TV Report: The cut list

22 May

So, the 2015-16 TV season is winding down, and I failed to post through most of it. Sorry, I was binge watching Leverage, Criminal Minds and now Star Trek: TNG/DS9 on Netflix. But as for live TV, a third of the shows I’m still watching have an episode left to go, so let’s look at a different aspect: The things I quit watching.

All told, I started the season expecting to watch or try out 15 shows.  Of those, I saw (or intend to see) six to the end. Three of the rest were nonstarters (Once Upon a Time, Scream Queens and Best Night Ever with Neil Patrick Harris). I thought I’d watch them and then just didn’t.  The other six, I stopped watching for a variety of reasons that run the gamut of “I just fell behind” to “I can’t devote one more second of my time to you, you horrible, shadow of  yourself show.”

So let’s talk about those.

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From Endora to Oz: A Gilbert Grape-inspired retelling

1 Mar oz group

I might have rewritten The Wizard of Oz in half a thought at 2 a.m. while not quite napping with my cat. And as most thoughts go when you’re somewhere between asleep and awake, it was born from a strange place and took an odd journey.

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Teen Wolf 5.16: Lie Ability

10 Feb

Before I get into this week’s episode, I just need to say that if the rest of the season is the return to form that the promo for next week’s appears to be, I’ll forgive a lot about Season 5. But let’s talk about Tuesday’s episode.

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Probably the only Magicians post I’ll ever make

9 Feb

I knew sometime last year that SyFy was creating The Magicians, a show based on the Lev Grossman book series of the same name, and told myself I’d talk about it when its premiere got a little closer.  As it got closer last month, and I said to myself “Hey, I should talk about that,” but I didn’t and now it’s several episodes into its 13-episode season (already renewed for a second).

Fortunately, I don’t have a lot to say.

Even though the previews made it look like it’s either focused mainly on the first part of the first book or like it will just be a wild departure from the book series, I won’t be watching it. Because there are not words for how much I hated that book. I couldn’t even finish it (and I finished goddamn Twilight), mostly because the lead character was a horrible person.

If we could edit tweets, I’d probably have amended that to say the worst parts of Holden and Jacob Black, but we can’t so whatever. The point remains that Quentin is an entitled, possessive, jealous, violent creep of a child pretending to be a man who is also, apparently, the hero of the story.

So, I’m not watching. I did, however, start to form a mental cast as I was reading 3/4 of the book, and I’m feeling a little validated by at least one of my choices.

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When do you quit a show?

5 Feb castle teen wolf choice

As I was trying to condense my thoughts on Tuesday’s Teen Wolf into a tweet, I realized they weren’t terribly positive thoughts. Because let’s be real, this week’s episode was basically 44 minutes of nothing happening. Or at least 44 minutes of nothing happening that moved the story beyond a point we already knew existed because we saw it in an ill-advised flash forward weeks ago.

Which raises the question: At what point do you give up on a show and stop watching it?

I’ve learned over my lifetime of TV watching that a show has to do two things to make me leave:

  1.  Give me stories that I hate.
  2.  Ruin or underuse characters I love to the point that they can’t make up for the stories that I hate.

Teen Wolf, while I haven’t been wild about the stories or the telling of them in the past two years, hasn’t done both of those yet. Sadly, ABC’s Castle has.

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Don’t do what you’re doing, Netflix

24 Jan netflix

Yesterday I had a rare Saturday evening off work. But did I spend it catching up on the sea of current shows I’ve fallen behind on, continuing binge watches of shows that haven’t had new episodes in years, read a book or clean my house?

No, I spend the better part of the evening trying to figure out what had gone so wrong with Netflix and why nobody else was talking about it.

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RIP Alan Rickman

14 Jan rickman

Alan Rickman died today, and it feels like movies won’t ever be the same. I  can’t imagine that anything about the following list is unique. If you poll 1oo people around my age and asked them what their favorite Alan Rickman movies are, you’ll probably get a very similar list, and yet, I feel compelled to make it anyway.

All of the following movies were influential to my childhood/teen years, and I love them greatly.

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I’ve come to a Teen Wolf realization

13 Jan

When I woke up this morning, first I was pissed because it was so early, but that feeling was quickly replaced by glee, because a new Teen Wolf was waiting for me! (And then frustration as I remembered why this is the last season of TV I will ever by on iTunes when I no longer have Apple products.)

But season five, and these first couple episodes of 5B, especially, have led me to a realization: This is no longer a show that can be watched week-to-week if the story is the only thing bringing you in.

It’s still serviceable if you like great character moments for the original cast sandwiched between a parade of mostly wooden Abercombie models, plus Khylin Rhambo’s Mason, who’s stealing the show from the newcomers in the best way. And long-term, I feel like there’s probably a good story in there, but this season is so convoluted with flashforwards and flashbacks and a merry-go-round of characters that all look eerily similar coming and going that I don’t have a clue how anything fits together from scene to scene anymore. And a week between episodes certainly doesn’t help that.

But unlike the cluster that was season 4, I have hope that a binge watch — possibly part of a complete series rewatch — will make it all worthwhile.

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The Long Haul: The Star Wars EU

5 Jan

A few years ago, I started the Long Haul project. The goal was to watch a complete series and post about it on an episode-by-episode basis. I started with Journeyman, the short-lived 2007 NBC series about a reporter being thrown through time to fix people’s lives without screwing up his present. I love that show (sadly now unavailable everywhere but a UK DVD release) and wanted to share it with people. It was a rough start, because the line between summary and review can be a hard one to walk sometimes, but I got the hang of it.

I planned to follow it up with Eureka, the quirky USA series about a town of geniuses and weirdness. But I just couldn’t get into it. Not the show — the show seemed like it had a lot of potential — but I struggled mightily to write about it, and never watched past the pilot or published so much as a post about it. And then some of you might have briefly seen the announcement last year that I was going to revive Long Hauls with a rewatch/watch of Once Upon A Time. That came down almost as quickly as it went up, when I realized I just didn’t want to.

I think what it boils down to for me is that, in general, that’s not how I like to consume TV. I’m a fan of the binge watch, and stopping to write in between episodes when I know the next is just a click away kills my momentum and enthusiasm.

But last year I  was reminded of something else that I love: Star Wars.

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2015 Media in Review: The book edition

5 Jan

There have been years when I haven’t read a lot, but when I call this post the book edition, it’s because I read a whopping one book last year. Nearly two, but not quite.

Midway through a four-season Star Trek: The Next Generation binge, I reread “Just A Geek” by Wil Wheaton. As a memoir and behind-the-scenes look at the show (and industry), it was still just as good as I remember it the first time around.

I also sped through 3/4 of John Green’s novel “Paper Towns” in about three hours so I could go to work with good ideas for designing newspaper entertainment page around the movie. I meant to finish it but didn’t get around to it (probably because I was watching a truly enormous amount of television). But it was still a fun, pretty easy read with mystery, intrigue and at least one moment that still gave me nervous chills, even though I know how it ends.And that’s it. Shortest book post ever. But I’m going to do better in 2016.  The Long Haul is coming back, this time for some of my favorite (and I hope future favorite) books. Find out more.

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