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

Dec 10, 2012
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Netflix's The Punisher. I'm not sure I liked it, not really.

The Netflix Marvel shows started off so great. Daredevil was revelatory, doing something totally new to the MCU, and was executed very well. Jessica Jones was just terrific, and Luke Cage, once it got going, was also great (until the somewhat disappointing ending). But DD season 2 had major problems, Iron Fist was a dud, and The Defenders ended up feeling like a huge waste of time. And into this slump comes The Punisher.

Now, while DD season 2 was a very mixed bag, by far the best out of that bag was Frank Castle. The first 4 episodes of the season were some of the best in the Netflix canon, when Punisher is running amok and clashing with Daredevil, both physically and idealogically. And really, I love John Bernthal. I really liked him on The Walking Dead, I was sad he left the show so soon. And he was cast perfectly to play Frank Castle, he's the right combination of imposing physical presence and sympathetic humanity, and he's a brilliant actor. I loved his story in Daredevil. But I'm more iffy on his arc in his own show.

He's less a tortured anti-(very anti)hero and more a kill-crazy asshole. He's more of a dick just to be a dick, to be edgy I guess. I'm not sure why, but the sympathy I had for him in Daredevil as a man so damaged by war and grief that he took the most violent path to exorcise his demons is mostly gone, and now he feels more like a guy who, yes, has lost everything important to him and wants vengeance, but is also very blas? about ending lives. Before, he killed in a fury of agonized passion, but now he's cold and methodical about it. It's just less sympathetic and offers less catharsis to see the bad guys die, and is more worrisome and needlessly gruesome. It may be a small difference, but makes a big impact on how I viewed the show.

Also, how much freaking punishment can he take? I know he's a comic book character, and he's supposed to be a total beast of a man, but my god, he was taking beatings that would cripple an ordinary person and getting right up the next day and going at it again. Immunity to pain is one thing, but by the end his internal organs should have been one big blob of jello.

There's also a major character and plot thread that serves no actual purpose that I can see. Maybe it was about adding a layer to the show's themes, but if it had been removed entirely the plot would hardly be affected. Overall, I am rather disappointed. It's not a bad show, better than Iron Fist and Daredevil season 2, there is a lot I like about it. But after all that promise in DD, the Punisher's first solo outing is less than I expected.
 

Hawki

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Parks and Recreation: Season 3 (4/5)

So, haven't discussed this before (I think), but I quite like P&R. The how's and why's are something I'll skip, and I'll focus on this season in particular. So, first question is, "is it good?" And, well, yeah. It is. Granted, I think Season 1 is good as well (I know that's not a popular opinion), but it's Season 2 when the show came into its own for me. Season 3 is effectively more of the same, even if it does dump the whole "we need to build a park" plot point. TBH, there isn't really any core narrative thread in this season, it's more character focused...kind of. As in, there isn't one core character trajectory (except maybe the LesliexBen thing), but the characters generally go places, either in strides or in steps.

Most of the time I like that. Ben might be my favorite character right now, by virtue of being the "straight man" character - the 'normal' character in the sea of insanity. I think the show kind of tried that with Mark in the first two seasons, but Ben is the concept done much better, if only because he does have a character trajectory, and plenty of baggage to go with it. Anne feels better integrated into the plot now, whereas previous seasons kind of went in a "yeah, she's a nurse, but she's at Town Hall a lot of the time because...reasons." Also, while not exactly character growth, I think this season is great for Ron, in as much how his character gets explored. Course, Ron "Fucking" Swanson is awesome regardless, but it makes his paradox work - he's a hardline libertarian that dislikes government, but we see quite a few times that he's still very erudite, and understands how to get the most out of people that work under him. Not that previous seasons didn't do this (even season 1 to an extent), but it feels the most pronounced here. He works for me where April doesn't because...okay, I really dislike April at this point. The whole "I hate/don't care about anything/everything" schtick is really getting old now. Andy at least had some character growth up to this point, but at this point it feels like he's getting dragged down with her. I think April bugs me because she hits close to home - I know what it's like to work with people like her. Ron is apathetic about government, but there's at least an in-universe reason for him to be there. With April, there isn't. Even Tom is still likable to some extent. And Jerry...am I the only one who feels uncomfortable about how everyone picks on him? I mean, part of it is funny, and I do smirk, but I can't help but be reminded that this is actual office bullying. Mark, in a rare moment of character depth, did point this out in season 2, but it's still going on here.

So that's season 3. More character focused than season 2, but doesn't really have a core plot. Being character focused, it has higher highs than season 2, but also lower lows. So, can't say right now if it's better than season 2, but it's still a solid net positive nonetheless. Pawnee's still crazy, but is endearingly crazy.
 

Hawki

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Supergirl: Season 2 (3/5)

This season is weird to talk about.

Not so much weird in terms of content (well, no more weird than you'd usually expect from a Superman mythos series), but that its strengths mostly come from lack of superhero stuff, while its weaknesses come at least in part from the superhero stuff.

So, let's start where this season falls flat, and let's start with politics. Now, before you say anything, I don't support the idea that art should be free of politics. If that was true, works like 1984, Brave New World, or heck, even Lord of the Flies, would never exist. The idea that's creeped up in recent times that socio-political issues shouldn't be in fiction of any kind is rediculous, to the point where people are identifying political stances where they're not even there. But make no mistake, Supergirl Season 2 is trying to be political. Problem is, it doesn't do a very good job with it.

First up on the politics agenda is immigration, or more accurately, refugees. Supergirl Season 2 (hence referred to as SS2) wants to draw parallels between aliens coming to Earth (who all speak perfect English, and most of whom are phenotypically identical to humans) and refugees in the real world. Okay, fair enough, sounds interesting. Problem is, it doesn't go beyond the stance of "aliens are fleeing war-torn planets, they should come here." That's...really it. It doesn't really examine this in any form. It doesn't go beyond "let them in." It's not exactly preaching, but if you're going to tackle a subject like refugees or illegal immigration, I'd like to see a bit more finesse to it. A bit more 'meat. Heck, even SS1 addressed it better, with Kara pointing out that yes, she is technically a refugee, and had to spend most of her life fitting into human society at the cost of her own nature as a walking solar powered alien (don't ask, the mechanics of kryptonians in this series make little sense - at least MoS gave a reason why kryptonians wouldn't just move to a yellow sun because "hey, superpowers!"). Thing is, the daxomites (which invade at the end of the season) are technically refugees as well, but the series can't (or won't) address this paradox. Not everyone who flees to the West is going to cause trouble, but some are. Either extreme is counter-productive, but the show can't/won't address this. Which would be fine, if it didn't try to bring it up in the first place.

The issue of politics extended to its post-Trump era. The president (who's also an alien refugee) is very much a stand-in for Hilary Clinton, or at least, a stand-in for "not Trump." And while I'm not going to bemoan a series for not liking Trump, the series doesn't do much to engender me to this president. Who's an alien refugee who signs a law giving citizenship to every other alien refugee (not bad in of itself, but no-one mentions the potential conflict of interest). Also, when the daxamites invade, her plan is to fly in Air Force One TOWARDS the invading aliens, leaving Kara to exclaim "I'm so glad I voted for her!" Kara, this isn't brave, this is stupid, and considering that Air Force One and its two escort fighters are destroyed, and the president survives only because she's an alien, and Cat Grant (who's still awesome) is saved by Supergirl...yeah. Leader of the free world everybody. That said, there is a good example of post-Trump material working, where, paraprhased, Rhea refers to "restoring Daxom to greatness," with Mon-El (near the end of his character arc at this point) commenting darkly "Daxom was never great," an assertion that, given what we know of Daxom at this point, is probably true, least as far as morality goes. If you want to see this as a reference to Trump, you can, but the line and its context works without the analogy.

Oh, and remember that daxamite invasion? Well, apparently they're hyper-sensitive to lead, so they're defeated by seeding the atmosphere with lead that will make the daxomites leave, but not do any harm to human life. Um, okay...if daxamites are so sensitive to lead, wouldn't just being on Earth be an issue due to background lead? And considering how deadly lead can be to humans (and animals) as well, I'm skeptical that seeding the atmosphere with lead is going to have no reprecussions. I mean, this is a setting where any actual science is pretty much non-existent, but this kind of goes above and beyond. Also, if daxamites are also powered by a yellow sun, shouldn't the armoured daxamites in the street just take off their armour and start kicking arse and taking names?

Oh, and there's the feminist angle..sort of. I mean, season 1 had a woman exclaim "finally, a hero my girls can look up to" (lady, you have Superman in this world, are you saying they can't look up to him because he's male), and there's nothing as bad as that here. Usually the show doesn't really draw attention to the 'gender thing,' but when it does, it feels cringeworthy. Not enough to sink it, but it's noticable.

So, alright then. Sounds like the season is pretty bad then. Except it isn't. Because the weird thing about this season is that it's good in ways that aren't inherent to its genre. I mean, there are examples - I think they did a great job with Superman for instance, both in personality and in his beatdown with Supergirl - but what this season is really good at is character relationships. KaraxMon-El, J'onn x Megan, WinnxLyra, MaggiexAlex. The Arrowverse is usually reasonably good with its character relationships, but here, every one of them manages to work. Work, as in, feel natural, to the point that when things go right or wrong, I'm invested. I think part of the reason why this works is that the show has a far more relaxed approach to continuity. Every other Arrowverse season I've seen has always had a central villain. That's not to say those seasons lack other villains, but without exception, you could always identify the "big bad." SS1 had this with Astra and Non. SS2 doesn't really have this. There's two main villains (Cadmus and Rhea), but neither of them really takes centre stage. Cadmus waxes and wanes in its presence, Rhea doesn't appear on-screen until the last quarter of the season. However, this isn't a bad thing. SS2 is able to go at its own pace and do its own thing because of the lack of any overarching thread. That's not to say its episodes lack continuity, but weirdly enough, I feel the lack of a central plot...actually kinda helps.

It also helps that the show feels more confident, if that makes sense. it makes the mistake of adding in more superheroes (James Olson becoming Guardian is "whyyy?!" material), but, it works. It works, by virtue of being normal. Its flaws are present, but its strengths lie in doing its own thing, at its own pace, and doing it well. So, um, yeah. Well done, SS2. You make mistakes, but most of you is solid.
 

Ogoid

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La casa de papel - 8/10

I remember thinking, going into this one, "surely something else is going to happen... they can't possibly stretch a single heist into a 20+ hour series".

As it turned out, not only they could, I'd be hooked from start to finish.

That's not to say it was without its hiccups and warts (cliffhanger fakeouts and characters flipping on their most basic motivations for plot convenience - particularly at the last few episodes), but all in all, my hat's frankly off for this one. Great characters, fantastic performances, gorgeous locations.

This was an amazing show.
 

Hawki

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​Marjorie Prime (3/5)


In case you're wondering, I'm reviewing the stage play, not the movie. If anything, I think this play would actually work better as a movie because it would be better able to convey the effects required (e.g. holograms). Doesn't help that this is apparently around the year 2050 and if we take out the concept of the "primes," the world seems to be pretty similar to the world we have today, ranging from technology to the state of the world. If anything, I will admit this put me off, because I can't imagine the world of 2050 to be as normal (or stable) as it is depicted here. Then again, as far as I'm aware this was the playright's intention. so I can't really fault the work for this.

Thing is, this is the kind of story I should like more than I do, as it deals with questions of artificial intelligence and memory. Questions that would usually be my jam, yet for whatever reason, don't work as well for me here. The lack of worldbuilding can account for this to a small extent, but by no means is it sufficient to account for it by itself. It could be that I've seen this kind of story explored before (nature of memory, and much it accounts for what makes you "you," along with questions of how 'real' artificial intelligence can be, and whether it's condusive to engage in conversation of simaculums of people long dead), but it's not as if these questions are explored poorly in of themselves in this story. It's just...average. No more, no less.
 

Hawki

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Falling Skies: Season 1 (3/5)

If I had to sum up this season in one word, it would be "meh."

You're probably used to that, but more than any other show I've seen recently, "meh" is truly emblematic of this show (or season at least). It doesn't really do anything particularly wrong, but nor does it do anything particularly right. It's an alien invasion scenario that doesn't really have any original twist going for it, and what it does do has been done elsewhere and done better. That being said, it does leave me with a lot of stuff to talk about.

Thing is, if I didn't know better, I'd have assumed this was Season 2, not Season 1. Now granted, there is a prequel comic series that I read years ago (and barely remember), but given how this season operates, it's kind of surreal in how it presents its material and context. Specifically, the timeframe is set nine months after aliens invaded Earth, knocking out high-level technology, and eliminating 90% of the world's population (turns out they're not nearly as good at wiping out the remaining 10%). So, fair enough, a story doesn't need to start at the outset of the apocalypse. I mean, the Walking Dead gets its proper start months after the collapse of civilization for instance. However, there's a number of things that apparently happened post-invasion, namely:

1) The protagonist was a history teacher, but now becomes the second in command of the 2nd Mass (one of a number of resistance groups)

2) His eldest son goes from high school student to soldier (or "fighter" as they keep being called)

3) His second oldest son was captured and harnessed (made an alien slave basically)

4) His wife was cheating on him with a fellow alumni (who turns up later)

5) The family spent months scourging before joining the 2nd Mass

6) Some point after joining 2nd Mass, his oldest son strikes up a 'thing' with another Resistance member, but by the start of the series, is in a sort of love triangle with another member.

Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds like enough material for a seasons of its own right. And while plenty of protagonists have backstories that aren't directly depicted in fiction, I feel this is to the series' detriment, in that it doesn't really spend time introducing characters per se, you just have to get to know them very quickly. Also, I have to just accept it at face value that normal people can become soldiers. Off-screen. I'd have thought this would be something you'd actually show, given that it's instrumental to character development (in theory), but shows what I know. And likewise, when our protagonist confronts his colleague over the affair with his wife, this doesn't mean anything because we've seen neither wife nor colleague up to this point. The protagonist might be aggrieved, but I can't mourn a character that I've never seen, and has barely been mentioned up to this point. Show, don't tell.

So, moving on, this series is really melodramatic. It seems every little thing the protagonists do has to have some swirling melody behind it. A melody that's used over, and over, and over. The series also touches on the idea of people becoming outlaws in the breakdown of society, or luring people in with false promises of paradise, but it doesn't really examine them. Y'know how I mentioned the Walking Dead? Having seen the first five seasons of Walking Dead, this show really feels prototypical in a number of ways, from our everyman turned leader, to "country hick that we're meant to warm up to." Only it doesn't do it nearly as well. Oh, and the ending is utter bollocks. I had to check myself to not rank this lower based on last impressions of "seriously? No, wait, SERIOUSLY?!"

I can see glimmers of potential here, but they're faint glimmers at that. Alien invasion material wasn't new when this show aired, it certainly isn't new now. And the show doesn't really do anything particularly special to endear me to it. An average plot with average characters with average effects leaves me with the impression of things being...average. Go figure.
 

Natemans

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Darling in the FRANXX (2/5) -

This series had an interesting start and nice things going for it....until the second half turned into a pretentious mess that lost a lot of what it built upon.
 

Kyrian007

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Luke Cage season 2: I liked it, I just wish I liked it more. Season 1 kind of died halfway through when its up till then villain did. That problem was evident through the entirety of season 2. It seemed the "villain" changed every 1.5 episodes, or changed back. And holy crap did they overuse the whole Oddcouple "team up with the bad guy" trope. It seemed like every single episode they had Luke fighting alongside some previously established enemy.

And the ending... I'll spoil in tags, but if you aren't going to spoil it I'll just say they didn't earn the ending they went for.
Ok, they went with "The Godfather" ending. Now Luke is the mob boss in control of Harlem. And many of the side characters on his side are turning against him, worried that he's a bad guy now. NO, NO HE ISN'T. They didn't build that at all into the narrative! He's consistently held back, kept within his own moral framework (if not complete legality), basically he has remained the white-hat hero of the piece. There is no good reason his former friends should be scared of what he is doing. He isn't "doing business" with the other crime bosses. He made a deal with them, "don't come into Harlem or I'll find you and beat the shit out of you, and you can't stop me from doing it." That isn't helping anyplace that isn't Harlem... but Harlem is his sphere of responsibility and he's driven the crime from it. HE's STILL THE HERO. They didn't earn that ending at all. It just makes all of the friendly side characters look like complete assholes for not trusting Luke.

Still, good music, good atmosphere, interesting side character arcs, decent action. It just could have been a lot better with a solid villain and a completely different ending.


Under the Dome season 2: The series started with real promise. More and more of it being wasted every episode I watch. That's why it took so long for me to watch the second season. And by the end of the second season, there isn't much left. That's the problem with these "mystery" style series. For every question you answer they have to pose another question to keep the suspense going. And with every new mystery the story goes further and further off the rails. It works in an episodic monster of the week style show because they kind of reset every episode, but it is just a trainwreck when you try and do that over long arcs. The characters still generally react in the worst possible manner to every challenge they face and it ends on a big plot twist I have seen coming since the first episode. I doubt I'll be back for season 3 even though 2 ends on a huge cliffhanger.

Tsugumomo and Myriad Colors Phantom World: Its funny I watched these 2 series back to back. They are basically the same from start to finish. I was seriously getting one confused with the other. I'm not sure I really want any more than 1 season of either actually. I didn't hate either one, but mostly because neither generated enough interest from me to care enough to hate.

Natemans said:
Darling in the FRANXX (2/5) -

This series had an interesting start and nice things going for it....until the second half turned into a pretentious mess that lost a lot of what it built upon.
I'm actually moving on to this soon. I hate to say it but your recommendation may have been a bit of a mark in its favor. I generally like things people say get pretentious.
 

Hawki

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Unqualified (4/5)

After seeing this play, and asked what I thought about it, I gave the answer that it was "good, but with caveats." In that, my appraisal of less enthusiastic than those around me. Since then, while I stand by that assertion, make no mistake, it's certainly still "good."

So, this play is a comedy, and the premise behind it is quite ingenious. Two women of very different socio-economic backgrounds meet at Centrelink, and unable to secure employment, decide to set up their own employment agency. Thing is, before they can get their website up, they're already getting requests. So, they have to do a variety of jobs - in essence, they're leasing out employment to themselves. Employment that they're often grossly underqualified for. What results is effectively a series of skits, ranging from wedding catering, to daycare, to lectures at a university. There's ongoing plots as well, as both have to deal with their personal dramas, but the main focus is on the skits themselves. And as skits go, they're downright hilarious.

Like I said, it does have caveats, and that's how it ends. Throughout the play, we see how the two of them are getting more frayed, as their personalities clash. What's more, the play starts with Centrelink staff (note that it's just the two actresses, so they have to fill in for side characters at the drop of a hat, and do so excellently) asserting that they have no skills, yet over the course of the play, we see that they do, they just don't seem to realize it. Now, you'd expect that this would culminate in them realizing that they can easily make it in the workforce (might need official qualifications, granted), but this doesn't happen. However, this isn't a subversion, the idea just feels dropped. Likewise, the penultimate scene is the two of them finally coming to verbal bows as their frustrations with their lives and each other come to a head...which might have more impact if the actual final scene didn't show them making up and staying in the 'business,' said business still being employing themselves effectively. I'll be frank, the ending doesn't land that well for me.

Another tidbit, when scene transitions occur, there's off-tune singing of 'The Magic Flute,' that for me, got really annoying. Reportedly, the singer is Florence Foster Jenkins (look her up), and the choice was meant to symbolize that one shouldn't give up on their dream, even if they're not qualified for it. Nice idea, but the play itself didn't make that apparent for me, and I'm not sure how it would be apparent for anyone else.

But all that aside, the play was still a barrel of laughs, and I had great fun with it. So, 4/5 and all that. Despite the play's title, it certainly is, ahem, "qualified."
 

Hawki

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Sonic Mania Adventures (4/5)

Is it possible to think that something is both "good" but "overrated?' Bear in mind that I try to avoid using that latter term, so I'll elaborate - while I think Sonic Mania Adventures (which I'm only commenting on now as it's just concluded, despite watching each episode as it comes out over the last few months) is good, that endorsement doesn't go as far as some others have gone, including game websites like Polygon. The idea that this is not only the best Sonic animated series, but the only good one period. Suffice to say, I disagree with both of those assessments. Out of the six animated Sonic series, I'd give this the #4 position. If further seasons are released that could go up, but at the end of the day, this is a series of five webisodes. That's hardly enough to dethrone the heavy hitters of the Sonic multiverse.

But that aside, I still quite like this series. The plot is extremely simple, but it's a simplicity that works, in conjunction with the style of animation and the lack of any actual dialogue, with character interactions and moods being conveyed entirely through actions/body language. While I don't think this automatically makes it the best Sonic series (despite the claims I listed above), it's easily the 'truest' Sonic series, at least in the sense that it's the only one that doesn't take place in its own continuity (outside Sonic Boom, but that's still not part of the main games continuity), and emulates the feeling of the classic games the most. I'll also point out that it works quite well with a comedy - good slapstick and all that.

So, all in all, this is a good series. I'd certainly love to see more of these shorts. While I don't think it's the best thing since sliced bread, I certainly had fun watching these.
 

Groxnax

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Final Space 4/5

On Netflix

This show was created by the guys who did Rick and Morty but it is nothing like it.

It has humor but it will (probably) kick your butt emotionally.

They did so much crazy and impressive stuff on it that it will make you wonder how they will do season 2.
 

Hawki

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Parks and Recreation: Season 4 (4/5)

When I left my review for PaR Season 3, I was hesitant as to whether I could call it superior to Season 2. In hindsight, I'd say that the order of quality is definitely Season 3>2>1. I feel that Season 3 is where the show definitely hits its stride, in that not only does it get a good balance of both humour and heart, but it effectively 'rounds out' the cast by introducing us to Chris and Ben. At this point I'm obliged to say "sorry Mark, but I don't miss you right now." Actually, I don't think I ever did.

The reason I bring this up is that I find my self in a similar situation - season 4 is good, no doubt, but I'm left to ask as to whether it's better than season 3. In regards to that, it's a hard choice, as I feel that in comparison, this season has higher highs, but lower lows. Granted, that's all pretty high at this point, but let's look at things.

More than any season before it, this season probably has the most over-arching continuity, namely Leslie's bid for city council. While the first season (and IIRC, some of season 2) had the plot of converting the lot into a park, that fizzled out, and is background dressing compared to this. The season can roughly be divided into two halves here, the first half being her run with the professionals, who dump her when her approval rating drops to 1% after her affair with Ben comes out. The second half roughly corresponds to her getting back in the race with her co-workers behind her, which ends up including Ben. In this regard, it mostly succeeds...mostly. I feel that towards the second half, a number of elements feel underbaked. For instance, Leslie keeps saying how great a campaign manager Ben is, and while he does do a decent job, he's constantly outplayed by Bobby Newport's manager (more on him later). It's not that Ben does a bad job, it's just that when he's constantly outplayed, me being constantly told how great he is starts to ring a bit hollow.

When we're talking about the characters, they're mostly still knock-outs, but the characters I've always like the least are still the ones I like the least. Tom, for instance, still has moments of humanity/humility, even if he can be an annoying twerp when that isn't happening, not to mention that his relationship with Ann...no. Just no. Damn it Ann, you deserve better than this! Likewise, April and Andy. I will say that I find them less annoying than I did in season 3, in that they show signs of maturing, but they're still close to the bottom of the Parks Department staff for me. Thing is, the seasons seems to kind of fluctuate for both of them. For instance, Andy is shown that, for all his failings in other areas, to be a pretty good guitarist, at least when it comes to playing, and some flaws aside, composition as well. However, there's no great revelation, instead, he takes a women's studies course (which doesn't amount to anything in terms of plot or character development), and seems set to apply for a police job by the end of the season (which, currently watching season 4, I can tell that he does, at least initially). Likewise, April does have moments of humanity and intelligence, but they're scattered throughout the season.

These characters aside, the ones that have previously been solid remain solid. Chris is a joy, but he's shown to have far more layers than his perpetually happy demenour would suggest. Ron and Leslie are solid as well. Remember how I mentioned that this season has higher highs? The relationship between them is gold. It's a platonic relationship, but while Ron is shown to have many quirks, he's clearly an intelligent individual. Same with Leslie. Think that's why they complement each other so well. While these moments aren't exclusive to season 4, the feels keep coming. As for the characters (Donna, Jerry, etc.)...well, they're there. They're fine. It's certainly one of those highs to see them all rally behind Leslie after her prior campaign team abandons her.

Which brings us at last to the crux of the season, namely Leslie's bid for council position. I have mixed, but mostly positive feelings about this. I've already mentioned the issue I have with Ben, even if he remains likable. The other issue is that of Bobby Newport. Now, the thing is, of the five candidates running for office (Leslie and Bobby included), Leslie's clearly the only one qualified. The other three (a porn star, an animal rights nut, a gun nut) are stereotypes, and hey, that's fine - Pawnee's a pretty insane town. However, the main race is between Leslie and Bobby, and that's true both in-universe and from a plot standpoint. Bobby is...mixed, for me. On one hand, I get what the show is demonstrating (it's kind of spelled out for us via Ben), that people will often vote for candidates based on their personality rather than their policies. Bobby has the "aw, shucks, I'm just a small town boy" routine down, but in terms of actual policy or goals, he has none. On the other hand, Bobby's dumb. Like, really dumb. Like, so dumb that I feel the season goes a bit too far with him. This hits hardest when in the penultimate episode his father dies, and he and Leslie have a moment, only for him to hijack what she said and try to use it to boost his election chances. This isn't an inherent flaw, but I feel it kind of undermined their previous moment of shared understanding.

Still, Leslie wins, even if it requires a recount (though if the margin is 24 votes, shouldn't there be a by-election between her and Bobby?), and she runs the emotional gamete over election night. Finally gets her picture on the office councilor war, being the first woman to do so (SJW or something, I dunno, I'm sure someone complained about this). Given that this was a stated aim of hers back in season 1, and by season 4, she's not only achieved said aim but has become much more fleshed out as a character, it's good to see her succeed, and the Parks staff celebrate with her.

So, yeah. Very good season. While it has some flaws, I do think it's the strongest season so far. Dunno if season 5 will top it. From what I've seen, people tend to rank the seasons of Parks & Rec like a bell curve, peaking in quality around mid-series, and being lowest at the start and the end. Might be downhill from here, but it's been a very pleasant trip uphill.
 

Hawki

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Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1 (3/5)

Huh? What's that? The full title is "DC's Legends of Tomorrow?" Well, to you I say, "sod off." It ain't "DC's Arrow" or "DC's The Flash," so just because this show gets the special treatment in its title, it doesn't mean I have to go along with it. :p

Anyway, this show...well, at this point, I'm pretty disenchanted with the Arrowverse. The only "good" seasons I can name are Arrow Season 1, 2, and 4 (please don't kill me), but at this point, the 'essence' of the setting has moved so far away from Arrow Season 1/2, it hardly feels like the same setting anymore. Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 isn't doing anything to dissuade me from this. But that aside, watching LoT S1, the best way I can describe it is as an inferior version of Doctor Who. And lord knows that DW's been far from perfect in the Moffat era, but it still had standout episodes. It could be heartfelt, it could be intelligent, it could be both, and could be all these things while going to any place at any time. LoT is Doctor Who without the intelligence or the character depth, replaced by convoluted plot twists and action, action, and more action. And hey, action's fine, I enjoy action, but I can't escape the DW similarities, and feel like I'm watching a lesser creation. Heck, we even have Arthur Davrill being in both shows, along an organization called the Time Masters, with the crew inside a ship that's a mix of high technology and homely interior design, with a female persona behind said ship...yeah.

Funny thing is, I didn't really feel this way until the last few episodes. Up until then, I thought the show was pretty good...kind of. At the least, it solved a problem I've had with the other Arrowverse shows, and that's their need to make everyone a superhero. Supergirl is particularly egregious with this, what with the whole Guardian thing with James, and with The Flash, speedsters are a dime a dozen at this point, with three antagonist speeders, three protagonist speeders, and from what I understand, Iris becomes a speedster in season 4, because it's not as if journalists are worth the time of day or anything. And don't even get me started on Arrow Season 5...bleh. LoT, on the other hand, is at least honest with its intentions, in that it's team-based rather than named after a specific character, and the chemistry is pretty good between said characters. Doesn't help that the levels of ability vary wildly (Firestorm is OP, Snart and Mick are just guys with guns), but hey, it works. Mostly. Still, if the saying that a hero is only as good as their villain is true, then these heroes aren't very good because Vandal Savage has got to be the weakest Arrowverse main villain I've ever encountered. Doesn't help that he's only in the show for a fraction of it. Doesn't help that he comes off as creepy more than intimidating. Doesn't help that his motives don't seem to go beyond "I want to rule the world because I'm evil." Doesn't...well, you get the idea. Oh, and he's being sponsored by the Time Masters because they need him in charge to deal with an alien invasion in the future, despite the carnage he brings...a moral dilemma that our heroes completely ignore, because the Time Masters have been manipulating them (somehow), to aid Savage (why not use their own agents who are in on the plan?), and are destroyed by our heroes, because damn it, Savage is, like, bad, guys. Oh, and that alien invasion in the future that Savage will stand against? Never mentioned again. Never considered again. You're welcome people of the 2170s.

Also, another point, but for a show about time travel, the show doesn't really seem to care about consistency in regards to its rules. I mean, Rip states there's rules, but the protagonists seem to do whatever, whenever, however. Again, I point to Doctor Who, which could also be loose with its rules of time travel, but here...there are no rules. It doesn't even feel congruent with the Flash, which operates more on the basis that if history is changed, a new timeline is created (e.g. Flashpoint). Whereas here, there's one giant, amorphous timeline. I commented in my review of Season 3 of the Flash that the rules of time travel didn't make sense anymore, and this only adds to that feeling. And maybe I'm wasting my time trying to apply logic to time travel, but when your show insists that there are rules, and characters can apparently do anything to alter the timeline, it starts to grate on me.

So, that's Legends of Tomorrow. Cast of characters is nice, everything else is kind of lackluster. In my Arrowverse season ranking, it goes pretty near the bottom. I'm watching season 2 now, and, well, let's just say that my gripes haven't alleviated. It sucks that this universe started off so strong with Arrow, but has become this...thing. A thing that I saw a Tor article praise, labeling early Arrow as unwelcome anomalies. So while the TItans trailer still looks like drek, going to the other extreme doesn't make me feel any better.

But hey, Parks and Rec is still awesome. :(
 

Hawki

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Legends of Tomorrow: Season 2 (3/5)

I'd say that this is a bit better than season 1, paradoxically because there's less continuity. Season 1 was "stop Savage this, stop Savage that." Season 2 is more "let's stop time aberrations...oh, BTW, the Legion of Doom is doing bad stuff. So, stop them too or something." An exageration? Yeah, a bit. But paradoxically, the comparative lack of inter-episode continuity does actually help this season in my eyes. Partly because Savage was a weak villain, while the Thawne/Dhark/Merlyn trio is entertaining, if nothing else. I like how it's actually pointed out how OP speedsters actually are compared to...well, anyone. And of course, by this point, the rules of time travel in the Arrowverse make absolutely no sense now (reconcile LoT with The Flash - go on, try it), but that was true in season 1 as well, so I don't think I should hold it against this season too much. I think it also helps that we get a slightly better cast - evil!Rip is fun (cliche and hackneyed, but fun), Vixen is a more engaging character than Hawk Girl, Nate gets steel superpowers because...reasons. Yeah, I said it before and I'll say it again, the 'power levels' of these guys aren't exactly equal. It's silly for Batman to be on the Justice League, and the same principle applies here. Oh, and fun fact, the Battle of Somme actually had plenty of grass left and only a few dozen people engaging each other. Who knew?

So, is Legends of Tomorrow "good?" No, not really. I said it before and I'll say it again, it's a lesser version of Doctor Who, with action and lasers replacing intelligent concepts and dialogue. Not that DW has always succeeded here, but compared to LoT, while it's had lower lows, it's also had higher highs. Legends of Tomorrow is...average. It's fine. It's reasonably enjoyable, but I don't have any particular need to see more of it.
 

PsychedelicDiamond

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The Young Pope

A brilliant character study of a very complex character. Jude Law, here depicting Lenny Belardo, a cardinal in his late 40s who had been elected pope, is one of the most intriguing characters in current television. Belardo is a conservative, almost fundamentalist christian, very much at odds with the current real, relatively progressive pope but rather than portrying him as a raving extremists he's a thoughtful, complex and, in his own way, even relatable character going through a very interesting arc throughout the series. The Young Pope is the work of italian wunderkind Paolo Sorrentino, director of a great movie named La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) that won the Oscar for the best foreign film back in 2013 and he's certainly one of the giants of contemporary european film and television. With Young Pope he managed to create a series that everyone who has an interest in the Catholic Church, be it from a human perspective, a political perspective or a spiritual perspective, will find quite enlightening. It's vertainly among the best television of the past few years.
 

Canadamus Prime

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Dark Matter

It's an ok space show. The characters are interesting enough with a series of former criminal mercenaries who, because of losing their memories, are now trying to forge new identities for themselves and perhaps be somewhat decent people. Also they have a cool spaceship. One of the things that drives me nuts though is they won't give the android character a name, they just keep calling her "Android." Speaking of the android, the actress who plays her is no Brent Spiner although at some moments I get the impression that she's trying to be. Also does every sci-fi/space show have to do the groundhog day, time travel and alternate universe episodes? Is that written somewhere?
 

twistedmic

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Canadamus Prime said:
Dark Matter

Also does every sci-fi/space show have to do a groundhog day, time travel and alternate universe episodes? Is that written somewhere?
I believe so. Similar to how just about every sitcom will have a 'It's a Wonderful Life'/'I wish i had never been born' episode.
 

Hawki

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Canadamus Prime said:
One of the things that drives me nuts though is they won't give the android character a name, they just keep calling her "Android."
Only seen season 1, but isn't that kind of intentional (from a writing standpoint)? That the android is just a machine to them, even when she gets jealous of the second android they bring onboard?

Also does every sci-fi/space show have to do the groundhog day, time travel and alternate universe episodes? Is that written somewhere?
Every show? No. But Dark Matter shares writers with Stargate, which used all of the above tropes, so using them again (and others) isn't something that surprises me.
 

Natemans

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Disenchantment - 7/10


So far its gotten better as it goes along. It is a little rough around the edges at times especially in terms of structure, but I'm willing to see where it goes from here. I love Simpsons, but even I'm willing to admit season 1 is rough in some parts.

Though Futurama worked great from day 1 and built greatly from there.
 

madwarper

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Disenchantment - 5/10 One point for each not garbage episode.

Just skip the first 5 episodes. They're terrible. The jokes that made me laugh are far and few between, but at least the plot actually goes somewhere in the 2nd half of the "season".