Into the Badlands: Season 1

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I’ve just watched the first season of this on Amazon Prime, and I found a lot to like in it.

Especially the first episode had a great first-hand impression. Here Sunny arrives, an Asian Neo only in red instead of black and without sunglasses. He encounters a camp of an evil gang and proves this show has an excellent fight choreography.

If only Iron Fist had been anything like this.

Sunny finds the kid M.K. and brings him back to the fort of his master, the baron Quinn. M.K. have secret superpowers whenever he gets cut, something the show wisely keeps rare to begin with. The show opens up to present several feudal baron monopolies, each living in a mansion surrounded by their clippers (fighters) and cogs (slaves). Not surprisingly the barons really dislike each other and Quinn frequently clashes with some of them, especially the redheaded Widow.

Sunny also have a love interest now illegally pregnant and begins toying with the idea of leaving the baron, taking his chances in the Badlands together with her and M.K.

The fighting choreography always mixes “wire fu” martial arts occasionally with blades. Turns out the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where some commodities have been exhausted. Apparently all the ammo for guns and rifles have been depleted forcing everyone to fight the way they do, but we still see a few motorcycles and cars driving around.

So, all the ammo is gone, but the gasoline is still aplenty? I see.

Farscape: Season 1

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The television show Farscape originally premiered back in 1999, and I bought a couple of season boxes around the same time and binge-watched every minute of them.

It was an vexing experience at the time.

For some odd reason the season boxes had no subtitles and I often had trouble keeping track of what everyone was saying. I had watched all the seasons of modern Star Trek on VHS without subtitles and it was fine there. Patrick Stewart and his acting colleagues spoke so clearly that I never lost the thread. Farscape, on the other hand, sounded more muddled. Maybe they spoke faster, or the music was louder. Either way, I gave up after those two seasons.

That’s why it was great news when Amazon Prime announced that they had picked up this old science fiction show. And now with English subtitles too? Excellent!

I have now rewatched all of the first season. To be honest it doesn’t hold up that well today. It’s nowhere as bad as e.g. Space: 1999 or Blake’s 7 – both of which are quite excrutiating to watch today – but there are still a number of issues now 20 years later.

Associations: Outcast vs Farscape

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If you ever played the fantastic open world voxel masterpiece Outcast from 1999, do you remember when you entered the green and lush rice fields of Shamazaar, the first world you enter after the snowy tutorial? This was a place where our wisecracking hero, Cutter Slade, ran around crossing the rice paddies that had farmers at work while wearing pointed coolie hats.

All very inspired by real Asian rice fields.

Elementary Quips

I just started watching the fifth season of Elementary on Netflix that was made available yesterday. It’s a crime procedural series I’ve been watching faithfully since I first joined Netflix a while back. Jonny Lee Miller plays a modern day Sherlock Holmes, and Lucy Liu a female Watson. It works surprisingly well. In fact, I like the series better than the other modern day version with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Is it me or are there considerably less crime procedural series nowadays? A few years back we were swimming in them. CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, and all their spin-off series. It was too much and we got tired of it in the end, craving new ideas.

Today, I actually miss them back again.

All these adventure series are fine and all, but sometimes I just want to sit back and relax with a crime procedural series where each episode is more or less self-contained. Elementary fits this bill quite nicely.

However, after watching the first three episodes of the fifth season, I’ve noticed a few interesting things about the series.

First, a bit of a rant. What the hell is up with Lucy Liu wearing TIES!? Cut that out! Ties, like suspenders, never look good on a woman. No, really! Let the men wear these things in peace. It’s not like you girls don’t have a ton of other options.

It’s hard not to notice how often Lucy Liu changes her wardrobe. Typically 4-5-6 times an episode. I’ve seen a lot of other series where the protagonists wear their suit the entire episode. I have a feeling it’s quite deliberate; they are turning Lucy Liu into some kind of a fashion show.

It has a silver lining in that it gets rid of that awful tie.

Sometimes it feels like the writers of the show relies a little bit too much on their style. For example, try to pay attention to whenever Sherlock Holmes starts accusing a person of a crime. The person typically denies everything to begin with, but at some point later during the conversation, he or she might throw the “say you’re right” card to follow a hypothetical line in the hope of undermining Sherlock’s arguments.

This dialog trick pops up alarmingly often.

But I must say I really love this show. All of the characters are quite likable and I also like how Holmes and Watson often get into discussions at home that has nothing to do with the case they’re working on.

TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 4)

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This is the fourth and final part in a blog series about what shows I’ve watched and what I thought of them. Just a few remarks for each of them. The text will be with only minor spoilers, so it should be relatively safe to read this in case you’re curious about shows you haven’t seen before.

Don’t miss out on TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 3) with my opinions about Fringe, Heroes, House M.D., Jericho, Lie to Me, and Lost.

TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 3)

Read more “TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 3)”

This is the third part (of four) in a blog series about what shows I’ve watched and what I thought of them. Just a few remarks for each of them. The text will be with only minor spoilers, so it should be relatively safe to read this in case you’re curious about shows you haven’t seen before.

Don’t miss out on Part 2 with my opinions about CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, The Dead Zone, Dexter, Dollhouse, and Firefly.

TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 2)

Read more “TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 2)”

This is the second part (of four) in a blog series about what shows I’ve watched and what I thought of them. Just a few remarks for each of them. The text will be with only minor spoilers, so it should be relatively safe to read this in case you’re curious about shows you haven’t seen before.

Don’t miss out on Part 1 with an introduction as well as opinions about 24, The 4400, Alias, Battlestar Galactica (2003), The Closer, and Criminal Minds.

TV Shows: Thoughts & Opinions (Part 1)

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One of my favorite pastimes is to watch TV shows from one end to another. That’s the great thing that this millennium brought with it – season boxes with several discs, making it possible to watch the shows continuously without the fear of missing an episode.

In the beginning I went crazy and watched maybe four of six episodes one weekend and then another batch again after a few days. Later I learned to save the better TV shows, especially as I started having trouble finding the good ones.

I even have a movie night each week where I watch selected shows together with my family. It’s a tradition we’ve had ever since the first season of Lost was released, and throughout the years we’ve been through a lot of shows. I always buy the cakes for the 9 o’clock coffee.

So, I’ve decided to write a series of blog posts about what shows I’ve watched and what I thought of them. Just a few remarks for each of them. The text will be with only minor spoilers, so it should be relatively safe to read this in case you’re curious about shows you haven’t seen before.

There will be four blog posts about the season-based TV shows (listed alphabetically):

Click a link to immediately jump to the section about that particular TV show.

I’ve discarded a lot of shows to get down to these four parts. Some of them were skipped because I’ve seen too little of them to comment on them, while others have been skipped because of being too old – I wanted the series to be about relatively modern shows. I have seen all the Star Trek spin-off shows too, but I thought that perhaps they should have their very own blog series at a later time. Star Trek has a special place in my geeky heart and thus deserves a special treatment.

So, without further ado, let’s start with…

Associations: Fringe vs Shogun

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I’m watching Fringe these days, a TV show that started in 2008 and is now in the middle of its third season. Currently I’m almost finished with the second season. The show is somewhat inspired by the old X-Files show. A special unit is pursuing and unraveling supernatural accidents or crime scenes. Usually the episodes are more or less isolated, but sometimes they also return to a main storyline that slowly unfolds and intrigues. Just like X-Files.

I must admit that I wasn’t completely won over by the show in the first season. Walter Bishop is a bit too eccentric and they repeat too many of his odd habits. In the second season there are too many episodes where he dominates completely, leaving the other protagonists as mere bystanders. Nevertheless the show is still starting to grow on me as the episodes in the second half of the second season got better. Especially the episode with a younger Walter Bishop was magnificent.

Sam Weiss

In the second season, Nina Sharp suggests Olivia Dunham visits Sam Weiss, a bowling alley owner that also helped Nina regain use of her new cybernetic prosthetic arm. Olivia goes to him but finds his advice oblique and frustrating, although often helpful.

Almost immediately as soon as Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan) appeared on the screen, he reminded me of Father Martin Alvito (Damien Thomas) in the old Shogun TV mini-series from 1980.

Sam Weiss (Fringe) and Father Alvito (Shogun)
Sam Weiss in Fringe and Father Alvito in Shogun.

The resemblance is almost uncanny. Not just because the two actors look so much like each other, but also in the way they act. Both Sam Weiss and Father Alvito have this stoic way about them.