Tag Archives: television

TV Round-Up

I’m not watching as much television has I have in the past. I just don’t have the time this year. I have more projects due than I can count. I still try to squeeze in some solid TV time when I can, but it’s getting harder and harder.

Form blazing spoilers!

Chopping block:

Legends of Tomorrow. Legends actually fell off my radar halfway through season one, right after the crew got stranded during the 1950s. By that point, Vandal Savage became a boring bully and nothing else. His motives didn’t ramp up the tension for the team. Ray Palmer had turned into a socially inept idiot, and Rip Hunter had become a whiny, sniveling asshole. I still liked Sarah Lance and Leonard Snart, but even they weren’t enough to keep the show interesting.

The Flash. Season three threw this show under the bus with yet another revamping of Harrison Wells. I liked H1, and H2 was okay, but H3 – nope, nope, nope. He’s annoying and predictable. Time to let the character go. Also, enough with messing up history. I get the whole giving Barry some angst with watching his mother die for the third time, but the constant erasing of his relationship with Iris has become repetitive. It doesn’t help that Iris is such a milquetoast character. I liked Earth 2 Iris much better (which means it’s the writing, not the actress.)

Still Watching:

Arrow: Now that they’ve killed Olicity, I can watch the show again without cringing. Felicity is acting like badass Felicity instead of whiny Felicity.  I also like the new crew, though casting Evelyn as the traitor was unexpected, but not disappointing. Of all of the newbies, she was the one who didn’t seem to fit. Love Ragman and Wild Dog, but their story arcs ended too soon. Ragman forgave Felicity a little too quickly for the death of his father. Both Ragman and Wild Dog forgave Oliver for lying to them too quickly. I hope Evelyn comes back and messes with them again. Also, unless they find a way to bring John Diggle back into the fold, they should either kill him or lose him. I like the character, but right now he’s just hanging out there with nothing to bring to the story.

Supernatural: Yep, still hanging on. The show improved tremendously during Season 11, and l like bringing Mary into the mix for Season 12. If only they’d kill the angel storyline already. Castiel and Crowley have played out their story arc. Killing Billie was stupid. She was interesting and I wanted to see her square off with Dean & Sam again. It’s time to get rid of the angels and demons and bring the focus back to monster of the week. I liked the Canadian hunters, and would not object to seeing more of them. Hate the British Men of Letters, but then you’re supposed to. As much as Lady Toni needed a punch to the face, having her disappear and not return is not helping the story arc. We need closure with her. We need to see Sam dish out some justice for what was done to him.

Voltron LDVoltron: Legendary Defender. YES! They did it! The writers made the the second season just as yummy delicious as the first. Keith is Galra! What? No! Yes? Oy. Shiro – they better bring him back! I mean it. If they’re going to kill of anyone, it better be Coran. However, while Keith and Shiro got the bulk of the story arc, Lance, Hunk, and Pidge were left out to dry as comedy relief. This does a tremendous disservice to all of them. We didn’t even get a decent reunion between Hunk and Shay. I’m disappointed that Zarkon is still alive, but OMG Hagar’s calling for Prince Lotor. Squee! I’m counting down to season 3!

Will Watch Soon:

Iron Fist

Legion

Emerald City

Emerald City

I probably won’t be able to watch any of these until this summer. Time is not on my side. Not if I want to get Blood Hunter finished 🙂

Sherlock BBC

sherlockI finally got to see the first episode of Sherlock S4. I don’t have cable at home, but the friends I was staying with over the weekend do and they wanted to watch it too.

(I’m not a high-functioning sociopath, so I’m going to leave a big ole SPOILER warning right here).

I’m not sure how I feel about the new episode. On one hand I like that they’ve finally matured Sherlock so he’s not a complete asshole to everyone. This is a Sherlock I want to watch solve mysteries and puzzles.

On the other hand, as much as I liked Mary before this, I’m not sure I wanted to see another episode about her. She’s a cool character, but I can see why they had to kill her off because otherwise, she’d be the more interesting than Watson, who just bumbled along doing his sidekick thing.

I also think the writers mucked up the ending by having Mary save Sherlock instead of John. The only reason I could see for Mary dying for Sherlock is that she knew her past would keep returning to put her daughter in danger. Sherlock made a vow and by dying she’ll ensure that he will be held to that vow forever. Which makes me think that Mary knew of John’s infidelity and she didn’t trust him to protect their daughter.

What I’ve Been Watching

I had a huge project to work on last weekend. It was one of those things that required very little attention, so I watched some TV while I worked on it. I usually don’t watch TV while I work on projects. I find it takes me longer to do the project because I keep getting pulled away while I watch the TV instead of doing what I’m supposed to be doing. This time, I managed to plow through the second season of Young Justice (which wasn’t on Netflix for the longest time) and the first eight episodes of the Great British Bake Off.

young-justice-the-team-poseI’d forgotten just how good Young Justice was. Even without going back to recap S1 (which I watched a couple of years ago), I had very little difficulty picking up where they left off. The complex storylines held together throughout the show. Characters I’ve found annoying elsewhere (glares at Impulse), somehow managed to not have me throw my notebooks at the screen. Blue Beetle and Aqualad had the best storylines, but I also loved the subtle interaction between Robin and Nightwing about Jason’s death. I’ve heard rumors about an S3, but I’m not holding my breath.

 
the_great_british_bake_off_titleI’d heard that the reason the Great British Bake Off was so popular was because of the lack of faux drama/snarky/back-stabbing ugliness I usually associate with reality TV. That’s way I don’t watch anything that doesn’t involve a script. There’s enough ugliness in the world, I don’t need to watch a bunch people add to it in their quest for wealth. Having said that, I loved TGBB. The drama came from the contestants desire to do their best and will they beat the clock in time, not because they felt the need to tear each other down. The judges even made it clear that every dish has its redeeming qualities, even the ones that couldn’t be eaten because the contestant misjudged the baking time required. I love that so much. I didn’t have time to finish the first season (don’t tell me how it ends!), but I’ll get back to it soon.

Voltron: Legendary Defender

Voltron Legedary DefenderYes, I marathoned this one the day it debuted. Stayed up until 1:00 a.m. because I had to know if the creators would finally do justice to a show I loved. Voltron: Defender of the Universe will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved every cheesy aspect of it and still do. I have seen the original Japanese GoLion version, but even that can’t eclipse my love for the American one.

Spoiler alert because there is no way I can talk about this show without comparisons to the original.

Overall, I really liked Voltron: Legendary Defender. If I had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 7 (which is far above what I’d have given the more recent Voltron Force). It wasn’t perfect, but it had a strong story, likeable characters, and good animation . I don’t ask for much when it comes to guilty pleasures, but I’m relieved that Legendary Defender wasn’t a complete embarrassment.

Initial thoughts:

Shiro: He has a mechanical arm and amnesia issues. I guess this makes him the Winter Soldier of the Voltron team. I have a huge girly crush on Winter Soldier, so I’m a-okay with this. I’m also very grateful his disappearing act happens before the show starts and not during episode six. His personality is more aligned with the original Keith and his confrontation with Haggar was a nice callback to Sven’s confrontation in the original show. I really hope they keep him around. Exploring his PTSD issues would give the show a depth beyond flying the Lions around the galaxy.

Keith: It’s going to take some getting used to having Keith flying red lion and being the hot head/lone wolf of the team. If the writers ever do disappear Shiro, I hope they promote this Keith to Black Lion. What makes Keith’s hotheadedness more tolerable than some of the later Lance incarnations is that Keith is more of a slow burn. He doesn’t get pissed just out frustration. He needs a damn good reason. Maybe this is because he got kicked out of the academy? I want to know more about the situation surrounding his time there. Not sure how I feel about him still having a mullet though, but at least it’s not halfway down his back.

Lance: Who would have thought Keith would be the hothead and Lance the voice of reason? Never saw that coming. I don’t dislike this, because the teenage hijinks of the pilot episode got really old, really fast. I hope they’re setting up a good cop/bad cop team-up between Keith and Lance because the role reversal would be interesting to explore. I don’t mind the flirting as much as I thought I would, but I do hope the encounter with Rolo and Nyma kills the worst of his impulses. At least it’s not as constant as Hunk’s trope of always looking for food.

Pidge: Whoa! Pidge is a girl? What a pleasant surprise. It fits nicely because it explains her size without making it look like Galaxy Garrison is sending a child into battle. I only wished they made it more clear if Pidge is a girl who cross-dresses for the sole purpose of her finding her family or if she’s truly transgendered. The fact that she doesn’t change her clothing to look more feminine, and the artist didn’t suddenly give her a female figure, makes me think Pidge might be transgendered. I like her story arc and hope she continues to clash with the rest of her team, maybe get her own episode down the line.

Hunk: Biggest disappointment. The one thing Voltron Force got right was making Hunk a huge guy, but still battle ready. Here we have the fat guy who’s obsessed with food and a flight mechanic who’s afraid to fly. The first is insulting, the second doesn’t make sense. He gets better about not puking while flying, but I hope they ditch the the whole “he’s fat and therefore must always be on the lookout for food” if they have a season 2. I was glad to see he got his own story arc with the Balmarans.

Allura: One good thing about Allura flying the castle is the writers are under less pressure to have her fly one of the Lions. She still might at some point, but at least she’s not going to become a member of the team for lack of anything better to do with her. Flying the castle is pretty damn impressive. As for her hulking out – well, it was pretty cool watching her drop throw Shiro into the escape pod. The corrupted castle episode was also a nice callback to the original white lion episode, where the lion pretends to be the spirit of her father and lures her away.

Coran – Kill him, please. Even when he’s not overacting, he’s overacting. Just have him catch a laser to the chest and be done with him. I much preferred the British butler of the original.

Zarkon – Another surprise. He’s the original Black Paladin. This is a story worth exploring. I want to know how and why. Who did he fly with? What happened to them? Finally, a break from the mustache twirling. He’s a hands on Emperor who does more than sit on his throne all day long. We’ve got the meat, let’s add the gravy.

Haggar – eh, nothing’s changed here. She’s still does Zarkon’s bidding, but I don’t see her following her own agenda yet. At least she’s lost the cat.

Sendek – A more serious and deadly version of Yurak, not that the name change changes his outcome. I’m a little surprised they killed him the way they did instead of having him fight his way free to torment the team in the future.

The Space Mice – Hated them in the original. Hate them now. My headcannon has feral cats wandering the hallways of the castle keeping the rodent population under control.

The music – The main theme sounds like the generic muzak you hear while waiting in line for a ride at EPCOT. Not inspiring at all. Even “Let’s Voltron” from Voltron Force had some zip and dash to it. This is just bland and boring.

Nanny – oh, wait – no Nanny. Yay! May she never return. Also no Lotor or Rommel. I wonder if Pollox will play a part in this universe at all? It would be kind of cool to have twin badass cousins flying castles around the Galaxy.

I guess this means I’m looking forward to season two.

Favorite Sidekicks

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Top Five list (in which five is the minimum requirement – I usually have more). Same rules: there is no particular order to this list. I jot down the names as I think of them.

DonnaDonna from Doctor Who. I haven’t kept up with the show, so I have no familiarity with Clara. As much as I love Rose, Donna’s the one who smacked the Doctor around when he needed it.

Sallah & Marion – Raiders of the Lost Ark

Marion

Sallah

Like Donna, Marion gave as good as she got.

And Sallah saved Indy from a bad date. How could you go wrong with either of them?

Bobby Singer – Supernatural.

Maybe more mentor than sidekick, but the Winchester brothers would have died and stayed there if it weren’t for Bobby.

Chewbacca

Yep, this is the second list with Chewbacca. He’s that awesome.

Genie – Aladdin

Because it’s Robin Williams who steals the show, as he always does.

I thought about including Robin (from “Batman &” fame), but Robin presents a problem: I love all of the Robins, but I prefer them when their operating independent of Batman, or on a mission for Batman, but not actually with Batman (who I usually find annoying in the comics, less so in the animated features, and don’t get me started on the Nolan films).

I also thought about Samwise Gamgee from LOTR, but, like Batman, I found him too annoying for a top five list.

Favorite Heroines

Favorite Heroines

Rita/Edge of Tomorrow

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Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow

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Zoë Washburne/Firefly

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Buffy Summers/Vampire Slayer

Buffy-Summers-Sarah-Michelle-Gellar-buffy-the-vampire-slayer-11734442-450-411

 

Peggy Carter (Agent Carter/MCU)

agent-carter-7683

 

Ellen Ripley

ripley

 

Sarah Connor

Lena Headey as Sarah Connor

 

Princess/General Leia

star-wars-rogue-one-is-princess-leia-getting-the-first-spin-off-princess-leia-could-be-the-lead-in-rogue-one-311278

I know, I know, it’s supposed to be a top five list. What good does it do me to own a list and be able to break the rules if I want? I’ve talked about Edge of Tomorrow before. Buffy & Zoë are Joss Whedon creations. Black Widow was awesome even before Joss got hold of her and continues to inspire. Peggy Carter is the new woman on the block, taking names and knocking the men senseless with all the wit & style of James Bond. I’ve loved Ellen, Sarah, and Ripley since I was a kid. Who are your favorites?

Daredevil: The Series

I finally had a chance to marathon Netflix’s Daredevil (about a month after everyone else has stopped talking about it). There’s a lot here to keep me hooked, but also a few (minor) issues.

Before I begin: A red-masked SPOILER alert!

Kudos to Vincent D’Onofrio for scaring the hell out of me while not scaring me out of the room. It’s a difficult line not to cross. You get slapped with the potential violence of Wilson Fisk every time he’s on camera, even when he’s at his most diplomatic. As much as the writers wanted me to hate and revile Fisk, they still managed to make me happy to see Fisk develop a solid relationship with James Wesley and Vanessa Marianna. I do hope, assuming there’s a season 2, that the writers don’t let Fisk sit in prison for while. I get annoyed when the villain has too many omnipotent qualities, and Fisk is heading too close to that edge.

MattNormally, when you have an fascinating antagonist, the protagonist suffers. I recently had a conversation about the repeated failure of the Terminator franchise to re-engage me as a viewer. It’s because when you make the antagonists more interesting than the protagonists, you give me no reason to enjoy the story. I can’t root the bad guys. I just can’t do it. Luckily, that’s not a problem here. Like Fisk, Matt Murdock’s relationships keep him interesting. His ability to draw people to his side who want to assist in his crusade make him endearing (yeah, yeah, good looks don’t hurt either – shesh). I would like to have seen more Foggyof Claire and less of Karen (I’ll get to her in a second), but my favorite episode is Nelson v. Murdock. Matt’s relationship with Foggy is on the line and damn it, you want to see it fixed, to see their relationship go back to the way it was,  even though you know it can never be the same.

Karen. The weak link. Yes, they try to make her useful, the driving force behind the investigation, but she still came across too many times as the damsel in distress. I’m giving her a pass for now only because she did shoot ClaireWesley and shot him like she’s handled guns before (which I didn’t see coming. There is a mystery in her background and I’m curious enough to overlook her general flighty behavior.

So, yes, I’m hooked and hope the second season is as powerful as season one.

 

What I’m Still Watching

I'm always watching
I’m always watching

It’s officially the Christmas season when you hear Sleigh Ride on the radio for the first time. I spent most of Thanksgiving eating yummy food and watching TV. Pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, followed by pizza for lunch. Garlic knots too. I’d fallen behind on my TV shows this past week. What can I say…writin’ is hard. I want to write all the things right now!

Spoilers ahead, but you already knew that, right?

Star Wars Rebels – This was a late edition. I didn’t even know it had been released until last week. Watched the first five episodes. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be: lots of action, lots of teamwork, lots of growing up lessons, lots of bickering. It also includes the voices of James Earl Jones and Jason Isaacs. What’s not to love?

Agents of SHIELD – It’s growing on me. Slow growing, but still growing. I still haven’t gone back to watch S1 to fill in the gaps, but at least it isn’t boring anymore. Tim DeKay was a nice touch. Paddington and Time Lord…also a nice touch.

Arrow – I howled in agony over Sara’s death. I loved Sara & Oliver together. I hated Oliver and Felicity dating, so I’m glad they put a stop to it. Now if they would just stop pining for each other. Blech! I really like Ray. I’m not sure about Laurel becoming Black Canary, but at least it’s not going to be an overnight transformation. I wish everyone would stop treating Quentin like he’s so easily breakable. I’m really looking forward the Thea/Malcolm/Oliver triangle.

Gotham – The story is starting to make my head hurt, but the dynamic between Jim and Bullock keeps me coming back. I’m glad they spent one episode focusing on Bruce, Alfred, and Cat.  If only they would find a way to ditch Barbara. With so many intricate, complicated, strong, fascinating women on the show, why does Jim have to love the one who’s too stupid to live?

The Flash – Oh, Barry, never change. I love your geeky earnestness. I love Ed Green…er, I mean Joe West. He’s just as earnest as Barry. Iris, on the other hand, needs a personality overhaul. Whatever Barry sees in her is not translating to the screen. The writers try to make her headstrong, but ignoring the Flash’s request to stop blogging about him makes her clueless, rude, obnoxious, and stupid. Felicity really is perfect for Barry, but we all know that ain’t gonna happen…sigh.

Supernatural –  It’s time to wrap the Angel/Demon war, ditch Castiel and Crowley, and find new pastures to wander and new storylines to mine. At least the brothers working together again. I didn’t expect Cole’s storyline to resolve itself so easily, but I’m not unhappy about it either. Is Cole going to become the new Bobby? The new Garth? Or the new Adam? Did I mention how much I hate the Cas-Crowley storyline? As for Fan Fiction – I skipped most of it. I really hate the meta shows. I couldn’t get past the first ten minutes of The French Mistake. So I watched Fan Fiction on fast forward with the sound turned off during the caterwauling.

Sleepy Hollow – This show still pushes all of my squee buttons. Love every creepy second of it (baby Mollach on Katrina’s shoulder ::shudder::). Nick Hawley is very yummy. I would cheer if he and Abbie hooked up. Katrina finally has a purpose. I just wish they hadn’t hadn’t sacrificed Jenny in favor of Katrina. The episode “Mama” had all of the family dynamics that attracted me to the show in the first place. I adore watching the sisters work together, sharing time together, growing the bond between them. (Hint: it’s the same reason why I watch Supernatural).

Constantine – Watched the first handful of episodes. Meh, but then after five seasons of an angel/demon war on Supernatural, I’m over the “angels are dicks and almost as bad as the demons they fight” trope. Yes, I know Constantine the comic book had angels as dicks long before Supernatural, but still, I was hoping for better. Not impressed with either the first or second female leads either. Will give it another couple of episodes before deciding if I’m going to keep watching.

What I’m Watching

Argh me hearties, there be spoilers ahead.

Agents of SHIELD

So my previous entry on this show outlined my disappointment in season one. I gave up after episode three out of sheer boredom. This past summer a friend of mine insisted that the show did get better, so I watched the last five episodes. Yes, it did get better but not by much. Let me put it to you this way: Deus ex machina is never how you want to end your story, but if your Deus is Samuel L. Jackson I’ll give you a pass – once.

I will give the writers props for making Ward more interesting and Skye less annoying. The introduction of Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos gives me hope that the Agent Carter series won’t suffer from the problems Agents of SHIELD is having. Creel makes for a better supervillain than – oh, hell, I can’t even remember the name of the villain from the premiere S1 ep because he was so bland. No whiney kid hanging in the background for Creel. He’s out to absorb and destroy and loves every second of it.

I actually liked Izzy, but it doesn’t appear we’ll be seeing her again, which is too bad because her dynamic relationship with Hunter made them stand out against the rest of the forgettable new cast. Best play so far: the reveal that Simmons is now a figment of Fitz’s imagination. His brain damage is real and serious and not easily fixed. I hope he stays damaged for a while. I want to see where the show will take Fitz and Simmons when she returns.

I’ll give Agents of SHIELD a another chance, but they’re going to have to step up their game to keep me interested.

Gotham

It’s never a good sign when the villains are more interesting than your heroes, at least for me. Gotham introduced us to a new twist on the Batman story, but in the end, it’s little more than a police procedural wrapped in a mob story. I like police procedurals when I care about the cops, when they’re the good guys, but I hate mob stories. I can’t root for characters who don’t have the courage or intelligence to get the hell out from under the influence of the “family” and/or do the right thing.

So there’s my conundrum: a well-written show with interesting villains I can’t root for. I mean who would have thought that Jada Pinkett Smith could act, much less make me sit up and take notice of a slimy Fish Mooney. I liked the introduction of Batman’s future Rogue’s Gallery (and my jaw dropped at Camren Bicondova, the spitting image of a young Michelle Pfeiffer). Unfortunately,  because we are dealing with well-known characters, I knew how the scene with Gordon, Bullock, and Penguin was going to end. No shocker, no surprise twist.

I’m not giving up on Gotham yet, but like Agents of SHIELD they need to give me more before I’ll commit to a season.

Sleepy Hollow

This show hasn’t lost its sense of crazy, silly, outrageous fun. I mean the Headless Horseman wields a hand grenade for crying out loud! And he’s not even the big bad anymore, though he’s still formidable. No, this year the big bad is Henry, or rather Jeremy, Ichabod and Katrina’s son. He’s got a massive chip on his shoulder and bows his head only to Moloch. I’m eager to see what sort of havoc he’ll wreck in his quest for vengeance on his parents. It won’t be easy with Abbie’s escape from purgatory and and Moloch locked inside, though I suspect he won’t stay there long.

The only weak link here is Katrina. Now that she too has escaped purgatory, I need a reason to care about her, to see her as worthy of Ichabod’s love and sacrifices for her over the years. So far, my concern for her is tenuous. In the hands of the Abraham (nice touch giving the Headless Horsemen a head) she has a chance to show us she’s more than just a pretty face with progressive ideas and a touch of magic.

Missing from this episode was Captain Irving. I like him well enough, but I became more interested in him after he showed an interest in Jenny. I’m a huge fan of Jenny and though I think she could do better than Irving, I don’t dislike the two of them together either. I hope there’s a way to deal quickly with the murders at the cabin and get Irving back to Sleepy Hollow.

Publishing and Sundry

A few small things to talk about:

Lightspeed Magazine had the Table of Contents available for it’s Women Destroy Science Fiction issue. Carrie Vaughn! N.K. Jemisin! Mary Robinette Kowal! So much squee!

NewsCorp (which owns HarperCollins of which Avon is an imprint) has bought out Harlequin. The traditional publishing world has just gotten that much smaller. 

I’m all caught up on Arrow: Wha? No, no, no, no! You didn’t. You can’t. Arrrrrgh. Arrrowww!!

Matt Smith has joined the cast of the new Terminator franchise: I’m feeling a little timey-wimey about this.