Favorite Television Shows

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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:24 am

I've finished all three seasons of The Musketeers. I understand where Dong was coming from:
in that any musketeer seemed to be worth any 100 other men which takes away the sense of threat. Also their commitment to equality, not fitting in with their initial playboy soldier billing.


In addition I thought quite a lot of plots of episodes in the 3rd season were really absurd. I did like Matthew McNulty and Rupert Everet's as villains but I thought the series missed out by giving Milady de Winter a smaller role. i would encourage you to go back and watch the last two episodes though Dong, I thought they were probably the best of the season.

Next for me is Ripper Street.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:12 am

Thanks Sun Fin but it has been so long, I'm not sure I can bring myself to watch the end. Glad you enjoyed it though
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Equinox » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:07 pm

I haven't seen any love for How to Get Away With Murder yet, so here goes. The story centers around lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating (the incredible Viola Davis), whose machinations draw her students into an intricate and well-crafted plot involving sex, deception, immorality, and of course murder. It is told in a series of flashbacks in a shuffled, out of order style, which requires some investment to follow completely. It's a fantastic binge-watch, with some amazing performances and excellent twists and turns.

Summarizing the show truly would not do it justice, but I will say that the acting is top notch. Those of you who only know Viola Davis from her small roles in movies like Suicide Squad will get a chance to see her in rare form, playing a role as varied and nuanced as any on TV now. In spite of some implausible plot points and some dramatic convenience, overall the storyline is strong, with the emotional spectrum swinging wildly from humor and playfulness to desperation and palpable danger. Characters often feel like they are barely staying afloat as the real consequences of their actions from earlier in the show come back to haunt them.

So if you're a fan of legal thrillers, shows with a strong female lead, or just good dramas and are looking for something different, I definitely recommend this one!
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:53 am

I have heard good things about How to Get Away with Murder.

Watched second season of Bitten which manages to tie up any loose ends from first season and move onto their plans for second season well. For the most part the season is better, general quality is up, they have a good overarching story, a good big baddie, nice new characters (though some figures I miss from first season), very tense and exiting penultimate episode (though finale was a bit flat), the new factors it brought into the world were enjoyable.

It was a more consistent show yet there was a price in that characters are not so well developed in terms of relations, the main romance is relying somewhat on last season to work, one set of characters are meant to be a family but one would never tell if they didn't constantly tell you becuase they don't develop that side of things.

=====

First half of season 3 of Jane the Virgin which we hadn't realized had turned up on Netflix. Quickly got back into the rhythm of things, the sense of fun, of romance, of embracing the deliberate silliness's, enjoyed the humour, new characters. Have mainly fixed the "too focused around Jane" issue while keeping balance of roster when it comes to main characters (very side characters can get shafted), very enjoyable twists, enjoyed new additions like Catalina (Sofia Pernas), goes at a quick pace. They had a very big decision with one of the show's fundamental aspects and got it right
Jane being a virgin vs Jane being married. They did one delaying tactic which was good for drama but then allowed it to happen, making good jokes about it and changing title card to whatever has happened
Very good half-season finale that carries punch.

On the negative, Petra's story is intresting but needed more time to be fully fleshed out, the dressing up characters in ye olde garb doesn't work particularly for Jane and while I love finale, there was a decision I didn't like
time jump. When Rafael is about to face going to prison, Jane has lost her husband, Roglio and Xo have made major breakthrough in relationship, Petra has bonded with children (annoying as hell they never explained how), Rafael sister brings killer girlfriend. So let's jump 6 years rather then explore all that
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:51 pm

Saw last half of second 3 of Fear the Walking Dead which had a great revival due to Ranch last time but this time? Some glorious episodes and some boring ones. TV network should be worried that sites are now only reviewing first and last episodes, that there isn't a sense of must watch anymore but "it's on? Not sure I want to watch it" from others.

It started badly with a sense of "rewriting what happened in past to suit our current plans" (again) with one awesome character badly neutered and left us deeply worried at direction going in was going to waste some things that had been so good. Then it splits into two strands, team awesome and team sucks
who
Madison and the older cast then team Madison's kids plus Ophelia and neutered Troy
, concentrating on awesome team first. Those episodes were a lot of fun, the cast were very good, it had the stronger characters new and old, it touched on different aspects of the walking dead world, enjoyable scenes between characters and exploring a character or two.

Then it switched to team sucks and the episodes fell flat, some little moments but often drifting. They tried to build up suspense and action but it fell flat, the characters were not engaging or intresting, big moments didn't work, the "rewriting the past" issue happened as did the "show favours these characters so other character will be stupid/irresponsible in the extreme"
right, you need to kill some people to save others and you leave it to young Alicia. No adult or elder steps up
, neutering not helping. There were some good ideas
the Alicia trapped with air running out, Alicia unable to answer Jake when he questions her motives
but it never quite clicked.

It begins to transition towards the finale with some promising moments, then sadly drops them or ensures the potential is rushed through
Alicia alliance with Diana (Edwina Findley Dickerson) had really clicked is dropped, the dam itself now wasted
in the double season finale while it brought in some things rather late in the day. For all my complaints about their timing of idea's, it was an awesome double finale and even some of the figures who can struggle shone, an enjoyable baddie, twists and action, good use of characters, was really engaged.

There is one pattern people are picking up on that the show needs to be wary of
That anyone not on team boat will 99.9% likely be dead at end of season. Strictly speaking two of the Native Americans have survived but Tory is dead, Jake is dead, the only members of the team still around were on the boat. They have been killing of members of the boat but there are some absurd survivals as well
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Equinox » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:19 pm

I've watched Aziz Ansari's show Master of None on Netflix, and it's delightful. It's thoughtful, culturally informed, and of course really funny. I'd imagine fans of Richard Linklater movies and other dialogue-driven fiction would really enjoy this one. It has so many astute and accurate observations on things like romance, fulfillment, friendship and adventure, and I feel like I can appreciate it so much this point of my life. Without giving too much away, Aziz plays Dev, a struggling actor who is constantly cast in "Token Brown Guy" roles, while living in New York and trying to make ends meet, fall in love, and figure out the rest of his life. There are some really great side characters, including Aziz's real parents, who flesh out this really entertaining show.

If you're looking for something fun with a lot of heart, give it a watch!
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Kong Wen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:59 pm

Mrs. Kong and I finished up the third season of Narcos over the weekend, and it was pretty good. I was impressed with how they managed to make it compelling despite not having Boyd in it this year, and not being about Escobar. They managed to maintain the drama, though. Pedro Pascal does great work in it this season.
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:43 pm

Watched Amazon and channel 4 adaptation of Electric Dreams, Philip K. Dick's short stories. From what I gather, it is more take an idea from a story and run with it, each episode has different tale with different, good cast and not connected to each other. Black Mirror is the easy comparison.

Bar possibly the last episode, there wasn't an episode I disliked (nearly the last one though) but I did find a fair few episodes would take half the episode till they really began to click but yet by end of episode would want to see a sequel to that episode. Interesting themes that sometimes were only tantalisingly explored and sometimes well explored, good characters and cast, some twists were easy guessable but tales were intresting despite that. Worth a watch if you like something to make you think.

====

Watched first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine which uses O'Brien and alien races from Next Generation and had some great ideas on how to differ from it's sister show. Living in a stationary ship rather then a starship, on the very border of Federation which offers it's own possibilities, wormhole allows for exploration and the unknown episodes. Cardissan's were a highlight of next generation and could make a strong threat while the Bajorians coming out of occupation with some deep scars offers real potential, having a Ferenghi and Trill offers a chance to build up their species. Unfortunately they also decide having kid characters is a good idea...

At the moment it isn't fulfilling that potential though it got stronger near end of season, too many episodes just felt a bit underwhelming. A tendency to not quite land the themes, sometimes bringing up the best theme too late in the episode
like having to uphold a legend's reputation even though the legend is false
, sometimes starting with a good one
religion and schooling
then diverting onto something more dramatic but less intresting in terms of thoughtful exploration of an idea. I'm not quite sure other then that why so many episodes haven't quite had enough over the 45 minutes but as I said it did get better as it went on. They slightly lean too much on characters from other shows popping up for an episode but there was one I loved
Diana, particurly how she connected with Odo and the very humanity behind her behaviour


Most of the characters so far are fine be it Sisko or Dak but I don't particularly warm to them. At times Bashir can be a tad creepy with his pursuit of Dax or just very childish, I like the fire we sometimes get from Kira but the two stand outs are security chief Odo and the trader Quark. They work as a pairing with two very different views of life, rivals but yet there is a strong bond between them and when an episode focuses on them as individuals, they provide good characters and can hold the episode together.

Will watch the next seasons certainly but about to start Star Trek discovery and Punisher so leave till then.

====

Watched Gotham: The Mad City aka season 3 part 1. The UK had been unable to watch the show becuase channel 5 had the rights and then never got round to showing it even when USA were watching season 4. Netflix had the wailing and suffering of the masses of this benighted isle (ok, a loyal few) and released it themselves. Generations in the future, alongside Trump and Brexit, will wonder how it came to be that the board of channel 5 were not sent to the Tower for treason and the head of Netflix in UK didn't become our God-King. Joking aside, was not very nice of channel 5 to keep hold of rights and not show it, at some point they really should have realized they had no real intention of showing it and not given us such a long long gap between seasons.

Gotham always starts slowly as it struggles to get all it's pieces firing but even by Gotham standards, it starts badly. The baddies click very early and provide a lot of entertainment but the two hero teams: James Gordon/police and team Bruce, they struggle and that tends to mean half the episode drags. Bruce's storyline soon finds it's rhythm but despite good performances, it takes the police stuff longer to get going.

The show still has it's humour, the tendency for things going at way too quick a pace as it jumps through storylines and characters. It made a major change to one character that worked well once they focused on it, some nice romances and really strong chemistry between two potential males for a romance, Barbara has tended to be fun but they got the balance right with her this time and integrated her well, it went with a "building up a season long villain" which has it's moments but at moment feels too detached
Court of Owls, really shines when with Falcone
and a very entertaining half-season baddie
Jervis Tetch (Benedict Samuel)
who has charisma, intelligence, flair, strong performance, nice backstory and is just plain fun. Finale not quite at it partly becuase it involved Gordon+the police and the poor logic that has plagued that strand of the show.

The good guys:

Cops strand: Whenever the show has asked Gordon to carry the show by his lonesome, it has never worked for me and that was part of the problem early on as Gordon was very much the sole point-man, repeating the mistakes of the past as a character. Vale (Jamie Chung) was a nice enough addition, the cops were not integrated into the early stuff with Bullock feeling sidelined. Trying to go over some of season 2 again in initial stages wasn't a great idea and it certainly helped when 1) they moved onto baddie whose backstory then flairfilled, evil with fun situations kept the flagging strand alive, 2) Gordon and the cops began to be drawn together. Once Gordon was among friends, he had figures to bounce off (and repeat the same bloody mistakes) which helped lift the section considerably as did when the baddie comes into there sphere and Bullock starts to click near end. The more integrated things got, the better. They have been able to give Lucius more of a role but he remains very much a side figure at the moment but big problem that damaged a potentially great storyline
Barnes going insane due to blood
and the finale is that characters will do things out of character and logic go out of the window so wider story can go from point A to point B

-Could they not have done Barnes with a better storyline? The noble, inspiring horror corrupted by the blood could have been so much better but out of character stuff, poor logic wrecked it though did like it pointing out Jiim's own past.

-Vale didn't quite click with Jim at times but her dumping Jim scene was good, some good battle of wits with her.

-With Lee there was a good scene early on as Jim peers through the window and as show goes on there are good scenes between them, I liked his confession scene by itself at wedding but with context was utterly stupid, her return had a slow start. Mario is decent enough but didn't really warm to him before he went insane, I kind wished she was dating Falcone who always hits his scenes out of the park and great when with court of owls

-Alice was nice and Tetch's feelings for her were creepy in the good way. Liked Tetch "choose between them" and fall out from that or his first attempt to kill Jim

-The finale logic. Jim so easy to manipulate and his (and others) decisions near the end were utterly stupid, who allows Jim to go there without backup/witnesses given the bloody context?

-Acid trip through Jim's head wasn't intresting though Barbara livened it up


Bruce strand: It isn't that the Bruce strand at the start is bad, it has some enjoyable moments and potential twists, but given the straight laced nature of Bruce and the tendency to mope, it tends to not be as fun when things are centred around him. It is also the strand that gets most with the long-term baddies and that tends not to thrill, there is something a bit distant about it so far. Team Bruce gets stronger as he mixes with Alfred and particularly Selina with a good dynamic between the two, feels like the two characters and cast have come a long way since the early days. The much neglected Ivy is given an overhaul
turned into adult with Maggie Geha cast
, set up for that change is bad, she vanishes for awhile but when she comes back in, mixing well with the team and the show having fun with the changes

Their Ivy works by having a child inside a woman's body with the childishness and sense of fun that comes with it. I can see it is far from the traditional version but it works with Gotham given she is a child changed whereas traditionally it is an adult transformed so the intelligence isn't there yet

-BrucexSelina is sweet

-Clone was fine and Alfred had a bit of fun with that


Team evil:

Oswald strand: Oswald has tended to be one of the best characters in Gotham due to his links to so many characters that he can pop in and out of and is an intresting in himself. They pick a good strand for him to run with
runs for mayor
though the set up is too quick, they also keep his underground connections and manage to bring in Nygma (the way they get him back into the game is hilarious), Nygma and Oswald have possibly the best dynamic on the show. Lots of twists and turns though my sister and I are not the only ones who question if another route might have been even better

-Isabella (and Oswald constantly getting the name wrong) was fun but it really does need for her to be more then a convenient fluke doppelgänger and some sort of ploy.

-The homosexual tension between Nygma and Oswald was fantastic and as fun as the Isabella+Nygma hunt+possible future revenge has and may well be, I do regret they didn't create a great tragic homosexual romance between the two. Their scenes together are awesome and seeing Oswald so utterly in love is sweet

#Nygmobblepot

-Nice scenes between Fish and Owsald before she vanished, Strange less well used

-Wish Oswald's election camapign hadn't been such a short strand, was a nice battle between him and James

-The way Butch's betrayal events unfolded was predictable but had some good character exchanges


Barbara strand: Barbara is a lot of fun, they keep the crazy in check and remember she is an intelligent figure and use that, she bounces off well with others and they ensure she is in a position where she and her team can pop up in other storylines to good, humours effect.

The Tabitha-Butch hand moment was sweet, thought it would end in heartbreak as she sacrificed him for her hand but Butch being ok with that and loving her still was touching. His attempts early onto get back with her and the reaction of everyone else was fun

-The club was a good way to help introduce Tetch abilities and they had fun with what careless use of powers on Barbara
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:11 pm

Gotham had a 3 episode winter section, only come across this sort of daftness once and that was Lucifer. First episode suffers from their "getting back into the rythem", they very quickly decided to end two stories that had started with finale
Selina's Mother (though Bruce comments about why he didn't warn Selina was played for great amusement) plus Falcone hunting Jim (though as entertaining as Zzaz attempts were, it rather undermined sense of competence)
and ran with two main themes (one the winter big bad, other Copplepot). Both worked well, twists, turns, amusement and action leading up to finale were one worked really well and Copplepot's one didn't quite fire though the ideas were mostly good.

-Jerome didn't click without face and feels like actor is still feeling his way back a bit but Lee and Jermone discussing what he had missed was hilarious due to Lee's attitude (sarcy Lee is funny Lee) and acknowledging the silliness of it all

-That moment Jim is on roof and sees the explosion by Jerome, that had great impact. I wish they had run with idea of Jerome bringing out purge like unrestrained for more then episode, liked that title credits reflected city in flames.

-Enjoyed the Joker fairground (which is something I have seen done in Arkham games but this felt, though smaller, better due to it being alive), every little fairground thing twisted for the purpose of murdery chaos. Bruce vs Jerome in that finale was good, Bruce brave and working out his limits (though Alfred's teachings is a tad worrying)

-Selina's mother was a waste.

-Nice to see Clayface, some nice haunting and Penguin imploding live on TV. Some good "let Penguin figure out element of plot but then Nygma uses that", Tabitha and Barbara with the gang leaders was funny. Finale didn't quite click and clear Oswald will return but some good ideas about the meaning of love and if Oswald is capable of it, the acid trap was just stupid

-I like that Jokers gang is forming, that Dwight was capable but lacked Jerome's sparkle and that they went with Joker's face issue. Cameron Monaghan does sometimes feel like he is feeling way back but when he clicks, he really lights up the scene
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Re: Favorite Television Shows

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:22 pm

Jane the Virgin season 3 went along well, it made major timejump but it pulled it off. The child is sweet without being inhumanly so, some nice romances, the usual plots and twists, willingness to be silly, dynamics had changed over the time jump and that was well handled including glimpses as to why relations changed. They went with an intresting idea
Jane showing sexual attitudes more often seen on a male in films but it is hit and miss at their handling of the male love intresting in this, eventually going for making him the bad
they messed up near end, nice finale.

Things to work on? Near end of season, it dropped some of the romances it was going with and it left little time for the new ones to quite have the impact the writers must have hoped. While main cast were well covered, it had a bit of a habit of running with certain side characters for a few episodes then they vanish utterly from the show.

=====

We have stopped watching the Walking Dead as when it announced half-season finale would be 90 minutes, we groaned. Which is not a good sign. The season opener was the big 100th episode and that was alright, some overly dramatic and bad speeches but decent action, some good little moments, Negan, an intresting overall plan but is was all overshadowed by sheer stupidity. Sheer and utter stupidity by the writers. They put a character in an impossible to survive situation, decided they didn't want character to die and the character survived for reasons of collective stupidity.

Then the episodes became abysmal. Unsurprisingly this tended to be the episodes that focused on team Alexanderians/Rick and team hilltop/Maggie worship. There would be little moments (and some effective Kingdom ones) but they tended to be characters who one has spent five minutes during the entire show with so emotional pull isn't strong, poor logic, poor scenes, poor pace, idiot characters, it would drag and drag. Just when I was on the verge of leaving, it switched attention to the factions that work: Kingdom and Negan.

Why do they work? The characters feel human, Ezekiel and Negan may have a certain style that puts some off but it has always felt like an act that they know rallies their people and makes an impression and it is glimpses beneath the act, the looks inside the life and attitudes of groups are intresting, there are twists involving characters that we actually spent time with at some point during the show. Each of those episodes still has Alexandrians showing up with stupid decisions and questionable logic action to make them some cool but we can pretend that didn't happen.

I used to love the walking dead. Yes it could go through bad patches where pace was agonisingly slow but there was always the belief it would turn around. The early seasons had well built characters, relations, the belief that anyone could die, that it would take a look at how the collapse of the world had an impact on people and the world. It feels like the show has become too in love with the likes of Rick, Maggie, Daryl and they stopped becoming people, they become icons and stopped developing as people. They also become untouchable, there was no longer a belief that they could die.

I'll still watching Fear the Walking Dead but no longer the main show.
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