Favorite Television Shows

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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:31 pm

Watched second season of Westworld, was hugely looking forward to it and though I'll watch season 3, it certainly won't be with the same feeling of anticipation. It does have moments of the old magic, particularly when it goes "now for something you haven't seen before"
Shogun world for example
, those episodes away from the main storyline tend to be the best though one late one didn't click for me but my sister enjoyed
the Indians
but too much was off, too much didn't work this time.

The first season had intriguing mystery, something to say about humanity, lots of character moments as hosts and humanity interacted. It has the something to say but the mystery gets overly complex at times with one wondering if they are being confusing for confusions sake. With the character stuff, the first season benefited from what westworld is and the "now for something different" often benefits from that as well as they explore elements of the spark but season 2 was always going to have a challenge
with the hosts having risen and humans in flight
which they don't quite manage to deal with.

Most of the story strands can be hampered by the mystery, a slow pace and that it lacks a bit of spark. Maeve's story strand is the only consistently strong one, charismatic performances, humour, personalities bouncing off each other, the eye for the small detail so when the big moment comes, it tends to work. The others are not awful but patchy particularly during the first half, sometimes the human connection isn't working, the pace is slow, humour went even from characters who had a sense of humour, things can feel a little forced but second half sees more interactions and sense of character though one strand
Black Hat's
deteriorated for me due to choice it took. I liked the finale well enough, it had some good moments that made an impact though it wasn't more then fine overall as a finale.

=====

Watched second season of 3% which had the challenge of what to do without the process being the central part. That had provided chances to do all sorts of tests, to speak about humanity, kept characters close while doing some world building. Initially it was a problem, the new storylines didn't click with Ezequiel not quite clicking, that characters were spread all over the place meaning a lack of narrative cohesion, Offshore wasn't quite as intresting as I expected though had it's moments. It wasn't a bad start but it was somewhat slow and missing that thrill, that episodic look into human nature of the first season.

Once main characters began to cross each other's paths and the story started knitting together into something cohesive, it was a lot better. Characters we knew were bouncing off each other again, most of it was in-land which was better then offshore, the plot became more exciting and intresting as they used their wits to try to get through moments, some very good tense scenes. There was some intresting scenes about the wider world
like the parade for those going through the process
, new characters like the likeable Gloria (Cynthia Senek) or the intimidating Marcela (Laila Garin who brings presence to the role) do not feel they quite have enough depth by the end of the season. Built up well to a good finale that leaves intrigued for next season

Credit to show for having a recurring transgender character as in appears for more then one or two "look, we are soooo with it" episodes. The character is very much a support to a support character at the moment, will pop in the relevant episodes, has a moment or two but needs bringing more to the fore.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:32 pm

Watched first season of comedy Schitt's Creek created by the Levy family and starring them with Sarah Levy as waitress Twayla. Premise: The Rose family are wealthy but when the authorities discover the accountant has not paid their taxes and has now run off with their money, they lose everything. Apart from one small town they own with a certain name. How will the family, businessman Jonny (Eugene Levy), actress wife Moira (Catherine O'Hara) and their two children, fashionista David (Dan Levy) and socialite Alexis (Annie Murphy), cope in this small, odd little town?

I liked the premise and was on netflix so we thought we would give it a try, first episode a bit slow but afterwards loved it. Having a member of the cast reading the language warning is an odd touch but intresting to see what they do with it (O'Hara went for in character, Jennifer Robertson seemed to start laughing), they use the premise of two very different and exaggerated cultures clashing for good comedic effect. Characters either start off comic and larger then life but one grows to like them or start off the straight likeable figure to comedic partners and then one realises how funny they are themselves. There are some inventive scenario's they play with and a lot of good one-liners.

While comedy is key and so is the family, the build a nice sense of two figures starting with mayor Roland (Chris Elliott) his lovely wife Jacqueline (Jennifer Robertson) and sarcastic receptionist Stevie (Emily Hampshire) then widening out to other figures in the town. You get the wacky escapades (the one with the town sign...) and the culture clashes but you also get romance, inadvertent hurt feelings, hopes and dashed one to centre the humour with an emotional, solid core.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:59 pm

Watched season 4 part 2 of Agents of Shield: LMD which feels like it is going from strength to strength, consistently performing well. It's handling of issues arising around the third-season storyline can be clumsy, it doesn't follow up the shield director's storyline sufficiently, one or two of the villain characters are lacking as it jumps from one to the other. Yet the core characters remain good to watch, a romance is nicely built up, the main villains generally work well, good action, a clever finale that left me very excited for what they are doing with part 3.

-Surprised no return of Ghostrider, maybe next part.

-Mack's opening episode fear of robots and mentioning movies got heavy headed while generally his scenes bemoaning AI and so on felt simplistic. Good Mack scene as he told Yoyo about his past after going missing for 24 hours

-I liked the Nadeer dynamics, siblings torn apart by her hate for Inhumans, her clever use of politics and media to put pressure on Shield, preferred Ellen to Supreme Leader. Death was well done by how it went ways one wasn't expecting

-Showing May as a robot early worked for the show, it gave you a certain perspective on her actions throughout and the heartbreak that would be caused for both May and Phil, seeing the robot gain awareness and the pain it caused her. The world created for real May and it's initial failings was a clever touch, I liked seeing an early mission with Phil and May, her sacrifice was one of the best bits of the finale.

-I'm glad Talbot is being a bit less of a joke figure that Shield have to handle, yes they like a shot but he did warn against the political trap they fell right into and he has backed them hard

-Mace being fake inhumane was an intresting twist and in that episode, with the fighting+discovery by others, it was well delivered. Afterwards it kind of got "now back in your place for Phil" then, while not quite dropped, didn't get properly followed through as it got distracted by other issues

-Radcliffe being the traitor and then the arrested Radcliffe being an AI as the real one fled was a good twist. Agnes strand was good and allowed Mallory Jansen to further flex her muscles by playing a different character, I didn't warm to Agnes particularly but I warmed to Radcliffe's reaction and how his world helped her, I thought Radcliffe's death was nicely done but as a character, he never quite lived up to potential. He always needed someone to be alongside him, a Fitz or an Aida, for Radcliffe to really spark off and produce some humour, I liked his idea for the season but I never felt he came alive as a character

-Aida really well managed. Bit by bit, seeing her (after the initial fake outs) develop, taking more control, her fierce authority, her taking decisions or her reaction to Agnes, her ruthlessness towards the Superior with that cruel fate for him, her ruthlessness towards Radcliffe but also one that was not unkind as she worked out best route forward. Without her maker acting as a sometimes restraint, be intresting to see what happens now

-I really wanted MayxCoulson in season 1, now I'm less keen on it. It can work but so used to them being friends

-I like the Koening's but didn't warm to their guest episode role though the fanfiction line was very funny

-The Superior was lacking, wasn't a character with much depth (though his fear of the impure and the new could have been used) or threat and Zack McGowan didn't manage to do anything with the role. Huge relief when he turned out not to be the major villain

-The plot twist of Ai in shield just before the season break finale was good and lead to a tense enough episode as Fitz and Simmons turned on each other

-The only problem with the end of season glimpse to part 3 is can they live up to the promise of this alternative universe?


====

Finished season 3, the final season before moving onto second show in trilogy, of Trollhunters, tragically lost Anton Yelchin's voice for Jim but Emile Hirsch fitted in well and found I quickly adjusted to new voice. Season started slowly with Toby veering very much onto the annoying and there is later a new character that also veers onto annoying
Merlin (David Bradley)
and few few adventures don't quite click. However it soon finds it's feet, giving some good emotional punches with it's twists
families finding out about trolls
, decent villains and is best when it sticks to main storyline rather then seeks humorous sideline. The finale episodes are well done and a fitting way to end what had been a decent show, will likely watch the next show.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:12 pm

Watched season 3 of Preacher which started slowly, partly because of setting itself up again but also because the setting of Angelville never quite worked. The idea had great merit
the evil grandma, the tombs, the faded glory
, the cast are good in Colin Cunningham, Betty Buckley and Jeremy Childs yet while there are some good individual scenes (Cunningham's TC providing some good laughs), it tended not to click. Cassidy seemed in a rut, characters were not bouncing off each other, the threat wasn't quite in the atmosphere.

When other factors into the play like the welcome return of the Grail and Cassidy gets his own separate storyline, it clicks more. The humour, the rivalries of old, some great friendships, enjoyable twists, some good big bads, the show's "ok we don't have the biggest budget so let's be inventive with our action scenes" works more then it misses. Not everything works, I did feel at times they had a tad many characters and the Angelville stuff sometimes misfires but it goes along nicely to it's finale which hits the mark and brings a good end to the season.

-The man struggling with drink scene was an effective way to introduce Miss Marie's magic, at times there were was creepiness about her.

-I liked Tulip's scene in purgatory and she had some decent scenes with an increasingly frustrated God, briefly with Sabine, Featherstone (that HR scene!) or the not always bright TC. More then I liked her scenes with Jesse. She was also good whenever allowed to be a robber again, well constructed action scenes and usually bouncing off her allies to humorous effect. Bus stuff was running out of steam but mostly due to her alongside characters who had struggled for time

-What an entrance for Herr Starr as he fights Krishana's supporters and he was an effective operator again like his early wins over Jesse. He and Featherstone have some good comedy scenes as she continues to try to gain his favour while he and Jesse, sometimes united and sometimes opposing spar well

-I liked the animation of what Angilville does to vampires but Cass only really got going when out of there when he dates a poser vampire then kidnapped. Eccarius (Adam Croasdell) grew on me, utterly charming, kind to Cass, lonely, the two different worlds blending well together so the punch he was a baddie was a good twist and Cass finding the proof had punch. Watching the old lady realizing what had happened and begin to turn on Eccarius was good

-Never warmed to Satan, having him as a bit of car salesmen type figure wasn't a bad idea but delivery wasn't right. Hell tended to work due to the Saint Killer and sometimes the angel of death who shows promise. Do feel most of Hell/Saint Killer's group could have been left out other then setting up the stuff for finale which sets up next season

-Humperdoo's tapdancing, truly a worthy descendant! The Allfather was a bit grossout for my tastes but grew as a threat episode by episode, even the usually brave Star unsettled and had good final confrontation with Jesse

-Slightly sorry Hoover died but was usually just a comic relief figure, did have a good final episode with way he tricked Cas

-Looks like one huge challenge for Jess, Star has strong defences, the Saint of Killers hunting him down


=====

Watched K-drama half hour comedy Dramaworld. Premise: Claire Duncan (Liv Hewson) is working at her father's cafe, obsessed with K-drama's and particular the work of leading man Joon Park (Sean Dulake) and romantic interest Seo-yeon (Bae Noo-ri). When she finds herself suck into the drama-world, will her dreams come true?

There was a phase earlier this season when Korean culture was being highlighted by UK media like the BBC and Dramaworld kept coming up so we gave it a try. First episode, we found Claire annoying version of a millennial who needed to grow up, an exaggerated style about things but by second episode, we were laughing. This seems to be an affectionate comedy about K-drama tropes but most of them are tropes I have seen in other drama's, this manages to get balance between that teasing and doing a k-drama with romance and evil plotting.

As a comedy, it uses Claire's outside status so ability to yell at the production, her errors that alter things and her knowledge of K-drama's are used to funny effect Hewson selling the excitement and frustration of her character. It is fun, amusing show. As a drama, it has nice twists, likeable and warm romances beneath the humour but side characters like Ga-in (Kim Sa-hee) and Seung-woo (Woo Do-hwan) are underwritten which becomes an issue and the big bad lacks a bit of oomph.

=====

Saw second season of Killjoys, first had showed promise but had a fair few episodes that didn't quite feel good enough over the 45 minutes. This was better, one or two episodes where an episode might run out of steam, but generally held up from start to finish. The comedy felt sharper as lines sizzled, good character dynamics (including that of the ship Lucy), the villains were fun but not great, adventures tend to go along nicely. It works as just a good time, you get an adventure, you get jokes, you get nice romances and a bit of spark.

====

Watched Marvel/Freeform show Cloak and Dagger. Premise: Many years ago, Roxxon oil rig exploded near Orleans and two children caught up nearby save each other from the waters and gain powers. Years later thief Tandy (Olivia Holt) has become a thief haunted by her father being blamed for the accident, Tyrone (Aubrey Joseph) is a student at an elite school but troubled by the murder of his brother. What odds they will meet again?

I like superhero shows, I had heard decent things about this one and I liked the idea that they have updated: white girl (used to be rich in comics as I understand it) who has white light and black boy (used to be... less rich) with the power of darkness and to vanish, hope and fear intertwined. First two episodes? On paper the quality was there, it was well written, there were good scenes but the pace was agonizingly slow and at times Aubrey Joseph was underwhelming so some of Tyrone scenes lacked spark.

After the first two episodes, it finds a better pace. It has things to say about society, the way young black people are treated, how woman are treated and it usually does it in intresting ways, touches on culture of New Orleans though to a lesser extent. The powers are different from the usual ones and are used well to explore the characters and those around them, good twists, a sense of humour about itself, decent romances and decent if slightly under-done villains. It felt like the main plot was a little underdone by the end but the character development and what it meant for the two leads covered for that. Aubrey Joseph still could have the odd passage where he lacked a bit of charisma but felt he grew stronger as the season went on and landed some big moments, Holt always had a spark to her. Good supporting cast be it family members or Emma Lahana's cop, some good one off adventures.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:38 pm

Gotham season 4 part 2 feels like it should have been split up so it was a 3 part season. The first part of this one (I'll call it part 2) struggled becuase it's choice of villain was stretching the logic
Poison Ivy mark 3, played by Peyton List
and though the actress involved is a good one, she didn't deliver her best performances in this show, it could never shake off the bag logic starting it. Some of the changes for Bullock or Alfred following on from the real part 1 don't seem to last very long or never quite built on properly. It has a good finale that goes on other themes and has a very good big scene

Sofia vs Gordon and her "not death", reversing that was weak

-Bruce tripping wasn't bad

-Penguin vs Jerome wasn't quite as exciting as I hoped but picked up as the rattled Nygma (who had a strong strand) turns up, amusing moment at the pier

-Ivs vs Bullock and the tattered friendship with Selina was probably the only things that worked for ivy


Part 3 as it were was hampered by some strands really good like Lee, Nygma, Jerome and some... less so like Barbara's where it felt like they were trying to jam in a storyline that didn't suit her character's history to keep her in play while villains best when it trims numbers down. That last one did pay off in a great finale but even with that, I'm not sure I'm willing to take the forced strand for that finale moment. There is fun romances, intresting villain moves, flamboyant moments, a strong ending strand and big final battle

-I didn't find the aslumn break out that good, Jarvis felt a bit forced, I'm not a fan of their scarecrow. Tetch and the people prepared to jump was effective. Ra was alright but never felt like the big bad he needed to be

-The Valaska's, the switch to Jerimah took time to work, when one goes from an intense charismatic and erratic figure to a calmer plotter, it lacked intensity at first but it was clicking by the end. Jerome's death was well done and he has been a great character and intresting Joker (I know, not the Joker), the intelligence needed but the unpredictable crazy and charisma, the way he bounced off others like Bruce, Gordon and co.

-LeexNygma was a real strong point (bar the jealousy), Lee's ability to tease and flirt with Nygma, the great showdown with Nygma's game, the wits and loyalty. The final showdown and romantic near deaths

-Honestly, even with the eventual "you look like a woman I loved" would you choose Barbara to be the demon head? I liked the feminist angle but the needless rows with Tabitha, the killing time till the finale feel. Barbara the gang leader of sirens? That I welcome

-Copplepot was an amusing but sadly side figure in this season, great double cross of Tabitha and Butch in finale

-Bruce and Selina's potential romance was nicely boiling up, the Alfred horror scene was really well done but weakened by "no t really Alfred"


They have built well for season 5, it looks potentially very intresting. Worry that being the final season will hamper that strand as they seek to wrap it up but glad they got notice.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Dong Zhou
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Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

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