[watching] What have you seen recently?

If you spot a series on SYFY called Spides - don’t.

Basically somewhere between Orphan Black and Torchwood: Children of Earth. Filmed in Berlin because German TV thought it was too expensive but an American company thought it was good value. Potential, if cookie cutter, but it shows you everything in the first episode. And then the protagonists spend 8 episodes failing at everything.

End up feeling like a 1970’s UK Children’s Teatime SciFi TV series.

Oh the things I’m seeing during lockdown!
OMG! You had to tempt me, didn't you!
I watched about 10 minutes of "I don't care which episode", then thought 'I've got to use these eyes for the rest of my life' and turned it off.
A bit like The Tomorrow People, except TTP was a lot better.
 
So, think my last post in this thread was over two years ago... Some updates

Season Two of Altered Carbon. Less uneven than the first, but also a bit less interesting. A better overall execution of a not wildly original story, but along with eliminating (some) of the failings of the first season they still had to carry some of the idiocy from the first and didn't have any new flashes of brilliance like in the first to compensate. Mackie was OK, Poe remains the best character and they rather wasted the cool elements of the setting. And they seem to have compressed books two and three in to this season so really not sure where they can go after this. The companion anime was mildly diverting.

Star Trek Discovery Season Two was on the other hand a definite improvement. The quietly moved on from the Klingons as swiftly as possible (wise...), the Enterprise crew were brilliant and they did a much better job with the DSC crew. Teh plot was still awful, the pacing still weirdly erratic at times, but much better on balance.

The Dark (all three seasons now available) on Netflix is... an absolute gem. It sticks to its concept, doesn't let itself get diverted and builds and builds in a remarkable and focused way to its final, unexpected conclusion. If I'm being ruthlessly honest it's perhaps a little long overall, and I think there are things that could have been more tightly plotted / emphasised between the seasons to make certain resonances really land a with the conclusion. But thoroughly enjoyed all three seasons and is probably my favourite TV time related plot.

Tales From the Loop is a beautiful, melancholy meditation on childhood and loss - it is remarkably faithfully to the look and feel of the original narrative art book, and thus some what distant from the RPG. I'd love to see a similar take on Things from the Flood. Somewhat startled that Amazon made something so... atypical.

The Witcher - really quite fun. Baffled as to why the three narratives weren't tagged with date stamps - I've long maintained that Geralt has far more in common with a Le Carre or Deighton character than a Moorcock or Martin one, and Modern thriller style date stamps spelling out the multi-stranded spiral through time that was the first seasons plot would only have helped the show. But Cavil was good, working really hard to get maximum benefit from various swears, grunts and asides to Roach ("Don't judge me." is still my favourite). The fight choreographers need to calm down - if I never see that idiotic reverse grip on a sword again it will be too fucking soon. But otherwise pretty good, if compared to Tales and Doom Patrol, it ended up feeling quite... conventional?

Doom Patrol - I... Um... They took Morrison's Doom Patrol and gave it better connections to the previous incarnations and wrote a more engaging version of Niles Caulder and put it on TV... what utterly bonkers universe are we living in? Alan Tudyk was glorious, they've made Crazy Jane work and I am suddenly reminded just how good Brendan Frasier is. So good, I've shelled out for a Starz sub to get Season 2 NOW.

The Old Guard - has some strong points, but really needed another pass from an editor, particularly for the secondary and tertiary characters. Chiwetel Eijofor works miracles with a character who as written is barely more than stage directions for changing the flats - that he almost creates a plausible character out of the trite plot lever that is Copley is admirable, but he really deserves better. Also, struggled to reconcile competent Corporal Freeman in her opening scene with Nile in civvies, who didn't feel particularly like a soldier, but who then in key action sequences was as hyper competent as the others... Really liked Theron's bone weary take on Andy, and Joe and Nicky were delightful.

Think I started His Dark materials, but got bored and didn't finish it; gritted my teeth all the way through Doctor Who but have to say wasn't hugely impressed.

Made my self watch the final star wars film on Disney + and was faintly appalled: that was the best they could do? But frankly, I re-watched them all in chronological order before I tackled tRoS and was mostly underwhelmed by ALL of them (A New Hope still has a certain charm, and Rogue One and Solo were at least trying; but most of the rest are, bar nostalgia, just not that good - and it is painful to watch Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in the prequels desperately trying to make the awful scripts they have work )... Where as the Mandalorian was fun and looked great, if a bit blatantly "fan-servicey" at times. But the best and most "Star Wars" thing was Rebels - which finally and for almost the entire time I binge watched it connected with my ten year old self in the flea-pit cinema in Bristol where I first saw Star Wars in 1977.

Sniff. Killjoys has finished. Sniff I really wish there was a way to have more without breaking what they did, but its five gloriously bonkers seasons of the best sort of bubble gum SF and I really miss it.

Nick
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Sniff. Killjoys has finished. Sniff I really wish there was a way to have more without breaking what they did, but its five gloriously bonkers seasons of the best sort of bubble gum SF and I really miss it.
Agree, that's the sort of campaign I'd enjoy.
Did u watch Dark Matter? Also a gr8 bonkers SF show, be warned it got cancelled on a gr8 cliff hanger.. but then again onme could then run the next series as an RPG!
[oh and welcome back]
 
Blimey, Nick, you've been watching a lot of telly - looks like I have some catching up to do.

I tried watching Berlin Station, which is a reasonably good spy thriller, but I paused it after Season 1 because there is really no-one likeable in there and everything that's going on seems so pointless and narcissistic - it's not The Americans, that's for sure. I mean, I don't expect happy endings or a justifiable cause in a modern intelligence drama, but there has to be some reason for me to care (other than hoping every character gets shot or at least exposed and locked away).

Babylon Berlin, on the other hand, is splendid. Great recreation of between-the-wars Berlin, very good characterisation, people with human motivations and all-too-human failings, and engaging storylines. And great soundtrack.

I remember a lot of people being disappointed when Dark Matter got cancelled - but then everything was SF getting cancelled around then, so not really unexpected.
 
I love Killjoys. I fell a bit behind with the series when my Tivo box failed to record season 4. So I'm playing catch up with it. I never liked Dark Matter.
 

ltd

Rune Priest
I tried watching Berlin Station, which is a reasonably good spy thriller, but I paused it after Season 1 because there is really no-one likeable in there and everything that's going on seems so pointless and narcissistic - it's not The Americans, that's for sure. I mean, I don't expect happy endings or a justifiable cause in a modern intelligence drama, but there has to be some reason for me to care (other than hoping every character gets shot or at least exposed and locked away).

.
Second series of Berlin Station is really good (don't bother with the third, it's well duff). I liked the Michelle Forbes character, I thought if the series has a moral centrel she's probably it. Leland Orser as the hyper-active foul mouthed one used to make me laugh. Actually felt a bit sorry for him, he seemed quite tortured in a way. In contrast I thought the couple in The Americans were a pair of vicious thugs. Excellent series which I watched to the end but no sympathy for the leads at all.
 
Blimey, Nick, you've been watching a lot of telly - looks like I have some catching up to do...
:ROFLMAO: IN my defence, that was the highlights / relevant stuff compared to my previous post in tis thread back in 2018!

Mind, there's a LOAD of Anime / animated stuff I watched on Netflix I can't be arsed to comment on. ;)
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Babylon Berlin, on the other hand, is splendid. Great recreation of between-the-wars Berlin, very good characterisation, people with human motivations and all-too-human failings, and engaging storylines. And great soundtrack.
We are four episodes in and I love it.

I remember a lot of people being disappointed when Dark Matter got cancelled - but then everything was SF getting cancelled around then, so not really unexpected.
Indeed. One has to get used to it. However we are gamers. We can continue the story in our heads or even on our gaming tables.
 
We've finally completed our Blake's 7 marathon. My wife hadn't seen the series before, and I haven't watched it in years, so I took her through all 52 episodes on DVD. She even managed to guess the ultimate ending early on in season 4. Sadly, the series looks rather dated now; well with the exception to season 4, which did have higher production values, and in my book is still the best season of B7.

We've now moved onto the HBO's Deadwood. I haven't watched the series since it was first broadcast in the UK, so took a punt on the Blu-Ray boxset as I remember it fondly from the first time around.
 

ltd

Rune Priest
We've finally completed our Blake's 7 marathon. My wife hadn't seen the series before, and I haven't watched it in years, so I took her through all 52 episodes on DVD. She even managed to guess the ultimate ending early on in season 4. Sadly, the series looks rather dated now; well with the exception to season 4, which did have higher production values, and in my book is still the best season of B7.
I liked the s4 episode when they team up with Roy Kinnear to do a gold robbery.
 
Just binge-watched the first 5 episodes of Lodge 49. Had never heard of it, didn't know what to expect and found myself just wanting to keep going (there was no play in the cricket today). Shan't give the game away for anyone who wants to give it a go, but let's just say, loved it. Will go and watch another episode (or two, or three) now.
 
I've been watching a lot of ho-hum stuff on Netflix during my lunch breaks.

Warrior Nun. Well, it was ok. I wasn't blown away by it, but I don't resent the time it took to watch it. Obvious big unresolved elements and cliffhangers waiting for a second series (go on, give us a second series mister, or you'll never know!).

Wynonna Earp (seasons 1 & 2). A bit of light-hearted demon-slaying nonsense, basically. With some suitable safe violence and gore. As seems to happen so often, the premise of the show gets forgotten or mutated after the first season, leaving me wondering whether the show runners actually have an actual story in mind, or just a vague theme. And once again, the end of season cliffhanger. Enough already.

Extraction (film). Chris Hemsworth gets to be broody and kill people with gore, for a change. It was violent, and bloody. Some small sections of it made sense. The end seemed a bit forced. If you want to spend a couple of hours watching people get shot, go watch Black Hawk Down.

The Old Guard (film). Violent and bloody, again. I quite liked it, although the villain was a little bit pantomime, and I thought the ending was both a cop out and yet another pointless cliffhanger.

Alita: Battle Angel. Violent and...well, you get the idea by now, I'm sure. What can I say about this? The graphics were ok, and it didn't cost me a cinema ticket?
 
Are we so blessed with things to watch these days that something like Fort Salem for free on the BBC goes completely uncommented on?

Well the BBC clearly don't know what they've bought. Caught me a bit by surprise.

Silliest name for bad guys in a while, though.
 
Still love the opening trilogy of episodes of Blake's 7: The Way Back / Space Fall / Cygnus Alpha are a fantastic starting arc. I must get hold of B7 and re-watch it properly, its been several decades since I last saw all of it (IIRC UK Gold re-ran in the early 1990's when i was living in Coventry and had cable TV).

I tried re-watching Space:1999 and whilst I couldn't face watching more, I was pleasantly surprised that, making allowances for the 45 odd years since it was made, it was surprisingly watchable.

Agree, that's the sort of campaign I'd enjoy.
Did u watch Dark Matter? Also a gr8 bonkers SF show, be warned it got cancelled on a gr8 cliff hanger.. but then again onme could then run the next series as an RPG!
[oh and welcome back]
Meant to say - I've tried two or three times to get in to Dark Matter and bounced pretty hard off the first episode or so. Not sure why. Must give it another chance at some point.
 
Are we so blessed with things to watch these days that something like Fort Salem for free on the BBC goes completely uncommented on?

Well the BBC clearly don't know what they've bought. Caught me a bit by surprise.

Silliest name for bad guys in a while, though.
Just started watching it ... about five minutes in and I'm already in 'Convert it! Convert it!' mode.
 
Still love the opening trilogy of episodes of Blake's 7: The Way Back / Space Fall / Cygnus Alpha are a fantastic starting arc. I must get hold of B7 and re-watch it properly, its been several decades since I last saw all of it (IIRC UK Gold re-ran in the early 1990's when i was living in Coventry and had cable TV).

I tried re-watching Space:1999 and whilst I couldn't face watching more, I was pleasantly surprised that, making allowances for the 45 odd years since it was made, it was surprisingly watchable.


Meant to say - I've tried two or three times to get in to Dark Matter and bounced pretty hard off the first episode or so. Not sure why. Must give it another chance at some point.
We got the Dutch DVD release of B7, which was cheaper than the UK release. I recall watching it on VHS tapes in the early 90s. I later rewatched them on UK Gold some ten years later.
 
Do tell me more then, like what is it about?
Strong initial concept. The Salem witches WERE witches but did a deal with their persecutors. “Treat us with respect and we’ll win your wars for you.”

Fast forward to the present day. We follow three recruits - all from a long line of witches - starting training at Fort Salem.

It has a budget. Not a massive one but well used. It’s an all female cast. Men are rare and pretty much irrelevant so far. Cast trending young - well they are new recruits. Strong hints that things are not going well. What we see of war - in flashback - looks unpleasant. (Witches on the other side, or worse?) Number of recruits is falling as bloodlines falter (due to them being wiped out). There is some nasty witch-based terrorism - from the start.

They’re handling the magic well so far. They’ve made it sound-based (a la Dune’s wyrding voice) which looks effective but makes good use of the budget. I quite like the terrorist’s neat way of storing and triggering spells. The terrorist group has a silly name.

I’m 2.5 episodes in and it could go either way. I suspect that by the end of the season we won’t have seen any real war but will have seen one civilian action before they graduate. I’m guessing they’re hoping it’s enough for them to be renewed with a higher budget so that they can afford to show the horrors outside the training camp. Could be good. Could end up just being Young Adult fodder.
 
Fort Salem update: First, to steal your catchphrase, bless you Simon for finding this.

I'm up to episode 7/10 and I can happily report that this is both predictable YA fodder and some really quite nasty stuff. Sure, you have the 'alternative kid with power', 'innocent with broken heart' and 'posh kid struggling with Mommy issues' archetypes but they all go in ... interesting directions. Beyond that though there's some really horrible terrorist incidents through the lens of 'What could terrorist witches do?', sex rituals, aging rituals (a really tragic episode), some excellent fight scenes and more gore than I was expecting!

The world building, however, is brilliant. There's clearly more going on and you get it alluded to in more-than-passing. It keeps you wanting more.

I'm totally hooked. And as my desire to make my favourite TV shows into RPGs has been sated (Hurrah for the Dragon Prince RPG!!) this is my new focus. I want a Fort Salem RPG now! Or at least a good Fate Accelerated or PBTA hack!

Edit: OK... finished it now. That was brilliant. Started as Harry Potter ... moved into Witch Quantico and then ended in ... I have no idea what just happened, but I have a theory. Oh and a trio of massive cliffhangers. So, you know, there's that. If this doesn't get another series, I riot.
 
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