Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on October 14, 2017

Mindhunter is Netflix’s new series with several episodes directed by David Fincher and adapted from a book by the guy who did the same for The Road a few years back. It tells the true(-ish?) story of the creation of the FBI’s serial killer unit.

It stars the one white guy from Hamilton (though in the opening I thought it was Simon from Firefly, because he has a very similar speaking voice, and it’s a quality that makes it require a bit of suspension of disbelief to have both this character and Simon romantically involved with women) as the young smart guy trying to consult with academics. The that guy who I think of as the “his name is Robert Paulson” guy is his partner but I should think of as the main guy from Lights Out is his partner and a more traditional FBI guy. Anna Torv, who I don’t think I have seen at all since Fringe ended, plays a psychiatrist.

I had high hopes, what with Fincher involved, and it is good, but a little disappointing. As far as his stuff goes, it’s closer to Zodiac than Seven. Not exactly thrill-a-minute, but interesting. I didn’t really like the way it left off at the end of the season, though, so hopefully there will be more, and it can have a satisfying end.

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Posted in tv by Bill on October 8, 2017

Lucky is a 2003 FX series that came at the beginning of the poker craze where John Corbett plays a gambling addict former champion of an event that resembles but is legally distinct from the WSOP, and Billy Gardell and pre-Office Craig Robinson are fellow degenerate gamblers and hustlers. Ever Carradine is basically the female lead but is for some reason only credited as a “special guest star” in virtually every episode.

It’s a half hour dramedy, but seems like the kind of thing that would have been better off as an hourlong with some more drama, because as a comedy it’s not that good (and John Corbett is actually pretty good for the dramatic parts, but all wrong for any time he’s supposed to be funny), and the poker action is typically unrealistic (string bets, nut boat loses to quads, etc). But it has some decent stories, and the hot blonde wife from Rescue Me has a recurring part in which she is younger and hotter than she was on Rescue Me, which is awesome.

Posted in tv by Bill on October 4, 2017

Gifted is Fox’s new X-Men show, centered around some mutants on the run from a federal agency which is named after Sentinels but features no giant robots. Amy Acker and familiar guy and Silver St Cloud from Gotham and her loser brother are a family on the run after the kids’ powers manifest, and weird looking hot girl (pictured) and guy from Incorporated and some other people are an existing sorta mutant underground group. I think if there were fewer superhero TV shows, I might consider giving this a shot, largely based around the weird hot girl, but there was definitely nothing special to separate it from the pack of mediocre superhero shows.

Random complaint: shows with scenes set in Atlanta should recognize that it’s a predominantly black city. The intro has like 10 Atlanta cops in it, and I think they’re all white, which I’m pretty sure would never happen with any group of 10 Atlanta cops.

Posted in tv by Bill on September 30, 2017

Big Mouth is a new Netflix animated series co-created by and starring the voice of Nick Kroll, about awkward kids going through puberty and the hormone monsters that encourage their crazy and embarrassing behavior. It’s watchable but not great. Too many musical sequences and the jokes are hit or miss.

Plus the characters’ version of awkward is that mildly charming kind where they like… ask a girl out and she says yes and then they throw up, so they’re totally embarassed but then are dating the girl they like, which is not at all like my experience as a 13 year old. But a show where they don’t talk to girls at all wouldn’t be very interesting. So I identify most closely with the illiterate PE teacher guy, which is just depressing.

John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, and Jason Mantzoukas voice the other main characters, with Jenny Slate, Maya Ruldolph, Fred Armison, and Jordan Peele rounding out the cast.

Weird complaint: the opening theme is the recently deceased Charles Bradley’s cover of Black Sabbath’s Changes, which is a good song, but where they pick it up, the transition is really odd. They play like a three beat intro then the horns come in and we’re right in the chorus. I think it would have worked better to have the little intro thing play over the show and smash cut to the credits. That sorta limits the kind of jokes you can end the cold open on, but lots of shows like It’s Always Sunny make that kinda thing work.

Posted in tv by Bill on September 26, 2017

Star Trek Discovery is CBS All Access’s new show which I gather takes place a little after the NuTrek movies. It aired the first episode on CBS before the move to the streaming service, which is a little bit of a shame, because the first two episodes really make up the introduction to the story. But I was intrigued enough by the first hour (or most of it, as a football game ran long causing the DVR to cut off the end) to sign up for All Access. $6 a month for maybe a few months isn’t too bad to support a series.

You can tell Bryan Fuller wrote the pilot (but sadly isn’t sticking around to run the show), because the main character is a woman with a guy’s name, in this case Sasha from TWD as Michael Burnham. She’s a human raised by vulcans who’s the first officer on a federation ship captained by Michelle Yeoh. The show takes place in the early days of the Federation, and seems to focus on the rise of the Klingon Empire.

The first two episodes are very much like a Star Trek movie, full of action and drama, but I’m hoping the future episodes are a little more classic TV Trek. It would be weird if The Orville is more Star Trek than the actual Star Trek show on at the same time. The Klingons speak almost entirely in Klingon, which I don’t think is that great of an idea, since it means the audience is pretty much reading text and not getting anything from the actors’ performances. But otherwise it’s good so far.

Posted in tv by Bill on September 24, 2017

Ghosted stars Adam Scott and Craig Robinson as basically nobodies who get roped into working for a secret government organization that investigates the paranormal. Doesn’t premiere for another week, but it’s on demand, and I do like watching pilots ahead of time. It’s… not that good. But the two stars are very likable, and it’s in the middle of a bunch of Fox shows I’m watching anyway, so… why not? It might get better, I guess.

Posted in tv by Bill on September 15, 2017

American Vandal is a new Netflix comedy series that takes the true crime documentary format and applies it to a ridiculous crime (spray-paining dicks on the cars in a high school’s teachers’ parking lot). It’s created by some people whose imdb credits include Honest Trailers, and I do like those, so I figured it was worth a shot.

It’s a solid format for a comedy. They use all the usual tropes of true crime shows, with narration, audio recordings, photos, documents, social media screencaps, footage from meetings and stuff, cliffhangers, re-enactment graphics, and minimalist background soundtrack for mood and to emphasize the plot twists.

It’s maybe not as funny as it could be, but I’m honestly totally interested in the plot  (#FreeDylan). I always enjoy comedies that do tons of twisty plot (Arrested Development, Trial and Error, that kinda thing), and there are enough jokes that do work to keep things going. Plus there’s the constant talking about “the dicks” incident as super serious business, which while not a joke, is still amusing.

Posted in tv by Bill on September 12, 2017

The Orville is Seth MacFarlane’s new space scifi show that’s being billed as a comedy, but at least based on the pilot, it’s not a very good comedy but it is a pretty good space scifi show. The pilot’s a bit rough just because the jokes don’t land too well and they’re busy introducing all the characters, but it’s a solid enough Star Trek episode story. Enough to make me want to see where the story goes, and/or see if the jokes come around. Plus the ship’s security officer is cute, even in her weird alien prosthetics.

I do wish MacFarlane wasn’t actually acting in this, as he’s a far better voice actor than actual actor, but he’s made Fox literally billions of dollars so they’re probably happy to keep funding his vanity projects. And he’s got a solid cast around him, so I don’t think I’ll mind him that much.

Posted in tv by Bill on August 20, 2017

Spider-Man is the new DisneyXD series, replacing Ultimate Spider-Man which was never particularly beloved by the fans, but I thought it was perfectly decent. Presumably they timed the reboot for the Homecoming movie. It’s high school Peter, more in the traditional setting and tone of Spider-Man stories (less joke-y than the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, more joke-y than Tobey Maguire). Instead of Midtown High, the action here takes place at a fancy school for geniuses, at which several traditional Spider-Man supporting characters study, but also Miles Morales and Anya Corazon, so there’s some ethnic diversity without racebending any of the old characters (at least so far). And the genius school means a lot of random scifi stuff. Robots made by students and whatnot.

The animation style is very anime-influenced. The characters and certain objects of note get all the attention, while the backgrounds have washed out colors and very little detail. Personally not a fan, because it makes the art just look unfinished, but that’s a minor quibble. The tone is right, and I think it basically wants to be Spectacular Spider-Man (best Marvel cartoon ever? probably) with more robots. It probably won’t compare to SSM, but I have to give them credit for trying, and it has a lot of potential, so I’ll definitely be following this.

Posted in tv, Uncategorized by Bill on August 20, 2017

The Defenders is the culmination of Netflix’s various Marvel series, and it’s pretty good, but not great. Smartly, this is only 8 episodes instead of the 13 that the other series have run. Those have all dragged a bit in the middle (the fact that we all watch them within a weekend probably makes that worse, where watching it week to week there’d be tension, watching 13 hours over a day or two makes us feel like get on with it already). Also smartly, they take a few episodes before the band gets together. Everyone gets their own little storyline leading them towards a common enemy before they connect. Probably smarter still, they spend a big chunk of time with Iron Fist on the sideline, because his series wasn’t very good and the actor isn’t very good.

Some things with mild spoilers:

  • I would find it laughable if they tried to hook up Danny and Misty in this universe, just because of the casting. She seems like a grown woman with her shit together (and, to be superficial for a moment, an amazing rack). He seems like a kid in high school who took a philosophy class.
  • The thing that happened towards the end with Misty is awesome for future Misty developments, but I think she handled that way too well. How do you not freak the fuck out when something like that happens to you? Her immediate reaction is “it’s not your fault, it’s the job.” And not “holy shit aaaaaahhhh!”
  • Krysten Ritter is still really hot and great as an alcoholic trainwreck and this show got me hyped for Jessica Jones season 2 more than anything else. But I guess The Punisher is before that.