Tag Archives: television

TV Review – Stranger Things Season 3 (1980)

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

It took me awhile but I finally got through Season 3 of Stranger Things.

These are probably bland observations but I’ll make them all the same.

#1 – The nostalgia factor for someone who grew up in the 80s is fun.  From the music choices to the overall feel, the Duffer brothers know that decade which is odd because I don’t think they spent a lot of time in it.

#2 – Often in movies about kids who save the day, the kids are usually presented as geniuses and the adults as bumbling idiots who get in the way  Here, not so much.  Hopper and Joyce are integral to the plot and aren’t treated like dummies getting in the kids’ way.  Also, the kids are kids.  They make kid mistakes and they need, or rather even seek out parental help because they know their limits whereas other films would show a kid genius who is just being slowed down by the adults.

#3 – Look away if you don’t want spoilers, but the final mall battle where the kids throw fireworks bombs at the monster is visually stunning and fun to watch.

#4 – Russians are the villains and kids and adults alike really dump on them throughout the season, calling them commies and deriding communism as evil and corrupt.  I didn’t think that was allowed anymore in today’s PC world, even in a period piece.

#5 – They do tend to work 80s era actors into the series.  Winona Ryder, aka Joyce was a popular kid actor in the 80s.  Sean Astin of Goonies fame has a brief role as her love interest in Season 2.  In Season 3, Cary Elwes of Princess Bride fame plays a villainous mayor.  Comedian Paul Reiser plays a scientist that experiments on the evil monsters.

#6 – I think the challenge for the show was trying to keep reinvent itself after an initial plotline that was cool at first but over time became somewhat limiting.  For example, after two seasons of battling evil monsters that inhabit the “upside-down” version of their town (basically, an evil parallel universe) one wonders why anyone still chooses to continue to live in Hawkins, Indiana.  Season 3 upped the game by bringing Russians conducting an evil experiment in the bowels of that 1980s staple, the shopping mall and it looks like (spoiler alert) Season 4 will likely involve a plot to rescue Hopper from the upside-down.

#7 – I’ve run out of observations but if you have any, leave them in the comments.  In the meantime, don’t click on the video below if you don’t want a spoiler.  Otherwise, enjoy the kids’ rendition of “The Neverending Story” theme song.

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Lingering Game of Thrones Questions

In no particular order:

#1 – If Sam becomes Archmaester, what happens to Gilly and his adopted son and the son on the way?  Are Gilly and the kids always going to be Sam’s taboo secret family, hiding in the shadows?  There should have either been a line like, “Oh good, it was just decided that maesters can get pussy now” or Sam should have left the maesterhood and just become another kind of wise adviser – Master of Laws or what have you.

#2 – If Bran can see the future, then didn’t he know Daeny was going to burn everyone in King’s Landing and let her do it anyway?

#3 – Did Ellaria Sand get crushed in her cell during the dragon attack?

#4 – Is Daeny really dead?  Keep in mind people come back to life on this show all the time.

#5 – Wouldn’t it have been better for Arya to become an assassin for good, using her faceless man skills to strike down the wicked?  Or maybe she has learned the ills of revenge and is now using her family fortune to explore.

That’s all I have for now but feel free to pose your own in the comments, 3.5 readers.

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Game of Thrones Series Finale Review – The Iron Throne

Hey 3.5 readers.

SPOILERS!

Alas, it’s over.  This show that was a Super Bowl for nerds lo these many years has come to an end.  Despite all the criticism it is taking, it’s over and I’m grateful HBO made it.  I do think the last two seasons were a bit rushed and some plot points were forced but overall, it gave us a real ending.  It didn’t cop out or give us a do it yourself ending.  Choices were made and an actual resolution was given.

Jon Snow takes out his boo and Daeny croaks, effectively stopping her from become fantasy world she-Hitler.  Drogon is so pissed and just as you think he’s going to burn up Jon, he burns up the Iron Throne instead, pissed that his mother died over a lousy chair.

He then grabs Daeny and swoops off and frankly, if you ask me, Jon Snow was too honest for his own damn good.  Instead of admitting to the deed he should have just been all like, “Dudes.  Check it out.  I was all trying to get up in my girlfriend’s snootch with my iron bone when that damn dragon went crazy and burned up everything and flew off with Daeny so…oh well that sucks but I guess if y’all want me to be king now, I’ll do it.”

Meanwhile, it does seem out of left field that Bran would become king.  It was sad that the lords and ladies laughed at Sam’s suggestion of pure democracy, but at least there will be a little bit of thought put into picking the leadership from now on.

While Bran does seem like the least douchiest character and the least likely to use the throne for ill, they spent the last couple of seasons pointing out to us that Bran had become a supernatural being, the mystical three-eyed raven who is above all titles of nobility.  He refused to become the Lord of Winterfell for this very reason.  There’s sort of a nod to the fact that apparently Bran saw all this coming and was ready to be named king all along and it looks like the realm will be in good hands but still, I don’t know.  You can’t just say the kid is a god for several seasons and then suddenly say oh yeah and he can be king too.

I thought the romance between Brienne and Jaime was forced.  Those two seemed like, at best, they had a respectful friendship.

It seemed unlikely that the Unsullied would have accepted anything less than Jon Snow’s head on a pike.  They wouldn’t have been ok with him just going to the Wall.

What happened to the Dothraki?  I don’t recall an answer.  Those berserkers are just roaming the countryside, raping and looting I assume.  Sorry.  Maybe that’s dothraki profiling.

Snow has a better than expected ending.  The Watch doesn’t interfere as he leaves and joins the Wildlings.  His life won’t be fabulous but at least he’ll be free…free in the cold barren north but free.

Arya will become an explorer.  Sansa is Queen of the North.  The Stark children really clean up and make out like bandits in the end, all except Jon.

To my surprise, it was actually a happy ending when I expected that everyone would just be totally dead or someone terrible would end up ruling.

Jon and Daeny’s talk about power and Daeny talking about how people who disagree with her are evil is a bit scary and has some echoes to the world we live in today as we have all become so politically divided.

Anyway, I know the show is taking a lot of heat but hey, that means people love it enough to have strong feelings about it.  I think it ended well, though again, it does strike me as odd that Bran could be a three eyed raven and king at the same time.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Who Will Sit On the Iron Throne?

Theories:

1 – Dany.  The various power players will decide as hard as that may be to stomach, it wouldn’t be worth putting the kingdom through yet another war for the throne.

2 – Jon Snow.  He pretends like he’s cool with it then kills his aunt with his penis….or somehow uses sex as a pretext to get close and kill her or something.

3 – Invasion from Afar – Arya said a couple seasons ago that there was land far away that no one from Westeros had explored.  I felt like that was a big thing to just leave dangling there.  So maybe an army from far away will land and take it all.

4 – Jon Snow and then a governing counsel after he croaks.

5 – No throne.  It goes straight to a governing counsel.

6 – Sansa – I think she’s like the oldest member of any remaining house that isn’t a bastard or a three-eyed raven.

7- Varys.  He would never let himself get burned up like that.  He had a stunt double get burned.

8 – Littlefinger.  He also would have never been bested.  He had a stunt double killed in his stead.

9 – Arya will use her faceless man skills to pretend she is Jon Snow at her chamber on the pretense that he needs khaleesi sex.  Once in, Arya will reveal herself and chop up Dany to pieces.

10 – Ser Davos because why not.

11 – Tyion because why not.

12 – Governing council – Tyrion, Snow, Davos, Greyworm.

13 – Greyworm.

14 – Nobody is left.

15 – It’ll be like the ending of Hamlet where an outside invader enters the castle only to find everyone is already dead.

Who do you think will sit on the iron throne, 3.5 readers?

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Do You Agree With What Happened to the Khaleesi?

SPOILER ALERT

I think I’m the only one who thought the last episode of Game of Thrones was good.

I get it.  We all cheered Khaleesi on the past 8 seasons.  She was the underdog.  She started from the bottom and now she’s here.  She suffered every bump in the road and set back and she managed to move across a fantasy continent, free countless slaves and turn enemies into allies and recruit top advisers.

But still…you had to see something like this coming.

First, the show has always had an air of real life or as close to real life a fantasy world can get.

In real life, you hope to be great but then you suffer all kinds of setbacks.  Same thing in GRRM’s fantasy world.  Yes, you want a person to be good but shit happens.

Khaleesi has been through some shit.  Let’s review:

#1 – Exiled as a baby across the Narrow Sea.

#2 – Sold as a sex slave wife to a nomadic warlord by her asshole brother.  The wealthy man who took her and her brother in as their guardian allowed this to happen.

#3 –  Trusted Ser Jorah.  He turned out to be a spy.  Eventually, she trusted him again.

#4 – I forget the details but a lot of shit happened in her travelling years.  Her husband croaked.  The dothraki turned on her for awhile before getting behind her again.  Evil dudes tried to steal her dragons.  She conquered cities but if she went too soft, bad guys would start shit.

#5 – More recently, she delayed her assault on King’s Landing and brought her Army north to help defeat the Knight King.  You might argue she had to do that anyway to save the land she wanted to conquer, but she could have also sent her full army at Kings Landing first, allowed the Night King to destroy the North and then made a stand at them from a strong position in Kings Landing.

Note that her reward for doing so was that the Starks start bitching about how Jon Snow should be king.

#6 – Tyrion and Varys are her chief advisers and yet they are always doing shit behind her back.  They think it is for the greater good but they always get found out and exposed as a-holes.

First, I didn’t buy that Varys would go right up to Snow and tell him to be king.  Varys is smarter than this.  He is the spymaster.  He would have orchestrated a coup from behind the scenes if he wanted Khaleesi gone.

But if you count that, plus Tyrion telling Varys about Snow’s claim to the throne which is a big betrayal and then also count Sansa up her ass and the Northmen and Wildlings giving the credit for the white walker victory to Jon and then losing her second dragon (two she lost in the name of protecting the North, a land of assholes who benefit from her protection yet openly talk shit about her) and losing Missandei?

I mean, what was Missandei’s last words?  Dracarus.  What’s that mean?  It’s the word you tell your dragon when you want him to burn some shit.  BFF was telling Khaleesi to burn that shit down.

I think HBO has moved these past two seasons way too fast and we deserved a little more development and build up, but if you take a look at all of this, it’s not that unlikely that Khaleesi might just say, “Fuck it.  I tried to get these people to follow me out of respect, but they’re all doing their own shit behind my back so I’m just going to set this shit on fire.”

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

 

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Game of Thrones Review – Season 8, Episode 5 – The Last War

Holy crap, 3.5 readers.  What an episode!  SPOILERS!

Well, here are my thoughts:

#1 – It’s hard to complain because it was riveting, edge of your seat and really grabbed your attention.

#2 – But I’ll complain anyway.  The complaint I keep seeing is wasted character development.  Khaleesi has spent 7 seasons being good only to go berserk at the last second.  True, I suppose the capacity to snap is in all of us.  Her second dragon and best friend were just killed.

Still, the set off of her snap was Varys’ treachery?  I don’t know.  Seems weak.  Then again, I suppose there have been inklings throughout that she might flip out.  Her father did flip out and there was always a fear that she might flip too.

Also on character development, Varys was long portrayed as the realm’s top spymaster, like an old fashioned CIA chief.  Ergo, it’s hard to believe that he would just walk right up to Jon Snow and tell him what’s what.  If Varys wanted Khaleesi out, he wouldn’t have told her boyfriend.  He would have orchestrated some kind of intricately detailed behind the scenes coup that left him 20 steps away from it all.  He would have had a servant poison the Khaleesi’s soup or something then would have been all like, “What treachery is this?  Oh, shit.  Our beloved Khaleesi is dead.  Oh well, Jon Snow, hate to say it but you’re up now, buddy.”

#3 – I think we have to be honest that the show always promises A then delivers not even B but Z.  So we should have never really expected a happy ending where Khaleesi farts rainbows out of her butt.

#4 – There were some payoffs that longtime fans have been waiting for, from the Cleganes finally duking it out, to the wildfire deposits getting burned up to Arya looking to check Cersei off her list.

#5 – In true form for the show, they managed to make you feel bad for Cersei.  She’s done some bad things over the years and yet, in her final moments you’re like, “Well, maybe her ass shouldn’t be ate the hell up by a damn dragon.”

CONCLUSIONS:

Snow, Tyrion and Davos all look sad at the side they chose.  And there’s still a few episodes left so where this goes next will be interesting.

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TV Review – Game of Thrones – Season 8, Episode 3 – The Long Night

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

So, this episode was a long time coming.  It’s the end of the road for many characters, their purposes and story lines coming to a final fulfillment.

We lost Dondarion – we always wondered why the Lord of Light favored him and now we know why.

We lost Jorah – fighting to the death to protect the girl who kept him in the friend zone.

We lost Theon, who was finally forgiven by the Stark he wronged.

I think we lost Brienne but I’m not sure.

We lost Lady Mormont, the little hero being squeezed by a giant.

We lost the Red Woman, her purpose finally fulfilled.

Overall, a great episode.  And that the Knight King was dispatched so early and yet there are so many episodes left makes me think we’ll get the Khaleesi vs. Cersei battle we’ve long waited for.

Was the show too dark?  Yes, as in it was literally too dark.  They’re doing this thing now where they want realism.  So when it is night, they make it so dark you can barely see anything.  Occasionally, a fire will light up and you can see.  Some people like this.  I don’t.  I think it’s possible to show a scene at night and still light it so it is watchable.

Sure, it’s not realistic.  It’s like when some genius points out that a movie taking place in China yet how unrealistic it is that the characters are speaking English.  Yes, it is, but on the other hand, I don’t have time to become fluent in Mandarin just to watch a movie.

But Hollywood seems bent on the dark night scenes now.  I see this in movies and also other TV shows.  Sometimes I’ll spend whole episodes of the Walking Dead just squinting at the screen.

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Game of Thrones Recap – Season 8, Episode 1

Well, 3.5 readers, the final episodes are here.

I’ve been blogging about this show since this fine blog began.  Come to think of it, HBO probably owes all their success to me, since I sent my 3.5 readers their way.

So now, the end begins and we begin to watch the end.

Spoiler alert.

Jon Snow and Khaleesi are in Winterfell and the Northerners don’t like all the new people.  Jon learns that his bae is also his aunt so now he is an auntie fucker.

The dragons aren’t eating enough, the White Walkers are at the door, Cersei’s still a bitch.  I don’t know.  That’s about it.

My, how fast the past decade has flown.  This show has always been a welcome favorite, something riveting enough that I was always able to turn it on Sunday nights and for a brief hour, get lost in another world.

Six episodes doesn’t seem long enough to tie up the loose ends, but here’s hoping they will be.

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A Look at the First Episode of The Umbrella Academy

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I just watched the first episode of Umbrella Academy.  If you’ve watched more, I’d thank you to not give away any spoilers.  I will eventually return to this fine blog to discuss the first season.

My initial impression is its great.  Before I saw it, I scoffed for a number of reasons.

  1. Anything with too many characters tends to be a mess.  There’s like 7 main characters here plus supporting characters.  Seems destined to be a pot of gumbo where everyone gets lost in the steam, but somehow, everyone gets their moment to shine.
  2. Movies about long established heroes are great.  Movies about new superheroes tend to stink.  I’ll give this show credit though.  It is based on a Dark Horse Comic so perhaps if newer heroes have a chance to percolate in comics first, then they’ll shine on the screen.
  3. It reminded me of Watchmen, which everyone said was genius but I thought stunk.  Again, a bunch of heroes you hadn’t heard of before, all thrown at us at once, each getting less than five minutes to show their power.  Somehow that was lame but this looks good.

The plot thus far is that in 1989, 40 (I think that’s the number) children were born immaculately on one day.  The mothers had not been pregnant previously.  The kids just popped out unexpectedly.

An eccentric, reclusive billionaire with a penchant for collecting exotic things adopts 7 of these kids.  He starts a school for superheroes in his house, training his new wards to use their powers.

His methods turn the kids into (mostly) powerful grownups.  Some have gone on to do great things.  Others flounder and fail.  All blame their problems on their father’s cold, uncaring aloofness.  The only source of love the children ever had was their father’s robot wife and monkey butler.

By the way, is there something wrong with me that I think it would be awesome to have a robot wife and monkey butler?  Thus far, there has been little explanation as to how the robot wife and monkey butler came to be but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for more on that in future episodes.  Ironically, in a series with 7 heroes, the robot wife and monkey butler pique my interest the most.

Not that the heroes are slouches.  Overall, the first episode was cinematic.  Lots of cool fights and special effects.  Cinematic quality.  Had this been laid out in a movie that I paid money to see, I would have walked away happy.

Netflix really upped their game here.  I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve watched the first season but so far, I am impressed and willing to watch more.

STATUS; Shelf-worthy.

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TV Review – Good Girls – Season 1 (2018)

Good girls gone so bad, it’s good.

BQB here with a review of NBC’s “Good Girls.”

If you read any of my drivel, 3.5 readers, then you know I despise network television.  Rarely, if ever, do I get drawn in by its formulaic hackery.

For the longest time, I felt that way about this show.  The ads made me roll my eyes.  A TV show about three women who knock over a grocery store doesn’t seem like the stuff of great television.  A bank, yes, but bank robbery has been done and maybe overdone on screens large and small, and seeing as how a supermarket stick-up, though awful, I’m sure, if you’ve ever survived one, isn’t exactly the caper of the century that could inspire multiple seasons.

So, I skipped it.  Then, the other day I saw it was on Netflix and gave it a try.  I was hooked and binged the whole thing in a matter of days.  Talk about an unexpected gem.

The plot?  Three suburban moms in Michigan, just outside of Detroit, are BFFs and coincidentally, all experience life ruining financial woes at the same exact time.  Retta, the comedienne of Parks and Recreation fame is Ruby, a waitress who can’t afford her ailing daughter’s medical bills.

Christina Hendricks, she of Joan on Mad Men fame, is Beth, a stay at home mom who has just learned that her dumb husband, Matthew Lillard of live-action Scooby Doo fame, has drained the family’s finances buying gifts for his hot, young secretary, putting the family home at risk of foreclosure.  Damn, that must have been some good pussy.  Even so, if you are married to Christina Hendricks and cheat, you are one greedy son of a bitch.

Rounding out the trio is Mae Whitman, she of a lot of stuff you may or may not have seen fame but regardless, her ship has finally come in fame, Beth’s younger sister, Annie, a single mom raising perpetually bullied daughter Sadie while requiring the expensive services of a lawyer to fight her ex-boyfriend in a custody battle.

Depressed over their financial woes, these women do what any suburban mom friends do.  They get together, talk out their troubles over wine and…oh yeah, they randomly decide to rob the grocery store that Annie slaves away at for minimum wage.

Amazingly, they get away with it, but that’s not the end.  Bizarrely, and perhaps the greatest of many plot holes in the show that you’ll have to ignore, the supermarket was holding onto cash belonging to a street gang, because, you know, that’s something that corporate chain stores do, apparently.

Sidenote: You’ll also have to ignore the fact that the only one who could have been in on helping the street gang hide their ill gotten loot is the store’s pervy, creepo manager, Boomer (David Hornsby), he of Rickety Cricket on Always Sunny fame.  At no time is it ever shown that he somehow helped the gang hide their loot.  He seems as surprised as anyone else so whoever the supermarket employee who was helping the gang stow their cash is either a mystery to be solved at a later date or more likely, a little tidbit that was left on the cutting room floor.  At any rate, Hornsby has long excelled at playing creepy weirdos, so kudos to him for landing a gig that lets me learn his name and not just “Hey, it’s Rickety Cricket!”

Long story short, the gang comes over the trio.  They will have to set aside their motherly schedules of PTA meetings and playdates to commit more crimes just to cover up their initial crime and to appease gang leader Rio (Manny Montana), who, ironically, gets the least amount of screen time, is the least developed character and yet, is one of the more interesting characters in the series.

Eventually, the bad mommas realize they are good at committing crimes and once they are on Rio’s good side, they become his witting accomplices, raking in the cold, hard cash they need to solve their problems.

In a twist that seems too good for network TV, Ruby’s husband, Stan, (Reno Wilson), is a cop who keeps coming home with tales of the scary street gang that is raking in the dough as of late.  One shudders to think that he and his wife might eventually find themselves at odds if Stan ever puts two and two together.

It’s fun.  It’s silly.  It strikes me as a sanitized for TV version of The Sopranos.  There are bad paths the show could go down but then it couldn’t be watched by the non-cable masses.

It seems obvious that the show runners steer clear of getting the ladies involved in drug running.  Instead, they get involved in stuff like counterfitting, money laundering, and botox thievery – all bad but nothing that will immediately lead to someone dying of a heroin overdose in a back alley…then again does it?  You get the impression that Rio and friends aren’t exactly selling cookies, so they must be running large quantities of something highly illegal that will get people killed but ultimately, a trio of suburban moms pushing horse on a street corner is not the stuff of wacky comedy gold, so that is avoided, obviously.

STATUS: Surprisingly shelf-worthy.  Come for the humor.  Stay for Hendricks’ copious sweater stuffers…which sadly, are never set free for the world to enjoy.  Maybe time to get this show transferred to HBO.

Bonus points for Netflix.  Without them, I likely would have never given this show a chance.  They do breathe new life into a lot of shows.

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