Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

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Re: Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

Postby gdh82 » Sun May 13, 2012 5:21 pm

Anybody else enjoying The Bridge? Missed it at the start but I'm loving catching up via the BBC iplayer.
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Re: Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

Postby Tripod » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:58 am

Time to update this thread. 'Tis the golden age of tv series, after all.

Let's start with the two Nexflix original series. Netflix, the streaming service, has become so powerful and rich that it has started producing its own series and I think the first two are winners.

- House of Cards. Kevin Spacey plays Francis Underwood, who was promised the position of Secretary of State under the new president but in the first scene he's told that plans have changed. And now he's out for revenge, scheming constantly against those ranked higher in his party. And boy, he's ruthless. Great performance by Spacey, I love him breaking the 4th wall and talking directly to us, telling us what's on his mind. Some interest in politics from the viewer is desirable.

I think the trailer makes it look dryer than it really is, especially as the season progresses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULwUzF1q5w4

- Orange is the new Black. Personally, I like this series even better. Based on the true story of a woman who's about to get married into a wealthy family when her past catches up with her and she's sentenced to (a women's) prison. Sure, there's some light lesbian action for those interested, but I just love the cast and characters, Miss Claudette, Taystee, "Yoga Jones", "Red" (Captain Janeway!), "Big Boo", "Crazy Eyes" and all the others (well, except for "Pennsatucky", of course, and all the men). Like Lost, the series also makes use of flashbacks, showing us the women before they went to prison and which wrong turns got them there. Some are good people who just made one mistake - similar to the BBC series The Accused.

The trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nryWkAaWjKg

And I love the opening credits with actual, not very flattering close-ups of the actresses/characters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBITGyJynfA

Other series I really like:

- Person of Interest: If you've been watching this you won't have been surprised by the Snowden revelations. The secret star of the series, after all, is "the machine", which hears and sees everything, an artificial intelligence able to hack into any camera, phone call, email, etc. Of course, here it is used to do good things, able to predict murders before they happen (no "precogs" needed as in Minority Report).

- Elementary: Sure, I love my Cumberbatch as the modern Sherlock, but so few episodes. Jonny Lee Miller also does a great interpretation of Holmes and pairing him up with Lucy Liu as Watson was a good idea as well. Fun fact: Just two years ago Miller and Cumberbatch shared the stage of the National Theatre in an adaptation of Frankenstein and every night they switched roles, one playing the doctor, the other the monster.

- Castle: Sure, it's growing a bit old, now in the 6th sseason, but I just love both Stana Katic and Nathan Filion (the latter niagw, obviously, more as in, I'd like to be that guy).

- Hannibal: Wow. Watch this if you have the stomach for it. I was extremely impressed with the 13 episodes this first season. I expected nothing from this - a TV show based on Hannibal Lector, set before any of the books/movies? Another Smallville? Nothing like that. It's grim, it's gory and it's damn good. It already starts strong but it gets even better when the central story really gets rolling. At first I felt Hannibal is taking too many risks, it'll be unrealistic if his true nature doesn't get discovered soon. But as it turns out, he's got quite the plan. Dexter is utterly harmless in comparison.

Speaking of which... Dexter's final season. The series was growing a bit stale but of course I wanted to know how it'll end. As always, I'm not gonna spoil anything, I'll just say the finale wasn't bad, but I didn't find it quite satisfactory, seemed a bit arbitrary. Altogether, looking back over the eight seasons, Dexter just became too human. The fascination with his character was that he was so... alien, a psychopath, but he changed too much. It's nigh impossible to think that the Dexter from the final season is the same guy we started with, way too many feelings.

And here are some more thoughts...

- The Blacklist: The new vehicle for James Spader. Starts off pretty badly, this ex-CIA-agent (Spader) who's a wanted criminal himself now helping the authorities with his "blacklist" of especially bad people... which conveniently turn up somewhere between New York and Washington for each episode. I don't really like the female lead nor her husband (who may or may not be a bad guy) but it's been renewed for a second season already, so enough people must like this show.

- Brooklyn Nine Nine: I admit, I like most US half-hour comedies and this one is pretty damn funny, too. A totally immature group of cops I warmed up to. Ratings aren't so good and it's still unclear if this will make it past the first season.

- Agents of SHIELD: This one I'm mentioning because though I've watched all episodes so far, I really don't care for it. It was supposed to be the recipe for the biggest hit eva... take Joss Whedon and all the power of the Marvel superheroes universe and turn it into a tv show. Not that I care for superhero movies anyway. But we end up with this squad of agents fighting against the misuse of superpowers... and only half of them are anywhere near qualified for the job and altogether it is a very bland blend of characters.

- Hostages: Well, pretty exciting, I admit. Though entirely unbelievable. The President of the mighty US of A is scheduled for an operation and a group of people - led by an FBI agent! - decide to kidnap the doctor's family to force her to kill him during the operation. Well kidnap isn't quite the right word, they are supposed and allowed to carry on with their lives as normal, but they are constantly watched. A lot can go wrong with this bad plan - and a lot does, of course.
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Re: Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

Postby Tripod » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:13 am

It's the golden age of television and nobody here is watching? ;) So, let me make a few recommendations again.

- Daredevil: Netflix continues to impress. Haven't started with the 3rd season of OITNB yet, can't wait. But in the meantime I watched Daredevil and it's damn good - and generally, I don't care for superheroes. But Daredevil isn't out to save the world, just Hell's Kitchen, and every fight means plenty of cuts and bruises. Likeable characters, a good dose of humour, contrasting the otherwise pretty dark atmosphere and story nicely. Great performance by Vincent D'Onofrio as the villain, too.

- I, Zombie: Silly and extremely likeable. Girl turns into zombie (Olivia "Liv" Moore, get it?), well, sort of, starts working at the morgue and when she eats brains she adopts some of the person's traits and memories and can solve their murders. Strong overall story arch, too.

- Parks&Recreation: I had totally missed this series, I heard it was a spin-off from The Office, which I never got into. But then I basically binge watched all seven seasons once I got started, another incredibly funny American comedy series. All the characters are brilliant, the mostly previously unknown actors great, I'm continually amazed where the Americans find all these truly funny actors. Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza (the casting agent told the producer: "I just met the weirdest girl I've ever met in my life. You have to meet her and put her on your show.")

- Gotham: Batman without Batman. Starts like every reboot with the killing of Bruce Wayne's parents, only it doesn't forward in time afterwards. So Bruce is still a kid, Catwoman still Cat-teen, Penguin, Joker, Riddler and Co. just as young. And Commissioner Gordon still Detective Gordon and most of the series revolves around him solving crimes in the seedy city. Good atmosphere, good actors, juggling surprisingly many storylines at once, so indeed a very modern tv series in the best possible ways. The production values are really high, I wonder how they can afford this huge roster of excellent actors, some in fairly minor roles, like the lovely Morena Baccarin (Firefly) and David Zayas (Dexter).

- The 100: Haven't I mentioned this yet? Surprisingly good post-apocalyptic tv series, renewed for a third season. Like in Fallout, life on earth was (or seemed) destroyed after a nuclear war, the only know survivors were on space stations which combined to form "the Ark" but which 100 years later is starting to fail. So they send 100 young adults, criminals, down to the planet. But like in the Fallout games, others managed to survive as well. Some in installations similar to the Vaults of Fallout, others out in the open, savages (or maybe not?). Could have been mediocre at best, but a pretty strong plot keeps things moving forward at a good pace.

- How to get away with murder: The surprise hit of last autumn, drawing up to 20 million US viewers and never less than 13 million, strong numbers. I wasn't that impressed, but it's not half-bad. It's a bit like Dr. House with a charismatic and tough lawyer taking law students under her wings, encouraging competition and backstabbing among her followers. On top of that there is an actual murder they all get involved in, hinted at with flash-forwards until finally all is revealed.

- Better call Saul: A spin-off of Breaking Bad, the "origin story" of the seedy lawyer Saul, starting 6 years before we meet him in Breaking Bad. And who in fact isn't called Saul Goodman, his real name is Jimmy McGill. His brother is the famous lawyer - well, was until he went a little crazy and Jimmy/Saul has to take care of him. And the thanks is betrayal. Not quite as dark as Breaking Bad (yet), Jimmy is trying to make an honest living, more or less, but circumstances don't favour him. Definitely recommended.
WC Performances 2003: 28/31 - 2004: 14/43 - 2005: 17/63 - 2006: 31/50 - 2008: 12/41 - 2009: 14/34 - 2010: 24/46
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Re: Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

Postby Freshmaker » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:13 am

Nice comback Alex! Cheers :)

I don't have that much time to watch television; but I follow a few shows:

- Banshee: Kinda low-budget, renewed for season 4. About a criminal, released from jail after serving 15 years, ending up in the fictional town of Banshee, Pensylvania, where he ends up taking the identity of the towns new sherif; both keeping up his criminal ways, at the same time as upholding the law - his own way. It's hard, raw, violent, cool, loads of very cool music, the characters are all amazing, the actors are cool. A few flaws here and there (you kinda have to accept the weaknesses in the story-line from time to time etc), but it's totally awesome.

- Z-Nation: On Scy Fi. It started out really bad, but I'm all hooked after the first season. Kind of a different view on the zombie-series, maybe not the best actors, the plot is a bit cheesy at times, but great fun. Loads of massively cool one-liners, cool action, worth your time.
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Re: Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

Postby Tripod » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:53 am

Yeah, I forgot about Z-Nation, I watched the first season, too. What I liked from the beginning is that they have a plan to get from A to B, all across the USA. That was always the weakness of The Walking Dead, that group never had a plan (well, apart from the first season with the six episodes). So while Z-Nation isn't great, as you pointed out, the group is always on the move and at a new location every episode. Something I've told friends for years, if I were to make a zombie tv series I'd start with an armed group (soldiers being the obvious choice) driving around, looking to help other survivors. So Z-Nation came up with something similar. Quite the cliffhanger at the end of the season though, right?
WC Performances 2003: 28/31 - 2004: 14/43 - 2005: 17/63 - 2006: 31/50 - 2008: 12/41 - 2009: 14/34 - 2010: 24/46
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Re: Is there anything worth watching? (The TV Thread)

Postby Freshmaker » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:00 pm

Oh, the finale was awesome!!!
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