shadowkat: (tv slut)
2017-10-16 09:12 pm
Entry tags:

Lucifier - S3.3: Mr. & Mrs. Mazenskial Smith

Welcome back Maze. A week with Maze, Detective Dan, and Dr. Linda...and no Ella or Tom Welling/Pierce. YAY! I missed Maze, although she looks different, softer somehow. Did miss Amenadial.
Rather liked that episode. This is my favorite procedural, although it's not a true procedural. In fact the writers aren't even trying any longer with the procedural. Reminds me of what happened with the Good Wife and Angel the Series, started out as a procedural, writers got sort of bored, and went off in another direction. Works for me. I'm not a fan of procedurals, I'm too good at figuring out the mystery ahead of the characters and well, then what's the point?

spoilers )

Fun episode.

Oh, and my other favorite television show is back -- "Good Behavior" -- it's also a darkly funny series, but about a thief, a hitman, and her kid on the run.

Right now my favorite tv shows on or must watch shows on cable (not streaming) are:

* Lucifer
* The Good Place
* Good Behavior
* Grey's
* Poldark
* This is Us
* Riverdale
* Big Bang Theory

And possibly The Gifted.

Enjoying Inhumans and Seal Team. On the fence about everything else.

Can't say I'm fangurl or fannish about any of it...but I'm rarely fannish about things. Last thing I was somewhat fannish about may have been Farscape, but I came so late to the party -- it lasted a year. BSG -- fannish about for a little while, but got annoyed with the final season. Same deal with Lost. Also happened with Once Upon a Time - was fannish for the first three seasons, then got annoyed. Similar situation with Veronica Mars.

The only series I think I managed to stay fannish about during and after its entire run was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's among the few series that I got more fannish about as it went, usually it's the opposite. I'm not really a cereal fan (meaning jumping from fandom to fandom, not the breakfast cereal).
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-10-15 04:12 pm
Entry tags:

New & Returning TV Shows...

1. Valor

Well, I didn't make it past the first fifteen minutes.Read more... )

2. Dynasty

Will have to watch a few more episodes first. It's okay. Read more... )

It's a more diverse cast. And the actor playing Jeff Colby, has high cheekbones and attitude that reminds me weirdly of James Marsters Spike meets Mr. Trick.

3. The Inhumans

I've seen three episodes of this to date. The first two were apparently back to back, and the third one the next week -- which I caught on "On Demand" because I forgot to record it.

I appear to like it better than everyone else does. But I've learned over the past fifty years not to care that much what other people think - at least in regards to television shows. ;-)

It's different than the other superhero shows on, and it's rather funny in places.

Medusa to ATM: I am Queen of Attilan, Give me money.
Medusa: I am Queen...give me some money...please?

So Medusa goes and robs the royal estates in Hawaii of a jacket, trousers, shirt, and purse -- then goes off to hunt down Black Bolt.

Morpheus - This is taking forever, can't we find a path.
Team member with pretty hair -- oh there are so many plants and they are so beautiful
Morpheus: That's nice, can't you make a path between them?
Team member: Oh, I can do that. Sure thing.
Morpheus: Oh, I can do that? And you wait until now...

It sort of pokes fun at itself. Too many of these superhero series take themselves far too seriously.

It's hard to write reviews of television series. I mean what do you say exactly? I liked the acting? People, or so I've discovered, have very different perceptions/views on what is good acting based on their own knowledge and experiences.

Anyhow, the show is about a royal family of beings with powers. It's not a series about superheroes. It actually has more in common with The Gifted and Heroes, than MAOS, Supergirl, Arrow, etc. Read more... )

That said, if you don't like shows about people with powers in which they aren't doing heroic deeds, saving the world, or working to do so...(ie. not Superheroes but just people with powers and in this case entitled people from another territory with powers), this won't work for you. It's about a bunch of half alien/half human powered beings who think they are better and more evolved than humans, and the racial prejudice on both ends of the spectrum -- with well, the fact that one side can kill the other just by opening their mouth. I can see how that might turn off a few people. It's also serial in structure, with no case of the week, or job to do. So you sort of have to watch it from the beginning or you'll get a bit lost -- similar to Heroes, Legion, and The Gifted. Except no where near as well written. It's fun, but depends on your sense of humor -- mine's rather dry and absurdist, so I found it hilarious in spots, but I tend to find things funny others don't and vice versa.

4. Situational Comedies:

*9JKL - this is a comedy about a television actor whose lost everything a divorce, moving into an apt between his brother/sis-inlaw, and parents. Think "Everybody Loves Raymond" but more upper East Side, and not as likable. (Considering I never liked or appreciated the humor in Everybody Loves Raymond, it's not surprising this didn't work for me. Most situation comedies don't. I like the work place comedies or off-the-beaten track.) I didn't make it past fifteen minutes.

* The Mayor -- eh, has potential, just didn't hold my interest. My jump again if it survives. It may be too political, which was my difficulty with it. Also didn't make it very far. But at least it's different.

Think twenty-something black rapper suddenly becomes Mayor of a small city, with an all-white city council. That's the set-up.

* Blackish -- This is an old show, and I rarely watch because family sitcoms don't work for me, but if you haven't seen The Juneteenth Episode Premiere - try to. I watched it on "On Demand".
It's brilliant. They do a great satire of the old School House Rock ditty I Am a Bill...except instead of I Am Bill -- it's I Am Slave -- detailing the history of slavery from the black perspective in ten minutes. Also does a great job of slaughtering Columbus Day. The whole episode points out the power imbalance between the races and the difficulty of privilege, which by extension has had serious and detrimental consequences -- but in a funny and insightful way.

* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - another old show, which is often a bit too over the top for me, but this episode is worth watching for the satiric song and dance number "Watch Us Generalize About Men" -- if you can find a clip of it on Youtube, watch it. It's hilarious and an excellent satire on gender politics. Actually the entire series is a satire on gender politics and how our society views sex and romantic love. Each song satirizes one or the other and quite well. Subtle it's not -- so keep that in mind.

*. The Good Place -- worth watching for the riff on existentialism. The writers either are frustrated philosophy majors or have the same general irritation regarding it that I do. It's hilarious, they make fun of the meaning of life, death, and existentialist theory in this episode. Also, make some good points about narcissism. It's a bit smarter with its humor and a tad more subtle than the other shows.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-10-14 09:28 pm
Entry tags:

Seal Team

why I'll be posting less and mainly on innocuous topics )


Watching Seal Team, which is better than I expected. It's well acted, and an interesting role for Boreanze, who for the most part is playing more of character role for a change, less romantic lead. (Of course he's not pretty any longer, somewhat rugged, sort of looks like a hockey player gone to seed, and more normal looking. And somewhere between Buffy S1 and Seal, Boreanze became a good television actor, although I never thought he was a bad actor. I liked him well enough in Angel and Buffy. Buffy, for the most part, was well cast, as was Angel, or I'd have never stuck with either.) It's a good role for DB, who is playing Jason, leader of the team, a conflicted solider with problems at home. DB does conflicted well. Also the rest of the heavy male-oriented cast is good. So far I don't see any weak links in the cast.

The pilot is exposition heavy and hard to follow as a result. There's a lot going on, and a lot of back story. The story picks up in the middle, with the team already established. Via flashbacks, we learn that Boreanze's character feels directly responsible for one of his team members' deaths who was also his best friend. That he's separated from his wife due to being married to his job and being away a lot, also not exactly into sharing and emotionally distant. Has three kids, all teenagers. We jump into the team mid-flow, with a lot of military jargon thrown at the screen, and the first job is your typical hostage rescue, failing to capture not kill the bad guy routine (Similar to The Brave's plot-line, but less suspenseful and far more realistic. Not to mention less predictable and cliche ridden.). The difficulty is there's a lot of
jumping back and forth between the flashback, the job, and the home lives of the team -- also a lot of characters are introduced at once and too many pov's.

The second episode is much better than the first. It was compelling enough to get me to watch the second episode "On Demand", which I guess is saying something, right?

This episode gives us more insight on how the team works together. It follows two main pov's instead of several, Jason (Boreanze), who is the seasoned leader of the team, with the world on his shoulders, and Clay Spenser, the young hot-head, who he kicked back to training and off the team. Both are compelling characters, and hit my story kinks pretty hard. (I like wounded/conflicted male and female heroes, with savior complexes, and who have to make tough and often ambiguous decisions. I'm not really gender specific.) The other thing about this episode is it is realistic -- they come upon a bunch of poisoned Syrian kids, and debate what to do about it. The debate is mainly, if you rescued them, then what? They spend their lives in a refugee camp? Will we even be able to do it?
And do we risk ourselves for a fools mission? With impossible odds? They win and lose the day. And Jason also has to make a decision about whether to tell one of his team-mates about his wife undergoing a difficult c-section to delivery her child. Each decision is realistic and fits the tough and world-weary character that DB is portraying. Seal Team, unlike The Brave, feels more like a character piece and the jobs are less important that the character's arcs. It's also not a soap opera, there's no romantic bed-hopping, or love triangles. It's a straight from the top military action drama.

The one draw-back of both episodes, and why my attention kept wandering, is I had to watch both "On Demand" and you can't fast-forward via On Demand. So you are stuck with about five-six commercials interrupting the flow of the drama. I wish the commercials would be before, at an intermission and after -- less disruptive.

[There are so many tv shows that I can't keep track of when they are premiering any longer. I've missed five pilots to date. And had to watch shows via On Demand. Part of the problem is they all have different start dates between September - November. And some of the date published in magazines and elsewhere were wrong. I miss the days when there were less shows and it was easier to track. There are now so many the entertainment mags have given up giving full reviews of all of them. (145 scripted each season). ]

I have the third episode of Seal taped apparently. I thought it was the second.

After seeing these two episodes, I may stick with it for a while. I'm not in love with it or anything, but I find it compelling in places and recommend it to people who enjoy strong albeit conflicted male leaders, military action dramas with heavy and somewhat diverse male casts (although this one is heavily white, but there are POC in it), with a few women characters in supporting roles. If that isn't your thing? Pass this one on by.

I've seen two of these military action dramas to date, The Brave and Seal Team, and I think "Seal Team" is better -- better written at any rate. Title sucks. While they are very different in some respects, they have similar set-ups, so it is hard not to compare them. Also of the two, one (The Brave) I don't buy at all (it reminds me of one too many similar top secret US government covert ops thriller television series that I've seen...which no, the government just doesn't operate like that. I can tell the writers don't know what they are writing about), and the other one I do (Seal Team - whoever is writing this appears to have done some serious research). And certainly more compelling. Of the two? I think Seal Team has more longevity. I could be wrong about that. Anyhow, considering I don't tend to like military action dramas and am not a fan of David Boreanze by any stretch of the imagination, yet of the two dramas -- watched the second episode of Seal Team (on "On Demand" no less) and didn't bother to record the second one of The Brave. Add to all of that? I wanted to like the Brave and not like Seal Team. In short, don't judge a television show by its title or the actors in it.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-10-09 10:15 pm
Entry tags:

Lucifer - S3, Episode 2

After Poldark, which has pacing attention kept wandering, too much focus on Mr. & Mrs Narcissist Warleggan, not enough on Dr. Ennis, Caroline, and Delmelza, watched Lucifer, which I enjoyed a lot more. Sorry, but there it is. Lucifer is just the more enjoyable series.

Lucifier - Episode 3.2

Eh, spoilers ensue. Still not feeling the love for Welling's Pierce or Ella. The Procedural story however had me laughing really hard at one point...and was rather run. I'm wondering if the writers have decided to use the procedural storylines as comic relief? If so, they really need to tone down Ella's fannishness. It's grating on my nerves.

spoilers )

Odd, the show is on at 8, yet it's going a bit darker than last season when it was on at nine.
Meanwhile the family show about mutants is on at 9, shouldn't that be on at 8? Granted no-one actually watches television live any longer, but still.

I loved this episode.

But, I'm not really "fannish" about the series. I feel no need to purchase the DVDs or re-watch the episodes. I don't really feel that way about any series at the moment. The closest I came was the Great British Baking Show and Daredevil this summer, but that was more out of boredom than anything else...and in regards to Great British Baking...comfort food.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-10-08 08:37 pm

(no subject)

1. Trevor Noah Responds to the Fox Media View that he Can't comment on Gun Control Because He's a Foreigner

After that aired, Fox News contributor Larry O’Connor wrote a piece on Mediaite, which he then discussed on Fox, expressing outrage at the idea that Noah and other “foreign-born” hosts like James Corden would dare speak about a specifically American issue like the 2nd Amendment. (Full disclosure: Mediaite and The Mary Sue both operate under the same parent company of Abrams Media.)

The video, which you can watch above, was a web-only segment, appearing to happen during a commercial break. In it, Noah says that he doesn’t “take that for granted,” and that this isn’t the first time he’s heard this sort of thing.

He goes on to say, “It’s interesting because I remember when I first got to The Daily Show, in the first weeks that I was here, there was a shooting. People were like ‘Oh, I don’t think he cares enough.'” He said he would respond by saying he’s an honest person, and will respond honestly, not with manufactured outrage or emotion. “And when you live in a place for a while, when you call it home, you feel things that happen, because it’s happening to us.” He points out that “there are certain things that connect you beyond just where you’re from.”

But the conversation around immigration and what is deemed appropriate behavior from immigrants is a total catch-22. The same people that criticize immigrants for not committing to life as an American are the same people who condemn immigrants fro “getting too involved,” expressing opinions or “taking” jobs.

In his original article, O’Connor goes into some in-depth apartheidsplaining, ending his history lesson on guns in South Africa by saying, “But those issues are for South Africans to discuss, debate and solve. I wouldn’t presume to tell them what they should do based on my experience as an America.” Except many Americans and others from around the world did protest the South African apartheid. And as Noah points out, South Africans weren’t complaining about that. They weren’t questioning why Americans had a stake in the well-being of those in other countries.

“If anything,” he says, “I would argue most of the problems we face in the world come from the fact that people don’t deal with issues that they ‘don’t have to deal with.'”

I agree with Trevor Noah. excuse me while I rant on this topic at length )

2. I'm procrastinating on my writing. Meant to write this weekend, to date all I accomplished was putting together a table and chair. Ate the wrong things. And am weirdly wired as a result.

I think the week discombobulated me somehow.

3. Looked into CBS All Access.

The good news? It's better than it was last year. Has more offerings, including movies and old television series, along with all its current ones.

And there's a free one week trial for the limited commercial option.

Bad news?

Two options.

* Limited Commercials - $5.95 a month. (Free Trial). Apparently limited commercials is similar to On Demand's definition of limited commercials. Four on repeat. Also not HD, apparently.)

* No Commercials and HD - $9.95 a month (same as Netflix but not as much content...sorry, Netflix just has more.)

Other problem? They want your name, email address, birthdate, and I think phone number or address.
Also want permission to distribute this information to their affiliates and marketing partners, so they can contact you for various offers. Eh, no. I didn't have to give Netflix, HBO NOW or Amazon that level of info, why should I give it to you? Nor did they ask permission to sell/share my information with marketing companies. You need to change your game CBS, if you want to be competitive with the big boys. Your tv shows are good, but they aren't the level of Netflix, Amazon and HBO.

Evil marketing people came up with this one.

So that stopped me from doing the trial.

Damn. I wanted to see Discovery. But I've worked hard to keep the stupid marketing calls at bay.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-10-07 10:22 pm
Entry tags:

Televison Round-up Take II

Slowly making my way through my DVR recordings...

1. Wisdom of the Crowd -- new procedural crime series on CBS, Sundays, at 8PM.

I was surprised by this one. Mainly because it actually held my attention and I found the characters along with the gimmick/set-up innovative and somewhat interesting.

Jeremy Piven plays Tanner, a tech innovator (think Steve Jobs meets Joe Walsh), whose daughter was killed a year ago. New evidence has come to light that the wrong man may have been convicted. So he sells his mulit-million dollar business platform, to launch a crowd-sourcing software program that solves crimes via the assistance of social media. The way it works is that they post something similar to "have you seen this person", face and id, to everyone's cell phones. People check it out and respond. (Similar to Amber alerts). They also reach out to people to ask for assistance. In other words, the community helps the police solve the crime via the use of iphones and social media.

It does tackle the legal pitfalls and slippery slope of this concept. Early on someone hacks into the network. And as the police detective assigned to them states -- you can't tap into people's phones, that's a privacy violation, or use information that you've obtained illegally. (So someone on the writing team has researched the legalities of it.)

The cast is interesting, particularly the female characters (which is important to me, mileage clearly varies on this). Also Piven is rather good at playing a vulnerable rich ass, and I've always found him to be an interesting actor. The police detective is played by Richard T. Jones of Judging Amy, Collateral and Godzilla. English actress, Natalie Tena from Harry Potter, About a Boy and Game of Thrones (Osha) is playing the head of the tech team, who is also secretly involved with Tanner.
And Monica Potter (Parenthood) plays Tanner's Congresswoman ex-wife.

So far, the series is fast-paced, uplifting, with emphasis on tech and detective work, low on violence. Which to be honest is a breath of fresh air as far I'm concerned. The action and suspense involves figuring out how to use social media and others to help solve a case. With the interpersonal dramas playing in the background.

I enjoyed it and decided to stick with it for now.

2. Poldark S3

spoilers )

Will probably stick with it this year. Has the same pacing

3. Trailer for Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams...the sci-fi anthology series adapted from Philip K. Dick short stories premiering on Amazon

As is fitting for a Philip K. Dick adaptation, the Electric Dreams series seems concerned with questions of reality, identity, perception, corporate control, and free will. I hope some of the episodes really dive into Dick’s what-is-even-real paranoia, because getting freaked out about whether I exist or not is my favorite part of reading his work.

4. Runaways Trailer finally surfaces...

This is James Marsters new series, where he plays one of the super-villain parents of the kids, along with Marcia Croft and various others. It's based on the Marvel X-men Spin-Off series created by Brian K. Vaughn, that all sorts of folks wrote for at different points. And is being written by best-selling YA novelist Rainbow Rowell

“This is my favorite Marvel book. When [editor Nick Lowe] first reached out to me a few years ago about maybe working for Marvel, it was the first thing I asked him about,” Rowell tells EW of how the match-up came to be. “The characters and original story by Brian K. Vaughan (Paper Girls) are just so great and so beautifully built. I was really excited because I always felt like there were more Runaway stories and that book should just have kept going.”

Damn. Hulu is making me want to subscribe..but must resist. I might do a free trial in November and binge watch Handmaid's Tale, Future Man and Runaways like I did Big Little Lies and GOT this summer with HBO Now.

[I keep skipping over words or my fingers are, I think them, but they don't appear on the page via typing, and it's getting worse. Hmm.)

6. The Good Place -- not as good as last week, or the week before. Mainly because it was 90% exposition and set up for the upcoming weeks.

Right now, Chidi and Ted Danson's Michael are the only two characters I don't want to smack upside the head, and say, you idiots. This is a choice between being eating alive by spiders or scorpions and well having to put up with clowns on the walls and being annoyed to death. Let me think.

And Tahani's sister better have a one-way ticket to the Bad Place, just saying.

spoiler )
shadowkat: (tv slut)
2017-10-03 08:51 pm
Entry tags:

Lucifer - S3, Episode 1

Well, Lucifer managed to surprise me again. It also made me laugh. And was really good in places....I admittedly was quite skeptical to begin with, but I guess you gotta have faith? Isn't that a song? Also, is it just me or has Tom Welling gotten old and bit...fleshy? He's just not pretty any more. Not that he was ever that pretty to my way of thinking.

male actors that are attractive and those that aren't, also Welling vs. Boreanze..etc.. )

spoilers )

I love this show.

Looking forward to this far so good.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-09-30 02:36 pm
Entry tags:

The InHumans - Review

1. I just finished watching Marvel's The Inhumans, which is not nearly as bad as the reviewers and the media seem to think it is. From a quality perspective? It's about equal to or on par with Marvel: Agents of Shield.

Is the acting bad? No not really. I actually found the bewildered and somewhat gruff performance of Anson Mount who portrays Black Bolt, oddly amusing and compelling. I can't decide if he's mentally challenged or just confused?

The plot? I don't know if it helps to be somewhat familiar with the characters from the comics? At any rate, the story is about a uprising among the Inhumans. Black Bolt and Medusa are currently leading the Inhumans, who are based on the moon. They are a society of hybrid human/aliens. If you've watched any of Marvel Agents of Shield, you may an inkling as to what the Inhumans are. At any rate, the comic books focused specifically on the Royal Family of Inhumans, Black Bolt, Medusa, Maximus, Crystal, etc. Each with different powers, except for Maximus who appears to be genetically human.

Here's the comic book history of The Inhumans:
Read more... )
The series like the books focuses on the Royal Family. spoilers )

If you requires quality in your television dramas and are very selective (aka a television critic) this is not your show. It's campy and a bit cheesy, with loads of melodrama and cheap special effects (think Agents of Shield, Wynona Earp or Supergirl not Heroes or Westworld). So if you like Supergirl, the Flash, and Agents of Shield? Give it a whirl, you might like it. Although it is more melodramatic and not quite as relateable.

First hour? D- (I was bored and my attention kept wandering. Maximus talks too much. Someone needs to smack him. He just drones on and on, or rather whines.) Second Hour? C+ (more active and compelling, also funny in places. Less Maximus whinging.)
Overall rating? C-

2. I really wish Disney would get its act together and stop threatening to remove content that I'm enjoying. Also stop charging more money for access. (Disney? If you have "commercials" you do not get to charge more. If you don't have commercials, you do. There are rules regarding these things, or there used to be.) Disney and Altice the owner of Optimum Cable are fighting over rates, and Disney is threatening to pull content if Altice doesn't pay Disney the rates it wants for ESPN, ABC, The Disney Channel, Freeform. The big fight is actually over ESPN, which I don't watch and could care less about.

Sigh. Anyone else miss the days in which Cable was basically just HBO and Showtime?

They've been posting their threat at the bottom of all of their television shows, stating the channel may go dark on October 1. So I sent angry emails to both services in protest.

Although...frustrating as it is? I will survive without General Hospital (which I can actually watch online), Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, and...I'm not sure there's that much else. Maybe the Inhumans, although admittedly on the fence about it. The first hour of the Inhumans was boring. The second hour was interesting.

So you know, not that great a loss. It's not like there's not a million other television shows cluttering up my to-watch queue.
shadowkat: (Default)
2017-09-26 09:26 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

1. Star Trek Discovery

Dear CBS:

Why couldn't you put your derivative and seemingly redundant male-centric series on CBS All Access, and your cool, female centric, innovative, and ground-breaking, not to mention well-written and well produced series on CBS?

As it is, the only show I feel inclined to watch on CBS is Big Bang Theory.

You gotta change that. Then again, don't own a Nielsen Box, so you probably don't care.

Also, when premiering a new show, please don't put it after a football game, where it will be cut off by anyone who chooses to record it.

And I am resisting your diabolical plot to get me to subscribe, aka pay, to watch The Good Fight and Discovery, even though I really, really want to.

For the folks not living in the US, the only way people living in the US can watch Star Trek Discovery and The Good Fight is by subscribing to the shows on CBS All Access Streaming via the Fire Stick or Google Play or Rogu or SmartTV. We can't get it otherwise. Also it's not like Netflix where you can pay say $11.99 a month and get unlimited tv shows. No. You pay just for that show.

Talked to my mother and a co-worker about Star Trek Discovery, both loved the pilot but neither want to subscribe to CBS All Access to watch it. My mother even stopped halfway through...because she realized she'd have to watch the rest on CBS All Access. had issues with the Klingons not looking like the Klingons in all the other versions of the series.

I finally watched it -- or rather half of it. The other half was cut off, due to the aforementioned sporting event that I wasn't aware of.

Verdict? The portion that I saw is really good. There's a few weaknesses here and there, but nothing major. Suspenseful, thoughtful, interesting lead characters, and the special effects...spectacular.
Also the credits are innovative and different, not to mention quite good.

Rather like the female captain, and commander team-up. And the commander caught my interest immediately. Also, there's a great line in there about racism and culture. "I'm not talking about race, I'm talking about culture -- this is about culture, there is a difference." It didn't occur to me until they said it.

So now I want to see it. I particularly want to see the second half that was cut off. Dang it.

The Klingons looking different didn't bother me. I figured out a reason right off the bat and was able to fly with it. (They look different because they are different tribe than Worf and the others. Just as humans look different, so do Klingons. Also, I rather liked the realistic makeup, and how alien the aliens appeared. As opposed to just humans with bad make-up.)

2. Young Sheldon -- eh, seen this sort of thing before. I found the first fifteen minutes annoying and deleted. It's your basic family drama, with the smart kid, the dumb parents and siblings, and everyone mocking one another and what they like. I found it depressing, the characters unlikeable, and impossible to relate to.

Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). I admittedly have an odd sense of humor. Most American sitcoms don't work for me.

3. Better Things -- more depressing than Young Sheldon. This is angsty embarrassment humor with a sadistic streak to it -- very dark, similar to Louis CK in tone, with a high emphasis on sexual humor.

Not my cup of tea. I found it cringe-inducing and deleted.

4. Me, Myself and I,

Cute. But I found the jokes obvious. The humor slanting towards embarrassment and deleted within 15 minutes.

It didn't work for me. Also there are no women characters...well there are, but they don't register. Heavily male centric. None of the men are relatable. And within five minutes I wanted to smack the lead character upside the head. Also, I don't like it when characters break the fourth wall and talk to the camera. It irritates me.

So, I didn't like anything or nothing held my interest, except for Star Trek Discovery (or rather the portion of it that I managed to see) and that's the only show I can't access...LOL! This is making me think I should kick cable to the curb and go all streaming. Particularly since I'm having difficulties calling my mother long-distance on my landline and she's the only one I call using the landline. Wait, I'm not sure it is a landline. It's part of the cable three for one package, internet, phone, and cable.

My mother commented on the fact that David Boreanze had a new television series and she didn't understand how he kept getting roles. (She tried to watch Angel, but did not like David Boreanze. She thinks he's ugly and his appeal is completely lost on her.) I told her I wasn't at all surprised. He has a square jaw, and fits the traditional macho guy/action army guy trope which is attractive to many men and women (not us, admittedly, but we don't own Neilsen boxes, so really, who cares?) Well, she admitted, he certainly is well cast as a Navy Seal. Yep, except one problem with that, I told her, it's one of four military oriented television series premiering this season. And bears a lot in common with S.W.A.T, which looks a bit more interesting and better cast.

And I'm hoping I didn't screw up on the a/c placement. In an attempt to get the A/C away from the A/C's dropping water on it, I put it in the window across from the side of my bed. Now I'm concerned its not the best air flow option for the apartment, and my sleeping. It's about five to six feet away...but...will it make me ill? I don't know. Can't do anything about it. Cost me $100 bucks to get it installed. Can't afford to move it again. Can't move the bed -- only other place to move it would be next to the radiator.

Other than that...the day went well, believe it or not. Got stuff done at work and got a compliment from boss -- an oddity. Shoulder and right leg, and right hand are aching for some reason. Co-worker/aisle cubicle mate suggested epsom salt shower, because who takes baths any longer? But I might do a bath.

I'm thinking now. Since I'm somewhat frustrated with television at the moment.
shadowkat: (tv slut)
2017-09-19 09:30 pm
Entry tags:

Too many TV Shows...Too Little Time

According to Entertainment Weekly there are roughly 145 television series. I actually don't see many new ones that spark much interest, more interested in the returning ones.

Most of the good ones are popping up in October. I remember when everything popped up the week after labor day. Now we have revolving television seasons. And about 145 shows per season, which is about well multiple that by four seasons...and that's a lot of television. That said, most of them are hard to find or require a device, a smart television, cable subscription, and payment. None of it is really free. Well, maybe the five or six broadcast channels.

Returning shows that I'm watching or thinking of watching...or haven't given up on quite yet

1. Lucifer - Now at 8pm on Fox. Starts October 3.

vague spoilers and casting spoilers from the mag on Season 3 )

2. Poldark S3 Returns to PBS at 9PM on October 1. (Poldark goes to France with the French Revolution, while Demelza must deal with her troublemaker brothers, and Elizabeth has her kid.

3. Good Behavior S2 pops up on Oct 15 - at 10PM TNT. Basically a con-artist/thief, her hitman love and her precocious son living the family life.

It's really good. A twisty and somewhat humorous noir series.

4. This is Us returns on Tuesday (used to be on Wed, confusing) - 9/26/17 at 9PM on NBC.
I can never remember what channels these shows are on. They were discussing at work what channels they watch...I was thinking I don't really watch channels just television shows.

This is Us is an ever-surprising non-linear family saga about a husband and wife who lose a triplet during childbirth and adopt a third baby at the hospital, as well as the journey of the three children, Randall, Kate, and Kevin as children, teens, and thirty-somethings.

It's the best family drama I've seen and one of the best serialized dramas of last year. If you liked Brothers and Sisters, Parenthood, and Friday Night'll probably enjoy This is Us.

5. Riverdale returns 10/11 - CW at 8PM. (I personally would have put it at 9pm for the adult content, but what do I know?)

This is basically Archie Comics by way of Twin Peaks, except without David Lynch. So S1, Twin Peaks.
It's dark, gritty, sexy, and twisty in places.

6. The Good Place returns on 9-20 (ie, tomorrow), on NBC at 8:30 PM (yes, it also moved nights, again, confusing -- I wish they'd stop doing that, stupid network programmers. OTOH, probably doesn't matter, since most people just DVR it or watch on demand or stream.)

This is the comedy with the weird twist. I actually had given up on it, until I found out about the twist and went back to watch and decided it had a charming satirical edge to it.

Anyhow, Eleanor and her friends think they are in heaven. She believes she landed there by mistake. Except heaven is rather irritating and problematic. It's also run by a well-meaning but rather inept and bumbling Angel, who has built a new heavenly domain or so we think....spoiler )

* There's all sorts of satirical jokes on American culture, politics, and religious mythology.

7. Grey's Anatomy returns on 9-28, Still Thursdays, at 8PM. It's Season 14. It has Supernatural beat by one season. Supernatural is on S13. But NCIS has made it to Season 15, and The Simpsons and South Park are on Season 20 something.

Some shows can't die.

They are rebooting or refreshing it with new interns, a refurbished and remodeled hospital (it was sort of blown up last season), and new love triangles...because it's actually a soap masquerading as a serious medical drama. Entertainment Weekly provided a flow chart showing all the incestuous and soapy relationships between the characters...basically proving my point.

8. Once Upon a Time reboots itself on 10-6 at 8PM on ABC and it also appears to have changed nights.(Because the network programmers are bored apparently?) It's now on Fridays.

It also has basically re-written itself from scratch. You honestly could come into this without having seen the previous seasons and be fine. Instead of the story revolving around Snow White and the Evil Queen, it's revolving around Cinderella and her Wicked Stepmother...and StepSister. With Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) as a sort of portal jumping Rumplestilskin character. And the Princess from Princess and the Frog as Cindy's friend. Also, POC cast. Which is interesting. And Henry is apparently in the Emma role now, or rather an adult Henry is.

Very odd. I am admittedly curious. But the writing has been ...disappointing to date. So we'll see.

9. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Pops up on 10-13, still on Friday. CW. It has managed to survive, probably because it is on the CW. The CW is rather interesting in that regard.

This is a cool sitcom, doesn't always make me laugh, but it has its moments. Sometimes it makes me cringe. But it is a great satirical critique of our gender issues, how our society views romantic love, etc. Plus it has song and dance numbers.

10. Stranger Things S2 -- shows up on Netflix on 10/27. In time for Halloween.

11. Big Bang Theory --- returns on Monday 9/25 at 8PM (Season 11)

Shows...I'm giving a second chance to:

* Lethal Weapon (I'm curious what they do with the cast shake-up)
* Gotham (Bruce Wayne is becoming Batman)
* Outlander (I may do the Starz trial and check it out)
* The Exorcist - Jon Cho
* Better Things
* Will & Grace (okay it's new, but 11 years later...)
* Poldark (see above)
* Great News (which I didn't try last year)

It's late, bed calls. Will do the new shows some other time.
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


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 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 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 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 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


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.