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    1. Hey folks, I thought I'd bring up something that I've been struggling with for the past few years. As the title suggests, my issue is that it's been really, really difficult for me to watch...

      Hey folks, I thought I'd bring up something that I've been struggling with for the past few years. As the title suggests, my issue is that it's been really, really difficult for me to watch television lately. I rarely find anything that looks appealing to begin with, and even when I do, I almost always end up in a constant state of—for lack of a better word—cringe. This happens with some movies, but almost every single TV show I try to start.

      The moments when I start getting uncomfortable are pretty consistently dialogue scenes. It's not the idea of two characters interacting that bothers me, but rather how they do it. The way that people talk on TV (especially protagonists) is unrealistic to the point where it is distracting enough to make me stop watching, because it makes literally no sense as a part of human society. I understand that no show is going to replicate real-life conversations 1:1, and that makes sense (filler words, useless tangents, etc. would just be distracting), but so many characters are direct to the point where any characterization that their words are supposed to provide seems utterly contrived, and I consequently ignore it.

      I seem hyper-aware of the fact that everything that a character is doing serves a specific purpose to either stretch the plot or artificially deepen their personality, but not in a meaningful way. The somewhat cheesy premise of The 100 (as a random example) kept me watching for a little while, but literally every conflict was forced. I could tell that there was a writer behind every, "Hey, look at Mr. <humorous adjective> here" and, "I'm telling you right now, stop! Don't do this!" and, "Just leave me alone!" trying to provide multiple sides to a character. The fourth wall may as well not even exist. Yes, I understand that your characters are all very complex human beings, but only because you're using every method known to man to imply it. It's just so heavy-handed that I can't pay attention to your broader message and instead focus on how ridiculous every word out of their mouths are.

      Okay, I understand that this character is supposed to be a symbol of feminine empowerment because she just kicked 14 guys and made a witty remark about having been underestimated. Okay, I understand that these scary-looking buff guys are bad because they keep explicitly saying how much they like murdering people. Are audiences really so stupid that they have to have characterization spelled out for them in dialogue? Can actions alone not be enough to convey meaning? Why does every meaningful interaction have to coincide with a ridiculously on-the-nose explanation of why it's relevant?

      It's ruining almost everything I watch. My immediate thought after hearing any TV quote that's supposed to be remotely funny or attention-grabbing is, "Ugh, that is such a 'television' thing to say," and it instantly makes me think negatively of the work. I've noticed that the feeling is somewhat dampened when watching foreign TV (in a different language), although it still feels sort of formulaic. Are my standards unrealistically high? Am I being a massive elitist? If so, how would I even change the way I look at television at this point? Or am I too far down the meta TV tropes rabbit-hole to be able to enjoy the medium fully again?

      24 votes
    2. I have watched the first season, and started the second season. I have been told a few times, it gets better once they get more into the AI aspect behind "the machine". So far the episodes are...

      I have watched the first season, and started the second season. I have been told a few times, it gets better once they get more into the AI aspect behind "the machine". So far the episodes are pretty formulaic, so I am wondering if there is a specific episode or season where these little plot bits about this machine everyone is trying to find come to fruition and the series pivots to more of a sci-fi sub-plot.

      Also, how come nobody calls him out for talking to himself all the time?
      I do like the dog, good addition to the second season.

      EDIT: I am now on season 2 episode 10, and yeah its starting to get a lot better. It seems to be a slow transition but they are getting my attention with all this hacker history talk.

      11 votes
    3. Love, Death, and Robots is an animated scifi anthology on Netflix. Season 1, which released earlier this month, comprised of 18 short films, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes in length. The episodes...

      Love, Death, and Robots is an animated scifi anthology on Netflix. Season 1, which released earlier this month, comprised of 18 short films, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes in length. The episodes also vary wildly in quality. While most of the shorts have promising concepts, very few of them actually reach their potential. Some, like "The Dump," are awful in every way. A handful are excellent.

      The show bills itself as "adult animation," but most episodes are "adult" in the same way many video games are rated as "mature;" they're filled with nudity, violence, and blood, but little of any mature substance. Some of the episodes don't feel like they're aimed at adults, but rather teenagers who want to think they're watching something made for adults.
      In more than one episode, the characters speak like they've just discovered swearing. In "Sucker of Souls" for example, an otherwise entertaining and fun short, they make two jokes revolving around the concept that "pussy" can be slang for a cat, or for a woman's vagina, in the span of thirty seconds. It's an attempt at comic relief that falls very flat, as if someone went through the script once it was done, looking for a place where they could insert vagina jokes. It's jarring.

      Some episodes are fantastic, without having to rely on excessive violence or nudity. Both of those things have a place in fiction, but they should generally be handled with a maturity that most of the shorts lack. "The Secret War" is a fairly violent short, but it is rarely excessive, and the violence usually serves the plot and theme.
      A couple episodes have neither, my favourite being "Zima Blue," a quiet episode with a Camus-esque message. The art style may take some getting used to, but it is one of the more beautiful of the series. "When The Yogurt Took Over" is also a fun short, narrated by Maurice LaMarche, voice of The Brain.

      Overall, I'd say if you're a fan of the genre and have some free time, give the show a watch. Be warned though, binge-watching the show can cause some serious tonal whiplash.

      19 votes
    4. Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Supernatural is one of those TV shows that had some fantastic early seasons. I really miss them.
      As a show I feel it kinda turned way too much into fan service in its later seasons. It stayed decent (good, even), but lost a lot of its quality.
      Every season there's a bigger, badder fish and things get more and more absurd. One of the things that kind of annoyed me the most about it is that characters dying has zero impact, as they come back into the show whenever convenient using whatever silly way the writers deem worthy. (That series is the polar opposite of Game of Thrones in that regard…)

      Season 5 introduced the Four Horsemen. I remember Death's intro as being possibly the most memorable moment of the entire show. Re-watching them now, the introductions of all four were seriously chilling. Thought I'd share them here.

      I'll recommend Supernatural if you like a good mix of horror-comedy without too much comedy. You may like it if you liked: Psych, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel.

      5 votes
    5. I've seen every episode of The Good Place up to this point and still can't decide if I like it or not. It's a very strange situation. The premise, while novel, doesn't work well (in my opinion) on...

      I've seen every episode of The Good Place up to this point and still can't decide if I like it or not. It's a very strange situation. The premise, while novel, doesn't work well (in my opinion) on a TV show budget or schedule and I find myself wondering why I'm watching it.

      Reviews of the show are generally very positive, but it feels like the writers are constantly scrambling for new ideas when the concept just doesn't lend itself to that much TV.

      I love Michael Schur's work generally and like Kristen Bell as an actress, but I still can't decide if I like this or not. Thoughts?

      20 votes