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brigdh: (<3)
For the last few months, I've actually had a crowded schedule of TV watching! This is remarkable for me, since I almost never watch shows as they air, much less watch multiple ones with conflicting schedules. They've now dropped off one by one, as their seasons ended, and so now I am late to the party with recommendations (well, mostly).

Sleepy Hollow
See, the tragic thing is that I was mostly enjoying Season 3. There were multiple new characters of color introduced, many of whom I liked a lot! Daniel Reynolds: yes, Abbie totally SHOULD have a sexy sexy boss with whom she has past sexual tension! Sophie Foster: yes, more kick-ass fighter women, I am into this! I ship Jenny/Joe, and the way they handled Jenny's commitment issues was mostly well-done and I was excited to see where they would go with it! Ichabod's tragic grieving while separated from Abbie for a few episodes was fantastic angst – as long as I presumed it would have an eventual happy ending. The new villains were boring, but eh, they were perfectly adequate at setting up Monster of the Week type plots, and I don't need my villains to do anything more than that.

And then there was that season finale which, in addition to all the other REALLY OBVIOUS ISSUES, didn't even make sense on a story-telling level. It was exact repeat of what had happened in the season break! Except now Ichabod was just cool with Abbie dying?

Anyway, I'm sure you've all seen the millions of meta posts on this topic so I don't feel like hashing it out all over again, but it is absolutely one of the most inexplicable and dumb (and, you know, racist) choices I've seen a TV show make.

But on a happier note, I continue to adore this show. It needs more of a fandom! It's not at all full of graphic violence or grimdark like you might expect from a show about zombies; it's an adorable procedural with a very cute premise (Liv, the main zombie, solves murders by eating the brains of the victims – this also causes her to take on some of their personality traits) and wonderful characters. My particular favorite is Ravi, Liv's boss/friend, who is a funny, nerdy doctor who handles Liv's personality-of-the-week with admirable nonchalance.

Anyway, this season was great, I'm so glad Clive finally knows about zombies, and I'm very excited at how they've set up a Blackwater-esque military contractor to be next season's Big Bad.

Hap & Leonard
A six episode miniseries based on a book series that I've read a few of. Hap is an ex-hippie, straight white liberal; Hap is a black, gay Republican; together they fight crime get into trouble, call one another "brother", and are generally adorable.

I haven't read the particular book this miniseries was based on, but it did have a different feel than the ones I've read: less humor and irony, more taking the guys seriously as action stars. Possibly that's just the difference from the first book in a series to the later ones, though.

I feel like I should issue a warning for the fifth episode, which has a torture and gunbattle sequence that is absolutely some of the most brutal stuff I've ever seen. And I watch a lot of horror movies, including during the 00's awful tortureporn phase! I've seen some brutal stuff. I was still shocked by this.

They haven't confirmed a second season yet, but I do hope it gets one. It might not have been everything I hoped for, but I'd definitely watch more.

Okay, now we're to my favorite, absolutely the best thing I've seen this year! Underground is set in Georgia in 1857, and is about the Underground Railroad, but it is very much not eat-your-vegetables TV. It's shot like a heist movie. There are action sequences, huge twists in practically every episode, modern music used in the score, and no clear lines between "good" characters and "bad" characters. There are fandom-favorite actors involved, particularly Aldis Hodge (Hardison from Leverage) and Marc Blucas (Riley from BtVS). Over on tumblr, I am co-running "dailyunderground", so follow for gifsets and such.

Also yes, I am shipping Noah/Rosalee/Cato, someone write me a fanfic.

Game of Thrones
Eh, apparently I am still watching this show. I'm kind of grumpy because I haven't liked the first five episodes, but they seem to have been popular in fandom, so I have no one to share my snark with. It... could be worse, I guess? I just want to read the books, to be honest.

And now I have to decide what to start watching next. I've been meaning to watch Black Sails for ages (Pirates! :D ) but it doesn't seem to be easily accessible anywhere – it's not on either Hulu or Netflix, and I don't have Starz. I've also heard good things about Wynonna Earp, which just started this season and thus should be easy to catch up with: a big plus! And I guess I should watch the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, since I enjoyed the first so much. Also everyone keeps telling me to watch Jessica Jones? So, uh, I guess I should do that too. Anyway! Tell me which one I should watch first, if you have opinions.
brigdh: (<3)
Strange Empire
I've now watched the first six episodes (out of a total of 13), and I have mixed feelings on the show. On the one hand, the characters and actors are great! On the other hand, the writing and world-building occasionally makes no sense. For instance, I have no idea how much time is supposed to have passed in these six episodes. Sometimes it seems like it's been months (Mrs. Briggs has had time to start a bakery, give up on that, decide to sell alcohol, distill her own whiskey, and open a bar) and other times it seems like it's been at most two weeks (they're still finding the bodies of people killed in ep 1 that are identifiable and not total skeletons). I also have no idea how this place functions. They made a point of mentioning that there's no town nearby, so where are all the customers for the brothel coming from? Is it just supposed to be the miners? I don't feel like mine-workers would have enough spare cash to support a very fancy mansion of a brothel.

But despite all these nit-picky annoyances, I am enjoying it! I want you all to watch it so that I have people to discuss it with. New awesome details since I last posted about it include: a Extremely Handsome sheriff who's mixed race, white and Native American, who's clearly around to be eye candy; Ling, a Chinese guy with a Mysterious Background and some connection to Isabelle; Kat also is revealed to have a Mysterious Background and is apparently wanted by the law for murdering someone; a canon queer couple; Kat gets elected sheriff; canon ghosts but also lots of "let's fake ghosts to fool people out of their money" on Isabelle's part. But lots of beautiful costumes!

Also, I just want to put up a reminder that Sleepy Hollow Season 3 starts on Thursday. I know, I know, so many things about last season were... not good, but they've made so many changes that I'm at least giving this season a chance. Plus, I'm kinda into the idea of a SH/Bones crossover, even though I've never watched Bones.
brigdh: (<3)
After such a long post last week, I've barely watched anything this week!

Strange Empire
This was a Canadian TV show that started last year; I was interested in it at the time, but never got around to actually watching it. And now it's on Netflix! So I'm checking it out.

In the 1860s, near the Canada-Montana border, a group of pioneers, farmers, and travelers are heading through the wilderness. All of the men are killed in an attack, forcing the women to band together for survival. I've only watched the first episode so far, but it seems really well-done and I'm planning on watching more. The characters are interesting. Kat is the main character, a Native American woman who was married to a Irish man and runs around shooting people and wearing men's clothes; there's also Rebecca, who's trained as a surgeon and has a super-tragic backstory, and Isabelle, the madam of a nearby brothel.

I've also been watching Stephen Colbert's new show, The Late Show. It's much more enjoyable than I expected! And after all the talk about finally seeing the "real" Colbert, he's not actually that different from his old persona. He's had some great interviews already, and isn't afraid to ask startling questions. But as much as I like the show, I don't think I can commit to staying up until 1am every day. Alas, Colbert. Why not the Just Sorta Late-ish Show?
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
I keep forgetting to post reviews of stuff I've been watching. I could wait till next Monday, but I keep doing that and I already have a month's worth of backlogged stuff to review. So, quickly:

Pride and Prejudice (the BBC 1990s adaptation)
This was great! It ended up being much more faithful to the book than I'd expected from the first episode and cultural osmosis (which mostly focused on the wet shirt scene, unsurprisingly). I thought it did a great job on so many levels – the actors, the costuming, the dancing, the dialogue – and had a great time watching it.

Death Comes to Pemberley
This was less good. Or rather, I liked the first two episodes, which were a bit like average-level casefic – not quite as good as the canon, but enjoyable enough – but then the last episode ruined it all. How does Wickham have a secret sister no one knows about? What was with all of her issues – being desperate to have a baby, wandering mysteriously through the woods, killing herself? Why did the consumptive dude tell no one that he was the murderer, and how convenient was that he dies literally five minutes after signing a confession? What was Colonel Fitzwilliam's deal? Why did Darcy and Elizabeth need to reenact their exact same argument from Pride and Prejudice instead of fighting about something new? Also, Lydia, Wickham, and Captain Denny were totally having a threesome, y/y?

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Aww, you guys, I really wanted to like this. I so wanted to participate in the hot new fandom. And yet it just didn't work for me at all. My main problem was that it's not nearly as funny as the trailers make it appear – and not in a "failed to be funny" way, it's simply more of a straightforward action movie than a comedy – and none of the characters clicked with me. Ah, well. Someday I'll find a big fandom for me.

The Duchess
I mainly watched this because tumblr promised me a lesbian subplot by showing off delightful gifsets, but that turned out to be a lie. I mean, there is one lesbian scene, but it lasts for about thirty seconds and involves the characters fantasizing about her male crush, so it didn't do much for me. Other than that, this is a very pretty movie, but it has some problems. I never could figure out how much time was passing (since it often seemed to be years between scenes), and the characterization of the Duke was kind of weird (I think maybe he was supposed to be autistic? It was confusing), but it's an enjoyable movie, especially if you're as into costume dramas as I am.

You know, I expected this to be way darker than it actually was. I'd somehow never seen it before, despite hearing it quoted all the time, and I'd created a movie in my head that did not involve a happy ending or fairly innocent main character. Nonetheless, it is a funny movie, and now I have joined the legions of people who quote it too often.

Jurassic Park
Somehow my girlfriend had never seen this, so of course we had to correct that problem. When watched back to back, the original makes the new Jurassic World look appallingly badly made in every arena except, I suppose, special effects. What I found most noticeable is how tightly made this is. There's not a single line of wasted dialogue, and the whole thing just rushes to a conclusion without subplots or dangling threads or any unnecessary detours. It's a fantastic movie.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
What a fantastic series! I've got a few quibbles here and there, but this is the best new sitcom I've seen in years and years. It's so smart and funny and sweet and hopeful; I highly recommend it.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Hey, remember when I used to do this 'Watching Monday' thing? I thought I'd start again. Well, without going back to catch up, because it's been several months and I've watched a lot in that time. But here's what I watched in the last week:

A really fantastic Indian movie, a remix of mythic tropes with more modern ideas, and all of it visually amazing. There were so many characters I loved: the fierce rebel woman! the middle-aged Queen, raising babies with one hand and cutting dudes' throats with the other! the elderly warrior, enslaved by a promise to always serve the throne! It's still showing in the NYC market, at least, and I very much recommend watching it if you get the opportunity.
(A warning: it does have a wicked cliffhanger, and Part 2 doesn't come out until next year.)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I've watched the first... three episodes? four episodes? of this so far and am enjoying it. It's not mind-blowing, but it's funny and sweet and totally the right sort of thing to put on when I don't want to devote too much attention to the TV.

Pride and Prejudice
Yes, the BBC miniseries from the 90s! I've somehow never seen this before, and so decided to get on that. I've only watched the first two episodes so far, but I like it. The characterization seems a bit shallower than in the book, but it really is capturing the humor. I've laughed so many times.

On a totally unrelated note, what the hell has happened to the LJ friends page? It's terrible looking and I can't figure out how to change it back.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
I had a very boring week and watched almost nothing, except for the premiere of iZombie. I hadn't even heard about this show, so it was just a lucky coincidence that I happened to watch it, but it had a cute opening. Liv unexpectedly becomes a zombie, but finds that she can maintain a mostly normal life as long as she eats brains regularly. So she gets a job at the local morgue, as you do. Soon her coworker has figured out she's a zombie and thinks it's really cool, she's helping a cop solve mysteries (eating brains allows her to recover some of the memories of the dead), and regaining a sense of purpose in her (after)life. It sort of reminds me of Sleepy Hollow, with the mix of supernatural and cop show. I'm looking forward to the next episode.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Man, I've missed several weeks of this. Let me try and catch up briefly:

This is one of the only Bollywood movies to have been nominated for an Oscar, but it was mostly sold to me with the promise that if I watched it, I would finally understand cricket. Spoiler: I still do not understand cricket.

In a vaguely defined period in the late 1800s or very early 1900s, a small village in India is undergoing the third year of a drought. Because the local British officer is Very Cruel (as established in several scenes of him being laughably, mustache-twirling-ly villainous), he refuses to lower the taxes ("lagaan"). In an attempt to humilate our Loveable Underdog Hero, he makes a bet that the local villagers will not be able to beat the local British team in cricket - if they do win, taxes will be cancelled for the next three years. I'm pretty sure you can guess where the movie goes from here. The whole thing is sort of charmingly predictable ("our team will include a Muslim guy! And a Sikh! And a Dalit! Could we be a more obvious metaphor for independant India?"), but sometimes that's exactly what you want. I was surprised to realize the whole thing had been filmed in Bhuj, in Kutch, which is just a few miles away from where I lived for a couple of months, but I loved recognizing the landscape.

I really, really wanted to love a movie in which Will Smith plays a charming conman who falls in love. But sadly this movie didn't quite work for me. It was stylish and clever and very cool, but it was so concerned with fooling the audience with surprising twists – making sure you never knew when the chracters were telling the truth and when they were lying – that, in the end, I continued to not trust the characters. I mean, the movie really wants you to believe that now they mean what they say, but they haven't earned any sort of connection or emotional honesty, and so I was left feeling cold. But it is an incredibly pretty movie!

I've also started watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and, OMG YOU GUYS, it's so good! Phryne Fisher is an upperclass flapper in 1920s Melbourne, and in each episode she solves a mystery, adopts a delicate waif, and bangs a random dude, all while having snarky tension with the cheif police investigator. I'm in love. I've watched the first five episodes so far, and am looking forward to more.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
I mostly enjoyed this episode, though I do feel like there was a lot of unexplained stuff happening. I mean... witches aren't human? When did that happen? I'd assumed witchery was just something you learned, maybe connected to an inborn talent, but not all of this "us vs them" and "I could never be happy with a mere mortal" stuff. So, okay, whatever, witches are a different species.

I'm also theoretically okay with Katrina turning evil, I just wish there'd been more build-up to it. "Our relationship isn't working, this must be because of fundamental differences between us" is a totally plausible motive, but it should have been mentioned before this episode. Same for George Washington's broken promises.

Stuff I did like: Frank is back! I'm very happy, I figured that he would have stayed evil for much longer. I'm not really happy about Henry dying, since I liked the character, but since Katrina as the Big Bad could be very cool, I don't mind too much. Plus, with this show, I wouldn't be surprised if Henry showed up again somehow. I'm also excited by the possibilities of Abbie in the past! I thought the parallels between her arrival and Crane's back in the first episode were cute and well-done, and I'm looking forward to seeing how she and 1780!Crane get along.

Book of Negroes
This was a miniseries that aired on BET last week, but I can hardly find anyone talking about it. Did anyone else watch it? I found it really enjoyable, though it did have some problems. It's the story of Aminata Diallo, a young woman in the middle of the 1700s, who gets captured as a slave and then spends her life traveling all over the place (South Carolina, New York City, Nova Scotia, Sierra Leone, London) and doing all sorts of things (getting married, having children, being a midwife, being a nurse, working for the British in the American Revolution, farming, starting a colony, writing her autobiography, etc). The production values were obviously very high – I especially loved the costumes, which were all gorgeous, but the various locations it was filmed in were also well done - and the acting was great. I particularly liked Cuba Gooding Jr as a helpful but sort of sleazy tavern owner in NYC. It did have the problem that often shows up in biopics (this wasn't really a biopic, but eh, close enough): by trying to show someone's entire life, from childhood to old age, there's necessarily a lot of summarizing and time skips, a constant changing of locations and secondary characters, and it's hard to feel invested in any particular moment. But overall I liked it, and I hope it got good ratings and reviews so that they'll make more shows like it.

Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights
I dunno, I watched this randomly on Saturday night when I had nothing else to do. I have no explanation for how I ended up with this movie. But! Despite what you might assume, it was actually fairly enjoyable. I mean, okay, yes, it's a dance movie, it's a shallow romcom, and it leans a little too heavily on ~Cuban people just feel the music, like, in their musical souls~ to be entirely comfortable. But for all that, it's a cross-class romance set during the Cuban Revolution with a deeply ambiguous (maybe even unhappy!) ending, and it is inexplicable that this movie even exists. You sort of have to watch it just for that.

Oh, and I watched the Oscars! That was... pretty boring, actually.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
Eh, I didn't really like this episode. It had a lot of potential – I am totally down for magic hologram Thomas Jefferson – but I didn't think it used any of that potential. Where was last season's awareness of the complexities of history? Did Crane and Abbie just totally forget that whole Sally Hemings conversation they had? Especially when the show is positing a "choose between innocent lives or immense greater good!" dilemma, that seem really fucking relevant.

And speaking of, that dilemma was really dumb. Why couldn't they come back later with Jenny, lots of firepower, maybe a few additional helpers, and take out the Reavers while protecting the library? Even if the library had to be destroyed, they seriously didn't have the time to truck a few boxes of books up above ground first? The Irving storyline was also nonsensical (and how were he and Jenny having a screaming argument with gunshots in a police station with no one noticing?).

I guess the new guy is hot? That's a plus.

1.22 ("Family Ties")
This was a great episode! I continue to love that Aryn gets to name Baby Moya. And I really like the name she went with; it was very effective. I also liked all of the one-on-one interaction scenes, with people talking about how much they like each other. It was a great way to end the season.

And dramatic cliffhanger! That must have been so awful, back when it was airing and everyone had to wait months to see what happened next.

Being Human: UK
I decided to take a break between season of Farscape and watch something else, and I settled on this, both because it's short (only 6 episodes a season) and because people have been telling me for years that I'd enjoy it. So far it's very good! They managed to jam a ton of plot into fifty minutes, but it worked for me and I'm liking the characters so far.

Jupiter Ascending
OH MY GOD THIS MOVIE IS SO DUMB. BUT AMAZING. BUT DUMB. I don't know if I can genuinely recommend it, but I enjoyed myself a huge amount, and that's what matters.

Actual wingfic! A werewolf searching for someone to be his pack! Bees recognize royalty! Punching each other is a 'male bonding ritual'! Incestuous space royalty! If all of that was incoherent, congratulations, that's what the movie feels like. But with special effects and insane costumes. I am so into this, and totally want it to be the weird fannish movie obsession of the year, much like Pacific Rim was last year.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
Overall, I really liked this episode. Lots of adorable bonding moments between the characters, lot of Ichabod vs the 21st Century, and the Monster of the Week was fine and historically ridiculous (which I approve of). I'm interested in Henry and Frank's plots, though I'm not entirely sure where either of them is going, but it looks like it could be good.

Not gonna lie, the image of Katrina struggling to levitate a flower made me laugh, given how weak and inconsistent her powers have been over the season. But then she actually got to be effective for the rest of the episode! That was great.

So, Katrina's family was at Salem? Does that now make her a rich Quaker farmer Puritan? I'm not opposed to any of these individually, but I do wish they could pick one background for her and stick to it. Or explain that, as a witch spy, she frequently takes off and puts on backgrounds as a disguise! That would also make sense. I also need some consistency about the Ichabod/Katrina relationship. Their breakup was such a huge plotpoint, but apparently they've quietly gotten back together offscreen? To the point where they're looking for a house? Again: stay together, break up, I'm fine with either, I just wish the show could have a consistent emotional storyline.

1.20-1.21 ("The Hidden Memory" and "Bone to Be Wild")
Baby Moya! OMG, I love baby Moya, and the whole twist with him having weapons, and Aeryn's connection with him. I also really liked Aeryn's scene with Crais, which showed how much she's changed since the beginning of the show. Also Gilina died, oops, but nonetheless Crichton is surprisingly upbeat in the next episode, despite it seeming to take place about five minutes later. I liked the whole "you eat people!"/"No, you eat people!" plot, although it seems ridiculous to me that eating passengers is actually the only way to solve this problem. Surely your food replicators can make calcium (or wherever they get food from. Buy it? Hunt animals somewhere else? However it happens, calcium is not that hard to get). Still, the ending was a nice twist.

I also saw a theatrical performance of Let the Right One In which was great, incredibly creepy and compelling. I hadn't thought it was a story that would translate well to stage, but it really worked. I've only seen this and the original movie, but I was reading the Wikipedia page on the other versions (the novel and the American movie), and I was struck by how the different tellings have each shifted the emphasis of the story, some making it a relatively hopeful lovestory and some about fatalistic horror. And it's neat that the basic version of the plot really allows for either reading.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
I actually really loved this episode! It was great! :D It's sad that such a thing should be so shocking, but here we are. Still: awesome episode, I'm not complaining. The creepy painting that leaks blood was a great supernatural villain, and I really enjoyed the flashbacks, a) because I love Michelle Trachtenberg and b) because I love Abigail Adams. I hope she shows up more often and wasn't just around for one episode. The whole plot with the Cranes was just the right sort of light but creepy monster of the week. And meanwhile! The plot with Abbie and Irving! Great, weighty, and so interesting. Sneaky Abbie lying to people! Making harsh decisions! Everything is beautiful. And the sheriff was around after disappearing for ages! AND CYNTHIA. CYNTHIA HI I MISSED YOU SO HAPPY TO FINALLY SEE YOU AGAIN. And Abbie busting in at the last minute to save the day! Ahhhh, wonderful.

Aaaaaaaaaaand we're back to terrible episodes. Okay, no, not entirely: I did like the karaoke scenes, and Crane and Abbie trapped together in a vault and forced to talk about their feelings is just the sort of fanfic trope-yness that I adore. But Jenny seemed weirdly OOC this episode (probably to abruptly emphasize her relationship with Hawley, but if that last scene means he's really gone for good, I will forgive anything), and I was also confused by the Cynthia/Irving relationship. I thought they were divorced? Apparently not. I'm okay with it either way, I just need to know what's happening. I also thought it weird that the Mills and the Cranes weren't at his trial, or apparently involved in any other way with his plot. Which... it does seem to have all happened very quickly, but still weird. I'm not sure where this storyline is going; clearly something creepy was happening at the end, but whether Katrina was fooled or lying or some other option, I have no idea.
But the worst thing in this episode was the crappy racist monster. I can't believe the phrase "thugee death cult" was actually uttered in all seriousness in 2015. It's the sort of dumb misuse of other culture's mythologies that Sleepy Hollow had so far avoided (hmm, maybe not with the golem stuff, but at least that wasn't focused on in its episode) and it's so disappointing to see it go there.
At least Hawley seems to be gone!

1.19 ("Nerve")
I still can't take Crichton's faux British accent seriously. I know it's such a minor detail, but it really bothers me, and I can't get past it. Hey, it's the tech girl from earlier in the season! Aw, I like her and never expected to see her again. I also like Chiana the sexy spy. There's a lot of "leave me behind and save the others!" in this episode, which I always approve of.

...I feel like I watched something else last week, but I can't remember what it was.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Man, apparently I didn't watch very much last week. I don't know what I was doing instead; nothing useful, certainly.

1.17-1.18 ("Through the Looking Glass" and "A Bug's Life")
Did the fake-curse words like "frell" and "dren" appear for the first time in these episodes? Or maybe they were in earlier episodes and I just didn't notice them? At any rate, I feel like they were suddenly much more prominent. Which is fine; I don't mind them. I just hadn't noticed them before.
I liked "A Bug's Life" better than "Through the Looking Glass", though Crichton's faux-British accent amused me. Do all evil space commanders have to be vaguely British? Also, Aeyrn would totally have made a better Peacekeeper leader, and I like that the show at least threw in a line ("It is a grave misfortune that that uniform did not fit me.") to explain why she wasn't.

Tonight is the beginning of Minority Report, which is the replacement for The Colbert Report. Is anyone else excited? I'll admit that I have always been more of a fan of The Daily Show than Colbert, but it's ending still has been like the end of an era.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
So, I mostly liked this episode, though it wasn't as great as the show could be. The farmers market
was adorable, and the Crane/Abbie scene at the very end, reconfirming their commitment to one another, was nice, but everything in-between was sort of meh. Yet more of Crane's jealousy over Katrina/Headless – come on, dude. Clearly she's not actually flirting with him, but even if she was, you're sorta broken up now. She'd be allowed to flirt with other people. (Preferably not horsemen of the apocalypse, I guess, but questioning her tastes on a moral basis is different from jealousy.) I am at least interested in seeing were they're going with Irving's plot.

On a completely shallow level: OH MY GOD WHAT IS KATRINA WEARING? WHY IS HER HAIR A DIFFERENT SHADE OF RED? Did she use the six weeks off-air to discover everything terrible about modern fashion? Also, while I am theoretically a fan of Jenny's hot date clothes, I'm kinda grossed out that this episode was written by the guy who said, "Lyndie walked in [at Paleyfest] I had never met her personally and she's wearing this awesome dress, she's so beautiful. I turned to Albert [Kim, another writer] and am like, 'Why isn't that girl ever on our show?' He's like, 'Well she's a badass and she dresses like a badass, she's tough.' I mean, we love that but is there anyway to show that other side, the side that's a little more fun, or maybe dresses up a little or a little sex appeal." (In an interview here) Because the one element this show has really in need of is a girly-er Jenny. And okay, fine, it's an incredibly shallow excuse to get her into a skirt for the whole episode, but it's just a skirt, but WHAT WAS UP with Hawley needing to explain Sumerian mythology and pronunciation to Jenny? She is supposed to be the one who's the globe-trotting archaeologist!

Well, it's a cheesy soap opera, but that's clearly the vibe they're going for, since I heard they were inspired by Dynasty. I'm not too intrigued by any of the characters yet (I do sort of like the hilariously evil lawyer brother), but I'll watch the next episode, at least. I really liked the music!

1.11-1.16 ("Till the Blood Runs Clear", "Rhapsody in Blue", "The Flax", "Jeremiah Crichton", "Durka Returns", "A Human Reaction")
Yes, despite everyone warning me to skip it, I managed to forget and so watched "Jeremiah Crichton" anyway. I... didn't think it was that terrible? It certainly wasn't my favorite episode, but it was sort of mid-range, to me; I was mostly just surprised that Crichton had given up and grown a beard so quickly. You were only lost for something like three months, dude!
I was way more irritated by "A Human Reaction", which wouldn't have been so bad without the fake-out 'oh, none of this has been real!' ending. You can't have Crichton and Aeryn hook-up and then go ~but it was only in your mind~!
"Durka Returns" was my favorite of this set of episodes. That had some really interesting concepts, and I liked how it played with the idea of memory and punishment.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Whoa, I am way behind on this. Let me attempt to catch up!

Sleepy Hollow
Siiiiiiiiiiiigh. Okay. Things I liked: Crane wanting a motorcycle! Fight scene with zombies in Revolutionary War uniforms!
I'm indifferent on Henry's turn. It wasn't particularly surprising (clearly someone was going to switch sides, though I think I might have preferred Headless to Henry), but I suppose it could lead to interesting things. I'll wait and see.
Things I didn't like: basically everything else. But specifically, I didn't like the repeated focus on Crane's jealousy and lack of trust in Katrina. I'd support their break-up if I thought this meant they were actually going to be adults now (or if it was going to lead to Crane/Abbie), but I suspect it's just in the service of melodramatically getting back together in the season finale, which is not what I want. It's not even that I don't ship Ichabod/Katrina; I'd be perfectly happy with them as a couple if they could have a functional or interesting relationship, but instead the show just keeps repeatedly telling us how much in love they are while showing boring anti-chemistry.
I'm also not 100% opposed to Irving dying, since presumably his soul being owned by Henry means Irving will still be around as an undead ghost or something and that could be a really cool plot, but this whole season has already wasted his character so much that I have little faith. Also, if he had to die, why not just have their guess about him being able to use the magic sword be wrong? That would have been a much better plot than "death from random shallow cut". It could have led to interesting drama about the characters' willingness to risk people's lives on unfounded guesses! But no, dumb pointless death instead, why not.
Of all the things this show needed, the sudden introduction at this late point of the old "white=good; black=bad" metaphor for the trees was definitely not one of them.
At least Jenny was in this episode, even if only to stand around in the background and do nothing. And of course we had to bring in Hawley too. My theory is that someone on the show thinks Hawley fills the "snarky badass" role, and so they've given him a lot of what would have been Jenny's lines or actions.

The second half of the season starts tonight, and I'm really hoping things have improved over the break.

As is traditional, I saw a lot of movies over the holidays. When my parents pay for the tickets, I become much more into going to the movies! :D

Top Five
Really great. Chris Rock plays not-quite-himself, a famous comedian trying to promote his new, more serious movie. I was very impressed by how it managed to be both incredibly funny and also deeply sincere on various topics (alcoholism, fame, family, etc). Not every moment worked (personally, I was disconcerted by the running joke about how terrible his movie, on the Haitian rebellion, was, particularly given that I had just reread Crimson Angel a week or two before), but overall it was really wonderful. I particularly liked Rock's fiancee, a reality star who could have been a shallow caricature, but was sympathetic and insightful.

Into the Woods
Disappointing. I don't quite know why; I liked all the actors well enough, and I'm not hugely offended by any of the cuts or rearrangements, but it just didn't work for me. "Hello, Little Girl" and "I Know Things Now" were even more distressing than usual, because of how young the actress was (I mean, I guess she's actually 16? But she looked so little!), and while I understand the reasons behind trying to break up the two-act structure, I think it was ultimately a bad idea. The end of the movie just seemed to drag on without point or plot, and a lot of what should have been big revelations (witches can be right! giants can be good!) didn't even seem to make sense (what was she right about?).
Ah, well. There were some good parts! "Agony" was just perfect, absolutely fantastic, and "Last Midnight" was dramatic and awesome.

The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies
Also disappointing. The whole trilogy has been, for me, but at least the first two movies had great scenes here and there (especially the riddle scene in the first one, and the Smaug/Bilbo scene in the second), but this one lacked even that. Ultimately I think it would have been better as two movies, or in particular Smaug's death should have gone at the end of the second one instead of the beginning of this one. The battle scenes were mostly too video-game or bad slasher movie for me, and there wasn't much to this movie other than battle scenes. Oh, and a lot of Bilbo/Thorin, which would be more awesome if I shipped it.
The very ending, repeating the beginning of the first LotR movie, was sweet though!

The Imitation Game
Surprisingly not disappointing! Despite my total disinterest in WWII movies and biopics about tortured geniuses, as well as some negative reviews I'd read, I ended up liking this. It's still not the movie you have to see to make your life complete, but it was a perfectly pleasant and enjoyable two hours. I even liked Benedict Cumberbatch!
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
There was some cute stuff in this episode: I liked Irving and Jenny's discussion in the car of hope vs resignation, and the snake political cartoon as a map was cheesy ridiculousness of the best sort, as were sock-torches. But overall this episode was disappointing, like so many of the ones this season. I didn't like the focus on Ichabod and the Ichabod-vs-Abraham rivalry, I didn't like Abbie not getting to do anything useful like pick the right sword (though, okay, lighting the fire of their soulmate bond was pretty great), and I have no idea what the hell was up with the random appearance of a shofar. I just miss last season.
I'm falling behind! I actually haven't seen the fall finale (winter finale? whatever we're calling it) yet.

1.09-1.10 ("DNA Mad Scientist" and "They've Got a Secret")
Wow, these episodes were really good. I feel like this was the first glimpse I've gotten of why people recommend this series. I really liked Aeryn's reaction to everyone else going home and then almost dying, as well as the reveal of D'Argo's past. And okay, Aeryn/John is starting to grow on me. They were very cute washing her hand together.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part One
I didn't like this one as much as I enjoyed the first two movies, but it was still pretty good. The main problem came out of the source, in my opinion; though this didn't feel stretched the way I feared splitting the book into two would, it did feel like it didn't quite have a plot. There were just scenes following one after the other, without a particular arc or drive. On the other hand, Katniss/Peeta works way more for me in these movies than it ever did in the book, and the movie's version of The Hanging Tree was AMAZING. I had to get up and leave the theater during the scene with the protestors at the dam, though that had more to do with current events than the movie's inherent ~artful powers~. Though I suppose the producers appreciate their good luck, at having brought this movie out right at this moment.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
I'd had my hopes up for this episode ever since I'd heard there was going to be one about the Mills's mother, so maybe I just was expecting too much, but I was a little disappointed. I did love a lot of it! The theme of "You Are My Sunshine", the drawing on the wall under the paint, Grace Dixon's journal and the African spell, so many emotional moments between the sisters and their mom, flu!Ichabod was adorable and even moreso when Abbie was tucking him in. I'm not sure Irving escaping really makes sense, but it will allow him to have much more plot, so I support it. I don't even know exactly what put me off. Just not enough... spark, I suppose. At least it managed to have a whole episode in a mental hospital without being horrifyingly offensive! Which is pretty unusual, for TV.

1.08 ("That Old Black Magic")
I was doing some traveling this week and so only watched one episode. Which I didn't actually like very much. John and Crais confronting one another was awesome, and I liked the expansion of Crais's motives, but the whole subplot with Zhaan didn't work for me. I don't actually see a connection between torturing innocent animals and friends and fighting an opponent. Though it does seem like it might lead to interesting developments, so I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

The Judge
ARGH I hated every single person in this movie. So we're totally supposed to feel sorry for this guy because, what? He's old? He's a father? He has cancer? None of that really changes the fact that he KNEW he was having blackouts, decided to drive anyway, and as a direct result of that someone DIED alone in the mud and the rain. Yay that he didn't murder the victim on purpose, I guess? It still doesn't actually make him innocent. And yo, if you're forgetting the names of people you interact with daily, maybe all the cases you've tried recently SHOULD be declared mistrials! I mean, God knows what else he might have forgotten. Ughhhhhh.
...I guess the cinematography was pretty?
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
I actually quite liked Katrina this episode (though why was she still wearing someone else's discarded clothing?): I liked her being helpful in a fight and with research, I liked her actually talking about her perspective with Ichabod and especially Abbie, I liked her dealing with the visions. I just don't like that by the end of the episode she ended up in the exact same place she was two episodes ago. Plots that erase development like that are generally never a good idea.

The lack of Jenny in this episode was very noticeable and annoying. Even if, for some reason, they couldn't have the actress, I wish they had dropped in even a single line of "Oh, we can't call Jenny, she's busy with X". I did ADORE Abbie's "Family isn't biology", and am so looking forward to lots of Mills sister action on tonight's episode.

I also much preferred the Abbie/Hawley dynamic when it seemed like she couldn't be bothered to deal with him. Which, to be fair, also describes most of this episode, but the wound-bandaging at the end seemed to promise more for the future.

1.05-1.07 (or, since Netflix continues to be weird, "I, ET", "Thank God It's Friday, Again", and "PK Tech Girl")
I really liked "I, ET", and the parallels between John and the alien woman. That was a great episode, and deserved to be #2, instead of wherever it ended up airing. "Thank God It's Friday, Again" was nice, although I feel like the weird 'hyper rage' thing at the beginning needed far more explanation and resolution, instead of just being a random plot-starter. And "PK Tech Girl" was great; who would have thought a muppet could have poignant torture flashbacks? I wasn't very into John/Tech Girl or Aeryn's random jealousy, but whatever. I suppose every TV show is required to have random love triangles. At least it was for a guest star instead of an ongoing plot.
(Should I spoiler cut these? I feel like everyone's probably either already seen it, or isn't watching it and so doesn't care.)

I also saw Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) which I... liked? I think? I'm still trying to figure out what exactly happened, to be honest. Did the main character mean to commit suicide, and if so, once or twice? What was the point of the magical realism aspect - the only interpretation I've been able to come up with so far is that it represents 'selling out', but I hate that concept and would hope that a movie as otherwise as enjoyable as this one wouldn't stoop to that. I didn't get bored while watching it, at least, even if I don't know entirely what I think of it.

I forgot to mention it here, but last week I saw A Fistful of Dollars, which I'd never seen before. I haven't seen most of the classic Westerns, actually (though I had seen Yojimbo before! Which this is a remake/AU of). Anyway, it was great, far less dated than I'd expected, and both more clever and less nihilistic than I'd been led to believe.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Sleepy Hollow
I don't hate the demon pregnancy trope as much as other people do, so I didn't hate this episode quite as much as seems to be common. I mean, it's not a great trope! I just can deal with it.

I didn't like Crane's jealousy of Katrina - it's completely reasonable for him to have trust issues given all the revelations in their relationship, but assuming Katrina's been sleeping with the Headless Horseman is not cool, dude. His "let's put it to a vote" was also a dick move. Also, this episode had a sad and noticeable lack of Jenny. If nothing else, why wouldn't they call her to stay with Katrina while Crane and Abbie raided the Hellfire Club's headquarters? The Aurora borealis thing was even weirder than this show's usual history/science macguffins.

The voting scene was pretty adorable, and I was amused by Crane's rage at some zoning law (OF COURSE HE WOULD BE THE ONE PERSON ON EARTH WHO CARES ABOUT ZONING LAWS) and his happiness at getting the sticker. The Hellfire Club as actual Armageddonists instead of the 18th century equivalent of rich frat boys is never-endingly hilarious to me.

In incredibly petty news, I am really into Crane's haircut this season. His hair is so curly and fluffy! Also Katrina is really hot in jeans.

Or, well, I should say 01-04 according to Netflix, which I've just realized is apparently not the order they're meant to be watched. What is up with shows doing that? Anyway, I watched the pilot, "Exodus from Genesis", "Back and Back and Back to the Future", and "Throne for a Loss".

So far it's a perfectly pleasant show but I'm not yet captured. I think mostly because I don't like Crichton that much; he's such a boring, standard hero. I did like the drug power gauntlet things in "Throne for a Loss"! The whole "character acts much more aggressively than normal" is very appealingly iddy and should totally be a trope in more fanfic.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Parks & Rec
I'm out of more episodes to watch! D: I loved these last few episodes though: Tom's Bistro! Triplets! April/Andy! The Cones of Dunshire!

Sleepy Hollow
I love Ichabod's toast to George Washington. He is such a dork. I also really want the fic about Abbie teaching him superheroes and other pop culture trivia. I really liked Joe, and would love to see more about his and Abbie's backstory, or his and Jenny's.
I'm... tentative about Irving being tempted to kill the dude who injured Macey. I was actually fine with it as it played out in this episode, but I feel like it's skirting too close to places I'd rather the show didn't go. Also I just want Macey to be on the show again, instead of appearing only in split-second flashbacks.
It was completely unnecessary, but I'm charmed by Ichabod cutting his own hand in his determination to assist Abbie.

And now that I'm out of Parks & Rec, I have a very important question for you all:
[Poll #1987887]
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Parks & Rec
There were so many fantastic episodes in this batch: sexy chard! (though who has a farmer's market indoors? That seems so weird to me. Maybe it was just a filming thing.) Ben spending his anniversary with Larry/Jerry! The wall of bees! Ron's new baby!

Sleepy Hollow
I didn't like this episode quite as much as the previous ones this season, but it was still pretty great. The "Abbie drowning" scene was awesomely trope-y, Jenny – despite appearing only in a single short scene – was even hotter than usual, and Caroline was a great character until she, you know, died (Which is unfortunate. I would have liked to see more of her). I did really like Katrina in this episode: I really like that, despite being on the same side, she makes very different choices than Crane or Abbie. (Though, my God, did anyone tell Mary's family that she was dead? That seems needlessly cruel.) I like this sort of morally gray Katrina, willing to be fairly ruthless. I also like her relationship with Headless – not in a romantic way, but the lying and manipulation between them is really interesting.


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