Category Archives: TV

TV Review – Orange is the New Black – Season 6 Review (Spoilers Abound)

Hey 3.5 readers.

I don’t have time to give this season the in-depth review it deserves, so I’ll try to break it down quickly.

I felt the first couple seasons were an interesting look into prison life.  Hollywood tends to really ham up prison portrayals –  i.e. that classic scene where the main character enters the joint for the first time and the prisoners throw rain garbage and flaming pieces of whatever down upon him out of their cells.

While I’m sure violence is an ever present threat in prisons (and is portrayed a lot on this show) the show gave an aspect that other shows about the clink rarely showed, i.e., that it’s all one great big glorified high school for adults, complete with social cliques, winners, losers, a great big fishbowl where everyone is in everyone else’s business and the slightest bit of gossip can wreak all kinds of havoc.

I felt in later seasons, the show started to jump the shark as the more outrageous the shenanigans got.  At times, some of the tomfoolery seemed unlikely and increasingly far fetched.

But this last season really brought the series home.

Here, the OITNB girls, or a segment of them anyway, end up in the “max” prison, following a riot that goes bad.  Alas, they find themselves as pawns in the neverending war between two geriatric sisters with a longstanding grudge that has existed since the 1980s.

Lots of emotion, sadness, all sorts of bad things happen.

If the showrunners wanted to, they could probably end the series here.  Piper goes home and assumedly, like the real Piper she was based on, will write a book about her time in the can.

Vause looks like she will atone for her sin of putting Piper in prison in the first place – then again, maybe not as it looks like the boss she had to swear allegiance to in order to get Piper off the hook is no longer around.

Taystee goes down for a crime she didn’t commit but is the poster child for how the system swallows poor young African Americans up.

Black Cindy will forever want to do the right thing, be unable to do the right thing, but always feel guilty for not doing the right thing.

I could go on and on, there are so many characters that I dont think it’s possible for all of their storylines to be resolved (other than most of them will be in the slammer for a long time) I think overall, this season finale brought home a lot of stuff for the main members of the ensemble.

I’ve read that there will be a season 7.  I assume this will be where Piper the ex-inmate becomes Piper the author.  Perhaps the writers will figure out a way to get Taystee out of the fix she is in.

At times, the show goes overboard and over the top.  Sometimes I think it is too liberal as many of the women are portrayed as poor little birds who couldn’t help but be there.  Many of the back stories show people who started out somewhat ok, then just made one bad choice and ended up in jail.  Flaca, for example, sold colored pieces of paper, told kids it was acid to make a buck, only to be charged when a classmate was dumb enough to believe he was tripping when he wasn’t and kill himself.

But then at other times, the show will get real…sometimes too real…the backstory scene where we learn what the 1980s bitties did to get locked up is too scary for words.

Guards are often portrayed as roid addled, power tripping losers but then we also see how they suffer behind the scenes too.

The show could end here and be a rare show that ties up all the ends but it sounds like it has at least another season left.  The writers will have to keep towing that difficult to balance light between humor and abject horror, never going too far into one side or the other.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

More Insight on the Buffy Reboot

Hey 3.5 readers.  So, Monica Owusu-Breen, the showrunner who is in charge of the new Buffy reboot, had this to say on Twitter:

“So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer…”

If that means, a whole new Slayer with a different name and different friends, then that’s awesome.

If you’re saying a new version of the same Buffy character, then stop toying with me.

Tagged , , , , ,

Andrew Lincoln to Leave the Walking Dead

IMG_1747

Sad news for “Walking Dead” fans, 3.5 readers.

My thoughts:

#1 – My initial hot take is you suck, Andrew Lincoln.  I hope this isn’t a ploy where you want more time to do movies because seriously, there is no movie that you could be in that people want to see more than a kick ass series finale to the show that made you a star.  Bryan Cranston realized that he had to juggle movies around his main bread and butter, namely sticking with “Breaking Bad” until the end.

#2 – But after calming down for a minute, maybe he doesn’t suck.  Lincoln is from England and he points out that the show has kept him from seeing his family for a long time.  AMC may be the network that a show about a meth cooking teacher built, but it is also the network that zombies kept afloat and in sticky cash.  AMC does not want to ditch those zombies any time soon.  It’s a great formula.  Hire dummies to run around the woods pretending to fight zombies.  Plot = humans need something in a place where zombies are.  Fight zombies.  Get sad a human dies.  Occasionally move to a new place that seems like it is run by nice people at first but then the people are bad.  Cut.  Print.  Repeat.

In that case, you can’t blame Andrew Lincoln for not wanting to stay FOREVER.  If AMC is going to keep the zombies coming until the end of time, then I suppose we can’t begrudge Andrew for not wanting to fight the zombies for the rest of his life.

“Law and Order” for example, found a winning formula and it has been on for decades now.  Sure, Mariska Hargitay stuck with it but that’s her choice.  Other actors haven’t stuck around.  I’m not even sure all the actors that were on it in the beginning are still alive.

I think we all have been waiting for that epic series finale that explains all but I have a feeling that AMC will keep “Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” and possible other spin offs going forever, just bands of humans fighting zombies until the end of time.

If they pull it off, more power to them.  My gut tells me they won’t and once Rick Grimes leaves, that will be it for the viewership.  Maybe not.  Maybe they’ll pull it off but that rarely happens when the main star leaves.

Examples I can think of – “That 70s Show” kept going without Topher Grace as his movie career kicked off.  I don’t blame the cast and crew for wanting to keep it going but I stopped watching after that and I think most people did because it was cancelled not long after Grace left.  Replacing him with a cousin didn’t help.

It’s not impossible to keep a show running without the main character, just unlikely.

#3 – So if Andrew doesn’t want to be Rick until the end of time and AMC wants the zombies forever, I can understand why he wants to exit but even so, we at least need a kickass ending arc to Rick’s character.  That will be like a finale for those of us who have stuck with the show from the beginning.  Maybe we’ll dump the show after Rick leaves.  Maybe we’ll stick around if the writers figure out a great Rick replacement.  But at least give us some closure with Rick.  I fear that won’t happen but we’ll see.

#4 – Andrew leaving should have been kept quiet.  We are now going into the new season with a spoiler.  We know Rick will either die or go off on his own or something.  If they could have kept Andrew’s leaving quiet, then an unexpected Rick death would have suprised the shit out of all of us.

#5 – We’ll see how it goes but I think Andrew and AMC owed us viewers a good resolution to Rick’s character and to the show itself, because I do have a hard time believing the show can carry on without Rick but we’ll see.  We viewers built your network with our support for your show, AMC.  We didn’t let you down when “Walking Dead” needed word of mouth and people hyping the show up on social media, so don’t let us down by giving us a lame ending to a show we’ve been watching nearly a decade now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Women Think Everything is the Handmaid’s Tale Now

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

I have never seen “The Handmaid’s Tale” – a) because I don’t have Hulu and b) because I have a penis.

However, my understanding based on the shrill harpy cries I hear on TV is that it takes place in a future where women are subjugated to male rule, kept as slaves, forced to wear red dresses and white bonnets and do the man’s bidding.  Apparently, fertile females are rare so they are owned by men who procreate with them and keep them locked up or something.

Also, apparently there’s an old woman named Aunt Lydia who keeps the handmaids in line.

So, I’ve never seen this show.  Tell me if it is worth a Hulu subscription but again I won’t think so because I have a penis.  All I know is these are some real life scenes that are happening all over the world thanks to this show.  Basically, if you ask a woman to do anything at all now they reach for the red dress and white bonnet.

SCENE #1 – The Remote Control

MAN:  Honey, can you pass the remote?

WOMAN:  Ah, fi on thee, cruel world, for though hast forced me into a life of handmaidenry!  Damned to do the bidding of my cruel master!  I shall toil away for life and never find any peace as I…

MAN: Oh, nevermind.  It was right next to me the whole time.

SCENE #2 – Sandwich

MAN: Honey, while you’re in the kitchen, can you make me a sandwich?

WOMAN:  Cursed villainy! I shall now dawn the red dress and white bonnet of the handmaid, for shuffle I will through life like a cursed wretch!

MAN: Whoa!  A 2 for 1 pizza coupon in my pocket!  Babe!  Nevermind!  I’m going to call Luigi’s!

SCENE #3 – At Work

MALE BOSS:  Sarah, the figures in your report is all wrong.  I’ll need you to stay late and re-do it.

FEMALE EMPLOYEE:  Oh, vicious agony!  To the chamber I will retire to work my fingers to the bone!

SCENE #4 – Kids

HUSBAND: Babe, I was thinking, should we have a baby?

WIFE:  Bah!  Oh woe unto me, for I have been forced into the unenviable life of a brood mare, damned to whelp your spawn at my breast for all eternity.

HUSBAND:  Yeah.  Plus babies smell bad and they cost a lot of money.  You know what, let’s just get a puppy.

WIFE: I love puppies!

SCENE #5 – The Date

MAN:  Pardon me, ma’am.  I don’t mean to be rude.  My name is Fred and I’m never usually this forward but well, you intrigue me and I wonder if you’d like to get coffee sometime so I could get to know you better.

WOMAN:  Blasted fate!  I shall have no choice but to take the name “Of Fred” and live in your broom closet where Aunt Lydia will whip me and chain me up and …

MAN: Whoa, geeze.  You know, I just remembered I’m allergic to coffee so, have a nice day.

Tagged , , , ,

TV Review – Mindhunter – Season 1

The 1970s!  The FBI!  Sex with decapitated heads!

BQB here with a review of the new Netflix series, “Mindhunter.”  (BEWARE SPOILERS)

Hey 3.5 readers.  I heard a random recommendation for this show on a podcast the other day and had I not heard it, I would not have known this show even existed.  I’m not sure it’s getting the credit that it deserves because it’s well done, dramatic, smart, good timing, pacing, writing, acting, the whole she-bang.

I have no pull in Hollywood but I hope I can at least push the 7 eyes of my 3.5 readers to this outstanding series.

So, what’s it about?  It’s the late 1970s.  Watergate, Vietnam, and a series of 1960s political assassinations have left the public with what President Jimmy Carter once referred to as a “malaise” (although he never actually used that word but I don’t want to veer too far off track.)   Essentially, the institutions society depended on were breaking down and people started losing faith, accepting that life kinda blows and there’s not much to be done about it.

Against this backdrop, a new form of criminal emerges.  While the FBI was born in the name of stopping the likes of Dillinger and Capone, i.e. crooks with a clear motive (profit), there are now killers whose crimes are inexplicable – Charles Manson, Son of Sam, et. all.  Murders that are bizarre, disturbing, gruesome and incomprehensible.

Young, late 20s FBI agent Holden Ford (Jonathon Groff), an instructor of hostage negotiation tactics at the FBI training academy at Quantico, wants to understand how humans become monsters and sees potential in applying psychology to criminology.

Alas, Unit Chief Shepard (Cotter Smith), a typical gear clogging government bureaucrat, sums up the FBI’s thoughts on psychology – it’s bunk, hippy dippy nonsense, pointless prattle about thoughts and feelings that are not worth the bureau’s time.

Enter Agent Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), a stereotypical gruff and grizzled, buzz cut sporting G-Man.  He believes he’s found a golden gig in the FBI, teaching “road school,” i.e. each week he visits a different city, trains local law enforcement with a condensed version of FBI tactics, finds a lot of free time to hit the local golf courses, then heads home on the weekend to the wife and kid until he turns around and does it all again the next week.

Alas, Holden is assigned to work with Tench and as you might expect, he becomes a real turd in Tench’s punch bowl.

Holden sees a lot of potential in the road school’s downtime.  During a visit to California, he talks his way into a prison visit to interview serial killer Edmund Kemper (Cameron Britton), a 6’9,” 300 pound man who infamously killed his grandparents as a juvenile, only to be released as an adult, where he turned around and killed a number of women, cut off their heads and well, did unsavory things to said heads.  He even did this to his own mother before finally turning himself in.

Holden arranges for multiple interviews with Kemper and slowly but surely, talks the skeptical Tench into believing that locked away in the minds of serial killers is the information needed for the FBI to develop the new science of “criminal profiling” i.e. looking at traits held by certain people and determining the likelihood they might kill based on those traits, perhaps maybe even one day being able to stop such gruesome murders from happening.  Even further, they hope to be able to look at aspects of a crime, determine what kind of traits would be in a potential suspect and from there, be able to find the killer that much easier.

Thus, the FBI’s first behavioral science unit is born and soon enough, it grows in the form of Dr. Wendy Carr (Ana Torv) a professor turned FBI consultant.

As season one progresses, more serial killers are interviewed.  Although Holden and Tench are amalgamations of the real life pioneers who convinced the FBI to incorporate psychological profiling into its box of detection tricks, the killers interviewed are all real, i.e. actors doing their best imitations of said murderers.

Britton steals the show as the socially awkward Kemper, who blames his mother for all his problems, and is apparently so lonely that he starts to live for Holden’s interviews.  A crazy giant who kills people and fornicates with their heads is not exactly someone you want on your speed dial.

Happy Anderson plays Jerry Brudos, a hulking beast who murdered young women and stole their shoes (also blames his mother, it’s sort of a running, I don’t want to say joke but maybe a point that all the killers blame their moms).

Other killers include Montie Rissell (Sam Strike) who killed his female rape victims because he wanted them to be quiet and Richard Speck (Jack Erdie) who committed perhaps the most horrific acts in serial killer history, kidnapping a house full of nursing students and murdering all eight women in a single night.

The dynamic between Holden and Tench makes the series not just watchable but bingeable.  Holden is fascinated by what he sees as psychological tidbits being mined from the brains of these madmen – aspects of their childhoods, experiences, upbringings, things that can be looked for when hunting murderers.

Tench reluctantly admits the research will be helpful and yet, the research disgusts him.  While Holden views the interview subjects as victims of their own psychiatric circumstances, Tench views them as scumbag losers who couldn’t handle life so they flipped out and then blame everyone else but themselves for their own evil doings. At times, the buddy cop dynamic is fun and humorous.

From a writing perspective, it’s an example of how good writers can incorporate infamous figures from a history (here, a dark history) and incorporate fictionalized interactions to create something that is interesting.

Of course, no science is perfect and the ethical ramifications are explored.  Is it possible to use profiling to stop crimes before they start?  If a person is law abiding but exhibits strange but legal traits, should that person be deprived of a job, of a livelihood, cast aside from society, treated as a criminal before committing a crime?  Holden wrestles with these issues as his research causes him to start seeing potential psychos everywhere.

As the buddy cop duo continue their research, they often get called into the field to help local police departments catch killers, giving Holden and Tench a chance put what they have learned into practice.

SIDENOTE: Congrats to McCallany, who is one of those actors who has long played tough guys in movies, one of those actors who is in a lot of stuff but you never know his name…until now.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I can’t wait for season 2.

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,

TV Review – Roseanne

Roseanne, Dan and Jackie are back and it’s almost like they never left.

BQB here with a review of the “Roseanne” reboot…return?  I guess it’s a return.

There was a time when sitcom families lived idyllic lives, akin to the Cleavers, where Ward would come home to a perfectly clean house, a hot dinner, and a pair of slippers courtesy of doting wife June.

But by 1988, that was in the past and America was waiting for a family that looked more like the blue collar families that were struggling all over the country.

Enter Roseanne Barr, an overweight, loudmouthed comedian who got famous through a comedy routine where she’d complain about her dishes, her husband, housework, and so on.  Add John Goodman as husband Dan and typically bratty kids Becky, Darlene and DJ and of course, nosey aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and you had the Connors, a working class, mid-west family working hard to make ends meet, barely keeping a roof over their head, food on the table and somehow finding the time to keep kids out of trouble…or at least, less trouble.

Roseanne was liberal for her day.  She’d advise her daughters to use birth control because she figured that she couldn’t stop them from engaging in hanky panky.  She was one of the first comedians to have recurring gay characters join the cast and there was always one social issue or another being discussed.

The formula was typical.  Chronically unemployed Dan would lose another job and question his manhood.  Roseanne would have to get a job and that would make him feel less manly.  The kids would act up and Dan would try to intervene only for Jackie to butt in and then Dan would go drink in the garage because he felt henpecked at every turn, whether it be from his wife or sister in law.  Ultimately, Roseanne and her big mouth would be the final arbiter and put the fear of God into everyone to obey and more often than not her big mouth led her family members to more or less a good path.

Twenty years later, the formula is still there and as I watched the two return episodes, it’s like the Connors haven’t changed.  If anything, though older, Dan and Roseanne actually look a little better since both have had serious weight loss since their younger days.  Darlene, Becky and DJ just look like older versions of themselves but it’s bittersweet as I grew up watching them grow up and now it’s like my TV siblings are old.

A point of controversy is that Roseanne and Jackie are at war in the first episode.  Roseanne, a paragon of liberalism on TV in the 1990s, has gone full blown MAGA, boasting of her love of one Mr. Donald J. Trump, whereas Jackie arrives in a “Nasty Woman” shirt and pink pussy hat, ready to protest in the name of keeping her rights over her uterus intact (is it filled with cobwebs at this point?)

Speaking of uteruses (uteri?) – huh, it must be uteri as the spellchecker didn’t go off so you learn something new everyday, Becky is attempting to become a surrogate mother at age 43, the wannabe mother employing her is noneother than Sarah Chalke, the other girl who played Becky as a kid when the girl whose name I can’t remember wasn’t playing her.

I’ve kept my eye on Twitter and Roseanne as a Trump supporter is catching a lot of heat, ironically from both sides.  Liberals pretty much want the show to be cancelled and all prints burned in a tire fire and Roseanne flogged in the public square for daring to portray a Trump supporter on national television as anything more than a fire breathing goblin.

Meanwhile, some conservatives say MAGA Roseanne is a sign they are winning the culture war while others say that Roseanne is only a conservative in name only and the show is still pushing liberalism (a grandson who dons girls’ clothing to go to school has ginned up some controversy.)

Personally, I enjoyed the first episode because I felt maybe it was something the country needed.  As the plot goes, Roseanne and Jackie, once close sisters and friends, haven’t spoken for a year over the 2016 election results.  They come together due to some wrangling by Darlene and talk it out.  Both view the other as having done something awful – voting for a candidate the other finds intolerable.  They joke about each others’ political leanings and then finally, agree to disagree and hug it out.  Soon, they are friends again.

Perhaps that is what this country needs more of.  Enough of the political rhetoric that is thrown way too easily on social media.  The point of America is that a whole bunch of people from all different countries, religions, backgrounds, etc came to a land where they could be free to be themselves while living alongside others who are different and in that spirit, we should remember that people who didn’t vote the way we want, regardless of which side you voted for, aren’t “the other,” aren’t all bad people, they just see the world a different way.  Find common ground where you can, agree to disagree where you can’t, nothing stops you from continuing to be friends.

 

STATUS: Shelf-worthy….though it made me feel very old.

Tagged , , ,

Was Justin Timberlake’s Half-Time Show that Bad?

Poor JT.  He goes to the Super Bowl and whips out Janet Jackson’s titty and everyone flips out, so this time he plays it straight and everyone gets pissed out.

Look, make up your minds, people.  Either you want Justin to whip out titties or you don’t.

I’ll admit though I’m not sure what the point of this whole “Man of the Woods” thing is.  Like, you think it means he’s trying to become a Country music star but instead he’s just making pop songs about the country?  WTF.

Tagged , , ,

Happy Super Bowl Sunday

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

As a nerd, I don’t know much about sports.  Move the ball here.  Move the ball there.  Rah rah sis boom bah and so forth.  Where’s the buffalo wings?

But if you dig sports, I hope you enjoy the football fest.  Which team are you rooting for?  Tell me in the comments.

I enjoyed this SNL skit.  It represents both teams’ fans well.

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Tom Hanks to Play Mr. Rogers in a Movie

Hey 3.5 readers.  Won’t you be my 3.5 readers?

Millennials, sit down a minute, because you’re not going to believe this shit.

For roughly 35 years, the most popular children’s television program, really, the show that essentially started the concept of educational TV for kids, featured a single (though married in real life) grown ass man, who, from middle age well into his elder years, just randomly invited neighborhood children into his home, unattended, unsupervised, just him and the kids, and they played games and learned life and educational lessons and ate cookies and snacks and shit and then he’d just send the kids home completely unscathed.

Oh and also, the man had constructed a working toy trolley that rolled on an elaborate track that moved from his house to another room where the man had constructed an entire fantasy puppet kingdom.  The puppets had been given names, intricate backstories and everything.

All kidding aside, I’m glad Mr. Rogers is getting some recognition but is there enough backstory for there to be a movie?  Was there a big drama that unfolded as that we can watch and eat popcorn to?  Was there a big bad villain who was all like, “You will never build your fantasy puppet kingdom, Mr. Rogers!  Never!!!!”

I don’t know.  I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.  If you’ve never seen Mr. Rogers, go check him out on YouTube.  You dipshits could benefit from learning how to be nice from the man who invented niceness.

Tagged , , , , , ,

TV Review – The Punisher

Guns, guns, and more guns.

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s “The Punisher.”

When I was a kid, it was common for nerds to gravitate towards more realistic super heroes.  Batman was popular because he was a human without any supernatural powers.

Nerds in the know knew that as cool as the Caped Crusader was, Frank Castle aka “The Punisher” was the more (perhaps the most) realistic superhero.  Arguably, advanced wealth, and the ability to train all day, travel the world to learn new techniques, fund new technologies and figure out how to subdue criminals with non-lethal bat kicks only to hang them forty stories up in the air by a bat rope hooked to one end of a gargoyle with the other end to their underpants is pretty damn spectacular.

In short, it’s unlikely you’ll ever obtain Bruce Wayne’s wealth and if you did, it’s unlikely you’d be able to develop the science defying goodies he wields.

The Punisher, on the other hand, has one super power (of sorts.)  He’s extremely pissed off over the death of his family, leading to an eternal “I don’t give a f%%k” attitude.

Batman might knock out a crook with a batarang.  The Punisher will just buy an epic shit ton of guns off the black market and blow the crooks away.

I remember as a kid wondering why super heroes always go to elaborate lengths to save villains and bring them in safe and sound only for the criminal to escape and wreak havoc again.  Whoever invented “The Punisher” realized that clearly, the only way to stop a criminal from being evil again is to dispense with some hot lead justice.

I mean, for all the blowback Batman got for being a vigilante acting outside the law, the Dark Knight at least left the crooks tied up for the cops to arrest and the justice system to put on trial.  If you were an alleged criminal, you at least had a chance to go before the judge and argue that Batman got the wrong guy.  The Punisher has no checks and balances system.  If it turns out he ganked the wrong dude, the wrong dude remains dead.

Anyway, enough of that nerdery.  After three film versions, Netflix seems to have captured the essence of this fan favorite.  Jon Bernthal (fans of “The Walking Dead” know him as Shane) plays the ultimate sullen, sad-sack tough guy.  We are spared a detailed origin story, though newbs are spoon fed just enough of what they need to know about what drove Frank to become a gun toting one-man crime stopper.

In this version, it’s been six months since Frank took out the crew who killed his wife and daughter.  Somehow he thought that would be enough for him to move on be he can’t.  There’s a hole inside him and it can only be filled with dead bad guys.

Batman sends his baddies to Arkham.  Superman gives his baddies a stern talking to.  Spider-Man gums up evildoers in a web but Frank…Frank just shoots them.  That’s it.

After “Agents of Shield” I lost hope for a good Marvel TV show, but this series has renewed it.  Good show, Netflix.  Good show.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Does Frank even count as a superhero?  Discuss in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , ,
Advertisements