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Archive for the ‘TV & Media’ Category

Fall Media

The “Still excellent” category includes Better Call Saul, BoJack Horseman, and hopefully The Good Place (which needed a few episodes to find it’s groove in S3, but I think it’s got it). (I started to listen to The Good Place, the Podcast as background during Factorio).

Two episodes in and I like the 13th Doctor, but the show? It’s OK.

I gave up on Iron Fist S2. Then Netflix gave up on it. Watched a few episodes of Daredevil S3.  Will continue.

I actually enjoyed Norm MacDonald has a show. (Yes, it has some of his weird anti-humor (and I skipped the David Spade episode) but it had interesting conversations. Also watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which is just all over the place and not great but I’ll probably finish. I want to see Castlevania S2 and Big Mouth S2, but they are lower priority.

I’m also rewatching Babylon 5.


Written by taogaming

November 1, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Posted in TV & Media

Bonus Media

John Mulaney — Kid Gorgeous at Radio City may not be the best standup special I’ve seen, but its damn near perfect.

Written by taogaming

May 3, 2018 at 9:50 pm

Posted in TV & Media

Media of 2018 (so far)

Been a while, so let’s see —

I have not, in fact, progressed past S2E1 of Stranger Things, so I guess I’m done with that. At least for now. Other series that are in my queue without motion include GLOW, The Dark, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (I found my limits on cringe comedy), Black Mirror (and cringe SF). I like many of the new series in theory more than in practice.

I did binge Better Call Saul S3 and the latest Father Brown season (6), but those are known quantities. (Better Call Saul is, in my mind, the best show on the air, one of the few doing interesting things with shots and letting action build tension. It does sometimes rely on the audience’s foreknowledge, but often it subverts it).

Retsuko — the netflix anime about a 25 year old red panda working as an accountant for a large company, and doesn’t it say something that shows like this get made? — surprisingly amusing and short (10 episodes of 12-15 minutes).

I watched Mindhunter S1 and finished it, but don’t really recommend it.

In the “Media is more than just Netflix” department — I read the entire Three Body Problem trilogy. Recommended.

Written by taogaming

April 26, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Posted in TV & Media

Media Gluttony

Stuff I liked:

While playing Mage Knight with the TaoLing my wife was watching some BBC documentary and I kept hearing …. weird things. Like “Many people consider Yellowstone park the world’s greatest park. Mainly American people, though, sniff” and “Some wildebeests will be killed by crocodiles while crossing this river, but none of the ones you have gotten emotionally attached to, so don’t worry.” After about 30 minutes we finished the game and then went and watched Round Planet, the BBC mockumentary featuring brilliant footage and smarmy commentary from Matt Lucas.

I had low expectations for The Punisher, but I liked it. For Marvel on Netflix, only Daredevil S1 and this have been actually good, but I’m their huckleberry and will watch anything. Still, this gets a B+, although it still could have been shorter.

Finally caught up on The Hateful Eight, which was like a David Mamet mugging a Tarantino cast plus Walton Goggins, who I have literally never seen in a bad show. (If he’s been in one, don’t tell me about it).

I’m sadly finished with Father Brown (and re-reading the original stories).

I have already noted my love of The Good Place, the first half of S2 was wonderful. Waiting for the second half (after New Year’s).

I theoretically like Strange Things II, but I’m watching it a snail’s pace.

OK Go has a new video out.

Stuff that’s OK (but not OK Go):

I’m watching Enterprise, and its …. ok.When it was on TV I remember using the phrase “Oiling the Vulcan” after the pilot and there is that, but I don’t think it’s much worse than Next Generation (which had a lot of klunkers early on, too). I don’t think I’m going to be a completist for Star Trek (I’m looking at you, Voyager), but at some point the queues get low….

I watched Chappie, which was amusingly bad like most movies that feature musicians “acting”. (Die Antwoord in this case).

Slowly watching Longmire (the Netflix seasons).

Stuff I turned off:

I liked the first two seasons of Rectify, but I can’t get back into it. The delay may have been too long.

Tried to watch Little Evil.


Written by taogaming

December 1, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Posted in TV & Media

My media “Diet,” or how I beat anorexia

I’ve been sick the last two weeks. Not at death’s door sick, but not healthy either. In fact, the company doctor today said “Go home, I’ll talk to your manager.” (I took yesterday off, and spent the entire weekend at home. And I took a day off last week).

A persistent nagging crud, now with a few bonus kickers.

So I sit and Veg in front of the TV.

Father Brown — I read the GK Chesterton short stories maybe 20 years ago, and I don’t remember much about them except that I liked them. The newest BBC adaptation moves the time up, but just to post WWII times. Pastoral landscapes, castles, but nice Rolls Royce cars, radios, a phone. I don’t think the mysteries are the ones from the books (although at least once a mystery was kind of an homage to a story), but they are generally clever and not in a “convoluted” clever (sometimes) but in a “Oh, why didn’t I think of that?” lateral way. (Edit — This isn’t to say that some of them have a number of coincidences and blind turns, but that’s somewhat expected).

Maybe if I were healthy I’d figure out more. But maybe not. I’m actually quite bad at these type of things.

Also, since its BBC, they don’t do that “The most famous guest star did it” thing. Or if they do, I have no idea who that would be.

Also refreshing:

  • It’s not a “He’s an X, she’s a Y, they fight crime” show. He’s a priest. It’s not a buddy comedy with some side mysteries. (He has a number of recurring parishoners who do help him, and police detective-inspectors who tolerate him, because he generally takes no credit).
  • He doesn’t fight crime, its merely a side hobby. He’s interested in saving souls.
  • An interesting look at life in a small town circa 1950. I mean, there’s the Jessica Fletcher problem of a murder each week, but other than that? Pretty nice.
  • Father Brown is a great character, and the actor (Mark Williams) is wonderful in his portrayal.

Anyway, I really enjoy it, and I’ve burned through 25 of the 60 episodes in the last few weeks. On Netflix.

I did buy The Good Place S2 and have not regretted it. An audacious show, funny, and each week I wonder how they are going to change things. Also, one of the screen grabs in an early episode of “Things you did that make you a good person,” was something like “Wrote up a eulogy for David Bowie, then realized nobody cared, and deleted it.” Guess I lose points. (I’m saddened by Tom Petty’s death, but have nothing to say about it).

(I’m still slowly reading the Encyclopedia of Bowie, working through the section on TV and films).

Rick and Morty is (sadly) done with S3.

I tried to watch The Lobster, twice. I may try to finish it later. It’s like a Bertolt Brecht play (I imagine), in that it is deliberately off-putting on many levels, but is somewhat compelling.

I’ve also been watching a lot of Factorio on Youtube, streams by Katherine of Sky, Nialus, Xterminator. Obviously this of no interest unless you play the game, but I’ve probably watched 200+ epsiodes (average of 25 minutes) of various series. A comfort food of video. So I haven’t had a lot of variety recently, but much TV nonetheless.

And if you aren’t reading SlateStarCodex, you are missing out on the most interesting thinker online (IMO).

Written by taogaming

October 3, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Posted in TV & Media

The increasing velocity of media

When I watched the first season of Arrow, I was pleasantly surprised by the plot velocity. Serialization — actually changing the nature of the show from season to season or episode to episode — has been slowly replacing hard resets since the nineties. No doubt this is due to the advent of DVRs and later streaming. Networks did not need to worry as much about dedicated viewer randomly missing a week and then being confused. It could still happen of course, but serialization allowed a differentiation with the normal “things get back to normal” ending.

But it seemed to me that Arrow took that velocity hyper. “Who ordered the attack on Oliver shortly after his rescue?” looked to be a season long quest …. answered at the end of the first episode. “Will his bodyguard figure out his secret identity?” About two episodes later.

Propulsive forward motion.

That didn’t necessarily make Arrow good (although I enjoyed it for a few season) but it was a nice change. By contrast, Supernatural’s natural formulae is “Introduce a Big Bad …. drop him in for a few minutes here and there while the main characters go vs the monster of the week and work towards some McGuffin to defeat the B.B, then fight the B.B. the last 2-3 episodes.”

Sometimes they’d vary, and the series did change season from season, but they were on the plot-treadmill mostly. (Not nearly as much as pre-nineties shows), but still.

Lots of modern shows — good and bad — still stick with the slowly motion move, things resolve over a season. The end of the season may change things (introduce new cast, remove some, etc). And of course comedies change slower than dramas.

But it feels like that has changed. Maybe its just coincidence, but both Rick and Morty and The Good Place have been …. not criticised, but had reviewers express worry that they are burning through their plot too fast. Both have had recent shows where a single episode is effectively a clip show — of clips never seen! –and  tossing jokes at the viewer wily nily and spending 90 seconds on what could have been a decent premise for a 22 minute show.

(And both series mentioned Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same week, which must surely be the most media coverage he’s had in a while).

I’m all for this change. Of course my first criteria for a comedy is the simple — is it funny? But funny and clever and delivering the “Ow wow!” moments is even nicer. I think that the other structural change (apart from streaming) is that many shows are now picked up for 12 or 10 or fewer episodes per season, which means that writers aren’t worried about some huge “How do we fill these 12 episodes in the middle” gap.

They may not run as long, but they burn so very bright.

Written by taogaming

September 30, 2017 at 9:54 am

Posted in TV & Media

Media oh Media

I slogged the rest of the way through Iron Fist earlier this month just in case I needed it for the Defenders. (Iron Fist was really bad, mainly the writing. I actually liked the supporting cast, mostly).

Defenders had its moments (a few) and was better served as an 8 episode arc instead of 13, but still wasn’t great. So, while I’ve watched all of the Netflix series, I can’t say I can recommend them. I may give Punisher a pass (I wasn’t too keen on Daredevil S2).

Rick & Morty S3 is out, so that’s being watched of course. I’ll probably try The Good Place when it drops later this month. Other than that I’m not really into anything. I watched half of ep 1 of Ozarks, and I may continue. Watched the first two episodes of Dear White People, & etc etc. Lots of other things make the queue but don’t get watched. I am enjoying (slowly) the new season of Grace and Frankie. Lily Tomlin is a national treasure.

Howzabout you?

Update — The Americanized Death Note is terrible, but I watched it. The Tick is not great, but has a few quotable quips in each episode.

Written by taogaming

August 20, 2017 at 10:15 pm

Posted in TV & Media