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Idiot Box

TV in short form

I’ve watched a few new shows this year! But I haven’t ever really found the drive to press any words about them. So today, rather than anything that tries to be insightful or whatever, here are some random thoughts about a few of them. Think of it as a Month End TV Show Wrap-Up, only it’s for all of 2022 so far, and this is probably the only one that’s going to happen.

Midnight Mass

Horror mini-series on Netflix. Midnight Mass opens with a fella returning to his island home after having been in prison for years. Then you meet pretty much everyone who lives on said island (the ensemble cast is huge!) and follow their Christianity-themed adventures. But of course I told you this is a horror series, so certain elements may not be as they initially seem!

And speaking of things that aren’t exactly what they seem… well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but the villain! You’ll spend a long time waffling over who you think the villain is in this one. There are a lot of red herrings, and thankfully they’re all written in ways that make sense. But also… Maybe there are multiple villains! Or maybe I’m just trying to trick you and there are no villains! The only way to find out is to watch the show!

Definitely dug this one, but it doesn’t really get going until the end of episode five, so it’s going to seem like a struggle for a while. The payoff is well worth it, though! The last two episodes are great! I’d actually like to say more about it, but I watched it in April or something, so most of the finer details have slipped my mind. And also, I want to avoid the spoilers. Telling you pretty much anything about this one is a spoiler.

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Desire: A Follow-up

You know that meme, “how it started/how it’s going”? I’m doing that today, but in text form!

Basically, I just want to take a quick look back at my “24 Days of Desire” feature and see how many of them have been fulfilled. It’s been almost a year now, I should have been able to get everything I wanted, right? Let’s see!

Day 1: Television – This was about me wanting to have cable, and if I recall correctly, it was specifically so I could watch the Chucky series. Well, I never got cable, because that would be stupid, and I still haven’t watched Chucky, because I don’t pirate TV shows or movies any more. Chucky is also on Paramount+, which has other things I want to watch, so I’m thinking about a subscription to that… But probably won’t bother.

Day 2: A better GPU – Ain’t got this. I’ve heard that prices are going down, but I haven’t bothered to look in many months. Besides, I only wanted it to beef up my Quest 2, so it’s right down at the bottom of my priority ladder.

Day 3: Star Wars sequels box set – I haven’t looked to see if this exists, and I don’t actually care enough to check. This was a filler episode, for sure.

Continue reading Desire: A Follow-up

Another U-logy

Last week, I wrote a couple of blog posts that were spurred on by the news that Nintendo will be closing up the 3DS eShop. What I hadn’t mentioned was that the Wii U’s eShop is closing as well. It’s… less of a big deal. I think that I bought every game I wanted on Wii U while it was still Nintendo’s active platform. It’s not like there were a whole lot of them.

What I’m getting to here, is that there was also a statistics thingy for Wii U games on Nintendo’s website. Look at mine!

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Mysteries, not solved

I’ve never watched Unsolved Mysteries in my life, but it’s a show that I’ve heard a lot about. Matt from Dinosaur Dracula is a big fan of the show, and as such, I’ve absorbed plenty of information about the show from his websites and the Purple Stuff Podcast. Because of that, I’ve long since been interested in actually watching the show, just to see what it’s like.

Imagine my luck, then, to learn that (what seems to be) every single episode is available to watch on YouTube! For free! Time to learn about all sorts of crimes from the 80’s!

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24 Days of Desire (1): Television

If you’ve been following this website for a while, you probably know that sometimes I will do an advent calendar-like daily feature from December 1st to 20-somethingth. It started as the 23 Days of Materialism, in which I highlighted something that I thought was cool each day. It was both a way to show off things I liked and also sort of a stealthy way to give people gift ideas for the holidays. In later years, I would try to spice up the formula with different themes.

This year, I’ve decided to turn the feature on its ear, and so I introduce to you the 24 Days of Desire. This time around I’ll be listing a bunch of things that I would like to have, as opposed to things I already own. It’s… not really that much of a difference, but I feel like it’ll allow me a little more space for creativity. That, and it guarantees I don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of things to write about. Woop woop!

Now that the stage is set, I’d like to start off with something fairly easy:

Television.

Continue reading 24 Days of Desire (1): Television

Godzilla Singular Point

I spent a good chunk of time last weekend watching Godzilla Singular Point, Netflix’s new Godzilla anime. While I would say that I was engaged throughout and enjoyed it, I must also confess that… I don’t think I have the hottest of clues as to what actually happened throughout the 13 episodes.

At it’s core, Godzilla SP is exactly what you might expect: a show about gigantic monsters invading and causing rampant destruction, and the people trying to figure out how to stop them. It’s what these monsters are made of and why they exist that gets me more than a little confused. And also all of the of time-travel shenanigans don’t help at all.

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24 Days of Quarantine Fun – Day 13: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Earlier this year, there was a massive online outrage over the purchase of the Peanuts specials by Apple. I didn’t follow it too closely, so I think that people assumed this meant that the specials would no longer be shown on TV, and the collective internet freaked the heck out.

But then Apple confirmed that the specials would still be on TV, and the galaxy was at peace once again.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is the only Peanuts special I’ve ever felt compelled to purchase on physical media. Possibly because it’s the only one I would watch annually on TV as a kid. I’m pretty sure I stopped watching it once I outgrew YTV, and that it was completely purged from my mind at that point, because when I started watching it again in recent years, it felt like I was watching it for the first time again.

You probably know the special – it’s about Charlie Brown becoming disillusioned by the commercialization of Christmas, and trying to find ways to properly get himself in the holiday spirit. It’s a little preachy, and I think that every holiday special that came after would project the same general message. By the time 1970 rolled around, “the true meaning of Christmas” would be a dead horse, beaten year-after-year by every holiday episode and special ever made. Or at least that’s my perception of it.

The funny thing is, I don’t know how much I actually like this special. I watch it because it’s tradition, but I don’t really get a whole lot out of it. There aren’t any especially funny scenes, nothing that really makes me feel particularly strongly in any way, not quotes that I feel compelled to parrot out at every opportunity. Mostly I just spend a lot of time thinking about how much time they pad with that same shot of all the kids dancing in the auditorium.

If I had to make a recommendation… Maybe watch It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, which is the 1990 special. It’s not incredible either, but at least it’s got some jokes. It also has a lot of Peppermint Patty and Marcie, who are my favourite duo of the Peanuts gang.

24 Days of Quarantine Fun – Day 6: Holiday Episodes

If there’s one thing that irks me a little bit about not having television, it’s that I can’t just have a non-stop stream of holiday-themed episodes playing in my place all day long. I mean, I could, but that would require effort, and Sunday’s just not the day for effort.

Today, my suggestion for keeping yourself busy is to watch holiday episodes from a few of your favourite shows. While not every series does holiday episodes, most of them absolutely do. Probably even one per season, in most cases. So if you have a DVD collection, or a streaming service, or some kind of television thieving device, it shouldn’t take long to track some down.

Personally, there are exactly three that I like to incorporate into my festive traditions. The first is from Community, and it actually the only real holiday “episode” of the bunch, since the other two are technically specials. “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” from the second season, is almost definitely my favourite holiday episode of any show. It’s almost completely done in stop-motion animation, has a mystery at the heart of the plot, and tells a genuinely heartfelt story.

My second choice is the BoJack Horseman holiday special. This one is actually a Christmas episode of the Horsin’ Around show-within-a-show, and has BoJack and Todd watching it together as a framing device. Since it’s a riff on old 80’s sitcoms, it’s a lot like they cynical holiday episodes you’ll get from those kinds of shows, but more satirical, since it’s BoJack Horseman.

Finally, we come to the Trailer Park Boys holiday special, “Dear Santa Claus, Go F**k Yourself”. Interestingly, this one is set at least a year before the TV series, so you get to see somewhat younger and different versions of the characters. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are all the same as usual, though, and the special actually plays out a lot like a very short season of the show.

So those are my three big picks. If I had to give a general recommendation for just one? Easily Community. You don’t need to be overly familiar with the rest of the show to really appreciate it, and I think you need at least a little bit of base knowledge to fully enjoy BoJack‘s. Trailer Park Boys is a real hit-or-miss kind of thing in general, but being placed outside the show’s timeline does make it a little more accessible to newcomers.

It’s also worth mentioning that all three episodes I’ve listed above are available on Netflix. One (BoJack) is exclusively so, and the other two you could theoretically get on DVD. (Do they still print DVDs?) I don’t know where else they might be streaming.

Spooktober Movie-Watch Round-Up 2020: Week 4

I… I didn’t watch any movies last week! Oops!

But that’s because I was spending my free time doing other spooky things, like playing spooky video games, or watching other people play spooky video games, or watching a spooky new Netflix series called…

~ The Haunting of Bly Manor ~

I could just cheat the system and not write anything this week, but why not at least put up a short post about this series that surprised me in several very good ways? The first, and I’m going to spoil everything right off the top, is that I really liked it. Like, I would be okay watching the whole thing again basically right away, under the right circumstances. I can’t say that about all that many TV shows.

Another one that comes to mind though, is The Haunting on Hill House. Which is a Netflix series that came out last Halloween, and is the predecessor to Bly Manor, because apparently “The Haunting of…” is going to be an anthology series now. It’s a little like American Horror Story, even, because about half of the actors from Hill House carried over to Bly Manor. I had no idea about any of this when Bly Manor was first released, and was happy to pass on the series. But then I heard about the connection, and I really liked Hill House, so it just seemed natural to check out the next entry.

The Haunting of Bly Manor, is, like Hill House before it, based on a novel. The difference is that this time it’s a novel I’ve actually heard of: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I’ve never read it, and in fact I didn’t even know it was a ghost story, but I’ve heard of it! And I really want to read it now!

The setup for this one is that an American lady trying to run away from a troubled past travels to England to get a nanny job in a creepy old mansion… Stop me if this sounds familiar. She does get put in charge of real children though; a young boy and his little sister. Both are a touch on the weird side, and maybe a little bit annoying at first. I have to admit though, that after a few episodes I really took a liking to little Flora. She’s just so darned cute!

There are other characters, as well. Obviously. An absent-minded housekeeper, a fabulously mustachioed cook, a tomboy gardener, and an absentee uncle. Oh, and also a whole host of spooks and spirits. Despite the fact that the show is set in a very haunted mansion, only the first episode comes anywhere close to scary. After that, it’s basically just character drama with a somewhat creepy atmosphere. There are still ghosts, mind you, but most of them are fully-realized characters, and almost never do anything scary. In fact, the scariest one is basically exorcised less than halfway through the series.

Despite my disappointment at the lack of spookiness, I still really enjoyed The Haunting of Bly Manor. The characters are great and the plot is compelling, which resulted in me getting hooked on it very quickly. I don’t really have any idea if Bly Manor is a shot-for-shot remake of The Turn of the Screw or not, but I would imagine that a lot what makes it so good is that it’s based on classic literature. It certainly couldn’t hurt that they started with a solid base. I don’t think that Bly Manor is quite as good as Hill House, but the fact that the story is told in a much more linear fashion makes it a lot easier to understand, if nothing else. It’s a very good second entry in this anthology, and I’m stoked for a third series next Halloween.

Dani’s 80’s jeans drive me absolutely bonkers though. Euuuuugggghh.

How Can One Be Bored?

Over the last month and change, people all over the world have been self-isolating and/or forced to stay in their homes to stem the tide of the coronavirus. Along with that came torrents of social media post proclaiming how bored people were now that they were confined to their homes.

To that I say… how?

I genuinely don’t understand. Last week I was on vacation, and like most, I spent almost all of that free time at home. However, I had so much going on to keep me busy that I didn’t even make time to write up any blog posts. There are dozens of other things on my to-do list that remain undone, because even when you aren’t losing a third of your day to work, there just isn’t enough time.

Continue reading How Can One Be Bored?