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.

2017 tv show wrap up

2017 tv show wrap up

poster collage of 2017 tv shows

There was a LOT of high quality TV out in 2017, I have to say I found myself sucked into several shows I never thought I would like. Netflix and Hulu are really making waves with their exclusives.

My favorite shows of 2017:

The Good Place (season 2) – picking up right where Season 1 left off, this should could have crashed and burned after revealing it’s big spoiler from last season but instead continued to bring the laughs mixed with deep thoughts. Plus, I adore everyone in the cast (any time Kristen Bell is on my TV, I am happy)

Legion – Thank goodness my friend at work told me to give this a try, it had not made it to my radar because it was on FX. But it quickly became the best Marvel tv show I have ever seen. Smart, funny, and mind-bending, I can’t wait for season 2! (plus it introduced me to the gorgeous Dan Stevens)

The Expanse (season 1-2) – another one we picked up after several friends told us about it, I’ve already raved about how this show filled the Battlestar Galactica/Firely shaped hole in my heart.

Master of None (season 2) – Aziz Ansari’s bittersweet dramedy made us laugh out loud and then tugged on our heart strings. It came out so early in the year, I don’t think it gets enough credit for being another powerful Netflix exclusive.

Blackish (seasons 1-4) – I am ashamed to say we just started watching this show this year, but we have managed to marathon our way through Hulu’s back catalog and we are all caught up and I’m already ranking it with my top ten sitcoms of all time. Poignant yet full of heart and humor, they cover some very heavy topics while making me laugh, or at least smile. Just give this show all the awards for being willing to discuss topics that no other show does and surviving 4 years! I hope the new spin-off is just as smart.

Mindhunter – This show filled the ‘Hannibal’ shaped hole in my life, which makes sense because it is based on the book that Thomas Harris used to help craft Hannibal’s character. Loosely based on the true story behind the people who figured out how to profile serial killers, they take enough literary license (the main characters are mashups of real people from the unit’s history) that you don’t quite know what is going to happen. The parallels between the agents lives and the lives of the killers makes for creepy times and deep thought about behavior and psychology. The final moment was not what I expected but I am ready for Season 2 now!

Food Wars – This was our new anime series for 2017, a hilarious, over-the-top show about a cooking school where student chefs battle it out. It makes me so HUNGRY but then I crack up because characters experience “food orgasms” when they try the cooking and their clothes fly off and it is just ridiculous. But the show is totally aware of how ridiculous it all is, so I don’t mind it. Someday I will try one of the recipes!

Broadchurch (season 3) – The final case, the final visit to this small town. Deciding to tackle a rape case was dangerous ground for the writers but I think they handled it well.

Sweetness and Lightning – This anime was adorable and I’m so sad it didn’t get a second season. It’s about a father and preschool daughter who bond over cooking meals together. The mother passed away before the show starts, so all you know it is about him trying to find a way to connect with his little girl. No romance, no crazy antics, just the two of them finding a food to try and learning the recipe together and then the little girl tasting it and being so happy her daddy made her dinner.

Dark – see previous post where I rant and freak out about this show because AAAAAAH!

The rest of the best:
Bob’s Burgers (season 8) – I still adore this show, it is always hilarious.
Son of Zorn – cancelled just when I was starting to enjoy it.
Star Wars Rebels – (season 3) need to catch up on season 4!
Konosuba – ridiculous anime set in RPG world with a total jerk/loser as the “hero”
Voltron (season 3) – keep ’em coming Netflix!
Speechless (season 2) – ❤ ❤ ❤
Lain (DVD) – creepy anime about AI that might be 20 years old but was eerily relevant!
Powerless – cancelled! Why? It was hilarious!
The Americans – coming up on the final season, this set up so many crazy issues to resolve!
American Gods – decent start to the series, not perfect but I have faith in Fuller and co.
Handmaid’s Tale – Hulu is going to give Netflix a run for their money if they keep making shows like this!
The Goldbergs (season 1-2) – Sylvia has us watching this show at dinner, it makes me so nostalgic.
Stranger Things (2) – Not as solid as the first season, but I think they have a plan
Drifters – crunchyroll anime sci-fi fantasy action
Attack on Titan – why do these seasons take so long to come out?????
Riverdale (season 2) – Season 1 was solid, season 2 is having a bit of a sophomore slump but hoping things pick up soon.
Gravity Falls (Season 1-3) – Sad I missed this show when it first aired because it was adorable and hilarious.
Steven Universe – Dammit Hulu put up ALL the episodes!
13 Reasons Why – ugh, had to watch it because it was such a big conversation starter but ugh, so heavy. Probably won’t watch the “spin offs”

And then there were these (shows I probably won’t go back to):
Series of Unfortunate Events – I wanted to love this show but every episode felt like work and ran a bit too long. Oh well.
Man in the High Castle (season 2) – yep, this show should have been a limited series, they are out of ideas and I hate every character.
Runaways – stopped after 3 episodes, #NotMyRunaways – I don’t hear BKV’s voice at all.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – I tried to like this and I watched the first season but just didn’t feel compelled to keep going.

Rewatches:
Buffy (season 1-4)
Angel (season 1)
Riverdale (season 1)

What to Watch: The Expanse (SyFy)

What to Watch: The Expanse (SyFy)

If you are like me, for the last 15 years (omg has it been that long?) you have had a sci-fi TV shaped hole in your viewing heart left there by the early cancellation of Firefly and (a few years later) the epic conclusion of Battlestar Galactica. I finally found a show to fill that spot in my heart and it is The Expanse.

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We’ve got our rag tag crew on the run, a grizzled cop looking for a mysterious woman, backstabbing politicians, and scientists playing god. And, bonus points, some kick-ass women in charge! Something for everyone!

Season 1 is currently streaming as part of Amazon Prime. I felt that Season 1 took awhile to find its footing, but do not give up. Think back to the first time reading/watching The Fellowship of the Ring and being introduced to so many new characters and realms and the rules that guide them – that is what slows down the first season. You have to learn about Earth and Mars and the Belters and their history. You have to understand the OPA and their agenda. And, of course, you must meet our would-be heroes and learn about their stories so you know it is okay to root for them.

But it is ALL worth it because when season 2 starts, there is nothing to hold the writers back. (Season 2 was just released on blu-ray/DVD; I managed to borrow a copy from my local library). The second season hits the ground running and never looks back so you better have paid attention during Season 1 (or be ready to rewatch it) because there is not time to stop and explain, the entire galaxy is on the line!

The show is based on a series of Science Fiction novels, tomes that same size as George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, so there are plenty of characters and stories to choose from. While I haven’t read the books yet, talking to fans who have it sounds like the show writers are doing a great job blending together multiple story lines and introducing characters in a way that works better for a television show but stays true to the books.

I am excited to watch Season 3 in real time when it returns in 2018 so I can react to episodes and discuss the show with other fans. Until then, do yourself a favor and get your sci-fi geek on over the next few months (though I would say PACE YOURSELF because that Season 2 finale will leave you wanting more).

http://www.syfy.com/theexpanseThe Expanse – SyFy Official Website (careful of spoilers!)- Season 3 episodes will be available to stream after they begin to air. Currently only has the last few episodes of Season 2 available.

https://www.amazon.com/The-Expanse-Season-1/dp/B018BZ3UWUThe Expanse on Amazon Video – Prime Members can stream the first season for FREE

Season 2 is available on Blu-Ray/DVD so you can pick that up on Amazon as well or stop by your local public library!

ST:TNG Blog Project

ST:TNG Blog Project

I feel like the quality is improving. I’m still not blown away by the stories and the show kinda feels trapped by the 45 minute time limit with some episodes rushing to a conclusion, but the character development is getting stronger. Picard’s backstory in The Battle told us more about our new captain. And now we get to learn a bit more about Riker and Data:

S1:E10 Hide and Q

I was surprised this episode happened so early in the show! As I have said before, Q is one of my favorite antagonists. He’s just such a lovable jackass. Here he is, back again, convinced he knows how to corrupt Riker and, to his credit, he almost does if it wasn’t for the voice of reason of Captain Picard talking him down from the slippery slope of absolute power. As conundrums go, trying to decide if you should keep the power over life and death would be a hard one, especially for a Starfleet Commander.  This is probably the best episode with a big idea so far.

S1:E11 Haven

This episode is most notable because it is the introduction of Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana. She is a staple in the series, showing up to torture Picard, though in a complete different way than Q. We also get lots of great Troi/Riker and if you weren’t shipping these two yet, this episode makes it pretty clear that the show writers want these crazy kids to get together. This is the goofiest episode yet, the main plot is forgettable, and the only parts that stay with you is how ridiculous Lwaxana is.

S1:E12 The Big Goodbye

And so begins a long line of “How is the holodeck even a thing?” episodes where something random goes wrong, allowing the Holodeck to hold crew members hostage and endanger them by putting them in a time period closer to our own, when humans were still “savages”. To “relax” Picard decides to play his favorite noir detective, Dixon Hill (think Sam Spade but without the copyright infringement).  We find out that the Enterprise has a “20th century expert” on board and that women in the future don’t apply their own makeup (Beverly is fascinated by the woman checking her face in the police station.)  Oh, and again, if you weren’t sure if you should ‘ship Picard/Crusher, this episodes makes it pretty clear that, yeah, the writers are going to make that a thing eventually.

S1:E13 Datalore

THIS might be one of the best episodes so far, though the ending suffers from the classic “OMG THE SHOW IS ALMOST OVER DO SOMETHING!” but otherwise, great character stuff for Data. The Enterprise goes to visit the planet where Data was found and discover another android body. They decide to assemble the body and meet Data’s “brother” – Lore.

I would like to subtitle this episode – “Phrasing and Synth Music” because it had some awful music and some great lines that made me giggle, such as:

“Does he have all the same parts as you?”

“How do we turn him on?”

“He has a child’s body but we have found him to be much more.”

i2yyun3

But it also had some great moments, like when Data tells Dr. Crusher that he can be shut down by pressing a special button on his back. He swears her to secrecy, noting “If you had an off switch Doctor, would you not keep it a secret?” (This, of course, plays into the plot later).

We also find out that Data earned his Starfleet uniform with 4 years at the academy and has been working for at least 15 years since then. Gotta respect that because I’m sure Starfleet would have given him an honorary degree if he had asked.

This is also the episode that brought us this often used/abused quote:

star-trek-shut-up-wesley-reaction-gif-tng-13995937890

Which, honestly, seemed really uncalled for!  And even worse when his own mother chimes in! First, really rude of Captain Picard to use such language toward ANYWAY, but especially a kid who is learning how to be a Starfleet member. Wesley does lose his shit later, pointing out that if he was an adult, they wouldn’t speak to him that way (which is 1000% true).

Anyway, I really enjoyed this episode and all 4 of these were a lot of fun. Now I need to distract myself with some other shows while Andy catches up. 🙂

what I’ve been watching…

We are all caught up on Parks and Rec now. OMG THE FEELS! I can’t believe there are only 13 episodes left.

I have to say, those six seasons may have had a few rough spots. but overall it is a fantastic show. It’s smart and funny and poignant and omg I am going to cry SO HARD when that finale airs for the same reason I was a mess when the Angel finale aired. I won’t just be mourning the end of the show itself, but the end of a place a on TV where I felt I belonged, writers that got me. Are there any other shows on TV right now that are on the same wavelength???

I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls, then writing up discussion posts for and then utterly failing to comment on my own posts!!! **sigh** But I really am enjoying being back in Stars Hollow. I keep meaning to get my thoughts down but…Xbox.

We started watching the anime Noragami, which is streaming on Netflix. It’s about a “stray god” and his search to find some worshippers. It’s relatively light, though you can sense a certain darkness waiting around the corner. I’m not a huge anime watcher but I’m really enjoying this one. We also started Kill la Kill last week but our friend Mathew wants to watch that with us, so we have to wait until Thursday to continue that one. It feels like the sibling of FLCL, though slightly more linear. ONLY slightly.

2015 is going to be an epic TV year. P&R finale, Justified finale, Hannibal returns, Community returns and, of course, Game of Thrones will be back!

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: Hannibal, Season 1

Hannibal Season 1 DVDs

For those of you that don’t know, I have a three person rule for new tv shows. I generally ignore them until three different people that I respect say something positive about them. Two of my livejournal friends had been raving about this show for ages and I had put the DVD on request at the library. When it arrived on my desk, my co-worker commented how awesome and messed up the show is. So that was it, three people, I had to watch.

I’m only familiar with Hannibal from Silence of the Lambs. I had passed on all the other movies and I have not read any of the other books. The series is loosely based on the prequel novel Red Dragon (which writer/director Bryan Fuller has tweeted is where the series will be by Season 4).

The series takes place long before Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal was just a psychiatrist (he is still a cannibal, obviously, but he hasn’t been caught yet). But even though the show bears his name, the main character is actually Will Graham. His mental state, somewhere along the Asperger’s spectrum, let’s him get into the mind of serial killers and, in the first episode, he helps the FBI capture a wanted man. Hannibal “helps” by providing psychiatric feedback to prove that Graham is capable of taking on these cases without losing his mind.

Bryan Fuller is the show runner. I loved Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls. The thing I enjoy about Fuller’s shows is that he usually has a theme that ties the series together. DLM spent a lot of time discussing death and how we all process it. Pushing Daisies also focused on loss, but also on love as the Ned the pie maker had to live with a requited love that could never be…well, requited. Wonderfalls had a very cynical main character being pulled into a weird “fate” story (I always said it was like Joan of Arcadia but without all the God stuff…just oddness). (and I was thrilled to see Caroline Dhavernas’s name in the opening credits). Hannibal, so far, has an underlying theme of identity – who are we? How do we see ourselves? How do we present ourselves to others? What do we hide underneath?

There have been some great first season guest stars that you’ll recognize from other Fuller shows. And the wonderful Gillian Anderson also appears in a good portion of the season. (And I’m pretty sure they using the same font that was used in Silence of the Lambs (and X-Files) when showing us the locations, which tickled my homage geek funny bone.)

I didn’t pay any attention to the show at first because I was concerned that they would try to make me root for Hannibal. But by the end of the first episode, you realize this is not the goal of the show. Hannibal is already a psychopath. The tension in the show is that YOU the audience knows this. Yet we watch him slowly manipulate those around him. And he’s very good at it. And then you wonder if you would fall for it and you realize, yes, you would. He is educated and refined (the way Mads Mikkelsen slowly waves the wine glass under his nose before each sip hypnotizes me every time). He comes highly recommended.

I will warn you that the show is VERY graphic. I’ve already experience a few moments that made my stomach flip and a few scenes that managed to haunt me when I went to bed that night. Especially if you get the DVD, which has “producer’s edits” which may contain some extra gruesome stuff. But the stuff that aired on TV is pretty gruesome on it’s own. Will usually has to look at a murder and then they re-enact it on the screen, which I now watch through my fingers so I can quickly save myself from the splurts of blood and up-close shots of mutilated bodies. Oh, and don’t forget, Hannibal is a CANNIBAL and he does a lot of cooking.

I don’t want to say much else. This is not a police procedural. Crimes happen and they attempt to solve them, but the show is about Hannibal and Will and their relationship, which is what makes it so hard to stop watching.

If you can stomach it, I highly recommend Season 1 of Hannibal.