Castle Rock – I give up!

Castle Rock – I give up!

I’ve watched the first 4 episodes of ‘Castle Rock’ on Hulu and I’m done. It’s not bad, it’s not good – it’s just there. I’m not compelled to keep watching at all.

One thing that really hurt it was that I had a better idea for the show. Rather than another convoluted plot of faux mysteries created just for the sake of having everyone be cryptic, I was hoping for an anthology show, ala Black Mirror or Electric Dreams, but with Stephen King stories.

I’m a fan of King’s works. Not hardcore, I haven’t read everything and some things I have read and didn’t really enjoy. But I have a soft spot for him because my grandmother was a fan and they lived in Maine so there were a lot of things about this show that drew me to it. They kept the plot under wraps so I had no idea what kind of storytelling it would be but I assumed when they said it was “based on the works of Stephen King” that we would be getting his stories.

But, alas, no. It is just another series that hopes to create a winding road of “clues” and “puzzles” (sarcastic quotes as I don’t know if any of them actually have answers…I may still be hurting from all those hours wasted watching ‘Lost’).

The fourth episode did have a crazy ending, but I’ve been down that road before with TV show that get into the habit of only making the last 10 minutes of each episode actually move the stories forward just to hook you for next week…only to have the start of the next episode gloss over what happened because, really, they only did it to bring you back.

I don’t really care about anyone in the show. Heck, I barely know their names except for Henry Deaver because EVERYONE has said his name several times in each episode. Everyone else is just someone who was attached to another Stephen King film at some point…or nobody important, clearly fodder for the demons of the town.

Feeling frustrated, I Googled to see if I could find any reviews of the show and this write up from the New York Times really hit the nail on the head for me. The show is so preoccupied with hiding in-jokes for hardcore Stephen King fans, they lost the plot.

I’d need to hear some amazing things to come back to this show. I’m just so disappointed. There was SO much potential. It reminds me of the times I handed in papers to my college professor thinking they were pretty good and getting them back with a B and a note that said “I know you can do better”.

Abrams and King Et al.? I know you can do better.

Blog Project: Star Trek: The Next Generation

Blog Project: Star Trek: The Next Generation

My friend Andy cannot resist an amazing blu-ray deal so when Amazon.uk had Star Trek: The Next Generation on sale for some obscenely low price earlier this month, he ordered it. I had been wanting to rewatch TNG for awhile, so we are taking this opportunity to team up and watch the show, blogging our thoughts and reactions 30 years later.

A little background for me: TNG was a HUGE part of my childhood. I have lots of happy memories of Saturday nights, getting Pizza Hut on the way home from church (my parents were big fans of the 5 o’clock mass) and sitting at the table in front of the tv in the basement, happily watching and eating together. We never really had a show like that again, that kept us all entertained, that brought us together, and I remember the emotions of watching the series finale and knowing that this was more than an end to a TV show…

So it has been interesting watching these episodes, produced in 1987, watching on an HDTV screen in 2016 (well, bouncing between my TV and my iPad, and realizing how much my life has started to mirror the Star Trek technology, especially when I start watching by asking Cortana to launch the Netflix app on my Xbox). I’m not sure I will be able to blog in-depth reactions to every episode – there are seven seasons worth! But I want to at least give a mention to them and see what memories, if any, surface while watching.

S1:E1/2 “Encounter at Farpoint”
I remember this episode pretty well but I think that is because it was rerun the most and I’ve tried to start the series over before and become distracted. Plus, Q. Q is one of my favorite characters in the series and a lot of the episodes I remember have Q in them (and Barkley…but we’ll get to him later!).

I think this is a pretty solid pilot. They manage to introduce everyone without making it feel like a line-up. And there are a lot of characters on this show – we have a whole crew of people! And the plot of the first half of the premiere, with Q putting them on trial for the crimes of humanity, gives the audience a chance to catch up on the history between 1987 – The Original Series (TOS) – to TNG.

The second half we meet Riker and Wesley, who I think are written to be the audiences eyes. Riker is new to the Enterprise, Wesley was there for the kids. I love the hint we get of Riker and Troi’s previous relationship, calling him “Imzadi”. If I had to trace back in fandom and find my first “ship”, I’d say it was Riker/Troi and Picard/Crusher. Not the most imaginative, but they were the first show relationships I was invested in and wanted to happen.

The end of the episode sets up the series – that Q will always be watching and judging and they have plenty of time to prove if humans are worthy.

S1:E3 “The Naked Now”
The next two episodes felt like homages to the original series, which makes sense. Unbeknownst to me at the time, TNG met with some push back from TOS fans, plus I’m sure the network wasn’t sold on the idea of a science fiction show. Sci Fi shows are expensive and never seem to get as big of a following. This episode was supposed to be similar to “The Naked Time” from TOS, which I’m sure writers hoped would appease the TOS fans, but had the opposite effect of making it look like TNG was just going to copy+paste episodes.

S1:E4 “Code of Honor”
And if “Naked Now” hadn’t been trouble enough, this episode is very problematic, even more so 30 years later. Again, it feels like a throw back to TOS, with the ridiculous “fight to the death” challenge. It is hard to watch this episode now, with a planet population by black people who talk with slight accents and who act uncivilized, making comments about Tasha being head of security and a woman and all other kinds of things that make your eyes roll back into your head.

For some reason E3 and E4 focus a LOT on Tasha Yar. I suppose have a woman as Head of Security was a big deal for this reboot and they were really proud of it, but in “Naked Now” she ends up getting brainwashed by the virus and running around in a skimpy outfit, trying to seduce Data and in “Code of Honor” she is made to fight to the death with another woman.

S1:E5 “The Last Outpost”
This episode was a little more straight forward, with the introduction of the Ferengi. I was excited to see proto-Quark because isn’t he one of the best things on DS9? I have a few thoughts on the Ferengi but I want to see a few more episodes with them before I come to any conclusions.

One thing that Andy and I have already talked about – it seems the best TV shows have some of the worst first seasons. Watching TNG, I was reminded of the first season of one of my favorites shows of all time Parks and Recreation. P&R has a terrible first season (in fact, I didn’t watch it when it originally aired because I was so turned off by the first few episodes). They are trying way too hard to be The Office and 1) we already had that show airing on the same channel and 2) we were ready for something new.

Right now, TNG feels like it is trying really hard to be TOS. But that’s not what the people of 1987 wanted – they already had TOS. They knew those episodes by heart. They didn’t want lessons from the 60s, they needed stories about the 80s, stories about our future. So I expected these first few episodes to be bumpy and awful. Thank goodness CBS kept it going. Nowadays shows barely get a chance (**coughFIREFLYcough**) before they are cancelled. I can’t wait to get to the classic episodes, but I want to watch the whole series, see how the characters grow and change and evolve over the seven seasons. And I can really only appreciate that if I watch them all again.

Make it so.

reviewings: Gilmore Girls

There was much rejoicing last month when it was revealed that Gilmore Girls would finally be available streaming on Netflix. October 1st has come and the show is now up and ready to be watched.

I have set up a community on Livejournal for weekly discussions with folks on there and I plan to post my thoughts here as well.

I plan to start my rewatch the first week of November, doing two episodes each week so I leave time for all of my regularly scheduled programs. Anyone else going to revisit the Firefly Inn?

tv thoughts: Moone Boy (2013)

Moone Boy

I am a big fan of The IT Crowd so it’s hard for me to resist Chris O’Dowd’s Irish accent and scruffy yet adorable face. When I heard about Moone Boy, his new comedy program loosely based on his childhood in Ireland, I had to give it a go.

Dowd and I are close to the same age and though I am not Irish, I do have some Irish in my background and I was raised Catholic. Plus, the trials and tribulations of childhood all seem to be the same, no matter where or when you’re from. It was easy to relate to the story of little Martin Moone and his working-class family. O’Dowd also appears in each episode as Martin’s imaginary best friend, who cheers him on.

It’s a very cute and sweet show. My favorite episode so far is Godfellas, which focuses on Martin’s turn as an altar boy. There’s actually a few moments where you can see David Rawle, who plays Martin, cracking up as O’Dowd coaches him on his altar boy skills. It’s funny because it almost feels like a family sitcom from the 1980s, it has that sort of Cosby Show/Family Ties/Roseanne vibe to it.

I hope this isn’t the last we see of Moone Boy or O’Dowd as a writer. And I really hope that we see more of David Rawle, who is doing a dead on Chris O’Dowd impression.

Warning: If you’re like me, after watching the show, you will walk around talking with a bad Irish accent for at least 20 minutes. Unless you’re actually Irish…you probably just talk normal then…anyway…

You can watch episodes of Moone Boy right now on Hulu.com

tv shows I did not expect to like: gdgd fairies

gdgd

I’m not really a big anime watcher…in fact, most of the anime I have watched has been Miyazaki movies. I’ve seen a handful of shows and dabbled in manga, but usually I find that my grasp of Japanese culture makes me always feel like I am missing out on too much to really appreciate the stories.

Then, while browsing Crunchyroll with my boyfriend (who is an anime fan), we randomly clicked on a show labeled “gdgd fairies”. I cringed almost immediately at the chibi fairies in short skirts with pink hair. I braced myself for some ridiculous plot line…but none very came. Because this show has little to no plot. It was plain just weird.

And, somehow, mesmerizing.

Seriously, we laughed SO HARD at the oddness of the first episode, we had TEARS streaming down our faces. It was just 15 minutes of WTF AM I WATCHING!? But in a good way.

It is just these three fairy BFFs who meet up and talk over tea. pkpk is the most naive of the group, shrshr is a bit of a spaz, and krkr is sorta emo/dark. Eventually the fairies finish tea and move into the magic room and play with spells, usually with hilarious results. And then end by watching the “dubbing pool” and talking over random footage they see in the pool.

Oh, and did I mention they spend a lot of time mocking popular anime shows, video games, and other random aspects of Japanese pop culture? You can still enjoy the show knowing as little as me, but the seasoned anime fan will get an extra kick out of it.

It is strangely addictive even though it doesn’t have any story arc and even the stories are loose. And, yes, there are jokes that do NOT translate at all. But it’s 15 minutes of just cute, adorable fairies being really random about whatever (how to say “deja vu” in Japanese, or what if you could save up sleep and get it later).

gdgd Fairies – Full episodes available on Crunchyroll