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 )
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. )
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