Tag: television

Goddamnit. As a diehard fan of basically all things Damon Lindelof, it was really tough to read this article all about how Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were huge dicks on LOST. There are parts of LOST that I really didn’t enjoy, even while it was airing, and this article offers an explanation for all of them.

I’m still making my way through the latest Lindelof project, Mrs. Davis. I like it a lot. The other creator on that project is a writer whose past credits are primarily Young Sheldon and the Big Bang Theory, which (you may have already assumed) almost ruined the show for me. But, you know what, the Lindelof formula works with a little absurd humor. It’s bit like MANIAC in that regard, but veers even further into a weird manic humor. I think Mrs. Davis must have been written partially with the help of ChatGPT because it’s so random in a way LLMs often are. But I do have LLMs on the brain….

The Staircase, the new HBO series that just wrapped up, was very entertaining. I didn’t watch the original documentary, but I had read an article all about “the owl theory”, which I had found very convincing, so I was vaguely familiar with the murder of Kathleen Peterson.

To someone unfamiliar with some of the details of the case, it was very easy to feel like the series was giving a lot of credence to the owl theory, by repeatedly showing Kathleen being spooked by owl sounds outside. Is the subplot with the bats a further allusion to Kathleen’s alleged issues with wildlife? Probably?

The series leaves out certain facts about the crime scene that can strongly influence your opinion about Michael Peterson’s innocence, and I think it’s extremely suspicious. I can understand that the show, for the sake of suspense, may want to paint an somewhat ambiguous picture of Michael early on, so they can hit you with more damming evidence later, but by the end I don’t think the show went far enough in this regard.

Before the last episode of the show aired, I did some googling and found a lot of people who were like me: people who felt like Michael Peterson wasn’t guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and the show didn’t help remedy this perception much. But after finding a very eye-opening post on Reddit about the case, all doubt was gone for me, and by the end of the show I ultimately felt like it was extremely misleading.

I felt the same way after the 2018 Waco series which portrayed David Koresh as a likable rockstar character and not the sociopathic child molestor he actually was. To the credit of The Staircase, it’s not as egregious as the Waco series in regards to making the psychopath at the center of the series seem super cool and hip, but I still call into question the compulsion to create media that feels a bit like the narcissist himself was involved in crafting their portrayal.

Sure, you could say it’s so that the audience can sort of feel what it was like to actually be there, and to be so thoroughly suckered by the charisma of these men, but I really don’t think that is much of a defense. At the end of the day, these were men who did bad things, and leaving out details and events so that the main character of the show still remains somewhat likable is just dishonest and manipulative.

I don’t know how I didn’t mention Outer Range in my last post. I enjoyed it as much as, if not more than, Severance. It’s an unabashedly & pretentiously weird and arty show that, based on what I’ve read online, is very divisive. I was honestly shocked at the negativity and hostility directed at the show online, because I never felt like it hit a wrong note. But on the other hand, I know when something feels that way to me, it’s probably going to really upset other people.

It’s got all the hallmarks of a future cult classic and I am totally there for it. I don’t really know how to say much else about the show. If you like David Lynch but think his stuff is too lacking in coherence, it’s great: dream logic, magical realism, science fiction all rolled up into one big beautiful package. I think you liked John from Cincinnati, which I love with all my heart and soul, you’d like Outer Range as well. How much that last sentence offends you should be a pretty good measure of how much you may like the show.

I’ve been watching season 3 of Westworld, because I watched the prior two seasons, for better-ish (season 1) and for worse (season 2). What a gorgeous, but insultingly stupid, show. I’m not done with the season so I can’t pass solid judgment, but there are writers who can handle deep concepts (like the nature of reality, the self, expansive future technology) without getting all tangled up in them, and then there is whoever is writing Westworld at this point. Yuck, but I’ll keep going…

We watched Belle over the weekend. I’ve been dipping my toes into Japanese culture over the past year or so, not really on purpose, but after playing Paradise Killer I’ve been on a journey to be less close-minded about Japanese stuff like, ahem, anime, JRPGs, little girl ASMR on Twitch (🤮), and so on. I saw that Belle was really well received online by sites that, I’m realizing, make a business about receiving anything well (Polygon, Verge), so I figured I would check it out. It was … okay. Visually beautiful, over-long, and mired further by the (shame on us) English versions of the songs. Wish we had watched it in Japanese; at least the stupid songwriting could be somewhat obscured by vocals we’re unable to understand. Shucks!

We wrapped up Ozark last week as well. This is another situation–like Westworld, like Weeds–where I should have just walked away at some point. With Ozark, hard to remember exactly what season first really started to lose me, I’m not quite sure. The show probably reached its peak when Ruth called Wendy “a bitch wolf” in a fit of angry hysteria. Little did anyone know that from that point onward “angry hysteria” would be the driving force behind many–if not all–of the characters, to varying degrees of outward flailing. What a painfully dumb and disappointing show. To its credit, and I say this as begrudgingly as possible, the show remains consistent up to the very end, despite (I assume) every single person on earth wanting things to go differently for the Byrdes just once.

I watched the Reacher show on Amazon last week. It was actually really good. Felt a lot like a Hercule Poirot mystery, except in this case Hercule is a guy with muscles the size of his head who can beat people to death if he wants.

At one point Reacher says something like, “you better chose your next words very carefully, because they will determine how well your jaw works for the rest of your life,” and it basically paid for the whole show in my book. I’m a simple man: I like seeing dudes who can cash the checks their mouth writes.

If there’s one negative to Reacher, it’s that the show plays it pretty straight for the whole series until the last episode. Then it goes full on cheese-ball and not in a particularly graceful way. I also really wanted to see Reacher slowly beat the bad guy to death at the end. While the bad guy got a decently painful death, I don’t think it was enough. We should have gotten a shot of the bad guy spitting out their broken teeth, missed opportunity for sure.