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This Week: Dense and Frustrating, Like a Tire Fire

Josie Kafka: What are you watching? Or, if you want to go wild: what aren't you watching, and why not?

Victoria Grossack: Because of other projects with deadlines and being heartsick about Ukraine, I have not had the energy for much more than re-runs. I did turn on a documentary about the drug wars for a little while. Although I learned some stuff – I have been amazingly fortunate to have basically no one in my circles with substance abuse problems – it was too stressful and depressing to continue.

Billie Doux: After two episodes, I can tell I won't be watching Moon Knight. Is everyone else enjoying it? I'm finding it dense and frustrating, and I don't watch television for dense and frustrating. What am I missing?

Shari: I think we're used to mysteries that have a supernatural, magical, or psychological explanation. I'm beginning to think Moon Knight might be all of the above! That would explain why it feels so dense. For now, I'm hanging in there.

My TV viewing has been scattershot this week. In addition to Moon Knight, I started watching Servant of the People. Great call, Victoria. Although it would be a lot funnier if it didn't feel so true. Besides, the slippery slope between convenience and safety and abuse of power isn't unique to Ukraine.

Finally, I'm still trying to catch up on the other Berlanti-verse shows. In addition to watching The Flash, I watched a few more episodes of Batwoman. Is it just me or does it seem just a tad more nuanced than, say, The Flash or Supergirl?


Victoria: Supergirl can hit you with a bat with its lack of nuance. I enjoyed it by reminding myself that it's based on a comic book.

And I'm currently watching – for the first time, from the set of "the many movies I have missed" – The Shawshank Redemption.

Shari: The Flash can be the same way. I'm not knocking either show. But I am enjoying Batwoman for the difference. I do think it'll be a shame if The Flash gets picked up and Batwoman doesn't, though.

Mark Greig: Apart from Moon Knight and the second season of Tangled: The Series, I've not been watching much lately because there are a load of new comics I need to catch up with and classic runs I'm looking to finish. The latest X-Men relaunch, Destiny of X, kicked off this month and I'm working my way through all the new titles released so far. I'm loving Immortal X-Men and X-Men: Red and can't wait to read Legion of X and Knights of X as well as see if the X button on my laptop will eventually wear away from overuse.

I was guttered to learn this week that the current Black Widow series by Kelly Thompson had been cancelled. It was a great book and really deserved a much longer run.

Of the classic stuff, I'm currently reading many of the big Avengers and Doctor Strange storylines as well as the original Conan the Barbarian comics from the 70s. The Avengers stuff has been a pretty mixed bag so far. Despite hearing for years how it was one of the best Avengers stories of all time, I found 'The Kree/Skrull War' to be a boring slog, full of too many side quests that was only briefly saved by some amazing Neal Adams art. 'The Korvac Saga' was an improvement, but the final issue was a complete anti-climax. Best of the bunch has been 'Nights of Wundagore', a six parter about Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's increasingly convoluted origins. Unlike the previous two, this story arc really benefited from having a consistent writer/artist team throughout as well as only one side quest.

Up next is something a little more ambitious, the entire Roger Stern run for the 80s and then the entire Kurt Busiek/George PĂ©rez run from the late 90s including Busiek and Stern's Avengers Forever maxiseries with Carlos Pacheco. I'm sure by the end of all that I'll never want to hear "Avengers assemble!" ever again. Oh, and just for a laugh I read one issue of the infamous 90s Avengers reboot from the man who can't draw feet, Rob Liefeld, which was so hilariously bad that Marvel cancelled his contract after just six issues. I suspect it was right after he submitted this to them:

What?!

I'm so sorry, Steve Rogers. You really didn't deserve to have that done to you.

Billie: Poor Cap. It's usually the female superheroes in the comics who get stuck with enormous pillowy chests.

I'm somewhat reluctant to mention that I'm watching Is it Caaaaake? The host is either really funny or edging into creepy, or probably a combination of both. I cannot imagine spending eight hours of my life constructing a cake that looks like a sneaker, but it's oddly compelling. Although I suspect that familiarity will breed contempt. That seems to be a pattern with me when it comes to reality shows.

Either really funny or edging into creepy.

Samantha M. Quinn: Wow, I've seen a version of that Cap pic that wasn't nearly so extreme, but that made me laugh.

I finished Avatar: The Last Airbender and I cried, so I give it a strong seal of approval. It was goofy and cartoony on occasion, but the overall story was great and the characters were just wonderful.

I immediately started Korra (I started Avatar so I could watch Korra properly), and it is incredibly jarring to transition between the shows. Beyond the 16:9 aspect ratio, the art is a touch more realistic and the time jump kicks you in the stomach. Leaving Aang and Katara as teens and meeting them here as old legends made me more emotional than I expected.

Started Agents of SHIELD season three, and I remember now how much better things get from this point on. I know one of the best episodes of the series is somewhat close, so I'm looking forward to that.

Moon Knight episode two was at least less confusing than episode one. But I'm worried I don't like Marc or Steven very much, but I love Steven's version of the suit. I like Layla, and I wonder, if they cannot keep Oscar Isaac in the MCU, are they going to leave us with her in the suit?

Sunbunny: Samantha, if you’re watching on Netflix LoK tends to skip the previously on bit and the way Korra does their previously ons is one of my favorite parts of the show.

Mark: Trust me, Billie, you don't ever want to see how Liefeld draws women. But if you do, here's a great blog dedicated to showcasing all the worst comic book art ever drawn.

https://bad-comic-art.tumblr.com/

Billie: Mark, that was just what I needed on cloudy Sunday morning. Omg.

Mikey: I just watched the new Jimmy Savile documentary on Netflix. It's really well done, but wow, it's a lot. If you aren't familiar with his story, TW: Child abuse, sexual assault.

Sunbunny: I was looking at that but then I decided... no... I don’t need more information about that in my life.

I finished Bridgerton! Season two was so superior to season one.

Billie: I tried the first episode of season two of Bridgerton and promptly fell asleep. Although that might be me more than the show.

Billie, watching Bridgerton.

Mark
: By a strange coincidence my sister is watching the Savile doc right now. I'm with sunbunny, though, I don't need to know more about that creep than I already do. I am glad I never wrote into Jim'll Fix It as a kid.

Mikey: I totally get it. There's a very strange subcategory in media of 'Recommended as a really well done work, but totally not recommended as something that you want to have inside your head.'

I'm trying to think of other examples. I know I've felt that way about lots of things.

Mikey, again: Capturing the Friedmans. That's another one. Really phenomenally well done documentary and it's a tire fire in your head that you're much better off not having in there.


14 comments:

  1. Thanks, Josie! Enjoyed The Shawshank Redemption. At least they acknowledged how much they stole from The Count of Monte Cristo.

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  2. I've been rewatching FX's "Louie" by the disgraced Louis CK. And that was prompted by "Atlanta's" (Childish Gambino/Don Glover from Community) return from like a 4-year hiatus to start its 3rd season, which gave me an itch for TV series helmed by comedians. I also liked Better Things by Pamela Adlon in that regard... wow typing that made me look up when it's airing its final season and apparently it's already well in the middle of it lol. So there's already something else to check soon after.

    Hopefully that'll last me until Better Call Saul's last season premiere, which is just over a week away. Been too damn long.

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  3. Victoria, it can be fun to read Stephen King's novella "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" after seeing the movie, to compare the two. It's one of his best works, I think, and it's all told from Red's perspective, which creates a different impact.

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  4. Omigosh that picture of Billie watching Bridgerton is too cute ;)

    I encourage you, Billie, to return to it. Season Two was way better than Season One. Anthony did nothing for me last season, but this time around I just fell in love with him. It's romantic without being mushy, and under the sequins we meditate on the complicated dance of duty to family, honor to others, and what we owe to ourselves.

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  5. Victoria, I loved Shawshank Redemption and I remember that year I was genuinely angry that Morgan Freeman didn't get an Oscar for it.

    Sunbunny, I promise to give the second season of Bridgerton another try. :)

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  6. Sunbunnny, I started the second episode of Korra by watching the previously on and I see what you mean, the newsreel intro is kind of amazing. It is such a different show from Avatar that I'm having trouble getting into it after binging Avatar... but I will push forward. I am determined to like Korra.

    Shawshank is still one of my favorite movies, but I don't watch it very often. Far to hard a story to sit down and subject myself to on a even yearly basis. For me lately it is Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightly version). Don't get me wrong, I am all about the 96 version with Firth, but for some reason the puppy dog love the Knightly version has with Darcy just gets to me lately.

    I still haven't even attempted Bridgerton, and honesty I'm kind of afraid to try after hearing such mixed things about it.

    Mark now I remember Liefeld, way back when during the Image split, and seeing his work show up plaguing comic covers. Shiver.

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    1. Hard to believe now, but Liefeld was massively popular back then. He was even in a Levis ads directed by Spike Lee. Within a few years he went from a superstar to a punchline. If you really want to understand the rise and fall of the comic industry in the 90s you just need to look at the career of Rob Liefeld.

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  7. I was laid up for a while recently after a fall and binged a few shows. I watched the first two seasons of Harrow with Ioan Gruffudd, which I liked, for the most part. I let Netflix pick a show for me and it picked Bridgerton. I went ahead and rewatched the first season before watching the second. I liked Anthony much better this time around and enjoyed the season, but I felt there was a little chemistry lacking between the actors until maybe the very end. I also recently subscribed to Apple+ and binged Foundation. I read the Asimov books many, many years ago, which may have been to my benefit. Reviews I read complained how many changes were made. I remember loving the books, but I can't remember details after all these years. I liked the series overall, though it did have some slow and confusing moments. I want to reread the books, but, from what I read in reviews, I will definitely have to separate the two in my mind. I was particularly disturbed by an action of one of the characters towards the end that didn't seem true to Asimov, though. No spoilers.

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  8. Better Things got really weird on me. I can't remember the last time I dropped a show within its last season. Wah...

    Stephen King's novella from Red's perspective sounds interesting though. I'm going to read it

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  9. Samantha, PaP 05 is one of my favorite movies. I do prefer the 95 version, but both versions are damn near perfect and the Keira Knightley one does a great job of covering a novel's worth of development in a really short time.

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  10. I am enjoying these weekly roundups/discussions.

    I have just finished rewatching Firefly. Still love it.

    I am NOT watching the very last episode of Killing Eve. Is that odd? I have loved the show and waited forever for this last season...but I am finding that I just don't really care how it ends. I don't care what happens to them.

    I think its TV burnout. Since Feb 2020 I have watched over 60 shows - most being shows I had never seen so watched all seasons. Its been a ridiculous amount of TV watching. I also rewatched all the Marvel movies in timeline order as Wandavision was airing because I had forgotten her story. And then there were other movies in between as well.

    Things I should be excited about watching, I'm just...not.

    I have been reading more and probably need to keep reading and give the small screen a break!

    I still read everything posted here though, and keep a list of things to watch eventually. ;-)

    Sooze

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    1. Won't that just compound your fatigue though? Isn't it worth a shot to just reach the end of your current list and be out in the wind for a solid second and see what your mind gravitates towards (in regards to just TV I mean)? It does the trick for me, sometimes. Although a list is more reliable than relying on suggestions from whatever streaming services you use if that's what you end up doing without a list.

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  11. I watched the second season of Russian Doll and found it disappointing. Sometimes when a show has a really well-conceived season and completes its story, I think it's better just to leave it.

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