retsuko: antique books (books)
I used to be so excited for the Monday night block of shows. But Gotham has been... somewhat uneven (another entry for another time) and Sleepy Hollow has become even uneven-er. This used to be a show that I would unreservedly recommend to all and sundry because it was so much fun. Somewhere along the line this season, though, that fun just drained away, and last night's mid-season finale clinched it for me.

Specifically, a lot of spoilers: )

And even more specifically, solving a problem like Katrina: )

I do love this show. I love Abbie Mills, and the Mills sisters working together (and the episode with them last week was the strongest all season long). I love Crane vs. 2014. I loved Abbie's speech in last night's episode about how she wasn't going to let Moloch take away any more people--that's the core of part of the reason I love the show right there: it's a story about a strong woman, who is surrounded by other strong women (because in the scene in the church before Henry showed up was Abbie, Jenny, and Katrina vowing to shop evil, with Crane chiming in, a rarity for a mainstream network show.) Most of the men on the show (when a romantic subplot isn't ruining everything) are compelling characters in their own right, and I want to know their stories, too, but the most interesting thing about the story remains Abbie, and her facing down evil with a platonic partner. I want the show to go back to that, and stop shoe-horning in people I don't care about, and subplots that go nowhere. I'd like it to be funny again, too. Basically, I want to go back to that feeling of recommending it to all and sundry, not the way I feel right now which is, "It's OK, but..."
retsuko: (fierce!)
Parts of last night's episode worked well enough, but the central plot device of the episode was the disturbing Mystical, Forced Pregnancy trope. These kinds of episodes never end well for me, because they either become a political screed (any episode where Camille Paglia is a spiritual consultant worries me greatly) or they are gross and wrong and hit all my squicks.

On the plus side, though, it should be said there was plenty of time for Abbie to be awesome, and I liked the inclusion of Reyes and the local police force as "Abbie's army," although that plot arm made me nervous because if it had gone wrong, I was worried that Abbie might have lost her job. I also thought that Sleepy Hollow is the only show I know where a disguised PSA about Election Day suddenly becomes plot relevant and is genuinely entertaining. I also loved the final dialogue at the end of the episode, where Crane realized how much he loves Katrina, and he and Abbie were able to shore up their resolution to defeat the bad guys.

On the minus side, I have the following concerns:

1) Who are Henry's minions? Cultists? Sorcerors? Rogue demons? (What's a rogue demon? Heh.) I feel like this could be resolved so easily with just a few lines of dialogue, and it would lend urgency to the story. After all, what's Henry going to do next week when all of these thugs are in jail? Does he get them from rent-a-thug? Are there more? Do they have a health plan and benefits? Etc.

2) I am very tired of the is-she-or-isn't-she-EBIL plot meandering for Katrina. Just really tired of it. Seriously--either your character is evil or she's not, and we need some definitive plot confirmation one way or another.

3) And speaking of Katrina: OMG, where to begin? I began to wonder if the real reason the show has held back on letting her come into the main timeline is because a witch as powerful as she is would upset the balance of reality. If Katrina is as powerful as the story says she is (and the glimpses we've gotten every now and then), then she could, almost single-handedly, make things work out for our heroes in the coming battle. I would rather see her try that and die heroically than be stuck in the background as a half-neutered character.

3a) DAMMIT, mystical forced pregnancy trope: I don't like to see characters suffer like that, and I really don't like the idea that women's bodies are incubators that can be highjacked and used for demon baby vessels anytime. It's also lazy writing: if Moloch could have done this from the get-go, why didn't he try it sooner, and with anyone else? Nope, it had to happen at this specific time to this specific character. (Yes, it was inferred that Henry's minions had tried with other people to no avail, but OF COURSE it works exactly the way it was supposed to when it was Katrina's time.) It's almost as if this storyline was a punishment for her omissions of truth previously. (UGH, the implications of the whole thing give me the heebie jeebies.) The resolution was also ridiculously rushed and particularly deus ex machina.

I started thinking about this trope and wondering if there were ANY narratives that did it "right," or if it was even possible to do right at all. The only other show I could think of that attempted something similar was an Angel episode from first or second season where Cordelia gets magically knocked up overnight and we had to go through the whole "pregnant ladies eat crazy things!" blah blah. Is there any show/storyline where this trope has been used for anything other than a rape allegory? Can it even be done without inspiring some level of squick? And what would it take to retire this particular trope from the writer's handbook? ;p
retsuko: martha jones from 'doctor who', in black and white (martha)
So, the cold open for last night's Gotham featured a character we'd never met before, high on a Plot Device drug, running screaming at the camera. This image pretty much encapsulates the show for me: it's loud, it's not subtle, and if I'm willing suspend a lot of disbelief, it's fun in a "did they really go there?" sort of way. The best scenes involve Jada Pinkett Smith and her mob boss character's machinations, sexual and otherwise. The worst ones... I dunno. There's a lot of violence that's mostly necessitated by the plot, and there are a lot of minor villains who serve as antagonists of the week. The show is exceedingly well cast, but the writing feels kind of flat and predictable: Antagonist is introduced, Gotham City Police react carefully and sensitively like a blunt instrument and beat lots of people up, Jim Gordon does some detecting where no one else will, villains plot, and confrontation, and then foreshadow-y, meta-plot scene and credits roll.

My other big problem with this show (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Arrow, which we're catching up with on Netflix) is that I have yet to see any reason why Gotham or Starling City is worth saving. Gotham, in particular, is a dingy, grimy, just plain awful place that doesn't seem to have any kind or altruistic citizens, just wall-to-wall gangsters, homeless druggies, and criminals, with a few rich people here and there to be offended by the very presence of the lower class. Even the trees in the final moments of last night's episode were dirty--it's a freaking park on a sunny day, and the trees were just patches of dingy green and darkness. Seriously, TV shows, what gives? I don't think it would be a stretch to have an episode centered around someone who's trying to do actual, genuine good in these cities, not as a vigilante, but as a social worker or community advocate (and Councilman Blood on Arrow doesn't count, since we have yet to see him actually doing anything in the very community he's meant to represent.) All cities have their issues with crime and poverty, but I have yet to travel to a city that doesn't have any good people in it, or a nicely landscaped park or museum with adequate lighting somewhere. Further, adding some nice people or places wouldn't diminish the grimdark tone the writers/production people are going for, it would make the dark seem darker by comparison. Come on, shows, surprise me! Make me want to visit Gotham or Starling City!

I'm definitely enjoying this season of Sleepy Hollow more, but last night's episode brought up a few problems: Spoilers, of course. )
retsuko: (spoilers!)
No spoilers about Gotham, except to say that I like what I've seen so far, and the casting is perfect for almost every role. It does feel very organic, like this could have happened before other Batman!verse events, although the timelines are off for a few of the major characters. The only quibble I have with it (and I realize it's pretty damn ridiculous) is since almost all the characters are villains/heroes in the making, Yebisu and I started wondering if every character had some significance in the story's future; we forgot that sometimes an ugly mob thug is just an ugly mob thug.

Of more immediate squee-ish interest to me is Sleepy Hollow. Spoilers ahoy! )

Trailer Park:

* Dammit, Annabelle trailers: I do not need another phobia. While I'm sure the actual movie won't be that scary, whoever edited these trailers (there were two) is to be commended for making the whole thing as spooky and awful as possible. Also, who buys a creepy-looking doll like that? What the hell, people?

* Kingsman: I am all for Colin Firth as a suave British secret agent who can kick ass, but this movie appears to have some worrisome strikes against it: 1) February release date--not January dumping ground, but not prestige, either; 2) Lea Michelle appears to be in it, with a British accent (uhm...); and 3) How is this not The Avengers, but without Emma Peel?
retsuko: (cool yuuko)
OMG OMG OMG: longer teaser trailer is here!

Pros:
*No one appears to be dead (except for those who were already dead, see comments in the Cons section), which is what I thought, so YAY!
*Abby and Crane are back in action together again, and hopefully defeating all evil through shear force of AWESOMENESS. XD
*Jenny appears to have more to do this time around, which is also AWESOME.

Cons:
*Goddamn zombies. Will this be the season that forces me to confront my phobia? Dammit, people, I didn't feel like doing that this fall. >:{
*Katrina appears to be very much damsel-in-distressed. (Oh, see, I have this pretty necklace for you, why don't you love me and sing in my opera house, oops, wrong media.) Hopefully, this plot line is dispatched IMMEDIATELY and then everything goes back to being awesome.

Aw, Sleepy Hollow, I have missed you so much! Can't wait for the opener.
retsuko: (spoilers!)
Spoilers like whoa. )

On a separate, non-spoilery note, I have never hated commercials as much as I did during the second half of this show. Every exciting moment, every turn and twist of the plot, was ruined when we cut to a car or campaign ad. I'm starting to think that I would actively patronize companies that presented TV shows without commercial interruption.
retsuko: (fierce!)
I didn't liveblog the episode last night because I wanted to give it my full attention, and this was definitely a good idea. I was just horrifically disappointed at all the commercials. I think the show as a whole would have been better and spookier if Black Friday hadn't reared its ugly head every seven minutes. :(

Spoilers! )

Augh, two weeks! Too much cliffhanger!
retsuko: (fierce!)
Linguistic Issues:

* I'd like to know Crane's opinion of Twain and Faulkner.

* I highly doubt Crane understands "game," or not hating on the players.

* Although Abbie's conflict with Crane over the interrogation was dramatic, there's no way he'd know the rules she was talking about.

Plot Points: Spoilers! )
retsuko: (Default)
Linguistic issues:

* "gets under my skin" seems like an idiom that Crane wouldn't know.

* Smart. Phone. :D

* In-ter-net. If he had said interblag, I would have died.

Plot issues: Spoilers! )
retsuko: finn & jake's fist bump of awesome (fist bump!)
Linguistic issues:

"Abbie, what is this Mets game of which you speak?"

It's Katrina's dialogue that seems out of place to me, like the line about evil succeeding when good men do nothing. Isn't she ahead by about 200 years?

Story notes: Spoilers! )
retsuko: (fierce!)
Language issues:

"Abbie, what is this fixer-upper/spackle/Ren Fair/'tude of which you speak?"

Although to be fair, the writers did wisely lampshade the spackle comment.

Whoa, Middle English?! I hope there is more made of this, although that's a tall order in less than 42 minutes. Oh, hey, there is more! And it is kind of beautiful to hear.

Disorder? I think ailment or illness is far more likely.

Plot issues: Spoilers ahoy! )
retsuko: antique books (books)
Language issues:

* Nice use of 'inglorious', writers. Also: stoke.

* How does Crane know what the foster care system is, or how it might (or might not) work?

* "This is awkward." Way too ironic/modern. Crane would probably say something like, "This is unpleasant." Possibly dreadful.

* "Abbie, what is this drug czar/freedom fighter of which you speak?"

Spoilery notes: More here! )

Next week: OMG YOU GUYS: drama plague!
retsuko: antique books (books)
Language issues:

Medic: I think Crane would be more likely to call for a doctor or a surgeon, but he wouldn't know the term medic.

"Abbie, what is this twilight zone/tricked out Delorean/schtick of which you speak?"

Sandman: good bit of dialogue there about who that mythological figure is.

Episode Impressions:Spoilers, most likely. )

Next week: Cultists led by a guy who looks like a more articulate Bane! Awesome!

May 2016

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