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

Phoenixmgs

The Muse of Fate
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
9,033
801
118
w/ M'Kraan Crystal
Gender
Male
Parks and Rec - Greatness/10

I got the entire series on blu-ray over Black Friday and I've been watching it pretty hardcore the last few weeks, I'm already up to the 6th season. The ensemble cast is just so fucking good from Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Audrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, and many more. The main thing I've noticed about the show is that it almost certainly couldn't be made today (and it's not like this show is really that old). Today, you couldn't have a show where 2 main characters have completely opposing political views that not only respect each other but learn from each other.
 

Xprimentyl

Made you look...
Legacy
Aug 13, 2011
6,246
4,518
118
Plano, TX
Country
United States
Gender
Male
Parks and Rec - Greatness/10

I got the entire series on blu-ray over Black Friday and I've been watching it pretty hardcore the last few weeks, I'm already up to the 6th season. The ensemble cast is just so fucking good from Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Audrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, and many more. The main thing I've noticed about the show is that it almost certainly couldn't be made today (and it's not like this show is really that old). Today, you couldn't have a show where 2 main characters have completely opposing political views that not only respect each other but learn from each other.
I hope that underlined bit was sarcasm, because you couldn't be more wrong. That's precisely what we need nowadays.

But yeah, P&R is a great show. Ron Swanson might be one of my favorite sitcom characters of all time.
 

Phoenixmgs

The Muse of Fate
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
9,033
801
118
w/ M'Kraan Crystal
Gender
Male
I hope that underlined bit was sarcasm, because you couldn't be more wrong. That's precisely what we need nowadays.

But yeah, P&R is a great show. Ron Swanson might be one of my favorite sitcom characters of all time.
I meant that today a show like Parks and Rec wouldn't be written like it was because everyone has too much of an ego to admit the other side just could be right (let alone ever actually is right) about something. Not that we don't need a show like Parks, it just couldn't come about in the current environment.
 
Last edited:

Xprimentyl

Made you look...
Legacy
Aug 13, 2011
6,246
4,518
118
Plano, TX
Country
United States
Gender
Male
I meant that today a show like Parks and Rec wouldn't be written like it was because everyone has too much of an ego to admit the other side just could be right (let alone ever actually is right) about something. Not that we don't need a show like Parks, it just couldn't come about in the current environment.
Huh? Politicians aren't writing for television. A good writer would look at today's political climate and make a show exactly like P&R to make light of the extremes, soften the hard edges, and hopefully get everyone to laugh at themselves, at least for a half-hour each week.
 

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
6,104
5,395
118
Australia
Red Cap (2003)

Red Cap is about the British Army SIB (Special Investigation Branch) of the British Army Military Police, based on a British base in Germany; the name of the show comes from the red coloured berets. The show starts following Tamzin Outhwaite as Sgt. Jo McDonagh (nicknamed McDoughnut) but eventually expanded into an ensemble piece as time went on. Usual sort of thing; squaddies behaving badly in both the funny sense (posing bare arsed on a tank and sending the picture to the papers) and not so funny sense (drug dealing, murder), fuck ups causing friction with the Germans and given the era, issues of terrorism and espionage.

Its a basic show but the cast made it lots of fun to watch, sadly all I've been able to see has been three episodes of Season 1 because its never been released on DVD and it was all I could find on YouTube. Also it had the weirdest song for its intro, so peppy and early 2000s bubblegum sounding. Like its not a bad song, but as the opening tune for a show about army cops it is certainly a choice.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

Wild at Heart and weird on top
Legacy
Jan 30, 2011
1,934
764
118
Mrs Davis (2023)

I have a strange relationship with Damon Lindelof. Like J.J. Abrams he became a household name after working on tv sensation Lost, and make no mistake, next to Abrams he is clearly the more talented one by a lot. I tend to at least cautiously like his film and television. Tomorrowland was a better spielbergian adventure than anything Spielberg has made for decades and his serialized sequel to Watchmen was interesting, if nothing else. What I get from Lindelof is that he would really like to be some Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace kind of postmodernist satirist but is too afraid to actually make a point or to provide thoughtful analysis.

Case in point, Mrs. Davis. 2023 television comedy about a young nun and her ex boyfriend seeking the holy grail to liberate the world from an all knowing AI that has taken over almost every aspect of life. The show is going for sort of a Douglas Adams (but not as funny) whimsical magical realism vibe, where Jesus is a regular supporting character and the quest for the holy grail is given out by a cellphone app. And believe me, it gets a lot zanier than that.

It all come back to what I said about 2019's Watchmen, occasionally it has an interesting point to make but most of the time it's just being cute. Which isn't an entirely bad thing, mind, aspects of it are certainly charming. Betty Gilpin and Jake McDorman have fairly good chemistry, some of the jokes land well and in the final two episodes it actually manages to present some strangely poignant payoffs. It's just that most of what's leading up to it is struggling to be more than just cutesy, quippy fluff that's rarely ever as funny or as original as it's trying to look.

The issue is, if you want to go for that Pynchon/Wallace style of satire that investigates current or historical developments by exaggerating them to the point of ridiculousness and then treating these exaggerations with utmost sincerity...well, you gotta remember that the last part isn't optional. Absurdity taken seriously is satire, absurdity taken lightly is just farce. And farce that's not funny enough is a waste. Much like many of Lindelof's production, Ms. Davis is certainly a show that's about many fascinating things but also one that can't be arsed to actually make a point about most of them.

And that's really it, isn't it? It's more or less the way I felt about Watchmen. Watchmen was a show about justice, and about racism and about political division but it was way more concerned with presenting them in clever ways than saying anything about them. Likewise Ms. Davis is about religion and about family and about technology and likewise it has very little opinions to present about any of that. And it's a bit sad, because clearly Lindelof is a fairly clever guy who spends a lot of time thinking about some fairly interesting things but his productions are missing an ideology, a statement. Which tends to make them all feel like missed opportunities.
 

Phoenixmgs

The Muse of Fate
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
9,033
801
118
w/ M'Kraan Crystal
Gender
Male
Huh? Politicians aren't writing for television. A good writer would look at today's political climate and make a show exactly like P&R to make light of the extremes, soften the hard edges, and hopefully get everyone to laugh at themselves, at least for a half-hour each week.
Just normal friends usually can't even reach common ground on political issues today let alone writers of TV show. A good writer would write a show like Parks today, though they might be smart enough to not even touch such topics with a 10 foot pole or make a show about it that's well in the past or a different setting or much more a metaphor about it vs being so directly about it. I'm pretty sure network heads wouldn't like a character like Ron Swanson "winning" as much as he does.
 

hanselthecaretaker2

Flask restoration in progress
Jun 11, 2023
1,878
1,379
118
Country
United States
Gender
Male
Just normal friends usually can't even reach common ground on political issues today let alone writers of TV show. A good writer would write a show like Parks today, though they might be smart enough to not even touch such topics with a 10 foot pole or make a show about it that's well in the past or a different setting or much more a metaphor about it vs being so directly about it. I'm pretty sure network heads wouldn't like a character like Ron Swanson "winning" as much as he does.
The closest modern example of this would be Old Dads, but its movie format means the main character arcs (if they can even be called that) wind up feeling very cliche.


On topic, The Tourist. Gradually disappointing

Right out of the gate it gave me Duel vibes, which was great! That was followed by No Country For Old Men + Memento vibes but with an Aussie aesthetic, and well shit yeah I’m in. But ultimately this one really didn’t turn out at all like I thought it might, and that’s both good and bad because it was surprisingly depressing in a vague “make your own mind up” kinda way. I’d say the show peaked very early and had a slow and steady downward trajectory thereafter. Still worth watching to draw one’s own conclusions, as mileage may vary.


Curb season 12
Episode 1: Weak
Episode 2: Better

The first episode felt like a sacrificial lamb of sorts, barely setting the stage for the season with little of value beyond that. This week’s felt like the show getting its footing back, and had a couple of those badly awesome cringe moments that it’s own for. It also has me hoping they expand on a couple returning characters, but too early to tell if it’s just a flash in the pan. I’m sure there will be many other surprises being the final season, but my biggest hope is it sticks the landing.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

Wild at Heart and weird on top
Legacy
Jan 30, 2011
1,934
764
118
The Curse (2024)

Dramedy series starring comedian Nathan Fielder and Oscar nominee Emma Stone about a pair of extremely unlikable yuppies filming a reality show about environmentally friendly housing in a run down New Mexico neighbourhood. Created by Nathan Fielder and Benny Safdie, one half of the pair of brothers that directed Uncut Gems.

The Curse is a show that's about half one of the most pointed pieces of satire on Biden era America anyone could make while it's still going on and about half someone else's injoke. See, even at its best, The Curse is a hard sell. It follows a married couple who are both individually comically toxic people trying, and consistently failing to, manage a television project, a philanthropic enterprise and their own unsalvageable marriage, using this premise to showcase some absolutely painful interactions between representations of the wealthy white upper middle class at its very worst and the workers, minorities and indigenous people who have to put up with their bullshit.

So it's a show about class and race and relationship dynamics and colonial heritage and environmentalism and gentrification and so many other mercilessly contemporary issues shown through the lense of a pair of characters whose inability to change, grow or reflect is their entire point. Nathan Fielder's Asher is spineless, passive-aggressive, co-dependent and socially inept. Emma Stone's Whitney is narcissistic, manipulative, sanctimonious and vindictive. What they share is their hypocrisy and their need for each other to affirm their value.

They live and sell their dreadful sustainable homes (tasteless monstrosities with reflective outer walls) tormenting their neighbourhood, their crew and each other, too self absorbed to learn anything from it. Much like in Uncut Gems, the direction does a fantastic job capturing tense social situations. Nathan Fielder does an impressive job playing a character who is genuinely a black hole of charm and charisma while Emma Stone does a pitch perfect job portraying the kind of person who seems pleasant and approachable for exactly as long as you don't get to know them better.

They are, very deliberately, characters without arcs (any lessons or experiences just sort of dissolve in a pool of oblivious self righteousness) and likewise, The Curse is a show without plot, as such. Things happen, but almost nothing exactly pays off or develops. For a while you might be fooled into thinking it's all building up to everything just collapsing around Whitney and Asher and it never quite does.

So, now you might be wondering what it all culminates in. And this is where The Curse takes kind of a left turn. Without wanting to give anything away, the show had some ambiguously magical realist elements throughout its entire run. The finale is where something unambiguously absurd and unexplainable happens that can only really be described as a non sequitur. Something that seems more like it should be an episode of Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories than a continuation of anything that came before.

There is this old truism that states that "there is a thin line between clever and stupid" and while I'm a guy who can respect some big swings I'm gonna be honest, The finale of The Curse landed firmly on the wrong side of that line for me. I usually embrace absurdity but sometimes something is just silly. I'm sure what happened is a metaphor for... something but I'm sorry, it wasn't thought provoking or funny enough to justify itself.

The Curse is a compelling, if hard to watch, show that ends on a gimmicky non sequitur that doesn't exactly make the rest of series worse, but also feels like a punchline to a joke that was either not set up at all or that I must have somehow missed. Maybe it went over my head, but I legitimately have no idea what the intention there was. And I feel that if I found out I'd probably be underwhelmed. But, like, most of what's leading up to that is pretty good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gorfias

Old_Hunter_77

Elite Member
Dec 29, 2021
1,695
1,517
118
Country
United States
True Detective: Night Country

I dunno... it was cool but I don't think the actual plot was ultimately satisfying.
Apparently it made a bunch of references to the first season but I actually gave up on that show after a few episodes because I just couldn't deal with Matthew MacConohay's pontificating the misery porn vibe. The reason we watched this season is because of the arctic setting and Jodie Foster.
Going into it as a mood piece, it delivered. Great acting, production (though some parts did feel unreal and more like sets than real life but I kind of dug it), and themes with cops and indigenous people and evil mining company and mysterious scientists.

I don't know if this show was good or not, I just kind of dug an hour a week of cold creepies.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gorfias

Phoenixmgs

The Muse of Fate
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
9,033
801
118
w/ M'Kraan Crystal
Gender
Male
The Curse is a compelling, if hard to watch, show that ends on a gimmicky non sequitur that doesn't exactly make the rest of series worse, but also feels like a punchline to a joke that was either not set up at all or that I must have somehow missed. Maybe it went over my head, but I legitimately have no idea what the intention there was. And I feel that if I found out I'd probably be underwhelmed. But, like, most of what's leading up to that is pretty good.
I kinda felt like the second to last episode also works as the last episode. The last episode feels like a tangent or dream to me with the time skip and how the relationships of the main characters are totally different. The way the filmed the "thing" was really well done though. I didn't care for how dumb the characters were, thinking it was the air pockets in the house and the idea to go outside (why the fuck would you think that was at all a good idea?). I did check out a video or 2 about the ending and there's stuff there that does make sense and all but I really didn't think it works with the rest of the episodes unless it's a dream sequence or some kind of view into Ash's mental state.
 

Bob_McMillan

Elite Member
Aug 28, 2014
5,193
1,866
118
Country
Philippines
House of Ninjas on Netflix. Kind of a dumb title, my girlfriend tells me it is a pretty crappy translation of the Japanese title.

Anyway, I surprisingly enjoyed this one. The show follows a family of former ninjas to be normal citizens after a tragic incident. Of course, this doesn't last.

The choreography is great, as expected from Japan. I'd describe it as a less silly Rurouni Kenshin. It's all flashy martial arts, but no flying or zipping about.

What I didn't quite like was what I call Dumb ***** Syndrome: when characters make the absolute shittest decisions for no other reason than to create conflict. But that seems par for the course for Netflix shows.

Overall, definitely very impressed with this one. I don't know if Netflix actually produced this or just acquired by them, but it just goes show why Netflix, as horrible a company as they seem, is still around.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BrawlMan

Xprimentyl

Made you look...
Legacy
Aug 13, 2011
6,246
4,518
118
Plano, TX
Country
United States
Gender
Male
James Acaster: Repertoire: Funny / Great

British comedian James Acaster performs three standup routines with his deadpan delivery and razor-sharp wit.

This guy is new to me. I enjoy a good standup for the punchlines and whatnot, but Acaster is in that rarified air of comedians whose performance and delivery are as much a part of the experience as the jokes. His humor is dry, but quick, and subversively clever. A lot of his "jokes" are protracted stories with humor sprinkled throughout, but he never breaks the austerity of his character or laughs at himself which, to me, is a mark of a great artist. I look forward to finding more of his work.
 

Bob_McMillan

Elite Member
Aug 28, 2014
5,193
1,866
118
Country
Philippines
James Acaster: Repertoire: Funny / Great

British comedian James Acaster performs three standup routines with his deadpan delivery and razor-sharp wit.

This guy is new to me. I enjoy a good standup for the punchlines and whatnot, but Acaster is in that rarified air of comedians whose performance and delivery are as much a part of the experience as the jokes. His humor is dry, but quick, and subversively clever. A lot of his "jokes" are protracted stories with humor sprinkled throughout, but he never breaks the austerity of his character or laughs at himself which, to me, is a mark of a great artist. I look forward to finding more of his work.
I highly recommend his run on the show Taskmaster. Weirdly enough I find him a lot funnier on random panel shows than in his own stand ups.

OT: Avatar live action, episode 1. Surprised no one else has talked about this yet.

Just... meh. Biggest problem for me is the bending. It is just not where it needs to be. It's definitely better the movie, but the bending in episode 1 has the same problem as Legend of Korra. Benders may as well just have guns that shoot the 4 elements, when they're not busy doing just boring normal martial arts.

Acting is not... great. Aang is fine, Zuko seems like he's trying, Sokka looks like a white guy pretending to be Inuit but he's more or less capturing the vibe, Katara is hard to watch, the lady who plays Gran Gran made me want to turn off the TV, and Uncle Iroh, who I thought would be the best performance, feels like he completely lacks the subtlety that made the character great.

Everything else is minor deviations from the original that aren't catastrophes, but also don't really elevate this version, so what's the point?

I will say that the wide shots of sets are amazing. I assume they're using the Volume. Unfortunately, practical parts of sets and costumes look fake as hell, so the gorgeous backgrounds end up being jarring.

All in all, eh. There is no fucking way this show will do better than the original. And that's not me thinking that the original is perfect, this just feels too soulless.
 

Xprimentyl

Made you look...
Legacy
Aug 13, 2011
6,246
4,518
118
Plano, TX
Country
United States
Gender
Male
Formula 1: Drive To Survive: S6: Ep1-7: Still Great / Great

A recap of the F1 2023 season, and all the drama and behind-the-scenes stuff you don't get to see only watching the races.

A lot went on during the 2023 season, and most fans know the headlines, but the emotion and high drama behind it all makes for interesting watching. Yes, I know, like most docutainment, it's probably blow out of proportion and edited for maximum impact, but there's no denying these drivers and team principles said what they said, felt how they felt, and did what they did. Die-hard, long-time F1 fans (Europeans) think the series is a joke, and that people who enjoy it (Americans) don't really understand the sport, and that's just rubbish. You can enjoy an opera in a language you don't completely understand just as you can enjoy an F1 race without being able to name every part on an F1 car. Great show, and I've have binged it in a day if my girlfriend didn't insist that we watch it at a slower pace so we'd have something to look forward to watching for several days.
 

Phoenixmgs

The Muse of Fate
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
9,033
801
118
w/ M'Kraan Crystal
Gender
Male
Mr. and Mrs. Smith - Season 1 - 6/10

The show was disappointing. The 2 leads, Donald Glover and Maya Erskine, do hold the show together though. The action scenes were not good at all. The episode with Ron Perlman had the most action IIRC and it was just plain bad. It just felt like a bunch of baddies would pop out and then get shot by the leads, super basic and super boring. There was basically no creativity or comedy to the action scenes (a bit of comedy in the action in the last episode though). I really don't get why the show needed to be part of the IP when the only thing it has in common with the movie is just that the husband and wife are both spies (everything else is different). The show does add in a bunch of lore with the spy agencies and all but does very little explaining of things throughout. Some of the missions are just super odd and don't make sense, and I thought a plot point/twist was coming to have those things make sense, but it never comes at least in the 1st season. The therapist episode was probably the best one as they had 3 sessions IIRC and each session was about a different job (with flashbacks to each job) and the working through their interpersonal issues they had on each job. It also highlighted why I hate therapists.
 

Old_Hunter_77

Elite Member
Dec 29, 2021
1,695
1,517
118
Country
United States
Shogun episodes 1 & 2

Yo... this show is for real.
Ok so I was a bit worried about it being too Games of Throne-y from the trailers and about how they were gonna deal with the potential orientalism of the story and the "it was a different time" vibe of the original storyteller/storytelling.
Well on the former, there's nothing to worry about, the trailers were sensationalizing it. Yes there's gruesomeness and one moment of gratuitous nips but it's nothing beyond the typical fare so we're all good there.
On the latter- well they just lean into it and come out ahead. Like a ship sailing into a massive wave to minimize the damage. They make our main white dude Blackthorn a lot gruffer and more forceful than the version in the 80's miniseries. This works by also putting the politics of the story more at the forefront, where the book and miniseries feel to me like they lead with the cultural tourism.

I think it benefits from the fact that, unlike 1966 (the book) and to a lesser extent 1980 (the first miniseries), Japan- even the version with samurai- isn't exotic anymore. We don't need anyone to explain what feudalism and a warrior's code and honor suicides are anymore, we can just lean into the story. Yes we do need explaining on the interests of all the political entities near and far and in the second episode the show actually takes a major but clever shortcut to make that exposition better integrated into the character drama.

My only complaint is that the show so feels like it's moving along so fast there isn't time to breath. The book is 1200 pages and, yeah, it's a lot, but it sure does set the scene. The old miniseries has contemplative moments that I hope the new show finds ways to do and make its own. For example they completely changed the way and context of Blackthorn's important final line to Toranaga and really removed its power IMO.

The emotional core of the story for me is Mariko (the lead woman) and they are leading with her internal turmoil more than her pleasant exterior, which I like. It has the potential to take her relationship to Blackthorn in interesting ways. She also has my single favorite mini-monologue in the books and I really hope they don't mess that moment up here somehow.

Anyway- so far, highly recommend.
 

Gordon_4

The Big Engine
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
6,104
5,395
118
Australia
Shogun episodes 1 & 2

Yo... this show is for real.
Ok so I was a bit worried about it being too Games of Throne-y from the trailers and about how they were gonna deal with the potential orientalism of the story and the "it was a different time" vibe of the original storyteller/storytelling.
Well on the former, there's nothing to worry about, the trailers were sensationalizing it. Yes there's gruesomeness and one moment of gratuitous nips but it's nothing beyond the typical fare so we're all good there.
On the latter- well they just lean into it and come out ahead. Like a ship sailing into a massive wave to minimize the damage. They make our main white dude Blackthorn a lot gruffer and more forceful than the version in the 80's miniseries. This works by also putting the politics of the story more at the forefront, where the book and miniseries feel to me like they lead with the cultural tourism.

I think it benefits from the fact that, unlike 1966 (the book) and to a lesser extent 1980 (the first miniseries), Japan- even the version with samurai- isn't exotic anymore. We don't need anyone to explain what feudalism and a warrior's code and honor suicides are anymore, we can just lean into the story. Yes we do need explaining on the interests of all the political entities near and far and in the second episode the show actually takes a major but clever shortcut to make that exposition better integrated into the character drama.

My only complaint is that the show so feels like it's moving along so fast there isn't time to breath. The book is 1200 pages and, yeah, it's a lot, but it sure does set the scene. The old miniseries has contemplative moments that I hope the new show finds ways to do and make its own. For example they completely changed the way and context of Blackthorn's important final line to Toranaga and really removed its power IMO.

The emotional core of the story for me is Mariko (the lead woman) and they are leading with her internal turmoil more than her pleasant exterior, which I like. It has the potential to take her relationship to Blackthorn in interesting ways. She also has my single favorite mini-monologue in the books and I really hope they don't mess that moment up here somehow.

Anyway- so far, highly recommend.
Lucky me this sucker is on Disney+ of all places. So I get to watch it, yay! I read the book and saw the Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune mini series years ago and I had a good time with them. So this one getting some serious money and style thrown at it is all my bread and jam.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gorfias