Hector and the Search for Happiness was recommended to me on Netflix and had Simon Pegg so I gave it a shot. It tells the story of a guy with a good job and a great girlfriend (the always lovely Rosamund Pike) and generally a great life who is apparently a moron because he’s unhappy, and he takes off to travel the world and learn how to be happy. I watched it all the way through for some reason, but it was obviously the kind of sappy heartwarming thing that I was never going to like.
Zoo is CBS’s latest summer series in the vein of Under the Dome (a high concept slightly scifi thing with a big ensemble cast dealing with a crazy new status quo based on a popular book), this one about I guess all the world’s animals getting pissed off at humanity and attacking.
The guy from Lone Star and Mad Men plays a conservationist in Africa who works with that Daxos guy from Game of Thrones, and they stumble into a kinda hot French girl. Back in the states, this girl who was in House of Cards some is a journalist who works with/bangs Dan Egan from Veep. Her investigation runs across the Stroh from Major Crimes who’s a veterinary coroner guy poking into dead lions to figure out why they went nuts.
It might actually be ok eventually, but the pilot spends too much time introducing the (pretty generic) characters. The big dramatic reveal at the end of the pilot is a bunch of housecats in a tree. It’s mildly unsettling, but it seems like it’ll be several episodes before the animals really go nuts en masse, which is kind of the whole point of the series? So I’m passing on this one.
Humans is the new BBC/AMC near-future scifi series about domestic robots and AI and all that. It’s a concept that I’m both fond of and nervous about, because I feel like I already know all the notes they’re going to hit from having seen lots of movies and read lots of comics about.
Jen from The IT Crowd and familiar-looking redheaded British guy star as a couple arguing over his decision to pick up a domestic robot (played by a weird-looking-but-hot Asian woman) to help out with the kids and housework, but it turns out the robot has a secret past (which is entirely reminiscent of the comic Alex + Ada, and wasn’t totally original there either). William Hurt is an old dude who has a robot nurse he’s grown to care about, but the government wants to swap the nurse out with a new one. And of course there’s a sex-bot, because there’s always a sex-bot.
But I’ll stick with it, just because… I do like this stuff, even if it’s rehashes of familiar ideas.
Another Period is a new Comedy Central show that seems to be sort of a Downton Abbey parody, with kind of a ridiculous cast. Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero are the co-creators and star as the daughters of a crazy rich family in gilded age Newport, with husbands David Wain and the guy from the Sonic commercials, parents David Koechner and Paget Brewster, brother Jason Ritter, sister Artemis from It’s Always Sunny, servants including Christina Hendricks, Michael Ian Black, and that bearded guy that’s in a lot of comedies now where he plays the crazy bearded guy. It’s honestly not very good, there are only a couple of jokes I actually laughed at, but I feel like there’s some potential? Certainly with the cast. Enough to try a second episode, which hopefully will be funnier.
The Brink is the Tim Robbins/Jack Black/Aasif Mandvi/Pornstache from OitNB HBO comedy about the US dealing with a coup in Pakistan. It’s not great, but at least unlike Ballers it has jokes and an actual plot that might include things of interest happening in the future. I probably wouldn’t watch it if it weren’t the summer, but it is, so I have some time to fill.
Ballers kinda looked like the NFL version of Entourage, and it… kinda is. The Rock is an ex-NFL player turned financial manager, and he has a number of friends who are current and former players. They drive around in fancy cars and bang models, but they have problems too. It’s not particularly funny or exciting or anything.
Steam’s new return policy (less than 2 weeks from purchase and less than 2 hours played, refund for any reason) means I kinda have to promptly try out the games I pick up in the summer sale, just in case I instantly hate one. Which is a little awkward, since the summer sale started while I was in the middle of replaying both Fallout 3 and Dragon Age II, so I’m now partway through way too many different games.
- Dishonored was $5 and people are excited about the sequel so why not? You play the bodyguard to the Empress of Dunwall who gets framed for her murder, and then you break out of prison to presumably take down the evil guys who set you up. The menus and interface and stuff are pretty slickly designed. I don’t think I’m going to be any good at the stealth component of the game, but I do like the setting and general style (it’s kinda like steampunk but more industrial, coal burning fancy tech, and then also with magic stuff too). My only complaint early on is that you hold a sword and a pistol, but you click the left mouse button to swing your right hand sword, and the right mouse button for the left hand pistol. I get the idea because the sword is your main attack, but it would make more sense to just make your guy left-handed, that way it would correspond to the mouse buttons. Still, I’m intrigued.
- Transistor was also $5. It’s a 3/4 view thing in a tech-heavy future setting, where you were I guess a singer, but some programs decided to try to kill you, and you have this talking sword trying to help you stop the programs? I don’t really know what’s going on, it’s kind of weird. When you start the game there’s not even a menu, it just starts. But it’s pretty cool looking, so I’m fine spending $5 on it. Will come back to it later.
- Grim Fandango Remastered is an update of one of my favorite games ever. I didn’t really need to do anything except make sure it worked, which it did.
I debated about Wasteland 2 (a spiritual successor to Fallout 1 and 2) and Civ: Beyond Earth, but they never got below $25, and I figure with Fallout 4 on the horizon and me in the middle of two lengthy re-plays, I should be set for games for a while, and those titles’ prices might drop a lot lower before I ever get a chance to play them.
Complications is USA’s new medical (and maybe action?) show, from the Burn Notice creator, and starring Jason O’Mara, Parker from Leverage, and the professor Winger dated on Community. O’Mara is a doctor in probably Sandy Springs (the King and Queen buildings are close to the hospital he works at) who has a really bad day and shoots someone and also flips out in the ER. I only made it through the first hour of a two hour pilot, and it’s a pretty typical setup for yet another grim anti-hero sort of thing. He’s an angry guy who’s doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. But since these types of protagonists are everywhere on TV, I’d have expected to see something to make him stand out, but there really isn’t. It’s yet another dark and humorless show that wishes it was Breaking Bad or The Sopranos but totally isn’t.
Killjoys is a new Syfy series about space bounty hunters Aaron Ashmore and some girl who seems kinda cute at first but starts to get hotter and hotter. It’s nothing special, just kind of a scifi/action thing with a hot girl, but that seems like it’ll make for a pretty watchable show. And it’s not like super serious grim tone-wise either, which is good.
The Astronaut Wives Club I basically only tried out because it had Odette Annable and Yvonne Strahovski and that cute actress who went and married a Yankees player and became ruined forever. But Yvonne Strahovski looks weird all tanned with extra bleached hair or something weird. And it’s basically just a crappier version of The Right Stuff.