What are you watching? (television thread)

Griffith

My posts are better.
Anybody getting pumped for the new Dark Crystal series on Netflix? The first trailer dropped today:

That's pretty impressive, and still kind of an astonishing thing to have exist. I just wish it wasn't a prequel series that'll likely tread the same ground and run into a dead end as prequels tend to do. Visually it looks great though, and I'm curious how far they took the practical effects versus CGI enhancement and how they chose to apply it.
 
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Grail

Feel the funk blast
That's pretty impressive, and still kind of an astonishing thing to have exist. I just wish it wasn't a prequel series that'll likely tread the same ground and run into a dead end as prequels tend to do. Visually it looks great though, and I'm curious how far they took the practical effects versus CGI enhancement and how they chose to apply it.
I have been excited to learn more about the planning of this series since I initially heard that they would be focusing on practical effects with actual puppetry. I agree on the note about being a prequel, but I think the details are vague enough that they will have the chance to do some exciting, unexpected things.
 
Caught up with S2 of Barry last night. What a ride and easily one of the best shows on air right now. The writing is top notch, Bill Hader is great and the supporting cast is amazing too, especially Noho Hank. We hit the pause on the show for 3 weeks ago because my girlfriend couldn't get past a scene, it made her incredibly anxious and uncomfortable.

Next up - Chernobyl.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
I had basically the same post cued up, exact quote and everything.

Anyway...


Westworld season 2 was a Lostian letdown, but here's hoping season 3 might become worthwhile with a change of scenery, focus and the welcome addition of Mr. Paul. If they really wanted to crank up the intrigue they should have brought on Cranston too. =) He'd actually be perfect for the show, could basically replace Hopkins.

Other than that, I'm thinking of picking up Veep or Better Call Saul again if there's ever time to watch.
 
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...especially Noho Hank.
Noho Hank is the best!

Next up - Chernobyl.
Please do share your thoughts on the show. A friend recommended it to me, but I’m still not sure whether I’ll watch it.

Westworld season 2 was a Lostian letdown, but here's hoping season 3 might become worthwhile with a change of scenery, focus and the welcome addition of Mr. Paul
Fingers crossed.

My wife gave up on the show a long time ago, but Aaron Paul will make season 3 must-watch for her.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
March Comes in Like a Lion is now on Netflix (2 seasons available). This is of course the anime adaptation of Chika Umino's manga. She's Miura's friend and a fellow YA mangaka, and they've worked together on a few small things in the past. I'm looking forward to checking it out tonight.
 

Th3Branded0ne

I'll be back.
March Comes in Like a Lion is now on Netflix (2 seasons available). This is of course the anime adaptation of Chika Umino's manga. She's Miura's friend and a fellow YA mangaka, and they've worked together on a few small things in the past. I'm looking forward to checking it out tonight.
I have watched it as it came out simultaneously on crunchyroll. It's a drama that has shogi as the connections for the protagonist, but goes beyond the game to form bonds and nee friendships. I really like it.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Stranger Things, 4 eps in, so far so good and evenly progressing. I'm sure it's going to hit a mid to late season lull though before they get to the resolution, so don't bother warning me about it. =)

Other stuff on the list:
Finish Veep
Start Barry

That's it.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Barry is great.
Two-thirds of the way into season 1, actually I'm not even sure how many episodes there are, I'm beginning to see that. Actually, I was pretty hooked from the first episode. It's mixture of violence, drama and dark humor gave me some Breaking Bad vibes from the get-go, and it has a lot of potential still in all three department (with no Walt Jr. or family subplots getting in the way). Barry already makes Walt look like a nice guy, yet he's also infinitely more naive and innocent somehow. An interesting creation that could go a lot of different directions and I'm looking forward to seeing where he ends up.

This actually looks... good.
This property could win all the awards, receive unanimous perfect critical consensus and knock Sopranos off the all-time TV mountaintop while also becoming my new personal favorite show and I'd still be skeptical it's actually good.
 
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Star Trek: The Next Generation popped up on Netflix feed, and started watching it. Full disclosure - I used to watch whatever season was on network TV and loved most of it from what I remember growing up. We never had full access to shows - in terms of full seasons or from beginning to end - except for Remington Steele or The X-Files or random stuff for some reason. As I go through the first season, I realize I've never watched any of these episodes before! So it's pretty cool to go through them for the first time, in proper order. Man, some of it is whimsical but hey, that's part of the (cringe) charm of the show.

It's interesting to see Picard a little rough in his mannerisms (dialog delivery, the way he emotes), I remember him as more of a chill, I know what I'm doing kinda all-wise Captain or I could've also remembered him wrongly :farnese:. But man, Wesley ... he's been given so much importance so far. I didn't expect that.

Also watching The Voice for fun and in the middle of the Netflix produced rap talent search show.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
The Leftovers was one of the best shows of the last decade.
I actually watched the whole show based partially on your rare enthusiasm over it (this guy hates everything, it must be amazing!). But that ended up being a mistake -- it did almost nothing for me. I certainly can't reconcile that superlative with my experience with the show. Great acting in season 2, and I'm personally happy that Mark Linn-Baker is still getting work. But it's a lot of circle jerking/chain yanking leading to nowhere interesting. Not only that, it effectively makes fun of its own audience's tendencies to produce overwrought theories, which I found rather arrogant for a show that leans into weird shit.

I guess I can kind of squint and see why some people are really into it. But you've got to be cool with favoring suspense over substance, which as I get older I find less palatable. And well, that's pretty much Lindelof's trademark at this point. Lindelof me once, shame on you. Lindelof me twice? Shame on me.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
Speaking of transcendent television, because I'm not putting this in some fancy cinema thread, Breaking Bad just released a new two part episode titled El Camino on Netflix, effectively wrapping up Jesse's story and essentially saying goodbye to everyone (again!)! Better than I expected because I feared it was going to be The Continuing Adventures of Jesse Pinkman, which I understand some wanted, but it was FIRMLY rooted in the conclusion of the show and that suits me fine. It's basically the Jesse-centric final episodes we didn't have time for before. That's where it fills a need, or at least a want, to me, in that it technically was a major piece missing from that final season for the second biggest character on the show. I like that better than some Jesse starring BB reboot, or something so far afield it might as well be something else (I was honestly kind of dreading this), because I didn't really want that, or Breaking Bad: The Movie, but as an extra two part episode titled El Camino where we get to see Jesse's side of the ending... I'll take that. Ultimately, it's a good companion piece to the end of Bad.
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Speaking of transcendent television, because I'm not putting this in some fancy cinema thread, Breaking Bad just released a new two part episode titled El Camino on Netflix, effectively wrapping up Jesse's story and essentially saying goodbye to everyone (again!)! Better than I expected because I feared it was going to be The Continuing Adventures of Jesse Pinkman, which I understand some wanted, but it was FIRMLY rooted in the conclusion of the show and that suits me fine.
El Camino felt like a bit amateur to me. It's a series of Breaking Bad sub-character vignettes, strung together through Jesse's escape from the city. On paper that sounds okay, but each vignette felt isolated, often a perfunctory vehicle for those actors to reprise their roles without adding much, or anything, to the character. So that was a bit of a bummer. As was the "villain," who never came across as much more menacing than a tubby Ben Affleck. Still, there were a handful of moments that really did feel like a fresh Breaking Bad episode, set immediately after the conclusion, and that was neat.

The other problem that's specific to me is that I never really cared about Jesse, and I have no confidence in Aaron Paul as an actor, particularly 6 years removed from his time as Jesse, and virtually alone for most scenes here. That was a bold move for a number of reasons, but I'm not sure it all added up to a very authentic feeling. Part of that is the fault of the script. For instance, Jesse was never a gun-toting wild west guy, so that remorseless little murder spree felt fundamentally off. Certainly he had a transformative year in captivity, and who knows who that person would be after all of that, but my guess is that it wouldn't just be Jesse again, only with less of a problem with violence. And part of it has to do with what it is. As a late, artificial add-on to the series, it must contend with the expectations in people's minds for what Breaking Bad represents now (a pretty high bar), and contribute enough that's fresh to fend off the inevitable question of "why does this exist?"

It's basically the Jesse-centric final episodes we didn't have time for before. That's where it fills a need, or at least a want, to me, in that it technically was a major piece missing from that final season for the second biggest character on the show. I like that better than some Jesse starring BB reboot, or something so far afield it might as well be something else (I was honestly kind of dreading this), because I didn't really want that, or Breaking Bad: The Movie, but as an extra two part episode titled El Camino where we get to see Jesse's side of the ending... I'll take that. Ultimately, it's a good companion piece to the end of Bad.
I'd have appreciated something in-between, personally. I don't need to see him serving pretzels in Alaska necessarily (oh god...), but grounding the story just in the immediate aftermath of the ending somewhat stymied the possibility space for what they could do with those characters, and in the end, I didn't feel very much of substance was added to him or the other characters, such that we needed to revisit the whole series again.
 

Griffith

My posts are better.
YMMV, but I thought it did add what was essentially missing from the last season. Remember, before it sort of crested as a phenomenon at the end, those episodes were basically negotiated and the amount was a compromise (they didn't know 10 million viewers were going to show up). So even though they pulled it off, unlike Thrones, something was left on the table and Jesse got short shrift (again, if you're not a fan of his this isn't a bug =).

I've seen the whole, "does this need to exist?" narrative and don't think it really addresses anything about why people would want or like this or not, it's just sort of a pejorative. None of this needs to exist of course, it's just entertainment, in this case another two hours among dozens of this series, some grand and some not (was this more or less necessary than Marie stealing shoes or breakfast with Walt Jr!?), and it has a pretty basically justifiable premise or fundamental question it's answering: so, what happened to Jesse? Anyway, it sounds like you just had an uneven experience or weren't interested in what they were selling here, which is fine, I enjoyed the ride but could take it or leave it, but that all gets inflated to existential proportions with the expectations/hype game where this basically goes from being a bonus episode of Breaking Bad to BREAKING BAD THE MOVIE: A NETFLIX EVENT (I don't think that needed to exist =)!

I didn't pay much attention to those questions going in and had low expectations and desire for this (my dad had to remind me it came out), so was pleasantly surprised it simply felt a part of the pre-existing Breaking Bad story, but I think a lot of people had the opposite experience and were kind of expecting something significant in its own right to justify going back at all, like it had to blow our minds all over again and hit another walk-off home run to even justify the extra innings (to me, there's only one character that could do that, and going there and bringing him back would almost certainly be bankrupt and ruinous, but I'd still watch a terrible Heisenberg: Resurrection sequel in a second =). That said, having creepy Todd back, fluctuating weight aside, was good and somehow even weirder, and Paul was great throughout. So yeah, I didn't even want this, but to me it's simply a fine addition to the finale that I didn't want it to try to top or somehow supplant either.

Now, I do think they could have done more, with one flashback in particular, to have tied everything up better to the themes of the film and Jesse's arc overall as well as giving us a better sense of closure to a certain relationship (hint: not Jane), but hey, maybe it did and I just want more, because I still enjoyed the scene and the notes it hit quite a bit.

Speaking of which, wait a minute... you know why you didn't all the way like this movie? It was a half-measure, man! They should have gone all the way: Walt and Jesse in the Euro drug underground! "Ve got you out of Amareeka, 'dead' man, it vasn't easy, and so ve have expektations... Mister Vhite!"

"My name is... Heisenberg." :badbone:
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I've seen the whole, "does this need to exist?" narrative and don't think it really addresses anything about why people would want this or not, it's just sort of a pejorative. None of this needs to exist of course, it's just entertainment
I didn't mean it as a pejorative. I think it's a natural question to ask when anyone chooses to go back to the well of their past successes. And though that phrasing has a negative connotation, the exercise doesn't have to be devoid of meaning. A significant bookend like this has the opportunity to add a fresh perspective on a character, breathing new life into them, maybe make the viewer revisit their preconceptions. Those would be good reasons to exist. You could argue that it's simply "finishing" the story it had previously ended. But that ended up not being enough for me, particularly 6 years removed. Also, after all is said and done, as an ending to the character, I really much prefer Jesse's scream of anguish/freedom in the car to everything we got in this addition.

What if now, 25 years later, Chrono Trigger: Gato's Journey Home came out as SNES DLC, and focused just on Gato and his interactions with the Millennial Fair people as he makes his way back to ... Lucca's lab! See, we added an additional wrinkle that's worthwhile for the character. Also, will he or won't he steal the old man's lunch?

in this case another two hours among dozens of this series, some grand and some not (was this more or less vital than Marie stealing shoes or breakfast with Walt Jr?)
I would take another earnest Walt Jr. breakfast scene over Jesse incongruously shaking down five dudes.

But that all gets inflated with the expectations/hype game where this basically goes from being a bonus episode of Breaking Bad to BREAKING BAD THE MOVIE: A NETFLIX EVENT (I don't think that needed to exist =)!
My expectations for this were pretty low for all the aforementioned reasons. I was perfectly satisfied with where they left the show, it was a rare great ending in a sea of shitty endings, and I didn't necessarily want or need another chapter to close it out. But I was speaking of what I assume the broad perception of this is, which takes us back to the reason it exists and the challenges it has in matching up against its own shadow, creating a consistent experience, etc. This also harkens back to our old disagreement of me not being able to divorce a Marvel/Disney/Star Wars movie's intrinsic value from its role in the broader media strategy. See below:

I think a lot of people had the opposite experience and were kind of expecting something significant in its own right to justify going back at all,
Well, yeah. I would like to think that if ANY creator revisits their past work in this manner that they would have something significant to say about their characters or the show itself, instead of what is basically a victory lap.

Speaking of which, wait a minute... you know why you didn't all the way like this movie? It was a half-measure, man! They should have gone all the way: Walt and Jesse in the Euro drug underground! "Ve got you out of Amareeka, 'dead' man, it vasn't easy, and so ve have expektations... Mister Vhite!"

"My name... is Heisenberg."
COMING TO NETFLIX SUMMER 2020: Breaking Bad: DER KLOPFT
 
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Griffith

My posts are better.
FYI, I was editing my post as you replied if I added any clarifying nuance.

I didn't mean it as a pejorative. I think it's a natural question to ask for anyone choosing to go back to the well of their past successes. And though that phrasing has a negative connotation, the exercise doesn't have to be devoid of meaning. A significant bookend like this has the opportunity to add a fresh perspective on a character, breathing new life into them, maybe making the viewer second-guess their previous preconceptions. Those would be good reasons to exist. You could argue that it's simply "finishing" the story it had previously ended. But that ended up not being enough for me, particularly 6 years removed.
Yeah, but it's reason to exist is just to show what happened to Jesse, the idea it has to give us some new awakening on the series to be a story worth telling is a pretty tall order, if not insurmountable, and fraught since we liked what we thought of it broadly in the end and apparently so did they. That would just be shaking it up for the sake of it, like a creepy custom-made snow globe you keep next to your tarantula.

What if now, 25 years later, Chrono Trigger: Gato's Journey Home came out as SNES DLC, and focused just on Gato and his interactions with the Millennial Fair people as he makes his way back to ... Lucca's lab! See, we added an additional wrinkle that's worthwhile for the character. Also, will he or won't he steal the old man's lunch?
I'm rejecting this comparison based on the fact that Gato wasn't the co-lead or even a prominent character of Chrono Trigger whose fate was not elaborated on. And because the Schala comparison was right there too! That point could go either way depending on what one thinks of Chrono Cross as a sequel compared to El Camino. =)

I would take another earnest Walt Jr. breakfast scene over Jesse incongruously shaking down five dudes.
Like when he thought it was a good idea to get high and take on two gangbanging killers. I will gladly watch Jesse's bad, Sergio Leone-inspired, decisions any day, even if he was seemingly trying to get past all that. I don't know though, this is just rationalization, but he had to be looking for that fight, or some acknowledgment of contrition in the form of $1800.

My expectations for this were pretty low for all the aforementioned reasons. I was perfectly satisfied with where they left the show, it was a rare great ending in a sea of shitty endings, and I didn't necessarily want or need another chapter to close it out. But I was speaking of what I assume the broad perception of this is, which takes us back to the reason it exists and the challenges it has in matching up against its own shadow, creating a consistent experience, etc. This also harkens back to our old disagreement of me not being able to divorce a Marvel/Disney/Star Wars movie's intrinsic value from its role in the broader media strategy. See below:

Well, yeah. I would like to think that if ANY franchise revisits itself in this manner that it would have something significant to say about its characters or itself, instead of what is basically a victory lap.
I guess my defensiveness is with how we consume a lot of media in general now, like it's almost judging art by its perception rather than just what it is; Joker is encouraging incels, El Camino doesn't need to exist, etc. Some of these prevailing takes are forming instantly, before the movie is even out in the case of the former, so we're not even talking about it anymore but talking about how we talk about it or perceive its place in the zeitgeist. Like, I don't need or want this to be a big deal, either intrinsically or in its reception; to me the consistent experience is that it seems of a kind with BB on a granular level, like that apartment search scene, but it doesn't need to match the series' profound highs and lows, and likely never could in two hours, just to dare exist to tell the story of how Jesse got out.

I think it's pretty firmly rooted in simply showing that because they didn't have the time or structure for it before, and I think that sounds like an organic Vince Gilligan sort of justification for its necessity because it was the one thing he sort of let ride... so of course he had to go meticulously map it out! Netflix releasing it with a jumped up, eventized marketing campaign ultimately doesn't it make it something else to me. I'm guessing for you it's just not a story and character you cared for seeing anyway, and it didn't add anything on top that you did.

Anyway, I don't think we're talking a profound difference of opinion here, I didn't mind it and so enjoyed the ride, you didn't enjoy it as much and so sort of do mind? We're both basically saying it's like an average Breaking Bad story and nothing more.
 
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