shadowkat: (Default)
2017-08-19 10:39 pm
Entry tags:

The Defenders...

Decided to take a break from the world today and binge-watched The Defenders. It's only eight episodes, so not that long.

In a nutshell? Unfortunately, it's not very good. Quite disappointing in fact. I agree with the reviews I've seen to date. They made a huge mistake in regards to Iron Fist being the centering focus. He's the least interesting and charismatic of the team. Although, will state, that the last three-four episodes weren't bad, and I quite enjoyed the last two episodes.

what I didn't like, spoilers )

What I did like, spoilers )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-08-18 09:24 pm

Conversations..

Woke up in a good mood, then alas I went to work and my mood slowly drifted downhill from there. Not helped by the weather. Whenever I went outside, I felt as if I was treading through water. The air was thick with perspiration and electricity...

1. This week, Sci-Fi fan Co-worker, the one who loans me books...which would be cool, except he likes to loan me books that have tiny print and he'd bought in the 1960s, so they make me sneeze...

Sci-Fi Co-worker aka RZ (short for Roger Zelzany fan): I saw the worst science fiction/fantasy series on television ever this weekend. And I do mean the worse of anything I've ever seen in my entire life.
(I take a breath and brace myself...just in case it's one I happen to like, there's so many to choose from. Also this is rare, because he pretty much likes all sci-fi/fantasy shows, even shows like Midnight, Texas. )
Me: Okay...what was it?
RZ: Twin Peaks.
(I burst out laughing.)
Me: Okay, do you mean the current one? Or the original?
RZ: Yes, the most recent..
Me: Did you watch the original?
RZ: No -
Me: Because the sequel won't make a lick of sense without watching the original, or so I've been told.
RZ: My wife saw the original...
Me: Did she like the sequel?
RZ: Really not. It made no sense. Everything about it was horrible...
Me: Well, you got to understand it's David Lynch. After the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, he sort of went off the rails...and decided to be surreal. So if you don't like pure surrealism, you probably won't like it...
RZ: Maybe. Except this was just awful.
Me: David Lynch is often an acquired taste. For me he's hit or miss. I liked the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, Mullohound Drive, and Blue Velvet. Not so much the other stuff. Dune was a disappointment.
RZ: Skip this.

Considering everyone online including my mother's cousin adores the sequel to Twin Peaks, I find this conversation rather amusing and somewhat informative.

2. Discussion with freshman roommate, who happens to be African-American, lives in Boston, and works as financial planner about that Racism chart that I posted the other day. This also includes my aunt, who had to pipe in her two cents. The national debate on racism...is necessary but extremely painful.



Ex-Roommate: I have a problem with us trying to define racism. What about people who march, make space, "put themselves in harms way" for other motives? Defy parents, low self-esteem, trying to prove something? What about POC who are racist against other POC? It's fine when people are obvious about racism, but you can't get into the minds and hearts of people, look at surface behavior and yell racism. I think this chart is fine, but its so much deeper then this.

Me: Thank you. I've been wondering about this as well. Can we define it so neatly? And is there a relationship between racism and "privilege", which should be emphasized? I think you are right -- it's much more complicated than this.

Ex-Roommate: I know plus size white women who say they can only date black men because white men aren't attracted to them. Is that racist? I know a woman who adopted a little girl from China, and she would constantly say racist things towards Asian people at work. When we called her out on it she said, "I'm not racist my little girl is from China." And I constantly have black people telling me, "You should have financial education classes just for black people as we don't know how to manage our money like white people." Racist?

Me: I think it's prejudice and racism but it is socialized racism. But not necessarily discrimination in all cases? There's a huge difference between racial prejudice and racial discrimination and profiling. I mean everyone is prejudiced in some way, right? I think we all make generalizations based on physical traits and develop prejudices many of which we are socialized to believe. But, that doesn't justify racist or prejudicial behavior that hurts another. So I think it depends on the action? I.e. The woman who prefers dating black men because they see her as beautiful is a bit different than the coworker who thinks it is okay to say abusive and derogatory comments about the Chinese even though she has an adopted Chinese daughter. If anything what she's doing is worse because she's reinforcing negative racial views regarding her own daughter. Just as it is different for black people to use the "N'' word and for a white person to use it. Or a white guy to say blacks can't manage their money as opposed to the black woman stating it -- however in both cases it's not true. My white grandparents and many family members are horrific at it and I work with a lot of black financial whites.

Aunt: The chart is not diagnosing your racism. It's a tool to open your eyes as to where you stand and then hopefully, you strive to improve yourself. It's not a judgement tool. It's a self help tool.

Aunt to Ex-Roommate: No. Mentally maladjusted. I've worked in the public sector and, let's face it, there are some out there who are just plain nuts! (Whoops, I hope I wasn't being offensive to the mentally ill).



I don't know. Racism is admittedly a trigger for me. I have strong opinions regarding it. I think in part because I've seen up close and personal the consequences of it. I've met and talked and become close to people who were severely hurt by it. And I've listened to and sat with the bigots. I think I told you about my Uncle Earl, he died several years ago. The man would talk about "Nigger Ball" that's what he called Basketball. And he disowned his daughter for marrying a person of color. And at one point, he pointed out to my parents that they might want to worry about my brother marrying his wife, who was part Cherokee (and Jewish) because they tend be quite dark and will have...dark kids.
My father had to leave the room and could barely stand him. He called him "Lonseome Dove", half in jest.

I'm trying to listen. And not say too much. I think sometimes I say too much. I've been criticized a lot in my life for saying too much.

3. On a brighter note...Voyage to the Other World: A New Eulogy for Ray Bradbury by Margaret Atwood Okay, it's an eulogy, so maybe not brighter?

4. I don't know, I think several episodes of Great British Bake-Off need to be binged this weekend. I need a palate cleanser. Either that or the Defenders...although I think Great British Bake-Off would be better.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-30 06:36 pm
Entry tags:

Film Review and Television review

1. Just finished watching the award winning and highly touted film Lion starring Devon Patel, Nicole Kidman and David Wendham, which is based on a true story. This is a beautiful film - not visually so much as thematically. It's about an Indian Boy from Ganash Tali, outside of Calcutta, who gets lost, is adopted by an Australian couple, and years later manages to find his mother and family.
Not at all what I expected, it surprised me. We follow the little boy with his mother, see how he gets horribly lost, watch in his point of view, as he asks help in finding her...and when the authorities are unable to do so they let an Australian couple adopt him. Years later in a heartbreaking scene, he tells his Australian adoptive mother that he's sorry she couldn't have children of her own, or blank pages, who did not come with their own baggage. Her response...surprised me and Saroo...

I'm hesitant to say much more...because I went into the film with little information. Just what I noted above.

At any rate, this is film that shows the beauty and compassion inside the human spirit. And how people are not so tribal after all, or racist. It's loving film...the emphasizes kindness over cruelty. Not violent. And just...kind. Made all the more uplifting because it is true and has overall a happy ending.

2. Dear White People -- streamed about five episodes before I stopped. Also not quite what I expected. This is available for streaming on Netflix. It focuses on the experiences a variety of black students at an Ivy League College in the Northeast centering around a student run radio program "Dear White People" hosted by and run by Sam, the lead character. Each episode takes the point of view of a different student, Sam and her friends, frenemies, and associates - regarding her cause, protesting a black-face party put on by the all white satirist club, Pastiche.

The series much like Americanah focuses on what it is like to be young and black in the US. Also like Americanah...it shows how the European and American slave trade colors our relations with each other, even though it ended over 100 years ago. It also shows the costs of racism. And how even within a sub-group people are racist. With the African-American culture -- dark skinned blacks are racist against lighter skinned blacks and vice versa. Also there's an emphasis on labeling, although various characters attempt with little success to avoid.

It's satirical in places, poking fun at how our culture divides us over racism, how it discriminates based on physical attributes. And it shows how there are cultural differences due to these divisions.

I found it very realistic in some respects and satirical in others. Not as relateable as Americanha.
Part of my problem with it, is well, I'm the wrong demographic. This is a series focusing on millenials...who have a very different take on racism and feminism than I do. In that, they appear to be surprised about certain things and act like that's the worst thing ever, and I'm thinking...not so bad. It's actually gotten a heck of a lot better. Granted not perfect, but a whole lot better. When I was in college the whole concept of series such as "Dear White People" would not have been green-lit by any one. We've come a long way. But if you grew up under Obama and not ahem Regan, you're going to have a different view of the world. Also, Trump is going to horrify you a bit more, if you don't remember Nixon and Regan.

Overall? It's okay. I found it to be amusing and compelling in places, and informative in others.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-07-26 10:08 pm
Entry tags:

Classic Children's Television Shows.

Why is it I'm wide awake and raring to go, now, but want to sleep between 6 -10 am, and 1-3PM?

Sinuses are bugging me a bit. I feel like I have a catch in my chest or some congestion. Probably combination of allergies and chemicals (paint and pesticides ie. Raid).

Off and on over the past few years, I've been discussing children's television programming with Doctor Who fans. Who keep telling me that Doctor Who is a treasured British children's series, and they didn't have much children's programming.

Culture shock. Television more so than movies depicts some of the cultural differences between our countries. For one thing when I visited France in the 1980s, I was surprised to see US series in French, same with Australia (they had US television shows, but not the new ones, reruns from five years ago). As did Wales and Britain. Actually, I found watching television during the summer in England and Wales to be a painful experience in the 1980s...not that I had reason to do it that often. Did see a lot of Fawlty Towers.

Anywho...I thought I'd skip down memory lane in regards to kids shows.

In the 1970s, I watched the following television shows as a child, near as I can remember. And my brother and I loved Saturday morning cartoons. We'd eagerly await the new cartoons...which premiered the third Saturday in September. They were on from 7 am to roughly 12 noon, on all the networks. We only had four networks and UHF back then. Prior to showing up on Saturday morning, the networks would air a preview of the upcoming series as a sort of advertisement on the Friday night before. So you could plan which ones to check out.

* Hong Kong Phooey -- sort of a take on Superman and Mighty Mouse. Except with a mild-mannered dog.
So imagine cartoon dogs playing all the roles in Superman.

* Sid and Marty Krofft's HR PufnStuf (aired from 1969 - 1971). I loved this show, but only vaguely remember it. (I was born in '67). A young boy named Jimmy has in his possession a magic flute named Freddie that can talk and play tunes on its own. One day he gets on a magic talking boat that promises to take him on an adventure. The boat happens to belong to a wicked witch named Witchiepoo, who uses the boat to kidnap Jimmy and take him to her home base on Living Island, where she hopes to steal Freddie for her own selfish needs. Fortunately Jimmy is rescued by the island's mayor, a six foot dragon named H.R. Pufnstuf, and his two deputies, Kling and Klang. Then his adventures begin as he attempts to get back home.

* Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids -- hosted by Bill Cosby (this was in the 1970s, when Cosby was still a cool guy, before all the allegations came out against him. And before you say anything about Cosby, keep in mind the same allegations came out about Trump -- actually they were worse, and people elected him President. Lando wouldn't let me hear the end of it. He's not wrong, we are a racist society. Sexist and racist. Just not bloody sure what I can do about it.) The show however was pretty good -- it was about a bunch of black kids in the inner city learning how to help each other and stand up to bullying and racism.

* Battle of the Planets (1978) - adored this cartoon

* The Muppet Show -- basically a light children's satire on variety shows and various cultural and political issues of the time, starring the Muppets.

* School House Rock - 1973 - 2009 (Schoolhouse Rock! is an American interstitial programming series of animated musical educational short films (and later, videos) that aired during the Saturday morning children's programming on the U.S. television network ABC. The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics.) -- this was the result of the Children's Television Act of 1969, which was updated in 1996.

* The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty (which was an illegal adaptation of the Secret Lives of Walter Mitty starring cats and dogs...and got into trouble with James Thurber's estate, for well doing it without permission)

* Sesame Street (1969)

* The Brady Bunch (1960s, early 70s, mostly in reruns)

* The Monkeeys (1966 show, in reruns in the 70s)

* Batman (1966 -- in reruns in the 70s)

* The Addams Family

* The Archie Show (1968) -- became Archie Funnies in 1970s

* The Flintstones...

* The Jetsons

* Lost in Space - 1965 (A space colony family struggles to survive when a spy/accidental stowaway throws their ship hopelessly off course. This is basically the American version of Doctor Who.)

* The Pink Panther (1969) -- a cartoon based on the Blake Edwards films, except without the adult content.

* Tom & Jerry

* The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Show

* The Hannah Barbara Hour

* Sid & Marty Krofft Super Show

* Free to be You and Me

* ABC Afterschool Specials

* Reading Rainbow

* Kimba - the White Lion (basically the story that Disney co-opted for The Lion King, except he didn't grow up and we just followed Kimba's adventures as he eluded his evil uncle, Scar.)

I googled and UK had kids shows.

See here: Classic Kids TV Shown in the UK in the 70s and 80s

We actually had some cross-over. But Tarzan the cartoon never to my knowledge aired in the US, nor did Book Tower, we had Reading Rainbow instead.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
2017-07-19 07:33 pm

Wed Reading Meme and other things..

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)
2017-07-15 09:54 pm
Entry tags:

Claws - Television Review

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)
2017-07-14 11:19 pm
Entry tags:

Hmmm..about television cliffhangers..

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)
2017-07-14 10:16 pm
Entry tags:

Television Review - Will and other things..

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)
2017-07-09 05:29 pm
Entry tags:

Sci-Fi Television Shows, other TV shows, and other things...

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)
2017-06-28 10:21 pm

Television... Sci-Fi, .and Doctor Who

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)
2017-06-27 10:05 pm
Entry tags:

Books being adapted into television series

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)
2017-06-25 05:17 pm
Entry tags:

Sense8 - Season 2

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)
2017-06-18 06:16 pm
Entry tags:

Sense8 - Season 1

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)
2017-06-10 10:30 pm
Entry tags:

The Crown - Review

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)
2017-06-09 09:25 pm
Entry tags:

This that and the other thing...

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)
2017-06-06 09:25 pm
Entry tags:

Still Star Crossed

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)
2017-06-05 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

If only I could do a poll...

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)
2017-06-04 08:34 pm
Entry tags:

Television Shows and Reviews

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 )
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-02-08 10:08 pm

Riverdale

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)
2017-02-05 08:37 pm

Mainly television...

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.