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Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Angel

This is a spinoff from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv series, starring Buffy’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, the vampire Angel.  He goes on his own journey, completing quests and fighting evil.  Right from the start, the show has a darker tone than Buffy started out with, but that’s to be expected.  There are plenty of lighter, more fun moments, and the characters really stand out as separate entities.  Once again, the earliest couple of seasons are the best, but there are standout episodes throughout the five seasons.  The finale isn’t satisfying, however.  Buffy got a proper, if not happy, ending, but Angel gets none of that.  There are a couple of production reasons for this, but they’re not important.  Having gone through the whole thing, I would be sorely tempted to skip the ending and quit two or three seasons before I even get there, just to avoid the annoying parts.  That being said, there are still redeeming qualities in the show right up to the end, so it’s a toss-up.

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The tv series.  Completely different from the movie, this one is darker, more serious, and more realistic.  It touches on heavy psychological and philosophical questions while inserting some lighthearted humor here and there.  The characters are sympathetic and touching, and the acting is leagues ahead of the movie.  It grows darker with each season, however, eventually landing somewhere in an extremely depressive state.  Happiness is always just out of reach, and characters outside of the core group often die.  The wordplay is more clever and fun, and the pacing is exciting without ever getting too fast-paced.  There is much to recommend this version, especially if you have the patience for its length.  Even in the darkest hours of the final seasons, there are fun and unusual storylines.  My favorite episodes reside in the first couple of seasons, but I can still pick out good ones throughout the show.

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This documentary kind of misses its title.  The part the queen herself plays in the whole hour-long show is minimal.  It focuses mainly on the setting and Rome’s methods of war.  There are some details about the lifestyle lived by Celtic tribes of the time, as well.  It’s a slow, plodding sort of tale with repetitious visuals and very little detail about the woman herself.  On top of that, much of the story about the tribes is relayed from Roman descriptions, making them automatically suspect.  The victors of wars often depict their rivals as savage cowards and barbarians.  Doesn’t make it so.  There are better documentaries and historical dramas about Boudicca now, and I would recommend looking for them.

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Bones

This tv show was a result of the glut of crime dramas that flooded the airwaves some time back.  It has good qualities, but a second viewing left me cold.  The banter between characters is quick and snappy, but these people are basically just stereotypes.  The lead character is refreshingly unique and fun to watch at first, but every interaction with the people around her leads to her learning that she’s wrong about her perspective, her beliefs, and even her observations sometimes.  What’s the point of having a strong, smart, talented, scientifically-minded atheist if you’re just going to browbeat her into eventually becoming like everyone else?  Her interactions with her FBI partner are the worst.  Yes, there’s some cute flirting and back-and-forth teasing.  But he always gets what he wants, not by being right or thorough, but by being persistent.  She gives in because…she’s always wrong?  We’re obviously meant to feel more sympathy for him because he’s normal, but there’s very little compromise between them and they still end up in a relationship by the end.  With a baby.  Which is the end of most tv shows, anyway.  The forensics and science behind the individual episode plots are wispy and unrealistic for the most part, but it does make for some fun drama.  In the end, Bones isn’t bad on a first viewing if you don’t think too much about it and don’t empathize with weird, anti-social intellectuals like I do.  Otherwise, skip it.  There are better crime dramas out there.  At least, one, anyway.

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Birds of Prey

This tv series looked at Batgirl’s life as Oracle, working with Huntress and the daughter of Black Canary.  It’s mostly campy fun in a very comic book style.  There’s plenty of action, some mystery, and the acting is good, if not always great.  There are a few other characters from the comics mixed in, but the storylines often fudge the details of the original plots.  The main focus seems to be girl power, although plenty of mistakes are made in that arena.  The women all dress like they’re trying to attract men at the club, even when it’s not useful for the line of work they’re in.  And each episode is introduced by Alfred, as if it’s not possible to tell a story about female superheroes without it being framed by a man.  Mostly, though, it’s lots of fun, and it is refreshing to see lesser known characters getting some attention.  It’s a pity it only lasted one season and never got the chance to grow.  Worth a look if you’re already a fan of the characters or just love dark superhero stories.

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Batman (2004)

‘The Batman’ is the official title of this version of the Batverse.  It starts out pretty slowly.  The entire first season is a rehash of old stories and characters, with wild redesigns on the latter.  The animation is a bit lazy in spots, and the plots are boring and unoriginal.  The villains get no backstory or psychological depth whatsoever.  Worst of all, women almost don’t exist.  Aside from a couple of one-line, throwaway characters who are there solely to stroke Wayne’s ego, there are only a couple of female characters with any depth or dialogue in the entire first-season, 13-episode run.  You won’t even see many women in the background, as if most of them died off in a terrible but never-talked-about apocalypse.  The most notable woman in the first couple of seasons is also an obvious ‘we need to check off everything on the list’ sort of character.  She’s a detective who hunts, then works with, Batman, and she’s an Asian woman named Yin.  Yeah, as in ‘yin and yang’.  Her partner is the only black person in the show, and he plays basketball.  Eventually, the plot puts him through a fairly impressive story and character arc, but all of that is soon forgotten, as is Yin when Jim Gordon finally shows up, and she is never seen again.  He doesn’t show his face until the final episode of the second season, but people still talk about him working with ‘The Bat’, as if he’d been there the whole time.  This show has a habit of introducing characters and plot points in that way, acting like it was obvious the whole time, even when they literally didn’t exist for the last two years.  With Yin gone, we finally get Batgirl, a mildly annoying teenager this time around.  At least, Poison Ivy gets a unique introduction in the same episode.  At this point, women apparently exist, and you get to see more of them in the background, if not exactly front and center.  Batgirl becomes palatable by the end of the third season, only for the show to bring in Robin, a massively annoying child.  He becomes more tolerable himself, and the rest of the show has ups and downs.  Mostly downs in the fifth and final season, which is more like a Justice League show than a straight Batman show.  There’s more of the other JL heroes than Batgirl or any of the usual Batman villains.  There’s also a bizarrely supernatural movie that pits The Batman against Dracula.  At least, it’s unique.  Overall, the entire show is mostly forgettable, unoriginal, and only mildly entertaining in seasons two through four.

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More typical Rankin/Bass entertainment. It’s cute, it’s fun, it has good music. The weirdest thing about this one is its focus on religion without using any overt religious symbolism or caricatures. It’s mostly in the music, with chickens singing about Noah’s ark as the solution to the “chicken or the egg” riddle, and out-of-place single lines, like the narrator commenting that the kids worship god in their own way. Considering the fantastical nature of the story itself, it feels odd to shoehorn in such blatant preaching. There are also strange historical elements, such as their attempt to explain where holiday traditions came from, but that’s par for the course for Rankin/Bass stuff. But if you can ignore all of that, or even subscribe to it, this is a cute little Easter cartoon with an interesting plot.

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