October 22nd, 2017
shadowkat: (Default)
1. Just finished watching the first three episodes of Kevin Probably Saves the World. Has anyone seen this? It's, well, it is just weird. I'm amazed it got picked up. I can just see the elevator pitch...

So here's a show about a guy who after a failed suicide attempt moves back to his small town and in with his sister and niece. He has lost his job and his girlfriend. Anyhow, one day a meteor crashes to earth, and he touches it. Which results in him connecting with a celestial entity in the form of a large black woman. She's one of God's Warriors or the Universe's helpers and she's here to help Kevin to save the world. Kevin is one of 36 righteous souls that each of these celestial beings is sent to help. Kevin saves the world by helping others find happiness. Each time he connects with another being, the universe sends him a message or clue -- showing him how to connect to the other 35 souls.
Only one problem the other souls have disappeared, and the beings guarding them have stopped caring.
Meanwhile everyone in Kevin's life thinks he's a wee bit unstable, albeit harmless, as he meanders about talking to an invisible black lady. And somehow manages to help people in his town along the way.

I think they picked it up because it wasn't like anything else on television. I'm stumped for a comparison.

Is it any good?

Eh. Yes and no?

Jason Ritter is quite likeable as Kevin, he has his father, John Ritter's affable personality and sense of comic timing. The woman playing his sister, Amy, looks a lot like Rachel McAdams and/or the gal playing April on Grey's Anatomy. J. August is playing the cop interested in Amy.

The story is also rather quirky and comforting. It's sort of a male version of the Gilmore Girls meets Touched By An Angel, although that's not quite right. For one thing these aren't angels, and they don't refer to God, so much as the Universe. Also the people in the town aren't that quirky, Kevin is, they aren't.

Each week Kevin helps someone. One week he helps a man tell his father that he no longer wants to work in the family brewery, the father has a heart-attack -- which alerts the hospital and doctors to the fact that he has a chronic heart condition, and Dad decides to sell the brewery to a corporation.
The next week, he helps a woman tell her best friend and spouse that she doesn't want to be married to him any longer. Basically the universe wanted him to break them up?

It's weird, and sort of a clever satire on...well Touched by an Angel trope. I'm not really sure what to make of it, to be honest.

2. Good Behavior

Still good. This stars Michelle Dockery as an American thief/con-artist, from Georgia. Who got into high end burgulary due to a drug addiction. A recovering alcoholic she manages to reconnect with her son and obtain custody. Not easy to do, since her son is black, and she's white, and the father's black -- with a better job. The father was the drug dealer who got her hooked.

Anyhow, finally out of prison, she meets up with and falls hard for an Argentine hitman, Javier. Whose family ran a cartel in Argentina. The hitman falls for Letty, Dockery's character. She manages to get custody of Jacob, her son, by sort of betraying Javier to the FBI -- but redeems herself in Javier's eyes when she goes out of her way to save him.

It's rather funny in some respects. Black absurdist comedy. Which comments heavily on various soci-economic themes. And adapted from a series of noir novels by the same author who wrote the novels, entitled "Good Behavior".

This season, Letty and Javier and Jacob are sort of on the run from the FBI. And trying to go legit at the same time, but Letty and Javier are failing miserably at it -- in part because both like an upscale lifestyle. And can't get it without being criminals.

3. The Inhumans

I'm finding this more entertaining and less annoying than Once Upon a Time and The Gifted.
Also, it has some interesting side characters. Quarto is by far my favorite, he's asian, has tats on his face and body, and his ability is seeing trajectories, consequences, and cause and effect. It's a sort of interesting and rather unique talent. All of the characters talents are unique and for the most part, the human characters are interesting. I rather like the nerdy scientist who is fangurling over the Inhumans.

Not sure why everyone hated it. (shrugs)

Also having a character who communicates completely through sign language and with his eyes is rather interesting.

Too bad it only has two episodes left and flopped. Ah well, on the other hand, it's not like I don't have other things to watch.

4. Riverdale

Liking the tone of the season and the cinematography quite a bit. The focus or pov is the kids, with the adults looking shadowy and guilty. There's a deep noir undertone here.

Jughead continues to be the narrator. And we now have the introduction of Veronica's dad, Hiriam Lodge, who is a bit dark, and shadowy. Although it is admittedly hard to envision Kelly Ripa's hubby, who used to play Mateo on All My Children as a villain or even disreputable. But he is. The casting is rather entertaining. Also having him as the father of a 15 year old girl seems odd to me. Mainly because I remember when he was playing a 16 year old. That's part of the fun of this series -- we have all these former 1980s/1990s teen television show and movie stars in the parent roles.

spoilers )


I'm watching too many tv shows...I still have 20 hours on DVR. I need to kick a few to the curb.
Thinking Dynasty, OUAT, and possibly Kevin Probably Saves the World, but on the fence on that one.
Inhumans will be over soon. So there's that.
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shadowkat: (rainbow strength)
posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 08:56pm on 22/10/2017
I love THIS , it's a political blog post by an old college pal who works for a research organization.


Brianna Smith, a political science doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, responded that “Probably both factors are at work.” She explained to me that people like simple solutions and rally behind them. Simple messages resonate with voters. They don’t want to hear that problems are complicated and solutions are messy. But she’s less supportive of attaching the word “demagogue” to some political leaders over others. “Trying to get people scared and angry and ready to get involved, these are tactics used by everyone.”

Philip Fernbach is a cognitive scientist at the University of Colorado. He and Steven Sloman recently published The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. I asked Fernbach specifically about the problem of political polarization. He explained that polarization may stem from overconfidence in our grasp of the issues. His research shows that people are constrained by the limited amount of information they can store in their brains. But this limitation doesn’t lead to humility; in fact, it’s the opposite. As Fernbach and Sloman write, “We are overconfident, sure we are right about the things we know little about.” This can make us ripe for manipulation.


[Oh so true. I see it in myself and those around me. Ask yourselves...how often do you postulate online or off about something, convinced you know everything about it -- only to discover - frak, I should have fact-checked that first, I totally generalized. Now, I look like a complete nitwit? One of the shows I watched today, a character told another one -- "doubt is your friend". The character was upset he lost his certainity. That was his power, he was certain about everything. And his lover, the other character, told him, "the scariest people in the world don't have doubt and are certain. Doubt is our friend, it makes us question, to see new ways of solving a problem." Then of course there was The Good Place, who had a character who was certain he was right and knew everything about a philosophical approach, until he found himself being tortured with it. Sometimes certainty can create distance or put us in jeopardy.]

And...


Surely there’s a fix here. We aren’t destined to be ruled by our sometimes obstinate, prejudiced, and simplistic natures, easily manipulated by appeals to our emotions, and unwilling to hear others. Right?

Fernbach was not as optimistic as I would have liked (because I, like everyone else, like simple answers). He told me that “We cannot just educate ourselves out of this problem.”

But he did offer some ideas. Along with a call for humility, he suggests we try to explain our positions instead of advocating for them. Advocacy allows us to speak with a very shallow understanding of the issues, but when we try to explain our position we realize how little we really know.



98% of the fights I get into online and off...are because of this. I'm advocating my position, and so is the other guy. Neither of us are listening. We are right, damn it.
We're not explaining why we feel that way or how we derived at this conclusion, but advocating like two trial attorneys. As opposed to being more open, and considering other views..


Next, he suggests we focus on consequences and not values. We tend to demonize others when we focus solely on values. For example, if you believe that healthcare is a basic right, and I disagree, it’s not because I want people to die in the street. Instead, focus on the things that most of us can agree on: affordable, effective healthcare.

Finally, he advises us to approach people with curiosity. Ask them why they believe what they do. Don’t try to convince anyone they’re wrong, just listen. Remember that in most cases you are not an expert. Roberts-Miller would likely agree with this. She writes: “. . . we try to solve the problem of demagoguery in ways that worsen it: We call for purifying our public sphere of their demagogues, often in very demagogic ways.”


Both very good points. When you focus on values...it's hard to budge. Because that's a feeling. Something important to a person. But if you focus on consequences...it opens things up a bit.

What are the consequences of not having affordable healthcare? How can we change that?
What are the possible solutions.

Also, the point about being curious. Not just interested in pushing one's own point of few. But listening and understanding the opposing view. I think sometimes people are afraid to do this.


Brianna Smith told me that it’s possible to train ourselves out of the in-group/out-group mindset, but it has to start from birth. She told me that infants start to show a preference for one race over another at three months. However, children raised in racially diverse environments show much less preference for their own race.


[I don't agree that it has to start from birth, since I'm currently working with various people to train myself as well as others out of that mindset. And have been fighting to get out of it most of my life. Because the "in-group/out-group mindset" -- I've discovered is toxic to my well-being. It is the reason I've suffered from social anxiety, and depression at various points, is the cause of the bullying I've suffered, and the root cause of the bullying, hazing, and violence that I've seen others suffer. But it is not easy to change the behavior pattern, or pull out of it. And for some, it may well have to start from birth, but I choose not to believe that.]


Some of us are better at raising our dogs to be social than our children. She explained:

“If you have an aggressive dog, you socialize it. You don’t raise a dog around women only, for instance – it will be aggressive toward men. If you raise a kid around white people, they probably won’t grow up to be violent, but they’ll have a moment of uncertainty around people they see as different.”

Here’s a summary of what I heard, along with a few of my own suggestions for preventing yourself from being manipulated by populists or creating an atmosphere of intolerance that allows empowers them:

1. Embrace the boring and complicated, and be skeptical of the bold and simple.
2. Reject appeals to fear.
3. Reject appeals to utopia. Keep in mind the adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.”
4. Listen and ask questions; i.e., stop talking so much.
5. Seek out people you disagree with.



I like the point about rejecting appeals to fear. Fear of losing your home, employment, safety, etc. When a political platform is preaching fear -- it's time to do some extensive fact-checking, and questioning. Same for the opposite. They are right -- politicians appeal to basic emotions -- fear, hate, hope, love...

I remember talking to a bunch of friends at lunch once upon a time, it was several years back. I was upset because they weren't agreeing with me. And stated in frustration, it would be nice to be surrounded by people who did, all the time. They said, "no, that would be horrible and boring. Also how would you know if you were wrong? It's far better to be with people who don't entirely agree on things. It forces you to question yourself. And that's a good thing." I thought about it and had to agree that they were right.

I know I don't always listen, and I talk far too much, also that I have a tendency to advocate or think I'm right...but I'm trying to do better and change that behavior. One of the things I love about the show "The Good Place" is it demonstrates that it is never to late to change one's behavior.

[ETA: My lovely friend stated that the one thing she didn't like about her essay is she is getting on a soapbox to tell people to get off their's. I've decided it is very hard not to get up on a soap box when posting essays. Because we are taught to write this way -- with active voice, and assertive words. From a place of certainity. In law school, I was taught to use qualifiers, and less assertive words, so I wouldn't be held accountable and there would be wiggle room if necessary. After law school, I spent years ridding myself of the qualifiers -- basically. I also had to get rid of therefore, thereof, whereof, thus...While in law school, I had to get rid of academic words and grammatical choices. Then when I entered business - I had to learn how to right clearly, succinctly, to the point, and without any qualifiers. Yes, I got confused. Who wouldn't?
Every field has it's own bloody way of writing. Anyhow, off-topic. My point is that we are sort of taught to keep up on a soapbox when we write essays or to advocate a position. So it's really hard to shift the tone of the words so that we aren't doing that. And I think it can be done, it's just...you have to shift the tone and change the words used. Less formal, more conversational, and less active, more passive, perhaps.]
October 21st, 2017
shadowkat: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 09:36pm on 21/10/2017
Slowly making my way through the week's television shows. Keep getting distracted by the internet.
Should write. I'm basically being a chair potato. I'd say couch, but don't own one at the moment and never really liked them that much. I like arm chairs and putting my feet up on coffee tables.

1. Crazy Ex-Girl Friend -- continues to be a biting satire on romantic love, gender politics, and the view that having a romantic partner makes you happy.

Also the songs are rather good in places. This weeks gen was Joss Chen's song and dance number in church about being free.

2. The Good Place -- The writers take on Kierkregard and the Ethical Trolly Dilemma. Read more... )

3. The Gifted -- this is still triggering me for some reason. I think it hits too close to home -- in regards to how the US is currently treating the Muslim and immigrant population. (I feel frustrated and angry about it, but there's not a lot I can do that I haven't done already.)

The story seems to take place in X-Men Days of Future Past verse. Where Sentinels are keeping the mutants in line, and placing them in deportment camps. It does not appear to be in the same verse as MAOS, Marvel Avengers films, or the Inhumans. But in the same verse as Legion and the X-men films.
Which is a much darker verse.

In it, mutants are rounded up as threats to national security. The organization that is helping them escape is considered a terrorist organization. And neighbors, etc are turning against them, treating the mutants as monsters to be put down. This week's episode reminded me a little of Rod Serling's The Monsters Arrive on Maple Street.

It's actually fairly well written, and the acting for the most part is on target. Spoilers )

4. Once Upon a Time --- I'm rapidly losing interest. I surfed the net during this episode.

Henry, unfortunately, is not interesting or compelling. Cinderella is, but that's about it.
And it's not enough to hold my interest.

I never thought I'd say this but I miss the Charmings.

5. Dynasty -- also rapidly losing interest. The second episode was boring. I don't care about any of the characters and spent most of the episode wondering about different ways to improve it.
If I were doing this as a reboot? I'd have cast Blake as female, the Crystal character as male, and have him and Fallon have chemistry. Or, cast Fallon as a lesbian turned on by Crystal. That would at least put a bit of spark into it.

Right now, it's rather bland. Gossip Girl had more oomph.

Also it takes itself too seriously.

When the best line was used in the preview, you know you have issues.

I sort of wish they could have done with Dynasty what they did with Dallas...but Dynasty admittedly didn't lend itself to that.

Anyhow, it made me miss the Dynasty of the 1980s...with the big shoulder pads, and cheesy dialogue.
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 08:52pm on 21/10/2017 under ,
Whoa...found this and it shows how different the conversation is now then it was just a year ago at this time. A year ago at this time, we elected a sexual predator as President of the US, a man who openly harassed women, and treated them as sexual objects. And people stated well, he's just being a guy. Now, 12 months later....


I don’t want to see a single comment under this post saying “This is just guys being guys. This is normal. It’s fine,” or ANY VARIATION on that theme. This was not OK. None of it is excusable. Lots of men are not like this. If it’s your idea of what it is to be a man, it shouldn’t be.
#notallmen—are you sure?

I first started thinking back over my past behaviour after reading a comment thread on Pharyngula about #NotAllMen. Of course what men really meant by this hashtag was “not me“. They were more concerned about clearing their own reputation than listening to women about the problem. Most of the Pharyngula thread was about how this hashtag was an irrelevant distraction from women’s reports of sexual harassment, which it is. But one commenter had a different spin. “Can I really say I’ve never harassed a woman?” they mused (I’m paraphrasing from memory). “Never? Not even when I was drunk? Not even when I was a teenager? Not even unintentionally made a woman feel uncomfortable by staring or touching?”

When I first started writing this post, my intention was to make the point that even regular, ‘good’ guys can be harassers. Now I’ve written down 12 of my worst moments, I doubt I’m the best person to make this point. I’m sure (at least I hope) lots of men have read this and gone “Jeeeeeez, I would never do that.” My behaviour went a long way from what most people consider acceptable.

Still: It’s true, there are predators. There are manipulators and those who consciously choose to hurt women. But there are nowhere near enough of them to account for the near-universal experiences of women being harassed and assaulted. Some of the assaults are being done by regular guys. Check it isn’t you.


Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leavingfundamentalism/2017/10/17/im-reason-women-posting-metoo/#tj8hGfLPWlommY8B.99

This reminds me a lot of what a male friend stated this week...how scared he was that he'd done this. Not being aware of what he was doing.

We're beginning to have an important nation wide discussion about sexual abuse and bullying. Wow. And it's about bloody time. We've had them before of course, but not like this -- not with people actually listening. It gives me hope. I think things are shifting.

[ETA - there's an even better post that is a direct follow up to this one at the same site!

To Stop Sexual Assault We Must Talk About How to Be a Man


When women tell the world that they have been assaulted, they are met with a chorus of disbelief.

You’re just doing it for attention.

If it’s true, why haven’t you told the police?

If it’s true, why aren’t you naming names? [If they don’t]

Why are you trying to ruin this man’s life? [If they do]

That’s not harassment, it’s just a compliment.

Did you do anything to encourage him?

On and on, a sea of disbelief, or of silence, or doing nothing, or worse, of attacking her for having said anything. Meanwhile I come out and say “Hey world, I did some shocking things but I’m not doing them anymore!” and the response has been largely to hail my brilliance. I did start my Facebook post with “I’m scared to post this”, which might be seen as encouraging the “So brave!” reactions. Still, it seems that there are people who are ready to shower men with praise for doing the bare minimum. The women speaking about their assaults are brave. I am (assuming you believe me about having learned and changed) at best an ex-scumbag. Don’t give me a cookie.

The first thing we could learn from the response to my post is that we can make the world better just by supporting victims of assault and harassment the same way we apparently support (reformed) abusers.


AND...

My last post focused on my time as a Pickup Artist (PUA). PUA ideology absolutely needs to be challenged, but it is not the main cause of the harassment epidemic. Most men are not PUAs, and will never be PUAs. That doesn’t mean that they haven’t absorbed some terrible ideas about what it is to be a man.

PUA ideas are really just a turbocharged version of widely-believed ideas about masculinity. Men want sex all the time. Women want men who are traditionally masculine and powerful, even dominant. The number of women you can attract is a measure of your manliness. Women don’t think like men at all, so to ‘understand’ them you need some kind of system. Manliness is embodied by aggressive heterosexuality. PUAs just take these ideas, treat them as though they are objective facts, and claim to make you a Real Man. Lots of men have similar beliefs without getting sucked into the PUA subculture.


Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leavingfundamentalism/2017/10/19/stop-sexual-assault-must-talk-man/#mLuffqXl7QhOdyml.99

But it's not just the PUA community. It's wider spread than that. My brother was upset about this a while back -- stating that he didn't subscribe to this view of manliness.


Everything on my list is inexcusable. But I still think it’s worth investigating why I did what I did. It wasn’t because I got physical or emotional pleasure from it. I didn’t really enjoy any of those encounters. And that’s not because of casual sex: I’ve since had lovely, mutually satisfying sex that we both knew wasn’t leading to a long-term relationship.

Everything I described in that post happened more than eight years ago. Back then, I was having sex to prove to myself that I could. Real men want a lot of sex, and it’s a measure of your masculinity how successful you are in getting that sex. I was trying to prove to myself that I was a man. It is pathetic, but it is true.

We need to change our ideas about what it is to be a man.

First and most obviously, if you commit sexual assault or harass women, this makes you a worse man.

Also:

Being ‘dominant’ makes you a bully, not a better man.

Your manliness is not determined by the amount of sex you have.


Thank you. I remember a young woman posting in her LJ ages ago that she was a woman now that she'd had sex with a man. Seriously? I was enraged. So if you never have sex with a man, you're not a woman? WTF? That's dumb. Becoming a woman has zip to do with having sex. Just as becoming a man has zip to do with having sex.

People actually think this way? Yes, they do. They think their sex lives define them.
And worse, define those around them.

I do want to say, his use of the word dominant is not used in any way shape or form to condemn the BDSM community, where men and women are in consensual D/S relationships, with both genders taking on both roles, and with safe words. That's not what this is about.

What he also shines a light on is how men are shamed for not being sexually experienced in our culture. Just as women are often shamed for being too sexually experienced.
We virgin-shame men and women, we slut-shame women.

None of that is remotely excusable or kind. It's bullying.

Men and women are guilty of doing this. He's right, we have to change how we talk about sex. This is effecting us all. No one is immune.

It's funny because our media, art, novels, etc have been reflecting these things for some time now. ]
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 12:46pm on 21/10/2017
I tried various titles on for size, but nothing quite works...

So, for the most part, I've been staying away from social media and the news, just jumping in here and there. And it's been wonderful, bit like leaving a dark dank tunnel and emerging into the light.
Because if anything major happens, people will tell you.

The Weinstein mess, I've watched from the corner of my eye, sneaking peeks at it...but for the most part avoiding it. I'd seen the "#MeToo" on FB. That is until Wed...Read more... )
October 20th, 2017
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October 17th, 2017
rahirah: (purrs)
October 16th, 2017
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shadowkat: (tv slut)
posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 09:12pm on 16/10/2017 under
Welcome back Maze. A week with Maze, Detective Dan, and Dr. Linda...and no Ella or Tom Welling/Pierce. YAY! I missed Maze, although she looks different, softer somehow. Did miss Amenadial.
Rather liked that episode. This is my favorite procedural, although it's not a true procedural. In fact the writers aren't even trying any longer with the procedural. Reminds me of what happened with the Good Wife and Angel the Series, started out as a procedural, writers got sort of bored, and went off in another direction. Works for me. I'm not a fan of procedurals, I'm too good at figuring out the mystery ahead of the characters and well, then what's the point?

spoilers )

Fun episode.

Oh, and my other favorite television show is back -- "Good Behavior" -- it's also a darkly funny series, but about a thief, a hitman, and her kid on the run.

Right now my favorite tv shows on or must watch shows on cable (not streaming) are:

* Lucifer
* The Good Place
* Good Behavior
* Grey's
* Poldark
* This is Us
* Riverdale
* Big Bang Theory

And possibly The Gifted.

Enjoying Inhumans and Seal Team. On the fence about everything else.

Can't say I'm fangurl or fannish about any of it...but I'm rarely fannish about things. Last thing I was somewhat fannish about may have been Farscape, but I came so late to the party -- it lasted a year. BSG -- fannish about for a little while, but got annoyed with the final season. Same deal with Lost. Also happened with Once Upon a Time - was fannish for the first three seasons, then got annoyed. Similar situation with Veronica Mars.

The only series I think I managed to stay fannish about during and after its entire run was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's among the few series that I got more fannish about as it went, usually it's the opposite. I'm not really a cereal fan (meaning jumping from fandom to fandom, not the breakfast cereal).
October 15th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 09:27pm on 15/10/2017
I feel like I've watched a lot of television shows this weekend. I don't tend to watch that much during the week -- mainly because no time. Between work, errands, and other things not worth mentioning...there's limited time. Plus early wake up time.

Burned out. Don't want to watch any more. Poldark will just have to wait until Monday. Assuming I don't decide to watch Lucifer instead.

Anyhow...more television shows below. I don't know if calling this a review is really accurate. Someone took exception with me calling a post a review once, which made me wonder -- what exactly is determined to be or defined as a review?

1. The Gifted

Still enjoying for the most part. But, it's a bit anxiety inducing and seems to make me angry. I think it may be triggering me? I have major difficulties with people being arrested without fair trial or due process. Unfair imprisonment enrages me and is among my worst nightmares. Also, I have issues with racism and fascism. It's why I have not been able to watch The Man in the High Castle -- every time I attempt it -- it triggers me.

So, while I'm enjoying the series -- I keep finding myself yelling at the television set and wanting to kick the villains.

Don't know how long I'll stick with it. I gave up on The Walking Dead and Revenge for some of the same reasons, and admittedly have struggled with both Poldark and Game of Thrones. Comfort television this isn't. It's frustrating to watch at times...and let's face it the world can be frustrating all on its own, sometimes you just want to escape from it.

Anyhow, I like the characters, the actors, and the story for the most part -- I just wish they'd break out Reed Strucker and Polaris from the damn prison and move on to another story already. Not sure I can watch Polaris get beaten up much longer.

I'm beginning to understand why everyone seems to prefer the DC superhero series and MAOS, they are less frustrating and there's a happy ending, for the most part, or a satisfying conclusion. It's less anxiety inducing. Hmmm...I may be a bit of a masochist where television is concerned.

2. Riverdale

Season opener was slow in places, but did a good job of pushing the story forward and maintaining the general norish atmosphere. It really does feel a bit like Archie Comics by way of Twin Peaks, or at the most James M. Cain. The point of view is mainly the teens, but unlike various 90s and early 00s television series -- the parents have a major role and aren't relegated to the sidelines, or completely invisible. That was always my quibble with Buffy and various other teen oriented series -- the parents didn't appear to exist. They were there...but rarely seen. Did Buffy never meet Xander and Willow's parents? It seemed odd. Here at least they are part of the story and a vital part, they may even be the villains. It's not clear.

What's disturbing is who they are casting as the parents...people who were in all the teen shows and movies that I watched in the 1990s and 80s. I mean Luke Perry was Buffy's boyfriend in the Buffy Movie and the teen heart-throbe in 90210. And Molly Ringwald did all those John Hughes teen films.
Madchen -- Betty's mother, was the teen hottie for guys in Twin Peaks, and Billy Crudup - was the teen baddie in the Scream flicks. Ack. I now know how my parents felt. Weirdest thing about getting older, you don't feel like you are any older...until you look at other people and think, okay, wait a second.

Anyhow, I like this season better than last. It's done a good job of building the characters. And Jughead has gotten a bit more interesting.

The teens or rather twenty-somethings playing the teens are rather good in their roles. It's well cast. And the cinematography feels like you are watching a painting unfold. Each scene is so perfectly shot. The writing good be a smidgen or two better...but considering what it is, it's not bad.

3. Once Upon a Time

Well, they've definitely rebooted the concept. This week's episode answered one of the three questions that I was curious about. Which was how they were going to continue the series with Hook, but without Emma, and still keep their happy ending. Also why the heck Regina and Hook ended up in Hyperion Heights with Henry, but no one else did outside of Rumplestilskin. spoiler )

The other two questions I have are -- how'd Rumple get there and what in the hell is his deal this round? Once that gets answered, I may or may not give up on it. Emma unfortunately was and is a better actress and character than her son Henry, and the guy currently playing him. So, I'm not sure this is going to have much staying power. That said, the actress playing Cinderella aka Lucinda, rocks. I love her.

Lucinda: I find it disturbing that my daughter thinks I'm Cinderella waiting for her prince to save her. I want her to see me as saving myself, and supporting her, not idly waiting around thinking some day my prince will come.
Henry: Actually, I think that was Snow White.

Go Lucinda.

Other than that...I don't know how long I'll stick with it. The evil stepmother isn't as interesting or entertaining as the Evil Queen. She wasn't in the fairy tale either. It's sort of dull. And I think they wrapped it up rather neatly last year.

4. Grey's Anatomy

I enjoyed this episode better than last weeks. (I'm not a fan of April, Arizona or Jo Wilson...so when they aren't featured, I'm happy. My mother isn't either. We grouse about them over the phone, so no need to do it here.) That said, I'm feeling sorry for Wilson, and I can't quite decide where they are going with April.

spoilers )


5. Scandal -- yes, I'm still watching Scandal. How much longer don't know. Since it is the final season, I may stick it out.

I like the actors and characters for the most part. Particularly Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope. She's fierce. And Cyrus Been is interesting to me. Also have an odd fondness for Charlie and Quinn.

It's interesting that now that Olivia has the power, she's doing underhanded things. The series has always been a rather adept examination of power, how people abuse it, and how it corrupts. It's similar to The Good Wife in this respect. Both the Good Wife and Scandal are political satires about gender politics, and power. I think The Good Wife is better written, but Scandal is definitely entertaining at times, even though it's plots often make no sense.
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 04:12pm on 15/10/2017 under
1. Valor

Well, I didn't make it past the first fifteen minutes.Read more... )

2. Dynasty

Will have to watch a few more episodes first. It's okay. Read more... )

It's a more diverse cast. And the actor playing Jeff Colby, has high cheekbones and attitude that reminds me weirdly of James Marsters Spike meets Mr. Trick.

3. The Inhumans

I've seen three episodes of this to date. The first two were apparently back to back, and the third one the next week -- which I caught on "On Demand" because I forgot to record it.

I appear to like it better than everyone else does. But I've learned over the past fifty years not to care that much what other people think - at least in regards to television shows. ;-)

It's different than the other superhero shows on, and it's rather funny in places.

Medusa to ATM: I am Queen of Attilan, Give me money.
ATM:....
Medusa: I am Queen...give me some money...please?
ATM:....

So Medusa goes and robs the royal estates in Hawaii of a jacket, trousers, shirt, and purse -- then goes off to hunt down Black Bolt.

Morpheus - This is taking forever, can't we find a path.
Team member with pretty hair -- oh there are so many plants and they are so beautiful
Morpheus: That's nice, can't you make a path between them?
Team member: Oh, I can do that. Sure thing.
Morpheus: Oh, I can do that? And you wait until now...

It sort of pokes fun at itself. Too many of these superhero series take themselves far too seriously.

It's hard to write reviews of television series. I mean what do you say exactly? I liked the acting? People, or so I've discovered, have very different perceptions/views on what is good acting based on their own knowledge and experiences.

Anyhow, the show is about a royal family of beings with powers. It's not a series about superheroes. It actually has more in common with The Gifted and Heroes, than MAOS, Supergirl, Arrow, etc. Read more... )

That said, if you don't like shows about people with powers in which they aren't doing heroic deeds, saving the world, or working to do so...(ie. not Superheroes but just people with powers and in this case entitled people from another territory with powers), this won't work for you. It's about a bunch of half alien/half human powered beings who think they are better and more evolved than humans, and the racial prejudice on both ends of the spectrum -- with well, the fact that one side can kill the other just by opening their mouth. I can see how that might turn off a few people. It's also serial in structure, with no case of the week, or job to do. So you sort of have to watch it from the beginning or you'll get a bit lost -- similar to Heroes, Legion, and The Gifted. Except no where near as well written. It's fun, but depends on your sense of humor -- mine's rather dry and absurdist, so I found it hilarious in spots, but I tend to find things funny others don't and vice versa.


4. Situational Comedies:

*9JKL - this is a comedy about a television actor whose lost everything a divorce, moving into an apt between his brother/sis-inlaw, and parents. Think "Everybody Loves Raymond" but more upper East Side, and not as likable. (Considering I never liked or appreciated the humor in Everybody Loves Raymond, it's not surprising this didn't work for me. Most situation comedies don't. I like the work place comedies or off-the-beaten track.) I didn't make it past fifteen minutes.

* The Mayor -- eh, has potential, just didn't hold my interest. My jump again if it survives. It may be too political, which was my difficulty with it. Also didn't make it very far. But at least it's different.

Think twenty-something black rapper suddenly becomes Mayor of a small city, with an all-white city council. That's the set-up.

* Blackish -- This is an old show, and I rarely watch because family sitcoms don't work for me, but if you haven't seen The Juneteenth Episode Premiere - try to. I watched it on "On Demand".
It's brilliant. They do a great satire of the old School House Rock ditty I Am a Bill...except instead of I Am Bill -- it's I Am Slave -- detailing the history of slavery from the black perspective in ten minutes. Also does a great job of slaughtering Columbus Day. The whole episode points out the power imbalance between the races and the difficulty of privilege, which by extension has had serious and detrimental consequences -- but in a funny and insightful way.

* Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - another old show, which is often a bit too over the top for me, but this episode is worth watching for the satiric song and dance number "Watch Us Generalize About Men" -- if you can find a clip of it on Youtube, watch it. It's hilarious and an excellent satire on gender politics. Actually the entire series is a satire on gender politics and how our society views sex and romantic love. Each song satirizes one or the other and quite well. Subtle it's not -- so keep that in mind.

*. The Good Place -- worth watching for the riff on existentialism. The writers either are frustrated philosophy majors or have the same general irritation regarding it that I do. It's hilarious, they make fun of the meaning of life, death, and existentialist theory in this episode. Also, make some good points about narcissism. It's a bit smarter with its humor and a tad more subtle than the other shows.
October 14th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 09:28pm on 14/10/2017 under
why I'll be posting less and mainly on innocuous topics )

Television

Watching Seal Team, which is better than I expected. It's well acted, and an interesting role for Boreanze, who for the most part is playing more of character role for a change, less romantic lead. (Of course he's not pretty any longer, somewhat rugged, sort of looks like a hockey player gone to seed, and more normal looking. And somewhere between Buffy S1 and Seal, Boreanze became a good television actor, although I never thought he was a bad actor. I liked him well enough in Angel and Buffy. Buffy, for the most part, was well cast, as was Angel, or I'd have never stuck with either.) It's a good role for DB, who is playing Jason, leader of the team, a conflicted solider with problems at home. DB does conflicted well. Also the rest of the heavy male-oriented cast is good. So far I don't see any weak links in the cast.

The pilot is exposition heavy and hard to follow as a result. There's a lot going on, and a lot of back story. The story picks up in the middle, with the team already established. Via flashbacks, we learn that Boreanze's character feels directly responsible for one of his team members' deaths who was also his best friend. That he's separated from his wife due to being married to his job and being away a lot, also not exactly into sharing and emotionally distant. Has three kids, all teenagers. We jump into the team mid-flow, with a lot of military jargon thrown at the screen, and the first job is your typical hostage rescue, failing to capture not kill the bad guy routine (Similar to The Brave's plot-line, but less suspenseful and far more realistic. Not to mention less predictable and cliche ridden.). The difficulty is there's a lot of
jumping back and forth between the flashback, the job, and the home lives of the team -- also a lot of characters are introduced at once and too many pov's.

The second episode is much better than the first. It was compelling enough to get me to watch the second episode "On Demand", which I guess is saying something, right?

This episode gives us more insight on how the team works together. It follows two main pov's instead of several, Jason (Boreanze), who is the seasoned leader of the team, with the world on his shoulders, and Clay Spenser, the young hot-head, who he kicked back to training and off the team. Both are compelling characters, and hit my story kinks pretty hard. (I like wounded/conflicted male and female heroes, with savior complexes, and who have to make tough and often ambiguous decisions. I'm not really gender specific.) The other thing about this episode is it is realistic -- they come upon a bunch of poisoned Syrian kids, and debate what to do about it. The debate is mainly, if you rescued them, then what? They spend their lives in a refugee camp? Will we even be able to do it?
And do we risk ourselves for a fools mission? With impossible odds? They win and lose the day. And Jason also has to make a decision about whether to tell one of his team-mates about his wife undergoing a difficult c-section to delivery her child. Each decision is realistic and fits the tough and world-weary character that DB is portraying. Seal Team, unlike The Brave, feels more like a character piece and the jobs are less important that the character's arcs. It's also not a soap opera, there's no romantic bed-hopping, or love triangles. It's a straight from the top military action drama.

The one draw-back of both episodes, and why my attention kept wandering, is I had to watch both "On Demand" and you can't fast-forward via On Demand. So you are stuck with about five-six commercials interrupting the flow of the drama. I wish the commercials would be before, at an intermission and after -- less disruptive.

[There are so many tv shows that I can't keep track of when they are premiering any longer. I've missed five pilots to date. And had to watch shows via On Demand. Part of the problem is they all have different start dates between September - November. And some of the date published in magazines and elsewhere were wrong. I miss the days when there were less shows and it was easier to track. There are now so many the entertainment mags have given up giving full reviews of all of them. (145 scripted each season). ]

I have the third episode of Seal taped apparently. I thought it was the second.

After seeing these two episodes, I may stick with it for a while. I'm not in love with it or anything, but I find it compelling in places and recommend it to people who enjoy strong albeit conflicted male leaders, military action dramas with heavy and somewhat diverse male casts (although this one is heavily white, but there are POC in it), with a few women characters in supporting roles. If that isn't your thing? Pass this one on by.

I've seen two of these military action dramas to date, The Brave and Seal Team, and I think "Seal Team" is better -- better written at any rate. Title sucks. While they are very different in some respects, they have similar set-ups, so it is hard not to compare them. Also of the two, one (The Brave) I don't buy at all (it reminds me of one too many similar top secret US government covert ops thriller television series that I've seen...which no, the government just doesn't operate like that. I can tell the writers don't know what they are writing about), and the other one I do (Seal Team - whoever is writing this appears to have done some serious research). And certainly more compelling. Of the two? I think Seal Team has more longevity. I could be wrong about that. Anyhow, considering I don't tend to like military action dramas and am not a fan of David Boreanze by any stretch of the imagination, yet of the two dramas -- watched the second episode of Seal Team (on "On Demand" no less) and didn't bother to record the second one of The Brave. Add to all of that? I wanted to like the Brave and not like Seal Team. In short, don't judge a television show by its title or the actors in it.
October 11th, 2017
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October 9th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 10:15pm on 09/10/2017 under
After Poldark, which has pacing problems...my attention kept wandering, too much focus on Mr. & Mrs Narcissist Warleggan, not enough on Dr. Ennis, Caroline, and Delmelza, watched Lucifer, which I enjoyed a lot more. Sorry, but there it is. Lucifer is just the more enjoyable series.

Lucifier - Episode 3.2

Eh, spoilers ensue. Still not feeling the love for Welling's Pierce or Ella. The Procedural story however had me laughing really hard at one point...and was rather run. I'm wondering if the writers have decided to use the procedural storylines as comic relief? If so, they really need to tone down Ella's fannishness. It's grating on my nerves.

spoilers )

Odd, the show is on at 8, yet it's going a bit darker than last season when it was on at nine.
Meanwhile the family show about mutants is on at 9, shouldn't that be on at 8? Granted no-one actually watches television live any longer, but still.

I loved this episode.

But, I'm not really "fannish" about the series. I feel no need to purchase the DVDs or re-watch the episodes. I don't really feel that way about any series at the moment. The closest I came was the Great British Baking Show and Daredevil this summer, but that was more out of boredom than anything else...and in regards to Great British Baking...comfort food.
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posted by [personal profile] shadowkat at 03:58pm on 09/10/2017
1. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving...which was also this weekend. I have the day off due to...well a holiday that's in bad taste but our governor refuses to let go of or change, because of his Italian heritage. Honestly I'd be ashamed to identify myself with a dude that got lost, didn't realize that most people already knew the world was round, is partially responsible for genocide and mass slavery of the indigenous population.

But hey, day off.

I'm watching it rain. Also watched The Exorcist - the television series not the horror movie.
It's notably creepy. And this season is better than last season in that its moving away from the source material a bit more.

I'll give a chance, not sure if I'll stick with it. It's a bit overtly religious ...well the whole angles vs. demons bit turns me off. TV shows tend to melt by the wayside due to too many choices. I'm rather eclectic in my choices and tend to like pretty much everything. So...

2. The Mary Sue has an in-depth review of The Runaways -- an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn's comic that premiered around 2010 or thereabouts.

The Runaways reminds me of my friend Maribeth Martell aka embers_log, who passed away several years back at the age of 62. She sent me her copy of it, which I sent to someone else. We used to send gifts to each other. I still have a ceramic lady she made me -- she was an accomplished artist.
She loved the Runaways and would have been eager to see the series.

The review of it...makes me feel old. Why? Eh..


Chase’s icy father is played by James Marsters (Buffy’s Spike) with tightly-held menace, and Gregg Sulkin told me that Marsters is incredible to work with. Marsters has advised Sulkin on how to approach his new fanbase and fame—and relayed mistakes he made as cautionary tales. “The guy is a legend,” Sulkin enthused, seeming thrilled when I asked about his on-screen dad. The British-born, chisel-cheeked Sulkin received high-pitched screams upon his entrance to the Runaways panel, so it’s safe to say those tales from Marsters are going to prove useful when the Runaways fandom kicks into high gear.


A legend? Oh dear. Buffy couldn't have been that long ago? No wait, 20 years. Which means I've been in NYC twenty-one years. And at my current job for ten years. Ack. I was twenty-eight when I moved to NYC and Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered.

Getting older...it hasn't gotten easier and I appear to have less tolerance for nonsense than I did at twenty-eight. Also, I seem to have become less idealistic, more pragmatic, and less optimistic.
Sometimes I miss the innocence I had at 28, when anything seemed possible.

3. Prayers or hopes are with those who live in California. California Burning: Historic Fires break out from Sonoma to SoCal. My aunt informed us on FB that she had to evacuate...due to the fires entering her area. The shopping center is gone. It's ravaging her area. First Montana, now California.


Wildfires broke out Sunday night and Monday morning in California's prized wine country, advancing with stunning, and potentially deadly, speed across the dry and gusty Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

A total of 14 fires in northern California had destroyed about 1,500 structures as of Monday morning, local time, putting this event as among the most destructive in state history.

Winds gusting to 55 miles per hour fanned the flames in Napa and Sonoma County overnight. CalFire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox told KTVU on Monday that the Tubbs Fire, located between Santa Rosa and Calistoga, "exploded" in size overnight, from 200 to 20,000 acres.


Don't read the comments -- they are obnoxious.

Some members of family, my father's side, live in this area. I pray they are safe.

4. Smart Bitches Reviews the Sci-Fi novel Rebel Seoul


There’s kind of a lot going on, but it’s mostly folded into the world building. Oh spends most of the book very slowly exploring the world of Neo Seoul and building out the history for the reader. Actual plot movement shows up very late, so it’s really difficult to give a summary.

What I liked about this book is that it’s very steeped in Korean culture and (I’m assuming) K-dramas. There’s a glossary in the back of Korean words that pepper the text and dialogue (which is handy, since the only Korean I know is Tae Kwon Do related), and there’s details about geography and food that make the world more real.

I get that there was a lot of world building to do: there’s a whole history of three wars, massive global geopolitical upheaval, and whole society to describe and populate, but it was kind of maddeningly slow at times. I wish that the history had been delivered faster, instead of in dribs and drabs among all of the other details. It wasn’t until actual things started happening at about the 75-80% mark that I went “oh, good, there’s the plot.”

And that’s my main criticism: I feel like so much time was spent building up this universe that it’s at the expense of Jaewon’s story. He’s a kid from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it in a super exclusive high school in a military dictatorship. It’s a story we’ve had a lot, but it’s one that resonates with audiences, and seeing it through the lens of a K-drama was fun.


This review highlights the difficulties I've had with writing and reading sci-fi over the years. And the pitfalls of writing it. Also why a lot of professional writing instructors tell students not to do it unil they have a strong grasp of plot and character.

Often the writer will get so invested in the world-building that it will be at the expense of the characters and the plot, so there's no real story there -- just the world. Which is fine, if you want to build a world...but not so much if you are trying to tell a story.

It's definitely taken me out of a few books. I require interesting characters and a plot of sorts. World-building is setting, and not that interesting to me. YMMV. So will probably pass on Rebel Seoul.

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