RSS

Category Archives: Watchings

Battlestar Galactica

I just finished this highly-acclaimed science fiction soap opera. I entered it originally with the mindset of comparing it to Babylon 5, which definitely colored my perceptions of it at first, but in the end I stopped doing so, and let it stand on its own.

It didn’t stand for very long.

Funnily enough, I enjoyed the show most when I was comparing it to Babylon 5. The show started off very, very strong, especially with the opening miniseries, and then very quickly started to fall apart. It picked up again in the third season opening miniseries, and then just as quickly fell down again.

The main problem I had with the show was a lack of cohesiveness and direction. I think this show suffered from having too many writers. It was trying to have a four-season story arc, but after season 2, it kind of stopped being completely coherent, and every episode pulled me in a different direction, both plot and character-wise. This had the result of quite a few deus ex machinas in there; the existence of the “Colony” really irked me. Suddenly, amazing superpowerful Cylon base. And they never mentioned this before why, exactly? And then the whole religion and prophecy as a plot device  tendency got irritating very quickly.

It was an incredibly frustrating show to watch, as it had so much potential and wasted it every time. I never liked any of the characters except Dr. Cottle and Romo Lambkin. Whenever I did start to like a character, they would so something that made me hate them again. This made it very hard to keep coming back and watching.

Despite all of these drawbacks, though, it had some good parts. The acting was phenomenal. The characters were sometimes deep, and sometimes shallow; it really varied, and like I said before, each episode sometimes changed the character so much they were hardly recognizable. The special effects were also good, and some of the questions it brought up were also very good.

In the end, however, I did not enjoy it. The world and background appeared underdeveloped, the plot flew all over the place, and a lot of it seemed contrived. It had really good episodes, and a lot more really bad episodes. I just feel like the potential of the plot was squandered in its execution.

Onto my next project: Farscape!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Watchings

 

Neon Genesis Evangelion

I just finished this (anime) show. I wish I could say that my mind was blown, but it really wasn’t. It was a very hyped-up show, and it had so much potential, but in the end, overall, I was disappointed. The premise was very creative, the themes very deep and meaningful, the characters very well-made (Pen-pen is definitely the best), the concept of the Angels, LCL, and the Human Instrumentality very interesting and fascinating, but unfortunately the series fell flat on its face in one crucial aspect: making sense.

The way that the series was presented made it extremely difficult to follow, and I was told that it got a lot better the second time one watched it. That’s all well and good, but generally I like to be able to like and understand a show – at least on some level – the first time I watch it. If you don’t, I don’t think it’s well done. Not having a full understanding is alright, and it’s okay if on subsequent watchings it makes more sense, but you have to start from that baseline. Neon Genesis Evangelion did not have that baseline. It started off confusing, kept being confusing, and never made sense completely; I was forced in the end to look up a lot in order to understand it.

So, I consider this show to be a great concept ruined in the act of storytelling. It just didn’t tell the story well.

But it was definitely worth watching. The animation was spectacular, and the characters were very deep. It also drew extensively on ideas of Kabbalah, and being an occultist/esoteric, it made me happy whenever the Tree of Life was mentioned. The last two episodes – or rather, the “prime” versions of them – were by far my favorite because they actually almost made sense, were deep, and generally more visually stimulating than the rest.

All in all, a decent anime. Wolf’s Rain remains my favorite.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Watchings

 

The Whisperer in Darkness

I just received (and watched) the HPLHS’ adaptation of Lovecraft’s story “The Whisperer in Darkness.” It was, in short, an amazing adaptation. I cannot say that it was completely faithful to the original story plot-wise (not nearly to the extent that their silent “Call of Cthulhu” film was, at least), as many characters were added and scenes extended, but it was very faithful to the original story’s tone. It was dark, disturbing, and at times slightly gruesome (that hanging man will remain in my nightmares forever). Wilmarth was very well-acted, and the monologuing was seamless. I missed Sean Branney’s appearance the first time through, only noticing it in the credits. The mi-go brain cylinders, while not made strictly as described by Lovecraft, did their job in a way more effective on the screen, making them truly horrifying.

I had two qualms with the film. The first was that Akeley’s condition was extremely obvious from the get-go, and the surprise twist at the end wasn’t there (the kind of twist that was there was very clever and well-done, however). I felt like his “health problems” could have been more subtle; at one point my brother walked into the room and managed to guess exactly what was going on just by seeing him. The second thing was in the portrayal of the mi-go: namely, their lack of gigantic wings to catch energy to propel them through the depths of space. I missed the wings. The rest of them, however, was well-done and extremely disturbing. They were very alien aliens.

All in all, an excellent, well-done film. I greatly enjoyed it. Bravo, HPLHS, bravo!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Watchings

 

Torchwood: Miracle Day

After the amazing and depressing Children of Earth, I was unsure what I would think of Torchwood‘s latest venture: Miracle Day, especially seeing as they were working with Starz, which seemed iffy to me. However, I was pleasantly surprise; the show had a very strong start and a very strong ending. The middle was decent and watchable, but a bit slow; it seemed like it was stuck in stasis for the middle 3 or 4 episodes. However, the last three episodes really picked everything up, and the last episode was wonderful. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Rex, and I hope we see him again. Oswald Danes I have to confess that I will miss. Throughout the entire thing, his character was so well-developed, flipping between hints of redemption and regression. His ending was also very well done, containing a sort of redemptive regression; he sacrifices himself to destroy the facility around the blessing, and at the same time shouts that he’ll chase down and rape all of the bad girls down with him in hell. Disturbing, but very well-done and in-character. However, I must also say that I am not happy with the hint that it’s Jack’s blood that’s magic. Maybe Mr. Davies will explain this further, but I was under the impression that Jack was immortal because he had become a fixed point in time, and that it had nothing to do with his blood or genes.

But, regardless and aside from that point, I enjoyed Miracle Day very much, and hope that the next season is just as good.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Watchings

 

Crusade

I just finished watching J. Michael Straczynski’s Crusade, Babylon 5‘s spinoff, and was very impressed. I particularly liked the character of Galen, and appreciated the cameos of Babylon 5 actors. It’s another show I’m sad didn’t get to come to its completion, as it seemed to be like a combination of Firefly and Babylon 5, two of my favorite television shows. However, eventually the “long-dead civilization destroyed by an ancient menace” theme got old, however creative it was every time.

In other news, “Sally,” “What Walks Under Moonlight,” and the novella “Parallax” from Dark Aeons are edited!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Watchings, Writing

 

Doctor Who Season 6

The first half of Season Six of Doctor Who ended today. If you haven’t seen it, DO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS POST. I have some very strong opinions on it; namely, that Moffat is overstepping himself and trying to make the series too epic and convoluted. I really enjoyed the first three episodes of the season, with the Silence and the Siren. The fourth episode (Gaiman’s) I hated, and I was not a fan of the two following it. The Seventh episode was fun to watch, but lacked… a lot of things. When the Doctor gathers his army, it contains mostly people we don’t know (I wanted to see Jack come back, even though I knew he wouldn’t), which made the idea that he had friends all over less… profound. The Headless Monks were very cool, but didn’t really have much substance. There is no explanation as to who Madame Kovarian is, and why everyone hates the Doctor.

And on top of it all, River was Amy’s daughter. That was my least favorite scenario. It was horribly contrived, artificial-feeling, and with no real links to anything else. It came a little bit too out of the blue. And again, Moffat is doing one of his epic end of the universe as we know it things again – it’s only been two seasons with him. Season 5 was wonderful, but the first half of this season seems… contrived, forced, and needlessly complex. I can only hope that the second half – when the Silence return – is better.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 6, 2011 in Watchings

 

Torchwood

I just finished (finally) watching Doctor Who‘s spin-off series, Torchwood. I would not recommend it to anybody except those who (like me) want a greater depth of the Whoniverse, or want to see more of Captain Jack Harkness and can stand a sub-par show. It is essentially, like Doctor Who under Russell T. Davies (Moffat has changed this slightly) a “Monster of the Day” show. It has very few continuities between episodes, and for the most part, each one can stand alone. There were a few good ideas in there – the Sex Gas, Adam, and Billis Manger to name a few – and Captain Jack was as amazing as ever (and so was John Hart, his ex-“wife”), making the show watchable. I mainly watched it to learn more about Jack, which you certainly do. However, None of the other major characters (save Ianto and Rhys to some extent) ever gained my sympathy, and just were not particularly likeable. Gwen Cooper, especially – the audience surrogate – I hated. She was nasty to her fiancee (and later husband) Rhys, and was always doing the wrong things. I don’t know what Jack saw in her.

Stupidity also seemed to be a common theme; Jack was always right, and everyone else was always wrong, and yet the rest of the team still constantly went against Jack’s orders. The other major theme was depression. Davies was needlessly cruel to his characters, killing off almost all of them by the end of Season 3. “Children of Earth” – Season 3 – was much better than the previous two seasons (which for the most part were just average), but was needlessly depressing, and left me feeling unhappy and unsatisfied. All in all, not one of my favorite shows. I am not sure if I’ll be watching Miracle Day or not.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Watchings

 

Discworld, Kansas, Torchwood, Summer and Writing!

I’ve been a bad writer. I was freed of my university obligations on Tuesday May 3rd, was busy Wednesday with other things, and then Thursday was spent packing. I moved out of my dorm back home Friday afternoon, and then that evening was at a KANSAS concert in a very impressive Casino. The concert itself was spectacular, and I enjoyed myself a lot. On Saturday I went to the beach and stayed the night in a house, and unfortunately was dragged into doing things that were not writing. I got back home today, and as it was Mother’s Day, was spending time with my mother instead of writing. As such, very little writing has been achieved, but some progress has been made! Now that I am on summer break, I should have a lot more time to devote to writing – I have failed to finish the first draft by the end of this week, but shouldn’t have any problems doing it this week. I hope.

As I was packing and performing other tasks, I have been watching Torchwood – I’m now on Season 2, about halfway through it. The first episode was rubbish, but it got better. I hate most of the cast, but love Captain Jack; I watch it for him. Otherwise, I’m not a huge fan.

The last big piece of news is that in small increments (during classes, between them, during breaks in being social), I have been developing my own roleplaying system! I recently located the Steve Jackson Games Discworld roleplaying book, and have been reading it. Unfortunately, the mechanics are based on GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System), which I abhor. So, I threw that system out the window and developed my own specifically for Discworld, with stats for Morphic Fields and Magic and other such fun things. I just finished the first draft with a list of classes and spells. In a week or two I hope to test the rules out on a group of unsuspecting roleplayers! The ruleset I drafted is like a mix between WFRP (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) and Paranoia. It should be fun!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Personal, Watchings, Writing

 

Initial Thoughts on HBO’s Game of Thrones

At this point I have seen the first two episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The pilot, while still good, I also found lacking, but I acknowledge that many pilots are not as good as the rest of the show. The pilot covered too many characters in not enough depth, and so I felt like nothing was accomplished. The second episode was much, much better than the first, and I was very pleased with it. The major thing about these two episodes is that it would have been very hard to follow if I had not already read the books; knowing all of the characters and the world beforehand is very helpful. The problem with making a show out of this series is that there are so many characters, that by the second season each character will only have five or eight minutes per episode, which is problematic.

Based on these two episodes, my major thought is that the sex is overdone. A lot. Dany and Khal Drogo’s sex scenes are extremely awkward, and they seem to portray Drogo in a less caring way than in the books, which made me sad. Also, anal seems to be very popular.

The casting for the show was superb, I think, and the acting (while dramatic) is very, very good; Cersei and Joffrey make me angry, Jaime gives me mixed reactions, Tyrion is both despicable and loveable, Jon is Jon, Ned is noble and strong, Sansa is a bimbo (sorry for any offense that might be taken here), Arya is the female version of her father in his younger days, Robert is the drunken king, and Catelyn is the annoying wife. I never liked Catelyn, and while she does have her good aspects, the show brings out the negative in her.

What I want to see more of is Theon Greyjoy; the Greyjoys in the Iron Isles were always my second favorite plot line (after Dany’s), as I’ve always felt a connection with the sea. Theon is not nice, yes, but he’s the door to Balon and Aeron Hreyjoy, who I love as characters. The Others I were not happy with, but they don’t play a large role yet.

I look forward to seeing the Night’s Watch men and Stannis Baratheon, not to mention Littlefinger and (of course) the Greyjoy’s and Dornes – though that might be a ways away. In the end, I’m happy with this show, and am excited to see where it goes!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Watchings

 

Doctor Who Season Premiere!

I watched it, and I was thrilled. It was a fantastic episode, and the Silence are fantastic aliens – they’re not Weeping Angels, but their concept is better than the Vashta Nerada, Moffat’s other big creation. Stephen Moffat is a superb writer, and he delivered a superb, funny, terrifying, and thought-provoking episode; I can’t wait to see part two! “The Impossible Astronaut” ended on quite a cliffhanger…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Watchings