Discuss and Rate the Last Thing You Watched (non-movies)

Hawki

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So, back to this thing from the old forums. Title should be self-explanatory.

Anyway, getting down to it:

gen:LOCK: Season 1 (4/5)

So, this came as a surprise, in that I liked it as much as I did. Not usually into 'mech fiction,' and when I say I enjoyed the season, it wasn't because of the mech action. TBH, I think mechs are silly in that there's no real reason to use them as opposed to a tank. Mechs as part of a sci-fi setting? Sure. Mechs as the basis for that setting? Eh...

Okay, that aside, I'm going to start with the Achilles heel of gen:LOCK, and that's its worldbuilding, or rather, the lack of it. So it's the year 2072, with all the gizmos you'd expect, and the world is divided between the Polity (an extension of the UN or a replacement, it's kind of vague), and the Union. The Union is bad, because we're told it's bad, and it does bad things, and its colour schemes are mixes of reds and blacks, so they're bad, and...okay, we don't really know anything about the Union. Why there was a cold war, why it went hot, why some people follow the Union, why it wants to take over the world, etc. I assume all the characters know, but we, the viewer, don't. What's more, one of the main characters is a former Union member, and another spent time as a resistance operative fighting against them, but the Union is a vague, barely defined threat that the series never elaborates on, and frankly, it's kind of bizzare. Yes, I can make inferences about the Union - it's totalitarian, it has it out for "intellectuals," its slogan is "we can lead the world without compromise," but none of this is solid worldbuilding. Maybe this will be alleviated in the second season (if it's released), but as it stands, the lack of worldbuilding is noticable.

Another issue - this cartoon/anime has a case of "good aesthetic, bad animation." As in, everything looks nice, with a good, if arguably stock, use of colour. However, it has a problem when showing human movement. A lot of the time, the animation of humans feels stiff, especially in combat. I've noticed that mechs (which are the dominant war machine on both sides) move in a standard way, and that makes sense - they're mechs. However, infantry marches in a standard way, and even as soldiers, they feel far too uniform, far too stiff.

Getting to the good stuff are the characters. I can't really call any of them deep, but none of them are shallow. There's a good team dynamic that, the final episode aside, manages to avoid "power of friendship" or other such nonsense (said episode being the point where they get uniforms resembling those of the Power Rangers because...yay friendship?) For those familiar with the series, Cammie seems to be the fan favourite, and, yeah, pretty much. That said, people why say Chase is the most boring of the bunch, I'll disagree with. Yes, he's the 'straight man' of the group, but he gets the most character development of said group, so, yeah. There's a lot of celebrity voice actors here (or at least actors that I recognise), but they all do a good job, and none of it feels forced. Yes, David Tennant is playing the wacky doctor, and Maisie Williams is playing the girl who seems cute but can go psycho if you push her, but, um, yeah.

So, good stuff.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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Tales from the Loop

Amazon Prime produced Science-Fiction anthology series mostly noticeable for featuring art design created by Swedish retro-futurist artist Simon Stalenhag. Now, I am an admirer of Stalenhag's work, very much so, and I very much appreciate how the series brings some of his designs to life but despite all my good will it's far from what it could be. For one, I didn't feel the series was doing itself a favour by taking the artists landscapes away from the scandinavian landscapes they originally infused with futurist technology in favour of setting it in Ohio in what I have to assume is an attempt to endear it to American audiences. That, however, is a superficial complaint and much less of a factor than the series more fundamental issues. The individual stories mostly rely on well worn, if not somewhat dusty, tropes of speculative fiction. What if you met yourself from the future? What if you could stop time? What if you could switch bodies with somebody else? They are well presented and very well acted for sure but that doesn't take away from their frustrating predictability. Generally speaking, the individual episodes run into a problem inherent to overly aesopy writing, that being that once you dedicate too much time to them it becomes a matter of diminishing returns. Hardly any of these stories have enough substance to dedicate an hour of television to them.

That's the problem with the series, honestly. It's very likeable presentation wrapped around very generic writing. The showrunners simply didn't know what to do with Stalenhags art so it's hard to look at it as something other than a visual gimmick. Tales from the Loop drowns mystery in banality. The eponymous "Loop" is a secretive research station around which most of the series stories happen. The overall focus on that research station as a setting makes the shows world feel much smaller than it should be. What Stalenhag creates are worlds that feel familiar, yet alien. His characters, when he does draw them, feel alienated from the technology around them. The characters in Tales from the Loop take that technology for granted, if they meaningfully interact with it at all. What's left is pretty but hollow, preachy, rather than evocative. It captures the look of the painters work without managing to capture the feelings they invoke. I hope one day someone in film or television will manage to do them justice but the first, and so far only, season of Tales for the Loop didn't. There's more to it than Volvo's and robots.
 
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Trunkage

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I'm about halfway through season 3.
IMO CSI has very seperate episode with a couple of tag to push to season plot

The Wire, every episode is important and feeds into the season plot. Seasons are an anthology but related, taking a very different viewpoint of police vs crimes. The Wire is more like Breaking Bad: Baltimore
 

Drathnoxis

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I've watched about 3 episodes of Red Dwarf, since I've seen it talked up quite a bit from time to time. It's kind of stupid so far. How does a litter of kittens evolve into a singular humanoid? Where are the rest of his species? Where did they get enough food for 3 million years? It's all so dumb.

Does this show get any better?
 

Dalisclock

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I've watched about 3 episodes of Red Dwarf, since I've seen it talked up quite a bit from time to time. It's kind of stupid so far. How does a litter of kittens evolve into a singular humanoid? Where are the rest of his species? Where did they get enough food for 3 million years? It's all so dumb.

Does this show get any better?
Re: The Cats: Lotsa inbreeding, naturally. And all the rest murdered each other in holy wars and then fled the ship. And the Red Dwarf is REALLY BIG, so they've apparently been eating all the food in the hold.

Seriously, this really isn't the kind of show you want to think about too much. You might as well ask how the ship is still even intact 3 million years later with no one around to maintain it, or why they picked a vending machine repair man(Rimmer) to fix the drive plate in the first place. Or why they don't just move, well, anywhere else on the ship instead of bunking in their old room.

Season 1 is kinda eh. It's generally agreed the show doesn't really get going until at least season 2 or 3.
 

Hawki

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Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Season 1 (4/5)

I know everyone was raving about this show when it came out, but I'm going to start by saying this - the Mandalorian is a good show. It is, however, by no means a great show. On the other hand, it's arguably the best Star Wars product Disney's put out since obtaining the rights (well, least out of all the films), so there's that I guess. Which is fairly depressing when you think about it.

Anyway, you all know what this show is about (I assume), so I won't waste your time there, and instead get to the pros and cons. First of all, Baby Yoda. I'm sorry, but I've no idea why this wanabee furby got so popular. Yes, he's 'cute,' but lots of things are cute, they don't set the Internet on fire. Luckilly, the rest of the characters are fairly likeable, including the Mando himself. I was actually surprised as to how much personality they were able to get into him despite wearing his helmet 99% of the time. He's a badass, but far from invincible. He's sarcastic and has a dry wit, but does have a good side. Yes, these are cliches, but they work, especially for what's effectively a space Western. Other characters are good as well, but I think it's a bit of a stretch for them all to come back to help some guy that they really don't have any obligation to help at all.

That also ties in with another issue I have with the show, and that's how it's structured. The first few episodes are very much back to back, in that one leads directly into the other. The last two episodes are back to back as well. Between those things however, the show starts using string continuity instead of direct continuity, and while that's not bad in of itself, because of how short the season is (eight episodes), it's a noticable shift that feels awkward. It's part of why I feel that the middle episodes are weaker than the start and end of the season - it's the opposite of a bell curve, if the X axis corresponds to rising quality. And finally, the show does feel kind of cheap, but maybe the movies have spoiled me.

So, yeah. It has flaws, but I still had fun watching it.
 
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Drathnoxis

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Re: The Cats: Lotsa inbreeding, naturally. And all the rest murdered each other in holy wars and then fled the ship. And the Red Dwarf is REALLY BIG, so they've apparently been eating all the food in the hold.
I thought you were joking, but I just watched the episode where that is explained. Cat is still the most annoying character though.
 

Dalisclock

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I thought you were joking, but I just watched the episode where that is explained. Cat is still the most annoying character though.
In Season 1 he is quite annoying. He gets toned down a bit in later seasons, if that makes you feel better.

Even among Dwarf fans, season 1 is pretty rough. The show has a really wierd quality curve where it starts off okay, gets better, gets good, then goes into decline for a bit(season 6 and 7 they're stuck on a shuttlecraft, having lost the ship), makes a brief uptick around season 8 and the less said about the seasons after that, the better. I've seen a couple of the post 8 seasons and none of them have really impressed me.

Or maybe that's my personal assessment.
 

Dalisclock

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Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Season 1 (4/5)

I know everyone was raving about this show when it came out, but I'm going to start by saying this - the Mandalorian is a good show. It is, however, by no means a great show. On the other hand, it's arguably the best Star Wars product Disney's put out since obtaining the rights (well, least out of all the films), so there's that I guess. Which is fairly depressing when you think about it.

Anyway, you all know what this show is about (I assume), so I won't waste your time there, and instead get to the pros and cons. First of all, Baby Yoda. I'm sorry, but I've no idea why this wanabee furby got so popular. Yes, he's 'cute,' but lots of things are cute, they don't set the Internet on fire. Luckilly, the rest of the characters are fairly likeable, including the Mando himself. I was actually surprised as to how much personality they were able to get into him despite wearing his helmet 99% of the time. He's a badass, but far from invincible. He's sarcastic and has a dry wit, but does have a good side. Yes, these are cliches, but they work, especially for what's effectively a space Western. Other characters are good as well, but I think it's a bit of a stretch for them all to come back to help some guy that they really don't have any obligation to help at all.

That also ties in with another issue I have with the show, and that's how it's structured. The first few episodes are very much back to back, in that one leads directly into the other. The last two episodes are back to back as well. Between those things however, the show starts using string continuity instead of direct continuity, and while that's not bad in of itself, because of how short the season is (eight episodes), it's a noticable shift that feels awkward. It's part of why I feel that the middle episodes are weaker than the start and end of the season - it's the opposite of a bell curve, if the X axis corresponds to rising quality. And finally, the show does feel kind of cheap, but maybe the movies have spoiled me.

So, yeah. It has flaws, but I still had fun watching it.
I took baby yoda to be Memetic cuteness or something. He is a bit of levity in a show that's a bit dark, but yeah, I don't quite get how Baby Yoda became the thing the show got noticed for on the net. Possibly because of that one scene where the Two scout troopers are punching him? Which ironically is hilarious otherwise, such as playing up the "Stormtroopers can't shoot" joke(also used in the Prison transport episode).

I was glad that they managed to throw a nice twist into the otherwise well trod "Training the Peaceful villagers" plot in episode 4 by introducing the AT-ST Scout Walker.
 

SupahEwok

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I thought you were joking, but I just watched the episode where that is explained. Cat is still the most annoying character though.
Where are you getting Red Dwarf, by the by? I've been wanting to watch it, but last I checked I think I needed to sign on to a British streaming service or something rather than any of the big ones.
 

Gordon_4

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I thought you were joking, but I just watched the episode where that is explained. Cat is still the most annoying character though.
Once Kryten becomes a permanent cast member in season 3 the show picks up really well. I like Season 1 and 2 but they are rougher, Season 1 especially since there’s a sort of imbalance in the personalities at play. Mind. Queeg is one of my favourite episodes and it’s in Season 2
 

Drathnoxis

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Where are you getting Red Dwarf, by the by? I've been wanting to watch it, but last I checked I think I needed to sign on to a British streaming service or something rather than any of the big ones.
I've been watching them on Dailymotion.
 
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Dalisclock

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Once Kryten becomes a permanent cast member in season 3 the show picks up really well. I like Season 1 and 2 but they are rougher, Season 1 especially since there’s a sort of imbalance in the personalities at play. Mind. Queeg is one of my favourite episodes and it’s in Season 2
I think half of this was budget(as in the first two seasons really didn't have one, especially in season 1, which is why there's like 3 sets for a massive ass ship) and the other half was the writers getting a feel for the show.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I'm going to cheat and say Hellboy: The Animated Series. Which doesn't exist but you can watch Hellboy: Sword of Storms and Hellboy: Blood and Iron back to back and pretend it does. These are the straight-to-DVD animated movies that came out a few years after the 2004 movie, I guess to raise awareness for a sequel. Del Toro was attached as producer and the cast carried over from the movies. I guess the characters are meant to resemble their comic counterparts, and that works with Hellboy and Abe, though it's weird to see Liz Sherman look nothing like Selma Blair (she looks like a black Kim Possible if she looks like anyone).

Both movies are essentially Saturday morning cartoon extravaganzas in which Hellboy & co go to a location, run into monsters and fight them until they hit feature length. Sword of Storms is the more visually interesting since it transports Hellboy to different ukyo-e landscapes and wrestle with all sorts of shinto folklore. Blood and Iron is just a haunted house in the style of Scooby Doo. The gang keeps splitting up, of course, and Hellboy gets all the fun while Liz and Abe are relegated to totally inconsequential set-pieces. It's nice to have John Hurt for Blood and Iron though, and the reverse flashbacks added a bit of intrigue (if not much depth).
 

Gordon_4

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I think half of this was budget(as in the first two seasons really didn't have one, especially in season 1, which is why there's like 3 sets for a massive ass ship) and the other half was the writers getting a feel for the show.
Yeah the first season of any show like this tends to be a bit rough and inconsistent compared to later seasons and even then I still kind of missed OG Holly even though every other aspect of the show had improved in Season 3.