Fire Place, but that's just me. Personally I preferred The Impossible Astronaut and A Good Man Goes to War, along with Family of Blood and The Human Condition.

2. Television Shows to Binge Watch.

Please name a television show that you recommend binge watching this summer, list the channel and where to find it. I'm looking for recommendations.

Right now considering Orange is the New Black, Fortitude, Bosch, Big Little Lies,
American Gods.

3. What are the Best Television Adaptations of Books?

Hmmm...the best one that I've seen, and actually read the book, was A&E's adaptation of Pride & Prejudice starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It seemed to be the closest to the book, with a few interesting tweaks here and there. Such as Darcy taking a dip in his estate's lake only to find himself running into Elizabeth and her Aunt and Uncle.

I didn't like Poldark take 2 that much. But that may be a mood thing. And I didn't read the book.

The Expanse did a rather decent job with Leviathan Wakes, the first in that series. I haven't read the others yet.

I think it is hard to do a decent book adaptation. I liked The Night Manager, but again have not read the book. Le Carr gives me a headache, I can only watch the adaptations of his work. His books...feel a bit like trudging through quicksand.
(I admit I was more of a Ludlum and Fleming fan, and Helen McInnes, who were less realistic but more fun.)

The Thorn Birds was a good adaptation of that book, I must admit. Collen McCullough's Australian epic actually was my favorite of that specific genre.

Oh, and the best horror novel adaptation was Harvest Home (by Tom Tyron) which was adapted in the 1970s.

4. Brings me to my next question which books would you like to see adapted into a television series?

I can tell you this much, none that are currently being adapted. The one's I want adapted aren't popular enough, apparently, to be adapted.

Would love to see all the Shakespearean plays adapted. That would be cool. Do modern adaptations!

Also love to see His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman adapted into a television series. I think it would work better for television than film.

And The Chronicles of Lymond by Dorothy Dunnett starring Tom Hiddleston in the lead role.

Would not mind it if they adapted the Vicky Bliss mysteries.

Other books? The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Sparrow/Children of God by Maria Doria Russell. The Kim Harrison - Rachel Morgan series, about a bounty hunter who discovers she's a demon. Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

Sci-Fi series? Hmmm....they don't tend to do a good job with sci-fi book adaptations.
Although I haven't seen Man in the High Castle. I did not like what they did with Dune or the Wizard of Earthsea.

See? Too off the beaten path. They'd never do them.

5. Any reboots?

Can't think of any. They always reboot shows that really don't need to be rebooted.

What they should do is continue series that left us with a cliff-hanger. Sort of a wrap-up of that series. Or something.
shadowkat: (Default)
EW has a list of Television Shows currently being adapted or have been adapted from best-selling literary works (or pseudo-literary works) to air sometime in the near future.

1. The Nix -- developed by JJ Abrhams and Meryl Streep (which is an odd pairing)
about a videogame obsessed professor and his mother.

2. My Brilliant Friend -- Elena Ferrante - adapted by Severio Costanzo with Jennifer Schuur. Casting has started with Naples locals. (Tried to get into the book, couldn't. Don't like the writing style. But it may be a good series. About two friends who go different ways, and the fractures in their friendship.) To air on HBO.

3. Alias Grace -- Margaret Atwood -- about a 19th Century servant accused of murdering her employers. (I don't know, I don't like Atwood. She tends to make want to throw her books against the wall. I always get angry at her male characters, and often female ones. I think there's something in her writing that triggers rage in me? It's why I've been leery of watching the television adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. I could barely make through the movie, and did not make it through the book.) -- Netflix -- Fall 2017, being adapted by Sarah Polley with Mary Harron (American Psycho) directing.

4. Dietland by Sarai Walker -- adapted by Marti Noxon for AMC. It's about a 300 pound woman named Plum who gets involved with a guerilla feminist group.

5. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, adapted by Kate Sinclair and John Brownlow. BBC and PBS co-produced. 17th Century Holland, historical drama. I've heard about it, actually I think my mother read it and told me the story, but I don't remember what it is about.

6. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which is being adapted by Marti Noxon and Gillian Flynn into a limited series for HBO in 2018. Jean-Marc Vallee directs. Stars Amy Adams, Chris Messina, and Patricia Clarkson. (I don't like Gillian Flynn's writing or this genre, which I find misanthropic and also triggers me. So I don't know about this. I did not like the film, Gone Girl. Found it predictable and cliche.)

7. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) -- adapted by BBC One to air on HBO in the US. Apparently they are adapting the entire series of Coromoran Strike novels, with each one getting its own miniseries. Rowling is Executive Producer.
(I haven't read her mystery novels or anything but the Harry Potter. But it is interesting that everything she writes is adapted into a series and is a best-seller, isn't it?)

8. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawely by Hannah Tinti -- adapted by Jerz Butterworth, Matt Reeves and Michael Costigan (about how a man was shot and survived).

9. Swing Time - Zadie Smith -- adapted by Zadie Smith and her husband Nick Laird.

10. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead -- adapted/directed by Moonlight's Barry Jenkins, for Amazon. (This is about two people who escape through the underground railroad...and it doesn't end happily, apparently.)

11. You by Caroline Kepnes...adapted by Greg Berlanti (it's about a bookstore clerk turned stalker -- seriously? I think I'll skip.)

12. Today will be Different by Maria Semple -- adapted by Semple. Her first book, Where'd You Go Bernadette is being adapted into a film by Richard Linklater. To air on HBO. Starring Julia Roberts, who is also producing.

Hmm. I may need to get HBO Now on Streaming. Too many frigging things on HBO. (Although, I'm not sure about Marti Noxon, I've come to realize that I don't like her writing for some reason. Most of her episodes of Buffy and other series that I know she's written for, including UnReal did not work for me. She's obsessed with negative female relationships. And there's an underlying cruelty in her writing, or nastiness that turns me off. I don't know that may just be a reaction to the satire UnReal, which I tried and had to give up on. I am however curious about Semple's series, she was one of the writers for Arrested Development. And a few of the other one's listed such as The Minaturist.)

While I'd love to have my novel adapted, part of me is rather glad it's below the radar and never will be.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
While I loved the series Sense8 as a whole, I think I preferred Season 1 to Season 2, it was better structured and the season finale was less busy and less rushed. I felt the first season to be tighter than the second, and that it wandered less. The stories seemed to interconnect more, and by the end of it, each character's arc was completed with a sort of open feeling of more to come. But it could have ended there, without feeling too jarring.

Season2....oh dear. It has moments of brilliance, but it is a bit of jangled mess at the end. I agree a great deal with the AV Club review of the finale episode, found HERE. The final two episodes felt more like a mid-season episodes than a season finale, and left the audience with more questions than answers, and sense of being left with a major cliff-hanger. I almost wish I'd stopped with S1, although there are bits in S2 that I'm rather glad I saw, and at least four of the eight characters story-arcs are to some degree completed.

Spoilers for Sense8 )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
Just finished Season 1 of Sense8 and was blown away by how well written, acted, and produced this show truly is. It may well be the best sci-fi and/or superhero series that I've seen on television. By far the most innovative, not to mention positive.

Why didn't you tell me about this? No, wait you did. I ignored you. Hardly your fault.

Yes, it's far from perfect, the villain (Mr. Whispers) is a bit of a cliche and I keep wishing someone would just kill him off so we can go about our business. The conspiracy plot with the evil government funded corporation, I could do without. Because that's in every show to date, and hello, overdone. I actually think the show would have worked better without that.

Backing up a bit...Sense8 is a story by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski. The Wachowski's are transgender and were the same team that did The Matrix series. J. Michael Stracznski did Babylon5, possibly the tightest sci-fi series, because he plotted it out ahead of time. Which is why this ambitious piece of art works - because Stracznski knows how to build character and multiple plot threads that connect with each other. He's a planner.

Anyhow, the story is about eight people who have the gift/curse of being able to share thoughts, abilities and bodies with each other. They can visit each other, share emotions and feelings and senses, and even occupy each other's bodies utilizing each other's skills or aiding each other, when someone needs help. There are eight of them, and they are intricately connected by spirit, heart and mind.

1, Sun - Asian Female, South Korea, Martial Artist, Business specialist, lost her mother to cancer.
2. Leto - Hispanic Male (incredibly hot), Mexico City, Top-rated action movie star/romantic hero, gay, and in the closet. Lies for a living. In love with Herandez.
3. Will - White Male - Chicago, Cop.
4. Riley - White Female - Iceland/London, DJ
5. Naomi - White Female (transgendered from male), lesbian romance with Almamita (whose black), hacker extraordinaire.
6. Kalia, Indian, Female, Mombai, India, chemist, struggling with her upcoming marriage to Raj.
7. Wolfgang, German, White Male, Gangster, fighter/killer,
8. Van Dam - Nairobi - Kenya, Black Male, driver, struggling with gansters to get medicine for sick mother.

I loved all eight characters, which is rare, and the people they loved and cared for in their lives. (The only characters I didn't like, I'm not supposed to.) Usually there's at least one main character I don't like, and that's not the case here.

Sensie are grouped in clusters, and there eight in a cluster, who can share emotions, sense each other. They are an advanced form of human. There are the humans who can no longer feel empathy or feel for others, and as a result can kill without remorse and cause pain, and those who can feel connection with others, and cannot.

This has a large caste. And jumps from various places around the globe.

There's some beautifully moving moments within it...one in which Riley is listening to her father's concert in Iceland, and it triggers a flashback of when she was born, which triggers everyone else in her cluster to remember their births. Another moment in which the German has to get up to sing karakoke in front of people and is terrified, so they all sing the song with him, giving him the support to do it. And get past the negative flashback.

In one scene...Sun must make the difficult decision on whether to take the blame for something her brother has done, which would put her in prison. She discusses this with two of her cluster, Riley and Van Damn...and both share their own versions of similarly difficult decisions.

Each problem is resolved collaboratively, people aren't alone, and the underlying message is love and kindness can still and often does triumph in a painful, nasty world run by people who are dead inside. In a way, much like the Matrix before it. Also like the Matrix, it is a scathing critique of our society.

It's hard to describe, because it really should not work, but somehow it does. Each story building and flowing into the next. Each character building and supporting the next character and informing them. Also watching it is a bit like watching five different genre television series at the same time. One a gangster movie, one a Bollywood film, one a London grunge film, one an American cop film, etc. It's amazing that it works at all. (Clearly it didn't for everyone or it would have done better.)

Also there's some great throw-away lines that resonate long after the screen grows dark...with a soundtrack that sticks with me.

And amongst the many themes...these stick out...

* Be careful with choices, if we do not make the choice, the choice will often make us.
* Worse than losing your career or all you worked for, is continuing to not let yourself be who you are, to live that lie.

Season 1? Overall rating? A solid A.

Best television series I've seen in ages. I'm told S2 is better, hard to imagine.
shadowkat: (Default)
Finally finished watching The Crown Season 1, which is about Queen Elizabeth II's reign from her marriage, her coronation, through her sister, Princess' Margaret's brief and somewhat tragic broken engagement to Captain Townsend.

The mini-series by Stephen Daldry is extremely good. I have no idea how accurate it is to the actual events.

It is however an interesting artistic portrait of Britain and The Crown during this time period -- there's an episode that sort of describes the intent of the series, through an analogy of sorts. Which I didn't pick up on until I began to write this review.
Spoilers, but it's a historical, so you already know them )
shadowkat: (Default)
1. There's an horror/sci-fi novel out there entitled Amish Vampires in Space and according to smartbitches its not that bad and not a parody.

The plot seems to be about a transport crew that picks up a cryogenically frozen scientist and her wrecked lab along with a bunch of Amish colonists, out in the reaches of space. One of the crew members fiddles about in the scientist's lab and gets bitten by something -- which turns him into a vampire. He feeds on the livestock and most of the passengers and crew, until before you know it -- you have Amish Vampires in Space.

LOL!

2. I couldn't think any more or focus on anything or listen to anyone by the end of the work day. Felt a bit like I'd been hit by a Mac Truck. So nixed going to the Psychology Lecture - entitled Mad World. (I honestly didn't care, I wanted to go home and be a vegetable.)

Tried to write some during downtime, but brain fog made it difficult. Haven't been sleeping well, which may be part of it. Don't know.

3. Current state of politics is confusing and headache inducing, so I've been ignoring it for the most part.

eh UK and US politics )

3. Riverdale

Well, the season finale surprised me. The resolution of the Jason Blossom mystery didn't, I sort of figured out who killed him some time ago. Although they did plant a few clever red-herrings.

The show is sort of a hybrid of various genres, noir, mystery, teen soap, and a bit of the Surreal Twin Peaks/Graphic novel. The parents or adults are the villains in the piece.
With their kids navigating the stormy waters of their secrets.

I'm sticking with it. Rather enjoyed it. Doesn't require that much attention, I like the characters, and find their subversion of the bad trope interesting. Jughead is the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, but he's wickedly bright, not strong or tough at all, and a bit of a nerd, who loves to sit in a corner and write. A sensitive soul. And slight of build. Betty Cooper is the quintessential good girl next door, except she has a dark side, and her own secrets.

None of the kids look like kids of course. They all look like they are in their 20s. I think Stranger Things might be the only television series I've seen that employs actual teens.

4.) I have written 279 pages and 147,700 words on my novel to date. Which could prove problematic when I decide to publish it. If I publish it. At this rate, it may well clock in at a little over 350 or 400 pages and 199,000 words or thereabouts. I tend to write books about that length.

I am not a short story writer. And, while I dabbled with fanfic, I find it difficult to write.

somewhat lengthy discussion of writing fanfic, writing in general )
shadowkat: (Default)
Seen two episodes of this series now...and, it's definitely interesting. Reminds me a great deal of the tv series Reign except not as melodramatic and less fantastical elements. Actually so far there are no fantastical elements, it's basically a continuation of Shakespeare, with British Shakespearean accents. And dastardly dealings aplenty.

To date?

* a beheading
* fork through a hand
* a sex scene with a whore...although fairly tame, considering ABC not HBO
* a corpse desecrated
* and a man pushed to his death.

Also lots of strategizing and intrigue. I rather like Grant Bowler of Defiance in this. And ASH is doing a lovely job of playing someone who is...deceptively wimpy, when in truth he's rather cold-blooded.

[Interrupted by a very loud cat fight outside my window. Can't see the cats, but can hear them.]

Also the actress playing Rosalind...is very good. I'm also weirdly intrigued by the actor playing Paris, who did a nice job of pretending to be in excruciating pain.

spoilers )

This isn't great, but it's sort of fun. And I like the political maneuvering.

In other news...I've been watching General Hospital (which yes is daytime soap, I like to discuss it with my mom over the phone -- it gives us something else to talk about) for a while now, and...admittedly, it is a soap opera, and kids age weirdly on soap operas...you'd think the writer's would have some sense of continuity. But no.

Jossylyn Jacks was born in 2009
Spencer Cassadine was born in the 2006
Emma Drake was born in 2007
Jake Spencer was born in 2007
Cameron Spencer was born in 2004


Okay, now guess who is the oldest kid on screen right now?

ages of kids now )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. Okay, I can't do a poll, because no paid account, but I'm curious...how many people who watch Doctor Who see it as a kid's show? And do your kids, assuming you have any, watch it? I'm particularly interested in the non-Brits. Because it's apparently marketed as a kid's show in Great Britain. But it isn't here. (It's shown at 9 pm here on Saturday nights. Not exactly what I think of as the prime kid-viewing hour.)

2. What is everyone watching? Anything interesting?

3.Sense8 got cancelled. Is it worth watching now that it is cancelled? Or will it irritate me because it ended on a cliff-hanger? What else on Netflix, Amazon Prime is worth checking out?

So far Bosch, Sense8, and Iron Fist have been mentioned. Anyone seen the Woody Allen/Elaine Page series?

4. Has American Gods finished yet? I'm waiting to binge watch as a 7 day trial on Starz.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. Question: Are any television shows worthy of obsession?

Answer: Probably not. Doesn't keep me from obsessing about them, though. Or anyone else for that matter, apparently.

Read more... )

2. Question: What qualifies as kid fare and adult?

Answer: I've been wondering about this for a while now. I will go through the children's shelves in book stores, and while much of the books on the shelves are obviously kid's fare, such as Goodnight, Moon. Other's I wonder about from time to time. Peter Rabbit has some disturbing bits in it. As does The Hobbit and Harry Potter, and Twilight.

Read more... )

3. Television Reviews well sort of...

* Doctor Who - The Lie of the Land

Don't have a great deal to say about this episode. It was okay. I thought it was better than last week's episode, less obvious plot holes. But I also felt like I've been there done that...which was the problem with this particular arc, well amongst other things.

I did like some things about it, which are spoilery, so beneath the cut:

spoilers )

* Riverdale

Two episodes left. I'm enjoying the series. It's beautifully shot and has an amazing color scheme. The production, set design, cinematographer, editors, makeup and costumes are doing a great job. The only weak points are well, the direction and writing...which is rather limp. But I'm enjoying it.

It has a graphic novel feel to it. Jughead is my favorite character. The actor is doing a great job...emoting. And I love Skeet Ullrich as Jug's dad "FP". Molly Ringwald, who plays Archie's mom, looks weird. Has she done botox or plastic surgery? Her face is oddly stiff and lop-sided. It's admittedly odd to see her as a Mom, but then it is also odd to see Luke Perry (who played Buffy's high school boyfriend Pike in the Buffy movie) as a Dad, and Ringwald's hubby.

I like the tone of the series and find it captivating enough to stick with.

*Still Star-Crossed

Well, I'm not sure it's very good, but it is definitely intriguing. (Reminds me a bit of Reign actually in quality - so more a CW series than an ABC series...). But it is intriguing enough to hold my interest at any rate. It focuses on the twenty-somethings in the cast. But I like Grant Bowler's turn as Montague. Head, I'm on the fence about at the moment. The casting is the most diverse and colorblind that I've ever seen. They have interracial couples all over the place and aren't blinking an eye. Romeo is black, with a white father, white cousin, and in love with white Juliet, who has black cousins. It's startling because a mere ten years ago, such a thing was...well rarely done.

Don't get me wrong, I love it. But it surprised me a little. Time was, the networks would have prohibited it. And this is on a major network - ABC.

The first episode pretty much retells the Rome and Juliet storyline, except from Benvolo (Romeo's confidante) and Rosalind's (Juliet's confident) perspectives.

And it changes a few things from the Shakespearean version which I found intriguing.

spoilers )

The only drawback? It feels like a CW teen show. Not that this is a huge problem. But ...I wish it focused more on the older characters.

* Nashville

Hmmm, I'm really enjoying the new writers of this series. The show's quality has improved. Also certain storylines have opened up. It's not predictable and has surprised me time and again. Completely different show than the past several years. Instead of a soapy melodrama about the music industry, it's become a relatable drama about the country music industry.

There are some...sentimental moments, but nothing too manipulative and overall it worked.
spoilers )

Riverdale

Feb. 8th, 2017 10:08 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
Too many tv shows, plus Netflix and Amazon, not enough time...

Anyhow, watched the premiere of Riverdale. What is Riverdale about, well...it's


Twin Peaks




Meets..

Archie Comics and Josie and the Pussycats (which did a bunch of cartoons in the 1960s, that I watched as a kid in the 1970s, and have a vague memory of..., the comics, I never read.)









I kid you now, it literally is Twin Peaks meets Archie Comics. We have all the kids from Archie Comics transposed into Twin Peaks.

So far, sort of entertaining. Held my attention. Few things do these days. Although Archie's makeup is distracting me. The makeup artist is overdoing the furrowed brow and heavy eyebrows. Also, I can tell they died the actors hair bright red. Other than that, I am entertained, particularly by a 50 something Luke Perry and Madchen Amick.







Have to say, Riverdale improves on the 1960 era Archie cartoons. And the mash up sort of works. Not perfect, by a long shot, a bit too quippy in places, and I'm not sure certain things quite work.
But it does for the most part avoid cliche, and the Betty/Archie/Veronica love triangle is sort of killed before it starts. Archie's too busy swooning over and banging his music teacher to care.
Although Veronica obviously intrigues him.

The Twin Peaks twist on each character is rather intriguing. Although, I more or less figured out the plot points before they happened, it did have a few nice surprises here and there. Betty's mother, who is obsessed with perfection and somewhat bullying. And Veronica's poor little rich girl, who Dad is facing embezzlement charges. While Jughead narrates the affair, typing away on a computer at Pops. Meanwhile Josie and Pussycats are an African-American Power Trio Band, with a statement, also the daughter of the mayor. Reggie is a bit of an asshole football player, and Moose - in the closet, homosexual, involved with the Sheriff's son, whose Betty's best bud. Meanwhile there's a dead body in the river, this round a boy's -- a nice change of pace that. And ...it appears, his sultry twin sister did it. OR did she? That's the kids, the parents have their own...issues.


There's a bit of Beverly Hills 90210 and the O/C thrown in there for good measure. But mostly it's just Twin Peaks meets Archie Comics.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1. For my emotional, physical and mental health and well-being, I've decided to stop discussing and reading about political issues on social media. (Will most likely read them in the NY Times or via political action emails or tweets that have been pre-set.) Read more... )

2. Finished watching the first three episodes of Victoria -- was quite pleased with it. Granted, probably not a good idea to watch it right after watching the superior The Crown. But if you haven't watched the Crown in a while, it improves. I'd advise watching Victoria first and saving the Crown til later. The Crown is more in the style of say, Wolf Hall? While "Victoria" is more in the style of "Downton Abbey" or "Poldark". It's a tad on the melodramatic side, so, if melodrama bugs you, and you don't like soap opera, this may not be your thing. I'm enjoying it, but I also tend to enjoy melodrama and soap operas. (I just despise sentimentality and preachiness, which this doesn't fall into.) Jenna Coleman grew on me, and I actually rather like her in the role, as does Tom Hughes as Albert, who is rather compelling. My mother has a crush on him, and I'm beginning to join her. Although I've always been a fan of Rufus Sewall, and love Lord Melbourn, I knew going in there was no way Victoria and Melbourne would end up together. And he'll most likely be gone by the end of the second season if not before. (Apparently there are people shipping Melbourn and Victoria? Weird. Shipping against the narrative on dramatizations of actual historical people and events...is just plain masochistic. (Of course I always thought shipping against a fictional narrative was masochistic.) But that's even more so. You are torturing yourself for no reason. I think some people just like to torture themselves -- ie. masochistic.)

Anyhow, I'm enjoying it. In some ways it's a lot more fun than The Crown and less depressing.

3. Also finished watching the Winter Finale of Lucifer. Okay, how many finales does this show need? It had a fall finale, then a winter finale, and soon it will come back in the spring with a spring finale. Oh well, at least it's trying for closure, before going on hiatus for six - eight weeks. Makes it easier to sell DVDs or stream, I suspect.

Anyhow, I enjoyed the episode quite a bit and like where they are going with the series. They managed to surprise me in a good way. I was a bit worried about where they were going earlier in the season, but they jumped in another direction.

spoilers )

4. And I watched the season finale of Crazy Ex-Girl Friend -- which is one disturbing little satire. It really does lampoon our culture's concept of Romantic love. I'm starting to feel sorry for Rebecca Bunch's therapist. The woman has serious issues and her friends are enabling them.
What's disturbing about the series is...in an odd way, it pokes fun at mental illness. And, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. I've met people like Rebecca Bunch, hence the reason I'm on the fence about the show at the moment. She reminds me a bit too much of a friend that I broke up with in 2009, after 25 years of friendship. Because...she was exhibiting similar behavior patterns and it was starting to drive me crazy. There is a term for it -- Borderline Personality Disorder -- where the individual's self-esteem is so low that they require someone else to build it up. They are very charming,


I looked up Borderline Personality Disorder, and under the Free Diagnosis section, found this:

"Limitations of Self-Diagnosis
Self-diagnosis of this disorder is often inaccurate. Accurate diagnosis of this disorder requires assessment by a qualified practitioner trained in psychiatric diagnosis and evidence-based treatment.

However, if no such professional is available, our free computerized diagnosis is usually accurate when completed by an informant who knows the patient well. Computerized diagnosis is less accurate when done by patients (because they often lack insight)."

This made me laugh out loud, because a close friend ages ago, told me never to try and diagnose myself -- it would be inaccurate. Because we tend to generalize about ourselves and lack insight.
Sort of like looking up a diagnosis on a pain you feel in your side, and thinking, wait -- it must be appendicitis or gall bladder, when in actuality it's just gas? I had that happen once, I took a fibercon, and felt weird afterwards, all tingly, couldn't breath, and the nurse online thought I was having a heart-attack. It turned out to be an angina attack or gatrointestinal attack. It's so easy to misdiagnosis ourselves.

Anyhow, Rebecca Bunch exhibits all the signs of Borderline Personality Disorder, as did that friend I had. Which is why I find the series deeply disturbing. At the same time, I think it is a rather accurate social satire/critique of our culture.

But I keep watching it...not for the characters, or the jokes, but the song and dance numbers. Pretty much the same reason I stuck with Glee. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a musical.

That said...it did a surprising and rather twisty ending. All I can say is poor Joss Chen, not sure what he did to deserve Rebecca Bunch. major spoiler )

[Ow, ow, ow...note to self, do not stretch legs out in front of you with no bend in knee for lengthy periods of time while typing on lap-top, they will lock, cramp and hurt. Which is what my right leg is doing at the moment. Laptops can be bad for one's health, who knew?]

4. Grey's Anatomy -- still going strong, and heck a lot better written than some freshman serials. Actually it has improved in some respects since it started. The writing is sharper in places, there's more focus on minority characters and/or supporting. It's more of an ensemble and less of a soapy romance. They also are focusing on more complex issues. The opening episode of the Winter season was about three of the surgeons entering a female prison to operate on a 16 year old inmate having a baby. The girl was in the prison for 20 years to life, and in solitary to protect others. We didn't know why she was there, but her mother refused to see her, and it was clear she'd done something horrid. The episode did a good job of telling the story without preaching, or making judgements, and showing all sides. It was also one of the more realistic depictions of prisons that I've seen on television. (I used to visit one while working with the Kansas Defender Project in the 1990s). I was rather impressed.

The second episode did a good job of getting across hospital/work place politics and how it can interfere with the job.

5. Nashville -- now on CMT, and much improved from previous years. No longer a soap opera about the country music industry, it's more of an ensemble drama about the music industry, and is handling far more complex themes, without falling into cliche. I've been surprised by it. The new writing team is from Thirty-Something, and you can sort of tell the difference. It's less emotionally manipulative and plot-twisty. Better episode structure and more character driven.
Also, the music is more diversified. Less pop country, and more folk, and some gospel. One episode had five different sub-genres...which was impressive.

So if you gave up on this, it's greatly improved. Rayna is actually likable.
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 )
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