August 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
Probably about the only thing familiar in Fear the Walking Dead is the prompt disposal of black dudes and the feeling that I’ve wasted an hour of my time.
I’ll be honest: when I first started watching The Walking Dead (back when it was beginning season three I caught up on Netflix) I loved the show. I felt that the first season was one of the best pieces of zombie-related media I ever watched. When I went to talk about the show to people they complained about the pace, but pace is something you don’t notice when you have the luxury of entire seasons at your fingertips.
And then I hit season three and everything slowed down. I kept watching and plowing through waiting for that familiar feeling of greatness to come back; I’m like a junkie chasing a high. And the funny part is most of the time just before I lose hope the mid-season or season finale come along and I think “Next part will be different.”
It starts off promising (nowhere was this more apparent than season five), but the issue is that it dips back into a lull of just kind of existing. It drags along until a bit before the next break and then all Hell breaks loose. Finally, we’re getting the action we’ve waited for.
I wish that I could say Fear the Walking Dead started with a bang, but after watching the two episode premiere I can say that it started with all of tenacity and velocity of a constipated shit. It looked like the script writers were young boys trying to get their first bra off a girl, but they didn’t know where it clasped and couldn’t make sense of how to unfasten it.
Are these the same guys who wrote the first episode of season five of the other show? The same guys who threw us into a scene where people were having their heads hacked off in buckets four minutes into a show?
The fans of the show are calling it a slow burn, but when you’ve got a two hour premiere you expect something to happen to draw you in. I care about none of these characters (the daughter is cute, that’s about the only noticeable thing) and the people of LA seem to be stupid. I’m not talking about not knowing how to kill a zombie, I’m talking about the idea that a school district would close down schools because of a crazy cop shooting that was put on YouTube in the city of LA. A city that at one point averaged two car chases A DAY.
Part of me hoped for a clean slate to start with. There was a lot the people could have done with the idea and there were some interesting things that could have happened with a new show. In the first episode it seems like all of them were bypassed (why not make it about a gang that gets caught up in the chaos or a group of youngsters—a blended or broken family seems so…Day After Tomorrow).
The other problem this has is that it comes so late into the other show. By most accounts it’s been two years since the zombie outbreak took the planet by storm and we know most of the secrets of the creatures and how to deal with them. If this show had fallen between seasons one and two the idea that these things came from anyone who died would have been awesome to find out here, but we’ve known that for years now. With a lot of prequels it feels like the winters are just going through ticking boxes of things we already knew happened, but unable to show us something new or make us feel anything.
Why even write this? What’s the point?
And that’s my biggest question. What’s the point? I’ll continue to give this a try, because it seems that I like to chase the high of those great moments. Hopefully the show surprises me.
August 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Firefly isn’t really one of my favorite shows (don’t get me wrong, it’s good) and you won’t often find me quoting Joss Whedon, but the sentiment there is something I really understand; though in my case there’s a different reason behind the whole thing.
The internet has been a cruel place for some time now. The trolls and the cliques with the forceful ways have been a part of the net since I hopped on in the mid-nineties. Back then my browser of choice was AOL and I could only have a set number of favorites. A lot of people actually typed the web addresses in by hand (and they weren’t that long). I didn’t go many places online, but I remember the first time I witnessed what would become known as trolling and recognized it as such.
A user named Angry Kirby was upset at the moderators of the an online bulletin board over a deleted post. What he proceeded to do is something that I will never forget: he had dozens of pictures of babies covered in their own shit mid-diaper change and he posted them all over while the moderators were sleep. The site was run in the states by a small team and no one was typically on after midnight. The shit streaked infants stayed up until well into the next morning.
That might have offended people and seemed like something so disruptive back then, but the internet has become a place where posting pictures isn’t even something that is hard to do (I remember thinking it was so difficult to just get a jpeg into a post and how most bitmaps wouldn’t even fit—I haven’t even used a bitmap in probably ten years).
We didn’t know what the internet was going to become back then. We didn’t have the idea for something like Google or Amazon quite down to the science that it is now…and we didn’t really understand the way communication would change.
Despite all of the tubgirl, goatse (don’t look these things up, please), and shitty babies I really loved logging on to Zelda forums back in the day. I loved going over to the old Nintendo of America boards and posting about games that we read about in the magazines or sharing tips. I was still a kid and I hadn’t really discovered girls yet. My writing was a small hobby and I loved to draw comics. I talked about these things and when my family got their first scanner I shared them on our slow dial up connection.
I didn’t think that there was much to fight about between fans back then. Almost twenty years the fans of things only seem to gather online for the purpose of bitching. Comic books are something that I’m fairly new to, but the feeling I get when I log onto a site to try and get information about a character or where to find a specific plot point is very similar. And sure, there used to be fighting about which two characters belong together or who would win in a fight, these things go all the way back to before the internet, but there seems to be a war going on right now.
People are so worried about feminism in media or forced diversity in the media that they’re willing to form little online lynch mobs with their own buzz words and ideological rhetoric to do something about it. The changes in television shows have even been enough to prompt one site to write this piece about too much diversity on shows.
Let’s do an experiment: open a browser window about something related to a pass time that’s considered nerdy. Read up on a character from Harry Potter or check in with the Avengers from the comic books and let’s see what’s happening. How long is it before you run across someone making racist comments or sexist comments? How long can you browser a video game news site without someone getting utterly upset that a game isn’t made to their specifications or someone else getting utterly upset that things are so political?
How many pages can you get through without seeing the phrase ‘Cultural Marxism’ or ‘SJW’ or hearing someone wish for the good ol’ days?
This might seem like more complaining, but I’ve been a fan of some of these things, video games in particular, for a long time. I grew up in that second set of NES kids. I watched Captain N on Saturday mornings and remember when Nintendo Power was the best magazine ever. I remember how it used to be with movies and television shows and I like these changes. I don’t feel that they hurt the integrity or story in these things. And I like being able to talk about the things I like online without having to sort through pages and pages of complaining about everything.
Doctor Who, I feel, is the worst. I’ve stopped reading anything related to the show online just because I feel like it’s all negative press and I’ve enjoyed the show more than ever these last three seasons or so. I’m a firm believer in not complaining about media I don’t like (mostly because I don’t subject themselves to them) and unless asked I don’t really bother talking about them. I stopped watching Game of Thrones because I didn’t like it and peer pressure and popularity aren’t going to make me stick with something.
There was a moment when we looked online to discuss things, intelligent, polite discussions and theory-crafting. Perhaps we read into things too far, but the people that grew up doing this are the same ones who went on to make some of the most artistic games ever designed and wrote books filled with ideas gathered from discussions typed out on clunk mechanical keyboard of an i686 powered computer.
It seems like everything, the trolling, the discussion, the cliques, has become more malicious online. Now, this isn’t some post about how technology is evil or how the internet is bad. It’s a post about squandered potential and making up lost time. The new ways of doing things and the changes made to media aren’t going to always be easy, but they’re the way a thing grows and develops. And one of the reason we have grown and developed as a species over the last couple of decades is because of the global reach of the internet.
We don’t need to have creative growth stunted because of our inability for civil discourse.
August 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
A lot of hobbies and interests I wouldn’t have had two years ago have become a big part of my life. I’m reading a shit-ton of comics each month, playing more League of Legends, actually having friends to hang out with, and all of this while working more hours. The one thing I’ve been doing less is writing. When I come home at night intent on writing I end up playing Leauge of Legends or sitting in front of a blank computer monitor just staring as if the words and ideas are going to leap out of my mind and onto the screen.
League of Legends has been a bit of a hot button issue for me because a lot of the time I’m not having fun and I’m not gaining anything by being in those games. A friend told me to watch a stream to learn how to play this character and role; I’m sure it would have given me all that I would need to know to get the rythm of last hitting down. But do I have an hour to devote to watching something that I’m not enjoying all that much, something that won’t ever be the huge part of my life it is for some people. There’s no way I’m joining a pro team or going to LCS or really even going to make the push from Bronze to Gold.
I need to be writing more. I’ve let all the work fall by the wayside. I’m too busy is the thing that people always say, but I could easily make time. If some of the things I am doing aren’t really making me happy there’s no point in doing them unless they are a neccesity. Sometimes we don’t love work, but we know that it’s something we have to do if we wnt to live comfortably and have money. The writing is something that I want to do, but I’m not working on it. And the one thing I’m using as an excuse that I don’t like as much takes three or four hours of my time a night.
So after years of playing and keeping current with updates I’m considering uninstalling or at least not playing nearly as much or as seriously.
July 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
There’s a bit in a Donald Glover stand up that goes something like: “Just a few hundred years ago, maybe even less than that, people could come into your village, kill your father, rape your mother and enslave you and your siblings and everyone would have been like ‘well, what do you expect? It’s night time’.”
The full subject matter of the joke is that we’re living in the best possible time to be human and alive. Technology, life span, the freedom we have, the things we’ve accomplished as a race, the human race. We’ve gone to space and the bottom of the ocean. We’ve cured diseases and harnessed the power of the atom…
And yet we’re still kind of doing that same ‘what do you expect line’. When someone shoots up a place in this country: “what do you expect, he’s mentally ill” or “what do you expect he was a thug” or “what do you expect he hated blacks” or “what do you expect, he hated women” or the worse “what do you expect when women do men like they do.”
The excuses have already started in this case and the bottom line is that someone else went into a movie theater with a gun and killed two women. The victims names are Jillian Johnson, a 33 year old woman who co-owns a gift shop with her husband, and Mayci Breaux, a 21 year old Louisiana State University student. The shooter I won’t actually give time to or go into here. He’s the same type we always seem to see, just fill in the blanks.
Despite the fact that two are dead and nine other injured, people are lining up to make their defense of guns. And this is the reason why, while I understand the need for gun rights, I don’t trust a lot of the people who preach so hard about them. This idea that we have guns to save more victims seems to be more of a reason to keep guns than a reason to save lives. When the first thing you worry about when two women have died is your guns that says something about you.
And it’s not as if these are the only two people to die from guns…not even recently. Nine in a church, five more, US service members just doing their jobs, killed in a recruiting center and now this. All the while people complain about the President taking their guns away (a man who has actually done fuck all to restrict guns and presides over a more lax federal gun law than his predecessor).
But we’ve become a country of “what do you expect” instead of one that does something. A country that even when men and women were in the crosshairs in another country for simply drawing a picture of the prophet Mohammad we countered with “what do you expect when you set out to upset people like that?” Or when a person actually tries to argue that they should be able to shoot someone for slapping them in the face and legally get away with as if to say “what do you expect when you do that?”
What I want to know is what do you expect when you do nothing while the same scenario plays out over and over again? What do you expect when you blame everything but the lax gun laws for the way guns are treated in this country? What do you expect when you can’t jog with a fucking pocket knife, but having a pistol openly displayed is perfectly fine a legal or buy a wheel barrel of guns at a convention center?
We’ve been stuck in this cycle for most of my life now (I was thirteen when Columbine happened and I’m almost thirty now). How many more Jillians, Marcis, Sgt. Carson Holmquists, or Reverend Clementa Pinckneys do we have to go through before we realize that this isn’t the kind of problem that just passes because we’ve ignored it for long enough?
June 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
I might have mentioned some months back, when this show first started, that I watched it at first because the idea of the whole thing seemed stupid. The marketing that I saw, which was mostly still images in magazines, comics and on billboards, just made me thing think that this was going to be one of those stupid CW romance driven shows for tweens.
What I got when I actually watched it was probably the best start to any show on the CW since Supernatural. The first episode was enough to carry me to the next and it seemed like it was just getting better each week.
The finale was huge with a scene that Rob Thomas, show creator (no relation to the band Matchbox 20), called similar to the ending of Taxi Cab. It’s really nice to see a cast like this built up over the course of a season and a thing brought to such a satisfying close. It helped to also know that there’s already a second season in the works.
If you don’t know what iZombie is the basic premise goes like this: Olivia Moore, a medical student is scratched by a zombie at a boat party and begins to turn. To maintain her humanity she must consume human brains and to get a steady supply she drops out of med school and becomes a coroner. The only problem is that when she eats the brains she can get flashbacks of the person’s life or even some skills of personality traits she they have and she uses this to help solve their murders and poses as a fake psychic (for the sake of police).
The whole thing sounds preposterous, but it’s put together in a really good way and with a really good cast. Some of the most satisfying moments of television I’ve had this past year have been because of this show and with only thirteen episodes under its belt that’s saying something.
Since it’s a CW show I’m certain it will show up on Netflix in the next few months—it’s worth a watch or even a re-watch.
May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Here there be spoilers….
I’d geared myself up to watch Castiel or Crowley die. When the show creators said that there was going to be a character death at the end of this season I was sure one of those two would be it, but I was surprised again when it actually turned out to be Death himself.
The thing about Supernatural on the CW is that as formulaic and rinse and repeat as it can be, it always manages to throw a surprise in there. It’s always managed to make me care. I care about Crowley and I feel for Castiel as he’s really still torn between two worlds and rejected by both of them. Probably my favorite addition to this season has been Rowena.
She’s one of those things that the show needed that we would have never asked for and she’s added another dimension to Crowley. And that’s one of the other things that this show is so damn good at: fleshing out characters. Crowley has been on the show since 2009 and I feel like I have a complete enough picture of his character to like him, but there’s more about him that they just keep packing in there. His long lost son, his mother, his family issues before he died or became a demon.
This show has kept me on the edge of my seat and excited since it started and I’m glad that it’s still going strong.
I don’t really like writing reviews of things, I struggled to make it through a single season of Doctor Who, but Supernatural is one of the most consistent shows I watch. It’s not the best, but it has been less disappointing than any other show for longer. This isn’t a review—this is just me saying that it’s been a pleasure to follow Sam and Dean Winchester for ten years and though I know there’s already a season eleven on the books, here’s to the hope there’s even more.