Avox in Arcadia (perpetual) wrote,
Avox in Arcadia

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TV Lately

Oh man, this is gonna be a long entry. Let's make it in random order, maybe that will help.

Sounds like we're all pretty down with Sleepy Hollow. This is a good thing because I hadn't even known how much I needed a headless man on a glow-eyed white horse in my life. (Fun fact about whops horses: they're not considered white unless they have pink skin, which is rare and slightly undesirable since they're prone to sunburn. If they have white hair and black skin, which is what you typically see, they're called grey. The Headless Horseman's steed is genuinely white! Rock on, Pale Horse.)

I missed the next two episodes, though, and rather than do the frantic catch-up thing, I'm probably going to let this one pass me by and then marathon it when it's on Instant View. I'm determined to be a regular viewer of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it's weird enough coming home to watch a show on TV once a week; I don't think I can handle two. Came to the same conclusion for The Walking Dead and Bones - not giving up on them, but I can wait. Obviously there's more than enough to keep me busy in the meantime.

As for that SHIELD thing...is it just a Whedon curse that makes his movies get better and better, and his TV progressively worse? I'm enjoying the show, I really am, but the second episode was so wrapped in cliche that it was hard to think about anything else. The character of Skye is poorly conceived and I don't for a second believe that she's a hacker, a misfit, or a genius. Look at that hair. Come on. That hair doesn't occur in real life unless the owner is working really hard on it. The resemblance in mannerisms and appearance to Faith doesn't help at all because it just seems like she's doing a bad job playing Faith. Not a lot of awesome is standing out so far. I already miss J. August Richards.

In all fairness, the guest appearance at the end of the second episode was incredibly impressive, I love the scientist duo, and seeing the Marvel Universe on my TV is always going to be a thrill. I have a hunch the show is going to get better, and if it doesn't, well, I'll make myself care more.

Avatar: the Legend of Korra is back - finally! - and so far it looks like it might outshine the previous season by far. The first four episodes were a work of art and humor, and I think there's going to be some fascinating spotlighting on some of the minor characters who've had the short end so far. The season's plot hasn't really pulled me in so far, but that's the thing: it doesn't need to. Every single scene works just by virtue of the masterful animation, world-building, and character development. I could watch a show called Avatar: Some Random Jokes or Avatar: the Wildlife Mockumentary and be perfectly satisfied.

Friendship Is Magic is returning on November 23rd. Can't come soon enough! I don't at all mind Twilight's alicornication, even if it was decreed by marketing. The new season is supposedly going to be as good as ever, and I think the long wait will just make me appreciate it more. Someday I'd like to investigate the fandom a little more, too. There's a lot to wade through, but some of the artists are fantastic.

I started yet another rewatch of Cowboy Bebop, hoping to reel in Simon and in the process craving more of it myself. He liked the music a lot and appreciated the animation and setting, but it looks like this one is still my show, which is fine. I still find something new every time. Also, there is the potential for Buffy crossover fic in my future. Not exactly on the side of likely, but definitely possible.

The only other anime that's captured my attention lately is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which taaroko and I are watching together at a handicapped snail's pace. To be honest I keep losing the trail of the plot, even after seeing the original series first. It's so complex! There are parts I love, especially Mustang and Hawkeye and the theories behind transmutation, but Ed still strikes me as obnoxious and I've found that I have no patience for the type of humor in anime that portrays characters freaking out by simplifying the animation and adding comic sound effects. Slapstick isn't exactly a dealbreaker for me, but I'm picky about it. I can't care that much about the journey of the kid with a miniature panda if I know she's going to keep going into a cartoon rage-face to squeak about her crush.

Season 3 of Game of Thrones was better than Season 2. I can't really remember when last I talked about this show because I used to do it all the time and then I wasn't at all. Right now I'm not even sure when Season 4 premiers, but I'm very excited in a vague sort of way. I have some rants in mind about the treatment of certain characters and (especially) relationships, which might need an entry of their own. I'm particularly disappointed with what's been done with Sansa, and Theon's become a particularly disgusting joke. On the other hand, Dany is QUEEN FOREVER, and most of what's going on beyond the Wall has been executed smoothly. The Red Wedding, well. You know we were all dreading that almost as much as we were psyched about watching you endure it for the first time, right?

I can't remember who we've got showing up next except for Oberyn Martell, who oughta be a good time. Oh wait I have another complaint. Daario? Please. Like Dany's going to fall for a pretty boy.

Simon and I are watching Doctor Who from the "beginning", probably more for my sake than his, but now that we're past the first two series he's coming to like it a lot. I'm carefully concealing the identity of the third companion because I think he's going to love Donna. It's my first rewatch; there are only a few episodes I'd seen more than once, and thanks to the time between and my poor memory, it's a lot like everything is brand new again but with the bonus of caring about the characters much more. I know it's an insufficient thing to say about something so iconic, but what a great show. The tenth Doctor's dialogue consistently has me grinning from ear to ear.

While we were at it, Simon thought we should check out some classic Who too, but not systematically (since anyway that's apparently impossible. Way to go, BBC of previous generations). To me it's mostly an amusing curiosity, since I guess I really am a child of the modern world and I can't take sci-fi seriously without moderately convincing effects. Simon prefers it to the new show, though, and I think I can understand why, even aside from his peculiar attachment to Daleks. The actors portraying the Doctor are incredibly impressive sometimes. The companions, less so. Had some cultural sexism to get past, didn't we? (Even so, I was psyched to see the young Sarah Jane. That girl was adorable.)

Speaking of vintage sci-fi television, I decided it was finally time to get some of The Twilight Zone under my belt, and if I may be so bold as to congratulate myself for that decision, it was a brilliant one. I wouldn't say I'm hooked on it, but there's such imagination and skill in each episode - radiating from it, honestly - that I often feel like a better person for having watched it. The acting is superb and the ideas still seem fresh after all this time, although I'm noticing a peculiar tendency to fall back on "It was Earth all along!". There have been moments that made me feel genuinely scared, like a good horror movie that doesn't need gore. My favorite episode so far was about a Nazi captain reliving his attack on a ship of civilians from the victims' perspective. I hadn't even known this was a show that went there.

There's a lot of it that isn't on Netflix and I'm not sure I'll continue to seek it out after I've gone through the two available seasons. On the other hand, there are certainly specific episodes that I've heard of but haven't seen, and maybe this is the kind of thing where I have the geekish responsibility to acquaint myself with the legends.

...Which is also why I started watching Star Trek. For most of my life I've had this black mark against my nerd creds, one of those things where nobody else around the D&D table can believe it when you say you've never seen a complete episode of Star Trek. It didn't exactly bother me, but I figured I might very well enjoy the show so it was time to get started. I was counseled by a true Trekker to start with The Next Generation, and I'll be honest, it starts pretty slow and I've taken a long break in favor of other shows. I'll definitely keep going, but so far a lot is riding on the appeal of Patrick Stewart, and I kind of wonder if I wouldn't have preferred the original series.

My friend and I were watching Battlestar Galactica (the modern one) together not too long ago, but he moved away before we got too deep into it. I was really starting to enjoy it and I've resigned myself to finishing it alone, but I'm not sure where it is on the priority list.

Similar situation for Mad Men, except that we got further in, it's been a longer time since the friend moved away, and it's lower on the priority list. For a lot of these shows I'm talking about, I'd be all over them if I had a real-life buddy who was all over them, but to get back into them on my own I need to really need to find out what happens next, and Mad Men left me feeling okay about where I stopped. Quality television, though. I do kind of miss it.

Okay, so for the past few years I've been hearing about Portlandia, which sounded like it had a hilarious concept that hit close to home for me (I lived in Eugene, Oregon for several years and I do believe I witnessed the birth of hipsterism while I was there). Unfortunately, all I heard from those who had seen it was that it wasn't that funny, it wasn't all they had hoped, etc. Well, I finally saw a few episodes for myself, and I found it hilarious and more than I'd hoped, so now I'm wondering if the people who gave me those reviews were among the Oregonians I knew and it just hit too close to literal home for them. Friends, there is no reason to be offended! When someone wants to reclaim MTV or learn the personal history of the chicken they order at a restaurant, it's okay to laugh. The references are refreshingly current and the guest appearances are a delight. I'll be watching a lot more of this, especially since my partner likes it too. (Enough so that he searched the internet for an mp3 of the fake children's song performed by that guy from The IT Crowd, and eventually settled for making one himself from a YouTube clip of the scene. He's still bursting into periodic renditions of it around the house.)

Aside from the occasional dip into the Twilight Zone, when it's just me and the TV at home I usually go for Being Human, the original British one thankyouverymuch. It's been on my list for a long time because it's so completely up my alley - a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost move into a house together and it's not a comedy. Again, I'm not head over heels, but I am mainlining it with no regrets. I'm about midway through the third season, or maybe the fourth. Whatever, they've moved out of London and Nina's part of the regular cast now. The things I like are more or less what I expected: interesting mythology tidbits like werewolves undergoing heart attacks every time they transform, characters ignoring supernatural events in favor of concentrating on the mundane, a sexy Irish vampire with a bloody past and a guilt complex. All of the main characters can be incredibly endearing, and there are some interesting thoughts about the afterlife and (well duh) human nature.

The things keeping my enthusiasm in check aren't quite as expected. All of the female characters except for Annie have essentially the same voice and personality, and Annie can frankly get pretty annoying. The vampire mythology is dull and senseless - I'm a bit of a purist, perhaps, but going into the sunlight with no effect whatsoever doesn't seem much better than sparkles to me, and when subsisting on food is thrown in, vampirism isn't really anything more than immortality plus bloodlust. Doesn't mean there aren't any good stories to be had in it, but isn't it rather a waste of potential conflict? Finally, I'm having some trouble understanding where the characters are coming from at this point. I might have missed some key dialogue (eyes on the screen, Kairos, pay attention!), but Annie has apparently rejected the afterlife permanently, perhaps out of a fear of returning to Purgatory, and all I want is for someone to point out that she's gearing up for eternal existence in a world she can't really affect, and maybe that means it's time to think about a goal.

Or at least, a goal aside from having sex with Mitchell. Worst plot development ever. They do nothing for me as a couple, but more than that, it's increasingly ludicrous that the show won't acknowledge that the sexy Irish vampire is still a monster. There's no 'soul' concept to fall back on, so Mitchell's turnaround came from his own initiative, and I could totally dig watching him being tormented by his cravings for blood and violence, except that when it comes right down to it, he's not trying. He shuffles blame around, lashes out at others, and 'lapses' with a killing spree that he's still lying about. I'm not objecting to having him on my screen being alternately hot/badass and adorable/funny, and he's probably still my favorite character, but I really need this to be dealt with properly and I kinda think that means he needs to sacrifice his life to some greater good and end the show, so until then it's just a frustrating theme beneath the eye candy. Fortunately the werewolves brought some shippy goodness right when I needed it. Nina had me pretty bored in the first season, but the way she and George have grown together is fantastic and I can't get enough of them.

The first BBC show that Simon and I started watching together was Casualty 1900, also called London Hospital. It's fantastic, but a period medical drama isn't quite in my arena and we both seem to have forgotten about it for now. He's got the DVDs so I'm sure I'll get back to it eventually.

Last night we finished The IT Crowd, aside from the special episode that recently aired to wrap the show up (not sure where to find it yet but I will watch you, "The Internet Is Coming", I swear). I loved it and will genuinely miss it. Sitcoms aren't usually my thing, but it makes all the difference when the show is a) British and b) geeky. The jokes are actually funny and the characters are completely real and lovable. Since tech and its culture advances so quickly, I guess the show is already outdated, but that just means that it corresponds to the era of internet that I relate to the most. Also the era of goth. Funny how those are two subcultures that seem to have hit the US and Britain in exactly the same way.

I think I missed a lot of lines because I was trying to read the posters and look at the items in the background, but it's so rewarding to see an XKCD image or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We'll probably be quoting Moss at each other for the rest of our lives, but Roy was my favorite too. Richmond was in a league of his own.

Just looked it up and it seems that show was made by the same guy as Father Ted, which explains a lot, since that's the other British (er, Irish) comedy I fell in love with. I'd already seen the first couple episodes but it was years ago and I had more or less forgotten them, and it's a great show to rediscover. Fortunately I still have a lot left for this one. I think. Why can't good shows go on forever and instantly and permanently be available for free streaming?

More humor from across the water: Sir Digby Chicken Caesar, which is available to anyone in true homeless detective style. I'm Alan Partridge, which didn't end up being one of my favorites. It's funny, I just react with discomfort to awkward people being awkward. I thought that might be because I'm too American to get it, but then I saw A Bit of Fry and Laurie, and I don't think TV gets any more British than that and I wholeheartedly adore it. It's Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie! There is no bad here! However, my absolute favorite in the category (British Comedy to Which I've Recently Been Introduced) has to be Look Around You. Two words: Helvetica Scenario.

Of course just because they're British doesn't mean they get everything right. Let's never forget that these are the people who created Mister Blobby, although I'm trying to forget everything else about that video. It's balanced by the grand tradition of the unintentionally funny, like the nice old man hosting a game show that I can't remember the name of for the life of me. I will be investigating this further.

In a related category, have you ever compared the TV from your childhood to that of someone of your own age, from a different culture with the same language? Apparently while we were sitting in front of Tiny Tunes and Strawberry Shortcake, British children had The Wombles (awesome theme tune and there's a character named Uncle Bulgaria) and The Trapdoor. Stop motion was everywhere; there was Postman Pat and Fireman Sam and something I can't find anymore which I believe was about insects. There was also a rather brilliant RPG puzzle game show hybrid called Knightmare that I think the children of our time could really benefit from - critical thinking, teamwork, and classic fantasy storytelling.

Absolute favorite for this category? The Clangers. I'm putting it in its own paragraph to emphasize it. If you click one link in this entry, please let this be the one. Other planets besides ours. Soup Dragon. Baby Soup Dragon. Slide whistles. Iron Chicken. Blue String Pudding. Best narrator ever. WATCH IT. I promise you don't need acid to enjoy it.

Brilliant ol' UK! Except then they have their utterly terrifying Sesame St. knockoff with a cast full of demonic puppets and no budget, Rainbow. Beware, the voices are like nails on a chalkboard and they will erode your soul within the space of minutes.

And amidst it all, there is the immutable fact of Whedonverse rewatches. Odd thing happened with me and BtVS/AtS - after wanting them on DVD for years, I finally got them, and then put them aside for years. I'm pretty sure that what I need is to go back to my in-depth episode review potluck post things, since I was definitely gung-ho when I was mired in those, but then they were taking too long to produce so I watched ahead because I was into it, and then I stopped being into it (right around S6, how predictable of me). But I also rewatched Dollhouse with the Battlestar Galactica friend above and still liked it, and I'm psyched about eventually showing Firefly to Simon. So, I'm still true to my roots. If anyone can figure out how to stop time so I can get all these shows out of my system and then concentrate all my efforts on fanworks, I would be grateful.

Okay, I think I've listed every TV show ever made. Hope the cuts help, if you're just interested in talking about one or two of them.
Tags: a show i watched, an anime i watched, avatar: tla and tlok, bones, doctor who, dollhouse, firefly, links, marvel cinematic universe, ponies, westeros

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