Yet Another Cycling Forum

Off Topic => The Pub => Arts and Entertainment => Topic started by: ian on June 21, 2018, 09:39:37 pm

Title: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 21, 2018, 09:39:37 pm
I feel discomfited posting in the 'what's on TV tonight' thread, I've thrown off the shackles of contemporaneity, and decoupled myself from the throes of broadcast television. I'm netflixen and all that, like a proper modern boy. I'm streaming my reality. Watching BBC is so olde, daddy-o. You are like watching yesterday on betamax.

Anyway, I like to wade through box sets like a man with a obscure enthusiasm for shallow water (oh, don't start that isn't-it-boxed-set nonsense, not unless you want to wake up to a shark in your bathtub, and before you worry about that, you might want to consider just why you're sleeping in the bathtub in the first place).

Currently on The Punisher. Yet another Netflix Marvel gig. I sort of struggle with the pacing of many of these programmes, though Defenders worked well – it made for a pacy mini-series because they crammed it into not-very-many episodes (I still had fingers left). Episode 1 proved as ponderous as I feared. Took him what felt like two hours to get down to any punishing. That's a bit like being called The Emailer and then not sending anything till after lunch. Too many moody flashbacks and oh-I'm-so-broken. I hope it perks up. Come to think of it, maybe I should pitch The Emailer to the networks. She's a lowly office drone by day, but at night she opens spreadsheets. Evil spreadsheets.

We just finished Season 4 of Agents of SHEILD, which was about as awesome as it gets. Sexy evil robot lady! Ghostrider! Phil! And a book you can't get from the local library (I checked, you can't order Darkhold through ILL, which is a shame). Maybe there's a =darkhold() function in Excel. By day she's a lowly office day, by night, she fights the forces of evil brought forth by a spreadsheet from another dimension.

I'm travelling for a few weeks on another tour de tidy-hared thought leadership but I'm thinking of a megabinge of Fringe when I get back. And maybe Alias. Admittedly that might see me through to 2022 and this might be a very brief topic.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Kim on June 21, 2018, 10:35:11 pm
Fringe was a textbook example of how to stay just the right side of the "this is boring, I quit" line.  Once they exhausted the possibilities of the eponymous fringe science, they levelled up and started a much more interesting parallel universe arc.  And whenever things got too fraught, they'd throw in an LSD episode by way of light relief.  More programmes should have LSD episodes.

Speaking of levelling up, I'd like to nominate Person of Interest, which gets bored of being a vigilante crime-fighting procedural somewhere around the end of the first season, and slides into contemporary science fiction on a par with the axed-in-its-prime Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 22, 2018, 09:40:32 am
Fringe was, I recall very good, because they took the story arc and ran with it and yes, there was a lot of LSD involved, sometimes I suspect in the writing and plot. And you could toy with the prime existential question of Olivia vs. Fauxolivia. I'm quite keen to binge but alas I'm not allowed to watch TV when my wife is away (because anything I suggest I might watch she's 'oh, I'd like to watch that.') But I'm lining it up even though I bazillion other box sets to watch.

I don't really remember much about Alias other than it involved red mercury, which doubles as hot sauce if you're running low.

Other stuff I've enjoyed recently include Grimm which sounds like the most stupidest concept ever, but was actually quite excellent, and not only because people occasionally turned into squirrels and other woodland creatures, though obviously that's always a plus.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: citoyen on June 22, 2018, 09:51:24 am
I started watching The OC but got bored with it very quickly.

Ozark was fun, if rather silly and no Breaking Bad. Will be interesting to see where it goes in the next series.

Couldn't stick with Altered Carbon. Too silly, too derivative. Might give it another go some time though.

Westworld was extremely tedious and I managed three episodes before virtually ejecting the tape from the virtual VHS and virtually throwing it out the virtual window.

Loved Mindhunter. Gripping.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 22, 2018, 10:02:58 am
Oh, Westworld was a drag. I started watching it while travelling in the US recently and after a couple of episodes it seemed nothing had really happened other than some people/robots ran that way. Then they ran the other way. I think there was supposed to be intrigue. After a couple of hours, I was mostly wondering where they put the batteries. Possibly that episode was coming up.

I've made several attempts at the Walking Dead. I've come the conclusion that it's boring and the characters are mostly doomed by their own stupidity. Honestly, you're in a world populated by zombies, stop fucking wandering into dark rooms with one door. What do you think will happen? You are being outwitted by creatures with no functioning intelligence.

I do mean to try Altered Carbon, though I didn't like the books as much as everyone.

I'm the person who has yet to get around to Breaking Bad. I have The Wire still in shrinkwrap. I saw some on TV. I hope I don't die before I get around to it, I'd be quite annoyed.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: citoyen on June 22, 2018, 10:14:16 am
As Charlie Brooker once said: I envy people who haven't seen The Wire. It means they can still look forward to watching it for the first time.

I hear good things about the new version of Get Shorty with Chris O'Dowd and Ray Romano. It possibly benefits from not being a remake of the book/film but an original story based on characters from the book (though this does render the title a bit nonsensical). I think Westworld's big failing is that it can't compete with the original film. It tries to add layers of depth to the story but the concept is just not interesting enough to sustain it. (The first series of Humans riffed on similar themes in a much more interesting way, focusing on the domestic setting, but now it has outgrown itself and the metaphors are wearing thin.)

Another one I liked was Wayward Pines - for one series, at least. Nothing original but mostly well done. Even Matt Dillon wasn't too annoying. However, without Toby Jones, the second series was a damp squib.

Stranger Things was great but I think that too has run its course. The second series was good but nowhere near as good as the first. I hear there's a third series on the way, but I'm not filled with joy at the prospect.

First series of A Series Of Unfortunate Events was superb and I'm looking forward to that coming back. The Jim Carrey film was good but the series does the books more justice thanks to the expansive format that allows it to indulge the meandering and convoluted plotting, which is among the qualities that make the books so great.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 22, 2018, 10:55:22 am
Indeed, Stranger Things was good but I think into the realm of diminishing returns. It worked through it's nostalgic novelty and that novelty has now evaporated. In a similar vein I enjoyed The OA and not only because it has the best ending ever, though my wife snorted. Pah, and she's a paid-up member of Sadler's Wells.

We did, a year or two back, binge on Buffy/Angel, which was very good, though it appears they replaced all the actors with young children. I don't remember them being so young the first time around.

I have an abiding love for Supernatural too, which is one of those programmes that doesn't seem to overstay its welcome, unlike the X-Files, which keeps coming back zombie-like for just another series. Some series should just end.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Redlight on June 22, 2018, 05:43:14 pm
I think the only ones I've managed to get through from start to finish have been The West Wing and the US version of House of Cards.  The former ran a bit flat towards the end and I got very annoyed with the way in which characters would simply disappear, 1984-style, but I kept going because I felt I had to.  Likewise, House of Cards seems to be drifting away from the qualities that made the first couple of series compelling.  I'll probably start to watch the next one but with no commitment to staying with it.

Mrs Redlight, on the other hand, somehow manages to stay awake through all sorts of tosh and watches them from beginning to end.  Madam Secretary, anyone?
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 22, 2018, 06:43:31 pm
Veep, though I've not finished them all is very good, and rather apposite these days. Also Seinfeld, which has dated a bit now, but is still classic comedy, as is the rather caustic and sardonic Curb Your Enthusiasm. I have Peep Show somewhere which I've never, ever watched. I think I have a lot of shrink-wrapped DVDs lurking somewhere in my office. Hmm, Futurama too, though I never really got into that. It true that modern life (another rubbishism) has made me lazy. Why sort through boxers and tackle shrink-wrap when you can fire up Netflix. We really should assembled a big pile of box sets we have yet to watch.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on July 04, 2018, 09:17:16 pm
The Punisher is getting a bit better. Last night he swore off killin' but by the end of the episode, he decided they yup, killin' is back. You can't do proper punishing without killin'. People that done bad need killin'. They won't ever learn otherwise.

Netflix inform there's a new series of Luke Cage. I swear at any given time half of NYC is in the superhero-ish business (though Frank's superpower in The Punisher seems to be a magnetic attraction to bullet and knives).
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Pingu on July 04, 2018, 11:29:53 pm
Veep, though I've not finished them all is very good, and rather apposite these days.

It was supposed to be satire not a manual.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: fuzzy (retd.) AAGE on July 04, 2018, 11:51:18 pm
I am mid way through season 1 of West Wing and so far, so good.

My favourite box sets have been <Cue Whole lotta love guitar riff and Tommy Vance voiceover>
At number 3, with Apollo, Starbuck and Adama fighting off the Cylon hoardes in Battlestar Galactica (the remake).
At number 2, Heisenberg and Jesse are cooking up some blue in Breaking Bad.
Riding high at number 1, Farmingtons finest are doing it their way in The Shield.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Cunobelin on July 10, 2018, 06:01:26 am
Just started a Month's free Netflix

I am having my Hip replaced this morning so there will be a lot of spare time in the next couple of weeks... and the Netflix offering is preferable to Judge Judy and Jeremy Kyle
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: tiermat on July 10, 2018, 07:43:25 am
My commute allows me a fair bit of time to catch up on series on my phone.

My two favourite ones, at the moment are:

Glow - a dysfunction story of actresses trying out for a TV series about wrestlers

The Ministry of Time - a Spanish series which is exactly as it sounds...
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: T42 on July 10, 2018, 08:03:26 am
Been struggling through Altered Carbon after baling the first time.  The seamy Blade-Runner-derivative side of it was OK, so was the immortality-for-the-rich side, and Poe was easily the best character, but once it turned into "they've got beam/projectile/hell-weapons and red eyes, but we've got swords and dance moves so we're the goodies", pretentious blether about dysentery destiny and "it all means something, doesn't it?" I've been working hard not to bale out again and re-watch Pathé snippets about making letter-through rock in 1958.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on September 10, 2018, 07:58:58 pm
I am slowly Fringe-binging and enjoying it. I'd sort of remembered it slipping into the plot line, but on second watching it begins more immediately by subverting X-Files tropes (plus if there's a scene with a TV on, they always have the X-Files showing). And it has Leonard Nimoy, of course. Still only on the second season so plenty to go and I only half remember it.

Because I can't get enough of the spooky stuff, Season 12 of Supernatural which I still like. Sam and Dean still bicker like a married couple, everybody gets cursed all the time, there's a boss-level bad to contend, and Crowley always gets his comeuppance.

I did manage an episode of Altered Carbon, but yet more plod. Even Dickens you that when serialising you had to keep people hooked. Dan Brown knows it. People who make TV shows evidently don't. I may sample it again, but good god, give me a reason people.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Kim on September 10, 2018, 08:09:06 pm
I've been slowly working my way through Brooklyn Nine Nine, which I noticed had been axed, so it must be good.

A USAnian cop comedy that's actually funny - sounds unlikely, I know - but it beautifully subverts pretty much every trope going[1] usually by means of people being *nice*, and you can sometimes feel that you've fallen into a parallel universe Drop The Dead Donkey.

[1] As a child of the 80s I'm still waiting for one of the main characters to be paired with a badly-trained dog for an episode, but I'm only about halfway through season 2.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Jakob W on September 11, 2018, 09:14:56 am
Fringe was treated terribly by the network, and criminally underrated by too many people who maybe only saw it as an X-files rip-off. It did take a while to get into its stride, but I don't think it ever got a Hugo nomination, which is shameful.

Brooklyn 9-9 is delightful; my only issue with it is that the episodes are so short it's all to easy to go 'oh just one more'.

I'm currently nearly at the end of the Netflix adaptation of _The Alienist_. It's a bit of a mess, and has probably pushed beyond the bounds of plausibility as it heads towards the finale, but these may be the flaws of the source novel - I've not read it. Nonetheless, for me it meets Ian's test of wanting to know 'what next?'; I've stayed up too late a couple of nights meaning to only watch one episode, but ending watching two or three. The main cast are also very good, or at least very watchable.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on September 11, 2018, 11:43:05 am
Yes, Fringe is surprisingly good, not sure why it got mostly passed by (it's far better than the X-Files), but at least it didn't get the dread cancellation.

I find there's quite a difference between network and Netflix. Everything on the networks fears cancellation, and knows a small drop in viewing figures and Nielsen ratings can spell doom. So obviously they keen to keep people hanging on. On the downside, when that's a 22 episode run, it's a challenge. Most of the Netflix stuff (with notable exceptions) seems to ponder along on the basis that people will just watch it because it is there. I got to the end of The Punisher, which did just that. It wasn't awful, but really there was just enough material for a film (which has been done), not twelve episodes of Why Frank is Angry. I know, you told me at the beginning.

But I may be a special viewer. I never understand why people watch The Walking Dead, probably the dullest thing I've ever watched, it stumbles along like one the zombies. Miserable people in world full of entirely predictable zombies who predictably insist on walking into dark room with one exit and then dying in predictable ways, cue more predictable misery from the remaining cast. That's the entire plot to date.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Kim on September 11, 2018, 12:04:42 pm
I watched some of the first season of Walking Dead.  It had that weird culture-clash thing where someone (presumably a network bean-counter) has tried to make an inherently nerdy genre appeal to the mainstream by diluting the good bits and using the wrong tropes.  See also: Defying Gravity (AKA Grey's Anatomy In Spaaaaace!) which was oddly compelling in its unlikeliness, if not its characters or story arc.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on September 11, 2018, 02:32:45 pm
I did manage an entire series and didn't really have any wish to return. I watched a few other episodes on various planes and nothing much seems to have changed. Hey look, a room with limited exits and world full of zombies, what could go wrong?

The did some prequel with promised a genesis story – who doesn't want to know where zombies come from and how the world as we know it ends. Evidently not The Walking Dead viewers, that's who, it took about two episodes before it turned into the usual hey look, a room with limited exits and world full of zombies, what could go wrong? Oh woe, they ate a cast member. I know, let's make some bad decisions. That's the problem with zombies though, you can pretty much avoid grisly doom through the mere expedient of sidestepping them and well, if you're really feeling up to it, hitting them with a shovel. Frankly a day trip to Southend-on-Sea is far scarier that the average zombie apocalypse. It would take ages to bash everyone there with a shovel, but it's worth trying.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Mrs Pingu on October 11, 2018, 10:03:00 pm
Having worked my way through all the Scandi Noir crime series, I got started on Belgian Noir with Salamander on BBC4.
This then led to 13 Commandments, Rough Justice and Professor T, all on Walter Presents /All 4.
Guess that just leaves us with New Texas and Code 37....
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Hot Flatus on October 11, 2018, 10:15:36 pm
I'm not easily pleased by telly. More choice does not mean better telly.

It strikes me that everybody is chasing the production values of Breaking Bad....which seems to mean that if you want to make something good you need yank expertise.

See how much better Black Mirror is now it's gone Netflix, see Killing Eve etc.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 10, 2019, 10:20:18 am
Thought I'd do another round of the Netflix Marvel stuff, mostly gave up with Luke Cage owing to the painfully slow progression (and it's not like I've come to expect pacy scripting and story). Come on, entire episodes were nothing happens other than a reiteration of characters traits. I may return, I like the characters, but it should swagger down Malcolm X Boulevard with some purpose. It's TV as window-shopping. If there's one thing to thank network TV for, it's the pace, the sceptre of cancellation only ever being one episode away kept minds focused. The Netflix attempt to fix three hours of TV into a mere twelve hours is less endearing.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on June 24, 2019, 12:33:02 pm
Manage a few more Luke Cages, it's still a bit of a trudge tbh, though the baddie du jour, Bushmaster, is rather entertaining. It's a shame it took about five hours of TV before he actually did anything. There's actually a good story in the triangle of Cage, Mariah Dillard, and Bushmaster, but ruined by the toilsome pacing and constant repetition of the same themes to pad out screen time.

We have been, in the meantime, binging on Orphan Black, which I'd forgotten about. The plot is a bit nonsensical, but some guff about clones, and some randomly evolving conspiracy which seems a bit inconsistent, but it's played out well, and the main actress' turn as each of the clones is well done (including the camera trickery that gets them onscreen at the same time). Bonkers suburban housewife Alison and her husband are the best, what with the bodies under the garage floor and drug dealing.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: Mr Larrington on June 24, 2019, 06:29:59 pm
I've been forced to watch Years And Years, which was a load of old nonse except for Emma Thompson.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on August 19, 2019, 08:51:18 pm
Alias, best known as JJ Abrams' breakthrough (he's usually credited with Lost, love it or hate it, though he was really just the producer other than the pilot). A nice romp through all the usual spy tropes and splendid wiggery, which is - of course - precisely what secret agents need. Enjoyable binging.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: caerau on August 20, 2019, 11:49:23 am
When we went Netflix last year, the first thing we binge watched were all the series of Narcos.

Violent as heck (hey it's about the Medellin Cartel to begin with, and then onwards) - but it really was pretty good.

Tend to agree that there's not so much I've been *very* into otherwise.  Black Mirror is probably the other one, but then someone's already mentioned that.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: essexian on August 20, 2019, 11:55:33 am I'm not really sure what a box set it the watching of a number of episodes of a series one after the other? If so I don't really partake but..... over the last couple of weeks I have "taped" from Paramount TV the previous episodes of "House" to watch next morning before CBH gets up/ when she is out at the gym.

The last series I can think I did this to was when one of the minor channels re-run "Roots" a couple of years back. Now, that's a series everyone should watch IMHO.

Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on August 20, 2019, 12:14:01 pm
A box set is basically the entire series – it's becoming a bit of an anachronism in the era of streaming since people tend not to acquire a physical 'box set' but as we know MLIR. Once suitably equipped with a box set, the option to binge-watch becomes available. Reminder those days when you had to be ready at 9am on a Thursday night to watch the series of your choice (to be honest, I don't) – now you just cue it up whenever it suits. And well, you've watched one episode and it's midnight, but oh, another episode, go on, the morning isn't for ages. Another episode? Come on, who needs more than 4 hours sleep?

Alias is on actual DVD, I had to find the remote control. It's blimeyly old (2001!) and Bradley Cooper looks about 10. It's quite dangerously addictive as every episode ends on a cliffhanger (and it's so old, I can't usually remember the details from when I first watched). Is Vaughan drownded? OMG Sydney's mum! Sloan, you big murdering meany. What the hell is the big red thing for? Alas, the need to sleep left those questions unanswered...
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: essexian on August 20, 2019, 12:20:05 pm
Thanks Ian. Nope, don't do that! I like my sleep too much!

If I want to watch something when I am not available, I get the Betamax out and tape it to watch it later, or wait a few days for it to come back around as a repeat.

Although thinking about it.... I am currently listening to the Barker and Llewelyn novel series by Will Thomas on Youtube. I am up to book 7: "Anatomy of Evil." I wonder whether this has been made into a TV series. It would work IMHO.
Title: Re: box sets!
Post by: ian on August 20, 2019, 12:40:41 pm
We don't have terrestrial or satellite TV (we do have an aerial and a satellite dish at The Asbestos Palace, but they're not connected to anything) nor a TV licence so it's DVDs or streaming. I never watched TV for the first half of my life but I am now in the habit of watching an episode or two of whatever we're binging on in an evening. By the time we're home and finished doing whatever we're doing, it's usually about 10.30pm and time for tea and a bout of TV. I'm never sure how some people manage to squeeze in all the TV they watch, in our house turning the TV on before 10pm is regarded as peculiar. Unless it's my wife watching Glee, in which case, carry on.