Favorite Television Shows

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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:52 am

Watched animated show Justice League Unlimited, successor to Justice League. Whereas the first show concentrated on Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash (Wally West), Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz), and Hawkgirl, this uses them as basis for a wide collection of superheroes like Supergirl, Question, Atom so and so on. I prefer the more concentrated version but this allowed me to see other superheroes I might never see, some just side figures that turn up every now and again, some others get concentrated on with their own episodes whit varying results while they also did villain centred episodes.

The adventures changed so sometimes magic based, could be space, could be earth so led to variety, some nice action and long running stories though the final Lex Luthor strand lacked a bit of power as Lex seemed less clever then he should be. There were two romances I loved, Batman x Wonder Woman as the love intrests were put into some odd situations which they had fun with (I enjoyed it particularly when changed to teenagers) and later Huntress x The Question, made a good outsider pairing and the Question's seeming unsuitability for romance works well.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:09 am

Lucifer season 3 part 1 made an odd decision, spent first half building up towards the Sinnerman, doing it quite effectively as this threat.... then wandered off to do other things (sometimes intresting ones) before returning for the last two episodes. By which point momentum had been wasted and the actor they chose
Kevin Carroll
for the baddie doesn't carry that sense of threat. Their end of fall season surprise is intriguing for the possibilities and well done but involved a figure I didn't particularly care about either way before hand.

It's writing quality feels like it has downgraded, some episodes fine for half an hour but run out of steam before the end, dialogue and characters not as sharp as it needs to be. Even the main relationship of Lucifer and Decker doesn't feel as strong and Lucifer veers towards annoying at one stage before recovering and they rely a bit too heavily on Ella's eccentricity. There are two or three episodes where the show does have a strong idea they run with
particularly the "what happens to Charlotte after celestial being leaves her"
and those tend to be enjoyable.

=====

Star Trek Discovery second part took the half season finale twist and ran with it well. Took an episode to set itself up but clicked well after that, they had some fun with the scenario, still love figures like Tilly and Saru, the twists were predictable but very well executed, characters developed well, very good antagonists. It all lead up to a great finale with plots and drama that shone bar one bad action scene. One regretted they hadn't used the opportunity more
no meeting captain Killy for example
and nice final twist....

Only in wasn't the finale. The last two episodes are on yet another completely different scenario, making it the third in one season. With two episodes, there was no way this scenario was going to get explored in time and I would rather have had two more episodes in scenario two that had taken up most of this half season. Penultimate episode dragged as it adjusted to the new scenario, finale had nice nods and a fun finale but struggled with the finale stuff with some poor logic and questionable handling of some of the characters. They do however manage to intrigue for next season

-Poor Culber, the mourning but addled Stratmets worked well for that then scene in the network

-Tilly looks good in mirror universe uniform and they had fun with her counterpart contrast without bringing Killy in

-They handled the Tyler is Voq thing well, most had worked it out but still effective and it caused tensions/damage for everyone. The scene in mess where Tilly goes to greet him and then others come to say hello was sweet

-No surprise at Emperor Georgiou but she was a highly effective figure due to contrast, a good performance and connections with Burnham and Lorca. Love the moment Burnham tells the truth so the Emperor murders all her council

-Burnham on a Terran ship didn't work when came down to contrasts with Discovery counter-parts as most of the crew are not established for that to work. General attitudes and Saru's humiliating position did work well

-Why the heck wasn't Saru given captaincy? He grew into the role and gave a very good Trekkie/Saru speech to the crew before they attack the Terran ship

-Lorca twist wasn't a surprise but again well delivered, Lorca bounced off those around him well, sparking off the Emperor and Burnham, his plotting and leadership though final battle was clunky. Was glad his security officer was back for this, her attitude to events was fun

-Wasn't pleased at the "9 months in future and Klingon's winning" as felt like we missed a fair chunk of the war

-They have got the Amanda/Sarek balance very wrong and I suspect they have no plans to fix that even though Spok has to appear in next season given the ending

-Yay the Orions!

-I'm not sure the plan to stop the Klingon's is a good idea long term, there will surely be fall out both in Federation and Klingon lands
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:58 pm

Watched third and final Bitten which had one of the great opening scenes I have ever seen, teased for the future, tense, dramatic, very well done. Rest of first episode was not so good due to 1) Clay's distractingly awful new haircut, 2) early plotpoint is that Jeremy is worryingly evil for... doing same thing as past season where he had the characters support but now they are going "oh noes"

It was a nice season, had solid premise with enjoyable villains, likeable new figures adding to a set of characters I was fond enough of, some decent twists and turns. It all built up nicely, some moments that stood out within that, build piece by piece towards it's end though it did feel like the show slowed down and pace dragged out in some of the later episodes. Nice finale, their ending makes me question the judgement of the characters but makes sense as a goodbye to the show

Overall it has been a nice enough show, I wasn't a fan of the main romance but some nice side romances, a tendency to bring on good new figures, the family feel like Jeremy being the fatherly figure, tends to have a good villain. I'm quite happy to go onto other shows, this was not a great show by any means but we had fun
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:40 pm

Watched Seth McFarland's Star Trek tribute show The Orville. Premise: Ed Mercer (McFarland) is in a spiral when he catches his wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) having an affair. However he is finally given a shot at being a captain of his own ship in the Planetary Union, taking charge of medium ship Orville. Time for adventures across space and some surprises....

All reviews I had going into this said give three episodes before deciding and that seems fair. The 1st episode is an awful comedy that plays into some of the worst aspects of the show and sets the wrong tone. The second gives a better sense of the tone and the style of show (aka optimistic sci-fi adventure) but is a bit flat, the 3rd is a brilliant, intellectually thoughtful episode that would be a classic on Star Trek itself. However while that shows Orville at it's best, don't take that as general quality, only one or two other episodes of really high quality.

This has led to "the real Star Trek: Discovery or Orville." I found Discovery a better all round show, Orville is a paean of love towards the old shows. The costumes, the ship designs, the foes and races among other things could very much be from a (cheaper) version of Star Trek, arguably to the point where it hampers the show a little at times, a more original costume for example might work better. It is an optimistic show about reason and diplomacy over violence though Mercer is more an ordinary bloke (bar love life) then usual captains, it mixes each episode is a different adventure with some long running character strands. It also has a fair few major celeb camero's in the early episodes

The actual quality? It is erratic, you get some very good episodes which then be followed by meh or even poor episodes. At it's best? There are episodes where the writers have picked a theme and been very very thoughtful on it, not only that but have been brave, willing to challenge it's intended audience and those who would be its natural supporters, to leave one thoughtful. It has enjoyable one liners and it's quick jokes involving side members of cast are funny, good holodeck humour, some good adventures. It has some interesting members of the crew, Lieutenant Commander Bortus (Peter Macon) is involved in a lot of the better humour and has a fascinating story strand that sadly gets dropped during second half, Lieutenant Alara Kitan (Halston Sage) is a likeable figure whose strength and background show promise but relies somewhat on Sage's performance at the moment while her love life is a bore, the arrogant robot Issac (Mark Jackson) is no Data but some good humour as he learns about earth and good strands in second half flesh him out.

So why is it erratic? Sometimes an adventure doesn't quite fire but there fundamental issues that need work on second season. Long running jokes do not work or anything that requires a bit of build up, the humours very well with quick jokes and one liners but if allowed to indulge then it falls flat. One episode romances are fine if unremarkable but the two long term ones
GraysonxMercer and Dr Flynn (Penny Johnson Jerald)xYaphite (Norm Macdonald)
really really drag with awful humour, no chemistry and annoyance, one or two pat endings. While it has some intresting members of the helm, unfortunately it's captain and first officer hold it back...

Mercer being a fairly ordinary guy with a good heart rather then elite of the fleet is fine but he is hard to warm to and when an episode relies on him drawing you in as the lead, McFarland doesn't give a strong enough performance. There are also moments where the character can be petulant or it engages in "the captain must be the hero when it would make more sense for other members of the crew to take charge". The dynamic with Grayson brings out the worst in Mercer, lots of unfunny humour, little chemistry and a tiresome plot while we only get flickers of what Palicki is able to bring to such things.

-Well done Orville for not giving About a Girl the expected ending of Mercer's plan working, liberal values winning but having them fail, challenging the viewer "yes we know what you want, we know what we think is right but do we have the right to impose that on others?". Also great use of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

-Loved the fire from Grayson when captured by Hamelac and the moments the roof opened to show the sky to the people was lovely

-Issac learning about pranks was fun

-Enjoyed the Krill focused episode and the ending which showed Mercer's actions had made things worse, some good running gags. Lacked follow up

-Some great gags with Bortus but I loved the family side we saw from episode 3 onwards with Khlyden, the tensions over choices made, the regrets... then it gets dropped

-Majority Rule tried too hard and jammed it's points at you. Also Lamarr is a complete idiot

-Was sweet seeing Issac grow a bond with the doctor's family and his sense of duty towards protecting her children

-How is Lamarr fit to be an officer? Even in the episode about making him an officer, he showed poor leadership and in others he shows irresponsibility and awful judgement

-Person falls is not sufficient reason for Kelly to break the non-contact rules

-There really needs to be a major punishment in season 2 for someone in crew breaking admiralty orders and rules


=====

Saw second season of Trollhunters. Slow start, not helped by Toby being very annoying rather then funny, but it soon pikcks up pace. Good variety of type of episodes and storylines, some good comic moments, the bond between the cast is good again, enjoyable action scenes, good villain. Led nicely up to an enjoyable finale
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:59 am

Powered through Taboo over the past few days. My wife likes watching Tom Hardy which made it a bit easier of a sell - she is notoriously picky about TV shows for some reason. :lol:

It's an interesting show, to be sure. At first I thought the premise would be a bore, I have never been all that interested in American/British history stuff, and Taboo is neck-deep in it. It does certainly have a slow burn and takes a few episodes to pick up steam as the full scale of what the protagonist James Delaney (Hardy) is up against comes into perspective. Occasionally had problems following the political intrigues in certain spots, but I could sufficiently sink my teeth into it and enjoyed the "a-ha" moments where Delaney pulls a fast one on someone. Usually I find the "Rome"-style twists and turns too tedious, everyone betrays everyone, but felt it was done well in Taboo, in my opinion.

Acting was mostly fantastic. Well, it takes a little bit of an adjustment period to get the hang of Tom Hardy in a period piece, he doesn't sit quite right for me in the first two episodes. But once he has settled in, all of the main players are superb and sublime. Special mention to Johnathan Pryce hamming it up as head of the East India Trading Company, Stuart Strange, he was able to walk a fine line there and bring tongue-in-cheek humor to many of his scenes without outright chewing on them.

Sets and costumes were fantastic, I felt very immersed in the period.

Score kind of takes a back seat in this. I would sometimes be watching a scene, thinking there was no music at all, and then realize that something off-beat was actually there. It's better than something grating but it might have been a bit too brooding.

The one thing I have misgivings about with Taboo is the protagonist.

Tom Hardy does an excellent job, somehow, of garnering sympathy for Delaney. But when I step back and objectively look at Delaney's actions, he is as, or perhaps even more, sinister as those he opposes. There is also the matter of Delaney having a preternatural gift of foresight. Although there are times when he seems to be in danger, there are also points where he has more insight into situations than can be explained away in the universe of the show. In particular, he has a knack for knowing who has or intends to betray him or his allies, without any clear logical explanation other than he seems to practice witchcraft, or just gut instinct that he never doubts. I get that Delaney's mother was a spooky Native American woman and he apparently inherited some of her spookiness, but I felt they never fully committed to this side of Delaney, as they go back and forth between this and his dark days spent in Africa, without ever developing either aspect of his character sufficiently.

A good series overall, I'd rate it 3.75 out of 5.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:49 am

Watched second half of Electric Dreams which is only four episodes. First episode is a story one has seen many times but is still very much worth a watch as extremely well done, second and 4th episodes my sister and I split on, we agreed great premise but she was more keen on the execution then I was and loved the 4th. The 3rd episode again great premise but felt like it needed to be a two parter and they mishandled the ending.

Saw second half of The Tick which felt better then the first as it integrated support characters like Overkill and Dot better, some good partnerships form up, a bit more humour, added one or two more characters. The big villain is again not particularly good but his second in commandants more of a role and is fun, the Tick is still sweet and good natured, it built well up to the finale and set up well for any second season.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:18 pm

Watched dark comedy The End of the F***ing World based on graphic novel. Premise: James (Alex Lawther) is a teenage psychopath who wishes to kill his first human. He chooses the mouthy classmate Alyssa (Jessica Barden) who rather mistakes his intent, they agree to run away together...

I wonder if the title hinders the a show a little, the *** certainly grabs the attention but it gives you a different impression of what this show is about. The show has good humour, initially it is James that grabs the attention with his intresting perspective and the Dexter like attitude which gives time for Alyssa's softer edges to emerge and grow on you. Both character get thoroughly explored, they have a strong dynamic and the young cast do an excellent job while their story and struggles engages throughout, it goes to dark places but it earns that right and tells those moments well. Side characters like police officers (Gemma Whelan and Wunmi Mosaku) or James dad Phil (Steve Oram) get limited time but the writers make the most of it so they do shine and provide intresting figures, again with a big of comedy.

The end phase doesn't go as well as they hoped, the pacing isn't quite right and there isn't the tension it needs becuase of that, it feels like it needed another episode perhaps to just get that finale tension created but instead "oh right, this is the finale" and it slightly drags out the end moment.

Very much well worth a try, we loved it.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:32 pm

Saw second season of The Good Place. Went down a different path, had fun with the idea
the group actually in a bad place experiment
before settling down for the long term. Like the first season, plenty of humour, imaginative, twists and turns. This time they focus less on the group but on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), this tends to work well and we get more into the heads of most of the figures involved but Eleanor feels a lot less of a presence, if anything it goes backwards for awhile, and I did miss that. Did feel the end phase of season 2 would have been better spread out as a half season in itself
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