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The DCU Review

Posted on February 1st, 2023

Dave!Gizmodo has a story on the ten projects that James Gunn is overseeing for the new DC Comics Universe of movies and shows.

Gizmodo has Creature Commandos listed as "Creative Commandos" which is hilarious. — All I can say that is if these projects were from anybody but James Gunn, I would be laughing my ass off. What's odd is that the new Superman and Batman films aren't coming out until 2025... which is later than I'd thought it would be, but still pretty ambitious. An entirely new universe debuts in just two years? Again... if it were anybody but James Gunn, I'd be laughing my ass off. My comments below...

Creative (s/b CREATURE!) Commandos (An animated HBO Max show) — It's like... what a bizarre choice. An entire series devoted to monster soldiers? Sounds like a Halloween special, but okay. Something tells me that this was in process before James Gunn took the big chair (with Peter Safran).

Waller (A live-action HBO Max show) — I really hope that Viola Davis is in this, because she's SUCH an amazing actor. UPDATE: Confirmed that it will indeed be Davis.

Superman: Legacy (Theatrical film) — I am confident that James Gunn will find a way to make Superman relevant while also interesting... something that Zack Snyder wasn't able to do AT ALL. I am a bit concerned that the whole "Gods & Monsters" arc for the New DCU will fall into the same trap that Snyder fell into, but it's James Gunn... so... yeah. Maybe.

Lanterns (A live-action HBO Max show) — The Green Lantern movie was a pile of shit so bad that I couldn't believe some of my favorite actors were involved. Terrible, terrible movie. A show might be a way to showcase the many interesting Green Lanterns from the comics, so it could be a very cool show to watch. UPDATE: Apparently this will be terrestrial-based, meaning that it's mostly Hal Jordan and John Stewart stories, so we'll see.

The Authority (Theatrical film) — Now this could be interesting! The comics started out SO good, and if they did a straight adaptation it could be fantastic... so long as it's an R-rated movie, because otherwise why bother?

Paradise Lost (A live-action HBO Max show) — Amazons, I guess. Could be something that pre-dates Wonder Woman to give her eventual debut good context. I hope that they don't fuck up the Greek gods like the (otherwise excellent) Wonder Woman movie did. They're saying it's their "Game of Thrones" so who knows?

The Brave and the Bold (Theatrical film) — Batman & Robin? In my early comic book days, The Brave and the Bold was alway Batman PLUS some other DC Hero (or villain!) teaming up. But still... I will be very interested to see what Gunn has in mind for Batman. Hopefully something more like the Nolan trilogy instead of the emo-goth bullshit we got from the last Batman movie! UPDATE: It's going to be the Damion Wayne version of Robin which is the best news possible. I hope that they make him a little nuts without taking him full-on psycho, because the majority of kids just don't have the acting chops to pull that off very well.

Booster Gold (A live-action HBO Max show) — A LONG time coming. Like... this should have been done a decade ago. I love the character, and hope that eventually the show transitions into the "Blue & Gold" show I've been dreaming of (Booster Gold and Blue Beetle as made amazing by Keith Giffen). Hopefully they get a writer with decent comedy chops to do this right.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (Theatrical film) — Poor Supergirl. The character herself is so interesting... as shown in the Animated DC shows... but her lone live-action movie was trash (despite having Faye Dunaway and Peter O'Toole!). I really, really hope that they hire a truly great FEMALE writer AND director to do this movie right. She deserves it. And there's plenty of great comics to be inspired from.

Swamp Thing (Theatrical film) — Lord. There are a lot of other DC characters I would have put in a film before Swampy. His good TV show was not so long ago (2019), and the idea of a complete film has already been done. Soooo many other movies would have been a better idea than this. I hope "Swamp Thing: The Movie" ends up worth stepping all over others that deserved it more.

I want a Legion of Super-Heroes live-action HBO Max show. I want a Black Canary & Green Arrow show. I want a REAL Justice League movie. I want a Deadman series. I really want a Zantana movie. Where's an Amethyst animated series at? And holy crap... how cool would an Adam Strange series be? Is Guy Gardner going to appear in Lanterns? Because a show for HIM would be great. So many possibilities!

I'm more confident in the DCU now than I was as we suffered through all the Zack Snyder crap, which makes me happy. Nobody wants successful DC movies than me (with the exception of the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods and The Flash: Flashpoint, both of which star highly problematic actors that I really wish would just go away and take their bullshit with them.

   

Get Me Out of Here

Posted on January 31st, 2023

Dave!Hulu has two of the later seasons of British soap Hollyoaks. I've heard about it but only started watching it recently because it has my favorite contestant from I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here of all time: Owen Warner (on Hollyoaks he plays a character named... brace yourself... ROMEO NIGHTINGALE).

The soap is mental. Even more insane than what we have here in the States. But kinda fun in a weird way.

Owen is such a genuine, sweet, kind, funny person, and it's tough not to love the guy. He has one of the best food challenges in the history of the show (sorry if you're squeamish, but he's hilarious here)...

And now I'm wondering for the millionth time why we can't watch the show here in the USA. Owen's season, which just aired last November, is one of my all-time favorites (Boy George is also a contestant), and I think Americans would find it highly entertaining even if they don't know who anybody is. I always read up on all the contestants of the latest season before I watch episodes that a friend in the UK records for me, and it's fine.

But oh well.

Globalization is ultimately a lie just like everything else, I guess.

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AppleTV Minus

Posted on January 20th, 2023

Dave!I've been crapping on Apple a lot lately.

But not without reason.

Apple used to be the GOLD STANDARD in interface design. Everything was incredibly well-thought-out and intuitive. But now-a-days? Most everything they do is shit. And I simply don't understand why. Yes, Steve Jobs is gone, but surely there are people in Apple who give a crap about making sure that you can use their apps without wanting to beat the shit out of somebody?

But apparently not.

Because I was reminded about this when I was having to use the GUI abomination that is the AppleTV app (whether it's on a Mac, AppleTV, iPad, or iPhone). This app has been shit for ages. It was made even worse when Apple decided to prioritize AppleTV+ over absolutely everything... ramming their service down your throat like a fucking jackhammer. Even over content you purchased. Like when you search for the movie Ted...

AppleTV's shitty interface.

But that's just the beginning with their idiotic search. Want to search your library? You can't just click on LIBRARY and search. If you do that, you'll end up searching within AppleTV+ and their media store content. Oh no. To search your library, you have to type into the SECOND smaller search box. And do you know how many times I forget to use the tiny box? ALL THE FUCKING TIME! And do you know why? The second smaller search box DOESN'T FUCKING EXIST UNTIL YOU CLICK ON A TINY FUCKING MAGNIFYING ICON THAT'S UNDER THE SEARCH BOX!!!

AppleTV's shitty interface.

Only then does the search box even bother to appear...

AppleTV's shitty interface.

Absolute fucking lunacy.

But wait! It gets worse! Let's say that you use the universal search box anyway to get to your movie because you forgot about the smaller search box. What happens then? As you see from the first screenshot above, you have no fucking clue where the movie is at. Is it on AppleTV+? Is it in the store? Do you have to buy it? Do you own it? Who the fuck knows?

You have to click through to see where in the hell it comes from. In this case, I own it... although it doesn't tell me I own it... I just have to infer that I own it because there's a "Play" button instead of a price tag...

Apple's shitty interface.

But let's say you're on your AppleTV and don't want to type out the title to get to it since it's a huge pain in the ass? Well, then you get to scroll through your entire fucking catalog of titles! And since I own hundreds of them, that will take a while. Let's say that I want to watch the movie 4th Man Out. With Apple, it's scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling because Apple puts numbers after letters...

Apple's shitty interface.

Here it is! Right after Zoolander...

Apple's shitty interface.

Let's compare that to how Plex allows you to navigate. I use Plex to catalog all my ripped DVDs (which is a legal backup of my massive DVD library). Since I paid for 4th Man Out both digitally and on DVD, it's in both places. Although since Plex puts numbers in front of letters, I don't have to actually scroll anywhere. It's right there at the start...

Plex Interface

Not really a fair contest. So let's try another. Zoolander. Another movie I bought on both DVD and digitally. With iTunes, I have to scroll through hundreds of titles to get to it. But look on the right hand side of the Plex interface. See those letters there? No scrolling needed. I just click on "Z" and there it is!

Plex Interface

This is especially fantastic on the Plex app for AppleTV... which is far, far superior to what AppleTV itself actually offers.

How embarrassing.

HOW FUCKING EMBARRASSING FOR APPLE!

For the love of God, spend the tiniest fucking portion of your billions of dollars and DO SOMETHING!

Don't get me wrong... there's still a lot of companies who are even worse at this than Apple. But given where Apple started, this is nothing short of tragic.

And I have no idea what it's going to take to get Apple off their stupid asses to actually fix this crap.

   

Cooking The Last of Us

Posted on January 17th, 2023

Dave!Today my new HelloFresh box arrived and I was excited to have a good dinner when I got home. Then I actually got home and decided I didn't want to cook. Fortunately in the box there was a 10-minute meal of Pesto Caprese Sandwiches with an Almond-Studded Green Salad that didn't require cooking... just some light chopping, so that was dinner. It was okay. Not as delicious as the other options, but the idea of not spending over a half-hour in the kitchen was worth more than the flavor.

While chowing down, I took a look at HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us, an epic video game that I loved playing...

Interesting to note that at first I was going to take a pass because I just got out of The Walking Dead which they ran into the ground with similar zombi-apocalypse story. But I changed my mind for two reasons...

  • The cast. Pedro Pascal is one of my favorite actors. And playing Ellie is Bella Ramsey, who played Lyanna Mormont (ruler of Bear Island) in Game of Throm=nes. She played the role so well that she outshined other actors in major roles despite having very little screen-time.
  • The first season of 9 episodes tells the ENTIRE STORY of the first video game. No drawing shit out so long that it makes you wish you never started watching. Nope. Nine episodes and done. Assumably the second season will tell the entire story of the second game, and the third season will tell the entire story of the third game (that isn't due for three years or so). GOOD ON THEM FOR NOT STRETCHING SHIT OUT AD NAUSEAM!

The show was actually very, very good.

Absolutely everything about it was well done.

Color me absolutely shocked.

   

Bullet Sunday 790

Posted on January 15th, 2023

Dave!Don't sweat the small stuff... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• WILL! THEY MADE WILL TRENT INTO A TV SERIES?!??? AND IT'S ON HULU?!?? GAAAAAHHHH!

But here's the real kicker... it's really good. I'd put it up there with The Lincoln Lawyer as new series which are better than I believed they would be.

   
• Fuckers! NEWSFLASH: Snowpiercer's Final Season Won't Air on TNT, Because Of Course Not — My seething hatred for Warner Bros. Discovery is reaching peak rage. I don't know if I even give a fuck about supporting any of their shit I like. House of the Dragon, Bargain Block, Home Town, SHARK WEEK... they can all just fuck off. Just like with other shows and films they've decided to "write off," this is so fucking disrespectful to everybody involved who poured their heart and soul into the project. And that includes the fans. How fucked up is it that it's saving them money to not air a show THAT IS COMPLETE? This "Hollywood math" bullshit is just another sign that the entire system is a cancer that we'd be better off without.

   
• The Office! Okay, this was completely unexpected (keep watching it... here's a link in cast TikTok is being a dick)...

@jakemiller

OSCAR FROM THE OFFICE 🤯 (wait until the end)

♬ original sound - Jake Miller

Sigh. I miss that show.

   
• Leslie Love! BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAAA (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@sammyerson Replying to @mfc_lunabella Please don't fight true love @Leslie Jones I can handle your caresses I'm your #soulmate 😂🥺💕 @Jimmy Fallon #love ♬ original sound - Sam Myerson

GIVE HIM A CHANCE, LESLIE!

   
• House of Siriano! And speaking of Leslie Jones... I happened across this TikTok while scrolling through my FYP waiting for clothes to get out of the dryer (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@vivaciousvandal Replying to @lilith_bastet Siriano is an amazing case study for how to treat humans and gain success #fashion ♬ original sound - Aoife “Fe” Baker

And good for him. I wish him every possible continued success.

   
• 1968! I, of course, knew about the man. I did not know about the statue. Remarkable.

   
• I Love Brown! It’s worth having to block all those shitty ASMR vids on TikTok because eventually you find gold like this on your FYP (here's a link in case TikTok is being a dick)...

@ammandev #stitch with @saruh2themax this child has clearly been raised RIGHT! 🥰 #kidstiktok #kidsoftiktok #kidsbelike #parentingtips #parenting #parenting101 #foryoupage #parenting #parentinghumor #foryоu ♬ original sound - Dev Bajwa

Spread the love, white child!

   
Onward and upward.

   

Your Default Font

Posted on January 10th, 2023

Dave!The SNL video below is making the rounds again. It's hilarious because it's based on reality. This was the talk in design circles for months, where we were all laughing our asses off that a movie with a massive budget that's grossing such huge bank had a logo making from fucking Papyrus. An overused bargain basement font that's installed on computers by default. And of course they didn't pull this same bullshit again with The Way of Water. Once was humiliating enough...

It surprises me greatly that this sketch ever made it to air. Only a small number of people who see it are going to "get it" fully... and I'm guessing roughly half of the people won't understand it at all.

Probably why it's one of the funniest things that SNL has ever done.

   

Bullet Sunday 789

Posted on January 8th, 2023

Dave!Don't worry about me being buried under snow, again, I'll manage just fine... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• I Can See Clearly Now! I didn't want to spend $720 to replace my two damaged windows... but it turns out it was money well-spent. If for no other reason than I can actually see out of them now. Having to try and look through condensation and sediment that was inside my old busted windows was impossible in cold weather. And since the kitchen window is the ONLY window on either floor where I can see out the front of my house... and my bedroom window is one of only two useable windows on the ENTIRE 2ND FLOOR... they're probably the most important windows I have! Ironic how that works! But typical, huh?

   
• Sing! This is Dave Grohl's daughter, Violet...

Gorgeous. Musical talent very much runs in this family.

   
• As It Should Be. Tennessee Becomes First State to Charge Child Support to Drunk Drivers Who Kill Parents. Absolutely shameful that this is not the norm in all 50 states. Actions should have consequences... especially for something as dire as this. I'd ask my Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell where they're at on this, but it's probably the same place that digital driver's licenses are for Washingtonians... nowhere. They're too busy cashing their Big Pharma checks... or whatever it is that's more important to them.

   
• Big Ships! Now this is both fascinating and cool...

When things get bigly huge is when they get very interesting. Where do they get the materials to build something so massive?

   
• Order-Free! Netflix occasionally likes to experiment with their content. I like to encourage this, even though it rarely results in big wins. Their latest is Kaleidoscope, a heist series with episode colors instead of episode numbers, that you can watch in any order (and which Netflix shuffles for every viewer)...

Kaleidoscope Poster

My order was Black, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange, Violet, Red, Pink, and White. Black is always first. White is always last. I don't know that my order is better than any other, but I like that Yellow was first because one of the very few twists in the series would be ruined otherwise. Ultimately this isn't a bad show... it's just not a great one. Probably because the episodes can be watched in any order, they have to be self-contained. They can't really build upon each other to create a narrative. And they can't really do anything monumental because then they could spoil something if watched in the wrong spot. They're all just meh after a while. Which is to say that though I enjoyed the series at first... by the time I was half-way through I was disappointed. The ending was kinda fun though. I'm not sure exactly how this concept could be improved in the future, but I wish Netflix luck in trying.

   
• Themes. Angelo Badalamenti died last month. He was a phenomenally gifted magician who had a long and interesting career, mostly scoring film and television. But what he's probably best known for is his collaborations with David Lynch. The guy made Twin Peaks what it was...

It's not exactly like his life was cut short... he was 85... but as I always do when somebody with such talent passes, I can't help but think he left us too soon.

   
• Old Amsterdam! Few shows made such an immediate impact on me as New Amsterdam (the second one, not the first one about an immortal in New York City, which was also very good). It's a hospital drama in a sea of hospital dramas, but one that feels quite different to me. And it's ending this month. It got an abbreviated final fifth season...

New Amsterdam Poster

Over the years it's had some amazing stories told, and I'm a bit sad that it's not going to be around any more (even though the drama outside the hospital had gotten a bit stale). All I know is that this cast... starting with Ryan Eggold... better end up on great new shows as soon as possible.

   
Until next week, buckaroos.

   

Tube22

Posted on December 30th, 2022

Dave!And it's time once again for my annual wrap-up of my favorite TV shows that came out this year.

Or, more accurately, a "wrap-up of TV shows that I saw which came out this year." As always, there's a bunch of shows I never got around to watching that might have ended up on my list... and (more likely) shows I loved but have forgotten about. This year we had no new Ted Lasso... and Magnum P.I. was canceled... only to be saved to return next year, so there's two slots open. And, boy, there's an awful lot of Netflix on this list. And here we go...

Favorite TV Shows 2021

   
#1 Andor (Disney+)
This should surprise absolutely nobody who has seen the series. The genius of the show is that it takes the familiar Star Wars universe and sends it in a completely different direction. This is a thought-piece in twelve parts that's brilliantly realized and has a depth you just don't expect. And it all could have failed spectacularly if not for the incredible talent that was assembled. Diego Luna has an important transition to make between the first and last episodes, and he makes you feel it happening... bit by bit. Add truly remarkable performance by Stellan Skarsgård, Genevieve O'Reilly, and the rest, and everything is next-level amazing. Not just for Star Wars, but for television as a whole. There is an abundance of violence in the series that was unavoidable... the rebel alliance had to be born of violence to make sense... but it's not gratuitous or exploitative, which is saying a lot in this day and age. Nope, each and every moment is earned and builds on what has come before. The second season will plunge head-first into Rogue One, the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back, and you can bet I'll be watching. After the post-credits scene in Episode 12 of Andor how could I not?

   
#2 The Sandman (Netflix)
An adaptation of one of my favorite comic book series of all time was bound to be problematic and, to be honest, I’m shocked that it turned out better than I could have hoped. The visuals? Amazing. The cast? Perfect. If there’s a flaw, it’s that some weird choices were made that seriously compromised the pacing. I don’t mind a story taking its time, but holy crap did they dwell too long in parts. The reabsorption of Gregory in the second episode felt as if it seemed to go on for an eternity and didn’t really serve the purpose of illustrating sacrifice as it was intended. Which could have been forgiven if not for the fact that it happened multiple times. I am beyond grateful that we're getting a second season, because the stories only get more interesting from here. But what I really want? An adaptation of Death: The High Cost of Living.

   
#3 Heartstopper (Netflix)
Young gays in love. But so much more than that. What amazes me about this show is how many opportunities they had to fall into the Hallmark trap of letting a misunderstanding sabotage their relationship, but the both of them were actually more adult about their relationship than actual adults. It's sweet, heartwarming, smart, and beautifully performed. With a few surprises... and a major unannounced guest star... which made this the gift that keeps on giving.

   
#4 Wednesday (Netflix)
I thought, at best, this would be a clever series about a great character. I had no idea that it would be so brilliantly conceived. It's not just Wednesday wandering around being Wednesday (which would be entertaining enough)... there's actually a very good mystery underneath a very good story, and having Jenna Ortega so beautifully portray the character was just the icing on the cake. And then there's the rest of the cast, which was flawless. Gwendoline Christie? Catherine Zeta-Jones? Luis Guzmán? CHRISTINA RICCI?!? Since this was one of the most streamed episodes of any show on Netflix, I'm confident that we'll get a second season... and I can't wait.

   
#5 Shoresy (Crave/Hulu)
Letterkenny is a polarizing show that you either get or you don't. Personally I love it, which is why I was excited to see a spin-off of the never-seen hockey player, Shoresy. Imagine my utter shock to find out that it's not only deserving of Letterkenny... it actually surpasses it in a few ways. Hilariously funny, crude, brash, and yet charming despite itself, this is a show I ended up watching all over from the start the minute the credits on the final episode rolled. Because that ending. Dang. There was no more emotional moment on my television in 2022.

   
#6 The Recruit (Netflix)
This show came late in the game (December 16th!) and caused me to reevaluate this entire list (which has been on my computer for months). Noah Centineo, who is perfectly cast, is a CIA recruit who keeps getting himself into the thick of things... and a mystery that may be the death of him. Frustratingly, the series ends on a cliffhanger, so I sure hope Netflix doesn't screw us over by canceling it.
   

Favorite TV Shows 2021

   
#7 She Hulk: Attorney at Law (Marvel Studios/Disney+)
This was always going to be a challenging transition from comic book to screen. Especially when they decided to take it into the fourth-wall-breaking direction that John Byrne used to brilliant effect in his series. At first, you think it's just a side-gimmick that doesn't really mean anything to the show at large. But then you get to the final episode... where they lean into the concept hard. The result is great on its own, but getting Charlie Cox back as Daredevil was too good. I am interested in seeing where the character goes in the MCU future. Especially since Tatiana Maslany is so bloody brilliant in the role.

   
#8 Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (Paramount+)
After Discovery started shitting the bed more with each new season after the first one, I didn't know that I was interested in more Star Trek. But there was a bright spot... we got Spock, Pike, and Number One back. And they were fantastic. There was no way I was going to miss a spin-off from this, though I was expecting the worst given where Disco ended up. Boy was I wrong. Strange New Worlds is hands-down the best Trek since the original series, and every episode was beautifully crafted by people who actually GET Star Trek.

   
#9 Reacher (Amazon Prime)
Finally. Just... finally we get a guy playing Reacher that fits what we've been reading all these years. I mean, Tom Cruise had a couple of good movies... they were fine... but he is so far away physically as to make him an entirely different character. But Alan Ritchson? Yeah, there he is. And the story for the first season was exceptionally well-done. And it was a long time coming. Very much looking forward to Season 02.

   
#10 Peacemaker (HBO Max)
When James Gunn unleashed The Suicide Squad upon an unsuspecting world, I was overjoyed that there was a DC movie that was worth a crap. No, I wasn't thrilled with the turn that some characters ended up taking, but ultimately that's what should happen in this franchise. One of the most surprising characters to emerge was The Peacemaker. But that in no way guaranteed his series would be worth watching. Except it was. It 1000% was. Getting another season is a gift that I am waiting for with all the anticipation.

   
#11 What We Do In the Shadows (FX)
This hilarious show has its ups and downs, but it's always, always entertaining. And funny. And the fourth season actually eclipsed the third for me, which was an unexpected treat. Back in July the series got renewed for Season 05 and Season 06, which was about the best news we could have gotten in a cruel Summer.

   
#12 Abbott Elementary (ABC)
It seemed impossible that a brilliant show about Philadelphia teachers that was darn-near flawless in its first season could keep getting better. And yet here we are. All the characters are so fully realized that you can't help but be invested. While it's nice to see Quinta Brunson finally getting her due... the fact that Sheryl Lee Ralph is getting such recognition is icing on the cake.
   

Favorite TV Shows 2021

   
#13 Julia (HBO Max)
Meryl Streep did such a phenomenal job portraying Julia Child in Julie and Julia that it salvaged a movie that was half awful. Somebody edited out the Julie parts to create Julia without Julie, and it only made me want more. That never happened, but we did get a series with Sarah Lancashire that was ridiculously good. So good that HBO blessed us with a second season which will hopefully bless our televisions in 2023.

   
#14 Barry (HBO Max)
It took THREE YEARS to get the third season, but it turns out to be worth the wait. Always funny. Always disturbing. Barry manages to have an edge to it that most shows can never find. Given where we ended up at the end of Season 02, I was wondering how they would find a way to keep it moving forward without imploding. And you find out now that this was never the intent. We end in a dark place with the final episode that has me anxious to know how it will resolve in the fourth (and final) season. Probably nowhere pretty, as that seems impossible now. But I'll be watching.

   
#15 Letterkenny (Hulu)
Every time I wonder how they are going to keep this show fresh after so many years, they just keep going as if to say "We never stopped being fresh! I mean, the first episode of Season 11 mostly consists of a town meeting where they endlessly debate the merits of the best flavor potato chip (with the answer being obvious to anybody who is familiar what they got up der in Canada). I binged the show in a day and only wanted more. Guess we're not done with Letterkenny just yet.

   
#16 Reservation Dogs (FX)
Season 02 took us on a continuation of the brilliance that made the first one of the best on television. Watching this series about teens trying to find their lives leaves you questioning what you've been doing with your life... in the best possible way. The show has been (wisely) renewed for another season, but given the ending we just got, you can't help but wonder what that season will look like.

   
#17 Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)
Color me shocked. This series came out of nowhere for me to completely obsess over, and answers the question "What would happen if Captain Blackbeard were a gay pirate and finds love on the high seas?" What had me completely mystified is how Taika Waititi found the time to not only star in the show, but write and direct the first episode. The guy has projects stacked to the rafters. And because of that, I thought the show didn't have much chance in being renewed. And then... because it is a beloved show that's worth Waititi's valuable time, it actually was renewed. No idea when they'll find time... but I'm thrilled about it.

   
#18 Ms. Marvel (Marvel Studios/Disney+)
I was very much looking forward to this show because the comic book was so fantastic. Then it arrived and was mostly faithful. They had to make adjustments to her powers in order to make them work visually in real life, but it didn't diminish who she is or change what she does, so it really didn't matter. Her Muslim background and family life are gold. The problem is that they went far too convoluted in brewing up her origin story, and it hurt the show. There was a nice (but weird) twist in there, but they had to twist themselves into a pretzel to get there, so it ultimately wasn't worth it. I would have preferred that they just came up with a more straightforward super-hero teen angst tale.

   
MUST SEE TELEVISION SPECIALS AND DOCUMENTARIES...

  • The Guardians of The Galaxy: Holiday Special. Unreal. Not only was this movie brilliant by television standards... it was even brilliant even by movie standards. It's essentially Mantis and Drax in the series you always wanted. The fact that Kevin Bacon is along for the ride (and utilized so flawlessly) is what makes it exceed every expectation.
  • Werewolf by Night. Another triumph from Marvel Studios on Disney+! I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't something this good. The story was perfectly executed, but it was the incredible cast that took it to the next level. The real bonus is that this movie is not just an accessory. You can easily see how the ramifications will make their way into the MCU.
  • Hasan Minhaj: The King's Jester. I've been missing Patriot Act ever since it was foolishly canceled. And while a comedy special can't compensate for what we've lost, it does lessen the blow. Approaching the atmospheric heights of Minhaj's previous special (the exceptional Homecoming King), this was all I needed to see from Hasan. Until next time.
  • Trevor Noah: I Wish You Would. Given that he's leaving The Daily Show, this will be how we get our Trevor fix from here out, I guess. And while I wasn't so fond as his previous special Son of Patricia, he was firing on all cylinders this time around.
  • Neal Brennan: Blocks. As a huge, huge fan of Neal and his previous special, I was excited to see where he'd end up this time around. The answer will surprise nobody... to an even deeper level of humanity and comedy.
  • Shen Wang: Sweet and Juicy. Another comedy special that made 2022 a bit brighter. Shen Wang isn't afraid to take risks win his first special, and it pays off darn well.

   
TELEVISION HONORABLE MENTION...

  • Atlanta. The final season was more of the gang you love to watch. And makes me more than a little sad that this is it.
  • House of the Dragon. After the horrific travesty that was the final season of Game of Thrones, it's nice that we can get back to the fine form of what makes that world so compelling.
  • Queen Sugar. This is one of those shows that's not really my cup of tea... but it's so brilliantly written and acted that I never stopped watching. Should go down as one of the best TV shows ever.
  • Obi-Wan. I liked the series perfectly fine. There was some great moments and smart writing... and there's no denying the commitment that Ewan McGregor brought to the table. Plus we even got some good Vader moments. But I question whether there was a better story here. Mini Leia just seemed so uneventful after waiting so long.
  • Loot. Maya Rudolph effortlessly brings the character of a divorced billionaire to life with wit and charm. It's just a shame that they didn't try to be a little more interesting with the material. It's like "she's a billionaire trying to do good with her money because she's bored" and that was the entirety of it.
  • Upload. While a huge step down from what we got in the first season, this is still a series worth watching. Here's hoping that the digital afterlife will be exploited for something that hits a bit more compelling next season.
  • The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. A heartbreaking series which is cemented in its greatness thanks to an incredible performance by Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Book of Boba Fett. =sigh= If not for an appearance by The Mandalorian, this would have been a lackluster effort. But Mando played a very important part of the series, and I have a feeling that's why it worked as well as it did.
  • Moon Knight. As a fan of the comic book, I was interested to see how things would translate to Disney+... and whether they would take advantage of the multiple personalities that can make the character so interesting. They did... but all was not perfect. A lot of the time I was bored because they didn't really attempt to make Moon Knight the priority in his own show. It was about his secret identities, which could have been any show.
  • The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window. Kristen Bell made this mystery series work as well as it did... but it was the story itself and a perfect ending that made me like it as much as I did. It was meant to be a one-off, but the teaser at the end reeeeeally makes me want to see more.
  • Welcome to Wrexham. Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds bought a football club. This is that story. And the result is both funny and touching.
  • The Wonder Years. Reboots have a way of going terribly, terribly wrong (see Quantum Leap, below)... even though this isn't technically a reboot. But what it is though? A great show in its own right.
  • From Scratch. Based on a true story, this Zoe Saldaña romance series was beautifully told, and it was great to see her in a role that really pushes her talent and what she's capable of.
  • Severance. This is a clever slow-burn series about people who literally live separate lives at home and at work thanks to brain tampering. But there's a bigger secret behind it all, and getting to the truth could be fatal. And while I think this show has huge disaster written all over it because that big secret carrot could be dangled for years and ruin the show... it's interesting and well-written enough to be entertaining.
  • Better Call Saul. The final season was as good as ever, and gave us a satisfying end... not only to Better Call Saul but Breaking Bad as well.
  • The Boys. The super-hero show that's beyond disturbing was back with another depraved season. They've diverged from the comics quite a lot, but it's working fairly well and every season leaves you wondering what they're going to come up with next.
  • The Lake. Gay guy wants to reconnect with his biological daughter at The Lake... but there's family drama with his step-sister that threatens to take over the vacation. This show could have been entirely one-note, but actually had some interesting moments that made it better than expected.
  • After Life. Ricky Gervais may be controversial and always on the verge of cancelation, but this show really shouldn't be. It's a funny... and important... show about how the living deal with the death of somebody they love. What was so incredibly smart was that Ricky didn't end things how you might want them to be ended... but instead as he felt it should be ended. Because some people can't get past their grief, and that's okay.
  • The Flight Attendant. The first season was must-see television, but the story didn't seem to lend itself to a sequel. Yet here we are. And the result was well worth a watch if you liked the original. What's worrying is that Kaley Cuoco has moved on to another show. Will we get more of The Flight Attendant? Who can say.
  • The Righteous Gemstones. While nothing could compare to that glorious first season, the second season still had some amazing moments. A family of preachers with a dark past and disturbing shenanigans featuring John Goodman? Sign me up.
  • Reboot. Every time I see Key or Peele in something, I long for them to bring back Key & Peele. In lieu of that, we get Keegan Michael Key in a Steven Levitan comedy on Hulu. And it ain't bad. The messed up cast from an old television show reunite for a reboot, and funny drama ensues.
  • The Best Man: The Final Chapters. I was very late to the party with The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday movies, both of which were excellent. The series ended up being more of the same, and I was grateful for it. Too many of these would be tempted to change the formula and "shake things up" to disastrous effect.
  • The Bear. Having worked in restaurants, I can say that this is one of the most accurate representations I've seen of what goes on behind the scenes. And from that respect, I loved the series. But it's also got a lot of unnecessary yelling and drama that made it annoying as hell.
  • Russian Doll. The first season was a big surprise because of how shockingly good it was. When a second season was announced, I didn't even know how it would be possible given the nature of the show. But they figured out a new angle, and it was a good one.
  • The Lincoln Lawyer. Didn't Matthew McConaughey already make a movie that's an adaptation of this Michael Connelly book? He did. And it was pretty good. But I like this series even better, and am happy it was renewed because we always need more smart television.
  • Ozark. The series was always flying just below my radar. Knowing that this was the final season, I made sure to tune in... on time... in the hopes that it would have a great pay-off. In my mind, it didn't. I didn't hate it because I understood what they were trying to do, I just don't think they succeeded, and it would have thought a different direction would have been more satisfying. At the very least they should have had the balls to show what happened instead of letting the viewer "decide what happened." Such bullshit. If I wanted that, I would write my own damn television show.

   
ANIMATION TO WATCH...

  • Rick and Morty. The last couple seasons have been lackluster overall, but had enough standout episodes to satisfy fans. But this season was the old Rick and Morty that we love. Maybe the best it's been in years.
  • Inside Job. This show is just so... bizarre. But in a good way. It's like nothing is off-limits, and they're constantly throwing everything they can think of at the wall to see what sticks.

   
HAVEN'T SEEN, MIGHT HAVE MADE MY LIST...

  • Derry Girls. I enjoyed the first two seasons, but haven't gotten around to the final.
  • Bad Sisters. I decided to avoid this one, but was recently told that I shouldn't have.
  • The Responder. This BBC series with Martin Freeman has been getting rave reviews and seems like it would be right up my alley. I can't wait to see it.
  • Mo. I didn't know about this show, but recently happened across the trailer. Definitely something I want to see.
  • Dark Winds. Another show I never heard of that has a killer trailer that makes it look all kinds of compelling. AMC is out here killing it with quality television.
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth. I don't have Showtime, but will probably end up getting it at some point just to watch this show.
  • Interview with the Vampire. I skipped because I just didn't think there was anything new to say. Apparently I was wrong about that, because a lot of people have asked me if I watched.
  • All the new Yellowstone. I am so far behind. I've got the last two seasons plus the two spin-offs to watch.

   
OVERRATED BUT STILL GOOD...

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. I really tried to have an open mind here... but very quickly determined that this was definitely not for me. It's not Tolkien. And I just don't get it. Amazon paid a metric shit-ton of money for Lord of the Rings rights and didn't actually get Lord of the Rings. They just got the appendix and had to fill in the rest with... whatever. I mean, why didn't they just buy rights to The Silmarillion and be done with it?
  • Uncoupled. This was essentially Sex and the City with gay guys. And while it filled out the formula well and was entertaining... it didn't really cover any new ground. They leaned into every stereotype available, then dumbed it down for straight appeal. Good, but could have been much better.
  • Stranger Things. Despite its popularity, this is a show that is forever chasing the magic that came out of its first season.
  • Hacks. I loved the first season but found the second to be a big ol' mess. Yeah, I still loved Jean Smart tearing through her dialogue in a way only she could, but the stories this season just didn't gel as well as those from the previous year. Focus. Focus. Focus.

   
DISAPPOINTING...

  • Quantum Leap. I loved the original series. I loved the idea of rebooting it. I loved the idea that they added some much-needed diversity to the show. But it just doesn't have the charm and interesting stories that made the original so amazing. I alternate between being bored and being indifferent.
  • Paper Girls. I loved the comic book series and was thrilled to learn that it was being adapted for the small screen. And then it arrived. And ABSOLUTELY EVERY SCENE WAS RAMPED UP TO ELEVEN AT ALL TIMES. Which I can only guess was a directorial choice, because the actors were perfectly capable in the quieter moments. In any event, what a missed opportunity.
  • Picard. The first season had some serious flaws, but it was wholly entertaining and gave good Star Trek. But the second season? Wow. It was scattershot and didn't really know what to do with itself. And it drove me crazy because I wanted so badly to like it. Apparently there's one final season to go. I sure hope they know what to do with it.
  • Westworld. The series, while still watchable, has worked itself into a dead-end that is too far from where it started in those brilliant earlier seasons. Even so, I was looking forward to how it all ends. Unfortunately, HBO canceled the show before the final season, which means this season was even worse than I originally thought because it ain't going anywhere.

   
TOTALLY SHIT THE BED...

  • Star Trek: Discovery. Holy crap what a disaster. I still don't understand how something that was so brilliant in the first season ended up declining so badly year-over-year until we're now at a place where I just can't bear to watch an hour of whiny bullshit that isn't just weepy-annoying... it's boring as hell.
  • The White Lotus. The first season was not spectacular, but it was interesting and entertaining. The second season is just episode after episode of NOTHING HAPPENING in a stunningly beautiful location. And the ending was so clumsy, pathetic, and anticlimactic... along with inept in its attempt to set up a third season by leaving the WHY of everything completely unresolved. I was severely disappointed from start to finish, and think this is easily one of the shittiest things I've ever seen on television. And if that wasn't all laughable enough, they trotted out the writer/director, Mike White, after the credits to throw even more bullshit on everything.
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(pensive music continues)

Posted on December 8th, 2022

Dave!I watch television with subtitles always on now. It's not that I'm having trouble with my hearing or anything like that... it's just that I don't want to miss anything. Whether it's because a character is difficult to understand... or the sound mix is awful... or there's information otherwise getting lost.

The most interesting part of subtitltes to me is the music descriptions.

(upbeat music begins)

(music turns darker)

(music growns louder and more intense)

(pensive music continues)

And my favorite... ( 🎵 )

The subtitles for sexytime is something for another post (moaning increases).

   

Bullet Sunday 788

Posted on December 4th, 2022

Dave!Be thankful that's all over... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• GoTGv3! Looks like Rocket is going to be an experiment by the High Evolutionary in the MCU, which makes perfect sense. Can't wait for this movie...

I'm sad it's the last Guardians film. But who knows where these characters will pop up next?

   
• Oh My! I had heard pieces of this story before, but not all together like this...

Epic. And hysterical.

   
• Balance! Some of the wealth on display here is... staggering...

My checking account is positively anemic by comparison.

   
• The Mickey Mantle Letter. Definitely NSFW material (in text), so proceed at your own risk... but holy crap!

   
• Dial of Destiny! Sure looks better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull...

And hopefully it is better, because nothing would make me happier than Indy going out on a high note.

   
• Rogue Wave! It seems odd to me that cruise ships sail to Antarctica. I went on a research vessel that was built like a tank with limited people onboard, and the water got so rough that one person ended up with a compound fracture and others were hurt. Our boat was tossed around like a cork in a blender, and it still feels miraculous that we made it through without suffering more injuries than we did. But a cruise ship?? That just seems like a recipe for disaster. And for this ship it was.

   
Now I really need to take a long winter's nap.

   

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