Tag Archives: tv

A Self-Publishing Milestone – Johnny B. Truant’s Fat Vampire Becomes a TV Show

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

You know who really got me into self-publishing? A trio of super cool dudes by the names of Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright. Johnny, Sean and Dave of “The Self-Publishing Podcast.”

I started blogging in 2014 with the idea that I’d try to write a novel and submit it to traditional publishers. Then I started seeing a lot of bloggers talking about self-publishing. Before I knew it, I was down the rabbit hole and found this podcast that was very funny, all about three friends following their dream of self-publishing success, sharing the lessons they learned, the mistakes they made and interviewing others who had done great things all without assistance from the gatekeepers of the publishing industry.

Their best-known non-fiction work, which doubles as their mantra, is “Write, Publish, Repeat” in which they make the case for writers to put in the work. You need to publish…a lot. Readers are hungry but they have access to so much free material that you have to put a lot out there before they start parting with the moolah.

Over the years (I think they began in earnest in 2012) they have published a ton of books. So many that I always wondered, given the sheer volume of their catalog, how the heck hasn’t one of their books been Hollywood-ized yet?

Well…their big day in the sun is here. Johnny B. wrote a comedy horror series called “Fat Vampire.” I believe this was one of his first books. It follows the plight of Reginald, an overweight man named Reginald who in life, really wanted to lose weight but couldn’t and thus suffered all the indignities that come with being plus sized.

And then he gets a vamp bite. Now a vampire, he falls in with a league of typically sexy brooding vamps. Alas, as those who know vamp lore will tell you, how you were as a human when you were bitten will be how you always are as a vamp. Poor Reginald will live forever but he can never lose weight. He is forever trapped as a fat vampire. Even though he rises through the ranks and proves himself worthy, he will forever be poked fun of by the other vamps for his fatness.

I noticed the book got a new title. “Reginald the Vampire” will be played by Spiderman’s BFF actor Jacob Batalon on SyFy. It seems the whole crux of the series is a chubby dude who wants to change but is forever locked into his chubbyness and the lack of respect from his peers that comes with it no matter what great victories he achieves so I hope they will at least grasp that.

But anyway, this is a victory for the SPP dudes, one a long time in the making. Very well deserved and proof to the rest of you self-publishers out there that you can do it.

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TV Review – Moon Knight (2022) – Episode 1

Grab your mummy bandages, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of Disney/Marvel’s latest Disney Plus show.

OK, let me get this straight. For some reason, the Hollywood suits think we need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents get shot outside the theater a hundred times, that we need to see baby Superman crash land his baby spaceship in the Kents’ backyard a hundred times, and that we need to see Spiderman’s Uncle Ben get shot by the crook he let get away a hundred times.

Yet, for some strange reason, Moon Knight, perhaps one of the most obscure, known mainly to hard corps, straight up gangsta comic book nerds, needs no introduction. Here, we just jump into the action where Oscar Isaac plays Steven Grant, a wimpy museum gift shop clerk who, for some inexplicable reason, has been exhibiting strange, bizarre behavior. His body seems to have a literal mind of its own, for one minute he’s fine and the next, he finds himself in dangerous situations – gun fights, car chases, running away from monsters. A mysterious voice keeps telling him to hand his body over to some dude named Marc and somehow its all tied in to Egyptian lore with Ethan Hawke serving as a villain who, guided by an ancient goddess, doles out death as punishment for alleged crimes people have yet to even commit.

Wow. That was a mouthful.

I have a hunch that this season is going to be an origin story in and of itself. We see a brief sequence with the titular Moon Knight at the end of this episode but apparently, the writers decided to start with the action already underway and I assume they will Tarantino their way back to the beginning where we learn why Steven keeps losing control of his body, who is Marc, and who is the voice speaking to him.

It’s just…I don’t get it. Even in the most recent caped crusader flick, “The Batman,” Bruce Waynes’ parents deaths was heavily alluded to. While never shown, their demise was a central plot point so it’s just like, it seems that there must be always a Hollywood suit somewhere who is very concerned there might be one schmuck in the movie theater who was frozen in a block of ice 100 years ago, then thawed out by scientists, and then he left the lab and went straight to the theater and there’s a great concern that this thawed former ice man will have no idea how Batman’s parents died so we better mention it.

But Moon Knight? The character that only the prom dateless knew about up until Disney Plus put the show into production? A tale that seems very complicated with Egyptian gods and magic and body sharing and so on…yeah, we’ll just jump right in and let the viewers figure it out. No need to start at the beginning and move in a straight line at all.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Oscar Isaac becomes an entirely different person, although this takes place in England and not to goof on our friends across the pond but sometimes with the accents I feel like I need an English to English translator. Worth a watch and I’ll tune in for episode two.

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TV REVIEW – The Thing About Pam (2022)

Gotta watch out for those soda slurping middle aged moms, 3.5 readers.

Usually I wait until the end of a season before I opine on a series, but this is a true crime drama based on real, well publicized events that I’ve already looked up and self spoilered for myself, so I’m not worried about spoilers. If you are, you might want to look away.

The show is about the actual case where midwestern mom Pam Hupp stabbed her cancer stricken BFF Betsy Faria some 50 odd times with a knife, then framed Betsy’s husband Russ so she could collect the insurance money.

The third episode, which aired this week, gave us a look at the horribly conducted trial and IMO, is enraging because it gives a clear view into the horrors of confirmation bias, i.e. once the powers that be decide something is X, they put on blinders and refuse to consider any and all evidence that it might be Y.

In this case, Russ Faria has a room full of fellow dungeons and dragons nerds who all testify they were pretending to be elves and orcs with Russ until 9. A late night stop at Arby’s provides a time stamped receipt indicating that Russ would have to have driven like Mario Andretti on steroids to have returned home and stabbed his wife all in time for the 911 call.

Other evidence against Russ’ involvement abounds, while evidence against Pam emerges. I mean, holy crap, Betsy switched her insurance beneficiary from Russ to Pam, ostensibly because she trusted Pam would give the money to her daughters upon her death…but no one in law enforcement thinks to look more into this.

The DA’s office, the police, they all agree – Russ fits the profile. He kinda looks like a mean guy, he and his wife argued a lot (because no other couple ever argued before) and so obviously he must have done it. Big city attorney Joel Schwartz is astounded as he comes down to the close knit community where all the police and DA lawyers know each other, went to school with each other, have each others’ backs and form a wall against any and all common sense i.e. why will no one even consider Pam as a suspect?

Meanwhile, Pam plays the role of sweet, middle aged and caring Betsy friend well.

We haven’t gotten there yet, but my understanding is Russ does go to jail for a crime he didn’t commit while Pam gets emboldened by her first murder that she got away with that she kills again, first her elderly mother for more insurance money and then some random guy who she tried to pose as a hitman in a sad attempt to try to frame Russ again.

Rene Zellwigger is heavily made up to look like a frumpy old lady, yet another role where someone beautiful plays someone ugly. Oh well. That’s hollywood for you.

The show goes by quick and has some typical network TV formulaic stuff. But ultimately, it really is scary how so called professionals in the legal system can get so convinced of x’s guilt that they refuse to look at y evidence staring directly at them.

STATUS: Shelfworthy.

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Movie Review – The Tinder Swindler (2022)

Beware the Tinder Swindler, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of this Netflix documentary. SPOILERS ABOUND!!!

Stories abound of men doing dumb, stupid, even horrible things for a beautiful woman. Smitten men have lost their lives, their fortunes, their reputations, careers, livelihoods, even committed crimes and gone to jail, all in the name of a pretty face.

As my 3.5 readers know, I am absurdly ugly, such that I could describe myself as a bad DNA mix of Ron Pearlman, Steve Buscemi, Willem Defoe and a bulldog and still not begin to describe the depths of my hideousness. While this has led to many crappy aspects of life, I can tell you the one and only good thing is it has prevented me from being hoodwinked by women. A beautiful woman tells me she’ll love me forever if I do X stupid thing? “Ha!” I cry. “That’ll be the day!” I already know no woman could ever love my gargoylish Quasimodo self and thus it would be pointless to jump through her hoops.

Long story short, this documentary posits the hypothesis that rich men are to women what beautiful women are to men. While we should never get bogged down in absolutes as I’m sure there are many women who wouldn’t be foolish enough to lose their wits at the sight of a dude with a big bankroll, there are some members of the fairer sex who throw common sense out the window in the name of a man with a fat bank account.

Think back to all those Disney movies. Does the Princess ever go for a commoner, or does she long to be rescued by…yes, a Prince with a lot of dough? Take away The Beast’s big bottomline and that movie is just a horrid tale about an ugly dog monster man who kidnaps French beauty Belle and holds her hostage. Take away Christian Gray’s fat stacks and 50 Shades of Gray is just a horror show about a weirdo who likes to spank female fannies.

Ultimately, for…not all women but some women…a man with money is their kryptonite. Perhaps this brings us back to our primal caveman days when prehistoric cavewomen would flock to the strongest caveman who could protect them from saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. Today, strength and protection take the form of cold, hard cash.

And thus, here is a tale about women who met a man claiming to be the son of a fabulously wealthy Israeli diamond merchant. Simon, as he calls himself, pops up on the Tinder apps of many a lonely lady and when they see his wealth, his fancy clothes, his expensive cars, his personal private jet, his cadre of servants, bodyguards and flunkies, and his globetrotting lifestyle that lets him go from one swanky hotel to the next, they truly believe they have become modern day Cinderellas who have met their Prince Charmings.

Alas, if only these women had consulted a human gargoyle like me, for like the person who sits in the back of a theater showing a horror movie shouting out warnings to the victim about what the baddie is about to do, I found myself shouting at the TV, “No girl! Don’t do that! He’s going to….ugh!”

First, so many of these women get on this dude’s private jet and fly away with him on the first date. My initial reaction is why are these women so dumb to not realize that getting on a stranger’s plane after a first meeting a bad idea? Don’t they know he could very easily fly them to a shitty country where laws don’t apply and they could end up being drugged up, internationally trafficked sex slaves for the rest of their lives? Have these women never seen Taken? Egads.

Luckily, none of them are turned into sex slaves. But they are taken for big bucks. Once Simon woos them, he bombards his lady marks with tales of peril, various reasons why he has lost access to his cash and great dangers that will befall him if the women don’t fork over their dough. These ladies end up not only handing over their life savings, they also take out massive loans, racking up insane credit card debt that they have no hope of repaying, all in the name of…well they think they are saving Simon from peril but in reality, are funding his lavish lifestyle.

The key lie in Simon’s repertoire is to claim that he has “enemies” i.e. he is a rich diamond merchant and various evildoers want to do him in because…I don’t know, he has a lot of money and they want it I guess? At any rate, the S man simply tells his befuddled babes that very bad, naughty men are tracking him through his credit cards, so he has to use theirs but don’t worry…he’ll pay them back.

So, don’t get me wrong. I get that at the end of the day, the con man is responsible for the con. No matter how dumb you think the conned might be, the conner is the one in the wrong who has done a terrible thing.

Even so…yeah, as an ugly gargoyle whose only credit as an ugly gargoyle is an immunity to being conned by a pretty face, I found myself shouting at the TV. “Really, girl? A man that rich claims bad guys are tracking him through his credit cards and so…he needs YOUR credit card? That doesn’t set off a red flag for you? There’s no other alternative for a man that rich? There isn’t like a secure banking service or a security expert or some sort of banking method a man with that much money can use in this type of situation? Borrowing his girlfriend’s credit card and racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt is the only thing he can do? Give me a break.”

I will say part of me gets why the women are duped. Simon appears to have so much freaking money that it seems like it would be easy enough for him to pay the loans back to the ladies. Still, the cynic in me wonders why these women never asked why a man that rich doesn’t have say, the resources necessary to access secure, untrackable credit and ultimately, if that money is a lot to these women, enough to cripple them financially for life, why take the risk? The documentary’s answer is that they do it for love, that they genuinely care for Simon and worry about his safety but…there’s a part of me that wonders if these women saw Simon as their Prince Charming, their lifelong meal ticket who could give them a fabulous lifestyle, so they’d best not question it and do whatever he says, throwing all common sense out of the window.

In other words, if Simon looked like gargoyle old me and had my shitty lifestyle, they probably wouldn’t let me borrow five bucks if I gave them a promissory note signed by the Pope, let alone throw me a life preserver if I were drowning, but they’ll be duped into committing credit card fraud and get stuck with the bill for a handsome man posing as a wealthy adventurer.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. You know, the strongest among us has their kryptonite, the chink in their armor, their Achilles heel, so I am sympathetic to what happened to these ladies. I just…I don’t know. It was hard not to watch this movie and think if I only had like, a tenth of Simon’s looks, if I had a tenth of his fast talking abilities, if I had just a bit of money…I could have some hotties in my life and wouldn’t be so lonely . I would use those powers for good and treat the hotties right but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Que sera, sera.

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TV Review – Joe vs. Carole (2022)

Meow, meow, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of the drama based on the wildly popular Netflix documentary, Tiger King.

At the outset, let me ask two questions:

1 – How did Netflix, after Tiger King became so popular, not scoop up whatever rights it needed to produce its own drama based on the documentary?

2 – Did we really need it?

Answer to the second, no, which might explain why Netflix didn’t bother in answer of the first. Then again all these streaming services love money, which is why Peacock did it. Sidenote – this is basically a rare moment where I used my Peacock app.

For the uninitiated, Tiger King is a documentary that takes us deep into the wild and wacky world of big cat ownership. Apparently, unbeknownst to the general public, there has long been a subculture of private, for profit zoo owners who rule their little fiefdoms like kings, raking in bucks from clueless tourists who stop by to cuddle with baby tiger cubs, all the while paying their employees bupkis. These owners tend to be their own personal cults of personality, from Doc Antle who poses as a guru with a harem of hot babes who follow him wherever he goes to Jeff Lowe, an old man who dresses like he just stepped off the set of a 1990s NSync video.

Central to the doc was the feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, he being a self-described gay redneck blonde mullet sporting gun toting cowboy who loves to blow shit up and can’t stop marrying young husbands half his age. At one point, he becomes a polygamist when he openly marries two.

Meanwhile, Baskin is a flower crown wearing hippy who operates a not for profit cat rescue shelter, working to put for profit cat owners out of business as she exposes their animal abuse practices. A big subplot of the series is, well, while it is never proven conclusively, there are a lot of, shall we say red flags, that might make one ask questions as to whether she might have had something to do with her ex-husband’s death.

When Carole sets out to put Joe out of business, claiming abusive animal practices, Joe responds with a series of online videos that rake Carole’s reputation over the coals. The feud descends into madness, eventually culminating in Joe hiring a hitman to kill Carole only for the hit to be botched, as Joe botches most things in his life.

Ultimately, the Peacock drama is unnecessary yet fun filler, kind of like those M and Ms you ate before dinner but wish you hadn’t. The steak adds protein, the broccoli adds vitamins while the candy is fun at first but later you get sick and wonder why you bothered with it. At times, it feels like a high school drama club took the main beats of the documentary story line and acted them out.

To the show’s credit, it does give us some new aspects. For example, we see a young version of Joe we never saw in documentary, one where he meets an out and proud gay man while in rehab after a car accident. Said man encourages Joe to embrace who he is rather than hide it, saving him from going down the path of marrying a woman as a beard and denying who he is, a life Young Joe admits would have eventually ended in his own suicide.

Living out and proud allowed Joe to meet his first husband, the only stable and age appropriate relationship he ever had. Together, the duo open a pet store and eventually that venture morphs into the zoo and said husband is such a grounding, stabilizing force in Joe’s life that one wonders if he hadn’t died young, perhaps Joe would have never picked up so many vices and become a respectable member of the community.

Meanwhile, we see Carole’s younger days, being abused by two husbands and while the abuse leaves her with a broken heart, she also grows stronger as she learns to make money and become independent so she never has to rely on a man who might abuse financial power over her ever again. In middle age, she meets dweebish Howard Baskin and its a romance filled with love and support.

Where the show differs from the series is Carole (Kate McKinnon) is portrayed as the hero of the series, with patriarchical misogyny being the true villain (hey it is in every other show these days so why not this one?) The theme is that all these big cat owners have fragile male egos who prop themselves up by owning and imprisoning wild animals who should roam free. If you see some of the footage of Joe and other cat owners, there’s probably a lot of truth to that.

However, the drama does ignore critical aspects of Baskin. While it does raise the question of her ex husband’s disappearance, it paints her as a victim of gossip who is innocent of the allegations whereas the documentary raises some points that…well…let’s just put it this way. They aren’t so conclusive that I would vote to convict her if I were on a jury, but they do leave you scratching your head.

Overall this is the main difference between the doc and the drama. Carole is the hero of the drama while in the doc, she’s painted as just one more weirdo in the world of big cats.

John Cameron Mitchell provides a decent caricature of Joe though one wonders why David Spade, who looks, sounds and has even sported Joe’s mullet in his Joe Dirt character, didn’t get the part he was literally born to play. At least Dean Winters, who made a career playing obtuse, blissfully unaware characters who truly believe they are more awesome than you when they clearly aren’t, won the role he was born to play in Jeff Lowe.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy but unnecessary. You’ll watch it but wish you hadn’t…not that its bad but just because time on earth is so limited and you could have done so many other things.

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Sopranos Silverado Commercial

Sigh…for a brief, fleeting moment I thought they were bringing the Sopranos back with crime boss Meadow at the helm…but it was just a commercial for electric trucks (which Tony would have never driven. Boo hiss.)

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I Miss Al Bundy

Funny how the internet works.

I watched an old Married with Children clip the other day and before I knew it, I was down the Married with Children rabbit hole, watching enough clips to choke a horse. It reminded me of my childhood, when we Gen X kids would gather around the TV Sunday nights and watch Married with Children, The Simpsons, and In Living Color, then recite all the jokes to each other on the playground at school.

Hmm. In retrospect, the adults probably should have changed the channel on us to keep our minds from being warped but hey, I did alright. Not everyone gets to operate their own blog read by 3.5 readers, after all.

At the time, this show was considered the lowest form of comedy. Maybe it is but I’m sorry. It’s funny. And now that I’m older, I get it even more.

To the uninitiated, Al Bundy (Ed O’Neil) in his youth, once scored four touchdowns in a single game playing football Polk High. As he states in one episode, he was about to go pro…then met wife Peg (Katey Segal), got married, had kids and um…that’s it. Football dreams are long gone and he’s been selling shoes ever since.

Al despises selling women’s shoes, as well as the overweight female customers who falsely accuse him of being incompetent because he can’t squeeze their giant feet into the tiny, fashionable shoes they want rather than the large, sensible shoes that they need. Wife and kids treat him like a human ATM machine.

Meanwhile, Peg is the world’s worst wife and proud of it, such that she openly teaches other women in the neighborhood how to get away without working, either at a job or at keeping a nice home or taking care of the kids. Al can’t remember the last time he had a decent meal because Peg refuses to cook. Jokes about a woman being a lazy housewife fly today but the irony is Al’s main complaint is he actually does want his wife to work, be it in the home, or in a job to bring extra money to the family, anything.

Kids Kelly and Bud are the worst. Bud (David Faustino) is a nerdy horn dog who repels girls but is constantly scheming to get them. Kelly (Christina Applegate, me and every other Gen X kid had a crush on her) is a ditzy trollop. Jokes about women being ditzy trollops would never fly today either.

Rounding out the show is Al’s foil Marcy First Rhodes and Later D’arcy. The show begins with Marcy and Steve (Amanda Bearse and David Garrison) as newlyweds who believe their young love will conquer all and veteran married couple Al and Peg show them the ropes. Peg teaches Marcy how to avoid housework like the plague while Al teaches Steve how to hide out at the nudey bar to avoid family responsibilities.

Later, Garrison leaves the show and is replaced by Marcy’s new husband, Jefferson (Ted McGinley in a meta joke before there were meta jokes about how Ted McGinley built a career on being the guy who replaces characters on sitcoms whenever an actor leaves the show.)

Like most shows, this one evolves over time. You might be surprised to know Peg’s hair is surprisingly relaxed in the first few seasons and she doesnt get her token red beehive until a few seasons in. Bud and Kelly look like tiny tots in the first few seasons. And while Steve had his moments, I always preferred Jefferson. The middle to late seasons are the best, IMO, with Al starting NO MA’AM (The National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood) i.e. a group of Al’s beer swilling friends who pledge to take over the world and stop the spread of feminism but they usually just end up drinking beer at the nudey bar. Occasionally, one of their schemes takes off only to be foiled by ultra feminist Marcy going undercover as a man in disguise (usually just a fake mustache).

I’ll admit, sometimes I look back at a few of these episodes and cringe. Perhaps there are some things that we as a society decided shouldn’t be joke fodder. Then again, the show was pretty equal in its offensiveness. They say the best comedians find humor and everything and therefore the funniest shows are the ones where nothing is taboo and no subject is off the table.

The show does get zany and at times, unlikely. For example, there’s an episode where little green aliens break into Al’s bedroom and steal his smelly socks to use the stench to power their spaceship. People are so literal today they would never suspend disbelief long enough to go along with such tomfoolery.

There are jokes that don’t even quite make sense if you think about them too long. For example, Peg constantly wants to have sex with Al, who finds it gross and avoids a horny Peg at all costs. In reality, most married men would love it if their wives wanted to dance the wild mambo all the time well into middle age but I get the joke…which is the overall joke of the series. Al truly believes if he hadn’t gotten married and had children, he’d be living a fantastic life, rich successful, any woman he wanted and thus the idea of getting it on with the same woman again and again until he dies grosses him out.

Ironically, the show has rare sweet moments where Al admits he probably couldn’t have done better than Peg and is lucky to have her, defends her honor and so on.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. I wish comedies of today would take more risks like this one did. You’ll probably never see anything like this on TV ever again and I suppose we can debate about whether or not htis is a good thing. I don’t think it is. In my bingwatching session I’ve laughed more at something on TV than I have in a long time.

To the show’s credit, it was, if I’m not mistaken, the first sitcom to suggest that maybe family is not all it’s cracked up to be. To be sure, the Bundy’s love each other in their own messed up way, but while I don’t think it necessarily celebrated it, the show was trying to, for good or ill, make light of the reality that the 1950s perfect family shown on TV where Mom fetched Dad’s slippers and Wally and the Beaver shot marbles are over. Roseanne would go on to tow the dysfunctional sitcom family line but it all started with the Bundys.

SIDENOTE: I remember as a kid being surprised to learn that Ed O’Neil was a serious actor before this, having played hard-boiled detectives like Popeye Doyle prior to this show. While the show made him famous, it led to him being typecast, including a scene where he plays a military prosecutor in the Vietnam flick Flight of the Intruder being cut out of the movie because test audiences laughed thinking of Al Bundy. Ed would go on to get his hard boiled detective cred back in movies like The Bone Collector and while he does comedy in Modern Family, he’s more of a serious character in that. He doesn’t get enough credit as an actor who can play someone as silly as Al yet play it straight in serious roles as well.

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TV Review – The Book of Boba Fett – Chapter 7

Wowie zowie, 3.5 readers! Talk about a fantastic season finale!

BQB here with a review.

I stand corrected. I have been complaining that the B of BF stunk with a lot of blah blah blahing and not enough action but it turns out the show was just throwing us breadcrumbs that really pay off in a major way in this episode.

Even so, Mando and Grogu remain the dynamic duo of this universe, though the Boba-ster did get his moment, though he really is at his best when his helmet is on and he is blasting his enemies rather than talking to them.

It was a fight to the finish on the streets of Mos Eisley, with Boba “I turned over a new leaf” Fett and Mando taking on the Pike Syndicate and stopping their evil spice trade for good. Remember kids, space drugs are bad, mmkay?

Sidenote – not to give away a spoiler but that thing Boba did at the end, why didn’t he just do it at the beginning? So the show could happen I suppose.

There was even legit character development. All of the little bit players got a moment that showed us who they are.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Rogue One was great. Solo, I think, was better than the bad rep it got. The saga sequels had their moments but by and large were unintelligible with the plot being an afterthought. The Mandos, be it Mando who is a true believer of Mando-ism or Boba, a cynic who just likes their armor, are carrying the Star Wars franchise on their beskar protected backs.

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TV Review – Murderville (2022)

Murderville? Try Stinkville, am I right?

BQB here with a review of Netflix’s new improvised comedy series.

Maybe this one just flew over my head. I’m two episodes in and while it is mildly entertaining, it’s one of those shows I might put on while I’m vacuuming the house, just to occupy my brain so I don’t get bored by the housework but don’t get so intrigued by the show that I put the vac down and start watching. Ultimately, if you want background noise while you suck up dirt, this is the show for you.

Critics love it but maybe I’m just a bumpkin with bad taste.

The premise is that Will Arnett stars as broken down, stereotypical tough guy TV detective Terry Seattle. Every episode, he must solve a murder with the assistance of a celebrity trainee. Thus far, I’ve seen two episodes, the first with trainee/late night TV host Conan O’Brien and the second with football star Marshawn Lynch. Marshawn apparently loves guest starring on sitcoms ever since that episode of Brooklyn 99 where he was a terrible witness because when a prison bus flipped over and exploded behind him, he was too focused on the music in his earbuds and the burrito he was eating to notice or care.

Murderville’s hook is that it is semi-improvised. Will and all other cast members have been given scripts. The celebrity guest trainee goes in cold. They play themselves as a police trainee and must come up with their dialogue on the fly. I assume this means that the cast has to improvise on the spot if the trainee says something that doesn’t jive with the rehearsed lines of the script.

While fun to see the celebs act silly, I feel comedy as a general art form has been dead for many years, everyone so afraid to offend. This show is just one in a long line of wannabe comedies that straddle the lines of humor but never quite get there.

STATUS:Borderline shelfworthy.

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Dexter: New Blood – Season Finale Review

Tell your dark passengers to look away if you don’t want SPOILERS, 3.5 readers.

I REPEAT: SPOILERS! BIG ONES!

OK, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Is everyone here who wants to be here? Is everyone here OK with SPOILERS?

Alright. Here goes.

Dexter is dead. No, seriously. The Dex man is no more. Shot by son Harrison who realized his old man, much like a rabid dog, had to be put down before he bites another innocent person.

I didn’t see it coming. It felt like Showtime had put too much effort and money into this project to not get a few more seasons out of it. There were some brief, fleeting hints that Dexter and Harrison might lam it to LA, perhaps they’d become a dynamic duo of father and son vigilante killers, dismembering the trash in a new city each season.

But alas, the D-Man is dead. We see he has a red wound in his chest, dead center where his heart is. I mean, the dude drove his boat into an oncoming hurricane in the finale of the original series and still somehow made it out alive so anything is possible and perhaps given enough money and the right script, Dexter could be magically resurrected but even the showrunners are saying in interviews that nope, Dexter is officially dead. He will not be brought back to life and they realize their sin in the original finality was leaving things too open so they made sure to close those doors with great certainty this go around.

If this limited series does indeed mark the official end of Dexter Morgan, then I’d say it certainly brings more closure than the original. Dex aka Jim Linday’s girlfriend Chief Bishop (Julia Jones) collaborates with Angel Batista (David Zayas) the one cop on the original show with a heart of gold. Batista loved ex wife Laguerta but assumed she was loco when she arrested Dexter on Bay Harbor Butcher charges. He finally gets clued into the fact that Maria was right all along, though we’ll never see the devastation he’ll go through when he realizes his old good friends Dex and Deb Morgan had done despicable things behind his back and even killed his ex only to keep lying to him and pretending to be his friend. Perhaps it would be too much to see him go through that pain. In any event, the look on Zayas’ face when Angel sees a recent photo of an alive Dexter reveals all the pain we need to know about.

In Dexter’s final moments, all the innocents who got caught up in his carnage pass through his mind and this was always the hard part of the show. What made us initially root for Dexter was that he had a code – he only killed bad people. However, it was inevitable that good would be caught in the crossfire, be they framed and conveniently murdered by D’s crazy gf (Sgt Doakes) or killed by his sister as part of a cover up (Laguerta) or killed by the serial killer he took to long to kill (Rita) or driven mad (Deb) or again killed by the serial killer he took too long to kill (Lundy.)

I’ll admit, when Dexter started to push Harrison toward a life of serial killing (only bad guys) it made me think the character never learned anything. Hasn’t he learned Harry was wrong to turn him into a murderous vigilante? Wouldn’t psychiatric treatment, even institutionalization, though a bad life, be better than killing? Doesn’t he realize its impossible to do all that killing without killing or otherwise destroying innocents? Why would he put Harrison through that?

In the end, Dexter has learned. He can’t go on like this, but he can’t stop, and if he lives, he’ll bring his son down so he urges the lad to help him end it.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Disappointed there won’t be new seasons, unless Harrison takes his show on the road, perhaps with Dexter filling in the Harry imaginary advisor role but I’m not sure a Harrison the serial killer show would be as interesting as Dexter. If they wanted to drag it on a few seasons it would have been interesting to see his old Miami colleagues go after him but otherwise, this was a good end.

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