Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Recent geekery

Some random thoughts on recent geek TV and some little sci-fi movie coming up...

1. Jessica Jones - First of all, let us take a moment to appreciate the miracle that we were able to watch this show at all. Nunavut based internet is a horror show...unless you're on Xplornet. I was ready to light up Xplornet earlier this year because of the truly dumbass way they were handling a transfer to a new system. But now that it's all settled down, it's working pretty good. We were able to stream all 13 episodes with no problems, and it didn't destroy our bandwidth cap of the month. Miraculous.

As for the show itself, feminists are going to be writing doctoral papers on that show for years. I don't mean that as a bad thing. Every time I read a review or a commentary it points out a new level to the show that I missed the first time around (I'm a middle-age white male living in Canada. Let's say I have a privileged existence). But there's a lot of smart feminist commentary going on there, but that in no way becomes preachy. It's a well-acted, mostly well written show that's deservedly making a lot of year-end lists.

I said mostly...I can find a few flaws with it. At 13 episodes it did feel a bit dragged out (Kilgrave gets away one two many times). I think 10 would have been a rock solid series. While they established early on why Jessica didn't want to take cases while dealing with Kilgrave, it still would have been nice to have seen her do more detective work. But it's nitpicks. I thought Marvel/Netflix would have a hard time topping Daredevil, or find a better villain that Wilson Fisk, but Jessica Jones is easily that show's equal.

Looking forward to Luke Cage. If Jessica Jones has smart things to say about feminism, I suspect that show is going to have interesting things to say about race.

2. Supergirl - Pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum. If Jessica Jones is entertainment for adults, with mature themes, some deeply flawed and unlikeable characters (including the heroine), Supergirl is all sunshine and inspirational. It can be a bit...cloying, at times, and I could do without everyone telling Kara that she's awesome, but it's mostly harmless and enjoyable. Also, Melissa Benoist is some of the best super hero casting I've seen so far, including the movies.

But I do wish it would...settled down a bit more. It still feels a little over-eager and earnest. I wish it would relax and get comfortable in its skin. The Flash, which is by the same show-runner, is much more comfortable in its super-hero universe. Supergirl is still trying to figure things out.

Although the episode I watched this week, which was kind of meh and felt very much like a "we need to make a cheap episode because we have some expensive special effects ones coming up" had at least one deeply cool moment that I didn't expect. A big reveal at the end that had me laughing out loud (and deeply confusing Cathy). I do love it when these shows actually seem to love the source material and play with the comic book universe as opposed to kind of reluctantly acknowledging that yes, these characters come from comic books.

It's my favourite reveal of the year. Maybe even better than King Shark's cameo in Flash, which had me laughing for a solid five minutes.

3. Dr. Who - Thank God. After a couple of deeply mediocre seasons with only a few really good episodes scattered throughout, a really solid season with only one real clunker and one episode - "Heaven Sent" - that people are going to be talking about for years.

I'm also really growing quite fond of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Last season I think they were still trying to figure out what kind of Doctor he was going to be. I like the aging rock star thing they went with this year. And with due respect to previous Doctors, who were good, Capaldi is a much better actor. It comes from the extra years of experience.

Also, it was a decent send off for Clara, with some nice misdirection along the way. Cathy, and a few other Whovians I know, hate Clara. I never minded her. She's the only companion to graduate to being a pseudo Time Lord. I like that.

Now to wait for the Christmas special with River. It looks fun.

4. Seriously, Showcase and Space are airing Childhood's End and The Expanse against each other? Two of the biggest sci-fi TV show events of the year, and this is the plan. Dead clever, that is...

5. The Librarians - Which is mostly harmless, although there is the bizarre thing where I'm kind of meh for the first 35 minutes or so, and then it gets really fun in the last 20 minutes. They really need to work on that. Oh, and more John Laroquette. Man, he walks on the screen and just steals the room. The rest of the cast really need to step up their game, especially when he's on screen.

6. Finally, I'm pleased to say that with the new Star Wars coming out next week I know virtually nothing about it. This was a very conscious decision made ages ago to pay very little attention to the movie. I watched a couple of the trailers, but I've avoided most of the speculation online, and as the movie launch date has drawn closer, stayed away from the promo campaign now in full swing.

There are two reasons for this. Although I normally don't mind being a spoiled a bit by movies (just because I know something happens doesn't mean I know why it happened. That's the interesting part), I thought going into a new Star Wars completely free of any knowledge might be a refreshing experience.

And, I admit, part of it was sheltering myself and managing expectations. I'm in the long list of people who were desperately disappointed by the prequels. Consider this part of managing expectations. The less I know, the less likely I am to be pissed off if it's bad. And considering JJ Abrams has made plenty of things that have pissed me off (ie. the last two Star Treks. Mercifully, I bailed on Lost after the first season, so I didn't waste about 100 hours of my life on the rest of the show.)

So we'll see. It's supposed to be opening in Iqaluit on December 18 and I'll try and get tickets for opening night. I hope it's good, but if it's not, I'm going to be ok. Probably.

Last Five
1. I can't hear you - Dead Weather
2. See me, feel me - The Who
3. The sick bed of Curchulainn - The Pogues*
4. Eddie's ragga - Spoon
5. The other side - Ron Sexsmith

1 comment:

Little Red Hen said...

Dr. Who has been hurting my head the last couple of episodes. The Weeping Angels were a nice scary touch. I kept hoping there was some sketchy time thing where Clara didn't really die. River and this Dr. will be interesting to see together.