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BradHB
January 23, 2020
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MB
Michael Barnes
January 23, 2020
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Top Gun is a Maverick - Review

Board Game Reviews
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Josh Look
January 22, 2020
249 0
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WadeMonnig
January 22, 2020
458 0
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Msample
January 22, 2020
321 0
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thegiantbrain
January 21, 2020
559 0

Circle Undone Review

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oliverkinne
January 21, 2020
561 0

Setup Pains

Essays
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Jackwraith
January 20, 2020
452 0
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san il defanso
January 20, 2020
678 0

Clank! in Review

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TabletopIsland
January 18, 2020
1134 0
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oliverkinne
January 18, 2020
626 0
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ubarose
January 17, 2020
2641 0
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ubarose
January 17, 2020
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Hylander47
January 17, 2020
247 0

Crack in the Bell

Podcasts & Videos
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thegiantbrain
January 16, 2020
314 0
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Coming the Week of January 18th (17 Jan 2020)

First Impressions of Return to Dark Tower.
Reviews of Clank!, On the Underground, Cover Your Kingdom, and Arkham Horror LCG: Circle Undone Core Box.
It Came from the Tabletop's take on Sanctum.
Part 3 of The Others.
And more TBA

× Use the stickied threads for short updates.

Please consider adding your quick impressions and your rating to the game entry in our Board Game Directory after you post your thoughts so others can find them!

Please start new threads in the appropriate category for mini-session reports, discussions of specific games or other discussion starting posts.

What TV SHOWS are you watching?

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11 Jan 2020 05:10 #306035 by Nodens

ThirstyMan wrote: Also, I just CANNOT get into GoT after watching one and half seasons. It just does not grip me in any way whatsoever. I see it as soft core porn for the neckbeards.

Same here. It does look impressive, but after about two seasons my wife said: 'I just can't make myself care about the problems of any of those people.' Neither could I.

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12 Jan 2020 13:59 - 12 Jan 2020 14:19 #306059 by Gary Sax
What a mess of a show the Witcher is, esp the last few episodes. The whole meta structure is a nightmare. Years between episodes, only hitting big Plot Relevant plot progressing points. This is that rare, rare show which would have been vastly better with a Kung Fu style episodic structure with many many enjoyable monster of the week episodes between plot relevant eps. It's like watching only X Files conspiracy episodes with a character whose best traits show in monster of the week eps.
Last edit: 12 Jan 2020 14:19 by Gary Sax.

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13 Jan 2020 14:11 #306088 by Joebot

Gary Sax wrote: What a mess of a show the Witcher is, esp the last few episodes. The whole meta structure is a nightmare. Years between episodes, only hitting big Plot Relevant plot progressing points. This is that rare, rare show which would have been vastly better with a Kung Fu style episodic structure with many many enjoyable monster of the week episodes between plot relevant eps. It's like watching only X Files conspiracy episodes with a character whose best traits show in monster of the week eps.


I haven't finished the season yet, but I already agree with you. I was probably 3 or 4 episodes in before I even realized that the show was jumping around to different points in time. The show certainly doesn't signpost it for you, which is fine. I don't mind having to pay attention. I'm just not sure what's gained by telling the story this way.

I feel like non-linear narratives are the cool, trendy thing right now, like Westworld or Watchmen. My opinion is that screenwriters are just trying to make themselves look clever, but all they're really doing is making a mess of their story. In Watchmen, the technique worked great. In The Witcher, it just makes things confusing, and I'm not sure that it brings any particular insight or depth to tell the story in this way.

Like you said, if they'd just told the story in a traditional, linear fashion, I think it would have been a solid show. Mix in some monster-of-the-week episodes with some larger, ongoing plots. TV shows have been doing this shit for a long time. It works.

I'm also almost done with His Dark Materials, and it really is the equivalent of the first Harry Potter movie. It mechanically hits the story beats, but it has lost all the flavor and themes and originality of the source novel. It's so frustrating. I'm not even sure if the showrunner even read the book, or if he just read the Wikipedia synopsis. The book is fundamentally about humans and their relationships with their daemons. That relationship underpins everything that happens. The TV show totally misses that.

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13 Jan 2020 15:27 #306101 by Shellhead

Joebot wrote: I feel like non-linear narratives are the cool, trendy thing right now, like Westworld or Watchmen. My opinion is that screenwriters are just trying to make themselves look clever, but all they're really doing is making a mess of their story. In Watchmen, the technique worked great. In The Witcher, it just makes things confusing, and I'm not sure that it brings any particular insight or depth to tell the story in this way.


I've been thinking the same thing lately. Sometimes a non-linear narrative can be brilliant, because the juxtaposition of two scenes from different time periods can really drive home a plot point or some character development. And sometimes it feels like a non-linear narrative just muddles the story-telling to no particular advantage. Or maybe it can partially conceal that the underlying writing is not great.

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13 Jan 2020 17:00 #306104 by ChristopherMD
The first season of The Witcher is based on the two prequel books, which are anthologies where the stories aren't in any particular order. I believe the show tried to emulate that with mixed results. On the bright side the next season and rest of the series should be straight-forward.
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14 Jan 2020 08:53 #306132 by hotseatgames
I watched the first two (the only ones released as of this writing) episodes of the new HBO drama, The Outsider. The premise is that Jason Bateman plays an elementary school baseball coach who is accused of murdering a boy in a most grievous manner. The investigation is led by Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, Rogue One) and they are absolutely convinced they have their guy because they have video, eye witnesses, fingerprints, etc.

But Jason Bateman's character was not even in town that day, and he can prove it.

If this show keeps its momentum, it will be difficult to wait on each coming episode. It's a good mystery, and while I *think* I know what is going on, episode 2 did throw a curve ball that was unexpected.

Check it out, and I'll warn you, the first two minutes shows a disgusting corpse.
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14 Jan 2020 15:11 #306145 by Space Ghost
Huh, I didn't know that was going to be a series. I think it is one of King's better books in recent years. If they can follow everything in the book in the series, then it is going to be pretty good with a lot of cool reveals....I don't know how much is shown in the first two episodes, but you might be still be surprised on what the final reveal is.

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15 Jan 2020 04:13 #306165 by mc
Replied by mc on topic What TV SHOWS are you watching?
This is weird, I remember walking home with a mate of mine, which dates it to like 3 years ago, where he described that plot line to me about a show he was watching, not a book. Have there been other riffs on that?

Ben Mendelsohn is great btw. Wasn't he also in Captain Marvel also, the skrull dude.

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15 Jan 2020 09:23 - 15 Jan 2020 09:23 #306175 by charlest
Watched the first episode of The Outsider and it was great. Not familiar with the King original story and am avoiding spoilers. I was bummed to see it's being advertised and openly discussed with some spoilery descriptions though.

Thanks for recommending it/discussing it here.
Last edit: 15 Jan 2020 09:23 by charlest.

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15 Jan 2020 09:59 - 15 Jan 2020 10:00 #306184 by Disgustipater
Regarding the Witcher's time stuff, I vaguely knew prior to watching about the three different timelines. However seeing this graphic really helped me understand how it was structured and how decades pass between episodes, which is not made clear at all. You don't need to study it too close if you are worried about spoilers, which doesn't seem to actually matter in this particular show.

Last edit: 15 Jan 2020 10:00 by Disgustipater.
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15 Jan 2020 10:24 #306185 by Gary Sax
www.witchernetflix.com/en-gb

Netflix also saw the need to set up an interactive timeline, so that should tell you something.
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15 Jan 2020 11:26 #306200 by Msample
Speaking of timelines, S3 of WESTWORLD premieres in late March and it looks like a total reboot; no more old West. The latest trailer is rather bizarre.

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15 Jan 2020 11:35 #306202 by Shellhead

Msample wrote: Speaking of timelines, S3 of WESTWORLD premieres in late March and it looks like a total reboot; no more old West. The latest trailer is rather bizarre.


After the end of season two, I wasn't sure if I was going to keep watching Westworld. It started well, but season two gave the appearance that the writing team was leaning too hard on the mystery box approach to storytelling. The mystery box usually ends up either empty or full of shit. But I will at least give season three a try.

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15 Jan 2020 11:58 - 15 Jan 2020 12:00 #306210 by Shellhead
I was too harsh on Space: 1999 before. I was wary because I knew that nostalgia might give me fond memories of a bad show that just happened to air when I was still young and impressionable. And it did start out weak, with thin stories and lots of talking about not very much. But it started to get significantly better by episode 5 or 6, which should be impressive to anybody who endured the first two seasons of Star Trek: the Next Generation.

The main characters are still underdeveloped, generic heroes, with the big three occupying the same roles as the big three on Star Trek (original series) of commander, science officer, and medical officer. The f/x looks cheap, and not even as good as early Star Trek. The stories are all still episodic, with no carryover beyond the basic premise from one show to the next. And the science is sometimes complete rubbish, starting with the idea that the moon would not be destroyed by nuclear blasts powerful enough to send it out of Earth's solar system at nearly warp speed.

But aside from some weak science, the show strives for plausibility. The Eagles look like very workable space shuttles. The space suits look very similar to the ones used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The set dressing is fine. I really like the Moon Base Alpha uniforms. Quite a few episodes deal with first contact with alien races, and some of those races are really alien and not just humanoids with variant hair or skin color. But the best part is the ambitious ideas after the first few episodes. The writers put an impressive amount of thought and effort into ideas that are used for a single episode, and some of the episodes are surprisingly character-driven. And oh, that awesome theme song. It starts with thundering kettle drums and roaring brass (also reminiscent of 2001), and then the cheesy, eerie synthesizer melody rolls in.



Just for one example, there was an episode where they encounter a vast alien ship. The occupants fled a dying world, on a 1,000-year journey to a suitable planet where they could start over, with about a century left in their journey. But a disaster on the ship exposed most of their people to excessive radiation, leading to widespread mutations. The 14 remaining pure-strain aliens live near the bridge, sealed off by safety doors from the rest of the ship. The other survivors scrape by with a primitive and ignorant lifestyle that includes worship and human sacrifice to the occasional pure-strain visitors, who harvest the sacrifices for organs and nutrients that they used to live as near-immortals. I could build a whole role-playing campaign (like maybe Metamorphosis Alpha or Paranoia) around those ideas, but Space: 1999 uses them for a single fast-paced episode.
Last edit: 15 Jan 2020 12:00 by Shellhead.
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15 Jan 2020 18:34 #306226 by RobertB

Shellhead wrote: ...And the science is sometimes complete rubbish, starting with the idea that the moon would not be destroyed by nuclear blasts powerful enough to send it out of Earth's solar system at nearly warp speed.

I was kind of an SF snob about stuff like that back then, and that was a deal-breaker for me. I watched a couple of shows, but would bitch and moan about the moon all through the episode. You can see how that enhanced my enjoyment.

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