• Most votes
  • Most comments
  • Newest
  • Activity
  • Showing only topics in ~tv with the tag "reviews". Back to normal view / Search all groups
    1. Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      We have had some great discussions on ~movies on the semi-regular Movie Monday Free Talk Threads (latest one from yesterday here).

      @NecrophiliaChocolate asked in yesterday's Movie thread if he could discuss television shows, so I figured it would be a good opportunity to set up another regular ~TV free for all thread.

      So Tilderinos, have you watched any TV shows recently you want to discuss? Any shows you want to recommend or are hyped about? Feel free to discuss anything here.

      Please just try to provide fair warning of spoilers as you can.

      13 votes
    2. 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
    3. Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let...

      Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let alone among science fiction stories. Though The Expanse wins for sheer SFX pyrotechnics and breadth of technical scope, it's wonderful to sit in for a deep, thoughtful drama like Counterpart. The series focuses on character, story, world-building, plausible plotting, and avoidance of the usual alternate universe cliches. Counterpart is a genuine Cold War Noir spy thriller which happens to occur in a science-fictional setting, and the writers have managed to avoid or refresh the tropes of both genres in ways that ask interesting philosophical questions. It's quiet, slow, and meticulous in a way that most current television writing seems to have abandoned. There's tense action, but no primary colored-supersuits, no scary aliens, no gaudy laser beams, just... a split of history that leaves two distorted mirrors, reflecting each other.

      J.K. Simmons' performances in the roles of Howard (Prime) and Howard (Alpha) are mesmerizing in a way that outmatches Tatiana Mazlany's Orphan Black characters. There's a slow unveiling of the respective parallel worlds' history, with continuing evolution and interplay of characters and relationships, which brings to mind the best of series like The Wire or The Americans.

      To the extent that Counterpart borrows from literary canon, the most significant underlying influences are John LeCarre's find-the-mole games in the Smiley series, China Mieville's The City and the City, and Philip K. Dick (particularly, The Adjustment Team).

      The really guilty pleasure, and the lightweight pressure relief from the grimdark of Peaky Blinders or Counterpart, was a spit-and-giggles Canadian production called Letterkenny. I didn't have high hopes, but the 22-minute episodes are exactly what my brain needed to get over the daily doses of blah.

      The opening credits of each episode refer to the fictional rural Ontario town of Letterkenny as follows:

      There are 5,000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.

      The plots are barely coat-hangers, with most of the comic tension spent on interactions among the Hicks (farm people), Skids (creative-but-disaffected Internet subculture wannabes), hockey players and Christians - a/k/a small-town tribes recognizable anywhere in North America. The portrayals are caricaturized enough to be both humorously offensive and humorously sympathetic simultaneously. [Could be some toxic racial/gender meta, but mostly, the treatment of women and minorities is in keeping with the setting.]

      The banter, and the utter Spock-like deadpan of Wayne (the toughest guy in Letterkenny)'s Hick character are the stars of the show. Some people have complained that the rapid-fire use of heavy dialect in the dialogue is impenetrable; that actually helps with comic timing. When your brain catches up to what was actually said, it's like receiving a two-by-four between the eyes of funny. I've got a bit of home-team advantage in the midwestern North American dialects area, and usually get it on the first run, but it's good enough to re-watch happily if the spouse needs a do-over. Transcripts are available, but watch the show before looking.

      We now have a new battery of in-jokes and gag lines to add to our secret spousal language - "Hard no.", "That's what I appreciates about ya", "...and he was never the same after that."

      There's really nothing quite like Letterkenny, and it's exactly smart/dumb enough to make fantastic comedy. Two seven-episode seasons are currently available on Hulu.

      6 votes