I was happy to receive the DVD of Blade Runner 2049 this week. I saw the film twice in the cinema - once in IMAX 3D and once in 2D, and I think it justly deserved the BAFTA for cinematography. It was half term, so I was having to watch it in chunks but I’ve enjoyed it third time around. The soundtrack is stealthily sublime, much more than the bass that dominated in the cinema. There are elements of the plot that could have been done better (and I know the Guvnor would definitely argue that) but I think this was done very well overall.
Sort of watched Troy on iPlayer yesterday (I was a bit distracted...) . Not bad - it looked good, but whether it will hold my interest for the entire series is another matter. The one thing that always jars for me is stirrups - I know, it's all about insurance, but I did wonder if I was watching a western at one point rather than a swords and sandals epic.
It took me a few weeks to get round to it but once I started watching Altered Carbon I was pretty hooked. I want to stay in a hotel run by AI Edgar Allan Poe! It prompted me to download The Veil and Cascade, which I had backed & were waiting in my Drive Thru library of shame.
I’m finally watching season 1 of The Magicians. It’s entertaining so far (if not as compelling as Altered Carbon). I think I prefer Julia’s story to the Brakebills-focused parts, so far.
I also saw Bladerunner 2049 recently towards the beginning of a long haul flight, enjoyed it so much I started brainstorming a RPG setting for a large part of the remainder of the flight. Quite keen on running this type of setting in Genesys at some point, especially if they release a World of Android source book for the system.
I binged watched all two series of The Good Place on Netflix. Ted Danson at his best, with a comedic ensemble cast that is keeping up with him. Light and accessible, very, very funny, yet profound and philosophical at the same time. Started watching it when I was hit by a misery cold and needed to lighten my mood. It was very effective medicine Also it had for me echoes of The Prisoner, which could only be a good thing
Bladerunner 2049 got a viewing once it hit Amazon on download, after completely failing to see it at the cinema. Didn't disappoint, but I knew that the film was in safe hands after seeing director Denis Villeneuve's Mexican Cartel thriller Sicario.
I got Twin Peaks The Return (aka season 3) as my Christmas present, and it didn't disappoint completely blowing me away with its strange but familiar storytelling. I was worried that Stranger Things, esp season 2, was going to steal the crown of surreal weird horror tv series, but I need not have worried Twin Peaks is still the Gawdamn Emperor
Watched all of Altered Carbon, despite its many problems, but doubt I'll bother with the second season given how derivative, cliched and dull they made the "resolution" of this seasons story; what makes it really disappointing is the flashes of brilliance (The Raven / Poe; Ortega's grandmother) in the adaptation that seem weirdly at odds with the other, dim-witted changes to tedious cliche elsewhere.
Similarly, Star Trek Discovery by turns bored, irritated and occasionally delighted me. The plot was mostly awful (rushed, stupid, frequently both), the characters frequently confused in conception and inconsistent in execution... but it looked gorgeous, it had a couple of strong episodes (the second Mudd one in particular) and many great moments and by the end both Saru and Tilly were great characters. Never managed to understand or read enough of what the Klingons were muttering / barking behind their several pounds of latex to care about them or take them seriously though...
The Dark on Netflix is... intriguing. The dubbing is occasionally irritating, but generally solid, and the intricate loops and recursions of the plot are fascinating, but it didn't feel like it really went anywhere in the end. But I'll look out for a second season.
Finally saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - dear old Luc Besson, always bonkers, always wildly inventive and visually arresting, and occasionally can string together a compelling yarn. Much better than Lucy (which was pretty but mind-mumblingly predictable and stupid in concept), but still a little bit childish.
Guardians - the Russian superhero thing. Don't. Just don't.
The Dark Tower - perfectly workmanlike, bit generic. Solid if not spectacular performances from the leads (Elba, McConaughey, Taylor). And I've never read the books, but still felt a little flat and uninspiring.
Second season of the BBC America Dirk Gently's Holisitc Detective Agency - loved it from start to finish; gloriously weird, inventive and builds on what was done on the first season; captures the feel of the source material whilst strongly charting its own course. An unlike a LOT of Netflix shows (Marvel in particular) doesn't feel too long. Gutted its been cancelled and likely won't get the third season it deserved.
Sometime in the last year or so, I stopped watching ANY direct broadcast TV. I watch Amazon Prime, Netflix, stuff off iTunes or BBC iPlayer / the all4 App - but never ACTUAL broadcast TV. Even stuff like the F1 or Grand Designs, I watched last year on my digital platform of choice (my Apple TV).
I've just started watching a French series called Black Spot (in English) on Amazon. Creepy French small town in north-east France (from the scenery) where a girl's missing and the timber mill is closing down. Loads of atmosphere and always the hint of something supernatural (and loads of unexplained murders).\\Good for Liminal maybe or CCall of Cthulhu/GUMSHOE.
You should definitely watch it. European '80s nostalgia is somewhat different to US '80s nostalgia - especially where nuclear material is concerned ... we're not really sure yet where it's going after Season 1. It has legs, I'd say.
Altered Carbon - enjoyed it but not as good as the books. Pleased they mucked about with the story though so as to make it different. Be interesting to see if they try to emulate the other books, meaning different lead actors, or if they decide one series was enough.
Blade Runner 2049 - thoroughly enjoyed this at the cinema, even if the audio was a little too loud in parts. Interesting to hear the DVD might be more balanced. Have that ready for a rewatch soon. Agree with the reaction of one of the producers on seeing the finished cut, that they'd made the most expensive art house movie ever ?. The original blew me away when I saw it at a preview screening organised by Starburst Magazine, so 2049 was going to have to be dire for it to disappoint. Have just discovered Zaibatsu (Cepheus Engine cyberpunk) - http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/234679/Zaibatsu - which will help scratch an itch seeing this started.
Mindhunters and Manhunt Unabomber (Netflix) - two different takes on the FBI's Behavioural Analysis Unit, both rather good in their own ways. Mindhunters has I believe been earmarked for a second season, which I’m quite looking forward to.
And dropping this week, the second season of Jessica Jones, which I am definitely looking forward to. Looks like it is going to be even darker than the first season. Can. Not. Wait!
We really need some fireworks here guys, where is the forum drama?
First the stuff mentioned which I am not so sure about:
Troy - Ridiculous dialogue that would be better suited to East Enders.
The Good Place - Trite, self affirming morality.
Jessica Jones - Does it do anything other than reference woman's issues?
Second the stuff you should be watching:
Stranger Things - Retro brilliance, but not seen 2nd series yet.
Star Trek Discovery - Possibly the best ST series so far.
Mindhunters - Deep, original.
Manhunt Unibomber - Fascinating portrayal.
Luke Cage - Brings Harlem to life, amazing feel to the series.
Iron Fist - Cosmic, cosmopolitan, corporate, great set up.
The Magicians - Don't be put of by the "high school"/collage, mostly faithful to the books.