Just some thoughts on a couple of things I’ve seen in recent weeks that don’t rate their own full posts. Possibly mildly spoileriffic, but everything is at least a week past broadcast now.
Between went a long way towards showing that not all Netflix original programming is going to be a modern classic. Man, every one of these characters is dull and unlikeable. And the writer’s opinion of the abilities of young adults is amazingly bleak. Considering that some of the folks caught up in this catastrophe are old enough to be Army Reserve NCOs or even to have served an entire hitch in the military (yes, even the Canadian one, unlike the show’s writer I did 30 seconds of research and some math to figure it out), the fact that there is not a single person in town with the remotest degree of competence (minus one farmer, sort of), foresight, or survivability left alive says more about you than your characters. Seriously, when you even manage to make the girl with Down’s syndrome actively unsympathetic it just suggests to me that you, the writer, hate all of humanity (come to think of it, the stupid nihilistic ending sort of reinforces that theory).
And frankly I could do a whole article about why you should have hired me as scientific adviser to make your virology and epidemiology at least plausible enough to convince a layman (Since when do viruses keep calendars so they know which birthday to gak people on? And don’t even get me started on how immunity works!). Except that would involve me having to sit through it again and nothing could induce me to put up with another 6 hours of alternating boredom and irritation just for the opportunity to snark (and I say that as the woman who sat through the 2011 Wonder Woman three, separate, times).
Much better was a recent rewatch of Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park as prelude to the new KISS/Scooby Doo movie. I had honestly forgotten just how much of a fun bad movie that is (my copy is on VHS, which gives you an idea of when I last watched it). In my mind I had somehow decided that I only appreciated its bad movie charms because I’d fallen in love with it as a teenager and that it couldn’t really rank up there as a shining star in the pantheon of crap movie greats. Boy, was I ever wrong, it truly holds its own in pure, joyful, cheesy awfulness. The first half hour drags a bit as we watch a couple of then-current soap stars wander the titular park (Magic Mountain, now part of Six Flags) to set up the romantic “plot”, but from the time KISS shows up to become the focus of the film it is pure gold. The concert footage also serves to remind us what amazing showmen and entertainers they were in their heyday. We’ve gotten so used to seeing the stage stylings of the near-geriatric Simmons and Stanley, that it’s easy to forget just how intense their stage antics were when they were still young and flexible and Paul was still on his first set of hips.
Storage 24 – I watched this out of curiosity, mostly because Noel Clarke (Mickey from NuWho) directed and starred. Summed up most easily as 90 minutes of hanging out with assholes, followed by a shaggy dog ending that had nevertheless been given away in the trailer. They also cast near identical actresses for the two female leads and near identical actors for the two male secondary characters, so I never could keep straight who was who anyway. Since they were all complete creeps it didn’t much matter.
Why does everyone give everything away in the trailers now? I now actively avoid getting a glimpse of any trailer where I think I might want to see the movie (or TV show, I’m looking at you Downton Abbey!) ever. Everyone else is all, “Look, look, here’s a trailer for Captain America, or Doctor Who or whatever, and I’m over here hiding in the corner with my hands over my ears singing “La, la, la, la, la. I can’t hear you!” Seriously, can we stop giving away all the surprises? I worked really, really hard to avoid learning anything about Avengers: Age of Ultron. As a result, you could hear my fangirl squeeing all over the theater when The Vision turned up. Surprises are fun, people, that’s why I didn’t ask to know the sex of the nerdlings when I was pregnant. There are not enough real surprises left in this world for you to casually strip us of them in the stinking trailers.
Being home alone with youngest nerdling this week has meant a different classic Doctor Who serial each evening (nerdling’s choice, which means the choices tend to get a bit…eclectic). All I can say is that The Happiness Patrol really is terrible and that the Cybermen were scarier in The Tenth Planet than they ever would be again (although Tomb of the Cybermen comes close).
The end of Wayward Pines really pissed me off. I despise shaggy dog endings that make the ten hours I just sat through completely pointless. Don’t give me a main character to follow and empathize with throughout your story, give said character a heroic and self-sacrificing death, and then undo every single one of their accomplishments in the last minute of your story. Yeah, part of it is my boredom with, and rejection of, nihilism, since every single SF and horror tale being told these days seems to end with the lesson that there is no hope and no point in striving, which strikes me as a pretty shitty idea to be passing along to the next generation (see also, Between and Storage 24 above). But also, if nothing and no-one has changed in any way at the end of your story, there is no point in telling the tale, this is Writing 101. The fact that this was the only network show I’d gotten into recently and had really been invested in right up until the end just made it that much worse.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Disagree? Have something of your own I should see? Tell me about it in the comments.
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3 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: What I’ve Been Watching”
Are you telling Matt Dillon’s character in Wayward Pines dies?? If so that is not how the books end. I actually like the way the trilogy of books ends even though a bit nihilistic with a little dash of hope.
Yup. Five minutes before the end, saving all the others to what turns out to be no purpose whatsoever. Sorry, I did warn there would be spoilers.
I didn’t like the first book enough to finish the others, so I’ll have to take your word for it. It was one of those rare times where I felt that the TV version improved upon the written one. At least for the section that the first book covered.
I don’t mind the spoilers since I read the actual books. I just think that development is a stupid change from the books.