Favorite Television Shows

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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Thu May 24, 2018 4:57 am

I've started watching 2018's cdrama series Secret of the Three Kingdoms, which is available now on Dramafever (and maybe elsewhere).

It's always nice getting a new 3K era drama to watch, even if it's a "what if" story. :mrgreen:

Minor spoilers for the general premise. I'm tagging them in case you want to go in blind; these spoilers don't contain anything you don't learn in the first 30 minutes of the show or from reading the official synopsis:
It takes place in Late Han, in an alternate history where Emperor Xian is an imposter.

I'm a few episodes in and liking it so far! It has an overall tense, if not eerie atmosphere that's making me feel a bit paranoid (which can be fun :P). Several recognizable faces for a cdrama nerd like me. I'll update with my final thoughts when I finish!

Also keep in mind there's quite a bit of violence and what could probably be considered gore. Probably not a show to watch with kids.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu May 24, 2018 12:43 pm

Is it available in English, Jia Nanfeng?
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Thu May 24, 2018 4:15 pm

Sun Fin wrote:Is it available in English, Jia Nanfeng?

Yup! Every show on Dramafever has English sub options.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri May 25, 2018 12:17 pm

Interesting! I'll look into it!
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun May 27, 2018 3:51 pm

Watched final part of Lucifer season 3, part 4. Like part 3 in terms of quality rather then part 1, ran with it's themes well and a philosophical issue they had been running with quietly during the season really began to come to the fore, plots and good dynamics between Chloe/Lucifer/Pierce has the overall plot moves forward. There were one or two things that perhaps should have come into play earlier
Dan and Charlotte romance returning
then it did but generally it was doing well. Penultimate episode goes for two big twists that don't quite land, finale goes for a big big twist that does land and leaves you with a moment that makes one really really excited.

Turns out it has been cancelled. Overall? I wouldn't have been gutted going into it with a few episodes to go. It has always been a show with a few characters like Lucifer, Maize and Lopez that if writing isn't right, can be annoying so it could lead to show having bad patches. Though the good outweighed the bad, I enjoyed the Chloe/Lucifer dynamic, there were fun characters like those mentioned or the therapist, at it's best it came up with intresting questions and ideas each season about the impact of Lucifer on earth, the nature of Satan and religion. Just that there are so many good shows nowadays so a good one is no longer gutting. However the season 3 finale made it a real pain in the... delicate parts that the show got cancelled
major spoilers
Chloe finds out about Lucifer isn't crazy or a metaphor but the devil himself. I mean the change to romance, that was well done over the episodes with the Pearce thing and Lucifer's mishandling+paint even if the big kiss moment didn't quite land as it should. That was a change but not enough to go "well now I really want season 4." The devil thing, how that has to change their complicated relationship even more then the romance, has this changes Chloe towards figures like Maize, how she copes with the divine. That was something I would have loved to have seen. It risked destroying the show or taking it to greater heights and I would have loved to have seen it.


======

Watched first season of Spanish crime drama Money Heist. Premise: Bankrobber (Úrsula Corberó) is on the run when she is picked up by a man she would call the Professor (Álvaro Morte) who hires her for his own bank robbery. The greatest robbery in history: robbing the European Union Mint

Went with the original cast voices who where excellent but the English subtitles deteriorated near the end of season, not cripplingly so but what seems like silly little errors.

As a crime show, it is excellent. The heist is planned down to the finest detail, it doesn't rely on errors or dues ex machina but a extremely well thought out plan, carried out by skilled people and an understanding of human nature. The police, led by Raquel (Itziar Ituño), and the hostages, like bank manager Arturo (Enrique Arce) have plans of their own of course, sometimes they put the robbers on the back foot or undermine their plans, sometimes the robbers are playing them brilliantly. It is fun watching sides trying to get the better of each other, each with well thought out plans or trying to seize a moment that comes their way, the other scrambling to react, with each point feeling well plotted. When mistakes are made, it is within character that they make it and with good reasons rather then ever feeling like a "we need to get to here, need character to do something stupid to make it happen". The dynamics between individual characters and groups are well done and play their part in how things unfold.

Of course a crime alone is not enough for 9 episodes and it delves into characters. While the robbers go by code names, only one of the team (deliberately it feels) is not properly developed, some like Tokyo really built early on and others getting built up later. They use a mixture of the heist and flashbacks (that always feel relevant) to the preparation to flesh a character out, you learn why were hired for this job, little bits about their past, they build dynamics with rest of the group. My favourites from the robbers were the professor, the unsettling group leader Berlin (Pedro Alonso) and the flamboyant Narobi (Alba Flores).

The police is focused around Raquel who makes a worthy foe and an intresting human, those around her are supporting characters but they make an impact and the police have their own dynamics. The are plenty of hostages so was always going to be focused on only a few, they settle on the leaders of the bank early and they are good characters but it does feel like they had initial plans for one or two specific characters outside said management then changed their minds. Then very late in the day started bringing forward others who show promise but they need more time.

Looking forward to season 2

=====

Season 2, part 2 of Riverdale was flawed to the point where the flaws were hampering what it can do well and a poor finale. The writers at least recognized some figures like Kevin had been sidelined and brought him back (after a big show of it) into things better, there were good strands like Jughead's (even if his self righteousness hotheadedness once or twice was annoying), Betty's was good with some intresting dynamics even if it ended weakly, Cheryl was Cheryl though her strands were very very badly served by not getting proper time. Is a pity becuase the characters involved could have made for something really intresting. There was rather good sense of the town moments, musical episode was disappointing though credit for going for a lesser known one but next time, don't just "which role sounds just like the character anyway", it isn't inventive, means some singers were ill-suited to a song and a character forced to play against type would help.

The big big strand was the Lodge's and it was the weakest point. There could be good moments but it was sometimes unoriginal, it weakened Veronica's mother considerably, Archie's character became "does whatever the plot requires him through acts of idiocy" which makes him extremely inconsistent, Veronica would go down a path then abruptly stop following it for less then convincing reasons. The mystery wasn't intresting, there wasn't an atmosphere, a certain side of it
mafia
felt silly rather then set a good tone, daddy Lodge wasn't intresting. Finale felt odd as either they wrote that before rest of the season or the writers basically know season 2 went wrong as characters very much felt like season 1 figures rather then the ones we had been watching for 22 episodes.

-Looking forward to Polly's cult coming into play. Chic worked as an antagonist, they built the sense something was wrong, he was good for sinister looks, a bit of flirting with Kevin, for causing trouble but it really got going when Bettie went dark to counter him (without taking her clothes off or wearing that stupid wig) and his (possible) death scene was very good, Mrs Cooper had some good lines and is a formidable force. Hal as Black Hood? Lacked a surprise element but it also wasn't handled effectively, one or two lines from Alice aside, Hal had been off to the side for too long and while one can see the basic idea they were going for, the final scenes when he comes out to family lack omph.

-Cheryl's reaction to her mother's new career was fun and led to some sparky rows, plus understandable hurt, and the Blossom family cutdowns is always fun. The start of the evil uncle things due to that sense of flair but then they don't build on it properly while it is hard to see Penelope quite going that far (then she later tries to save Cheryl which wouldn't exactly line up with that). TonixCheryl isn't bad but it is badly rushed and feels forced

-Fair play to show for having Toni, Archie (when he joins the school) and Jughead's father call him on his tendency to get so self righteous and narrow visioned that it creates problems. While Jughead improved on that front, why on earth would anyone make him Serpent King now, he still has so much to learn and he struggles to get the group behind him at best of time.

-It was great when Mrs Lodge was behind the FBI ploy, not so great when she became so pliant the rest of the season. They may have meant to do something intresting on how even an intelligent woman can be controlled and manipulated by a bad spouse but they failed, it more felt like they neutered her character

-The Hills have Eyes was the sort of thing I wish there was more of, a focus on the friendships and the dynamics including enjoyable tension

-Musical episode: death of Midge was well done as was Cherly's... bloody Carrie tribute. The forgiveness between the foursome was rushed, there was a potentially intresting and thoughtful storyline with Chuck Clayton but that would require them giving him more then an episode

-There needs to be a ban on show using the phrase "make my bones"


=====

Finished 4 season of Jane the Virgin which feels like it has lost a bit of spark. Till quite last on, it didn't feel it was tackling issues in way it used to though late on it does some issues well, writing doesn't feel quite as sharp and the characters not quite developing in the same way. The recasting of Mateo happened for good reasons but it hasn't worked in the show's favour, Petra feels a completely different character by the second half and a far less intresting one, even would go as far as weaker as a person.

This isn't to say the show is bad, just less fun. There is still humour, fantasy, they tackle issues well in the end phases, romance, Rogelio has some excellent moments with his mixture of charismatic flamboyance and his sweet gentleness, River Fields is a nice addition to the cast, finale was good. Got one last season coming and that feels about right, go out while show is good before they lose their touch but please bring back the old Petra.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:04 pm

Watched latest DC/CW superhero show (on Netflix here rather then Sky): Black Lightening. Premise: In the city of Freedland, there are racial tensions, drugs, distrust of police and gangs plaguing the lives of everyone. A beacon is Garfield High run by former Olympian and local Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), unknown to the community he used to be a local superhero called Black Lightening. When gang kidnaps his children, Black Lightening comes out of retirement....

With 4 shows already, what does this bring? Arguably the best of the DC shows this season (though I enjoyed it's first half more then second), it is different from the others. This is, to be frank, the black DC show, the other shows aren't bad on diverse casting (bar Arrow in early days but has moved to change) but this is the only one where the lead is black. It centres on their expirence in a poor black district, it is the one DC superhero show that really beds down into the community and where the civilian job actually really comes, it tackles racism, profiling, distrust of authority. The other superheroes tends to be young figures with parents and siblings who are starting their superhero careers, this is a retired superhero with children and an ex-wife which provides a fresh angle. It is also 13 episodes long which means less filler episodes though it did feel like, at the finale, it could have done with two more episodes as they resorted to an exposition dump and one character's motives ended up rushed change.

First episode I was worried there was a little too much similarity with Luke Cage (bar awful music vs Cage's awesome music) but I really enjoyed the first half. Pearce interactions with the community, the family dynamics, the activism within the show was subtly done and well earned, use of news and high-school for looks at Freedland community, likeable and intresting characters, Pearce as an inspiring headmaster works for the most part. The superhero stuff is, as expected with good actions and costumes, at it's best when connected to all of this. The only thing I didn't like was Gambi, the behind the scenes type figure all superheroes in DC TV have, with James Remar not quite clicking.

Second half moved more towards a wider mystery/threat and that was of less interest to me. It wasn't bad but I preferred community focused first half as more intresting, more characters, a sense of society, second half's best bits reflected those. It's villains were a mix, the small fry had potential to be fascinating but the two big beasts didn't click, one can see what they were trying with both
particularly with rappper's Marvin 'Krondon' Jones III performance as Tobias
but the performances didn't quite click, characters were not intresting while it's handling of racism involving it's big bads felt clumsy and on the nose at best.

season spoilers
-I like Anissa (Nafessa Williams) being so passionate with a youthful zeal with parents just needing to pull her in a bit at times, her youthful joy at powers and working them out with the father as the voice of one who had seen it before, the subverting the superhero protecting love one trope though her girlfriend stuff was poor. Jennifer (China Anne McClain) is fun but I wish it wasn't so clear the show disagrees with her dislike of her powers and wishing to stay out. Her involvement in finale felt rushed given her past objections, loved the scene where she told the parents her plans to have sex and their... mixed reactions. Thought they got the balance right with Lynn (Christine Adams), her love as a parent and a wife but also her deep and understandable concerns about powers and the impact they have on those she loves

-Lawanda White pointed out the issue with nepotism from even the most well meaning figures, the execution of Will, the high school president being stopped for being black, the march, the fight to save Bernard from board and drugs, albino racism, police shooting black kids and yet white civilians can shoot blacks, the news when Pierce was arrested, the arguments between Jefferson and his children about activism. Plus many others, skilfully done reflections and lessons of our time

-Lala (William Catlett) is a fun name, works as a baddie as a ruthless gangster then one puzzled and haunted when resurrected, excellent scene in finale when made clear what is happening to him. Lady Eve (Jill Scott) had a lot of charisma and personality, I was excited when it seemed like she might be the big bad, Kara as the ASA spy didn't work as we didn't get enough time with her, her boss Martin was tiresome cliche. Khalil has good powers and shows promise but went missing for too long midway through, Syonide does good action scenes and flickers but rarely speaks which doesn't help develop her as more then sidekick.

-I liked that Inspector Henderson wasn't portrayed as foolish for having issues with viglinaties and trying to uphold the law by police measures

-Loved the scene with Jefferson and his father
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:24 pm

Watched the two worst DC shows of the season with both suffering from too much bloat.

The Flash wasn't bad but it was erratic, overall I would say it was alright. At it's best where some key dynamics like Ralph and Barry, when it concentrated on it's main villains who had some of the best episodes, one or two good twist, a few episodes that took a good idea and ran with it well. The early episodes were pretty good due to Barry's stand had some excellent stuff even if the main adventure wasn't always strong and some fun figures. After that, it hit a rough patch, villain of the week stuff tended to be average or poor even when wrapped into overall story though an episode here and there worked well. Then two strong "one off idea episodes" before back to rough, then back to build up well focusing on the big bad who were very intresting to watch with the dynamics but lost momentum in last two penultimate episodes and a finale that was far too predictable and lacked a sense of oomph.

It had a big running mystery
who is that young lady
where the twist was easy enough to guess, it had a large cast but with many of them sidelined with some ineffective storylines. Catalin in particular suffered from this, she spent vast majority on sidelines with the little snippets feeling frustrating as to where this had come from and show don't tell would be nice, then later on get a big storyline that fell flat. There was a sense that in trying to rebalance after complaints of last season being too dark, too often they went too light, Ralph's character varied week by week (one week learning to be a hero, next week rather less heroic, one week learning to be a hero...) though he had some strong moments

-Barry in jail was good but short lived (as Barry can never be allowed not to be the main hero for more then five seconds). Goodness allowing other figures to step forward would probably end the world, Iris, Wally and Ralph would never benefit from.... Bill Goldberg did well as a long serving prisoner and made his moments count so when he left after two episodes it was moving then it should have been, Ralph was helped by chance to be the lead

-The Trickser's mother was a neat idea that didn't quite land. Defoe sucking up some of the villain's meant some potential future ones were ended quickly but it did have potential in allowing a different figure and dynamics with the main villains. Alas I don't think it ever quite worked and I wish Hazard had been allowed to live, ditto Izzy as seemed more intresting then when the thinker (though Ralph strong connection felt fake given she had one episode).

The "constant change of cast as Defoe" was helped in that the Thinker/Mechanic moments were often an odd five minutes here or there but they were powerful moments like how Thinker was drugging his wife then the groundhog day where she keeps discovering this, the pain for her when Ralph morphs into her husband for trial, the delight when he can return to his old form (also delight for us as Neil Sandilands was the best of the Thinker cast members), the increasing coldness and separation between the two. Marlize also makes a good swordswoman and loved when she broke free after we got the flashbacks into their past, their grand romance (might have helped earlier then only a few episodes before the finale)

-I was amused by Cecile's powers and she linked up well with Harry. Harry struggling with meeting his intellectual match was a great idea they didn't quite exploit and ditto his addiction. Good touch his flashbacks to Grood prison, boo council of Welles, the addiction reveal was well done but the decline in his powers felt very erratic, too much comedy and being done better elsewhere. There was good tragic moments, the returning him but not to full power might have been intresting if it wasn't so "oh here is a gizmo." I won't miss this Welles, never warmed to him and would quite like Marlize to fill his role instead

-They show Iris could be a leader but never quite commit to that, maybe also needs to drum it into Barry's head he isn't the sole source of wisdom and concentrate a bit more on the journalism side so it doesn't feel like "ignore it till we need it for plot purposes". The crowdsourcing for information having no negative consequences at all felt cheap

-I wish they had gone for a serious look at a breacher ageing and losing powers rather then Cisco comedy, Gypsy's goodbye didn't work for me, was a fun character though

-Good Ralph death scene against Defoe, though not hard to guess it was coming, and his feelings with family even if kill/no kill is a bit tired

-Remember when Catalin and Killer Frost had a complicated relationship? No more, now they are almost friends :roll: Killer Frost vanishing having a negative impact makes sense but they really handled it badly

-Was nice to see Snart again, some fun comedy, bringing in Laurel didn't work as she didn't get much time. Amunet remains a Sackhoff is fun but wasted, nice to see Diggle

-Honey, I Shrunk Team Flash was a fun idea while it mixed well with sadness, clever boss fight idea and the jail elements. The Flash Time worked, it brought Jesse for some good stuff with her father, Jay's ageing is something I would love to see explored (or at least a proper goodbye), tension as to how they fix the problem, the toll this took on Barry. Run Iris Run nicely subverted things (though plot was predictable) but I would have liked it to last a few episodes to explore how it changes Barry losing powers. Think Fast hhad a great into but then went and did other things rather then build on that


=====

Arrow changing it's show runner since suggests they know this went wrong. They had a lot of idea's, most of them good if the writers and show runners had decided to focus on a few but instead it seemed to try to fit in every idea they had (including recycling old ones) and every character that has ever been, they had about or four major factions fighting for screen time. This meant ideas had no chance to build momentum as they squeezed each out for space and then likely dropped for another idea or for a character to make a completely unnecessary return while one seemingly "going to be key" figure from first half
Agent Watson
vanishes till very late on even when it is clear the character should have been involved.

The show did actually pick up late on, it concentrated on it's baddies for an episode or two, it stripped back on team hero and that allowed it to focus, to keep the storylines limited. Those were like the old days, intresting, focused, learning about the figures involved. Then it wandered off onto lack of focus, good penultimate episode and a decent finale. Something the show should take a lesson on is Black Lightning's sense of the city and the populace, it has been odd Ollie being Mayor and city being under threat so many time yet one feels so little sense of the city. Also a feeling two of the leads are allowed to get with things by the show and it isn't honest about some of their less legal activities.

The baddies had a big twist that must have felt like a really good idea on paper but it harmed the show badly
Cayden James not the baddie, guy we had barely knew was
, they struggled to readjust and make us care/fear about team evil till very late on, partly becuase they put no effort in building up the figures involved till the end phase, while one baddie's motives seemed to jump about six times an episode which was frustrating. As ever though, the action scenes are well done.


-I liked that they kept the team splitting and that the old guard were really high-handed with the new guys who split over it. I preferred most of the scenes with the new team to be honest, they were more of a cohesive whole (partly as Dinah is leader but not the big shot in way Oliver always has been) and fresh, I felt "one of them has a child" I prefer Renne/Curtis then Ollie and Felicity dealing with William (though that was fine, so would happily see the old guard fade out to give these a run out. Problem was having team Oliver, team Dinah and team villain... way too much, also needed to do better at calling out their heroes actions, Curtis is a nice chap but does feel very much the 6th wheel.

-Cayden's team never really worked though Vigilante had some nice chemistry with Dinah and his death was effective (not so much he died but the way the plot unfolded and impacted others), Antoli was always fun but got more time later, Dragon wasn't in it at all, Black Siren had some great scenes with her father. Cayden did have a nice death scene at least having not clicked as a villain

As team dragon, being down to three baddies helped. Dragon spent most of it not getting built up, a few effective action scenes aside, then they built on him and those episodes were focused and intresting. Laurel had her moments like her public return but the constant "team arrow, no team dragon, no team Oliver" was frustrating to say the least and led to no character consistency, her final turn against Dragon for being a bit brutal didn't make much sense. Anotli was... well himself, charming, ruthless, amusing and his playing both sides worked far better as felt within character,, bounced very well off Oliver. Quadrant was ridiculously used, how exactly does such a major criminal group fall so easily and quickly? Interesting move keeping Diaz alive, usually one season and dead (or dead and brought back to life for Legends) while I thought Kirk Acevedo did a good job.

-Goodbye: Goodbye Thea and goodbye Quinton. Was right time for both, I just wish Thea had been given a better ending scene (though episode was fun)! Thea was a fun character in the early seasons, lots of relations like Tommy, her family and then a good romance with Rory, she had a sense of humour. When they moved from club and she stopped being a superhero/heavily involved with league of assassins, they struggled to find roles for her, mayoral chief of staff could have been a chance but they have never been properly interested in that side of things. Since they don't have a fitting role for her, best to cut

Quinton got a good, but one knew it was coming, death scene to say goodbye and glad they got Sarah back for it. Provided a good antagonist in the early years, extremely well connected so a fairly central figure, providing the main cop in the complex "what to do about the vigilante", a man troubled by addictions, a man whose relations developed and changed. However as the police became less important, one daughter left for Legends, he got a grip on his troubles and Laurel popped in and out, he got more and more to the side. Like Thea, mayoral position was probably meant to salvage but it didn't. His fatherly advice for likes of Renee, Laurel, Thea and others made him useful side character, he had a sense of humour and was a likeable figure. Like Thea, I will miss him but can't object to the cut

-In better, more cohesive and less over packed seasons, I would have welcomed the cameo's of Roy Harper and Nyssa. It was nice seeing Roy (though frankly he was very side character in his two episodes) and a much underused Thea but the idea of Roy returning permanently next season seems a bad idea, particularly if Thea isn't coming back. He was a good ally but the character he is most strongly connected with won't be there, Arrow needs to move forward and cut down rather then bring figures back. Nyssa's sense of humour as she needled Felticy was fun and I would always welcome her cameo's. Adrian worked extremely well for a good vertigo episode as it really helped explore Oliver's mind

-Diggle's anger over being demoted from the Arrow was a really good idea that was damaged by a lack of time. They started building up, dropped it then brought it back one episode before the big disagreement. The majority of the big argument was a good, in character, fairly logical blazing row and without Oliver being automatically right then the punch up as emotions went out of control. I like Lyla and always wish she was in a bit more so bringing Diggle into Argus helped with that

-Court episode was one with some really good moments like when certain figures went to the stand, Rene's troubles, Oliver preparing for defeat, the return of Chase but lack of build up, trying to avoid the issue that Oliver is guilty, that they needed a dues ex machina to save itself the effective murder of the judge by our heroes meant it was not a good episode.

-Oliver's mayoral carer has been badly wasted by the Arrow, never felt they really committed to it and how it could impact him, how he could shape the city bar the odd flashes. Hopefully they don't waste his prison time but not the first and the constant mess up of "Oliver is revealed as the Green Arrow" means I have little faith this will stick or be done effectively.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby ArnoldRos » Mon Jul 09, 2018 1:13 pm

I love superhero movies but I can't get into any of the superhero shows for the life of me. I don't know why. What I did love this year was Lost in Space and Altered Carbon. Both fantastic shows for different reasons and worth checking out imo.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:11 pm

ArnoldRos wrote:I love superhero movies but I can't get into any of the superhero shows for the life of me. I don't know why. What I did love this year was Lost in Space and Altered Carbon. Both fantastic shows for different reasons and worth checking out imo.


Hello ArnoldRos, welcome to forum.

Nothing wrong with not being able to get into the superhero shows, they are different and they require a lot of time. I did try Lost in Space and I loved the potential of it but too much of didn't work for me, I have heard good things about Altered Carbon
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