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Category Archives: Watchings

Lexx

I finished watching this very unique and fascinating dark comedy science fiction show a while ago, but haven’t yet had the time to write my thoughts on it. I still don’t exactly know how I feel about it, but I do think it is very overrated. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it was Farscape‘s major competitor (and I think Farscape was the better show myself), and had a similar set-up: a mismatched motley crew on board a living ship, traveling through space. In the case of Lexx, the crew consisted of a low-ranking security guard (Stanley Tweedle) who inadvertently gains control of the Lexx, the titular ship capable of destroying planets, a mutant love-slave (Zev/Xev), an undead assassin who was once a warrior-poet, and a talking robot head hopelessly in love with Xev (and later Kai).

It was the description of the crew that got me interested in the show, and I absolutely loved the first season, which consisted essentially for four hour and a half-long movies. It was dark, gritty, and absurdly funny at moments, and full of sexual innuendos that didn’t overpower thw show. It was clever and portrayed the absurdity of bureaucracy and totalitarianism, while simultaneously displaying the brutality of humanity and the universe, all set against a fascinating backdrop. The characters were great and I loved every minute of it.

Then we got to the second season, and halfway through it I almost stopped watching. The big bad guy of season one is gone, replaced by a different bad guy bent on destroying the universe, with a rather poorly-explained motivation. He didn’t click for me. Furthermore, the first season had a general continuous storyline, and the second one didn’t so much, and the episodes were either hit-or-miss, depending on the writer that week. Most of them were misses. A twitter response to my thoughts about leaving the Lexx ship prompted me to keep going, and I reluctantly powered my way through season 2, and I am glad I did.

Season three was by far my favorite, essentially taking place in Heaven and Hell, and exploring the war between the two. It introduced one of my favorite villains of all time, and doesn’t even try to explain his motivations outside of “I was created evil and so I will be evil and enjoy it.” They were honest about this, which was why he – Prince – worked so well as a villain. The third season I also found clever, and the “city of the week” set-up, in which the crew visited different cities on Hell (Fire) and Heaven (Water) every episode, fun and a good way to examine life.

The fourth season was also enjoyable, and took place on what we know as earth. It had its moments of both good and bad, and an unsatisfying ending, but I preferred season 3. Season 4 was definitely the most humorous, however.

Overall, it was a good show, and all but season 2 were worth watching. Season 2 was extremely depressing – which was fine – and completely overtaken by bad sexual innuendos that just got extremely annoying. I found it dull and not at all inventive or clever. Its villains, both minor and major, were two-dimensional and didn’t seem well-thought out; they seemed caricatures more than anything else. So, you can live without season 2, although some of it is important in later seasons, no not critically so. I would definitely recommend seasons 1 and 3 at the very least!

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Posted by on May 16, 2013 in Watchings

 

Asylum of the Daleks

So, I watched the latest Doctor Who episode, “Asylum of the Daleks,” and I was not impressed. I don’t like the direction Steven Moffat is taking the show in. I loved the fifth Series of Doctor Who, but Moffat’s treatment of the show in the sixth series frankly disgusted me. I don’t like his grand universe-saving schemes spanning multiple seasons. I actually preferred Doctor Who as a “monster of the week” show, and the one-off episodes are still my favorites. Moffat has fundamentally altered the character of the show in ways I don’t like. Moffat is trying to make the plots too convoluted, in my opinion, and isn’t always doing it correctly.

This isn’t to say that it’s bad (for the most part); I just don’t like it. So, despite my not being a fan of Series 6, I was willing to give Series 7 a go (and still will). But, from the first episode, my hopes aren’t very high. Moffat wrote the episode himself, so I had been expecting a lot, as he is generally a good episode writer (he wrote “Blink,” after all), but I was again disappointed here.

The Doctor, in the episode, was remarkably devoid of humor, his lines seemed forced, the episode had little context into the events and left me as the viewer lost and confused, and the Daleks acted in a very un-Dalek-like manner. Moffat said he was trying to make them scary again, but he really only made them more laughable, in my personal opinion. He did the same thing with the Weeping Angels in the two-part “Time of Angels” and “Flesh and Stone,” when he made the Angels move and speak, ruining their terrifying nature. The Dalek Parliament’s behavior did the same thing to the Daleks, in my personal opinion.

But the thing that really, really bothered me was Amy and Rory’s relationship. I liked Amy in Season Five. I hate her now; she acts inconsistently and, frankly, is insensitive, whiny, and rather thick. Rory really is the better of the two of them, by far. Very far. Moffat’s handling of their whole relationship annoyed me to an amazing degree, and seemed unnecessary and uncharacteristic.

On the bright side, the twist ending at the end of the show was very, very good and I loved it, even if I felt like it could have been explained and thought out better. In conclusion, I am going to at least finish this Series, but I am wary of it. Moffat has, I think, changed the fundamental nature of the show, which I feel was designed to be episodic, and that his convoluted plots are getting the better of him. Maybe he’ll impress me this Series; who knows. I hope he does.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Watchings

 

Farscape

I recently finished the entire science fiction show Farscape, including its concluding miniseries after the series was cancelled. It was, without a doubt, one of the best television shows I have ever seen, and I miss it already. The character development in the show was phenomenal, and I have never seen any cast of characters change so much. Unlike most shows, there was not a single character I didn’t like; every character brought something unique that no one else had. There were no straight men; every single character had a deep story and real motives, so even though the cast was mostly alien, every character seemed very, very real.

One of the best parts of the show was also its complete and utter disregard for science. There was a point in the fourth season when the crew is faced with impossible science, and Rygel says “”I don’t assume the universe obeys my preconceptions, but I know a frelling fact when it hits me in the face.” This irreverent attitude towards what is possible and what isn’t is part of what made the show so charming, and if you’re a hard science fiction fan, this show definitely isn’t for you. The show’s premise also says loads about its treatment of fate and science fiction: an astronaut is testing an experiment when a wormhole appears and sucks him up, depositing him into the middle of a space battle where his ship accidentally kills the brother of the commander of one of the sides, who then chases him for vengeance when he is picked up by the other side. It is rather contrived.

I only had one qualm with the show, and that was its “filler” episodes. They were fine at first, when there wasn’t an overarching plot, but in seasons three and especially four, there were occasional episodes that didn’t advance the plot at all thrown in there that were almost painful to watch. Other than that, show, Farscape has become my second favorite show of all time, only slightly behind Babylon 5, and I couldn’t recommend it more! Just be prepared for the absurd.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in 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!

 
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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.

 
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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!

 
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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.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in Watchings