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Rate the Last TV You've Seen #8

HowiMetdaSlayer

Occasionally, I am callous and strange 🐶
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Just watched Wynonna Earp midseason finale. Figured they wouldn't actually kill Nicole. Plus WayHaught officially engaged! 💜 Some funny lines...

You put my girlfriend into a frog?!?
If you had your own little toy you wouldn't be so uptight.
I frogged up, bad!

:D
 

Spanky

Scooby
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22,402
Black Thorn
I got stuck watching Cobra Kai last night. Was really surprised how good it was. I literally felt compelled to watch the next episode after episode. Never had that feeling before. Always dismissed the show. I was wrong in doing that.
 
Mr. Pointy
Mr. Pointy
Bloody marvellous show! Was a fan of the Karate Kid films first time round and this takes it to the next level. Loved it and binged about one and a half seasons in four days.

Oromous

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Sineya
The Simpsons Season 5: 3.8/5

Sigh. You know, I really wanted this to be better. I thought I'd be returning to another season of greatness considering that this is still classic era Simpsons, but season 5 just seems to be filled with so many plot-driven gag episodes filled with jokes and nothing else. It's okay when other comedies do that, but early seasons of The Simpsons have always been deeper than that, exploring character flaws, quirks and desires, and showing us the sympathetic side of this middle-class suburban home.

In its defense, there have been quite a lot of well-written episodes here that further explore the personal lives of side characters like Apu and Principal Skinner. I really enjoyed these particular episodes when the point of the episode isn't just to reference some popular movie or TV show - or worse, have a dumb gimmick like Bart gets an elephant and hope that it sticks.

Overall, season 5 is a mixed season filled with high-tier character studies and low-tier gimmicky comedy. Let's hope the highly popular season 6 gets better.

The good news is, it's one season down, and now I'm onto X-Files season 5, and then it's back to Buffyville again with the coming of Dawn and I'll finally be back at the buffy-boards... oh wait, never mind, I'm still here. 😆
 

Buffy Summers

Yataro
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McDonald & Dodds Episode 1: 6/10

The female lead is just so unlikable it's hard to enjoy the story. Maybe they'll soften her as the show goes on, but I really can't bear to watch any more to find out.
 

The Bronze

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Black Thorn
I got stuck watching Cobra Kai last night. Was really surprised how good it was. I literally felt compelled to watch the next episode after episode. Never had that feeling before. Always dismissed the show. I was wrong in doing that.
I'm watching it again on Netflix now it's up. Exactly the same, it's got no right to be as good as it is, particularly the first season.
 

Spanky

Scooby
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Black Thorn
I'm watching it again on Netflix now it's up. Exactly the same, it's got no right to be as good as it is, particularly the first season.
I wasn't as happy with the second season, but that first season was simply stellar. When I saw it advertised when it was just a Youtube show, I thought it was a joke. Then my BP recommended it and he doesn't watch TV so I had to try it. I don't binge anything, but I ended up watching the first season in one setting. I simply couldn't stop. I think it helped they were only 30 minute episodes so the plot was hurried along.
 

The Bronze

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Black Thorn
Yeah it hooks you in and makes you want to watch the next one. Second season gets a bit silly but I hope they make a third to get back on track.
 

Spanky

Scooby
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Black Thorn
Yeah it hooks you in and makes you want to watch the next one. Second season gets a bit silly but I hope they make a third to get back on track.
They are making a third, no idea when.

The second season felt a little too "made for netflix" for me... Stingray. That just seems like a Netflix character. The first season had funny character moments, but not a character that was solely a joke. There was nothing serious about that character at all and it just made the show suffer. And I don't think the fight at the school would have been as "big" as it was were it not for Netflix.

Season 2 tonally felt different. There were a lot more cringe "I'm embarrassed to be watching this" moments. The first season felt very intimate, grounded and realistic. The second lacked that for many of the episodes and replaced them with eyeroll scenes.
 

Oromous

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Millennium, Season 1 - 3.5/5

It would be easy to dismiss Millennium as "X-Files with serial killers," but such generalization wouldn't really do justice to the deeper themes about human nature it explored more than The X-Files. But the thing that stood out most for me about the show, however, is just how grisly, graphic and just overall dark the show could get, and this is in comparison to Chris' other project, X-Files, which was already considered one of the most disturbing series in the '90s. Millennium had that kind of macabre nature we'd see from "Criminal Minds" and "True Detective" a decade later, and it's unsurprising since it's a show about serial killers, but dang, Chris really didn't hold back. You would rarely get anything too explicit on-screen for more than two seconds, but it's the nature of the crime that provokes the audience, especially when half of the season deals with sex crimes. You could let your imagination take it from there.

The other half usually involves religion and doomsday phobia, a theme I'm sure will be explored much more in the later seasons, but I like how this is dealt with in a grounded way so far without treading into the supernatural territory. I hope they retain such realism in season 2 and 3, because it's what ultimately separated Millennium from X-Files, its basis on reality. psychology and psychopathology. Unfortunately, I've also read that each season of Millennium feels like an entirely different series because they each have their own showrunners.

To be frank, I've never really been a fan of procedural serials. I dropped "Grimm" because of this, because of how tedious and repetitive the series could become, trapped in its routine of "X of the Week" (Monster of the Week/Serial Killer of the Week/Mystery of the Week). While such a routine could be utilized for stimulating character studies or even metaphors about life itself (see the very show this forum is based on), many shows just don't do that well and rely on lazy routines until its overdue cancellation. Millennium does avoid that pitfall of TV writing well because it usually has something more to say about people, our morality, the meaning of our existence, the power of faith and other spiritual themes that makes it an engrossing watch, done in a similar metaphorical way as Whedon.

That is not to say that Millennium is invulnerable to the trappings of a MotW format, however. You could still see signs of repetition in each episode in spite of the aforementioned themes about humanity. The overarching storyline of a single episode usually plays out in similar ways, the ways criminal investigations are usually played out in procedural cop shows, the same "twists" that aren't really twists and more like a deus ex machina clue that the protagonist, Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) only finds near the end of the episode. It's not necessarily a bad thing if the writers utilize such story tropes well enough, but I feel like, with Frank being the only important character of the show (the other characters don't receive as much character development), the show easily loses that energy once Frank's character has been fleshed out enough that nothing more interesting could be said. Buffy, on the other hand, has a whole cast of main characters to play around with, so its MotW format isn't as damaging to its pacing. Plus, Joss Whedon and his obsession with character-centric stories.

Ultimately, I still feel like it's a strong series in spite of its faults. More often than not, by the end of an episode, there's this morbid and pessimistic atmosphere about human fallibility that kept me watching. For example, one episode even ended with them being too late to save a guy from committing suicide out of guilt. It's that kind of show that makes you feel bad and may even convert you into a cynic of humanity, but it's also balanced well with its messages of faith in the darkness, a theme that's made more compelling by Frank's agnosticism. There's this spirituality and tranquility to the way the characters accept their horrible world of killers that can make me feel comfortable and relaxed, even in the face of all these horrors the show is presenting. In the midst of these nightmares, Frank finds peace in his wife and daughter, Catherine and Jordan (and the cute border collie, Benny), and there's a catharsis to seeing that kind of acceptance in life.

Anyway, now I could finally return to my rotation. I think one other reason this series felt kinda long to me was because my viewing routine of Simpsons/X-Files/Buffy was interrupted. I'm not even sure it's OCD; I just think I'm plain fussy. lol Back to X-Files season 5, which I'll be watching alongside Millennium season 2.
 
Spanky
Spanky
Millennium season 2 is not as good. At least as far as I can recall.

Oromous

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Legend of the Galactic Heroes

And thus it is over, my long journey over the past three months or more watching this 110-episode anime, its prologue movie and its two prequel spin-offs. I'm grateful to have experienced this anime. Among the anime fandom, "Legend of the Galactic Heroes" truly lived up to its name, a legendary series renowned for being an utterly unique anime that completely defied the convention of "cartoon is just for kids" even as early as 1988. And its recognition as a mature series isn't attributed to something as superficial as "shock humor" like many adult cartoons like Family Guy, but rather, it's because of its many thoughtful political discussions criticizing both democratic and autocratic governments, its brutal portrayal of warfare yet recognizing the significance of its existence in shaping nations for the better or worse, its questioning of the role of a soldier and the meaning of his loyalty, its rich cast of myriad characters who are each so thoroughly fleshed out, and last but not least, its groundbreaking space-fleet battles utilizing strategies and tactics so brilliant that they would probably fascinate any intellectuals even today. LoGH was truly one of its kind, which was why it easily made it to my top must-watch list for a long time. It stood among (and perhaps even above) the ranks of other renowned anime series like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Death Note, Ghost in the Shell, Neon Genesis Evangelion and many others that have come to revolutionize Japanese animation.

When I said that I'm grateful to have watched this, I guess I should elaborate more on why a mere TV series would earn my appreciation that way. Anime wasn't always a part of my life, as I only started watching anime actively during my college years. Prior to that, I might have watched the occasional Pokemon and Digimon, maybe a Cardcaptor Sakura, but it was just casual viewing, and I didn't really come to appreciate the medium as I would in later years. I guess it was just fascinating to me back then that there are these cartoons that convey such complex themes a seven year old would have no possible way of comprehending. And it wasn't just one or two niched movies like what Watership Down did for American animation either; there were at least a dozen anime series in the '80s or '90s that were pretty violent and definitely not for kids. And I guess I've always been someone who's more interested in unique movies and TV shows that does something special I've never seen before. There was always this thirst for novelty and originality, so much so that when I've experienced all the "must-see" anime like some of the titles I mentioned above, the other normal anime just became kinda stale for me. Many anime are decent entertainment, no doubt, but they just couldn't satisfy this addiction of mine to see something brilliant and revolutionary. That's why whenever an anime like LoGH comes along, it earns my utmost appreciation for being "one of the greats" that shines its brilliance as bright as the star fields in the anime itself.

When trying to recommend LoGH to others, I would often make the mistake of giving it a generalization as insulting as "Star Wars meets Star Trek". Many LoGH fans have stated that it's really the Chinese novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" that inspired the 1986 novel the anime was based on, something which I can't comment on since I have no knowledge of either books. But I think it's easy for anyone unfamiliar with the series or even anime itself to judge the anime's content based on its space-fleet battles than anything else. I feel like that would be a mistake, because as amazing as the strategies were in these battles, they are but the surface to what makes up most of the anime: political and ethical arguments, philosophical musings, multiple coup d'état of tyrannical governments, purging of corrupted governments, riots over unfair government treatments, etc, etc. It's less of a "space battle anime" than it is a political anime, and even that isn't entirely accurate due to its epic Shakespearean coups against empires and kings. It's more like Japanese Game of Thrones in space.

And you know, it's not just its grandiose themes either. As I mentioned, there are lots of characters in the anime, and the audience is given ample time to familiarize with them. Most of them are unique individuals that don't really belong to any cliched character archetypes either. I'm not going to go into details for every one of them, but the two main characters are Yang Wenli and Reinhard von Lohengramm. Yang is a walking contradiction in that he's a pacifistic soldier who's willing to kill hundreds of enemy forces in order to achieve democracy for his people, albeit in ways that would result in the least amount of bloodshed. And god, he's just such a brilliant tactician that he ended up annoying the heck out of me. He truly lives up to his nickname, "Magician Yang" for being able to often thwart the enemy forces in unpredictable ways. As for Reinhard, the passionate Golden Boy is my favorite of the two in spite of being an autocratic leader. His goal in the beginning was that he's fighting for enough promotions to free his sister from the binds of a Kaiser (she was sold off by her father in debt). But over time, once he rose in ranks, his goal was to unite the entire universe to achieve universal peace, free from the bloodshed and corruption he had to endure under previously corrupted Kaisers. It's a bit naive, but I think that's why I favored him. He has this kind of energy and ambition that would make anyone follow him. He's not as brilliant a tactician as Yang, but he's a better strategist who could see the bigger picture. He's still intelligent enough, however, to utilize really creative ways of winning the battle. For example, in the prequel movie, he used the planet's gravitational gas cloud to his advantage and easily disposed of his enemies that way. You'll come to see lots of these "out of the box" strategies in the course of the series.

The fact that these characters have such rich backgrounds and storylines is probably essential to the kind of unpredictability that will be forced upon their lives. Any one can die in this anime, and I do mean any one. There are no "rules" or story conventions how a character's fate would go. I would often make the mistake of thinking, "In a typical story, this character would probably do so and so, or he will have some deus ex machina to save him." I was often proven wrong. This anime threw me off many, many times. And if it was any other anime with less developed characters, I probably wouldn't have been as affected when someone important dies. And oh my god, so many people died. I think it's important that so many of the talented people in this anime ended up dying though. It speaks to the kind of sacrifice these characters are willing to make for their ideals. Yang's adopted ward, Julian Mintz would later reflect on this as Yang did, that they had to kill so many soldiers in order to achieve peace. A lot of blood are on these characters' hands in order for their to have a negotiation or treatise even, that it easily makes them wonder if all these killings are pointless clashes of egos. In short, it's like Ron Perlman said in Fallout: "War never changes."

But all the accolades and praises aside, I think what matters most in the end is whether if you have any interest in such political content in the first place. My reason for watching it is due to its significance in the anime industry (and also its brilliant writing and unpredictable storylines), but for the general audience like yourself, I think that if you have a skeptical image of anime, probably associating it with the likes of mainstream anime like Naruto or Dragon Ball Z, and if you love Game of Thrones, I think it wouldn't hurt to give the prequel movie a shot, the movie titled "My Conquest Is the Sea of Stars". See if you like what you see, and then be prepared to spend months watching the 110 episode anime (also the two prequel series, each numbering up to 20+ episodes).

In closing, this anime is by no means a flawless masterpiece as it still has some questionable decisions made by the characters, not to mention its over reliance on narration for exposition and its episode previews spoiling every upcoming episode, but I think for what it is, for what it has done in the history of anime, it deserves my full marks for being one of the most unique and well-written anime that ever existed.

Final Score: 5/5
 

Fuffy Baith

2017 (and 2016) Cutest BB member
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Little Fires Everywhere - 7/10
Finished this show, and I really liked most of it. It's a bit over dramatic, but that's just TV I guess. There's even a small Buffy mention because the show takes place in 1997. It's got a good cast, Reese Witherspoon does a really good job, and Kerry Washington is great as well. I would recommend checking this out, but the story is a bit drawn out, there may be a second season. I haven't read the book, but there's changes especially in the ending.
 
Mr Trick
Mr Trick
I have two episodes left to watch. I too have been enjoying it, and dug the Buffy reference.

Oromous

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Gintama: Silver Soul Arc Part 2

Sigh.

That sums up how I feel about Gintama's ending. It's at the same time one of the greatest anime action comedies ever produced, and yet, also one of the most problematic. Not gonna spoil too much, but the "ending" of the final episode pretty much mocks the author of the manga the anime is based on for deciding, at the very last minute, not to end the Gintama story after all. If Deadpool breaks the fourth wall, Gintama nukes it, clean up its remains, then blows it up with a thousand C4. That final fifteen minutes of the last episode was at the same time one of the most hilarious meta moments in the anime, and also its most frustrating. In spite of the SS arc being hyped up as "the ending to Gintama" for such a long time, the final minutes were "Haha, gotcha! Did you really think we were gonna end it this time?" It's the equivalent of Bart Simpson writing on the chalkboard in the cartoon opening, "I will end the series this time." To its credit, only Gintama would be ambitious enough to end the anime with a "Nah fam; we're not really ending the anime" ending. It's done it plenty of times to be honest, almost a running gag really. This time only feels different because it blatantly teased the ending of the franchise in a very overt manner.

But all jokes aside, I was really prepared for one of my favorite anime to really come to an end. Everything was built up so nicely. All of the past characters showed up as a reunion, the "final boss" of the anime got defeated (sort of), and important character deaths were present (sort of; some of them were revived with slight variations to their appearance). Okay, so maybe these "sort ofs" added up to the foreshadowing that they might not really have planned to end the series after all, but come on, it would've been a perfect finale. lol

And I know I said this plenty of times about anime I really like, but it has indeed been a journey. Gintama provided both laughs and tears. It was at the same time a parody that makes fun of politics and other anime while also a tearjerking drama where the essence of a person's spirit and his meaning of existence are explored. It was a solid comedy with the best of both worlds, with its story set in both feudal Japan and also over the stretches of outer-space.

The Silver Soul arc made it feel like I was returning to an old friend, saying my goodbyes one last time. After the seriousness of the main plot was over, after the world war between the final boss and the good guys finally came to an end with all parties exhausted, wounded or dead, the anime was taking its time to indulge the audience with the familiar kind of dumb (but charming) slapstick comedy that we've come to love as if it would be the last time we would come to experience this.

For all the faults or cliches it might have, Gintama really gave me a good time, keeping my spirits up, and perhaps offering me to shed a few tears (or a few buckets) from time to time. Its soundtrack can be whimsical, action-packed, epic and yet also heartbreaking.

While not even close to being a masterpiece, Gintama still deserves to stand among the greats.

4.5/5

Oh, and there's a movie coming: Gintama: The Final (it's not the final, no way).
 
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vznspike

Potential
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Black Thorn
Daredevil - 8/10

Really interesting show, albeit lacking in the cynicism typical of Marvel, this superhero show has a solid plot, many twists and turns, intriguing characters and great action scenes.
 
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