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DavidNorris
October 21, 2021
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Michael Barnes
October 20, 2021
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Varstriga
October 20, 2021
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thegiantbrain
October 20, 2021
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oliverkinne
October 18, 2021
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Gary Sax
October 16, 2021
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October 15, 2021
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K2 Review - Digital Eyes

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BradHB
October 15, 2021
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DavidNorris
October 14, 2021
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thegiantbrain
October 13, 2021
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oliverkinne
October 12, 2021
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DavidNorris
October 11, 2021
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oliverkinne
October 08, 2021
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Sprawlopolis Review

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DavidNorris
October 07, 2021
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thegiantbrain
October 06, 2021
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adamr
October 06, 2021
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What TV SHOWS are you watching?

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01 Oct 2021 10:12 #326913 by Rliyen
Finished The Chestnut Man on Netflix. Binged through it in two days. It's about a series of grisly murders made by a serial killer who leaves little totems made out of chestnuts at the scenes. You end up getting a rough idea of who the killer is during the middle part of the show, but still was highly entertaining to watch.

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01 Oct 2021 10:36 #326915 by jason10mm
Totally loving Warrior on HBOmax. I'm somewhere in the middle of season 2 now. Pure adult drama with tons of fights, damn I've missed this stuff. It took them a bit to set up the characters but other than a deliciously moustache twirling bit by none other than 21 Jump Streets Dustin Nyguen (where has this guy been all this time?) as a mongolian gangster the rest of the cast all get some depth to their villainy. There are few morally pure heroes here, or at least they don't stay that way as the show does a masterful job of presenting "lesser of two evils" choices to characters on a regular basis. The plot is cracking, no episode ends without at least one major character moving forward in their story and so far at least there has been very little backpedalling or character inconsistent shenanigans that so often plague these sorts of melodramas.

For an 80% asian cast they found a whole lot of actors I've never seen before that can all speak perfect unaccented english. But the main conceit of the show is that the chinese characters are speaking chinese to each other using a very colorful english vernacular (fresh off the boat chinese are called 'onions', white folks are inexplicably called 'ducks', having sex is the outrageously descriptive 'getting sticky') but they all speak in actual chinese if a non-chinese speaking character is present in the scene. The fun part is when a chinese character is speaking ACTUAL english to a duck character, they do so in a very stereotypical "my engrish not so grood" type accent. It is hilarious to see and really helps sell the "english as chinese" and "engrish as english" bits. Not sure if the actors are learning phonetic chinese for those lines or what, but it all flows quite well and is an ingenious way to inject a ton of flavor into the dialogue without relying on a lot of subtitles.

Tons of strong female characters, at this point in the show there are precious few male leaders left. The alpha fighters are great, each has their own style and match-ups between them are always entertaining and plot driving. It helps that there are fighters and then there are plotters, the division between the fighting and conniving methods of operation are clear and while some characters move back and forth between the two it is usually pretty obvious who thinks with their fists and who relies on their mouth.

Don't let the nudity in the first couple eps turn you away, it fades away pretty quickly after the pilot ep. This show moves very fast and violence is almost always about to happen so sexy time interludes get pretty spaced out as the show progresses.
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02 Oct 2021 02:53 #326934 by mtagge
Watching Foundation and although I like it (count me as one who read the books twice and am fine with the changes), I have extreme problems with the pacing. It seems to me that there was a business decision to have a weekly release instead of a binge-able release. The third episode seems to be half decay of empire, half first crisis setup ending with a cliffhanger. It seems like the episode was cut that way due to the business decision instead of what flows properly.

Call me a curmudgeon, I'm not interested in cliffhangers anymore, especially on weekly releases. If it was a big dump the cliffhangers would be okay.
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03 Oct 2021 00:30 #326945 by Shellhead
After a very long hiatus, I watched another episode of Masters of Horror, on the Roku channel. I had been avoiding it for many months because I sort of dismissed the show as Masters & Johnson of Horror, due to the some gratuitous nudity and sexual situations in every episode. Even this episode offered some titillation, despite being an otherwise good adaptation of a classic Lovecraft short story, The Dreams in the Witch-House. Due to the budget, director Stuart Gordon skimped on some of the more other-worldly dreams, but made up for it by updating the story for the 21st century. The result is a really good tv episode, but not quite a good movie.
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09 Oct 2021 21:40 #327087 by dysjunct
SQUID GAME.

A fun setup, a bit well-trod, but it’s weird and different enough to be compelling. Like a zombie movie, it’s all really an excuse to play the different personalities against each other. Damaged people pinballing off one another, with death on the line. Fun!
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11 Oct 2021 22:40 #327128 by Shellhead
I hate musicals. There is just something bizarre and off-putting about a character abruptly going from monologue to song, and said song features an uncanny cross between talking and singing that is not rap. But I endured the musical episode of The Brave & the Bold cartoon, because the writing is generally good and sometimes even funny. Midway through the episode, the musical villain was hanging out in his lair, which seemed to be a parody of CBGB. Suddenly, I noticed that dressing room graffiti was all names of DC super-groups, and many of them sound like pretty good names for punk or metal bands. Metal Men. Doom Patrol. Superman Revenge Squad. Suicide Squad. And even The Inferior Five.

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12 Oct 2021 01:12 #327129 by mc
Replied by mc on topic What TV SHOWS are you watching?

the musical episode of The Brave & the Bold cartoon


For half a minute I had read this as the Bold and the Beautiful and I was SO confused. But also very intrigued.

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12 Oct 2021 08:54 - 12 Oct 2021 09:57 #327132 by Sagrilarus
So I just finished watching Maid (Netflix) which is a ten-part miniseries. Had to write about it.

First of all, no super-powers, no machine guns. So most of you can probably move on. But it does feature a couple of oscar-worthy performances and frankly some pretty stunning acting all around. There was not one soft actor in the entire production.

It's also a revelation on how badly the underclass, the very-poor in this country live, and how hard it is to move up in the hierarchy.

About 10 hours total length, the ebbs and flows of the main character's future are at times uplifting and then heartbreaking, and there were a couple of points where my wife and I wanted to turn the show off because we were angry at the bad decisions the characters were making. Nine and a half hours in there was still no clear indication of how the story would finish.

Really good dramatic television. Actor-driven, story-driven. Glad I watched this one.
Last edit: 12 Oct 2021 09:57 by Sagrilarus.

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12 Oct 2021 16:55 #327135 by Joebot

mtagge wrote: Watching Foundation and although I like it (count me as one who read the books twice and am fine with the changes), I have extreme problems with the pacing. It seems to me that there was a business decision to have a weekly release instead of a binge-able release. The third episode seems to be half decay of empire, half first crisis setup ending with a cliffhanger. It seems like the episode was cut that way due to the business decision instead of what flows properly.

Call me a curmudgeon, I'm not interested in cliffhangers anymore, especially on weekly releases. If it was a big dump the cliffhangers would be okay.


To call the pacing of Foundation "glacial" is an insult to glaciers.

The show looks beautiful with really amazing visuals and production values. It's just a shame that nothing ever happens.
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13 Oct 2021 10:35 #327144 by DarthJoJo
The second season of Ted Lasso is a disappointment. The ensemble is still great and I still laughed regularly, but it suffers in comparison to the first season. Granted, most everything struggles in comparison to one of the best seasons of television I have seen. It would have been a borderline miracle to meet, much less exceed the standard set by those first ten episodes, but I expected so much more than what we got.

The first season was funny, very funny, but that wasn’t what made Ted Lasso special. A lot of things are funny. What made it exceptional was its thesis and plotting. I’ve argued here before that Ted Lasso is misunderstood as comfort television. It isn’t just good things happening to good people. It has an argument. It argues that kindness is strong, stronger than hate and self obsession, and that kindness extends to others. Yet it isn’t Pollyanna on panglossian. It also admits that kindness is hard. It can exist alongside suffering and can fail.

Second, the organization and plotting are of the first season are fantastic. So many jokes and plot are setup and foreshadowed in that very first episode. Ted says he believes in ghosts, and even that comes back. Actions have causes and consequences.

Those fundamentals simply aren’t present in the second season or are severely malnourished when they do appear. Maybe you could say that if the first season was celebrating kindness and positivity, the second set out to challenge it. What are the limits of kindness, especially with regards to Ted’s mental health? What happens when it fails and curdles as we see in Nate’s story? That would be a natural direction, but they only are taken seriously in the last few episodes. Everything before Christmas is just the last season of Parks and Rec and giving everything the characters they want with absolutely minimal pushback. The rom-com episode was the worst for this. The belief that everything will just work out? Come on, Ted, you know better than that.

The plotting just isn’t there either. The lack of any consequences whatsoever to or even acknowledgment of Sam’s protest is a joke. The build up to the show’s new relationship was strong, but the end was bungled and rushed. Nate’s storyline bounced between approval and disapproval of his actions until the very end, and I didn’t buy his reasons once they came out. It felt like two different shows: before and after the funeral. Happy, good times before and a full season’s worth of conflict in the last three.

I’m still in for season three. Like I said, the ensemble’s great, and I’m glad more of the players got their own episodes to shine. I was down on her to start, but Dr. Fieldstone ended up being one of the highlights for me. It’s just a bummer that Ted Lasso couldn’t live up to the high standards it set for itself.
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13 Oct 2021 11:13 #327145 by Gary Sax
I mostly agree with that, especially its organizational problems. I got enough laughs to be in for the next season and all but it was hardly transcendent television.
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13 Oct 2021 19:50 #327164 by ChristopherMD
I rewatched all three seasons of Stranger Things. I'll watch the new stuff as it comes out but don't expect to revisit these seasons again. Once you're over all the nostalgia references there's just not much there. The second season was the best one with the addition of Max and Will to the rest of the party and Paul Reiser and Samwise to the adults. Also I was previously so focused on Hopper dying/disappearing that I forgot Billy died so at least that was a nice surprise at the end.
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14 Oct 2021 09:02 #327169 by jason10mm
But season 2 of ST had that incredibly bizarre ep with the "other mutants" living in the city. AFAICT that never paid off.

IMHO ST is a great example of the "you have your whole life to write your first XXX and 2 weeks to do the second". These heavily serialized shows shouldn't be given open-ended commitments. Unlike episodic properly structured ensemble casts (very much a dead art these days) they can't really go on and on forever without jumping the shark sooner or later. With the dilution of talent across so many venues that shark is big and mean and eats nearly every jumper :P

Very few shows seem to improve in their subsequent seasons. They may take a few eps to hit their stride but that first season is usually generates the bulk of fan loyalty that is then slowly (or quickly) consumed. You can tell when a show is made with multiple seasons in mind, properly set-up (if not written out), and plotted appropriately to both be a proper stand-alone experience and create more story versus the "well, what next?" scramble.

Something like the upcoming "Wheel of Time" will be interesting. They have what, FOURTEEN doorstopper books to pull from and a specific total episode count? We could be in for a grand spectacle like never before (well, not since LOTR at least) or a disjointed confusing mess of cherrypicked moments without all the connective tissue to make it all work. Is it going to be a blistering fast paced thrill ride like early GOT or a meandering slog of meaningless dialogue slotted in around big CG spectacle of no consequence?
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14 Oct 2021 09:35 #327172 by RobertB
I thought that the city mutants paid off, sort of. Spoilers (although honestly, if you haven't seen it already it's on you)

Warning: Spoiler!


But you're right about #2 being thrown together compared to #1, unless you had planned it all along. And the temptation to go back to the well for $$$ is tempting. I bet Netflix has offered a lot of money for "The Queen's Gambit 2: Electric Boogaloo", and good on the producers for saying no.

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14 Oct 2021 10:03 #327174 by jason10mm
Fair enough, it was a tantalizing potential storyline that IIRC wasn't referenced much again.

As for Queen's Gambit 2, I TOTALLY want Anna Taylor-Joy(?) to snort cocaine and take on Magic: The Gathering or the awe inspiring global spectator sport of scrabble :P

Anyone watching Resident Alien on syfy? Has Alan Tudyk totally in his acting element as a hostile alien forced to impersonate a human in a small Colorado town while he tris to rebuild his global doomsday device. Syfy is a hard channel to watch if you don't have a cable subscription since it doesn't seem to have a monthly fee app, you have to get credits (or ahoy matey it).

Anyway, the show is pretty fun, Tudyk is hamming it up as the alien with little to no understanding of human mannerisms. The show throws some women at him to play off of but I don't think there are any women so desperate as to look past his near autistic behavior to actually hang out with him, but it is good for comedy. Nice voice cameo by Nathan Fillion if you listen for it as well.

I've not really looked at anything syfy related in YEARS but if this is an indication of their current show quality I'll have to check some other ones out. I've always found sci-fi/syfy to wax and wane drastically over the decades, ranging from a solid stable of quality, if a bit campy, shows to a full suite of nonsense to the halcyon years of BSG.
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