Favorite Television Shows

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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Bush Leagues » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:01 pm

I've recently watched all of Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City on Netflix.

So the premise of Terrace House is much the same as Jersey Shore - let's take three guys and three girls, stick them in a house together, and see what happens. This show, however, is Japanese, so in terms of what actually happens it's basically the opposite of Jersey Shore. :lol: Instead of lots of yelling, fights, and sex everywhere, everyone is relatively quiet, polite, and nice to each other. I actually like watching Jersey Shore with my wife, because the people there are so far away from anything I could ever be, that it's actually really interesting. This show is also interesting because it includes a look at a different culture and how they act and deal with each other; the people also seem much more my speed because of the lack of fistfights and clubs and all that. Despite that this would normally be classified as a "reality show" (with all the fakeness that tends to go into such things), I'm actually mostly convinced that they were not given scripts or "suggested" things they should do - particularly by one event that I don't want to spoil right near the end of the series.

So from what I gathered, the show has run in Japan before, and this is a"sequel" of sorts that was put on by Netflix - Netflix has recently added quite a number of Asian series and TV shows, so I imagine this is continuing the trend. Anyway, the show has 6 hosts as well, who butt in at the start and in the middle of each episode to give their thoughts and talk about it. Jersey Shore has no such equivalent, and I actually rather like it, as they all give different perspectives on it and you get some new thoughts besides your own. One other thing is that people come and go rather frequently in the house, and so you have something of a rotating cast of characters; but it doesn't bother me at all.

So for the most part, most of them are there (from what they say) because they think it would be an interesting and exciting experience. Most also have no significant other, so if they happen to stumble onto some kind of relationship along the way, that's just a nice plus, although a few were obviously hoping for something to happen for them. There's enough tension and conflict going on to keep you interested even if the cultural aspect doesn't do it for you, and obviously you end up rooting for some and scorning others (much like the hosts, though in a more neutral way). :lol:

Anyway, it's a show I've liked quite a bit, and I'm now watching the Netflix sequel to this one; which is subtitled "Aloha State" - with a primarily Japanese cast still, but just in Hawaii instead of Japan.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:17 pm

Saw Man In High Castle season 2 in non UHD becuase I swear it wasn't there when I started and only found it on prime afterwards. It started slowly and badly, it's big twist didn't click for me
The Man in High Castle himself (Stephen Root) annoyed me,
, the three lower half characters (Frank, Joe, Juliana) were still annoying while this time the likes of Joe Smith ie the higher ups aren't quite so fascinating. There are strands that work
Inspector in the bar trying to persuade the general, Dr Adler and his fate, Juliana and her medical
and Nicole Dörmer (Bella Heathcote) has some flair but generally it is a lot of things not clicking.

Yet after the painful set up, it does come together and begin to click, the stories have been set up and it is enjoyable watching them unfold, Joe and Juliana are integrated with the higher up characters and for the first time become intresting figures (more Juliana then Joe) themselves. You got the good mix of politics (both regimes and opposition) and personal, romances, little touches that make the world so different from our own. The Trade Minister has the best storyline once it gets going and it provides something different. The last two episodes are very strong with some good twists and emotional punches.

The one bit that doesn't work is Frank. There is some good story stuff and some of the characters around him are great to watch but Frank is a drain of joy, he is such an annoying character that it hindered scenes he was in.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:05 pm

The Last Kingdom is back tonight! I'm not sure how I'm feeling about it as they made a bit of a mess of Season 1 IMO but book 3 which is what this is based on is my favourite in the series so this is the chance for them to redeem it!
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:08 pm

Watched 7th season of Walking Dead which seemed to take a policy of "we do one episode with this community, then next with another one" and so on till they had done all. Individually, I enjoyed the episodes as some communities really shone
Savoiurs, Kingdoms
really shone with good individual characters explored there and some Alexandrian also benefiting in that kingdom as characters evolve in fresh area
loved Eugene in Saviours
, one community is hampered by concentrating on Alexandrians amongst them and having a God Mode character rather then building the characters in that community
Gregory is fun in Hilltop but we get Maggie's group more with Maggie teaching the guys who are masters at farming... how to farm. She is the only one who can lead them, just about avoids having her teach them how to breathe air
. another is hampered by a shtick that makes no logical sense
the rubbish people have lost ability to communicate already
and the Alexandrian based episodes are awful.

While some of the episodes are intresting, it does mean it fails to build it's threat of the big bad Negan (though he is an enjoyable presence in the episode he is in) and fails to build momentum before the finale which is alright but lacks oomph and has the usual logic flaws. The writing during the show has some questionable logic and it this point, I feel the Alexandrians needs to be wiped out. Most of them are stuck in the same old rut, the sense they are special with the knowledge they are untouchable and it is hampering the show. The episodes that worked where with characters that were either new or being put in a fresh light by the changed circumstances, communities that could have characters killed off and new things happen.

======

Watched Fox and Noah Hawley superhero/X-men show Legion. Premise: David Haller (Dan Stevens) is locked up in a mental hospital due to his hearing voices with his best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). When new girl Kit (Rachel Keller) joins the asylum due to her hatred of being touched, David's life changes. Also this is an X-men show so Mutants with powers are to be expected :wink:

With so many superhero shows now (four DC, Agents of Shield, 4 Netflix/Marvel), a new show has to justify itself as more then "Fox and X-Men trying to cash in" so does Legion manage it? Yes. Certainly. 100%. I'm not including "well only Netflix goes adult with their superhero shows" as one of the reasons but one should bear in mind, not a kid friendly one. Two very simple reasons why it is justified: 1) Quality. People I talk to, reviewers I read use terms like best TV superhero show out there, I would say it is certainly up there with Jessica Jones or Daredevil season 1.

2) It is trippy (think Twin Peaks). A big part of Legion is David's mind and Hawley sees the freedom to be unconventional, your never quite sure which way an episode is going to head and what kind of episode it will be. Using old fashion and styles helps create that feeling of not quite being our world, of something a bit unreal. It allows for some horror which I found unsettling (in good way) rather then scary but others found it a good scare, it allows Hawley freedom to do things a more conventional show would not. The show does justify it's weirdness and it make sense in the world the show is set in

I wasn't a huge fan of the pilot, some really good stuff like David with his therapists, his troubled youth or how he gets to know Syd but the attempts to show the series weirdness feels heavy handed and I could get bored. It finished strongly so I decided to give it a second go and quickly loved it as much as others seem to have done. Very well written, the sense of strangeness enjoyable, decent action, a good baddie that is carefully revealed. At eight episodes, it is quick paced but it does leave some characters with limited development and once or twice someone I think I was supposed to care about by that point in show left me with "who the heck is this figure?" while some are prone to vanishing at times, some excellent twists and turns in the story as well as the excellent use of the freedom that came with the trippy style, lots of visual flair, there is a very good sense of humour. Cast do a very good job, initially found Plaza annoying in the "oh gods, she got another dry eccentric character" way but she really pulls off the role she is given when it is expanded

The romance is excellent, the strong writing and impressive cast clearly helping here but it is sweet, it is funny, there is chemistry, they make a strong pairing that is hard not to warm to. Their powers plays it's part and that is another thing the show gets right, having powers is going to influence your life in various ways including your love life and it deals with that. Not in a "people with powers will mope" way bit in a very human way that knows the little moments count.

-There was good tragedy about Oliver and Melanie like the coffee machine tale and his failure to remember

-The Benny and no dog twists were a good surprise, did enjoy the Shadow King and the way it is embedded in David, allows Plaza to do some fun things.

-Excellent use of Rainbow Connection

-That chalkboard explanation of David's childhood was awesome

-Some nice use of Bill Irwin's abilities as a clown performer, really enjoyed the closeness of Kerry and Carry

-Someone take that gun off Ptonomy

-It was a good touch showing how the agent was affected after the fire pool incident

-Oliver's narration was fun and his unusual style worked well
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:28 pm

Watched first half of series 2 of Shadowhunters, nice little new theme. It starts badly, it's main storyline is uninteresting and while the big bad has his moments with one character later on series
the child warlock
, the baddie
Valentine (Alan van Sprang)
struggles to give the show some oomph. The characters become really really whiny and the dialogue drags, Alec (Matthew Daddario) loses his stoic side in a not a good way, the kind of characters who can offer a bit of humour are sidelined (Isabel (Emeraude Toubia)) or dragged into whiny (the erratic Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.)). The only saving graces in the first three or so episodes is Dominic Sherwood's performance as Jase (the stand out performer of the cast) and Simon's (Alberto Rosende) storyline which keeps him out of whineville, plays to his strengths as a fairly lighthearted character and is an interesting stand it's own right.

Then like the first season, the show picks up, leaving the whiny strand which is much appreciated. It's best episodes are ones where it goes outside the institute to explore the wider world
the prison, the female warlock and the Light Sisters episodes
. Simon's strand remains the most intresting but there are some fun new characters like Maia (Alisha Wainwright), decent humour, some fun situations and we were having a nice time again though some storylines seem to end a little abruptly. Last two episodes were mixed, penultimate fell into the issues of the opening of the season and the half-season finale was, while a lot of fun, full of logic errors.

There are some things they should look at tweaking for second half of season: they have another new head of institute who... is exactly the same trope as all of them in season one. I get where we are supposed to dislike the clave but could they stop going over the same ground? Isabelle is ill-served by the storylines they give her and she feels like the "pretty fighter" trope of the characters at times. I do feel with Shum Jr is he really lands the moments where Magnus is the ancient being who has lasted thousands of years with all the benefits and downsides that brings but is very erratic with the flamboyant side that we often get instead. There are some nice romances but they do some pairings that don't work and some really bad decisions
Jase is haunted by loving his sister thing which is a great strand rather undermined by Clary acting as if they had never snogged. There are some good moments with Magnus and Alec when they relax like the expirence gap but Alec has so much drama now. Isabelle and Raphael is just completely random at the end of season and while Raphael is usually a fun character in his role with Simon, the stuff he blurts out in the romance makes no sense for him to tell her. Clary and Simon work as long friends with Simon longing after her, Clary's reaction when she thinks Simon has a girlfriend also works but when they become a couple, there is no chemistry at all. Not helped by Maia and Simon's brief romance having a lot more sizzle as a pairing.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:54 pm

Watched Emerald City, NBC doing Matthew Arnold (with help from Josh Friedman) version of the OZ stories. Premise: Dorothy (Adria Arjona) is a nurse with mother issues when she and police dog Toto get sucked into a hurricane and taken to Oz....

Is NBC justified doing another Oz show? Hell yes, Matthew Arnold clearly has a lot of fresh, intresting ideas on the characters and on Oz. We looked forward to how he would do something unexpected with the characters and a story that has been adapted many times. Unfortunately, the show starts really badly and has some problems.

The early episode are really hampered by it doing about 5 strands a an episode with 1) Team Dorothy including Lucas (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) 2) Oz with the Wizard (Vincent D'Onofrio) and two witches Glinda (Joely Richardson), The Wicked Witch of the West (Ana Ularu), 3) Tip (Jordan Loughran) and Jack (Gerran Howell) being the main basis. This might not sound a lot but it often manages in the early episodes to (by splitting a slot or another strand) go for four or five very disparate strands over the 45 minutes. Of the three main strands, Tip
particularly the gender angle for Tip
and Jack's strands are very intresting and have a sense of humour once it gets going but the other two strands are the main ones and they are hampered by big flaws.

Team Dorothy is hampered by an unlikeable Dorothy
she is amazingly self adsorbed, unaware of the damage she is causing and her hypocrisy
with Arjona not strong enough an actress (in this show) to be the lead, Toto feels a waste and a slow pace for awhile. While Oz should be right up my street with it's politics and the witches are intresting figures, Ularu's witch of the west provides some much needed flair and humour in the early days, the Wizard is a major problem. Vincent D'Onofrio showed a masterclass in Daredevil but the charisma, intelligence and power he gave in that show has gone, his performances are flat for some time. The Wizard is clearly meant to be intelligent and charismatic but we don't see it and at times, it comes close to accidentally undermining the idea he is intelligent.

Yet there is always enough to keep us going, we liked Lucas as well as the witches and strand 3, we generally liked the romances
the one exception
Oz and Anna (Isabel Lucas) had some really god movements but also some really bad ones
, it had a bit of humour but some nice tragedy mixed with it. It had a lot of great ideas but the problem is it could produce a fascinating idea that other show would would have explored in detail over five or even ten episodes but instead did in a time frame so quick, it makes the opening scene of Up look slow. I felt it most in one (still highly entertaining) romance midseason where the characters were kissing within two episodes having touched upon some potentially intresting stages
who and stages
Jack and Princess. First her control over him, then learning to be friends
when it could have built up to romance starting at end of season. It was "this romance is awesome" mixed with "but I wanted to see more of the way they touched upon other themes between the two" and "could it stop going through ideas so quickly?".

The show picked up as the strands began to knight together and characters were drawn into each other's circles while Arjona and D'Onofrio improved. Tarsem Singh has a fine eye for visuals and landscapes, there was still humour and stronger tragedy, enjoyable romances, some great twists and turn,s, lots of great ideas passed through quickly. There where characters I warmed to like Jack, Lucas, Sylvie but there were characters that really impressed me like the Witch of the West as she was built up to be more then enjoyable humour or the powerful dominating Princess Ev (Stefanie Martini possibly the strongest performer on the show). Finale didn't quite land but I look forward to (hopefully) a season 2.

-Tip's struggles with her body was intresting and was good twist when she sent Jack plummeting to his doom for being an idiot. Which opened up two of the best storylines

-Brilliant moment where Tip asks the two witches "Are you telling me the only choice I have as a woman is nun or w••••?" and looks on the witches faces....

-Jack being mostly machine works well in terms of how it affects his body and himself after the initial horror for him. Would have liked him to have spent more time before he was sold off

-Princess Ev made a strong first impression when meeting Jack, her attempts to control him and befriend him, the hints of uncertainty behind the power, her covering for her father, how she handled Jack meeting Tip, her teasing of Jack

-The mute Sylvie and the way she clung onto Lucas and Dorothy was sweet and allowed them to show a parental side. Well Lucas, Dorothy shows it at times but she is immensely self absorbed and thoughtless as to how her actions impact others

-Liked the twist at the end of the Wizard's plotline in episode 3 where he decides to persuade a village to science by kidnap and his ruthless actions once he discovers about Glinda

-Dorothy meeting Wizard was really well done twist

-Lucas being Glinda's wife was a good twist as was her desperation to keep him even if her plan how was amazingly bad and could have done with fleshing out their past relationship

-West struggles with her past and her addictions as well as her sharp tongue made her fun
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:03 pm

Watched Netflix adaptation of dark children novels Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, eight episodes with two per book is the format. Premise: Lemony Snickett (Patrick Warburton) tells the sad story of the Baudelaire siblings who discover their home has burnt down and their parents dead, leaving them a fortune. The inventor Violet (Malina Weissman), the scholarly Klaus (Louis Hynes) and baby Sunny (voice work by Tara Strong) are placed with actor Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris)...

Note: I don't know how many always watched the opening credit sequences and how many watch one then skip past but these ones alter per episode. Harris sings the catchy and mood appropriate "look away" but each episode, one verse changes to a small preview of the episode, sung in an appropriate voice.

Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld do seem to be fans of the books but that is a mixed blessing and the show is fun but very flawed, enjoyable but lots of meh passages. The being fans of the books means one gets certain images from the books put it into the show, it tries to recreate the atmosphere of the show to some success though it rarely captures the "feelings of hope getting crushed" bar one moment
big spoiler
Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders not being the parents
, it does touch upon adults letting children down, the humour, the dark side. It creates a sense of Olaf and parents involved in wider world before the children came along. It struggles for awhile with Lemony Snickett, his narration was so frequent and misdone that it disrupted and flow and was annoying while Warbuton struggled to deliver but over time, they found a better balance, timing his narrations better and the jokes landed. The "word means" which worked well in the books but is just irritating here, again mostly becuase they overuse it at the start.

They don't build on the children, though Sunny is a lot of fun and they seem to have handled the issue of having a baby as a main character very well by reacting to what baby does, till the last story (which is the best one) and they struggle to find a way to show off the skills. The episodes tend to rely on incompetent banker Poe (K. Todd Freeman) who is really enjoyable, sometimes Jacqueline (Sara Canning) Olaf and his team of crooks who are fun and the individual guardians who tend to rely on a schick and can be very erratic. One or two episodes rely on blatant dues ex-machina but there is humour, some fun characters, the TV show as some very nice idea's of it's own
like their silent movies
which work well, one episode has a delightful "wonders of streaming services". The final episodes are really good partly due to being more about the children, some very intresting characters and some great twists.

I know a lot of people's reactions when they first see Count Olaf is something seems a little off and I think it is taking an episode or two to adjust to the Count Olaf they do rather then the one from the books. Doesn't carry a threat other then specific scenes where they make him a threat, this Olaf has hilariously bad disguises that should be seen through but the show manages to make failure of others to realize part of the charm, Harris does great incompetence and arrogance, his Olaf is amusing and fun. They also use the gang like Hooked-Handed man (Usman Ally) who have their own personality and do good comedy as a group.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:16 am

Watched first-half season of Netflix/Guillermo del Toro half hour fantasy Trollhunters. Premise: In the town of Arcadia, student Jim (the late Anton Yelchin) finds a magical amulet that gives him armour and sword. He also finds out trolls exist, some friendly and others rather less friendly and the amulet means as the Trollhunter, he must fight the bad ones to protect the good ones and humanity.

A season that always feels on the urge of something really good, that it really should excel yet can be a bit patchy as if something doesn't quite click for awhile though finishes strongly. Voice cast like Kelsey Grammer, Charlie Saxton (as the amusing best friend Toby) and Amy Landecker do a good job, has a sense of humour and adventure, good action, some good villains but romance is only alright. Show very good at knowing when to unveil something new and always have something to add
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:33 am

Watched third season of Agents of Shield and felt like it's best season, felt like everything was at the very least solid, it was not Jessica Jones or Legion but it felt like it had more substance to it then first two seasons. Action was solid with a few setpeice specials that stood out, good romances
Bobbi and Hunter, Gemma and first the Nasa man (the episodes of that planet were excellent) then Fitz, Phil and Rosalind,
, good tragedy
I know the Bobbi and Hunter spin off hasn't come into play so hope they find a way to bring them back, Lincon and Hive's death, Malik losing his family
, humour is there but less of it and less Coulson quips (alas), I'm not a huge fan of Daisey but I find I really enjoy the side characters like Bobbi or some of the new characters. The Inhumans strand works really well as it unfolds over time with some good villains and really good big bad
Ward killed and changed into Hive
which Shield spent enough time with to build background, make them people . The final two episodes didn't click but the end phase had power. There is some good "if this actually happened, how would public react" which I enjoyed
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