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Random TV Show Thoughts

I keep meaning to start this but can't decide whether to watch the original series with a fanedit bridge episode that smooths over the jump from skipping those episodes, a fanedit film trilogy (probably the one you watched), or a fan-made hd recreation of the official Nautilus Story film trilogy. Your review makes me think I should start with the full series (minus a certain arc) to get the more complete story.
Hmmm...I think it depends on your love/tolerance for cartoon antics. TBH, from all the reviews I read afterwards, it seems like there was a fair bit of that in the series besides just the 13 "filler" episodes. I was happy to have missed it. There are just a few character beats that I think needed a bit more room to breathe than in the fanedit I watched, but I've never seen the complete series and am not sure if it'd even be possible to work them in.

I'd say it's probably best to start with a MUCH shorter version (than the complete series)... the show is influenced by Miyazaki and Anno, but is nowhere near as excellent as their later work. If you love the short version, you can try a longer cut later.
 
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Oh, I almost forgot...!

Joker Game (2016)
This is an anime series based off some really successful manga and novels, and there's a live-action film, too. I didn't finish this one, even though it's very good. I like the realistic, detailed animation style (though it is a bit hard to tell which characters are from which ethnic backgrounds) as well as the music, voice-acting...really it's just a well done production. Strong writing too, with genuine mysteries that make sense.

The problem is just that it's a story where the heroes are Japanese spies during World War II. And there's really no sense of criticism of the war, you're just openly meant to root for the spies to help their country. Story by story, the spies are often working against "bad" people, and so that's not an issue. Those people may be British or Chinese or even Japanese military. But ultimately, the only sense of morality in the story is that... like, corruption is bad? There's a sense of equivalency, as if all militaries are all doing the same thing, and it's just these (fictional) spies who see that it's all a big game. The show makes sure to have a "this is all fictional" disclaimer in the credits, even though the dates and troop movements all totally match the actual Japanese army. Very CYA.

As well-done as the series is, I just found it really problematic to root for the villains to win. I lived in Japan and there's a huge group of people there who want Japan's military to rise again, who think the world would've been a better place if they had won the war, who proclaim loudly that Japan did nothing wrong in the war, and certainly nothing that other countries didn't also do... this series really feeds into that, and I can't take the attitude of moral equivalency that it seems to want, whether it's just a little animated series or not.
 
So we can now add bloody Psych to the ever-growing list of shows getting a Blu-ray release before Carnivàle... 🤐
 
I started watching the Napoleon Dynamite animated series, and it's weird. It's not the funniest, it's not all that great, I get the bad reviews, but at the same time it's just easy to watch, and it gives us more time with the charming characters from the film. It reminds me of Clerks Animated in that it's only 6 episodes, all of the actors and creative team from the film are on board, and it really takes advantage of the animated format for extra wackiness. It's not as clever or self aware as Clerks, but it's interesting nonetheless. The art style is ugly, but the animation is surprisingly smooth at times.
It's a weird show, maybe it shouldn't exist, but it just kinda works. Kip becoming a Fushigi Ball performer is the most dated thing I've ever seen in a TV show and I love it.
 
My kids are watching Stranger Things. And the main character, Eleven as she’s known, was just revealed to have the exact same (real or birth) name as my mother. My mother is remarried so it isn’t my last name, but it was still weird. 😜
 
I threw on Scoobynatural earlier, wanting to watch something ScoobyDoo related. It was pretty good, and I proceeded to put on episode 1 of Supernatural which was also good. My mom has been trying to get me to watch Supernatural for years now, and I guess I'm finally starting.
 
I was reading some wikipedia page pertaining to V For Vendetta, I think it was specifically the article on the Guy Fawkes Mask. Anyways, there's a photo in the article, and in the caption it mentions the 2018 prequel TV series to V For Vendetta... With a hyperlink to page for PENNYWORTH.
The Alfred prequel show that nobody asked for apparently doubles as a V prequel?! Why?? And why didn't I hear about it? Now I want to watch it out of curiosity. This is so bonkers to me. It'd be like if Krypton turned out to be a LXG prequel (I don't think DC has the rights, but I can't think of any other Alan Moore comics that haven't already gotten the expanded universe treatment).
 
I threw on Scoobynatural earlier, wanting to watch something ScoobyDoo related. It was pretty good, and I proceeded to put on episode 1 of Supernatural which was also good. My mom has been trying to get me to watch Supernatural for years now, and I guess I'm finally starting.
Love SUPERNATURAL!

The first five seasons are excellent.
The next ten are a rollercoaster of quality.
But even when a certain story arc is not fully working, the chemistry and relationship of the Winchester Brothers keeps me coming back.
 
I was reading some wikipedia page pertaining to V For Vendetta, I think it was specifically the article on the Guy Fawkes Mask. Anyways, there's a photo in the article, and in the caption it mentions the 2018 prequel TV series to V For Vendetta... With a hyperlink to page for PENNYWORTH.
The Alfred prequel show that nobody asked for apparently doubles as a V prequel?! Why?? And why didn't I hear about it? Now I want to watch it out of curiosity. This is so bonkers to me. It'd be like if Krypton turned out to be a LXG prequel (I don't think DC has the rights, but I can't think of any other Alan Moore comics that haven't already gotten the expanded universe treatment).
"Arrow" comes back and it turns out his grandfather was Tom Thumb!
"Supergirl" does a final season where she gets mentored by Supreme!
"Legends of Tomorrow" visit Promethea!
Pennyworth apparently started working-in the V connection around Season 3. DC will do anything to save its mediocre TV shows by whoring out more Alan Moore braincrack.

Speaking of....

Better Call Saul (2015-2022)
Breaking Bad is one of my favorite series of all time, so I was skeptical to say the least that they could repeat that lightning in a bottle. Out of all the characters on that show, Saul is probably the one that I least wanted to know the backstory of, and certainly not one I ever thought would take 6 seasons to tell. And actually, it didn't.

The first 3 seasons, "Saul" doesn't even go by that name, but uses his birth name of Jimmy. He's almost a different character, and the show is a very different show than Breaking Bad. Same showrunner/writer (Vince Gilligan), but he decided to stretch some different muscles and write primarily a family drama about Jimmy's struggle to become a serious lawyer and gain the respect of his elder brother (Michael McKean). It is slow, often painfully slow, with whole episodes going by and not one damn thing of significance happening in an hour. Honestly, I mostly kept watching because Jimmy's best friend and confidant, Kim (Rhea Seehorn) is a fascinating new character. But Breaking Bad this certainly is not.

Until it is! Gilligan handed off showrunning duties to Peter Gould, who was a writer on Breaking Bad. BCS had introduced some characters from the other show already, but Gould actually puts them to use and kicks the series into high gear. I won't spoil anything, but the criminal side of everything becomes a much bigger focal point, with much more exciting drama and faster paced stories. The show mostly keeps that momentum until the final 4 episodes, which serve as a bizarre sort of epilogue to Breaking Bad itself, and really require you to have watched all of that show, and watched it recently. They do not stand on their own, and honestly I kind of hated them.

BCS is a real slow burn of a series, very unbalanced and nowhere near as good as I'd heard. If it wasn't bingeable on Netflix, it 100% would've gotten canceled off network TV before it got even halfway through. This is something you really have to binge as much as possible. I'd also shut if off and never watch those final episodes. BB already had a perfect ending, and there was El Camino if you wanted more. BCS works as a great prequel with a great last shot that takes you up right to the start of BB... as long as you quit a few episodes early.
 
If [Better Call Saul]it wasn't bingeable on Netflix, it 100% would've gotten canceled off network TV before it got even halfway through.
That is demonstrably not true since it aired week-to-week from 2015-2022 on AMC. It only streamed on Netflix with a huge delay, with each season coming well after the following season had already started.
 
I think you're thinking of the final season. The show had a complicated streaming deal in place to launch AMC+, which it did quite effectively. If it wasn't streaming and was limited to the normal US network reach, it would never have gotten the numbers needed to keep going. Even still, AMC+ didn't have much reach and so episodes premiered the day after airing on Netflix for anywhere outside the US. Just that final season had a big delay, at which point the show had already built an audience.
I take it from your post that you're a fan, though. Sorry to offer a counter opinion that's not all praise.
 
Maybe it also streamed concurrently on AMC+, but every single episode of every season premiered on normal AMC on cable. I don't care about whether you liked the show or not, I'm just pointing out that your statement that it wouldn't work unless it was bingeable is wrong because that's not how it was distributed. In fact, Better Call Saul had similar ratings to Breaking Bad for its entire run. BB ratings increased from 1.23 in Season 1 to 4.32 in Season 4, and BCS slowly decreased from 3.21 in Season 1 to 1.27 in Season 6. That means in its final Season (which was planned to be the finale), it still had higher ratings than BB did for its first season, which obviously was good enough to get renewed.
 
Inhumanoids (1986)
This might be the single most bizarre, most inappropriate cartoon ever aimed squarely at kids. There's a whole weird history around how this show was developed and aired, and it's worth diving into some internet videos on, but the long and short of it is that it was part of a block of cartoons that were meant to play in kind of short anthology segments. You catch 13 minutes of this, 13 minutes of that. It was a rotating block and whichever ones seemed to get the best ratings would get more investment for more episodes. But the whole thing went kind of sideways and essentially the animation producers knew this one wasn't going to go beyond the initial order, so they just told the team "do whatever you want"...big mistake!

Like all American 80s cartoons, this show was built around a toy series and designed to have the stories showcase their play features. In the case of this brand, that meant showing inhuman creatures come up from the center of the Earth to terrorize humanity. So you've got toys with exposed rib cages and flesh-melting goop action, and then the cartoon is supposed to animate that! Who was paying attention to standards and practices here?!

There are multiple moments in the cartoon that are straight-up nightmare fuel. The main ally of the Earth Corp. team, Sandra, gets turned into a screaming, deformed skeleton within the first few episodes. A scientist gets turned to fiery, melting glop as a monster placed hands on his head and shrieks "de-com-pose!" One of the bad guys gets abandoned in the swamps of the Everglades and dies there, only to get dug up later and turned into a sadistic monster made of literal swamp life and maggots. The toy line, as you may imagine, was wildly popular with tween boys...and actually boycotted by parents.

The whole series was later compiled into a brief 13 episodes (5 of which are pulled together from that initial anthology run) and it's all on Youtube here. There are a ton of jokes in this from writer Flint Dille that are purely to amuse himself and his adult friends, as there's no way any kid was going to get the reference. It's also fun in that the show basically has a real chronological flow, with consequences from one episode to the next. It's not the episodic boilerplate writing of most 80s shows. Like, in one episode, one of the heroes saves a famous actress and they're obviously sweet on each other...typical cartoon stuff. But in the next episode, they're literally getting married! And the one after that, he's talking about retiring from the team.

The show feels way ahead of its time and over the heads of its audience in many ways, and I got a real kick out of rewatching these as an adult. Partly out of nostalgia, partly out of thinking how inappropriate it all was (especially some later comedic bits), and partly because there are some genuine laughs to be had.
 
Gargoyles (1994)
Perhaps the last great untapped Disney property? The first 5 episodes are basically a movie about how medieval gargoyles were actually genuine protectors of the castle by night, and only turned to stone during the day. Due to human betrayal and a magical curse, we find that a small clan of gargoyles has survived through the dark ages and has now been resurrected by this Tony Stark-type figure named David Xanatos. Exactly what his agenda is and whether the gargoyles can trust him is one of the major plot points of the series, and his character and narrative is so well-written that it actually invented a writing trope: "The Xanatos Gambit!"

I've been on a bit of a run here where I use my morning coffee time to let my sleepy brain catch up on all these kids cartoons that were better than they should have been. This is for sure another one of those, where the first batch of episodes -all written out in a master story plan by creator Greg Weisman and main writer Michael Reeves- are unimpeachable. They were part of this new wave of darker, more serious kids shows that had been inaugurated by Batman: The Animated Series and otherwise would never have gotten made. The excuse for the suits was that they could -in a very kiddified way- deal with issues like accidental shootings and drug abuse and racism, things that kids do actually encounter but don't have any primer for. This could be that primer.

But of course the broader story is that the series gets to do real drama amongst all the cartoon action, with an overarching Phantom of the Opera tragic romance at its core, as well as a plethora of Shakespearean references, from characters to plots to actual quotes. You might not be able to get away with this in the average cartoon, but it helps when you have actual stage and screen actors coming on to do the voice-acting and sell it. Keith David as lead gargoyle "Goliath" is absolutely iconic, and then over the course of the series, virtually every major Star Trek The Next Generation actor except Patrick Stewart voiced a major role on the show. And many of the Deep Space Nine actors, to boot! It's genuinely amazing how much drama and real heart they put into these little 23 minute episodes.

The problem was, the show was a victim of its own massive initial success. Disney executives immediately wanted to spin the show off and expand it into multiple worlds, multiple shows, multiple theme park attractions! They demanded a doubling of the batch of 2nd season episodes, with not enough time to do it, so the story had to be farmed out to other writers and directors based on only loose notes from the main writers. The result is that much of that feels like filler, and it didn't help that Disney couldn't get it animated fast enough and so shipped out the duties to other studios, some of it then looking rushed or cheap. The season then had airing delays and lost a lot of its audience. By the time the show came back for, honestly, a killer finale: literally nobody behind the scenes was happy.

Greg Weisman wrote Disney a pitch for a restructured season 3, which they happily took and then parted ways with him. They put different people in charge and aired a shortened, simplified season 3 with new branding. It's honestly not bad at all (despite some outraged, neckbearded fans online) but never hits the heights of earlier, and does feel a bit like it's not moving any major story forward anymore. There's more a sense of it being very episodic and repetitive like most cartoons, rather than a grand narrative. It was canceled, but the fan adoration has lived on. Weisman has a new comics series out for it that is considered "canon", and news of movie scripts for a live action film keeps circling around. I could potentially lose my proverbial $#*! if that happens, but I also am dubious about Disney spending the time or money to get the CG and story right. I think it needs the weight of a "serious" filmmaker like Kenneth Branagh or Ridley Scott to get the epic scope right that lives up to the iconic opening song....
 
I'm actually (slowly) working on a reconstruction of the VHS movie version of the first 5 episodes.
 
Cool! Can't believe there's nothing in print for that.
 
Peaky f****n' Blinders (2013-2022)
I think few BBC shows have crossed over into American -and multi-continent- viewership to the level that Peaky Blinders has. Across 6 brief seasons, the mostly-fictionalized story of the Shelby family and the rise of UK gangsters through the 1920s has had a cultural impact that most shows aspire to. I'm not one to jump on a popular show until it has wrapped up and know people don't feel sold short by the ending, but with the series announced to be done (save for a possible movie), I decided to finally dive in this year.

From the time I started watching the show, I was immediately struck by it feeling like a lower-budget Boardwalk Empire, and I think that holds true right up to the very end. The biggest advantage it has over Boardwalk is that it saves that "will the son replace the father" plotline and stretches it out over the final seasons. Whereas Boardwalk kind of starts with Steve Buscemi's "Nucky Thompson" arguably on top of his game (and he struggles to hang on from there), Peaky Blinders starts with Cillian Murphy's "Tommy Shelby" the king of his own little neck of town, but still with plenty of room to grow. And grow he does. Each season sees and expanding ring of relationships and power balances, from a neighborhood level all the way up to international political intrigue. In that way, the progression of the show feels somewhat like The Wire.

On the other hand, the experience of watching the show is like the polar opposite of watching The Wire. Peaky Blinders is like British 1920s fashion porn; you'd be forgiven for thinking the whole raison d'etre of the show was to sell tailored suits, suspenders, and baker boy caps. If you counted up the scenes in each season, probably 25% of them are a bunch of well-dressed lads (and ladies) walking in slow motion, looking incredibly glossy, tuned to anachronistic rock/punk music. The show is at times a triumph of style over substance. Some might say: more times than not.

The seasons are super plot driven…there are like 3 plots going on at any given time, but few of them are actually fleshed out. The story always feels choppy, almost like it’s missing scenes or important conversations between characters where you’d better understand their motivations. There's a fine line between building-in moments where you can surprise the audience with a plot twist, versus just keeping viewers in the dark about actually what everyone is doing and why, until a very exposition-heavy season ender. The most frustrating example of this is that in every season, there’s always at least one big event where a character does something remarkably stupid for no discernible reason other than that it makes for a more dramatic turn of the plot. Each season also generally -and to greater and greater degrees as the show goes on- relies on Tommy having plans and backup plans that we never see him make and he never tells anyone about. The net effect is that, no matter what you've seen develop over the season, there's always some deus ex machina in the end that comes out of nowhere and resolves things differently. So it's kind of a "turn off your brain and just soak it in" show.

The show makes a great watch early on, as it really has a style all its own, and there are a number of great performances and some stylish dialogue. Cillian Murphy gives probably the performance of his life, and the show makes liberal use of every different version, remix, and cover of its theme song that you can imagine (except, inexplicably, for its total absence in the last season). I think that there's a lot of drama in the early seasons when it truly feels like you can root for or against certain characters, and Sam Neil makes an awesome early antagonist. But as it goes, it starts to feel like the writing is really scattershot, and it's more everything else that's propping up the show. Season 5 has an absolutely phenomenal performance by Adrien Brody as a Sicilian villain that gives the series a much-needed shot of adrenaline. But then it kind of closes out on a bit of a melodramatic whimper, with an ending that both felt predetermined and also quite unresolved. Maybe the feature film will give Tommy the proper send off he deserves.
 
I've been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine every night on a cable TV station lately. Not my first time but the first in several years.

I'm reminded of two things I've always thought about this show.

1) How great it is, almost as good as the best of The Next Generation

2) How much it could have been even better and far surpassed TNG if it weren't for officer Keera or however it's spelled. Man I can't stand her. Her character annoys me to no end every time she's on screen. Both her characters writing and the actor. The character is annoying, illogical, self righteous, and unlikeably arrogant, ignorant, and opinionated in the wrong ways. And the actors portrayal is just as obnoxious as all that the character is would call for. She's just always rubbed me the wrong way and I'm immediately annoyed whenever she talks. It's a shame she could have been much more likeable with just some small tweaks to her character traits.

The only blemish on an otherwise amazing show.
 
I've been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine every night on a cable TV station lately. Not my first time but the first in several years.

I'm reminded of two things I've always thought about this show.

1) How great it is, almost as good as the best of The Next Generation

2) How much it could have been even better and far surpassed TNG if it weren't for officer Keera or however it's spelled. Man I can't stand her. Her character annoys me to no end every time she's on screen. Both her characters writing and the actor. The character is annoying, illogical, self righteous, and unlikeably arrogant, ignorant, and opinionated in the wrong ways. And the actors portrayal is just as obnoxious as all that the character is would call for. She's just always rubbed me the wrong way and I'm immediately annoyed whenever she talks. It's a shame she could have been much more likeable with just some small tweaks to her character traits.

The only blemish on an otherwise amazing show.
I’m in the middle of my first time through DS9 and generally agree. Also I’ve been enjoying it more since Worf joined. I’m concurrently watching Voyager by air date and as far as obnoxious characters go I think Paris and Neelix are even worse than Kira. TNG is still my favorite so far.
 
I'm surprised to see hate for Kira, but then again I always had a soft spot for her so I generally hated vedek bareil and Shakaar. XD Nah, I jest of course, those two were okay. I really hated Vedek Winn of course, but we were always supposed to hate her anyway.
 
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