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Zaggitz
Jun 18, 2009

My urges are becoming...

UNCONTROLLABLE

Annakie posted:

You do realize you haven't finished yours yet, right? :)


For those of you too lazy to click the button to go to the first page, this is who is currently not done:

* Uznare - Babylon 5 - Starting July 14th.

If you're on this list and think you should be done, link me you're "I'm done" + review post.

ftfy

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BigRed0427
Mar 22, 2007

There's no one I'd rather be than me.

Three episodes deep into House of Cards. Holy poo poo am I in crunch mode here.

Also this show is WAY better than Hemlock Grove. I forgot what it feels like when a plot is actually moving forward towards something.

BigRed0427 fucked around with this message at 19:27 on Sep 16, 2014

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004



Grimey Drawer
I finished Shameless but then moved city so it might take me a few more days to get my thoughts together.

MrSlam
Apr 25, 2014

And there you sat, eating hamburgers while the world cried.
7 episodes left out of 92. I got this.

Annakie
Apr 20, 2005

"It's pretty bad, isn't it? I know it's pretty bad. Ever since I can remember..."

Bown posted:

I finished Shameless but then moved city so it might take me a few more days to get my thoughts together.

Hopefully less than five days! (but good going!)

I sent PMs to everyone left on the list who has plat so, no whining that I wasn't nice enough. :)

GobiasIndustries
Dec 14, 2007

Lipstick Apathy
I've been stalled halfway through Season 1 of The Wire; really like it, but got distracted by The Blacklist since it's easier to have on in the background while doing other stuff. Time to suck it up!

Beefed Owl
Sep 13, 2007

Come at me scrub, I'm ripped!
Whew, finished season 2 of The Wire and I am really liking this show. I am loving Omar Little, and though I was shocked by D'Angelo's death it wasn't surprising. Man does each season not like ending on a good note, but it makes me really want to watch the next season. I should be able to finish my toxx on time, as I am enjoying binging through this series. Chances are I will have the whole thing done in a few weeks. I really want to see how the drug investigation with Stringer and Prop Joe develops, if anything comes of the Greek, and if any of the story of the port is going to show in future seasons. Overall I think this show accurately portrays police investigation, and can create really compelling storylines and characters. No wonder everyone loves this show.

BigRed0427
Mar 22, 2007

There's no one I'd rather be than me.

Just started season 2 of House of Cards. Wow! :stare:

You see that Hemlock Grove? This is how you make your jackass of a protagonist likable! Rule number 1: GIVE HIM A GOAL AND poo poo TO DO! (No, I'm not bitter about wasting my life with this show, why do you ask?)

DivisionPost
Jun 28, 2006

Nobody likes you.
Everybody hates you.
You're gonna lose.

Smile, you fuck.
I started this thing off of an obituary from James Poniewozik. He said "If you need a quick thumbnail philosophy for living, it would not be a terrible one to simply remember to ask yourself, whenever you face adversity, 'What would Jim Rockford do?'"

Having FINALLY finished the season last night, in that honor, I present "Things I Learned From Jim Rockford":

1.) Pay Attention. The world around you is constantly giving you information, and it doesn't necessarily tell you when it's doing so. So put your loving phone down; you can do Sudoku later.

2.) Be Patient. Sometimes the pressure's on and you can't help it. But most times there's no reason to deploy anything more than a bright smile and a folksy demeanor, even when the other guy's making GBS threads on you.

3.) Take Your Punches. It doesn't matter that you lose the occasional fistfight. If you're still walking, then you haven't lost the war. All that matters is that you outlast and outthink your enemy.

4.) You Can Always Walk Away. But really, that's just going to annoy the poo poo out of you for the rest of your life.

5.) People Who Sucker You Into Doing a Job For Free Because "It's the Right Thing" Are Just the Worst. Really, they are.

And finally,

6.) Nothing Wrong With Simple. I can't write a whole lot about The Rockford Files because at its core it's an episodic show about what a badass detective Jim Rockford is. Doesn't mean it's not worth your time though, because goddamn Jim Rockford is a badass detective.

Have to admit, though, I probably would've enjoyed this more if I wasn't crazy enough to Toxx this thing.

DivisionPost fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Sep 20, 2014

hcreight
Mar 19, 2007

My name is Oliver Queen...
I finished The Wire last night. I haven't done an update since I finished S3, so I'll just give a few random thoughts on what I've watched since then.

-I really was impressed with how steadily the scope of the show kept building through each season. Even though a new element was introduced each time, they always made sure to keep at least a few characters and elements from the focus of previous seasons. I don't think any other show I've seen can claim to balance such an expansive cast so deftly, with few major missteps. Putting McNulty into the background in Season 4 was a little awkward, in that they couldn't find much of anything for him to do but felt compelled to keep reminding viewers he was enjoying a quiet life with Beadie and her kids. Though the story arc or lack thereof did come back around in S5.

-I think I could watch an entire series of Bunk chomping on a cigar and groaning while he looks at crime scenes.

-It was amusing seeing Carcetti's idealism become more and more compromised as the show went on, considering the certain amoral schemer Aidan Gillen would go on to play in another show.

-I've heard mixed things about the ending, with some people thinking it's one of the most satisfying finales ever, while others feeling a tad underwhelmed. I guess I side more with the former group. Anything that ended with a message other than "none of this poo poo ever really changes" would have felt cheap and against the show's message. I was a little sad that Omar went out with a relative whimper just before the show's final act. Though part of that was that Omar still tearing the Stanfield Org a new rear end in a top hat with one bad leg was amusing to watch.

Edit:I'd have to think about that one.
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

hcreight fucked around with this message at 23:16 on Sep 19, 2014

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004



Grimey Drawer
Just wondering, hc, how would you rank the seasons?

Annakie
Apr 20, 2005

"It's pretty bad, isn't it? I know it's pretty bad. Ever since I can remember..."
Good job DivPost and hcreight! And everyone else who's finishing!

A little over two days to finish and 16 Toxxes still open.

Irish Joe
Jul 23, 2007

by Lowtax
The suspense is killing me.

BigRed0427
Mar 22, 2007

There's no one I'd rather be than me.

I'm 6 episodes into Season 2 of House of Cards. I'm gonna make it (i Hope :ohdear:) I feel like I'm back in collage.

GobiasIndustries
Dec 14, 2007

Lipstick Apathy
Starting Season 2 of The Wire! I'm going to get there! Season 1 recap:

I really enjoyed this season and everyone who said to binge the first few episodes was spot-on. Watching them all in a row really helped give a continuity to the entire story from both sides and I was able to better understand each character way more than after every time I watched the first 1-2 episodes & quit.

Super excited to see how the drug plot line ties into McNulty being assigned to the port. Kima :smith: was such a rough episode+ to watch her get shot & the aftermath; McNulty crying in the hospital and whateverthefuckhisnameis, the dude who hates him, telling him he didn't do anything wrong was such a strong scene. Excited to see if Stringer makes a power play after being the top dog for a while

EccoRaven
Aug 15, 2004

there is only one hell:
the one we live in now
Just finished my toxx :toot:

I'm glad I checked the thread just now; I thought it was due Monday night, not tomorrow. Whoops! I was on the road all day going to a wedding four states away, and since the wedding is tomorrow I was just gonna post my review Monday afternoon when I got home again. But here it is now yay!

Friday Night Lights seems to have a lot in common with Greek dramas. For instance, the sports commentators during games initially really annoyed me as they felt like sloppy writing, recapping the previous chunk of the episode as exposition and telling the audience explicitly what's happening and how to feel about the game itself. But then I noticed it's more like a Greek chorus - a narrator who provides asides to the audience explaining the emotional depth to the characters. And, a number of the characters are sorts-of heroes with their own pretty dramatic flaw: Jason's physical disability, Smash's ego, Saracen's being really awkward all the time god drat.

I dunno it's something I noticed and I thought it was cool, but it's been ~many years since my classes on theater history so I would need to research more to have a more intelligent comment about that.

Also, while I'm sure we all know this since we're all goons and therefore have a natural affinity against "dumb jocks," high school football players getting away with literal murder is totally possible. I am reminded of the story of the Glen Ridge rape, where members of a high school football team violently gang-raped a mentally-handicapped woman, yet even after authority figures in the town heard about it, three weeks went by before they called the police. Also sidebar but I just found out the wedding tomorrow is in the same Glen Ridge!! HOORAY WHAT A SMALL WORLD.

The show has some flaws. The writing, as in, plotting, is fairly scattered; e.g., Waverly (Smash's S1 girlfriend) just sorta disappeared with her arc left unresolved, and S2's stupid Landry Tyra Murder Mystery just felt really forced, was resolved really quickly, and then everyone just sorta moved on like it never happened. And this show has so many "surreptitiously saw them making out" moments it would put Downton Abbey to shame. Also, the shaky-cam took a while to get used to, and for the first few episodes it even made me a bit nauseous at times.

But the characters are really delightful.

- I like that Riggins thinks he's in a gritty HBO or FX drama, but everyone else is like "lol no more like degrassi." I initially really disliked him as just a canonical example of Everything Wrong with Dudes, but he's done a complete 180 in my heart.
--- Also, S1 when Riggins and Jason saw each other for the first time since Jason's accident, I was straight up sobbing. Something about big burly men expressing deep, non-homoerotic emotions for each other really gets to me.

- I think Lyla is the kind of person who will go to college, take a women's studies class (you know, just to fill out her schedule, "seemed interesting"), and then flash forward to present day she's living in Austin with her life partner, she's finished her sleeve, and she just got gauges (nothing too dramatic, just a half-inch). "Can you believe I was a cheerleader?" she tells people at her bar. "With the pompoms and ribbons and everything."

- The show was recommended to me by my former sociology professor slash current life-mentor slash old-person friend; I now see that she is more or less Tami Taylor, just with a PhD. I am truly blessed to have a Tami Taylor in my life.
--- I also like how the Taylors are the only family in the show that have a functional, two-parent domestic life, and it really makes it clear how hard they have to work at it.

- I really dislike Buddy Garrity; he's just really sleazy. When I'm not wishing ill on him I think he's pathetic, in the traditional sense of the word - totally pitiable but he had it coming so. Also this entire plotline with him and Santiago is strange and vaguely problematic, but I heard it disappears like Waverly into the aether S3.
--- Sidebar but in a recent episode I was doing my nails and not paying attention to the screen when I heard a voice and I was like "is that Weevil?" and then I looked up and it was!! :3:

- I like to imagine that, unless it's totally impossible, every actor plays the same character in every TV show they're in. So Landry to me was always just "Todd." My old roommate and I watched all of Breaking Bad together, and now she's super excited for me to be watching FNL, so I texted her all about Todd's uncovered backstory: "he killed the rapist, but he got a taste for blood and became a hardened killer" "it makes sense his dad is a cop, because his dad's brother is Uncle Jack, so Todd's dad always had to be 'good' in comparison." "Todd graduated and met Riggin's old roommate and started making meth, but had to move to New Mexico to save his father's reputation if he ever got caught" (etc.). It makes too much sense for it not to be true.

Overall I do really like the show. The drama can be a little heavy-handed (my earlier comparison to Degrassi isn't very far off base sometimes), but I eat that stuff up, especially when the characters are as interesting as they are. And Season 1 made me really emotionally invested in Dillon Panthers Football, which is not something I expected to happen at all.

Questions for the audience:
- Season 2 was truncated because of the Writer's Strike, right? That would be about the time for it; does anyone know what they would have planned to do had the season been ~9 episodes longer?
- How old are these kids supposed to be? Because clearly only Julie is actually still a teenager, and the show is really hit-or-miss as to whether we as the audience should be creeped out by relationships between a kid and an adult or not. I've given up trying to figure it out and instead am just admiring the eye candy (Tami's sister and Riggins would have made a really hot couple. Actually, anyone and Riggins. I mean drat.).

If I think of more I'll post them.

EccoRaven fucked around with this message at 02:59 on Sep 21, 2014

DivisionPost
Jun 28, 2006

Nobody likes you.
Everybody hates you.
You're gonna lose.

Smile, you fuck.

quote:

Questions for the audience:
- Season 2 was truncated because of the Writer's Strike, right? That would be about the time for it; does anyone know what they would have planned to do had the season been ~9 episodes longer?

Smash's graduation would've come into play, probably some more closure on Santiago, certainly a climactic game between the Coach Taylor-led Panthers and whatever team Bill MacGregor landed with. The thing you have to understand is that the writers knew they hosed up with Season 2; the guy who was championing their show at NBC was unceremoniously kicked out, the new network president was literally 80s Guy from Futurama, and the pressure was on to do more buzzy, traditionally exciting stories in hopes of bringing up the ratings.

The fans hated it. Peter Berg hated it. The cast was in open rebellion; Zach Gilford actually gave an annoyed interview claiming "You can get sex and death anywhere on TV," and rumor has it that the only reason Tami Taylor and that intern dude who was helping her out at the school didn't go any farther is because Connie Britton told the writers "No loving way." And the ratings actually fell, so it was all for nothing.

So a lot of what they were doing in what ended up being the last few episodes of Season 2 was unfucking those poor decisions and trying to ground the far-fetched drama in something real (see: the shower scene with Coach and Matt). Most likely, that would have continued, but after they got a third season via DirecTV, they decided to just reboot the show, drat the continuity. Only one or two threads from season 2 were picked back up.

quote:

- How old are these kids supposed to be? Because clearly only Julie is actually still a teenager, and the show is really hit-or-miss as to whether we as the audience should be creeped out by relationships between a kid and an adult or not. I've given up trying to figure it out and instead am just admiring the eye candy (Tami's sister and Riggins would have made a really hot couple. Actually, anyone and Riggins. I mean drat.).

First off, Julie and her absurd taste in guys who aren't Matt Saracen is often the worst part of the show. To be fair I think it only happens one other time, but once it does, hoo-boy.

Now, to answer your question: the ages of the players are a bit fluid. For instance, Riggins should have been out with Smash, but they retconned him a year younger so he doesn't graduate until Season 3 (in retrospect, this might make his fling with his neighbor a little more messed up). The characters are however old they need to be for the story. You can't call that great, consistent writing, but they make it work.

NieR Occomata
Jan 18, 2009
For the record Jason katims has been explicitly on record that he made his decisions for season 2 without network interference or influence, and the executive shuffle was essentially an unlucky coincidence

Greenblatt explicitly thought FNL was worthless and wanted nothing to do with it but he didn't influence fnls crwative direction at all

DivisionPost
Jun 28, 2006

Nobody likes you.
Everybody hates you.
You're gonna lose.

Smile, you fuck.

Toxxupation posted:

For the record Jason katims has been explicitly on record that he made his decisions for season 2 without network interference or influence, and the executive shuffle was essentially an unlucky coincidence

Greenblatt explicitly thought FNL was worthless and wanted nothing to do with it but he didn't influence fnls crwative direction at all

Robert Greenblatt wasn't working for NBC at the time, it was Ben Silverman. And while there was no explicit network interference, the oral history Grantland ran claims that the writers felt pressure to do SOMETHING to shake things up.

NieR Occomata
Jan 18, 2009

DivisionPost posted:

Robert Greenblatt wasn't working for NBC at the time, it was Ben Silverman. And while there was no explicit network interference, the oral history Grantland ran claims that the writers felt pressure to do SOMETHING to shake things up.

The words out of Jason katims mouth, the ones transcribed by alan sepinwall noted explicitly say-as in he makes specific reference -that he received none,zero influence from NBC executives to change his show

That was literally the entire point, the new leadership after Reilly left had at best an apathetic relationship with the shows he developed

They just didn't loving care enough to try and change it, they'd rather it failed

DivisionPost
Jun 28, 2006

Nobody likes you.
Everybody hates you.
You're gonna lose.

Smile, you fuck.

Toxxupation posted:

The words out of Jason katims mouth, the ones transcribed by alan sepinwall noted explicitly say-as in he makes specific reference -that he received none,zero influence from NBC executives to change his show

That was literally the entire point, the new leadership after Reilly left had at best an apathetic relationship with the shows he developed

They just didn't loving care enough to try and change it, they'd rather it failed

I'm not arguing that Jason Katims didn't come up with the idea himself; he did. But he probably wouldn't have been inspired to do so if the numbers were there and there wasn't a regime change. As stated:

quote:

Peter Berg: We had Ben Silverman take over at NBC. Itís a classic problem. We were green-lit under one regime, and that regime got fired while we were already up and running.

[...]

Sarah Aubrey (Berg's partner): Friday Night Lights wasnít [Ben Silverman's] show. It wasnít his baby. It was Kevin Reillyís baby. You donít really care about someone elseís baby, especially if itís ugly, in terms of numbers.

[...]

David Hudgins (EP, writer): We were coming to the end of Season 1, and the show was critically well-received, but the numbers. Ö So we thought, letís do something big, something shocking and titillating and provocative.

Patrick Massett (co-EP, writer): I kind of felt there was some pressure from the network.

And not for nothing, but this is both a really stupid thing to get passionate about, and a really stupid thread to get passionate about it in.

Beefed Owl
Sep 13, 2007

Come at me scrub, I'm ripped!
Finished my 3 seasons and Toxx of The Wire and all I can say is I am pumped for the last two. I love the continuity with involving previous characters in concurrent seasons, despite the case change. It is also nice to see call backs to previous cases. I am surprised with what happened to Stringer Bell, and it is sad to see some of the characters go, but as I said in the previous write-up I love the attention to detail in the story writing, and Omar/Mouzone was loving sweet. It feels very realistic as far as police investigation goes and is a good series to binge watch. Glad I took this Toxx.

BigRed0427
Mar 22, 2007

There's no one I'd rather be than me.

I finished House of Cards. I'll have my review up tomorrow. My head is killing me right now.

computer parts
Nov 18, 2010

PLEASE CLAP

BigRed0427 posted:

I finished House of Cards. I'll have my review up tomorrow. My head is killing me right now.

Knock on wood (:mmmsmug: ) that you do.

MrSlam
Apr 25, 2014

And there you sat, eating hamburgers while the world cried.
Finished mine a few days ago. Writing the 100+ word thing now. Will post in the morning.

Irish Joe
Jul 23, 2007

by Lowtax
Moone Boy

I'm not really sure how to approach Moone Boy because its not a coherent show. The first season focuses on the titular Moone Boy and his imaginary friend as they go on coming of age adventures in 80s Ireland. All the plots are pleasant enough; Moone Boy needs to set up the school bully with his sister for protection; Moone Boy makes friends with the new kid because his mother is a chef; Moone Boy reenacts the fall of the Berlin wall in his backyard; and so on. The second season, though, takes a bit of a turn and focuses more on Moone Boy's pregnant teenage sister as she scrambles to get married before her baby is born a bastard (a common problem in Ireland). It also gets much wackier, moving away from slice of life-type adventures in the first season to Moone Boy's sister being married while giving birth in a gypsy's horse-drawn carriage that becomes part of the city's St. Patrick's Day parade in the second season finale. In becoming wackier, the show also becomes less relatable and, in my opinion, less interesting. That isn't to say the second season is devoid of good moments, just that they're fewer and farther in-between, and add up to a less satisfying whole. Overall, I'd recommend Moone Boy's first season if you like shows about growing up and poo poo.

One last note before I go: Chris O'Dowd plays Moone Boy's imaginary friend, but don't go into this for him. The show is about Moone Boy and his family. O'Dowd's merely a supporting player.

KilGrey
Mar 13, 2005

You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? Just put your lips together and blow...

My Toxx was the first two seasons of Game of Thrones.

The reason I was initially hesitant to watch this show was because I read the books and just couldn't get into them. I stopped reading midway through A Feast for Crows. The story just seems to go off track in that book. It's actually one of the few books/series I haven't completed, and I read all of Wheel of Time.

In my experience books are usually better than whatever movie or TV show is made off of them so if I didn't like the books I figured I'd hate the show but wow...I couldn't have been more wrong. This is probably the only time I can think of where a visual format is far better than the original written material.

The fist few episodes of getting to know the characters I was surprised that they all for the most part matched what I imagined in my head that they would look like. The only one that I was iffy on was Jon Snow for some reason. I also didn't think I could love Tyrion anymore than I already did until I saw Peter Dinklage bring him to life. I'm also on the fence about Lena Headey as Cersei. I loathed Cersei in the books but Lena plays her in such a way that I feel a bit of sadness or empathy for her.

I honestly don't give a poo poo about Bran though. I didn't care about him in the book and I don't care about his journey in the show outside of HODOR!!! Am I alone in this? Does it get better?

Ned...I knew it was coming and all that but it still was pretty amazing to see. Usually knowing what is going to happen ruins things for me but the anticipation made it better in this case.

When reading the books I didn't find Daenerys as interesting as the other characters but in the show I've found the opposite to be true, with certain acceptions. I really, really like Emilia Clarke as Daenerys. Another person I've been really impressed with is Maisie Williams as Arya. Arya is probably second to Tyrion on my favorite character list and I wondered if they could find someone the characters age to actually portray her and do her justice and Maisie knocks it out the park.

I think it's also safe to say that I've never hated a character as much as I hate Joffery. I hated him in the books and I hate him even more on the show. Jack Gleeson's face makes me want to punch the screen and he doesn't even have to open his mouth. The show has followed the books pretty faithfully so far and I really hope there are certain scenes from the book in the future on the show.

I was thinking about digging up the old threads for the first two seasons but I heard they were a bit of a train wreck. Are they worth reading?

I tried to not post anything spoilery or overly plot driven. I think I was more interested in the characters coming to life since I already knew the story. The Toxx was for the first two seasons but I'm certainly going to continue. There is a certain wedding or two I want to see played out. Also, dragons!

How are the books and the seasons lining up? I'm hoping since I stopped reading the books, with no intention to start again, eventually they'll get to a point where I can watch without knowing what's coming.

Edit: Brienne!!!! Another one that did not fit what I had in my head. I pictured this husky, homely, built like a brick poo poo house looking woman with a pock marked face. On the show it looks like they took a pretty woman and just tried to make her less pretty.

KilGrey fucked around with this message at 08:53 on Sep 22, 2014

Ravane
Oct 23, 2010

by LadyAmbien
For the most part, the books and the series have followed generally the same plotline. However, there have been some twists not seen in the books, as well as some slightly important omitted events from the tv show. I guess it's good though because not everything in the books can be translated to TV, so instead they've just deviated whenever they see fit.

Never read a game of thrones thread, they're full of trolls and spoilers. Always.

Bran's plotline does not get better. He spends 4 seasons trying to get somewhere with his crippled legs, it's the most boring thing ever. GRRM should have killed him off at the beginning. Hodor is the only redeeming part of those scenes.

Annakie
Apr 20, 2005

"It's pretty bad, isn't it? I know it's pretty bad. Ever since I can remember..."
Hey Irish Joe, you still have Tracey Morgan to go before you're done, just want to make sure you're aware before tonight is done.

KilGrey & TurboFlamingChicken - good to go!

I'm going to be on the road all day today (business trip) and posting from a hotel tonight so... see y'all then. :) If anyone isn't sure if they're done, the OP is updated to the best of my knowledge. Let me know if I'm wrong about your status.

MrSlam
Apr 25, 2014

And there you sat, eating hamburgers while the world cried.

My mother had a series of strokes when I was a kid that left her unable to walk. To make it all the more depressing, the place we were living at the time had only two places for her to sleep; down a long flight of stairs in the basement or in the front room in a pink armchair. She made the pink armchair her own.

When you're a handicapped lower-class American in the 90's who doesn't have many prospects to begin with and you've been dealt a bad hand with armchair real-estate, there are few vices more enticing than television. She was in love with it. She ate breakfast with Regis and Matt Lauer, spent lunch with Days of Our Lives, wasted away the afternoons with the freak-shows of Povich and Springer, and settled in for the evening with whatever movie wandered on screen at the time. The crest of her life was over and the slope was getting steep. If religion is the opiate of the masses then for her at least, television was a decent painkiller.

I've been a night-owl for as long back as I can recall. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep so I'd lay awake in bed and tell myself stories or I'd get dressed and ride my bike around the neighborhood at four in the morning. But my favorite thing to do when sleep wouldn't come was to wander upstairs and sheepishly ask mom if I could watch TV with her (she had trouble sleeping too). People can judge mom all they like (and they do) but I'm grateful at least that she didn't change the channel when kid-inappropriate things came on. You see, on top of her love for TV in general, she also had a fondness for Horror. Cheesy, gory, stupid horror.

Now we weren't rich, but the people whom we were living with at the time were fortunate enough to have HBO. And that means 2 + 2 = Tales From the Crypt.

Tales From the Crypt was an anthology series from HBO, and each episode was based around a different EC horror comics story that ran through the 1950's. Horror anthologies themselves aren't unique but Tales From the Crypt was an odd duck. On the one hand you had a half-hour show with a budget, dozens of available A-list actors /writers /directors, and free-reign over censorship; but on the other hand, the show had to be based on some of the silliest, stupidest, most hackneyed stories ever written.

So basically, the goal was to have a lot of fun.

Actors got to let their hair down. Writers got to sit down and fart out a script. Directors got to mess around with one technique or another, or just coast along til it was done. It was like making a 22 minute short film without the stress of contractual obligations or trying hard to catch that elusive Oscar. It wasn't a TV role, but it wasn't a movie role either; it was some weird gray area in-between.

There's a certain love-hate attitude that surrounds the modern-day purposefully low-budget movie. You either love Sharknado or you hate Sharknado. You 'get' Black Dynamite or you don't see the appeal. Regardless these kinds of movies have an audience and a certain charm all their own. I'd go so far as to say Tales From the Crypt was prototypical of the genre in a backwards-rear end kind of way.

Good directors, good actors, good writers powered by quality sets, special effects, budgets, and genuine effort, crafted stories about misogynistic ventriloquist dummy arsonists, voodoo practicing pawn shop owners, ice-cream truck drivers with horrible secrets, and a cross-dressing Tim Curry as an obese hunchbacked hillbilly woman with a vagina ripe for the plucking.



And there is no subtlety or deeper meaning to these oddball episodes. Only a handful of the 93 attempt anything close to being artsy and even then they weren't trying very hard. Regardless, the screen was dripping with talent and elbow grease even if that screen happened to have werewolves, mummies, vampires, and people with deformities on it.

I'd like to start a thread at one point going through each episode, but I'm not sure how much or how little I should go into each one. Should I review them? Should I recap them? Do I spoil the episodes or do I tease the twist ending?

The past few months have been strange to say the least. Some of the spookier parts of my childhood stemmed from what I half-remembered about those late nights with mom. A man with a murdered conjoined twin stuck to his back; a dead person hanging in a freezer but completely aware of what was going on; a corpse that had been stuffed like a hunting trophy; these images haunted me like those old ghost stories that stick with you no matter how ridiculous they ended up sounding when you got older.



This entire experience was riddled with deja vu. Sometimes I wasn't aware that I'd seen the episode years before and it felt like seeing an old storybook your parents read to you when you were a kid. Sometimes I recognized the episode before I watched it and I kept counting down the minutes until I could finally see just what that hypnotist clown thing was all about.

Every time the intro started I was thrown twenty years into the past. I knew that the scary puppet man was going to jump out of the coffin and scream at me, but it was okay to watch until the camera started going down the winding staircase with all the faces on it. Then it could happen at any moment.

Would I recommend it? Yeah. I'd recommend a lot of great things from my childhood, but if you're not the kind of person who enjoys things that are stupid on purpose then you'll want to skip this one. From an objective television standpoint though it's a unique gem. And if you have a stable of character-actors you're a fan of then scan through the Wikipedia entries and see if they've guest-starred at one point or another. Chances are, they have.

My mom passed away almost a year after season six ended. The further back someone dies in your life the more fuzzy your memories of them are. There's a lot of memories I never got to share with my mom even when she was alive since her disease started taking her long before she was dead. I know it's useless to think about but I find myself wondering sometimes. What would life have been like if she'd stuck around? What kind of relationship would her and I have? What would she think of me? There aren't answers to these questions, and every year the memories fade further into the static. As time takes away the things that circumstances hadn't, I know I can at least look back on those cool autumn nights when my mom would hold me on the pink armchair upstairs and we'd watch Tales From the Crypt together.

MrSlam fucked around with this message at 13:02 on Sep 22, 2014

BSam
Nov 24, 2012

After that I almost feel ashamed of my toxx review.


I'd really like to see you do a thread, it's not a show I've seen before so I'll probably watch alongside your reviews also.

Annakie
Apr 20, 2005

"It's pretty bad, isn't it? I know it's pretty bad. Ever since I can remember..."
I didn't think a review of a cheesy horror series could make me tear up. Great job MrSlam, and I'm really sorry for your loss.

GobiasIndustries
Dec 14, 2007

Lipstick Apathy
Well poo poo, how am I supposed to follow that review?

Anyway, I binge-watched Season 2 of The Wire over the past 1.5 days or so. Overall, I wasn't the biggest fan of the port setting, but I think it's just because I've gotten so attached to the characters from season 1. I'm really looking forward to getting back to putting the Barksdale crew back in the spotlight, which it looks like Season 3 does. D'Angelo's death I can see being a big point of conflict between Avon & Stringer, but I can also see Avon/D'Angelo's mom letting it slide a bit because of how distant he had been getting from the crew. If they ever find out the truth, that is. Once I finish the entire series I'll come back and do a re-watch and see if the setting & characters hit me differently; it wouldn't be the first time I've enjoyed a TV season more on re-watch.

Open Source Idiom
Jan 4, 2013
As part of my :toxx:, I said I'd watch all of Twin Peaks, but I couldn't, because it was Just Not My Thing. It was slow, (deliberately paced to be sure, but stultifying all the same), and the characters unravelled their motivations at snail's pace (and, at times, with worse acting). The weirdness was fun and wonderful about half the time, and then the other half the time it was just silly and pointless. Not sure if the incidents with the brothel were meant to grab my attention, but they didn't. The lead character, the FBI guy? I found him to mostly just be incompetent, and honestly pretty creepy, rather than wonderfully goofy and inspirational.

The sad part is, and I think it is sad, is that I legitimately tried to love this show. No, no, don't roll your eyes, I know everyone says that when it's clear they can't stand a show and they're selfishly waiting for it to please them. But I really tried to meet this one in the middle. I tried saying the lines I felt like I was meant to say (Coop's the best! He's so funny! He and Audrey are precocious and electric, rather than strangely sexless!), and while the words were coming out of my mouth, I just wasn't believing them at all, and I had no motivation to even finish out the first season.

So, instead I watched... Xena! Which I'd never seen before, other than the (very) odd episode[1] I remember from my childhood, when it was airing on Channel Nine over here. Glad to see that my swirly memories were at least slightly correct -- there is indeed a lot of strange wirework and jumping. And Ancient Gree-- I mean Rom-- I mean, like, The Ancient World, really, really loved adobo mud huts for some reason. I remember that really well.

To whit, I've watched a season and a half of the show, thus finishing out my debt of :toxx: with more than an equivalent amount of hours. Generally speaking, I really like the show. I think I'm not supposed to like Xena, since it's campy as gently caress (and what I've seen of Hercules, its parent show, is actually pretty boring). But Xena, the character, loving rules. She's so loving macho, which is startling refreshing for tv female characters, and Lucy Lawless is basically metal. Renee O'Connor pretty flip and light as Gabriel to be sure, so I'm not trying to put her down when I say that Xena is just so much better than the rest of the show entirely -- and it's really fantastic to see the rest of the show recognise this, and pick up its game accordingly.

I mean, the show was never "bad" bad, but takes a noticeable uplift in the final few episodes of Season 1, and Season 2 is just something completely else. The stunts, the pacing, just the sheer volume and ambition of the action sequences is astounding. But the most astounding thing is that the show decided to loving Go There with its two leads, which is just so loving amazing. Speaking as a queer man, I can think of exactly one other science-fiction or fantasy show to expressly treat the lead as gay in a fairly incidental, but also essential way, and that other show just started last year. Xena's incredibly groundbreaking for what it is, and even when they have a slightly retrograde episode (the beauty pageant episode), its still amazingly groundbreaking.

I mean Xena loving made out with a transwoman. Fucks sake. Amazing. Shame all the online reviews are basically transphobic about that episode, but what the gently caress. People who write reviews on the Internet are idiots, yeah?

Speaking of: I've no space to cover a blow-by-blow of all the episodes, but I'll submit a list of the episodes that present the most significantly in my mind up until "A Day In The Life", which is the episode I'm currently partway through.

* The Cradle Of Hope. The first episode of the show I conceptually enjoyed, mostly for its silly myth mash-up. Pandora's Box meets Oedipus Rex. Sure, why not? It's all Greek to me.

* Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts. I love that Helen Of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world, is an actor of colour. She's also a pretty great character in this, and Gabriel and her love interest have pretty good chemistry as the Cressidae and Troilus of this narrative (he's in far too few episodes though, to justify his upcoming death). But generally speaking, I'm not sure that the story of the Trojan Horse is good fodder for a story like this, it's just too famous to work as effective thriller material. Maybe if this episode was framed as more of a tragedy, but it's not.

* Athens City Academy Of Performing Bards. A clip show, but also a surprisingly good use of Gabriel, who's not really had much of a showing beyond playing the damsel, or the little girl sidekick. Kinda loved that the clips weren't just from Xena, but from a bunch of Hollywood films too, like Kubrick's Spartacus. Also Euripedes was a great joke of a character.

Incidentally, the dad in this episode has a hilariously terrible American accent, that just makes his Kiwi accent thicker, somehow. Generally the show's been fine with accents, but I'd rather the show just let some Greeks be from New Zealand, rather than forcing actors to lower the standard of their performance with unwieldy accents. One of the things that I really appreciated about the new BSG is that it let Lucy Lawless use her native accent part of the time, and I think that's less of a risk than most shows think it is.

* Mortal Beloved. I love how casually badass Xena is at the start of this one. Crazy woman runs into a bar, is all "Help! Help! I've seen a ghost!" and then Xena, who's barely in shot, is halfway out the door and ready to deal with it. Getting poo poo done. Generally speaking, I like this episode a lot, even though I realise it's not that great. I've no great love for the two returning guest stars in this episode, they're just kind of there for continuity's sake. The episode also ends an act too early, with the death of the primary villain, and then just goes on for another ten minutes of sort of morbid crap. The final confrontation's really good though... I'm torn.

The underwater photography is pretty good in this, and that shot of Gabriel looking over the lake, with the strange symmetrical vanishing point is sufficiently spooky to justify the inclusion of an otherwise completely pointless scene. The bright pink mists of the Underworld are kinda bad though, and I'm no special effects snob, but those Harpies were a mistake. Bit of a mixed bag, honestly.

* The Prodigal. Not the most amazing of episodes, if I'm honest, but it's the first by Chris Manheim, who's basically kind of amazing. His writing strikes me as having the right balance of silly camp and seriousness to it, like a pre-fame Jane Espenson. I mean this episode has a joke about characters being crushed by a trolley full of spikes described as "death a la cart". That's loving amazing. (Also, like Jane Espenson, he's got a real talent for being able to write episodes really quickly to a high level of quality -- writing four out five episodes in a row, part way through Season 2).

* Altared States. Worth a mention entirely for the opening scene, which features a naked Xena and Gabriel standing naked(?) and neck deep in water, pulling fish out from between their legs. Ostensibly Xena's teaching her to fish, but...

* Callisto. She's just so loving cool, you know? I really loving love that they went to the effort of bringing her back so often in the second season. (I feel like that's really building to something, you know? I'm so loving psyched.) The fight sequence at the end of this episode is just amazing, with all that wire work over that giant wall set. Rewatching the scene, I'd forgotten just how loving great the director's compositions are. So, so cool, and so much _bigger_ than the stunts we tend to see on television these days. Massive shame.

* Is There A Doctor In The House. This probably shouldn't take on the vaugely apocalyptic feel that it does, lent power by the fact that it's a season finale rather than some episode of the week.

* Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Xena does Dracula -- or, more specifically, that very 90's type of vampire episode that inspired similar riffs in Buffy, or Alias, or whatever. This is batshit, but I love it. ORPHEUS IS A ROCK GOD! MYTHOLOGICAL NIGHTCLUB! Also the Harpies -- sorry, I mean, "Dryads" -- look so much better this time around.

* Warrior... Princess... Tramp Fun, and funny. A French farce as a sequel to the previous French farce episode, but that was good and this was great, so I'm not complaining. Again, Lawless is able to sell the various characters with little effort, though I think her Meg is better than her Dianna.

* The Xena Scrolls. A clip show episode, that's also a riff on Indianna Jones. Need I say more?

Well, probably. For a clip show episode (when exactly did this genre die out? Sometime around Stargate?) there are a surprising number of cool stunts and action sequences. Honestly, this didn't look particularly cheap, not that I mind, since the lack of new incident and spectacle is usually the biggest criticism of this kind of genre these days. Still, I love the outfits and the look of the show.

* Intimate Stranger Like I said, I really love Callisto, and this is by far the best of her episodes so far this season. The writers have shown an admirable creativity with the character, and managed to keep her scary and threatening in each appearance, despite her continually losing. Her attack on Argo's pretty brutal, but I do wish they'd just gone whole hog and have her actually murder someone. Lucy Lawless and Hudson Leik are pretty spectacular in this.

* Here She Comes, Miss Amphipopolis Sweet, and wears its heart on its sleeve, and the most obviously feminist and queer positive episode of the show (so far, anyway). I like that the episode makes an effort to present a whole bunch of different perspectives and sides to its issues, and while I'm a little sad that the reveal of the saboteur isn't more thematically relevant (it should have been the female servant, surely!) it did, at least, surprise me. Even though I recognise the faults in this episode, it's episodes like this that make me want to talk about television. Not because it agrees with my take identity politics (and it doesn't), but because there's just so much thought and process put into the episode's structure.

* Destiny. There's a really beautiful cut in this episode. Xena's dying in the present, dreaming of her history. In her memories she's just been crucified, her legs broken by an itinerant Julius Caesar. Suddenly we cut to timelapse images of ice and snow, never before seen on the show, and Gabriel is dragging Xena's body across the screen. This floored me. I love that the show can afford to be slightly experimental, like Farscape could, perhaps by virtue of being more than slightly away from the equalising fist of Hollywood Production Standards.

Karl Urban is good value as Caesar (his third? role for this show? They really like their recurring cast of players), and this is a pretty good example of the more serious side of the show, for the chumps who'd prefer that to something like...

* The Quest. The kiss is great, especially since it makes text what has until now mostly been subtext. And also since it cuts off just after Xena and Gabrielle have locked lips, instead of before. Bruce Campbell does some great body work when he's possessed, and Melinda Clarke puts in one of her best performances as Velasca (particularly in the second half, when she's completely off her chump). Also, nothing can beat an actual on-set explosion. Nothing.

[1] Something about being turned into a mermaid and giving birth to a tentacle monster? Also, it's set at a country club. Because of course it was. A quick google tells me that it was this, which, What the ever-loving-gently caress? How's that not appointment television.

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009
The Xena crew realised pretty early on that the flipside of camp is melodrama, which Hercules took a lot longer to get into and never quite fit as well. (Kevin Sorbo is a charmingly cheesy leading man, but he can't do operatic grief or anger like Lawless)

Escobarbarian
Jun 18, 2004



Grimey Drawer
Between the fantastic Tales From the Crypt piece and the essay on Xena above, this definitely isn't going to hold up, but hell:

My toxx was for me to finish watching the American version of Shameless, which I had stopped a little under halfway through its second season (of four). Shameless is for definite my kind of show. It's punk rock and tongue-in-cheek at the same time, and every single character but one is amazingly likeable (even Joan Cusack!), even when some of them are being horrible vile shits. The child actors are some of the best I've seen, and it always pulled off its sharp left turns into drama. Seasons 2 and 3 were really great, and there was also plenty of excellent stuff in 4; I especially enjoyed the Fiona plotline/showing how lovely it is for convicts, and Sammi's character. The last scene with Frank was incredible too. OH and Lip's roommate is the best.

However, it never got as great as I was expecting it to be from the way some goons were about it. It's a solid B+ show but never tipped over into becoming one of my favourites. One major character is absolutely crappy - everyone who's seen the show knows what I'm talking about, but yeah, Jimmy/Steve/whatever suuuuucks. Season 3 is my favourite season but the "Jimmy can't handle working a normal job!" thing was maybe the worst thing the show has done so far. Also, I had some issues with season 4 - the first third felt like it was changing a bunch of characters' personalities in order to make the plotlines make sense (boy genius Lip, courted by MIT, suddenly can't handle normal college?) and by the end a lot of the storylines simply ended without any real wrap-up or natural conclusion. However, I'll definitely keep watching. It's balls-to-the-wall fun and, as I said before, my sort of thing. It just hasn't reached true brilliance for me yet.

Also, Debbie is totally the best character.

BigRed0427
Mar 22, 2007

There's no one I'd rather be than me.

House of Cards is a drama series about veteran southern Democratic Congressman Frank Underwood. The series starts with him being tapped to be Secretary of State by the newly elected President, Garrett Walker. However he is then told that he won't be the Secretary of State because the President believes Underwood will be best used as the majority whip in congress. Underwood then proceeds to destroy the Walker administration through sheer ruthless politicking. Frank Underwood is one of the latest of anti-heros to come to TV. He's a vile, ruthless man who is willing to trample anyone to get what he want's and god help you if you stand in his way. What sets him apart from someone like Walter White is that he is someone who's morals and ethics were cast aside long ago. Along side him is his wife Clare who is just as cold and ruthless as he is. It is kind of amazing to watch them work because they obviously love each other and encourage each other to do what they need to. The best scenes tend to be when Frank and Claire are relaxing, sharing a cigarette with each other. They don't hide anything for each other and are totally honest and clearly love each other. We also do get rare moments of humanity from Frank like when he visits his Alma mater, spends time with his friends from school and says that he misses his best friend.

Seriously, if you love political drama then you need to see. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are amazing and worth the binge watch through. This isn't as long because I could gush about this show all day and there was little I didn't like. There was only one scene in the whole show that made me think "Wait, what the gently caress is happening?" :psyduck:. But other than that, no complaints. It's odd, I think after Hemlock Grove I almost forgot what a moving plot and likable characters felt like.

That said, I am never doing a toxx like this again. Towards the end of this this wasn't all that fun and I was forcing myself to watch this show rather than go at my own pace.

:toxx: Complete! WE OUT BITCHES!

Uznare
Jul 15, 2010

It's not animation, but the real stories!
As promised I've watched the first two seasons of Babylon 5.

Babylon 5 is a series about the trials and tribulations of the crew of the Babylon 5 space station, a station commissioned by earth to be a hub of interaction between all races in space after the Earth-Minbari war. We're introduced in the pilot film and the first episode to our main cast of characters, which includes the station's chief: Cmdr. Sinclair who is a very saintly figure to put it bluntly, he's actually rather boring because of this. Chief of security Michael Garibaldi, who is generally street savvy and a goofball. Lt.Cmdr (later Cmdr.) Susan Ivanova, who runs C&C and whom the show loves to make a tragic figure. And lastly Stephen Franklin who is introduced in Episode 2, he runs medbay, says snarky stuff and has no real depth outside of it despite his actor's better efforts. Quite honestly all four of them are not very good characters, but that's not what we're here for! Now for the aliens, the meat & potatoes, if you will, of the show.

We have the Minbari that were mentioned earlier, they're basically humanoids with weird crests surrounding their heads. The ambassador of this race in B5 is Delenn, a member of the Grey Council (ruling body of the minbari). She's not super interesting but makes do a lot better than the humans to be honest.

The Centauri are probably the main attraction, they have excentric hairstyles and extravagant lifestyles (and they're also prone to war atrocities). Londo Mollar is the representative in B5. Quite honestly the best character in the entirety of the show. Peter Jurasik simply knocks it out of the park with his performance and theatrics. Even if the show isn't your I'd highly recommend watching it just for Londo. As a Centauri he hates the Narn and especially Ambassador G'kar. Who coincidentally I will talk about next.

The Narn are a very battered race in space, being under the rule of the Centauri for a long time before the start of the show. G'Kar is their ambassador, portrayed quite excellently by Andreas Katsulas. He and Londo have a really interesting and hateful relationship. Their scenes together are just solid gold, the chemistry between them is incredible. In a way I'd say they're honestly the driving force of the show because the Human conflict just isn't very appealing.

And last we have the Vorlons, who are quite a mystery. Their ambassador is Kosh. Kosh is weird and mysterious. That is all there is to say about Kosh.

During the course of Season 1 we basically just get to see the characters try (and sometimes fail) to develop. It's rather slow paced. I'd call it a slow burn, really. Near the latter half of the season the show starts losing it's "plot of the week" elements and starts shaping itself into a great show honestly. The conflicts between the Centauri and the Narn are simply fantastic. There's certain figures introduced that make the show supremely enthralling. I wish I could talk about them without entering into spoiler territory. And while Season 1 in general is a slow burn, it does end in sort of a wet fart.

Not to worry though, because Season 2 is here to save the day. Due to unfortunate circumstances real life circumstances (real life illness of the actor who portrayed him), Sinclair had to be written out and replaced quite hastily. Thankfully he is replaced by Captain John Sinclair, who is played by the quite great Bruce Boxleitner. He's the best human character in the show at this point, he's funny, he's dadly, he's kind, he's just fun!. In this season the show actually grows a plot arc regarding ~mysterious figures~ that seem to be aiding Londo.

The show also suffers from some executive meddling to quite hilarious effect during this season. The producers tried to force a Hotshot Pilot character, in the form of Warren Keffer. Who appears in the main credits for all 22 episodes, despite only being in about 5 or 6 of them and being killed off unceremoniously as fast as possible as a huge middle finger to the producers. I was considering tagging this as a spoiler, but the character is 100% inconsequential and can be taken out of the show with 0 negative impact.

Overall I think Babylon 5 is an extremely entertaining show if you're a fan of sci-fi shows.

I'd also heard this show draws a lot of comparisons to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and I'd intended to watch alongside this show to make comparisons, but lack of time did not allow for this.

Irish Joe
Jul 23, 2007

by Lowtax
A few years ago I was listening to some soft-talking bore interview Tracy Morgan on NPR. During the interview, Tracy mentioned that Tina Fey was the first person to let him play a character on tv that was true to him and his life experiences. Having watched The Tracy Morgan Show, its obvious to see what prompted that comment. In TTMS, Tracy plays the owner/manager of an autorepair shop and married father of two in a stereotypical family-friend sitcom. What is evident from the beginning is how uncomfortable he is playing the role. He tries his damnedest to be funny--to make something of the material--but he's constantly being shut down by his humorless wife (Castle's Tamale Jones) and young sons (wacky dad can't be too wacky). There are some genuinely funny exchanges at the autorepair shop, but even those are tempered by Tracy's role as a responsible authority figure. It would have been so much better if Tracy was Heavy D and Katt Williams' coworker instead of their boss so every exchange didn't end with Tracy having to play it straight. The show's only breakout character is Bobb'e J. Thompson, whom most of you will remember as Tracy Jr. from 30 Rock. That kid is goddamn hysterical and has amazing swagger for a six year old.

In sum, the show's bad and we should all be thankful it got cancelled.

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Annakie
Apr 20, 2005

"It's pretty bad, isn't it? I know it's pretty bad. Ever since I can remember..."
I'll be honest Irish Joe, I had to google both of the shows you Toxxed for before accepting the Toxx because I'd never heard of either of them and was wondering if you were just making stuff up. :v:

Everyone who's posted their finishing so far today is all good.

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