Things I’ve Been Watching (October 2017)

Here are some of the shows I’ve been looking at this month. There’s a lot of releases, and I can’t keep up with a lot of them, but I’ll watch what I can and get back to you on what I thought about them.

The Gifted Season Premiere

Image result for the gifted

I’m simply not in the mood for this show, and I’m fed up with this type of plot, now. It’s loosely based on some of the X-Men and New Mutants comic books, in that it has some Sentinel plotline, and some of the characters from those groups. Stephen Moyer stars as a lawyer who used to prosecute mutant criminals, and  the father of two young mutants, now on the run from the government, which is rounding up mutants and imprisoning them in scientific camps.

I tried watching the first episodes, and while I like a couple of the characters, the show is simply not compelling enough to keep me watching it every week. The characters have the usual teenage angst, with superpowers, that made me dislike the First X-Men movie. Blink is a teenager who can teleport by creating portals, and Thunderbird, who is Native American, is a kind of tracker of people and things. I’m dismayed that the show used the Native American tracker stereotype, as that’s nothing like Thunderbird’s actual powers in the books, which consists of speed and strength.

And I’m just not here for yet another plotline of people with superpowers being rounded up and used by the government. This seems to be the only plotline they can come up with for superpowered characters, especially on TV, and once again, there is only the focus on how this affects White, suburban, middle-class families.

Just like with the show Heroes, there is no focus on how the discovery of superpowers would affect any marginalized communities, something I would consider much more entertaining, and which the show Cleverman handled with a certain amount of depth. As I complained about before, we keep getting stories about middle-class White characters being subjected to the same oppressions that have been visited on marginalized communities. This show would have had far more depth and been much more interesting if it had been set in the G/L community,  or the Black and Latinx communities, in which this type of interment is already occurring.

In the forties, the Japanese were rounded up in internment camps because they were considered a danger to the US, and later, authorities used to raid the gay and lesbian communities and lock them in jails with the full force of legal authority behind them. Today, its immigration officials grabbing random Brown people out of their homes, and locking them up on suspicion of being illegal immigrants. What do you want to bet that none of these things will be addressed in yet another show where we see average White people being treated in the same manner?

 

Legends of Tomorrow

Image result for Legends of tomorrow

I’m looking forward to this new season. I really enjoyed the season premiere, which was a lot of fun and addressed a couple of cliffhangers from last season. This season will also introduce one of my favorite characters. Constantine.

Constantine’s show was something of a bust, but I think he’ll fit right in on this ensemble show, because he just works better when interacting with other super powered, snarky,  characters, and yes, the writers have promised to keep his canonical bi-sexuality intact, something which was never addressed in his own show.

Also, returning this season is Captain Cold, played by the very candilicious, Wentworth Miller.I always loved his dynamic with Heatwave (yeah, I totally ship those two) and I’m looking forward to the two of them meeting again, especially after Cold sacrificed his life to save the team, in a previous season.

I generally like all the characters on this show. My top favorite is Firestorm. I remember reading those comics as a kid, and briefly again in the 90s. He’s an interesting binary character of an older White man named Stein, and a Black teenager named Jackson, and I love the friendship that has developed between the two of them. The show has managed to carefully avoid the stereotype of the Black brute, who is nothing but the muscle in their relationship, by making Jackson an engineering genius, with Stein as his mentor. so naturally, Stein will be leaving the show later this season. I wonder who Jackson’s new partner will be.

I least like Black Canary, but I think that has more to do with the actress, because I like the version from the comic books just fine.

In the last season, the Legends broke the world by causing a set of time anomalies, which caused them to get kicked out of their spaceship. We open the episode with them leading normal lives on Earth. Black Canary is working, unhappily, in a department store, and Jackson is attending college. Stein appears to be the only happy one, spending time with the daughter he never knew he had, from another timeline. Heatwave, played by Dominic Purcell, is also having the time of his life, vacationing on the beaches of Aruba, before he is attacked by Julius Caesar, another time anomaly.

The team gets called back together to fix the problems they caused with all their time travelling last season. This show airs after The Flash, which is absolutely perfect, since I’m really starting to like The Flash a lot more, and have started regularly watching that.

 

 

Brooklyn 99

Image result for brooklyn 99

When we last left The 99 last season, Jake and Rosa were sent to prison, for a crime they didn’t commit, by a corrupt cop. When we meet up with them at the beginning of the new season, the two of them are not adjusting well to their situation. Jake’s roommate is a cannibal, played by Tim Meadows, (he is extremely funny), but we don’t get much insight into Rosa’s situation. We spend most of our time with Jake, as he tries not to get outed as a cop by the Warden, who is trying to capture a drug smuggling ring, run by Lou Diamond-Phillips. I liked the guest stars more than I liked Jake in these episodes, and I hope to see more of Lou Diamond’s character in the future. He so rarely gets to do comedies, and I think he’s hilarious here.

Amy and Charles are working hard to find proof that Jake and Rosa were set up and come up with zany schemes to do this, even though Charles thinks his podcast about Jake should be enough to free him. One of the funnier running gags is that he invited Terry on the podcast, but the interview wasn’t successful, and Terry is confused about why.

By the end of the second episode, all is well in the Kingdom of 99, Jake and Amy have been reunited, Charles can give up his podcast, and well, Rosa remains very much Rosa. I normally do not watch shows about cops, (as I consider all of them to be thinly veiled propaganda about the inherent goodness of law enforcement), but I will make an exception for a really great, or funny show, and Brooklyn 99, along with the very politically incorrect Reno 911, are worth the watch.

 

The Exorcist Season Two

Image result for exorcist season two

Well, I think its too much to say this is an enjoyable show, because its supposed to be scary, but it does star John Cho as one of the shows leads. The show does have some issues though. I’m not at all interested in the storyline of the two priests who have made off with the possession victim from last season, and the gruff speaking victim gets on my nerves after about thirty seconds, but fortunately her onscreen time can be easily ignored. I just pretend I’m really engrossed in my knitting when she’s on the screen.

John Cho’s storyline is far more interesting, as he stars as the father figure for a home of orphans with severe trauma issues. The home is being visited and assessed for its level of care by an old flame of John’s, so the show is killing it in the Asian representation column, as this role is being played by an actress named Li Jun Li, and I’ve become very invested in their relationship, although I do fear for the life of the young lady, because TV loves to kill off  Asian characters, and that actress isn’t especially well known. The last time we saw Jun Li, she was the coroner from the show Minority Report, and was dressed like a Rave victim.

Well, inconveniently there’s some spooky happenings at the house and the kids are acting up and misbehaving in ways they didn’t before she came there, which increases the tension between her and John’s character as he wonders if she can be fair to him, especially taking into account their dramatic past together.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this season because its so rare to see Asian Americans as stars in a horror show. Actually, this show is pretty good about diversity, and a sensitive portrayal of children with various disabilities. The disabilities are not the source of any of the horror (some outside force is) so that’s another stereotype that’s been upended.  Its not as hysterically over the top as American Horror Story, so I’m able to get caught up in the mystery without getting a headache, and the characters are all mostly likable.

 

The Flash

Image result for the flash season four iris

I’m just really starting to get into this show. I watched most of last season and understood maybe half of what was happening, but I did like the characters, which is what mostly draws me into a show. My favorite characters are Iris, and Cisco, and I got to see a lot of both of them in the season premiere, although I like all of the characters on the show except Caitlin Snow. That actress acts like she’s in a different show altogether, but she has good chemistry with the other characters, so I can tolerate her.

Can I just say how much I genuinely love Iris. She is by every definition of the term, a  rare flower. She’s gorgeous, graceful, intelligent, and heavily reminds me of Nichelle Nichols version of Uhura, an example of the kind of woman I wanted to be as a child. I hate to say this, because I really like Barry, but she is waaaay too good for him. I also love that Iris is a Black woman, because it’s so rare that Black women get to be loved, sacrificed for, or  damseled in mainstream media, and I am here for it. She also gets some really nice speeches during the episode.

Last season, Barry sacrificed himself to save the love of his every existence, and entered what is known as The Speed Force. I think its the source of his powers or something. I’m not too clear on that. Anyway Cisco comes up with a way to save him, but the Barry that comes back to Earth is deeply confused and unintelligible. The entire situation is complicated by a supposed new enemy, come to challenge Barry, a Samurai with a sword that causes earthquakes. The entire crew needs to save Barry, so he can save the city.

I’m looking forward to this new season as I’ve heard that Ralph Dibney’s Elongated Man will be featured on the show. I used to read  his comics as a kid.  Harrison Wells will be making another appearance, too, along with a character played by Danny Trejo. Katee Sackoff is also supposed to show up as a supervillain, I think. Killer Frost has already put in an appearance in this first episode, and this season is supposed to have a lighter tone than the last, which I think all superhero shows could use a dose of.

So, I’m in, I guess.

 

The Orville

Image result for the orville

I’ve been watching this off and on.. Its still rather uneven n tone, but hopefully it will settle down into what it wants to be by the end of the season. Its not a bad show but it wavers between wanting to be a comedy, with some rather juvenile humor, a drama relationship, and a space opera, and these three things while done effectively, are not meshing well with each other. The switches between styles can be jarring and obvious.

Seth McFarlane’s presence does bring in the guest stars, though. We got a Charlize Theron guest shot, and a cameo from Liam Neeson, which was pretty cool. I kinda like most of the characters, but the surprise for me was the ex-wife and  First Officer, played by Adrianne Palicki. Her, and most of the other women, are the  smartest people on the show. Most of the guys are well… kinda weird, and not too bright, but I like them anyway. There’s a metal robot, and an alien with a same sex husband, and so far the show has been very respectful of the two of them, treating them just like any other couple on the ship. I’m not sure this counts as gay representation though, since they’re both aliens from a mono-gendered  planet.

Its not a bad show. Or rather, not as bad as I thought it was going to be because I was a little dubious about McFarlane being on the show and he and I don’t share the same humor. We still don’t, but so far he hasn’t done anything to actually upset me, so I’m inclined to keep watching.

 

American Horror Story

I’ve pretty much stopped watching this. I’m just not in the frame of mind to consider it entertaining right now, even though it may well be for some people.

 

Outlander

Image result for outlander season 3

I’m a lot less interested in Claire’s life in the fifties and sixties then I am in her life in the past, which is how this season has begun. In order to raise their chid in safety Claire has gone back to her own time period to raise her little girl. Her current husband has issues with this of course but is willing to wrap his head around the fact that his wife has two very different lives, and that her child is not his. That’s a lot to ask of a man, but he seems to be down for all this.

There’s slightly less Jaime in the opening episodes of this season, so I’m not really as invested as I normally would be. I generally do not like romances, and I haven’t read any of the books this show is based on, but I actually like the show for the romance between Claire and Jaime. Go figure! I guess I’m just a sucker for a period romance, I guess.

 

Forthcoming

This weekend is the debut of the show Mindhunter by David Fincher on Netflix. I’ll definitely be watching it, as its based on one of John Douglas’ non-fiction books on serial killer profiling. I’ve read all of his books as he makes the topic very accessible. Also I like David Fincher. The Atlantic review is here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/mindhunter-review-netflix/542781/

 

My review for the first few episodes will be next week along with my long form review of Bladerunner 2049.

I was supposed to see The Mountain Between Us with Mum, but she changed her mind, the night before, and kicked me out of the house to go see what I wanted, all by myself. I really enjoyed Bladerunner, and have a lot of feelings, and thinky-thoughts about it. My review is in two parts, covering the plot and characters, in comparison to the first film and the book, and then, in part two, some of the technical stuff, like the cinematography, music, and themes.

 

Amended to add: The Supernatural Fox Sisters have a thread up on Twitter listing 31 Horror movies that feature Black women, and rather than review The Thing vs The Thing, I think I’m going to review a few of these movies instead, as some of them are my favorites exactly because there are Black women in them as the main characters.

http://www.graveyardshiftsisters.com/2017/09/watch-31-horror-movies-starring-black.html

I chose five of these movies from the list to review. I’ll surprise you with which ones.

State of the Onion:TV

Whoa! I’m very behind this week, but it’s okay, I’m not panicking, as I’ve gotten a lot of other things done  like charity work, and sometimes, sleep. I also have some holiday time to look forward to.  I sometimes have to remind myself that my  reviews won’t be obsolete just because I waited a week. Here’s a list of shows I’m actually paying attention to, some that I’m sort of paying attention to, and some that I’m not. At least one of these shows I’m  actively in hate of (and I bet you can guess which one.)

American Horror Story : Chapter 8


In last week’s episode, the killing continued with the deaths of Shelby and Dominic.  It turns out that Lee is still alive and in the clutches of the Polks. It’s no accident that Lee and the Polks are the main story this evening, and no accident that we’re seeing a middle class Black woman being consumed by these very working class (or below) White villains. There’s a message in there I’ll have to parse at a later date. Anyway, Lee manages to get free by seducing and manipulating one of the younger Polks, who has become attracted to her. Humanizing herself to the him was a good tactic, getting him to see her as a human being, rather than just meat, and this helped her to escape.

But before that, as he was filming her, she confessed in a video she wanted sent to her daughter, that she killed her husband Mason, because he threatened to take sole custody of their daughter. I was more than a little shocked at this revelation, as she swore up and down she didn’t do it, and that was part of her reason for coming back to the Haunted house, and being on the show. She kept filming because she wanted to control her own story, and I believed her. See what I mean about my complete inability to speculate about a show’s plot. 

In the meantime, Audrey and Monet are being tortured by the other Polks, but Monet manages to free herself. She runs off, leaving Audrey behind, but Audrey is saved by Lee, who kills Mama Polk during the event.  Back at the house, Shelby and Dominic are in a panic, after watching Agnes be killed by the Butcher, and they try escaping through the tunnels under the house, but get chased back through the house by all the entities that have come out during the Blood Moon. The Japanese ghosts, the Pig- headed Man, and the nurses stalk them through the house, and a chandelier falls on Shelby’s leg. 

Later, distraught at the fact that she killed her husband, Shelby, in a fit of grief, slits her throat,  while Dominic watches helplessly. When Audrey and Lee return to the house, Lee is horrified to discover Matt’s body in the basement, and Audrey is equally horrified to find Shelby’s body. Naturally, she makes it all about herself. Neither of them believe Dominic’s story of what happened, thinking that he killed everyone. They exile him to the non-existent mercy of the Ghosts, and the Pig Man kills him while he screams outside the door. I was kind of rooting for Shelby. I thought for sure she’d be a survivor. If not her then Lee. But since Monet is in the wind, it might turn out to be her, instead.

Audrey and Lee decide it’s time to go. They attempt to leave, but encounter a “fake” Pig Man at the front door. One of Sydneys assistants,who has no idea that nearly everyone is dead.  Now, they have to try to convince any of the crew left alive that all of these deaths happened, and that it’s too dangerous to stay. 

We’ve got about two more episodes left, so we know that the ending is going to be a bit drawn out. We won’t find out who lived, or if anyone lived, until the final episode, so I suppose we have more running and screaming to look forward to.

Supergirl:


 I’m still sort of watching this. I like the queer representation going on in the show. At least that’s different, as a lot of very popular shows don’t have any. I do wish there were more WoC on the show, though. (Why won’t Hollywood hire Latinas and Asians? Really it’s becoming extremely obvious that they’re being really weird about it?) The action is pretty good. The actress playing Supergirl starts to grow on you after a bit. I dont think I’m ever gonna really like her but she’s less annoying to me than before. 

The surprising break out character for me was Cat. I really thought I’d hate this character, and yes, she is an asshole, but I like how she stans for Kara, gives her good advice, and tolerates none of her flibberty nonsense, which is exactly the kind of female in Kara’s  life that she needs. Cat’s tough on her because she cares and knows she can do better, not just because she’s a mean ol’ witch, who likes yelling at people. I think her new male boss at the newspapaer is kinda the same way. He is a pusher, who doesn’t coddle her, but will back her up when needed.

 This week Kara got her first real news story published and  I was really happy for her. I caught myself smiling at my TV. I see why people like this show, as it has lots of positive moments,and sometimes some afterschool special life lessons, which are eyeballrolling for me, but good for people in general, I guess. I’m never against positive things just because they’re positive.

The show needs to work on its plotlines though, because every genre show, that has ever existed, has done a fight club episode, but I like how Kara makes a friendly overture to her cultural enemy at the end of the episode. It’s a nice message about being a mature, and tolerant  person.


The Flash:


I’m really starting to like this show, now. I know why I ignored it for so long. I didn’t have time to watch it.  Now, I just record it, and watch it later, because I’m not reviewing it. I see why people like it. The villains are interesting, it’s got good action scenes, and special effects, but most importantly, the relationships between the characters are compelling and most of them are positive. I like that the  characters actually talk to one another to solve their problems, rather than acting cold, snarky,and snappish to indicate their displeasure.Its easy to tell who the villains are, until you find out, through some mature insight and tolerance, that maybe they’re not the villain, which is kinda cool. In other words, people act like grown folks, most of the time.  This is much the same formula as Supergirl. I see what DC is trying to do here, trying o make all their shows seem like they happen in the same universe, by giving them the same flavor and formulas. 

This week Caitlin Snow was going through some angsty shit with her mom because she has developed superpowers. Apparently, this is something that’s going around, like a virus. I kinda got into it a bit because I kept yelling at the two of them for being such asshats to each other, after Caitlin’s father died. They both handled their grief badly, and then blamed each other for it. Barry raced around trying to find a holographic monster, but the emphasis was mostly on his relationship with his irritating co-worker, who doesn’t like him. Barry is one of those people who really needs to be liked, and that’s an interesting character trait for a superhero to have, as he spends a lot of time brokering peace between squabbling individuals.

I love Iris, Joe, and Wally, and I’m glad Iris isn’t just some lone Black woman,  floating in a sea of Whiteness, although I do wish there was more of a community of Black people on the show, sort of like how Agents of Shield centers Robbie Reyes’ life around his community. He hangs with, and knows, people in his neighborhood, you see him and his brother out and about, and people know the two them.  It’s not that I want The Flash to be all Black people, all the time, but one of the problems we run into when White people write PoC, is that the PoC never seem to come from a community of people similar to them. They don’t have extended families, or other Black people that know them. All it takes is a throwaway line here and there, or a few phone calls back home, to indicate they live in a wider world, of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Then I remember that the vast majority of white people don’t ever see us in our communities. Their personal encounters with us usually involve one or two Black people, who are just sort of floating through their life, without family or friends attached, so White people tend to reproduce that exact same narrative when they write PoC, especially Latinos, and Asians. (Y’all know there no such thing as a lone Latinx. You know they got fam.)

I’m still not sure how to feel about it when Joe calls Iris and Barry his kids, and I’m reminded that Iris and Barry grew up in the same house. That feels a little weird to me, although since the two of them are completely unrelated, I can find no objection, other than me feeling odd about it.

Agents of Shield:


I’m totally geeking out over the Ghost Rider storyline. I’ve only just started watching the show this season after a disastrous first. I see why people love Daisy, as I’m starting to really like her. When the show started, the only character I could regularly stand was May. Melinda May has always been my best girl and and I hope Robbie becomes a more permanent member of Shield, even though Melinda would like to kick his ass. I love his relationship with his brother (family is important to me, too) and I was on the edge of my seat when he revealed what he was to  Gabriel, this week. I was completely whiteknuckling that scene. 

I love how television presents more nuanced versions of teenagers, probably because the writers are younger.  Movies usually settle for the cliched, sullen, whining, and utterly selfish, teen. I’ve never met any teenagers like that. All the ones I’ve met, as an adult, have been fascinating, with interesting things to say, once you get them talking. I think that cliche says more about how the writers think about teenagers, than how teenagers actually are, and I love the way Gabriel is written, on the show, as he reminds me of teenagers I’ve actually met. He obviously loves his brother, and is generally positive around Robbie, probably as a way of anchoring him, and alleviating Robbie’s guilt, over what happened to them. See? That’s how you write a teenager. 

I could do without the persecuted mutants,  X-Men/Inhumans style storyline, though. I’m really tired of racial allegories, at this point, so I haven’t been paying a lick of attention to that part of the plot. I’ve been mostly enjoying the special effects, the characters relationships, and just not thinking too deeply about the plot line.

What?! I’m waay too old and tired to get  heavily worked up about the plot of every single show I’m watching. 

Channel Zero:

I stopped watching this. I tried picking it back up, and watching it again, but my mind just wasn’t into it. I don’t think I’m in the right mindset for the kind of ominous, slow burner, type of show like this. I just end up falling asleep on them.

From Dusk Til Dawn:


This show has really gotten back to the basics this season. It’s been a lot of fun, with a plot just heavy enough to be interesting, and compelling, without being too intricate and boring. I love it that the Gecko brothers are fighting side by side this season, so we’re getting a lot of brotherly lovehate, hatelove. And yeah, they literally are fighting side by side, as the action scenes are the best part of this season. I don’t care for the villain too much. But at least she found a goal this week, of putting her real body back together, so that she can open he gates of Hell, or something. At the beginning of the season, she seemed kind of purposeless. Its cliched, but I love this Gecko Brothers save the world stuff.

 The show seems to have found its groove, with just the right mix of zaniness, and seriousness. The addition of Tom Savini, as a demon hunter from Xibalba, seems to have added just the right element of crazy to the storyline. I’ll be sure to give you guys the lowdown on whether or not this season’s finale is any good. It’s coming up soon.

The Strain:


I know there’s a contingent of twenty somethings on Tumblr, that seemingly hate all of Pop Culture, and I don’t wanna be that person. Even if they don’t hate it, they seemingly find little to like about it, and I’m just not like that. I try to be positive on here, and mostly lightweight, and informative. I also  grew up having no choice but to try to mine what goodness I could out of Pop Culture, and to appreciate that it was being made at all.

I suppose its a good thing that we have so much television geekery to choose from, that we can afford to be picky and contentious, to make demands that suit us. Since I was a geekgirl before the internet, and there was precious little to choose from, I’m just not where they are mentally, so it can be hard for me to relate to their many, many, many, concerns. But am I really that different from them?

I think that if this show had been on the air twenty, or thirty years ago, I would think it was the absolute shit. But I guess I can afford to talk smack about this show, because there’s so much else to choose from and the stuff I can choose to watch is so much better than this, that I can get snarky about it. Also I just like making fun of the show. It hones my snark skills.

Now I have heard that season four is this show’s last season, and that the shortening of the season to only ten episodes has  tightened its plot, somewhat. So that’s not an issue. My issue is character motivations that are really just plot points and don’t seem to derive from actual characterization. People simply do what it’s convenient in the plot for them to do, and I do like some character consistency, even when I have to do the headcanons myself. Also the acting on this show is really dodgy. It’s gotten to the point where I just hate Zack whenever I see him. He is, arguably, a worse actor than that little boy from the Phatom Menace, and that’s saying something.

Normally, I’d just ignore shows like this, but I had a lot of  hopes for it, and I’ve been very disappointed. The show just aired the last episode of its third season, and every moment I watched it, I found some new fuckery to be pissed off about, including its final moments. On the other hand, I don’t need to be raising my blood pressure over a TV show. If it is the last season, next year, I’m going to have to give considerable thought to watching, or ignoring it, based on whatever else is airing at that time. We’ll see.

 

Legends of Tomorrow:


I’ve  come across people who inexplcaby hate this show. I don’t find that the show is weighty enough to spend that level of energy on. This is really the lightest of lightweight shows, that’s not trying to be anything more than what it claims to be, which is fun entertainment, with occasional positive messages. The substance of this show is as ephemeral, and calorie-free, as cotton candy, and  I love it just for that reason. It’s got pretty people, kicking ass, and cracking jokes. I can sit and enjoy the characters interacting with each other, the plot’s not deep enough to give me angst, and they just added another of my favorite characters to the crew, Vixen. She is awesome! I love how they show her superpowers, too.

Last week’s episode was some lightweight fluff about some of the crew getting trapped in Feudal Japan. The plot was silly and didn’t make one ounce of sense, but I enjoyed it anyway, because apparently,  I’ll watch damn near anything,  if it’s set in Feudal Japan.

This week was a little heavier with Jackson and Maya visiting the Civil War era. Jackson makes the point to the Professor that there’s no moment in American history where he would’ve fit in, when he suggests that Jackson stay on the ship, to avoid the trauma.  At one point Jackson and Maya have to stand and watch a slave woman be whipped, and are utterly helpless to stop it, or they would jeopardize all of history, and they have to sneak onto a plantation disguised as slaves, and Jackson gets beaten by a bully. I think  the show handled this as sensitively as it possibly could considering it’s on the CW. I suppose the writers could’ve chickened out and avoided this era entirely as they have all of history to choose from , but it’s okay. The show doesn’t usually get this heavy.  

Here’s another show with yet another male/male friendship that I adore. I love how the writers have built on the relationship between Martin and Jackson, the two characters who make up the superhero Firestorm. Martin genuinely cares about Jackson’s feelings, and Jackson seems to be learning some valuable life skills from the old gentleman. These two guys couldn’t be anymore different in lifestyle and outlook, and I like how the writers took an intitially antagonistic relationship, in that first season, (Jackson resented having to share a Firestorm with Martin), and transformed it into an actual, caring, friendship between the two.  I’ve been a Firestorm fan since I was a kid and I’m glad the show has decided to go with the black version of this character, as I remember reading those books. 

There were also Confederate zombies, so…make of that what you will. There are very few eras of history that cannot be made more interesting with the addition of Romero style zombies.

Plus, Vixen was on the show! She’s also going to be on the show this Thursday and…get this! probably the following Thursday, too! Whoop whoop!

The Exorcist:

Yeah, I just stopped watching this. I’m not too good with shows about possession, I guess. The shows either get too heavy, too religious, or I get bored with all the ponderous omens, and actors whispering in dark corners. I stopped watching Outcast on Cinemax for the same reason.  I think its because these types of shows are trying too hard to be scary, or trying too hard to be the second coming of The Omen from 1972. In this case this show is trying really hard to recreate that ominous feeling of the original movie, and as I’ve stated before, I’d rather just watch the original movie.

This Week On Geeking Out

These are the shows I watched this week. Only three of these shows are actual premieres: Channel Zero, Legends of Tomorrow, and Wolf Creek. Aftermath has been on the air for two weeks and the Exorcist has been on the air for about three. Supernatural also aired this week but will get a separate review, along with American Horror Story. I haven’t even tried to review Luke Cage, preferring to let more eloquent writers approach this topic, but I’ll have something o say about it, very spoilerific, by the end of the month, when I think most people have seen it, and somewhere during this time I promised reviews of some of my favorite horror movies.

American Horror Story:

We begin this episode, Chapter Five, with backstory on the Shaker House, that Matt and Shelby bought in episode one. It turns out the original owner has a connection to the fifth season of AHS:Freakshow, with the story of how Phillipe Mott, ancestor to the Motts mentioned in that season, bought the house in 1792. He was a closeted gay man  and a recluse, who eventually got killed by Thomasina and her minions, after he locked his servants in the cellar, when  some of his  prize paintings were vandalized.He screams a lot, even when he’s not actually in  physical pain, and you can see just a touch of the madness of the Mott family that touched them down through the centuries, culminating in Dandy Mott in 1952.

In the present day, we spend most of the episode running around the forest with Matt and Shelby, as they try to escape The Butcher, save Flora, and get repeatedly kidnapped by the Polks, who are Thomasinas aides and abetters. They made a deal with her to protect their family, and provide the sacrifices Thomasina says she needs, to consecrate the land. They escape from the Polks several times that night as the Polks attempt to deliver the two to Thomasina. At one point, since this is during the blood moon, Phillipe Mott comes to their aid. During all of this, Lee is in jail, answering questions about her husband’s death.  I’m still pissed off at Shelby for calling the police on her. That was a total dick move, Shelby! Anyway, Lee is released, and after getting one of Matt’s texts saying Flora is safe, she shows up just in time to give them a ride to freedom.

Thomasina is killed by one of her own people, who turns on her after having tired of all her killing. So it does seem as if this particular chapter of the story is over. Matt and Shelby’s story is wrapped up, Thomasina has been killed again, and Frances Conroy (Yayy!) put in her appearance as Mama Polk. The Polks also turn out to be inbred cannibals, straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as we find Elias still alive, but missing a limb. When one of the Polks gets sick, they blame him for having rancid flesh and kill him in front of Matt and Shelby.

The episode was especially gory, as we see Elias get his head bashed in, Mott get stabbed through the chest with a wooden pole, and Shelby’s leg is broken by Mama Polk, in a scene straight out of the movie Misery. There are a lot of movie references this season, with a little bit of J-Horror thrown in this episode, when Flora gets snatched by  one of the black haired ghosts of Ju-on, in a pointless scene thrown in just to have action. Thomasina and her followers are a reference to the movie The Wicker Man, where out of town strangers get burned alive by a modern day cult of Celtic worshippers., to consecrate the land. The Amityville Horror, Insidious, and The Hills Have Eyes get a shoutout, as well.

Next week, for episode six of season six, we go behind the scenes of the reality show, as finally, my precious cinnamon bun  Cheyenne Jackson😘, puts in his first appearance this season.  Hopefully, we will see the film crew visit the house in the present, and see what fresh Hell occurs then.

Supergirl:


So yeah, I went  and watched the season premiere of Supergirl, and while I can’t say I’ll ever be a fan, or regularly watch this, I can see it’s appeal to a certain segment of the population, namely very young, white women. Like The Flash, it’s not a bad show, it’s just not to my tastes. It’s a little corny/cheesy in the dialogue area, Flockhart’s character is still an asshole, but gives some of the most excellent career advice I’ve ever heard, and Hoechlin looks really weird (he has a funny face) as Superman, but he’s not bad. I think his pants are waay too tight as Clark Kent,  but okay. Speaking of clothes, I don’t like how Kara and Clark just rip open their shirts when they’re getting into character. I mean, that’s losing a lot of buttons, and as far as I can tell, Kara can’t sew.

Kara is still too young and twitchy for me. Like Flockhart’s character, Cat Grant, I  just want to shake her really hard, sometimes. She’s not a bad character, but she’s wishy-washy when she’s not being Supergirl, and I find women like that highly annoying. I understand why they’re like that, I just don’t like it. On the other hand, I like her relationship with Jimmy, who is really cute, and patient with her, and her relationship with her sister is really cute. I’m glad they’re shown getting along instead of some manufactured drama.  I just wish Kara acted a little more sure of herself, and it wouldn’t make my brain twitch. Nevertheless, she made a couple of command decisions in this episode, as Kara. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of the decisions, but at least she made ’em.

I’ve never been a Supergirl fan, I’ve never even read the books, but I am a huge J’onn Jones fan, though. I got most of his backstory from reading the Justice League books. I can’t articulate why, but I just love this character. Maybe it’s nostalgia for the comic book version. I like the actor who plays him, and I’m sure I’ve seen him somewhere before, but it escapes me, now. Kara’s sister started out pretty boring but became a lot less so when I saw her kicking  ass later in the show. What can I say, I love a good fight sequence. The best ones are like watching good dancing.

In this episode, Kara gets a visit from her cousin, Superman, and their relationship is really cute. Kara seems to get along with everybody. Last year she got a visit from The Flash and they seemed to hit it off pretty well. She’s like “the everysister”. Yet another dropship from Krypton falls out of the sky, delivering who knows what, or who. Superman and JJ don’t get along because JJ is a pragmatic paranoiac, who keeps Kryptonite at his facility, and Supe doesn’t want anything to do with that. Lex Luther has a sister, Alex, and someone has been trying to kill her. Well, really it was just murder attempts all night, really. Everything gets resolved though. Kara breaks up with Jimmy, decides she wants to be a reporter like Clark, and Metallo gets created. I was never impressed by Metallo, in the comic books either, but he looks kinda cool in the show.

I still don’t see me ever being a fan, or regular viewer of this show. It just wasn’t galvanizing for me, but it’s not a bad show, as it has improved a lot since that first episode.  Supergirl, and The Flash, are really kind of middle-of-the-road type characters for me. Watching these shows is like watching Superman’s best budds, when what I really want is to just watch a show about Superman. It’s just not powerful or exciting enough for my tastes.

Although, I might need to watch it again next week, just to be sure.

Channel Zero:


I hate to be a wet blanket but this show needs to step up the scares and mystery if it hopes to keep my attention. It has the feel of the first season of American Horror Story, except with more lackluster acting. I didn’t know what to expect going in. I thought maybe it was an anthology show. It’s not. It’s about yet another guy who goes back  to his old hometown where something tragic occurred to him when he was a child, and finds that maybe it’s starting all over again. It’s one of those slow burn mysteries, where you have not one damn clue what’s happening, except that it involves an old tv show that’s back on the air and is influencing the town’s children, and this show ain’t trying to hard explaining shit. Nor are the questions that arise, compelling enough to keep me watching this every week.

One sure way to get me to not like your show is to torture a child. At one point one kid bullies another kid, breaking his finger, while a bunch of other kids stand around and watch. As someone who always intervened when I saw other kids being bullied, I was enraged by this. (Not just the bullying but the standing around watching it.) Apparently, such scenes are one of my few triggers. Having been on the receiving end of a few of these sessions, as a young girl, I have no shame in confessing that I hate bullies with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and cannot tolerate watching kids harm each other in movies and tv shows. (One of the reasons I refuse to watch movies like Hunger Games, or Battle Royale.)

I also had the impression, from the  trailers, that it was supposed to be scary, but I wasn’t scared. I was however, very irritated. This was not helped by the acting. There are a lot of awkward pauses, and greetings, and  significant glances with no explanation forthcoming, other than maybe nobody likes Mike.  Mike, the guy who goes back home, is quiet and creepy and not one person has a natural sounding conversation with another person. Everything sounds portentous, and ominous for no particular reason that I could discern. Maybe some of you guys will have better luck and then come back and explain to me what the hell I just watched.

I’ll wait!

Aftermath:

I still haven’t watched this show, but I plan on it. It looks like it might be fun, like The Walking Dead, with added demons. I probably won’t get to it until something goes on hiatus in November. Until then, it’s just sitting on my DVR. For my Non-American readers,  Fall premiere season happens in the space of two months (October and September) and there were a lot of genre shows (a good thirty plus) released this season, at least 5 or 6 of them on Tuesday night, alone. Aftermath airs on the same night as Brooklyn 99, From Dusk Til Dawn, Channel Zero, and Agents of Shield, so my dance card is pretty full, and Aftermath, no matter how interesting it looks, is going to have wait it’s turn.

Legends of Tomorrow:


Okay, I watched this but I don’t have much memory about it. Not that it was bad, just kind of lightweight , I guess. So, now the team isn’t superheroes anymore, but time lords, or travelers, or something, trying to right the various wrongs throughout history, being committed by Damien Darhk, like giving nuclear weapons to the Nazis so they can blow up NY city. That’s all  I managed to get out of this episode beyond Jackson feeling salty for being left on the ship all the time,  Rip Hunter being his usual dickish self in having contingency plans he keeps refusing to tell his crew about, and somewhere in there, Albert Einstein was involved.

I kinda like this show because its mindless good fun. I can knit while watching it as its not something I’m going to get particularly angsty about all week. I like the characters, who are dealing with problems just deep enough to keep them interesting, and of course, I love Firestorm whenever he gets to come out and play.And hey! next week…Vixen! and the Justice Society, who all look pretty awesome, even if I have no idea who they are.

Rip Hunter is still a jerk, though.

Wolf Creek:


As a general rule, I don’t watch serial killer movies, except when I do. Wolf Creek, the TV show, is based on a 2005 movie, which is based on a true story of a family that got lost in the  Australian Outback, and claimed they encountered a serial killer, sort of like in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another movie I find annoying. (Whew! Thank you run-on sentence gods!) Anyway in the pilot episode, a family gets lost in the Outback and gets attacked by a serial killer. What a surprise! Anyway, I was dubious about watching this because torture-porn is boring, and its difficult to turn lack of character development and torture and killing into a good mini-series. I’ll get back to you guys in this one when I get around to viewing it.

Westworld:


If Westworld is going to cause more questions then answers every time it airs, I can’t keep watching this. Nevertheless, I’m hooked on it, for now. Most of the humans on this show are total assholes, but the robots are kinda cool. Last week we started the story from the Host angle. This week we get a glimpse of what it’s like for the Guests, and mostly I’m just deeply repulsed. I’m not sure if it’s the setup, or the Guests themselves, which I find more distasteful. I’m guessing that’s on purpose by the writers. We’re meant to hate the people as much as the robots would?

Two guys, one of  whom is a jerk, and the other a classic milquetoast (although there’s nothing wrong with that) visit Westworld. The jerky one seems mostly interested in fucking and/or killing the robots, so right away, his story is uninteresting. The other guy though, encounters Dolores (corrected from Dorothy, in my last post), and is immediately smitten. Apparently he’s looking for True Love. There was some girl on girl action in the saloon, and the jerky Guest likes both men and women, and I’m all for LGBT representation, except for how it’s presented in this show, as something that’s risqué, or taboo. It’s something the characters can engage in clandestinely, at Westworld, because it’s unacceptable in the real world, like all the raping and the killing they get up to. I don’t like the idea of gay representation being equated with all the other shitty behavior we see the Guests committing against the robots, especially when there’s no such representation outside of Westworld.

I’m still not clear about how people choose their adventures, how long they can stay, how much it costs and why don’t we see more women Guests being gunfighters, because I would totally choose to be a female Sheriff or something. How do bullets work there, and how do they keep Guests from killing Guests when you can’t tell who is  a robot and who isn’t? Also, the show is working really hard at getting us to believe Ed Harris guy is human but I’m still hedging my bets. I’m not completely convinced, as most of the statements he makes about himself are somewhat ambiguous. But he does know about “the world outside the world”,so I’m still confused, (and will remain so for some time apparently.)

The robots comtinue to be the most interesting characters in the show and behave in an offbeat manner. The “reveries”  code  is contagious because Dolores passes it on to Thandie Newtons character, Maeve, who starts to have flashbacks to a previous existence, where she’d been killed by Indians. One of the Indians morphs into Ed Harris’ Man in Black, and it’s been posited that he might be some kind of icon of death for the robots, like the boogeyman, or the devil, someone they’re universally afraid of. Dolores passes along the contagious code by whispering her father’s phrase into Maeve’s ear.

“These violent delights have violent ends.” Definitely a pronouncement of the future.

Maeve is set to have a diagnostics check, and be decommissioned, but unexpectedly wakes up on the operating table, using the very same technique that the techs have been using to put her to sleep. I think what she does, during her little freedom walk, is a precursor to everything that’s going to be happening later in this season, only bloodier. She comes across the lab techs, hosing down the dead bodies of a roomful of robots, and one of the techs explicitly states that they hope the robots never start remembering what the Guests do to them, which makes me feel disgusted all over again, because based on what I’ve seen of Westworld so far, the humans (even the ones working at the facility) deserve it.

Jeffrey Wright’s character, and Anthony Hopkins don’t seem especially worried about  these malfunctions, and even seem to be encouraged by them, as we see when Wright’s character secretly interviews Dolores about her thoughts. And Hopkins guy may be considering adding religion to the Westworld program. Earlier in the episode, one of the robots mentions God in an offhand manner, and I perked up, wondering if the robots had religion. If they get coded to believe in a God, they already have a devil. The Man in Black.

I have to mention the opening credits here. They’re just incredibly lovely, with its robot horse and rider, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s  ideal man imagery, and it heavily  reminds me of both the opening credits of the original Ghost in the Shell, with its contemplative, percussive theme song, which helps to set the existentialist mood, and its slow stately music, which reminds me of my favorite Bjork video, All is Full of Love, which is about a robot falling in love with itself.

Stuff We’re Looking At

I promised I’d write down my feeling about the new season of Agent Carter, but a bunch of other things aired and there are some shows I mentioned in the past, which I haven’t mentioned since. Here’s  my midseason report of love and indifference.

Agent Carter – 

I actually enjoyed this episode,  or rather I enjoyed the second episode where Peggy goes on a date with the very fine Dr. Wilkins and runs around the streets of LA, shooting people and kicking ass. I actually expected a certain amount of silliness but didn’t expect it to be quite so funny. (The funniest moment was watching Jarvis fighting with the flamingo he can’t get off his lawn. Jarvis! You gotta tackle him from the back, dude!)

One of the things I’ve always liked about Agent Carter ,and which it has always gotten right, is  the depiction of female characters liking and getting along with each other. The show has women with different body sizes, people with disabilities and I’m glad to see the show actually addressing what its like for a black man living in 1950s LA. The show doesn’t back away from discussing the topic anymore than it backed away  from showing the general mistreatment of women during that time ,and amazingly, none of this makes the show less fun or gets in the way of the plot, which I barely paid attention to, anyway.

The show looks gorgeous and I’m always up for a bit of eye-candy. I may have to change my mind about this show, even though I haven’t seen any WoC, at all yet.  I am well aware I shouldn’t punish a show just because some of  its fans were  assholes to black women fans, but my interaction with them was souring the show for me and it still sort of does. Its nice to know that the writers and cast were listening and hope they keep up the work they started. I don’t want to give the show a cookie for doing what it ought to have done in the first place, (and still isn’t getting entirely correct) but I do want to encourage the show to keep going in same direction, and perhaps, with time it will become less timid about depicting people of color.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep watching the show, but it  actually tried to improve over last season, although the trailers are designed to make you hate the show without ever looking at it. The show is still as action packed as when Peggy lived in NY, so people who are already fans, won’t be too discombobulated by its new setting.

 

Second Chance: 

Aah, yeah. This show came on TV last week and I didn’t even notice. That’s how compelling the premise of this show is. So if you don’t know what the Hell I’m   talking about, it’s okay. I do remember I was initially excited about it when it was called The Frankenstein Code, but when they changed the name and made a new trailer, I completely lost interest.

The show isn’t bad, but Lord! it’s not good. It’s a completely middle of the road, bland, mediocre detective/cop show , with unlikeable characters. I mean the good guys, or gray or whatever they are. There is nothing extraordinary or compelling about this show and with the glut of genre programming on the air right now, shows really need to stand out, in a big way, to stay on the air.

The show doesn’t have enough humor, or possibly any humor. The actors are all completely earnest about being in a drama, although strangely, I liked some of the supporting female characters, who were acting like they were in another, more exciting show. Maybe the show should have been about them. The guy playing the lead character, named Pritchard is not a very good actor. He’s not awful, but he’s no Daniel Craig, who only has two or three facial expressions too, but works well with what he has.

When I’m done watching this episode , I expect to forget that the show is on the air again.

 

The Expanse:

I don’t even know what to say about this show. I just got bored and decided my time would be better off sleeping. There’s so much stuff on TV right now, that one cannot possibly watch all of it, so if one more person rec’s something for me to watch, they are going to get a strongly worded comment from me.  People also keep telling me to  record things, but my DVR is already cluttered with shit I ain’t looking at and  I decided not to clutter it up with  more.

 

DCs Legends of Tomorrow:

Well, the acting is a bit juvenile, but the show moves really fast. There’s a lot of plot in the 45 minutes we get. All of the principle characters, and their primary objective, is introduced in the first ten minutes. One of the biggest problems I have with watching CW shows is the sameness of the characters from show to show, the level is writing is sometimes too high school, and the schmacting, where pretty, young people stare intently into one another’s eyes, while earnestly emoting their lines. Most of the time, while watching these shows, I wonder when the characters will stop talking.

The action scenes and special effects are cool, even though there’s still no way to make flying people look convincing. The fight scenes are well choreographed but unremarkable and meaningless. I know those aren’t the focus of the show, as with Into the Badlands, but I can’t help comparing. On the other hand, the characters are really, really pretty, and it’s just the pilot, so there’s room for improvement. It’s also really nice to see the glorious Prison Break brothers back on TV and being snarky, although the show could definitely use some better, sharper humor.

At one point, some of the team members visit a biker bar during the 70s, and a fight breaks out, as is the law regarding such things. I liked Hawkgirl, though. She has an interesting face, with lots of character.

Its also nice to see that the creators remembered that people of color exist (although, once again not Asians, who are enirely mythical, like unicorns, I guess) and that most of us like to have adventures and superpowers, too. I don know if I’ll love the show, but it was a nice first date and I’ll try it again next week.

 

Next week:

I’ll let you know what I think about the new X-Files, and you’ll have to bear with me because my review will probably be wrapped in a veil of nostalgia, and its rare that a show that’s been canceled for years, gets a renewal. Also, I’ll review another episode of The Magicians, maybe. I’d like to see where the show is going and how close it hews to the books. I’ll continue my reviews of the first season of Hannibal and one  of these days I’m going to get around to reviewing The Hateful Eight and Ash Vs. The Evil Dead.

Remember to LIKE the ones you like!