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Mycelia Board Game Review

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Outback Crossing Review

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What TV SHOWS are you watching?

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15 Dec 2022 07:55 #337413 by Legomancer

jason10mm wrote: so clearly not all of these roles were independently cast with just the best actor being selected


This is something I see all the time and while I'm no expert on show production I know enough to know it's incredibly naive. The idea that normally you audition actors and then simply select the "best" one is ridiculous. Actors are chosen for a myriad of reasons beyond the strength of their acting ability, all the time, and one of those main reasons is what they look like. Is it just happenstance that our "best" actors all happen to be stunningly beautiful? Overwhelmingly white?

Furthermore, playing a character in a TV fantasy drama doesn't require Laurence Olivier chops. Acting is a craft and a talent but you don't have to hold out on filling that role until a True Master comes along.

(It's also a pretty racist statement, ground I'm not sure you want to cede -- the idea that if someone was cast based on a particular look then you're not only automatically getting inferior work but you also most probably shut out a more deserving person...a white one.)
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15 Dec 2022 09:52 #337415 by jason10mm
Finished 1899 and woooow, didn't quite see that coming and not really sure how they made it there given what we've been shown so far. It's pretty easy to guess most of it since we've been steeped in similar concepts and "from the creators of Dark..." is, kinda like a M. Night Shamalyan joint, leading you to hunt for things you otherwise might not predict.

Alas, I don't think this ending justifies the watch. It feels more like a movie plot reaaaaallllllyyy stretched out with lots of side stories that have ZERO payoff within this season and I know I'm just gonna forget if/when this gets a season 2. I can't even begin to reverse engineer how/why we get from the ending back to the start, which is a hallmark sign of lazy mystery box writing for me. Dark, I think, holds up forwards and backwards (to the extent anything could) but this....

Maybe a second season will be able to give context and reason to all the stuff in S1, so maybe shelf this one till then if you need resolution.
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15 Dec 2022 10:06 #337417 by jason10mm

Legomancer wrote:

jason10mm wrote: so clearly not all of these roles were independently cast with just the best actor being selected


Furthermore, playing a character in a TV fantasy drama doesn't require Laurence Olivier chops. Acting is a craft and a talent but you don't have to hold out on filling that role until a True Master comes along.


Thats actually a pretty condescending statement to ANY actor. "Eh, you ain't great but it's just a silly fantasy show....". Shouldn't we, the audience, demand the BEST possible, particularly given the crazy costs of these shows?

Legomancer wrote: (It's also a pretty racist statement, ground I'm not sure you want to cede -- the idea that if someone was cast based on a particular look then you're not only automatically getting inferior work but you also most probably shut out a more deserving person...a white one.)


Thats a real nice strawman there, I never said the better option was a white actor, just that the STORY kinda REQUIRES certain inherent biological traits for it to play out in a believable manner. I also provided an alternative that could let most of the same actors work the show anyway and wouldn't be quite so eye rolling when a guy gets beheaded for calling out what is BLAZINGLY obvious to even the most naive kid in the room.

Look, in the HotD example, you either care about the source material and want to see as accurate an representation of it on screen or you don't and are more comfortable with a loosey goosey version. Neither one is right or wrong, but to try to cast one group as horrible people is pretty petty IMHO. Why adapt it AT ALL if the goal isn't to represent it as closely as possible? Just go find a story by someone who ISN'T rolling around in money in their Sante Fe estate and adapt their story that actually fits your intent in the first place!

I'd like to think we are past the times when a producer drops cash on a known IP just to rip the title and slap it on a totally different thing as a bait and switch.

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15 Dec 2022 11:33 #337421 by Shellhead

jason10mm wrote:

Legomancer wrote:

jason10mm wrote: so clearly not all of these roles were independently cast with just the best actor being selected


Furthermore, playing a character in a TV fantasy drama doesn't require Laurence Olivier chops. Acting is a craft and a talent but you don't have to hold out on filling that role until a True Master comes along.


Thats actually a pretty condescending statement to ANY actor. "Eh, you ain't great but it's just a silly fantasy show....". Shouldn't we, the audience, demand the BEST possible, particularly given the crazy costs of these shows?


I've noticed that a lot of fans of science-fiction and fantasy shows have really low standards for actors. For example, Doctor Who got better over the years, but the early stuff was all shouty exposition and tinfoil f/x. Farscape was shouty exposition plus muppets. The Twilight franchise featured some terrible performances even by otherwise decent actors. And so on. I think that tv showrunners tend to settle on adequate actors if they are spending a lot of money on production values, cgi, costumes, sets, etc.

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15 Dec 2022 12:08 #337424 by jason10mm
[quote="Shellhead" post=337421

I've noticed that a lot of fans of science-fiction and fantasy shows have really low standards for actors. For example, Doctor Who got better over the years, but the early stuff was all shouty exposition and tinfoil f/x. Farscape was shouty exposition plus muppets. The Twilight franchise featured some terrible performances even by otherwise decent actors. And so on. I think that tv showrunners tend to settle on adequate actors if they are spending a lot of money on production values, cgi, costumes, sets, etc.[/quote]

Certainly true, particularly in the past when TV show budgets (outside of premium HBO content and maybe sweeps week mini-series) were rock bottom low. I think selling genre content to producers was a lot harder in general because they didn't know how to reach the audience. I recall when Firefly was axed due to costs because Whedon had such high standards for where he filmed, the sets, and the like and the show underperformed (due to bouncing around on the schedule like a ping-pong no doubt, Browncoats forever!!)

Now though, TV is SOOOOOO expensive, even a "cheap" show is a staggering amount of money. Now there is definitely an argument that the sheer volume of content these days is taxing on the talent base, across the board, but I don't think acting is so hard a skill or so precious a talent that we should, as an audience, have to put up with subpar work.

Interesting that you brought up Farscape. I'm curious what a show like that would cost today (and HOW DARE YOU besmirch John Creighton and Aeryn Sun!!). It saddened me to see Dark Crystal get axed after just one season because you'd think that after all the hard work of making the puppets continued filming would get progressively cheaper by default.

I tend to cast shade on the writers more than anything these days. The production teams are almost all universally churning out good work, even dodgy CGI or composition shots still look pretty good. Actors, regardless of how they got there, are all doing pretty good with what they have, just go back and watch any sitcom from the 80's to see a parade of "I am reading this from a cue card" level shite we just don't see today.

But the writing....oophf. Internal consistency, logical narrative flow, plausible character motivations, natural sounding dialogue, scene transitions that give an impression of time and space instead of a disconnected reality of a scene being able to be editied into the show at any time because the location is irrelevant and the dialogue is just side talking nonsense.... it's EVERYWHERE these days. I think the old guard writers that knew how to craft an ensemble cast to deal with episodic events met with serialized movie folks and the fusion was NOT GOOD.

Now we get ensemble casts of janky misfits that wear out their welcome over a few episodes of constant narrative flow without any intra-episode arcs. The lack of internal resolution is compensated by endless cliffhanger mystery box shenanigans designed for "just one more episode!" dopamine hits.

I'm gonna shake my fist at some clouds now....
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15 Dec 2022 12:23 - 15 Dec 2022 12:30 #337425 by Sagrilarus
You're not cast for acting ability, you're cast for your ability to draw eyeballs. Talent is part of that, but there's a whole lot of other stuff that goes into that as well. So let's put that in perspective. There were a whole lot of actresses that got turned away from A Game of Thrones before anyone knew anything about them other than their 8x10 glossy head shot.

As minorities continue to have spending power in this country, they will draw more eyeballs. It's good business to consider them for roles that they would have been excluded from in the past.

All that said, anybody trying to be faithful to source material written 10, 20, or more years ago is going to discover that every character in these books are white (except for the drug dealers.) You either continue to have that systemic racism represented in modern renditions, or you make changes that are advantageous to your bottom line.

Better productions are better at finding ways to do this. In Bridgerton it was seamless, in other shows it's clunky.
Last edit: 15 Dec 2022 12:30 by Sagrilarus.
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15 Dec 2022 14:15 #337427 by jason10mm
37425]
All that said, anybody trying to be faithful to source material written 10, 20, or more years ago is going to discover that every character in these books are white (except for the drug dealers.) You either continue to have that systemic racism represented in modern renditions, or you make changes that are advantageous to your bottom line.

Better productions are better at finding ways to do this. In Bridgerton it was seamless, in other shows it's clunky.[/quote]

Eh, I don't know about that. If you applied their casting methodology to pretty much ANY non "old european setting" like feudal japan, pre-columbian peru, ancient egypt, or mongolian steppes I think you'd run smack into a storm of controversy.

The issue (for me) isn't so much the casting, it's digging up these same old IPs and settings over and over but then changing it in ways that often turn off (some of) the actual fan base to try to capture a hypothetical fan base I don't think really exists. Anyone that would watch a 12th century england set Robin Hood show probably isn't really gonna care if the cast is 99.9% white but if they cast a chinese guy as Robin Hood, an arabic Maid Marian, a native american Sheriff, or whatever I doubt it would bring any more eyeballs to the screen (unless it's stunt casting of super popular actors for a specific market I suppose). If I'm gonna watch a show about the Incans coming to power in Cusco, I've already bought in that the cast should look, well, Incan, to the extent possible by the production and the first non-Incan faces I see are only when the Spaniards show up (unless they run with the viking expeditions going down that far...)

So either reset the show to a period where your desired casting makes internal sense (even if Robin Hood is fictional, the setting he is in may not be) or go find an IP that already has all the stuff you want and put that marketing team to work! If there really is this giant wellspring of previously suppressed non-(white, cishet, male, take your pick) fandom for genre stuff, then they ought to show up for "Black Leopard, Red Wolf", Correia's "Forgotten Warrior" series, "The Black Company", "Malazan Book of the Fallen", any other of a bazillion YA series coming out these days with multi-culturalism baked in or all the localized content on these streaming services. I find that trying to grind IPs into as large of a global appeal as possible just turns it into a homogenized bland sludge that is virtually indistinguishable from the other dozen attempts to do the same thing (and note, the casting itself is but a small part of this process). Fantasy suffers the most from this as the tyrannical grip of feudal europe on the entire genre is asphyxiating.

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15 Dec 2022 14:25 #337430 by Sagrilarus
Willow happens where?

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15 Dec 2022 14:37 #337431 by jason10mm

Sagrilarus wrote: Willow happens where?


Fantasy land, but one that, with VERY little effort, is CLEARLY derived from a primarily feudal europe inspiration with a little bit of sampling from other cultures.

But who cares? No one is complaining that the adjacent kingdom (which, I believe, was the one they were at war with in the movie?) is run by a POC. What association are you trying to make?

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17 Dec 2022 22:54 - 18 Dec 2022 10:41 #337476 by Sagrilarus
Alright, so I've just watched eps 2, 3, and 4 and this show is just a hoot. It's all frickin over the place, with goofy one liners, hokey spell components and a plot that just rolls downhill with wild abandon. They try to get deep for a moment, then have a cannibalism joke. There's a little Whedon in it, just not as good.

I don't see anything about this that says Europe, in fact I think it has more of a Southern Eurasian flavor to it so THEY SHOULD RECAST THE ENTIRE THING!

Don't get me wrong -- I'm in. But anybody taking anything in this seriously needs to get the bug out of their arse. It's just a lot of fun playing with the tropes.

This is the fantasy equivalent of The Dukes of Hazard. Don't worry so much about the car flying a hundred feet through the air, Bo and Luke will be just fine.
Last edit: 18 Dec 2022 10:41 by Sagrilarus.

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18 Dec 2022 02:32 #337478 by Jackwraith
Tried Star Trek: Lower Decks. Um... no. The key thing for me in any comedy is that it has to be, y'know... funny. I got through 20 minutes of the first episode and didn't even crack a smile. Is everyone being completely histrionic supposed to be amusing? Along with the space zombie outbreak which is, of course, totally original in our post-Walking Dead TV era. And, yet, apparently this show has been really popular with critics.

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18 Dec 2022 09:06 #337480 by jason10mm
ST:LD comes into its own and gets really good IMHO. The characters have interesting arcs and even the clear Mary Sue trope in the lead character gets it's due. The humor ranges wildly though, so you really gotta love TNG era trek at times.

That this show exists while the rest of Trek is so far off into the weeds (IMHO) is the real story. It feels far more like Orville in plots and sci-fi love.

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18 Dec 2022 11:29 #337484 by DarthJoJo
Been watching Spectacular Spider-Man with the kids. Beside the first two-thirds of WandaVision, the first-third of Ms. Marvel and the full run of Hawkeye, I’d take it over any of the MCU series.

Maybe one of the seven other Spider-Man series on Disney+ is better, but this is pretty great. Nothing exceptional. Just nails the fundamentals of gorgeous animation, character work with a sprawling cast and storytelling with mini-arcs to give Venom and Green Goblin their dramatic weight. I was rolling my eyes when basically every major villain appears as a civilian in the first episode, but when they’re characters in their own right and not just bad guys of the week, you need to know where they started.
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18 Dec 2022 17:07 #337489 by hotseatgames
Watched the first 4 episodes of The Patient on Hulu. Steve Carrell plays a therapist who is abducted by a patient. So far it is excellent and I can't wait to see the rest.

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19 Dec 2022 02:14 #337496 by Virabhadra
White Lotus Season 2 was garbage.

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