It's not the size of the screen...

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Warren
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Warren »

JD wrote:
18 Nov 2019, 12:16
Started watching Watchmen the other day. I like it in some ways, but they're definitely going this route of "Here's some mysterious stuff. Dig into it and start explaining? Nah, let's just pile more mysterious stuff on top of it!" Four episodes in and the show is already at risk of exceeding its "gimme threshhold".

(I think I've referred to this concept before, but: every writer of fiction asks the consumer for certain "gimmes", like "Grant that in this world superheroes exist" or "Grant that in this world Germany won WWII" or whatever. That's fine, that's the basis for the fiction. But when the author starts assuming what seem like arbitrary gimmes, that don't seem to follow from anything, then it gets to be a problem, like if you read 400 pages into a novel about a world where the US broke up but the USSR lasted, when suddenly you learn that also dogs can talk in this world.)

"In this world, superheroes exist."
OK, cool, let's go with that!
"And a terrorist organization killed almost the cops in Tulsa and the response was to let cops wear masks."
OK, seems kind of weird, especially since we know that the state police and FBI are also a thing in this world, and apparently they didn't do dick about it, but sure.
"And this guy has this weird castle where he's being held prisoner, and he grows clones in tanks."
Not sure how that ties in with anything, and nobody else in the world seems to have technology like what he seems to be able to do with basically no support structure, but...
"And tomatoes grow on trees."
TOMATOES DO NOT GROW ON FUCKING TREES
I don't limit the gimmes, but I insist that all the gimmes are respected at all times. So "And a terrorist organization killed almost the cops in Tulsa and the response was to let cops wear masks." OK, seems kind of weird, especially since we know that the state police and FBI are also a thing in this world, and apparently they didn't do dick about it, but sure." is a deal breaker.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Jasper »

Fresh off the Boat is pretty good.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by JD »

Episode 6 of Watchmen ("This Extraordinary Being") was pretty damn good, though, as it finally does begin to explain some stuff (partly through a bit of a ridiculous mechanism, but oh well) in a really powerful way.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by JD »

Tried watching the first episode of Reprisal. The best way I can describe it is that it's like someone said, "Hey, what if Robert Rodriguez directed a mashup of Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men?" but didn't really have any idea how to write it very well. It looks good and it's mildly entertaining, but pretty much everything in it makes you say "Haven't I seen this somewhere before?" and paraphrasing the Hollywood Reporter's review, every episode feels like it should take about half as long as it actually does. I'll try watching a little more, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by JD »

I found the end of Watchmen kind of unsatisfying. The worldbuilding of the show was really good, the acting was good, the direction and cinematography really good, and the plot ultimately kind of so-so. I think the writers fell prey to a common writing problem with recent TV shows, where they so badly want to make a complex and mysterious world that they spend the first 85% of the show piling on mysteries, and then go "oh shit, we have to make the last 15% pure explication".

SPOILERS FOLLOW

Firstly, I think any plot that actively involves Doctor Manhattan is in trouble from the get-go, because the guy has literally godlike powers, including the ability to perceive past, present, and future simultaneously, so it's really hard to write an interesting problem for him, i.e., The Superman Problem. So of course they have to take the route of nerfing his powers, i.e. the typical solution to The Superman Problem.

And there were just a bunch of irritating plot holes and just-so stuff. Lady Trieu can teleport stuff? Since when? Seems like kind of a major thing to neglect mentioning. The entire end of the plot only works out the way it does because Lady Trieu brings Adrian Veidt back. She apparently does this solely because she has narcissism/daddy issues, something never mentioned before the last episode. For that matter, even Veidt only solves things because he has a temperature control on his squid-porter, for some reason. Why does Trieu even need to use Cyclops as a cats-paw? There's a brief mention of basically trying to bamboozle Manhattan with the plan, BUT THE GUY LITERALLY HAS GODLIKE POWERS AND PERCEIVES EVERYTHING AT ONCE; a basic "but it was really me behind the scenes all along!" does not seem like the kind of thing that would work on him.

Does Laurie Blake really add anything to the plot? I mean, she spends about the second half of her screen time tied to a chair. For that matter, does Wade Tillman/Looking Glass even add that much to the plot? He disappears in Episode 7, then reappears in the final episode but does not really do too much. Why does Will/Hooded Justice kill Judd anyway? I mean "discovering that Judd was a secret Cyclops member" is a reasonable enough motivation, but the way it goes into this whole "now I am going to use this to springboard into telling you about the history of everything" ends up feeling awkward and unconnected. And even Veidt's final arrest feels a bit hokey, only being possible because he did the stereotypical Bond villain thing of giving an unnecessary (recorded!) explanation of everything he did.

Followup thought: Why the fuck does Angela eat the egg anyway? Does she want to be a god? Did we ever get any indication that she wanted that? Having seen everything that's happened, does it make sense that she would want that?
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Warren »

It's Commercial Holiday Shopping Season, and you know what that means. Right! One free month of Amazon Prime.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. and The Expanse have both dropped.

Mrs. Maisel was fine as far as it went. But it didn't go far enough. 8 episodes for the 3rd season? Are you shitting me? BOO!

The Expanse had bigger issues. This is the first season on Amazon. The big worry was that they'd have to work on a smaller budget with resulting diminished quality. But the look of the show, while subtly different, was still good. The bigger problem, was the plot arc of the first three seasons came to a satisfying conclusion. Season 4 necessarily starts a fresh story. But we're with the same characters. I think there should have been some churn in the cast, with like half the old cast mostly or completely out of the picture. More of a problem was the writing. I thought the writing was shit. Like the way the Simpsons replaced good writers with lazy writers, seems like that's going on here. The character of Bobby Draper was decidedly diminished this season, though I do like her story and the actress is keeping the character in tact. UN Deputy Chrisjen Avasarala is a much bigger disappointment. She's been reduced to saying "fuck' all the time. Also the final episode was hella lame, here's all this season's plots conveniently wrapped up with a little bow and now here's some people you've never seen before about to destroy the earth. fuuuu
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Painboy »

Warren wrote:
17 Dec 2019, 14:36
It's Commercial Holiday Shopping Season, and you know what that means. Right! One free month of Amazon Prime.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. and The Expanse have both dropped.

Mrs. Maisel was fine as far as it went. But it didn't go far enough. 8 episodes for the 3rd season? Are you shitting me? BOO!

The Expanse had bigger issues. This is the first season on Amazon. The big worry was that they'd have to work on a smaller budget with resulting diminished quality. But the look of the show, while subtly different, was still good. The bigger problem, was the plot arc of the first three seasons came to a satisfying conclusion. Season 4 necessarily starts a fresh story. But we're with the same characters. I think there should have been some churn in the cast, with like half the old cast mostly or completely out of the picture. More of a problem was the writing. I thought the writing was shit. Like the way the Simpsons replaced good writers with lazy writers, seems like that's going on here. The character of Bobby Draper was decidedly diminished this season, though I do like her story and the actress is keeping the character in tact. UN Deputy Chrisjen Avasarala is a much bigger disappointment. She's been reduced to saying "fuck' all the time. Also the final episode was hella lame, here's all this season's plots conveniently wrapped up with a little bow and now here's some people you've never seen before about to destroy the earth. fuuuu
Got to disagree completely with that. IMHO this was by far the best season of the Expanse. It didn't feel like they were just racing to hit plot points like some of the earlier seasons. Also a number of the actors have gotten significantly better in their roles. Bobby is actually pretty good now, where in the earlier seasons she was at times painful to watch. Holden has a lot more gravitas than before and he doesn't sound like he's whining anymore.

The Avasarala issue is that they had to make up something for her to do because she's barely in the book this season was based on. And I think they wanted to make up for lost time with her dropping f-bombs. In the book that's kind of her thing and some felt it was missed with the earlier season's restrictions.

Overall I thought they did an excellent job of improving on the book, as this is generally felt to be one of the weakest in the series.

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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Warren »

Maybe because I haven't read the books.
Previously I had no idea what was about to unfold and the characters felt completely fleshed out.
This season everything was "I'm expositing what's going on now".
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by lunchstealer »

There was some I-will-explain-the-plot but some of that is because things like oh-shit stuck-propulsionless-in-too-low-orbit is awfully difficult to show rather than tell.

Overall I frickin' loved a lot of the arcs. The problem of post-gate Mars was great and, Burn Gorman brooded menacingly which was perfect for his character and the conflict with the Belters, Paul Schulze's character was really good and the reveal of his day job was fun. Avasarala's character arc was disappointing and I hated the actor who replaced Arjun, but I'm really curious to see where she's going next season.

Did feel like that Ashford scene from Ep. 10 should've ended with this (youtube embeds aren't working so you've gotta click the link):

https://youtu.be/4Js-XbNj6Tk?t=36

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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Warren »

lunchstealer wrote:
21 Dec 2019, 01:32
There was some I-will-explain-the-plot but some of that is because things like oh-shit stuck-propulsionless-in-too-low-orbit is awfully difficult to show rather than tell.
I found it worse than that. Like especially everything to do with Holden, Miller, and the proto peoples, was "we need to get to here, here is how and why we went from there to here".
Overall I frickin' loved a lot of the arcs.
Check. Well some of the arcs anyway.
The problem of post-gate Mars was great
YES
and, Burn Gorman brooded menacingly which was perfect for his character and the conflict with the Belters
Check
Paul Schulze's character was really good and the reveal of his day job was fun.
Check
Avasarala's character arc was disappointing
Yes
I hated the actor who replaced Arjun
YES! Completely wrong for the part, the marriage, the whole fucking UN deal. So much hate.
I'm really curious to see where she's going next season.
meh
Did feel like that Ashford scene from Ep. 10 should've ended with this
https://youtu.be/4Js-XbNj6Tk?t=36
Sure, why not? Don't think I'd notice if it did.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by lunchstealer »

Warren wrote:
21 Dec 2019, 10:55
lunchstealer wrote:
21 Dec 2019, 01:32
Did feel like that Ashford scene from Ep. 10 should've ended with this
https://youtu.be/4Js-XbNj6Tk?t=36
Sure, why not? Don't think I'd notice if it did.
You're not a Rick and Morty fan.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Andrew »

I was at a friend's house and scrolled through Netflix. It's been a few years since I looked through their offerings, and I'm amazed at how dismal it's become. Lots of series, "documentaries," and original movies, but very few studio movies I had any interest in.

HBO Go's movie selections were also sorely lacking.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by dead_elvis »

Andrew wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 08:54
I was at a friend's house and scrolled through Netflix. It's been a few years since I looked through their offerings, and I'm amazed at how dismal it's become. Lots of series, "documentaries," and original movies, but very few studio movies I had any interest in.
It is pretty lacking. Kinda ticks me off that Netflix went in the direction of original programming instead of investing in collecting the long tail. Their selection is about as good as a convenience store that rented videos on the side in 1988. But they seem to have committed whole heartedly to churning out more and more crap:
So, what’s Netflix’s plan to fight back against these new threats?

Content. Content. And more content.

Netflix continues to reinvest billions back into programming,
The article also specifically mentions that subscribing is very price sensitive. Get me off this planet of stupid people, because I want to be on the planet where you pay an extra 10-20 a month for a service that has *everything*, heading off every damn content owner starting their own streaming service because Netflix paid the owners enough money that they wouldn't bother. I'd rather pay one service $30 than end up paying 3 or 4 services $10-15 each.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Highway »

The long tail isn't a strategy that was going to work long term, unless they owned the content. Which of course they didn't. And they couldn't get forever licenses for it either. So in that environment, all it does is give them a lot of catalog that nobody watches, and the content owners are still gigantic dicks about. They didn't just decide "eh, we don't like having all this catalog that nobody watches. Let's drop that and make our own stuff nobody watches." In fact, they were more likely to be the long tail when they were doing DVDs. At least in that model, if they buy one copy, then they can do whatever they want forever with it. But in trying to work with the content owners, they couldn't keep that up either.

I'm a little disappointed in it too, and I think that the people who hated on cable bundling for so long are going to get exactly what they asked for, even if they thought they were asking for something else: Far less choice of programming, for more money overall, with less total content. By they time you pay for your internet connection, and your subs to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, CBS All Access, NBCSports, etc. etc., you're going to be paying as much or more as you did for your cable package.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Eric the .5b »

Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:18
The long tail isn't a strategy that was going to work long term, unless they owned the content. Which of course they didn't. And they couldn't get forever licenses for it either.
Just so. Netflix would have been happy as fuck to stream customers whatever movies they wanted to see. The studios didn't want that to happen. Original content was a pivot away from a business plan they couldn't make work.
Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:18
I'm a little disappointed in it too, and I think that the people who hated on cable bundling for so long are going to get exactly what they asked for, even if they thought they were asking for something else: Far less choice of programming, for more money overall, with less total content. By they time you pay for your internet connection, and your subs to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, CBS All Access, NBCSports, etc. etc., you're going to be paying as much or more as you did for your cable package.
That last I don't buy. There won't be less total content, and a lot of these subscriptions won't exist in 5 years.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Highway »

Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 22:04
Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:18
The long tail isn't a strategy that was going to work long term, unless they owned the content. Which of course they didn't. And they couldn't get forever licenses for it either.
Just so. Netflix would have been happy as fuck to stream customers whatever movies they wanted to see. The studios didn't want that to happen. Original content was a pivot away from a business plan they couldn't make work.
Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:18
I'm a little disappointed in it too, and I think that the people who hated on cable bundling for so long are going to get exactly what they asked for, even if they thought they were asking for something else: Far less choice of programming, for more money overall, with less total content. By they time you pay for your internet connection, and your subs to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, CBS All Access, NBCSports, etc. etc., you're going to be paying as much or more as you did for your cable package.
That last I don't buy. There won't be less total content, and a lot of these subscriptions won't exist in 5 years.
If a lot of those subscriptions don't exist, then that's going to result in even less content. And there will be others that pop up in their place. But it's unlikely that content produced and put on one streaming service will then end up on another streaming service if one shuts down.

I do think that it'll be less total content, because now these channels aren't trying to fill 24 hours a day with content, when they can only sell 8 hours with infomercials and reruns for another 8-20. Depending on one's personal tastes, there might be the same amount of content, or at least still enough to fill up your time. But there are definitely going to be a lot of others that are going to have content they like stop being produced, and not replaced with something else they like.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Hugh Akston »

Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 23:40
But it's unlikely that content produced and put on one streaming service will then end up on another streaming service if one shuts down.
Why would this be unlikely? The first thing a company does when it tanks is sell off the assets. A streaming service can buy the content of its failed competitors for cheap and host it for cheap. At worst they would have to pay residuals to the people involved in the show.

If only there were a way to increase the catalog of every streaming service every year without having to pay licensing fees....
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Eric the .5b »

Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 23:40
Eric the .5b wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 22:04
Highway wrote:
02 Jan 2020, 20:18
I'm a little disappointed in it too, and I think that the people who hated on cable bundling for so long are going to get exactly what they asked for, even if they thought they were asking for something else: Far less choice of programming, for more money overall, with less total content. By they time you pay for your internet connection, and your subs to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, CBS All Access, NBCSports, etc. etc., you're going to be paying as much or more as you did for your cable package.
That last I don't buy. There won't be less total content, and a lot of these subscriptions won't exist in 5 years.
If a lot of those subscriptions don't exist, then that's going to result in even less content. And there will be others that pop up in their place. But it's unlikely that content produced and put on one streaming service will then end up on another streaming service if one shuts down.
Why? Your streaming service isn't making money, but you have the content, and someone else will pay you to stream that content for you. Only idiots don't take that offer.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Warren »

I too am disappointed in the lack of the long tail. But content is only going to get cheaper. Damn near anything you want to watch is free now. You're not paying for content, your paying for convenience and assurance of quality. Wha wha wha copyright is a dead business model.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Jasper »

I'll pour one out for the demise of the long-tail programming on Netflix as well.

However... I do appreciate that their "original" programming includes a lot of foreign shows and movies. I was on a bender for dark & gritty crime dramas set in the UK & Scandinavia for a while, and Netflix was willing to meet me at 2 AM beneath an underpass in the pouring rain to give it to me.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by lunchstealer »

What of the Amazon model of one stop for their own base-subscription content plus extra 'channels' through add-ons, plus streaming rental and purchase?

I haven't spent a bunch of time looking for movies to rent because mrs lunch has the attention span of - dunno, something that can binge way more episodes of Mrs Maisel than I should be staying awake for and then falls asleep halfway through any movie ever.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Eric the .5b »

Pham Nuwen wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 20:02
So we are finally to the point where we can quote The Expanse? Fuck yeah! Bout time this fucking timeline stepped up its game.
Dumb question, but is it a very quotable show? I haven't heard anything I realized was a quote from it, before.

(I'm still living under a rock WRT TV. I'm trying to actually get back into watching things, but I really got out of the habit after the second season of BSG.)
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Pham Nuwen »

Eric the .5b wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 20:28
Pham Nuwen wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 20:02
So we are finally to the point where we can quote The Expanse? Fuck yeah! Bout time this fucking timeline stepped up its game.
Dumb question, bu Is it a very quotable show? I haven't heard anything I realized was a quote from it.

(I'm still living under a rock WRT TV. I'm trying to actually get back into watching things, but I really got out of the habit after the second season of BSG.)
I wouldn't say quotable but it is very good. Probably as close to a Firefly reboot as ever.

Disclaimer: it's nothing like Firefly in tone
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

Pham Nuwen wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 20:30
Eric the .5b wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 20:28
Pham Nuwen wrote:
10 Jan 2020, 20:02
So we are finally to the point where we can quote The Expanse? Fuck yeah! Bout time this fucking timeline stepped up its game.
Dumb question, bu Is it a very quotable show? I haven't heard anything I realized was a quote from it.

(I'm still living under a rock WRT TV. I'm trying to actually get back into watching things, but I really got out of the habit after the second season of BSG.)
I wouldn't say quotable but it is very good. Probably as close to a Firefly reboot as ever.

Disclaimer: it's nothing like Firefly in tone
The show doesn't have a sense of humor and dialogue is definitely not its strong suit.

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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Pham Nuwen »

I would agree with that. Its partly west wing in space so I assume that's intentional. Most of the humor is ad hoc irony.
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