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  1. I don't know why no one has replied to this; just finished it today, and it's excellent! The power of Netflix is the ability to fund experimental projects, of which many are forgettable flops (oof, some of those one-off movies are all trailer and no cattle)... but some (like this, the recent "Russian Doll", the gimmicky "Bandersnatch", etc) showcase new and interesting storytelling. The look and production value was very "Liquid Television" and "Animatrix", if updated for the 21st century. Some of them were cute, some were wondrous, all were excellently produced. No real duds, although some like "The Dump" were unremarkable to me. The quality of CGI is such that at times, I couldn't be sure the "Ice Age" short wasn't CGI. While the human actors were, apparently, live action shot, it's only a matter of time before "normal" shows are mocap and CGI, because it's cheaper to produce and looks better than real life. Stand-outs for me were: "Three Robots", which was just plain fun Also enjoyed the humor of "When the Yogurt Took Over", whose narration reminded me of "Pushing Daisies", and "Alternate Histories". "Beyond the Aquila Rift" for the existential horror it embodies (I saw it/the twist coming, but that thing in the shadows... brrrr) "Good Hunting" with the blend of animism and Victorian steampunk; I'd want to see a whole movie of this world. "Zima Blue" was a great example of "real" sci-fi, in that it explores real questions of human identity, self, and purpose when looking up into an infinitely vast universe It's also kind of amusing this is in the "Kids & Animated" section, because this is definitely not for kids!
  2. It's interesting to me that I'd just finished "Legion" season 2 shortly after finishing this series, and there's a parallel trope (I'll try to keep it spoiler free) a super-powered person is a dangerous, imminent threat pushed there by the harsh actions of alleged friends and allies who took those actions based on their fear the person would become dangerous but they only became dangerous because of the extreme over-reaction That's not to excuse Vanya, she had plenty of opportunity to show she wasn't a psychopath/threat. When I posted initially on page 2, I'd also had the idle thought: are we sure that Reginald didn't want this? I mean, in-show the journal notes/reactions suggest a different motive, but it's not inconceivable that Reginald, an alien, came to this planet to engineer its destruction. It's as if he took every wrong move to make a super team that would prevent a future apocalypse... but every right one if his goal was to cause it.
  3. Finished last night, echoing the general enjoyment, along with some of the gripes about character/dialogue/plot. I'll be back for season 2, although I'm getting really tired of Netflix doing cliffhangers with their original shows/movies as if saying "If you don't get your friends to watch this and drive up the stats... you'll never know what happens next!". Regarding the show mythos, some thoughts I wanted to offer: The Commission: Was the Commission meant as an allegory for white supremacists/Confederacy and end-of-days evangelical types? Their chosen home base and style- being able to live just about anywhere in time- is a stately compound in 1955, and they seem reeeally obsessed with keeping the "status quo", no matter who is hurt. They're totally cool with the end of the world- even working toward it- because they know they survive the "rapture". Plus, with the exception of Cha-cha, I think they're all white, whereas the Academy members are ethnically diverse. The Apocalypse: The version of the apocalypse Vanya triggers in episode 10 is clearly different than what Five had originally experience; if the moon actually broke, the earth would be scoured of all life, excepting maybe on the ocean floors (the Neal Stephenson book "Seveneves" involves this). There would have been no rubble or wreckage for Five to wander about, much less for the Commission to have formed from its ashes to engage in time travel policing. Assuming they're even from earth... Reginald Hargreeves: It's kind of glossed over, but didn't the show implicitly tell us that Reginald is an alien?!? He has lived for what, a couple of hundred years building his fortune; he clearly can predict the future to some extent; he has hyper-advanced technology (sentient chimps and robots, etc); and that flashback shows he came from a planet that had a Krypton-like(?) mass launching of rockets, before arriving in 18th/19th century earth. It would explain his atrocious parenting skills... The Seven: Small comic source spoiler: my read on this is influenced by a wiki sentence implying the magical insta-births may be a fragmented Second Coming. The 7 all think the numbering is based on importance and Reginald's favor, with Luther at the top... but really, the numbers clearly to escalate in power and importance. Far from Luther being the favored, he was #1 because he was the weakest and least important. With somewhat generous stretching, I think you can map the seven Academy members to the seven seals of the apocalypse: Luther- Bow, crown; Conquest Powers are super strength and (allegedly) leadership. Diego- Great swords; War Represents fighting, battle Allison- Scales; Famine, wealth inequality Powers of manipulation, becomes wealthy and famous Klaus- Death Yeah, this one seems pretty clear. :) Five- Souls of martyrs; those persecuted throughout time, awaiting the rapture Powers are space and time travel; moved through time persecuting people. Ben- Darkness; the punishment of the wicked and redemption of the righteous A stretch, but he's "dead", and in touch with the Cthulhuan darkness. Vanya- Seven Trumpets (the wrath of god) She uses sound to destroy things. She blows up the planet. 'Nuff said. Anyway, thanks for indulging my musings. :) Interesting and entertaining show; I enjoyed watching it!
  4. Well, it's the central theme of the character this season: her awakening to how her passion (comedy) is going to leave her alone and disconnected, in equal measure to the success she will experience. The Declan Howell meetup (and his close-to-the-bone monologue about putting everything into that painting and having nothing left), Lenny Bruce talking/singing about being alone and regretting the isolation, her realization at the reception for her Catholic friend that she's losing the ability to modulate her "club" voice when around family and friends, her instant agreement to a 6-month tour and later realization that it was both totally irresponsible and something she'd agree to again in a heartbeat, and her "cheating" on Benjamin with her still-husband Joel in a desperate attempt to feel something before her new life of being the lonely comic is about to start. These and other moments are showing us the transformation of Miriam Maisel into "Mrs. Maisel". Midge is becoming aware that she is in fact a very, very good comic, and she will be hugely successful... and the unavoidable cost is that the life of jello molds and society gossip is going to be cut off to her. I don't think she'll be with Benjamin in season 3, for that reason. Midge can't return to being just another happy society housewife he or anyone is expecting as we enter the 1960s, even if he is modern enough to also prefer a "weird" wife to the bland Stepford divas hanging off the likes of Joel. After all, just after he went through a gauntlet to get her father to okay a marriage, she... turns around and leaves the country for 6 months?!? The men she was raised to attract, and the home life she was trained from girlhood to be perfect at, are simply not compatible with who she is becoming.
  5. I liked that she was oblivious to how much they hated her... and then by the end they're all good friends. Between this, the hired goons, and the staff at Camp Steiner, Susie's low-key super power is to befriend basically everyone, no matter how initially hostile. The show is a visual feast, in the same way as "Mad Men" but without that heavy fog of sexist ass-pinching in the meeting rooms. Someone mentioned it in an earlier episode thread, but with Season 1 having won a surprising 8 (!!!) Emmy's, it's clear Amazon backed up the bank truck to make sure the second season didn't look cheap and rushed.
  6. It was 1959, it's not that unusual that a club would try to stiff an act on some hopped-up pretense- doubly so when a woman of that time didn't have any real recourse with a shady booking manager other than finding a "manly man" to use violence when persuasion and pleading don't work. In truth, that scene led to my favorite Susie moment of the season, or one of them. Just after Joel punches the guy and notes that a sentence starting "Maybe you should make sure your wife..." was going to end with him getting hit regardless... Susie looks at Joel with a little twinkle in her eye and says under her breath "Whole new light, pal!". Meaning, Joel so impressed hard-bitten Rockaways native Susie, in that moment he went from laughable loser and spoiled son of privilege to "Oh, so that's why Midge would ever have married this boring schlub".
  7. So I wrote that big long comment up above, having been intrigued by the opening episode. Now I'm posting here to warn anyone who just watched the first episode and thought to check this forum to get reactions. Don't. Stop. Just... let it go. The show will disappoint you if you finish this season. If you just remove it from your queue and go to the next thing, you'll be great!
  8. This. I finished it tonight, and I'm kind of in shock with this "ending". When the 8th episode ended and they didn't show the "Next episode in 5..." button, I though "Oh, this must surely be one of those split-season things, and the rest of the final season will air in a few months". Uh... no. That's it, and it wasn't until your comment that I realized there aren't more coming. She stabs Doug on the floor of the Oval Office, and that's... that. The really weird part is, I was kind of enjoying the season, and it had a surreal vibe to it, something almost Lynchean. It seemed like it was going to avoid Sorkin-style "inspired by real stories" narratives and go for something darker, more primal. There were many times I thought "This is less a political thriller than it is a psychological thriller at this point; a horror movie about a malignant narcissist psychopath inhabiting the White House", as the only rational response to the real world we live in. Claire had basically gone completely fucking insane, and it's interesting that the show basically had no real scenes among "the public". It was almost entirely shot indoors/on sets, and the lack of external characters seemed to echo the idea that the public itself is no longer part of the process, just a thing to be manipulated. For much of the season it felt more like a dramatic theater performance with tinges of Shakespeare (the mad Queen, haunted by her past and her paranoia, alone, self-isolating and self-destructive), and that if things were this off-the-rails by the middle episodes, it could be building to one heck of an ending! Then... no. Those weren't middle episodes- it's just over now. Wow. This final season shouldn't have been made, if they were going to phone it in this badly. It was basically a "Fuck you" to whomever spent 5 seasons and 65 hours watching this series up until now. It's not even that it ended ambiguously; we can reasonably presume Claire got away with it all, and may even as they said "end up on a coin". That could have been a powerful message in itself, if handled right, or as a warning in a cautionary tale. The house of cards only falls if you, the people, push; but "the people" weren't even a cameo character this season. They could have had Claire be assassinated, or brought low, or ascend high, or something beyond Cold War style cloak-and-dagger scheming. But they didn't really do anything; the season ended abruptly, the show felt unfinished, and there wasn't really a point, or a message, or a moral, or even a cathartic ending. Sure, some clever sophist could craft a plausible meta-message out of all of... that... but if we have to go digging and speculating that hard, the show failed us. The House of Cards never actually fell. You had one job, writers. One. Job!
  9. I'll admit, I was really frustrated with the incoherent trainwreck that was season 5 (and it's time again for my seasonal gripe "It's called house of CARDS, why didn't they wrap this all up in four 13-episode seasons?!"). I didn't even realize this was coming back this fall until I saw it on Netflix when I launched it Friday night. That said, I gave it a chance and I'm... intrigued? I've watched two episodes, but got stoned while watching the second so don't really remember much beyond the first episode. :) What I've seen so far has my attention... but I'm also wary. There's a term I use (coined?) for Coen Brothers and similar movies, "mythological decoupage", where they take existing myths or stories, fracture them, and reassemble the pieces (such as the Greek myths referenced in "O Brother Where Art Thou"). It can be both fascinating and frustrating, similar to how the great Blues Traveler song "Hook" makes you think there's meaning where it's referencing "familiar heroes from long ago to confuse the issue". Maybe it's a staggering work of heartbreaking genius... or maybe they just threw a lot of cool images up and left it to you to invent some overarching motif. It's not exactly an unheard-of cop-out for screenwriters. :) I think I see a little of that going on here, so far. Unavoidably of course, from the very start of this season the show is steeped in references to the current political climate. But will it be satisfying at the end? Will there be some meaning, or message, or conclusion- or just an adolescent, South Parkean spaghetti-fling of not-so-subtle allusions, masquerading as deep and insightful? Some episode-specific thoughts: First, big shout out to the props and costume/makeup department. That scene where we see Claire in the Oval Office at the beginning, she has a swoop of blond hair that is so clearly reminiscent of The Traitor's absurd coif... and right there in the background is Campbell Scott, now somehow crisply silver-haired in an unmistakable Pence impression. It was an arresting visual rhyme, and the first episode has a lot of those. That camera angle in the crisp blue jacket when she's giving her speech to the soldiers looks like the kind of thing screencapped and posted as the banner on one of the white supremacist/nazi Reddits. The Shepherds seem to be stand-ins for the real-life evil billionaire siblings Eric "War Crimes" Prince and Betsy "The Killing of the American Mind" DeVos. I guess Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard were unavailable... :) The app thing first hinted at in previous seasons as an Underwood ploy, but now being used by the Shepherds, is an obvious allusion to Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekkah. Claire is understandably hated by the public (her husband stole an election, and died before he could be impeached so now she's, somehow, both halves of the First Couple)... but it's a show that like so many Hollywood productions spent 5 seasons telling us about these evil "Demon-rat" politicians, Bill Underwood and Hillary Hale Underwood. So is Claire still the Hillary stand-in of the previous seasons, or is she a clone of The Traitor, or some hybrid, or...? So I'm not crazy, right? Frank was very much alive and well at the end of the last season, and this thing about him dying was retconned in because of external factors, but presented as if we were supposed to remember it that way. Appropriate in the age of disinformation and the menace of unreality, I guess. But I'm assuming we're supposed to think that Claire had him killed. What is with the incompetence of the security and staff, anyway? I'm probably blurring in some of the second episode, but the way people grab and and confront Claire, it's like there's no more secret service at all. I mean, after a .50 cal hits her window, they take her to a small-town fire station? That entire sequence with the bird in the walls was so obviously a Lady Macbeth riff, I was shocked that an actual bird came out of the wall. I've got no problems with Robin Wright being the star of the show- I don't miss the plot-armor of Francis' Kingpin-like machinations. And I guess I'll stick around for at least a couple more episodes, but I'm not sure what are we supposed to think of Claire. She still seems psychopathic, yet not unlike Frank has some good ideas. She's also done waaaay too many wicked things to somehow get a redemption arc in the final season by standing up to the "American oligarchs"- even if it's a cause I wholly support in principle. I'm just hoping the final episode doesn't have Claire fleeing on a boat to become a lumberjack in the Pacific Northwest.
  10. I freakin' know!!! Season 1 was my least favorite of the 4 "Defenders" shows (although I didn't hate it as much as the internet, I had to enter "stoner mindset" to get much joy out of IF-S1). Yet now: The Defenders mini-series was just awful, DD-S2 was eh, okay... JJ-S2 was eh, okay.... LC-S2 was eh, okay to even "bad", and IF-S2 was... wait a second here... interesting and decently plotted?!? Characters who were written and behaved like human beings? The "bad guys" were morally complex, while the good guys weren't just pants-on-head stupid all the time?!? How on earth was this a Scott Buck project?! Well, whatever they did, it worked because that was enjoyable and well-paced and has me actually looking forward to season 3.
  11. I'm enjoying this season so far (in a lazy way; season 1 didn't exactly make me excited to watch season 2, but eh...). That said, the hallmark of this show continues to be sloppy plotting/writing. Time continuity, character behavior, unnecessary obstacles for the sake of drama, etc. I think a lot of that is the writers being somehow unable to understand- still- how much different life would be for a friggin' billionaire. I think it would be a smarter choice to really explore that- how Danny Rand has the kind of resources a Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne would have, and how that would unavoidably change his behavior and goals, and not in the throw-away "I got you a fancy arm and I can pay your rent!" kind of way. I mean, as an example, while Danny is not all about wealth and its trappings, and living this ascetic life of the humble furniture mover, I'd be shocked if [a real world] Ward didn't have Rand contacts on speed dial to discretely get Danny immediate, A+++ medical attention. So instead, they let him limp around with a gut wound, an actual doctor says "Eh, fine, don't take him to a hospital"? Things that are kind of a slap to the viewer, because it reads as almost childishly naive about the world. That said, I still enjoy watching, and have grown on Finn Jones/Danny Rand. "We live in a cynical world. A cynical world."... so it's kind of nice to have a hero who is a genuinely good, decent, noble person. Imperfect, flawed, sure... but far better than most.
  12. The Snells- who are batshit crazy- killed Del out of some ridiculous hillbilly pride. The cartel demanded a fair negotiation and gave Marty 1 hour to accomplish this. Jacob realized that only blood for blood would work (and simply offering money would show its own form of weakness), so he killed their like-a-son right-hand man, Ash. The cartel would recognize the trade-off- and equivalent value- and call the debt paid. The unseen cartel heads basically think similarly to Jacob: their stupid, violent world is all about "pride", and "respect", and "power", and "weakness". So the Snells offering up their own "highly-placed lieutenant" would be seen as a way of wiping the slate clean and returning to a pure business relationship. That said, I'm just now watching episode 2, and the Snells are not so good at... anything related to business. Or basic human interactions. The Snells are little more than feral animals, wearing human-shaped clothing, and while the cartel is similar, they are also presumably too wealthy and professional to play this sort of game with the Snells much longer. "Coach Sue, Esq." does not strike me as one to dabble in backwoods feuds and petty spats.
  13. I really liked this show/season- I kept seeing the little trailer and tried it on a whim, surprised how much I liked it- but I can also agree that "uneven" is a pretty apt summary. The show was all over the map in terms of tone, and that ending was daaaark. Still, it was so fun, and so goofy/weird/camp, I had a blast watching it. I'll be back for season 2, and I'm curious where they'll go with this now that Patty has basically chosen the irrevocable "dark side" while Bob A. is now aligned at the hip with her.
  14. I disagree; what I like about this show is that most characters in it are people-like, including Patty. While Regina and Dixie are cartoonish, almost everyone else is nuanced and multi-faceted. The adults do try to be good with their kids, but are also not great with them- or each other. Everyone's got secrets, everyone's got lies, everyone is a fraud... she's basically a weight-losing female version of Holden Caufield. And her town is just full of phonies... Was Patty completely in the wrong to lash out at Bob like that- and not the first time she's done so impulsively? Absolutely! But her character is basically still a child, and that kind of absolutist thinking and sense of hurt is extremely realistic for an adolescent- much less one who was cruelly bullied her whole life, hospitalized, has undergone a drastic physical and social transformation, and who is encountering a rapid-fire set of challenges and new and confusing experiences. After a cruel series of rejections and abandonment- all happening around a ridiculous and cruel farce of a "roast" because she was unfairly labeled a bully by the evil machinations of the worst person in town- she snapped and acted waaaay out of line. Yeah, okay. That she would be self-absorbed and quick to temper is believable, because- again- she's a teenager going through an extremely complicated time. And she's good enough at heart that she has had plenty of genuine moments of decency and compassion, does care about other people. Once it hit her how much she had hurt Bob, she literally collapsed into a Costco sheet cake of despair from her guilt and the emotional crisis of realizing just how much she bears the responsibility of her own unhappiness. She's very, very imperfect- but so is everyone else in this show. That's what I like about it: no one is getting the Mary Sue "winner's edit", and (excepting the sort of comic relief of Regina/Dixie) no one is unredeemably evil either. Patty gets dumped on an awful lot, but also brings a lot on herself. Like you'd expect from a teenager, and like you'd hope she would eventually grow out of it (I type this still having not seen the final two episodes).
  15. Like some of you, I was mystified at the overwhelmingly negative reviews, because I had been digging this show as frivolous camp fun and goofiness. But this episode went way over the top for me- in all the best possible ways! The sheer absurd campiness of it all- down to the parallel generational unrequited love stories (Bob/Bob and Nonnie/Patty) and soap-opera-dialed-to-11 dramatic "twists" like a false pregnancy that was actually a "demon" teratoma, my god- had me absolutely howling. I mean, when Dixie bit into her like a freakin' vampire, and the camera lingers on Patty's shocked face, clad in her WienerTaco dirndl sporting fresh bite marks on her neck, looking for all the world like a peasant who's just been attacked by Count Dracula, and all this while "Cry, Little Sister" (the theme from the movie "The Lost Boys", for god's sake!) is playing in the background... I was in tears. Tears. Whoever was ragging on this show based on the supposed "fat-shaming" elements is missing out on a hilariously goofball show that also is really good about genuine human moments (I find the parent-child conversations for example to be surprisingly well-written, and the show at times gets serious about serious things) and yes, about body-positivity. I hope word of mouth gives this show a cult following, because I think it deserves much more attention than it's getting.
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