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Author Topic: Random TV Thoughts  (Read 39955 times)

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Thad

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Random TV Thoughts
« on: April 07, 2008, 09:46:06 PM »

...So I'm a few weeks behind, but I just caught the first episode of HBO's John Adams.  It starts off in the most obvious place: Adams's defense of the Redcoats following the Boston Massacre.  It establishes him right off the bat as a man whose loyalty is to the justice above all else, more than England and more than America, and who picks a side only when it becomes clear that the Crown has no respect for the rule of law.  And of course the notion of a lawyer willing to risk his reputation and career to defend the "enemy" strikes an immediate contrast with the craven politicians of today.  Indeed, the citizens of Boston are primarily presented as vicious rioters, responding to oppression with violence.

Other key players also named "Adams" are Abigail, John Quincy, and Samuel.  Abby in particular is given her due as a close advisor to her husband.  Nothing yet on her alleged affair with Sam; I assume they get to that later.

There's some dramatic license taken, obviously, but so far it's a pretty solid bit of drama that has most of the facts right.  The courtroom drama is well-executed too.  Giamatti is amazing in the titular role; obviously it's hard for some actors to make the transition from comedy to drama, but I can watch his performance and forget he played Andy Kaufman's sidekick.  (Tangent: why the hell haven't I seen American Splendor?  Queuing it up now.)

All in all, looking forward to more, and the advantage of being behind is that 4 more have already aired, so I don't have to wait.
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Thad

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2008, 01:59:02 PM »

Second episode was both too long and too cute by half.  The first act goes overboard in introducing Founding Fathers, 2/3 of whom come across as two-dimensional cliches.  Gandalf Ben Franklin speaks entirely in famous catchphrases from Poor Richard's Almanack, and Thomas Jefferson is a timid young man who doesn't realize his potential until Adams pushes him.

The twentieth-century allegory is thick, too; Abigail's comments on race and gender rights seem a little overbearing, and the central diplomacy-versus-war dispute smacks of Chamberlain and Churchill.  It's all fairly historically accurate, but the presentation is less than subtle.

The introduction of David Morse's George Washington is a highlight.  I found my eyes drawn consistently to his jaw, with a subtle underbite resembling Houdon's cast of the real Washington's face.  In a nutshell, he looks like he has a mouthful of 18th-century false teeth.

The ending is strong, largely because the script gets an assist from non-WGA member Thomas Jefferson.  (Nice to see Franklin get his due for helping edit the Declaration.)
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Kazz

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2008, 02:06:43 PM »

Ben Franklin speaks entirely in famous catchphrases from Poor Richard's Almanack

Probably accurate.  He is likely to have had Asperger's.  He would just come up with clever things to say far in advance and then blurt them out when in public.

... maybe.
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Koah

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2008, 03:22:01 PM »

Kind of like Oscar Wilde, then?
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Thad

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008, 10:48:29 PM »

The third episode is a Nothing Happens episode, which mainly serves to develop Adams's frustration as ambassador to France and his repeated failures there.  It's easy to relate to his egotism and his strong-arm speeches, but just as clear that he doesn't belong there; you wonder how he was selected as a diplomat at all.

The fourth, by contrast, covers the period from England's surrender to Washington and Adams taking the office of President and VP.  I was mainly vexed in how it let Jefferson off the hook; for all his flirting with Abigail and his talk about France and women serving to take his mind off his wife's death, we see neither hide nor hair of the fifteen-year-old slave who was rather more concretely fulfilling that role.

A few good bits on federalism, Jefferson's faith in the people versus Adams's faith in laws, and suchlike; the Adamses' return home is interesting mainly for making John less of a sympathetic character as he reprimands Charles and forces John Quincy to choose between courtship and business.  His bitterness at losing to Washington is also revealing; Morse's brief appearance is once again excellent, and the contrast between the two men, both in physical stature and demeanor, is striking.

All in all, it's shaped up to be a great series as far as I've seen it, with two more eps already aired that I haven't watched yet and one to go.
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Arc

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2008, 05:57:07 PM »

I'm a Nielsen viewer for this week, so if anyone wants to support a show, just post up the time, channel and name of the program.
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Royal☭

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2008, 06:04:15 PM »

Veronica Mars, 1 year ago.

Fredward

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 07:03:27 PM »

Firefly, 5 years ago.
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Brentai

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2008, 07:30:48 PM »

24 hours of Spice TV
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Thad

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2008, 09:21:57 PM »

As always, top of the "guilty pleasures" heap is Smallville.  This season's been pret-ty lame, all things considered, though probably still better than the first couple.  And at least the "freak of the week" meme's finally pretty much out the window at this point.  (I started watching around season 4, which may be the best of the lot.  5 had its moments too.)

Of course the most interesting thing about the show, since day one, has been Lex's fall, which finally reaches its conclusion in the subtly-titled episode "Descent".  Too bad it has to happen in such a dumb ep.

Yes, we've known for at least three years that [spoiler]Lionel would eventually die protecting Clark's secret from Lex[/spoiler] (spoiler-tagged to protect WHICH major plot point that's been coming for three years happened this week), but the whole episode was pure idiot-plot.  Lex is entirely too dumb here, not bothering to [spoiler]check the locket before he kills Lionel[/spoiler], and Chloe in turn is dumb enough to hide the key in the same place where she found it.  In the most head-slapping contradiction of the episode, Clark can hear Jimmy muttering in the basement freezer (and why does a newspaper company have one of those, anyway?) yet completely fails to notice there is a third person in the room with him and Chloe approximately thirty seconds prior.  (Which brings me to another thing: [spoiler]the "No one will even remember your name" line was a very nice nod to the fact that you don't hear a hell of a lot about Lionel in the other versions of the Superman story, but it sort of serves as a reminder that[/spoiler] Chloe's most likely going to take a permanent dirt nap using her powers to heal Clark before the series is through.  Sigh.)

On the plus side, the Veritas arc has done a pretty good job of tying together plot threads that have been dangling since literally the first scene of the show, with Lionel reading about the Queens' death in a newspaper on his way to Smallville.  And the closing scene between Lex and Clark is what the show's all about.

On the Kara/Brainiac side of the plot, we've got some kind of incoming cosmic threat.  Now, the DCU's got plenty of cosmic threats that are bigger than Brainiac or Zod, but it'd be just swell to see Darkseid.

Next season's almost certainly going to be the last, with creators Gough and Millar hoofing it and Kreuk and Rosenbaum scaling back their roles.  So really, this season should wrap up the Lex/Veritas/cosmic threat stuff and leave next to ease everything into the status quo.
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Mothra

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2008, 10:55:33 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnoEgNW1kb0

Battlestar Galactica continues to be the best science fiction series I've ever seen, though you'd probably want to start watching from the beginning. Season 4's opener has a pretty ridiculous spoiler spelled right on out.

side note: nobody ever laughs in this show ever
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Kazz

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2008, 11:02:28 PM »

SHITFUCK, when did BSG restart?
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Thad

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2008, 11:05:09 PM »

Useful site: tvrss.net
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Arc

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2008, 04:58:42 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eN5BRwkdqWw

Proof positive that Venture Bros. was meant to be seen with an audience. A theatrical release should have been out by now.
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Kazz

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2008, 05:05:18 PM »

So, without giving any spoilers, someone tell me what the hell BSG: Razor is, anyway?
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Mothra

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2008, 05:43:35 PM »

It's gonna be a pretty ridiculous spoiler if you haven't seen up to the tail end of season 2, episode 34ish. Basically, it's retelling the Cylon attack/bombings from a "less fortunate" perspective.

It's pretty good, and features old-war era Adama.
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Zach

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2008, 02:18:57 PM »

Proof positive that Venture Bros. was meant to be seen with an audience. A theatrical release should have been out by now.

I'd rather be able to hear what the characters are saying. Watching the show/hypothetical theatrical release alone isn't ideal either, but the audience had better be exactly the sort of people who I like watching movies with.

Here's the clean trailer.

It's gonna be a pretty ridiculous spoiler if you haven't seen up to the tail end of season 2, episode 34ish. Basically, it's retelling the Cylon attack/bombings from a "less fortunate" perspective.

I think that you can give away a little more without ruining it. For example, there's a reason that it's called Razor:



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Thad

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2008, 09:36:21 PM »

New Speed Racer toon.  Apparently it showed tonight; I didn't catch it.  Wasn't really interested until I found out Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, the guys who've been writing the current Jonah Hex comic, wrote the first few eps, so I may have to check it out.
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Mothra

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2008, 10:09:54 PM »

Certainly looks like a winner!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQ_CZ6Q9MCI

I'd like to say this is a disservice to the franchise, but Speed Racer is fucking retarded.
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Niku

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Re: Random TV Thoughts
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2008, 11:14:41 PM »

I'd like to say this is a disservice to the franchise, but Speed Racer is fucking retarded.

retardedly AWESOME

can't wait until next weeeeek
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