I’ve been quiet

It’s not because I’m not still watching too much TV.

I’m just doing other things in the outside world, too. The election threw me, and I decided I’ve been far too lazy of a citizen, so I joined a political action group to resist the Trump administration and help good people get elected in my state.

So I’m behind on all kinds of shit!

But I am still out here, talking to the void. Looking forward to checking out World of Dance, as long as I can fast-forward through all the talking parts and only watch the dancing parts; I’m savoring every sweet and bloody minute of American Gods, and contemplating getting Showtime so I can also have my subconscious commune with David Lynch in the new Twin Peaks. I’m all caught up on Jane the Virgin, watched all of Legion, and I’m woefully far behind on Legends of Tomorrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hope all is well with you in the void!

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Terrible TV, I Love You

 

It’s true. For every five marquee, prestige, cult, critically praised and under-watched shows I watch and love, I have a beloved show that is, by every measure, terrible. I watched every episode of Instant Star on Teen Nick; my children roundly criticized me for the year I watched, with devoted dedication, Toddlers and Tiaras; in addition to watching the originals in reruns as a child, I eagerly tuned in to reconfigurations of The Brady Bunch.

 

For a while now, I’ve been sticking to the good side of what TV has to offer, but recently, I became aware of a deliciously awful supernatural genre soap opera, Shadowhunters, and I’m addicted.

 

Shadowhunters is based on a series of books called The Mortal Instruments, written by Cassandra Clare. The story is about a young woman named Clary Fray, who finds out on her 18th birthday that not only did she get into the Brooklyn Academy of Art, but that she comes from a supernatural group of people with powers, beholden to protect the “mundanes” (but also pretty snotty about their superiority over said mundanes). Clary finds this out after her mother gets kidnapped and her home is destroyed and all of sudden some scary demons are after her.

 

All the supernatural folks – this includes the Shadowhunters and the “downworlders”, which include werewolves, vampires and fairies – are trying to find the Mortal Cup, which allows the holder (who apparently must be the leader of a gang of fellow Shadowhunters, werewolves, vampires, and fairies) to control the Shadow world. This involves making more Shadowhunters, and I’m not sure how that helps any of the other supernatural folks, but….the show doesn’t care, so I’ll let it go.

 

There are two terrible things about this show off the bat.

  1. The acting. Some of the actors are adequate. The young woman who plays Clary, sadly, is not one of them. Perhaps she’ll improve with time, but my hopes are dim for the beautiful to look at but inadequate at expressing feelings or enunciating words Matthew Daddario, who plays Alec Lightwood, a stunningly attractive block of wood who appears to have something similar to an idea that he is uncomfortable with, which is his attraction to Magnus Bane, a warlock played by Harry Shum, who I hope will dance for us at some point.
  2. The writing. It doesn’t make any sense. Nothing makes sense. Everyone is in a panic and running around all the time, no one thinks or plans. It’s just bad. At least they don’t have run-on sentences like the one I had in point one, so kudos for that. And really, they don’t need to have good writing…

 

…because the soapy side of the equation is so compelling. Beautiful young people in proximity to danger! Barely dressed beautiful young people! There will be making out! And I assume sex, at some point, but we haven’t gotten there yet.
So, Shadowhunters, I’m all in, even though this show is objectively not good. I’ll be watching every not good minute.

Trollhunters

This post is about the excellent new animated TV show Trollhunters (available on Netflix), not the also excellent Norwegian movie Trollhunter. You should watch both of them.

Guillermo del Toro, who has given us gems that I am too afraid to watch (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone), but also Hellboy, has created a really fun animated series, the first season of which is available on Netflix. The show has a hint of tragedy attached to it, as the actor voicing our hero, Jim, was Anton Yelchin, who was one of the many actors who died this year. Jim is the first human to ever be selected by an amulet to be a troll hunter. In this world, there are good trolls, and bad trolls. The good trolls call the bad trolls “gum-gums”, which sounds cute but means something much more terrifying, and those are the trolls that the troll hunter hunts. (I was very happy they explained that, because it was a question I had as I watched the first two episodes.

Jim is a mensch, right off the bat. His mother is a doctor and is working crazy hours, so he takes care of her. He has some serious culinary skills, and makes lunch for himself, his mother, and his best friend Toby. He stands up for the bullied, at risk to himself, and this is before he knows he’s a troll hunter.

I’m about halfway through the first season, and I’m finding this a delightful way to pass a half an hour while dinner is cooking.

Re-Watching: Community

I was a huge fan of the show Community when it was on the air (that’s a term that has lost it’s meaning, I guess), and I was sad when it was canceled after 6 seasons (still waiting for the movie). The recent election put me into a funk and I was seeking a respite from the news, which I can’t quit but which leaves me blue, so I started first re-watching Gilmore Girls, but stopped when the new episodes came out (more on that at some point down the road), and then I decided to re-watch Community instead.

This show is better the second time around, and since it was fucking amazing the first time, that means everyone should watch it again. Or watch it for the first time and then watch it again. I was particularly taken with the season 3 Christmas episode this time, where Christmas cheer is a heinous virus spread through music, in particular the homage to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This captures my bah humbug feelings about this holiday (to put in context, I have a part-time job as a cantor and choir section leader, and we started singing Christmas songs BEFORE November started, so by the time December rolls around, I am full on sick and tired of Christmas. And that’s before Christmas Eve, when I sing at three different services -the last of which STARTS at midnight- and a concert. And to add context, I’m an atheist who spends way too much time in a church.)

When the show was on, I found Chang really annoying, but I’m actually enjoying him this time around.

 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I adored season 1 wholeheartedly, but when season 2 started, I felt the palpable loss of budget was dragging things down a bit. This week’s episode, though, “When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?” was fantastic. I am so, so sad to lose Santino Fontana and Greg, but I’m excited to see Rebecca and Heather as roommates.

Most amazing of all was the treatment of Paula’s abortion. Donna Lynn Champlain should be nominated for every award under the sun for her portrayal of Paula Proctor. Not just because of the unplanned pregnancy storyline, but oh, man, I have lived her life in many ways, and as a woman only slightly older, I recognize how devastating an unplanned pregnancy can be when you’re getting ready to move past the role of mother and caretaker.

I leave you with an accurate summation of Greg and Rebecca’s relationship (as much as I loved them together):

New Series’ I’m Trying Out

This Is Us – schmoopy, schmaltzy, weeper. I’m not sure if I like it, but I’m enjoying it. I can have a little cry. My opinion is not yet settled.

The Good Place – I’m not entirely sure where it’s going, but I’m there for the ride. Kristen Bell will always be on my good side because of Veronica Mars; Ted Danson could not be more delightful, William Jackson Harper has some amazing comic delivery, Jameela Jamil is perfect and insecure, Manny Jacinto is hilarious and D’Arcey Carden is perfect as Janet.

Speechless – I’m not sure about this. I love Minnie Driver, I love Cedric Yarborough, I like all the kids, but I’m not sure.

American Housewife – there is something I don’t like about it.