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Author Topic: TV shows  (Read 96443 times)

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WestCoastDidds

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1200 on: March 25, 2019, 05:41:12 pm »
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The music in The Umbrella Academy is amazing.

Also, I want to cause the apocalypse.
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silverspawn

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1201 on: March 31, 2019, 06:18:38 pm »
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Despite great music in the first episode, I gave up on the U/A early in the second. The apocalypse plot is fine, I don't have a problem with it, but the way characters are dealing with it is just... not... how... real... people... would act... like it's both hard to believe and it's also stupid. This is a problem I have a lot with shows, it's just people not acting in a way that's believable and something I want to watch.

Van Helsing I'm still watching... I think. It has these stretches that are really strong, and then there are moments script is just baffling. These are more common in season 2, unfortunately. Lately, it seems like the show is more interested in being the edgiest thing ever than making anything resembling sense. Scarlet is terrible if anyone got that far.

Totally different beast and not on Netflix: the anime Kemurikusa. This is worth watching just for strangeness.
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Kuildeous

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1202 on: April 09, 2019, 09:27:00 am »
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I watched the first two episodes of What We Do in the Shadows. I was a little apprehensive about the show at first because it had great potential to disappoint. But so far, it's done pretty well. It's as enjoyable as the movie. I dunno. I might even think it's better than the movie, but I'd have to rewatch the movie to make sure.

It plays on the trope of stranger in a strange land. While I get annoyed by overly dumb characters (Jean-Ralphio in Parks and Rec, Kevin in the new Ghostbusters), the stupidity of these vampires doesn't rub me the wrong way. Maybe it's because they're not dumb characters. They are just really out of touch with modern life, and they have this inability to adapt, which is why they have familiars. It's a formula that works.

And I chuckled mightily during the raccoon scene. It's just another example of the vampires being incapable of integrating with society.
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Witherweaver

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1203 on: May 07, 2019, 01:32:38 am »
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This is a thing:

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Kuildeous

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1204 on: June 06, 2019, 02:05:56 pm »
+1

So I got an e-mail about Black Mirror Season 5, and I went straight there. I had intended to spread out my viewing, but I ended up bingeing the whole season last night. This sounds impressive (or sad), but it's only three episodes, albeit longer than an hour each.

This was perhaps the least Black Mirror season of Black Mirror. Why I feel that way will hopefully be obvious in my episode recaps.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.



Striking Vipers – This started off slow for me, but it gained some speed. Then slowed down again. This isn't the type of story to rush, so I get why they paced it the way they did. I still found myself wanting to get on with it though.

So the short of it is that two best friends play this Striking Vipers fighting game in their 20s. They liked it enough to stay up all night and suffer the consequences of going to work exhausted. Fast-forward 11 years, and the two buddies have taken different, successful paths. Karl gives Danny a birthday gift of a new Striking Vipers with a VR attachment. They play the game and choose their favorite, hot characters, and they end up stopping the fight to have sex.

This episode reflects a lot in our society. I remember people saying that cybersex isn't really cheating, and that discussion came up in their arguments. Danny neglects his family in order to have this torrid virtual affair with Karl in a woman's body. I think this relationship made me nervous because I was expecting some transphobia or homophobia. It turned out my fears were unfounded. When Danny asked Karl to meet IRL in the middle of the night, I was expecting murder, but he wanted to know if the spark would remain outside the game. That was a pleasant twist away from the usual tropes.

In the end, they all work it out. Danny's failing marriage is strengthened once they opened up communication. And this communication allows them to explore passions outside their marriage. I've seen some marriages try going the open route in an attempt to save it, but the problems lie deeper than that. I've also seen marriages succeed at being open, and this episode shows them being pretty happy with embracing the openness, as Theo, Danny's wife, also craved something new. It ends sweetly, which reminds me of San Junipero.

Smithereens – I saw this described as a bad PSA about texting and driving, and I can't wholly disagree with it. It was filmed well, though. They laid out the clues early on with his obsessively looking at the passenger side of the car and him stalking the Smithereens headquarters. Christopher's reaction to smart phones seems over the top, though it does show how traumatized he is.

The short of it is that Christopher kidnaps an intern from Smithereens, a Facebook clone. He was hoping for someone higher up the food chain because the intern was sharply dressed like an intern who really wanted to move up in the company. Christopher is spotted by the police, and he is trapped in a hostage situation. All he wants to do is talk to the president of Smithereens and tell his side of the story. That story is that Christopher was driving his fiancée one night when he was distracted by a Smithereens notification, which caused him to crash into a drunk driver. The other driver was blamed for the accident, but Christopher knows it was his obsession with social media to blame.

It's all a sad tale, though Christopher's methods are rather extreme. I expected this episode to go into some shadowy conspiracy or a revenge tale, but it's really a man raging against himself. He casts some blame on Smithereens because the company has been putting a lot of focus on making their app more addictive. The whole message is as subtle as a brick.

The end is ambiguous, which bugs me. I like some ambiguous endings, like whether Inception ends with Cobb in a dream or not. This ambiguity is a bit sloppy though. We know from everyone's reaction that someone dies, but we have no idea if it was Christopher or his hostage. I'm fine with the ambiguity surrounding the touching subplot of a grieving mother getting into her late daughter's social media account to learn more about her suicide. I would've liked something more definitive with the sniper shot though.

Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too – Probably my favorite of the season, though it is not without its problems. It's an interesting juxtaposition of two stories. Ashley is a pop sensation with super positive songs, including a saccharin take on NIN's Head like a Hole. Meanwhile, Rachel is a fangirl who is thrilled to receive a gadget infused with an AI download of Ashley's persona—at least her poppy, fun façade.

There are two stories going on. Ashley's aunt/manager is really pushing the positive veneer of Ashley and getting rich off it. Meanwhile, Ashley is dying inside and wants out from under her aunt's control. She wants to explore darker music. I don't know that much about the career or Miley Cyrus, but I get the feeling that casting her as Ashley was definitely intentional. Her aunt learns about Ashley's true intentions of breaking the contract and puts her into a coma in order to keep banking on Ashley's popularity, including unveiling a holographic version of Ashley to keep the money flowing.

Meanwhile, awkward teenager Rachel is obsessed with Ashley and treats the AI doll as her best friend. This embarrasses and annoys her older sister, who's more into the Pixies than anything poppy. Through a series of convenient events, Ashley Too goes nuts upon seeing a news story about the original Ashley in a coma. The girls hook her up to a computer and deletes a strange piece in her code. This was a limiter that allowed Ashley Too to only say happy, fun stuff. Now unhindered, Ashley Too becomes the foul-mouthed angry woman that Ashley always was and convinces the girls to break into her home to find proof of her aunt's duplicity.

After a remarkably unlikely infiltration, the three of them manage to wake up Ashely from her coma, and then all four of them drive to the stadium to stop Ashley's aunt's evil machinations. This is a goofy, light-hearted episode, though it does visit some of the darker themes of enslaved AI personalities. In the end, Ashley is now singing Head like a Hole with the proper lyrics.


So not my favorite season. It was still a joy to watch, though it wasn't quite as Tales from the Crypt as previous episodes had been.
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silverspawn

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1205 on: June 08, 2019, 05:39:00 pm »
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Black Mirror is awesome. It has this edge that sets it apart from almost anything else. Even in the weaker episodes, the characters always feel like real people, and I'm always invested in the story.

Likewise spoilers ahead.

I found the most interesting thing about Smithereens was actually the meditation stuff. The episode opens with the main character doing a guided meditation, and the head of this giant social media company is in the middle of a 10 silent retreat when the plot happens. It might be inspired by Jack Dorsey, CEO of twitter, who also does silent retreats (he actually mentioned that he wants to do retreats that are even longer than 10 days in the future). Meditation is sort of the opposite of social media. In the episode and IRL, the bad thing about all this social media stuff is that it's a constant distraction. The point of a silent retreat is to get rid of all distractions and only focus on yourself. As it happens, I've actually done a silent retreat just a few months ago, so it was a funny coincidence.

In the episode, the head of the company is super sympathetic once he actually gets on the phone. Not only that, he but he tells the main chracter that, two days into the retreat, he realized that he was done with the company, and he'll presumably step down once he returns. He says that the entire thing was never meant to be like that but it just gradually happened and how he can't do anything about it. I can super imagine that being the case. Someone who's really smart has an idea that grows into a big business that then gets slowly taken over by bureaucrats. I think that's a better twist than if he was just a typical villain or whatever.

It's not like that with Twitter, though. Jack Dorsey isn't about to step down.

I didn't think the ending was that ambiguous, I think it was fairly clear that the main character was the one who died? But I could be wrong. Insofar as their is ambiguity, I don't think it adds anything, really.

The last episode -- Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too -- is most similar to USS Callister, I think. Those are like the two episodes of the show which don't really try to be serious. They're both a lot of fun, I don't think this is as good as USS Callister but it's still pretty cool. The ending was super satisfying, also like USS Callister.

There is actually already a body-less hologram singer who looks pretty good, so that part of the science was pretty underwhelming. I mean, they just did it with a real person doing the movement and the hologram just projecting that and changing her look. That's like super unimpressive. I'd assume we can do that already? By the time we can do functional uploads, we'll most likely easily be able to make a hologram without a human behind it that's as indistinguishable from a real person as its creators want. But yeah, the science isn't meant to be taken seriously in this one.

And Striking Vipers – I give it a lot of props for exploring this concept. If we make it that far, then Virtual Reality will be a thing, and if VR is a thing then VR sex will be a thing. It even sort of makes sense that the frontrunner would be a fighting game because that can be marketed more broadly than an actual sex game, and much of the technology you need is probably the same. I think they did very tasteful job with the execution. I like that it's two guys, because, like, why wouldn't it be. This adds another layer of depth and it's clearly possible. Attaction IRL won't be a prerequisite for attraction between virtual avatars.

I think that one's my favorite of the three, but on the whole, they were all roughly middle tier as far as Black Mirror goes.
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Kuildeous

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1206 on: June 17, 2019, 11:45:28 pm »
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There is actually already a body-less hologram singer who looks pretty good, so that part of the science was pretty underwhelming. I mean, they just did it with a real person doing the movement and the hologram just projecting that and changing her look. That's like super unimpressive. I'd assume we can do that already?

I don't think the sci-fi part is the hologram but how a celebrity's image can be used for your own use. For example, Fred Astaire: In this episode, Ashley put up a good enough front that when she went comatose, her aunt was able to continue banking on her image. The hologram would've been a continuing of exploiting Ashley after she dies. The hologram was neat and all, but I don't feel that was the crux of the sci-fi elements.
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Dsell

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1207 on: June 20, 2019, 04:44:08 pm »
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My boyfriend and I just caught up on Barry and I think it does an incredible job of blending comedy, drama, and action. I've never seen a show do it that well. It has tons of laugh-out-loud moments and almost as many seriously intense action sequences. (And it's impossible not to love a character like NoHo Hank)
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shraeye

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1208 on: June 23, 2019, 01:37:38 am »
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Barry is most definitely enjoyable
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WestCoastDidds

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Re: TV shows
« Reply #1209 on: August 09, 2019, 11:46:24 am »
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Veronica Mars! Veronica Mars! Veronica Mars!
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