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What-cha-what-cha-what-cha Watched?

Peter Deadpan

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Am rewatching The Midnight Gospel, because I love it so much. I need more Duncan Trussell. We all need more Duncan Trussell.

We should periodically infuse the water supply with psilocybin.
 

Lex Sporis

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Just finished watching this whole thing on Netflix.



I was amused.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Blown Away, a reality show about glass-blowing. '

Ok, I admit I was being simplistic about my stance on reality shows. I like the ones that are a competition about a skill I'm interested in. I don't think I'd ever glass-blow myself (too clumsy), but it fascinates me and I think the results are often beautiful.

Also I do remember having a crush on Ruthie from the Hawaii season of the Real World. (Yes, I know she was a lesbian).
 

Totenkindly

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I have a free week of STARZ network and started watching this book adaptation to TV of "The Rook" -- a cross-genre story involving spies/gov including agents with supernatural powers and mixing that all with the "lead character has amnesia" loop.

The pilot was okay. Interesting, kind of derivative, a bit detached. I had wanted to watch the series for awhile. There are only 8 episodes because STARZ discontinued it last year, oh well. There are two book in the series, though.

I had joined Hulu for a free month so I could watch Palm Springs (from last year) and also they have DEV, which is the Alex Garland series he made for them. Alex Garland is one of those guys I'd watch anything by, rather like Denis Villeneuve and (to a lesser degree now) Christopher Nolan.
 

GoggleGirl17

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You vs. Wild, the Bear Grylls version of choose your own adventure.
 

Lex Sporis

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Weeds. Why’d it take me so long to start this? Pretty good so far.
 

Totenkindly

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I have a free week of STARZ network and started watching this book adaptation to TV of "The Rook" -- a cross-genre story involving spies/gov including agents with supernatural powers and mixing that all with the "lead character has amnesia" loop.

The pilot was okay. Interesting, kind of derivative, a bit detached. I had wanted to watch the series for awhile. There are only 8 episodes because STARZ discontinued it last year, oh well. There are two book in the series, though.

Okay, so I watched half the episodes (4 out of 8). I also got a copy of the first book, since that seems worth reading.

I can see why the show got canceled, though. it seems to have jettisoned the quirkier / more interesting parts of the book for a very bland, boring "you've seen it better in a few other shows" spy drama with a bit of superpowers. Except you barely ever see superpowers. I wondering whether it was the sensibility of the showrunner that tamped this down or just not having the budget to want to film actual stuff involving special effects. The only powers shown are things that barely register as otherworldly.

Except for the Gestalt. This is fascinating and I love all of their scenes. Basically it is one mind in four bodies -- two are identical twins, two are fraternal twins, but all the same "character." One is female, the rest male. What breaks the trope is how it is handled -- they were forced to compartmentalize at a young age so they could operate as if they were four separate people (with one mind) but they're really just one mind. So the compartmentalization is what is unnatural and a bit painful for them, and when they are alone they don't interact with each other, even while they are all regularly together -- as if they were one person, that just happened to be in four bodies all doing the same thing at home. It's eerie. Because they are together, but they don't interact like four housemates, they just all do the same things together without speaking -- just like ONE person who lived alone wouldn't interact with anything either.

Aside from the gimmicky stuff where they will talk simultaneously sometimes, it's got cooler stuff like when one sees something and the one twenty feet away in a conversation will bring it as if they just saw it. Or imagine an agent who can perfectly coordinate four bodies in an action sequence because it is really just one person / one mind. They can also coordinate other things perfectly while one plays a distraction because the others are the same mind and perfectly in sync.

Also, when they (singular they) have a crush or are attracted to someone, they all are. As singular people, we see four of them and wondering which one had the affair -- but here we can't tell which body was involved because all four are just one mind. I'm still not sure which body hooked up with so-and-so.

Anyway, the trope normally acts like it's the "bonding" that is forced on the characters to make them a hive mind and they have to learn how to regain their independence and that is a good thing; here, Gestalt is actually one person unnaturally forced to be four sometimes, and THAT is the stressful/bad thing, and they really just want to be a singular them that happens to be in four bodies.
 

Totenkindly

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Finished "The Rook" -- last four episodes.

Won't belabor it except to say the second half was far better than the first. Part of it is that the details were finally brought into focus, mysteries were mostly answered, and there's a lot more character activity rather than veiled conversations. The finale was one of the best episodes, and they even tied it up in such a way that the series could end there (and it did, apparently, since STARZ did not pick it up for season 2). I *think* I could recommend it based on how much better it gets by the end; just the first half can be a bit of a struggle until you get past the hump, since everything is confusing and veiled. But then again, that emulates Myfanwy's experience since she has lost her entire memory.

Gestalt remained the most interesting character, although some others became more fleshed out. There's a really great "internal monologue" in e6 or e7 where all four bodies are actually externalizing a typical internal conversation that a normal person might experience in their own head when they have been badly hurt and angered by someone else. I am feeling like the showrunner really grasped the possibilities and had an affinity for Gestalt, because most of the other characters were not utilized as deeply as they might have been, but they really made Gestalt intriguing. Our natural inclination is to determine individuality by the body -- so we naturally would read Gestalt as four people, especially since they have each tried to visibly differentiate on purpose to make normal humans less uncomfortable -- but it's really better to think about them as one individual who happens to have four separate localities and each body is just part of a larger body.
 

Totenkindly

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Since I have free Hulu for a month, I started watching another show I wanted to see last year-- Alex Garland's "DEVS" with Nick Offerman and Alison Pill and others.

The coolest cast (which I didn't recognize, since her hair is so short) is that Lily, the lead, is Sonoya Mizuno. I thought I recognized her name. She plays Kyoko (the earlier AI) in Ex Machina and also did the mirror-duplicate / choreographed the reflective moves of Natalie Portman's double in "Annihilation" (both films by Garland), since she has extensive dance training. I just never saw her playing a human before, so she now has to express some emotional range... but I feel like her take on the character is unique. She has to cry once in this episode and I don't think I've seen anyone cry in this way; it is just devastating.

Only watched 1/8 so far, 7 more episodes to go, but it's already interesting and reminds me a bit of Michael Creighton a bit as well, who was also interested in tech and its impact on humanity although Garland in all his work seems to be even more focused on the personal and on character.

I'm not really sure what the series is about (aside from determinism vs free will) -- it reminded me of Creighton in that the tech is lurking inside what amounts to a mystery, kind of like Rising Sun or something. Offerman is kind of fascinating, and I like how the technical experience is almost treated as religious here -- the golden cube and the structure housing it is like a temple in which you need to remain pure, the huge girl statue is like a statue to deity, Offerman's character is like the divine prophet, etc. But of course it is, because one of the fundamental questions involved in religion is the extent of free will.
 

Totenkindly

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Started watching 11.22.63 on Hulu -- I read the book and really enjoyed it, although as a story it's more in the "Shawshank Redemption" zone of King's work. And also the book ending left me feeling similar to the end of Shawshank. So I hope I feel that way here. I did get through the 90 minute opener, kind of like it, kind of indifferent. I know that despite the overall decent ratings from RT and metacritic, Vulture seemed kinda lukewarm on it.
 

Totenkindly

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Five seasons of the original "The Muppet Show" have appeared on Disney+ and is supposed to be the huge bulk of episodes (over 100+ out of the 120, I guess they had trouble with some of the musical rights).

It's fun watching them as an adult, since I was a child when I avidly watched them as they aired. Forty years or more but they still hold up pretty well. Plus it's odd seeing ones with people who recently died (like Cloris Leachman). Fascinating with her -- she was probably around my age now when she was on the show and was pretty old them. But I didn't watch her much in recent years when she was on TV, I usually was acquainted with her when she was playing quirky roles in film and never heard her actual voice much.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Five seasons of the original "The Muppet Show" have appeared on Disney+ and is supposed to be the huge bulk of episodes (over 100+ out of the 120, I guess they had trouble with some of the musical rights).

It's fun watching them as an adult, since I was a child when I avidly watched them as they aired. Forty years or more but they still hold up pretty well. Plus it's odd seeing ones with people who recently died (like Cloris Leachman). Fascinating with her -- she was probably around my age now when she was on the show and was pretty old them. But I didn't watch her much in recent years when she was on TV, I usually was acquainted with her when she was playing quirky roles in film and never heard her actual voice much.

I watched the one with Luke Skywalker and his cousin Mark Hamill. Apparently that was aired a few months before ESB, which makes sense because his costume is kind of like what he wears at the end of that movie.

I also watched Rich Little and George Burns of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band fame.
 

Totenkindly

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Stumbled across "Invincible" on Amazon Prime right as it dropped its first three episodes. It's Kirkland's (TWD) superhero narrative that I never bothered to read since I had stopped buying comics in that time period anyway, and knew almost little to nothing about (which actually is a benefit here, considering some major revelations in the story).

With the animation and voicing seemingly modeled after '90's cartoons, I wasn't that impressed by it at first, especially the first fifteen minutes. It just seemed sorta dumb, despite the massive number of familiar names in the cast list. There's little attempt to evoke emotion in the voice acting or animation style, it all felt a bit stilted or cheap. The middle was a bit more interesting, even if too familiar.

Then, well, there was the last 10-15 minutes which was like, "OH, so THAT's the direction we're going now!" That was a bit crazy.

So I'll probably watch the other two that released. The last five episodes of the season will then drop on a weekly basis.

There's also a huge bit of irony considering the lead is Steven Yeun and there's a number of TWD cast here, in terms of how the Episode 1 plot goes. It's almost like an inside joke to the fanbase of TWD.
 
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