The Television Thread

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Patrick McGroin
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:18 pm

Deschain13 wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:48 am
...and Game of Thrones was as epic as expected but holy shit Barry was brilliant tonight.
Wasn't it though? Bizarre and brilliant. I'm guessing she was the Lilly in the Ronny/Lilly episode title. That one two punch with GoT made for a great Sunday night of television.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:23 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:43 am
More important, the looming all important threat (literal end of the world stuff) is now gone, so the world gets small again. The show was at it's best when we were enjoying the game, but still realizing that none of it really mattered relative to the real threat coming for the whole human race. Now that the NK is out of it, the focus returns to petty interests over the throne. This doesn't really feel right. It's like we somehow survived a nuclear exchange only to get refocused on a presidential election race.
I've heard people call it by this strange new word. I think it was anti... something. Anti...climactic? Yes, anticlimactic. I guess that's an actual thing.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:32 pm

The anti-climax is
to spend eight years building up NK as the big bad and never to fully learn about him and then to see him dispatched with a quick stab in the back. The anti-climax is achieved entirely within the episode. This is more than an anti-climax, it's a shift in the fundamental natural of the show.

For years we have watched the tension between the "Song of Fire and Ice" (the name of the book series) which is cosmic, repetitive, and ultimate and the contingent interests of humans to assert ownership of Westeros, their "game of thrones." Season 1, episode 1, scene 1 we open with the white walkers. They are the threat that is closing in. Everything else pales in consideration. The warning is not heeded, because the man who survived the attack is dismissed as madman by Ned and then dis-headed. As we watch the show, we get consistent reminders that none of the scheming really matters relative to the need for the human race to respond to a pressing threat to life itself. Jon gets a lot of these lines. All the stuff about lightbringer and promised princes. All of the infusion of magic into the show with wizards and dragons and portentous comets and necromancy and fire spells. All of this stage setting to establish how the human race might meet this looming threat. This episode basically flips the meaning of the show to really be about the petty of interests of humans fighting over an iron chair. The NK was but a temporary distraction it turns out. Winterfell turns out to be a speed bump to finding out who wins The Apprentice: Westeros Edition.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:56 pm

Yeah I get it. I got it. I had it. The first time. As in the first time of several times I ran across that particular observation.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:53 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:56 pm
Yeah I get it. I got it. I had it. The first time. As in the first time of several times I ran across that particular observation.
So, you get that it's not just an anticlimax? Good. What's the word for what you did there? Hmm, some call it "self-contradiction"?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:07 pm

Jesus fuck. Whatever.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by The Guy in the Trenchcoat » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:55 am

Why does no one tell me Gilmore Girls. Kirk just bought a cat and named it Kirk.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:09 am

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:32 pm
The anti-climax is
to spend eight years building up NK as the big bad and never to fully learn about him and then to see him dispatched with a quick stab in the back. The anti-climax is achieved entirely within the episode. This is more than an anti-climax, it's a shift in the fundamental natural of the show.

For years we have watched the tension between the "Song of Fire and Ice" (the name of the book series) which is cosmic, repetitive, and ultimate and the contingent interests of humans to assert ownership of Westeros, their "game of thrones." Season 1, episode 1, scene 1 we open with the white walkers. They are the threat that is closing in. Everything else pales in consideration. The warning is not heeded, because the man who survived the attack is dismissed as madman by Ned and then dis-headed. As we watch the show, we get consistent reminders that none of the scheming really matters relative to the need for the human race to respond to a pressing threat to life itself. Jon gets a lot of these lines. All the stuff about lightbringer and promised princes. All of the infusion of magic into the show with wizards and dragons and portentous comets and necromancy and fire spells. All of this stage setting to establish how the human race might meet this looming threat. This episode basically flips the meaning of the show to really be about the petty of interests of humans fighting over an iron chair. The NK was but a temporary distraction it turns out. Winterfell turns out to be a speed bump to finding out who wins The Apprentice: Westeros Edition.
I think you bring a good point, but I'm willing to hold my overall verdict until the show is over and all cards are on the table.

Still, as it is, I found this episode to be "satisfactory", for lack of a better word. Thrilling, but not the most thrilling episode of the show. Emotional? Maybe, but far from the most emotional episode of the show. The epic aspect of the battle and the visuals were great, but then again, it had a lot of echoes to other Sapochnik episodes like "Hardhome" or "The Battle of the Bastards" (continuous takes as Jon, or other characters, slash and hack their way through hordes of enemies/wights, last minute save by someone). The few personal moments we get between the characters were solid, with Arya easily having the best moments. However, I think the episode lacked surprise. Most of the beats it followed were expected and not very surprising. I enjoyed it, but I don't think it would crack my Top 10. Heck, I think I liked last week's episode more.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:26 am

Thief wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:09 am
I think you bring a good point, but I'm willing to hold my overall verdict until the show is over and all cards are on the table.

Still, as it is, I found this episode to be "satisfactory", for lack of a better word. Thrilling, but not the most thrilling episode of the show. Emotional? Maybe, but far from the most emotional episode of the show. The epic aspect of the battle and the visuals were great, but then again, it had a lot of echoes to other Sapochnik episodes like "Hardhome" or "The Battle of the Bastards" (continuous takes as Jon, or other characters, slash and hack their way through hordes of enemies/wights, last minute save by someone). The few personal moments we get between the characters were solid, with Arya easily having the best moments. However, I think the episode lacked surprise. Most of the beats it followed were expected and not very surprising. I enjoyed it, but I don't think it would crack my Top 10. Heck, I think I liked last week's episode more.
I agree about last week's episode being better. That was a great "calm before the storm" chapter. Since we've left the books we're much more into the emotional curve of relationships. They've got the "feelz" figured out. And it is important to take note of the feelz. The rape of Sansa was a bit too far for a good portion of the audience. If they'd kept that up, the show would've met with disaster. What they've lost, however, is control of emplotment (characters teleporting, deus ex rescues, our heroes inexplicably wading through hordes of the undead) and, as a consequence, the style and tone of the show; stupidity was punished, you didn't get a pass for being right or noble or pretty -- but there was also magic, so there was meaning behind it all somewhere, so the writing DID need to pay off the metaphysical bits, like prophecy (e.g., light-bringer, prince that was promised) and we've basically lost these elements. It's hard not to expect a falloff when the show is purely D&D and it seems that even George is intimidated and perpetually stuck on how to finish the wonderful tale he started (even GRRM can't follow-up GRRM), but this was my least favorite episode of the series.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:39 am

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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Torgo » Thu May 02, 2019 5:23 pm

eri nitta wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:48 am
Joe Perra Talks to You
Thanks for mentioning this. I'm only two episodes in, but I'm already obsessed.
I enjoy its quaintness, sincerity and its Midwestern charm as much as I enjoy its oddness. It's sort of like a Mister Roger's Neighborhood for adults, filtered through Adult Swim's absurdist lens, of course.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Thu May 02, 2019 6:21 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:26 am
I agree about last week's episode being better. That was a great "calm before the storm" chapter. Since we've left the books we're much more into the emotional curve of relationships. They've got the "feelz" figured out. And it is important to take note of the feelz. The rape of Sansa was a bit too far for a good portion of the audience. If they'd kept that up, the show would've met with disaster. What they've lost, however, is control of emplotment (characters teleporting, deus ex rescues, our heroes inexplicably wading through hordes of the undead) and, as a consequence, the style and tone of the show; stupidity was punished, you didn't get a pass for being right or noble or pretty -- but there was also magic, so there was meaning behind it all somewhere, so the writing DID need to pay off the metaphysical bits, like prophecy (e.g., light-bringer, prince that was promised) and we've basically lost these elements. It's hard not to expect a falloff when the show is purely D&D and it seems that even George is intimidated and perpetually stuck on how to finish the wonderful tale he started (even GRRM can't follow-up GRRM), but this was my least favorite episode of the series.
For me, the gap between book-inspired GoT and B&B-written GoT is so noticeable that's shocking. That space between season 4 and season 5, that's a chasm. So many clumsily executed subplots (Arya in Braavos, the whole Dorne thing), so many interesting characters that have been done a disservice (Varys, Barristan Selmy, the whole Martell clan, fuckin' Tyrion), and lots of things that just don't flow or feel quite the same way as they did before. Like you said, the use of time and space (teleporting), too convenient resolutions, the overall unevenness of everything, as opposed to how tight and well set everything felt before... it's just sad. Don't get me wrong, I still think it's good/great TV, but none of the later seasons have matched the excellence of the first four.

The "feelz" that you bring up is also an issue. It's obvious that B&B are pandering to their fans with many resolutions when they shouldn't. In my experience with TV shows, many of the most memorable finales/endings/closures are the ones where the writers refuse to give the audience what they want. Think of The Wire or The Shield, or even how Game of Thrones itself managed to subvert expectations during its first seasons. Now a lot of things feel like the writers are going with the flow. So much of this last episode screams that and the more I think of it, the less I like it. Even that final moment with Arya and the NK doesn't hold up in terms of its logic; but it's Arya, I guess and she's badass, so Yeah!! Like I said before, with three episodes still pending, I'm still giving them the benefit of the doubt in the hopes that they can wrap this up in a memorable way, instead of just tying everything up in a happy, neat bow. But the truth is that since season 5, I've been losing that hope more and more.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Fri May 03, 2019 4:21 am

Thief wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 6:21 pm
For me, the gap between book-inspired GoT and B&B-written GoT is so noticeable that's shocking. That space between season 4 and season 5, that's a chasm. So many clumsily executed subplots (Arya in Braavos, the whole Dorne thing), so many interesting characters that have been done a disservice (Varys, Barristan Selmy, the whole Martell clan, fuckin' Tyrion), and lots of things that just don't flow or feel quite the same way as they did before. Like you said, the use of time and space (teleporting), too convenient resolutions, the overall unevenness of everything, as opposed to how tight and well set everything felt before... it's just sad. Don't get me wrong, I still think it's good/great TV, but none of the later seasons have matched the excellence of the first four.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Fri May 03, 2019 1:05 pm

Stu wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 4:21 am
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Sat May 04, 2019 3:56 am

Thief wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 1:05 pm
Truth
To be fair, while I loved the 1st season of Thrones (so much so that it might even be one of my favorite seasons of any series), and thought that, while it didn't quite pack the same impact, S2 was still very good, I'd still say that most of my major problems with it really began as early as Season 3, when the decision to split Storm Of Swords between two seperate seasons lead to a lot of filler material to take up screentime, along with the writers doubling-down on some of the show's worst tendencies (pointless sexposition, characters being pointlessly nasty to each other just for the fuck of it, and even some torture porn-y material for some extra, gratuitous ickiness). And what makes all that even more disappointing is that the show runners have come up with all-new scenes and story changes before that actually added a lot of texture to the book material, and fit in perfectly quality-wise (like Robert and Cersei's "5 or 1" discussion of strategy in S1), which basically felt as natural to the story as if GRRM himself had written it into the original novels, and just had to delete the chapter to save space, but which ended up getting added to the show for extra Throney goodness, which I loved. Don't get me wrong, there were still some incredible "highs", as great as anything from the previous seasons, but that was the point when the show became an inconsistent, mixed bag on the whole for me, and one I couldn't justify in spending time on anymore after Season 4. Maybe I'll go back to it once it's over so I can so for myself how great or disappointing or whatever the end ends up being, but for now, I'm not really in any rush.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun May 05, 2019 2:52 am

Alt Shift X took a long time to drop this one

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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon May 06, 2019 4:36 pm

Just coming in to agree with most that "The Long Night" was superficially epic and at times emotionally satisfying but largely disappointing and kinda bewildering at times in its construction (those dragon fights were impossible for my eyes to parse). One of the weirder bits was
you would see White Walkers flood Jaime or Brienne or Sam or whoever, it looked like they were doomed, then they'd cut away, and the next time you come back, they're still fighting one at a time? Way too many times it felt like Hero Characters were saved by the editing. Which meant that when some characters did die, they were exactly who you expected, and their deaths were fetishized in the most predictable way, with slow-motion and elegiac backing score. No thanks. You know what would've impressed me? Putting a sword through Sam's chest.
This episode should've been fucking ruthless.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Slentert » Mon May 06, 2019 7:06 pm

I think I should give "Barry" a shot. Looks much better than that other HBO show.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon May 06, 2019 8:15 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:06 pm
I think I should give "Barry" a shot. Looks much better than that other HBO show.
You should. It's worth the watch.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon May 06, 2019 8:41 pm

Ye Olde Double Post
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon May 06, 2019 8:42 pm

Prevent Defense and the Curse of Hit TV

We've all seen it. It's the fourth quarter. Your team is sitting on a comfortable lead and it is their game to lose, so they play it safe. They go into a soft defense designed to shut down big plays and force short plays. And then it happens. The other team builds momentum. Little chunks at first, but enough to build confidence and set a rhythm. And then a small play breaks for big yards. And then the next thing you know, the home team has lost by "protecting the lead."

I think this is a pitfall of highly successful programming, especially in the age of social media. We are all critics now and we want our voices to be heard. And the people who have millions of dollars invested in a show are less interested in great television than they are in not screwing up and killing the goose that lays the golden ratings. The fans get what they want. The fans, of course, are idiots. If they could write, they would be writers, but they're not. We don't let diners into the kitchen to muck around with the chef, but television does. We have demanded that we be let into the kitchen. We're the customer and we're always right. So we get to interfere with cooking the meal.

I saw this happen with Battlestar Galactica. The show was a minor hit with a rabid fanbase (most of whom were more interested in Cylon shipper fantasies than the actual story) and the show runners frequented the Sci-Fi internet board for the show, reading comments. And the show got progressively worse. More recently, we're watching this happen again with the dramatic fall off in quality of Game of Thrones. The show feels less and less like GRRM and more and more like kids playing with action figures. The show is a little too self-aware in, for example, having Olenna diss the "sandsnakes" and in having Cersei lament that she would not get to "see" elephants in battle (a wink to audience members who have been waiting to see them, hinting at the limits of the production budget which has left the showrunners with the choice of showing either dire wolves or giants, but not both). We haven't directly broken the 4th wall yet, but there is a feedback loop here which makes for aiming for the lowest common demoninator.

I am not sure what the solution should be. Perhaps requiring a series Bible that defines the arc of the story from front to back, having an end point pre-defined and sticking to it. Honestly, if I were a producer of GoT with millions at stake, I would probably give the muddle-headed masses their relationship fantasies and use EZ-Mac plot devices and tropes to rake in as much cash as possible.

As the old advice goes, "Count no man happy until the end is known." We should withhold judgment on whether a show is truly great until it successfully runs the gauntlet of success.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon May 06, 2019 10:08 pm

Good points. It also reminds me of how Lost trafficked in a *lot* of nostalgia during its sixth-season. (The "sideflash" universe was basically a greatest-hits of the first two seasons' iconography.) Sitcoms like Parks and Recreation and The Office chase saccharine, cloying endings because they think that's what viewers want, when what made the shows memorable was the prickly bickering and slice-of-life approach. Even for sitcom endings, they feel indulgent and fan-servicey. The reduction of the army in Thrones to
all of Your Favorite Players
in "The Long Night" felt way too easy.

Maybe Benioff and Weiss need a plan, because they did a good job whittling down Martin's premises in the first few seasons, but the bigger lesson is to pay close attention to your characters - their perspectives and psychologies - and the overall theming of your story. One thing the show's done well, for example, is develop Dany's emergent megalomania. So why isn't that a factor during the arguable climax of the show? Don't give us as viewers what you think we want. Give us the natural-but-surprising consequences of these characters' behaviors. Bake who they are into what they're doing.
Jorah is a good example. It makes sense that he'd go out the way he goes out, but they don't push that lovelorn allegiance in a more interesting direction - what if he went out making a foolish but brave choice to convince Dany of his allegiance? What if he was cut down harshly for it, because war is unforgiving? Why is Jon facing Viserion? Is Viserion some sort of emblem of his character issues? How he's so bad at decision-making that he's indirectly responsible for its current state? If so, build that up!
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by EvilPrevails » Mon May 06, 2019 11:57 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:42 pm
I am not sure what the solution should be. Perhaps requiring a series Bible that defines the arc of the story from front to back, having an end point pre-defined and sticking to it.

Ah yes, the Schlieffen plan, that always works.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 07, 2019 12:13 am

EvilPrevails wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 11:57 pm
Ah yes, the Schlieffen plan, that always works.
Having a defined arc worked for Breaking Bad. There are no perfect guarantees of "not falling into suck." That stated, a frequently important, if not necessary or sufficient condition, for story-telling is knowing how your story ends (what is the story you are trying to tell?). BB had a simple arc to develop. "Mr. Chips becomes Scarface." Simple, but they stuck to their guns and turned our lovable teacher into a monster.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Evil Prevails » Tue May 07, 2019 12:48 am

It's a well known fact, unless the internet has led me astray, that jesse was supposed to die early on, Tuco was supposed to be the series long antagonist, etc. These shows exist over the course of real life years, they have to evolve differently than whatever was intended in the beginning. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but the alternative is to be irrevocably locked into someone's first draft.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Evil Prevails » Tue May 07, 2019 12:49 am

Also, the breaking bad finale was some pandering fan service bullshit.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 07, 2019 1:28 am

Evil Prevails wrote:It's a well known fact, unless the internet has led me astray, that jesse was supposed to die early on, Tuco was supposed to be the series long antagonist, etc. These shows exist over the course of real life years, they have to evolve differently than whatever was intended in the beginning. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but the alternative is to be irrevocably locked into someone's first draft.


That's not the point I was making. I am not talking about getting married to your first draft, but knowing the story you intend to tell. It's not that BB had the entire series mapped from day one, but that they delivered the story of "Mr. Chips becomes Scarface." NOTE: You might be entertained by the story of how Giancarlo Esposito negotiated his way into becoming a major character.

Here is why Breaking Bad was so good -- the premise of the show defined the arc of the story.

Just about every other series suffers from the "Evergreen Premise" (e.g., James Bond is forever young, drinking martinis, and using gadgets). Will Riker can't become a captain on TNG, because the premise of the show is that he is the XO. He can get close to being promoted, but so long as Patrick Stewart is on the TV show, you have to hit the reset button.

Sure, many series depict some growth, but will then frequently have odd climaxes and fall into the sequel syndrome of "bigger" and "louder." Buffy saves the world from the big bad. But then you need another big bad. Buffy dies saving the world, but then you've got to bring her back. By the time you get to the later seasons of the show, the writers are laboring under the exhaustion of their premise. Supernatural was supposed to end in Season 5, but the show lumbered on to the point where they leveled up to doing couples counseling for God and the Devil. You don't really have anywhere to go after that.

At any rate, I think that a series bible is a good idea to make sure that you have well-defined sense of the story you intend to tell and of the world in which your story takes place. It doesn't have to have all the particulars of getting to A to B, but it should have a general vision of beginning, middle, and end.
Evil Prevails wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:49 am
Also, the breaking bad finale was some pandering fan service bullshit.
I think the show should have ended with Walt hopping into that van. Even BB suffered a bit at the end, true. Did it get a little soft and nostalgic in the last episode? Yeah. It is, however, notable for how consistently strong it was for five years. It is still one of the best shows ever and it never had a dip like we've seen on shows like GoT and BSG, and it never stagnated in emplotment like BtVS and Supernatural.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 2:00 am

Ok, just saw the latest episode and I want to vent before reading anything from you...

*inhales profusely*

That has got to be one of the worst episodes of this show EVER. Seriously, the levels of stupidity displayed all through it were staggering. It was just Walking Dead levels of stupidity, no kidding. Most of the first half was full of cringe-worthy exchanges almost at levels of soap opera or 80's teen films (aww, Tormund is sad... *looks to the side to a winking pretty girl* Yay!). Plus, just like I was saying last week, after defeating death itself, we return to the traditional fight for the throne with angsty bouts of jealousy and petty arguments :roll: Not to mention the little game of telephone, with everybody passing around the "big secret" to the least convenient person. Oh, but the second half wasn't going to let us down with more stupidity. Here we have possibly the dumbest attempt at an invasion ever portrayed on screen. I mean, last week wasn't precisely an example of clever and sensible military tactics, but at least they showed some level of care for their precious dragons ("we must wait for the Night King"). But now? Hey, let's just fly them over King's Landing's shore as if they were kites, yay! When they killed that dragon, man, I literally laughed my ass off. So stupid! Such an amazing level of lazy writing and just the least possible effort from the writers and showrunners.

*sigh*

If anything that last act with the standoff in front of the gates was probably the best thing from the episode. But after so much idiocy, that's not much of a statement.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 2:09 am

Oh, I forgot, I forgot!...

How about that scene when a known associate of your enemy just calmly strolls into your castle and inside one of your rooms to threaten and extort two of your biggest characters? That must have taken quite a bit to write. Seriously, I just can't roll my eyes enough.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Tue May 07, 2019 2:22 am

Evil Prevails wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:49 am
Also, the breaking bad finale was some pandering fan service bullshit.
"Felina" was a more rote/straightforward finale than it should've been, and didn't live up to the consistently high standard the show had set for itself beforehand, but, what did come before was still so good in the first place, it has very little impact on how great the show is on the whole; it's really no different than the way I feel about Cowboy Bebop, where so many of its episodes are some of the greatest television I've ever seen that, even with it also having a slightly underwhelming finale, to the point that "The Real Folk Blues II" was the only session I didn't review in my old thread for it, the show on the whole is still one of my top favorites (and that was one slightly disappointing episode out of 26, as opposed to 62 in BB). Focusing so much on finales and acting as though they make or break the entire show is like if I acted like Hannibal was worthless on the whole just because I felt "The Wrath Of The Lamb" was also more predictable than the previous season finales, or ignoring all of the great things about The Dark Knight just because of that one moment when Bruce & Rachel "probably" should've been more injured from the fall they took from his penthouse; who cares?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 07, 2019 2:22 am

Thief wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 2:00 am
Ok, just saw the latest episode and I want to vent before reading anything from you...

*inhales profusely*

That has got to be one of the worst episodes of this show EVER. Seriously, the levels of stupidity displayed all through it were staggering. It was just Walking Dead levels of stupidity, no kidding. Most of the first half was full of cringe-worthy exchanges almost at levels of soap opera or 80's teen films (aww, Tormund is sad... *looks to the side to a winking pretty girl* Yay!). Plus, just like I was saying last week, after defeating death itself, we return to the traditional fight for the throne with angsty bouts of jealousy and petty arguments :roll: Not to mention the little game of telephone, with everybody passing around the "big secret" to the least convenient person. Oh, but the second half wasn't going to let us down with more stupidity. Here we have possibly the dumbest attempt at an invasion ever portrayed on screen. I mean, last week wasn't precisely an example of clever and sensible military tactics, but at least they showed some level of care for their precious dragons ("we must wait for the Night King"). But now? Hey, let's just fly them over King's Landing's shore as if they were kites, yay! When they killed that dragon, man, I literally laughed my ass off. So stupid! Such an amazing level of lazy writing and just the least possible effort from the writers and showrunners.

*sigh*

If anything that last act with the standoff in front of the gates was probably the best thing from the episode. But after so much idiocy, that's not much of a statement.
You gotta love how they totally have NERFed the dragons. Super-ballistas have made them irrelevant. Aren't dragons supposed to have scales? Aren't they supposed to be relatively impervious to projectile weapons? It doesn't matter how many dragons Danny has now. Who cares?
You'd think that she would have learned her lesson by now. One of her dragons is wounded in the stadium battle in Essos. The Night's King murders one of her dragons with an ice spear. And last season she learned that Cersei has these weapons when she almost loses a dragon on the field.

Nevermind that these ballistas are firing bolts the size of Vietnam era surface-to-air missiles with pin point accuracy when she is a few thousand feet up in the air (there are clouds beneath the dragons when Rheagal gets hit and his wings span is still - by relative perspective - still larger to our eyes than a ship below even after he falls several hundred feet). Let's just bracket this for now.

The ballistas have to have a range. She should find and respect that range. She knows her superweapons are vulnerable, so scout from a safe height above the forces below. And if you're going to raid, do it at night (it's not like they have searchlights to put up anti-air-fire) in limited hit and run strafes.

And if her fucking dragons really are that useless (e.g., they basically the "Bismarck class battle ships of Westeros"), then she needs to preserve their symbolic power by keeping them out of the fray entirely.
As for the standoff at the gates,
She's got like what? 20 dudes?!?! Why don't they just finish her off right there? Cersei is a liar and couldn't care less about fair play. Tryion walks for a few seconds to get within earshot of Cersei, so her last remaining dragon is definitely in the kill box for the gazillion ballistas we see mounted on the wall.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 2:34 am

See? You just put more thought in writing a post than Benioff&Weiss put in writing the freakin' episode.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Tue May 07, 2019 3:34 am

Thief wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 2:09 am
Oh, I forgot, I forgot!...

How about that scene when a known associate of your enemy just calmly strolls into your castle and inside one of your rooms to threaten and extort two of your biggest characters? That must have taken quite a bit to write. Seriously, I just can't roll my eyes enough.
It wasn't the castle. Jaime and Tyrion were inside what looked to be an inn of some kind outside the Winterfell walls. The exterior shot that preceded the scene established this. But you're right about the dragons. If things keep following this downward trajectory there's going to be a lot of dissatisfied fans when it finally wraps up.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by djerdap » Tue May 07, 2019 9:05 am

I'm glad to see some criticism for the Breaking Bad finale. I remember stating on the RT forum that it was easily the weakest episode of that (half)season, apart from maybe Rabid Dog. It was a bit too convenient and predictable for my taste.

I know that Gilligan stated that the show always led to a clear-cut ending, but when you look at a series like The Shield - with a similar premise and with one of the best series finales ever made - one doesn't really have to follow the norm that much in order to have a major and lasting impact. If anything, it makes the final impressions less powerful in the long-term. There is a reason why people are still talking about The Sopranos and how it ended, even by those who hated that conclusion. The more I think about the final part of Twin Peaks, the more I love it (and I still have major issues with the penultimate episode on the other hand).

Mad Men finale also comes to mind - how certain, more ambiguous parts of it worked marvellously, while others, "cleaner" ones, were a bit of a mixed bag
(Stan and Peggy for one).
Endings are a tricky thing, but in my mind, the cleanest ones suffer the most, both thematically and artistically.

Let's hope Milch doesn't fuck it up for Deadwood.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 am

djerdap wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:05 am
I'm glad to see some criticism for the Breaking Bad finale. I remember stating on the RT forum that it was easily the weakest episode of that (half)season, apart from maybe Rabid Dog. It was a bit too convenient and predictable for my taste.
The series overstayed it's welcome by about an episode. I can live with that.

I still prefer to think of everything that happened after Walt got the car to start in the snow by the bar as a dream sequence if I cannot stipulate that the series really ends at "Ozymandias." Even so, the show was magnificently crafted, even if it stumbled slightly at the end.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 12:02 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 3:34 am
It wasn't the castle. Jaime and Tyrion were inside what looked to be an inn of some kind outside the Winterfell walls. The exterior shot that preceded the scene established this.
Missed it. Must have been rolling my eyes.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 12:07 pm

Re: the Breaking Bad finale, I never felt "Felina" was a peak episode, but I do think it managed to wrap up most things in a fairly satisfactory way. I remember reading something, not sure if it was official or just one of you back in RT, in the vein that the show really ended with "Ozymandias", and the last two episodes are more of a coda/epilogue to everything. Truth is there are a lot of things I like in it. I really wasn't bothered by it.

EDIT: Whoops, posted without reading Melvin's post.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Tue May 07, 2019 3:24 pm

At the time, people were like, "See, Lost, that's how you should've ended, like Breaking Bad!" But in retrospect, those two finales have a bit more in common than you'd expect, mostly in the vein of contrivance and shallow audience wish-fulfillment, with everything going great for the heroes, everything going bad for the villains, and in exactly the way the show's prefigured (which leaves little room for surprise or thrills). Both feel, at times, like checklists instead of dramatic storytelling.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Spencie Returns » Tue May 07, 2019 7:33 pm

I think Game of Thrones was destined to decline in quality as it reached a conclusion. It's a show that was built on subverting tropes and archetypes, a story that thrived off of downright nihilistic surprises, twists and turns. As the writing took a dive past the book material, and the fantasy elements took the forefront of the show, we're only left with two options for and ending that as far as I can see; standard fantasy affair where fate places everyone where they're supposed to be, or some big sort of "fuck you" meant simply to shock us. I believe the very nature of the story boxed itself in from the beginning. It also could explain why GRRM is struggling with the final chapter.

I miss Tywin.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Tue May 07, 2019 8:28 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:28 am
That's not the point I was making. I am not talking about getting married to your first draft, but knowing the story you intend to tell. It's not that BB had the entire series mapped from day one, but that they delivered the story of "Mr. Chips becomes Scarface." NOTE: You might be entertained by the story of how Giancarlo Esposito negotiated his way into becoming a major character.

Here is why Breaking Bad was so good -- the premise of the show defined the arc of the story.

Just about every other series suffers from the "Evergreen Premise" (e.g., James Bond is forever young, drinking martinis, and using gadgets). Will Riker can't become a captain on TNG, because the premise of the show is that he is the XO. He can get close to being promoted, but so long as Patrick Stewart is on the TV show, you have to hit the reset button.

Sure, many series depict some growth, but will then frequently have odd climaxes and fall into the sequel syndrome of "bigger" and "louder." Buffy saves the world from the big bad. But then you need another big bad. Buffy dies saving the world, but then you've got to bring her back. By the time you get to the later seasons of the show, the writers are laboring under the exhaustion of their premise. Supernatural was supposed to end in Season 5, but the show lumbered on to the point where they leveled up to doing couples counseling for God and the Devil. You don't really have anywhere to go after that.

At any rate, I think that a series bible is a good idea to make sure that you have well-defined sense of the story you intend to tell and of the world in which your story takes place. It doesn't have to have all the particulars of getting to A to B, but it should have a general vision of beginning, middle, and end.
Agreed. And again, regarding "Felina" specifically, of course I would've preferred if it had lived up the previous high standards the show had set for itself, like, say, The Shield's "Family Meeting" did for that series, but, finale or not, overall it's still one episode out of many, and it no more ruins the entire series than the relative disappointment of "Cancer Man" did back in Season 1, or, to bring Bebop back into the convo, the mediocrity of "Sympathy For The Devil" did for that series. Coming at the very end of such a great show, including the excellent one-two punch of "Granite State" & "Ozymandias", which might just be the best episode of the show period, I think I can find it in my heart to go easy on BB for slightly fumbling the ball at the very end. Anyway, at any rate...
Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:28 am
It is still one of the best shows ever and it never had a dip like we've seen on shows like GoT and BSG, and it never stagnated in emplotment like BtVS and Supernatural.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 07, 2019 8:37 pm

Spencie Returns wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:33 pm
I think Game of Thrones was destined to decline in quality as it reached a conclusion. It's a show that was built on subverting tropes and archetypes, a story that thrived off of downright nihilistic surprises, twists and turns. As the writing took a dive past the book material, and the fantasy elements took the forefront of the show, we're only left with two options for and ending that as far as I can see; standard fantasy affair where fate places everyone where they're supposed to be, or some big sort of "fuck you" meant simply to shock us. I believe the very nature of the story boxed itself in from the beginning. It also could explain why GRRM is struggling with the final chapter.

I miss Tywin.
GoT was not an exercise subversion-without-internal-logic or surprise-from-nowhere. The game has rules and people who broke them died. Ned had several opportunities to take an off-ramp from his fate. Robb steered right into the wrath of Walter Frey. The human game is Machiavellian and allows the audience to revel in an amateur parlor game of Realpolitik. Surrounding this game is an existential threat to life. The supernatural threat has rules too (e.g., a life for a life, dragon glass kills whites, King's blood has power). Our story set the lunary world of magic on a collision course with the sub-lunary affairs of men.

I saw a reddit post that explores the problem with the nature of the current writing on the show.

old.reddit.com/r/asoiaf/comments/bld2j5/spoilers_extended_how_surprise_does_and_doesnt/

I think GRRM is struggling, in part, because he is now a celebrity and going to nice parties and chillin' with groupies is more fun than writing. In the largest part, however, I think he is struggling not simply because he has a binary choice between "fantasy" and "fuck you" but rather because he has too many moving parts. He has done great at managing the premise (i.e., a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup of psychologically real humans cast into a fantasy-setting), but he has introduced too many characters, too many plots, too many side stories. He is not being boxed in by his premise but rather by his attempt to pay off all of the set-ups. And he keeps moving sideways and backwards. Writing stories and books filling out details that are at the margins of his song of fire and ice.
I miss Tywin too.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 8:38 pm

I think this recent discussion begs the question... what series do you all think had great/good finales/conclusions? Lot of people mentioning The Shield, and I agree. Others have mentioned The Sopranos, which I haven't seen, but what others? The Americans is a recent example of one that really nailed it, IMO. Maybe Boardwalk Empire to a lesser extent? What else?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Tue May 07, 2019 8:41 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:38 pm
I think this recent discussion begs the question... what series do you all think had great/good finales/conclusions? Lot of people mentioning The Shield, and I agree. Others have mentioned The Sopranos, which I haven't seen, but what others? The Americans is a recent example of one that really nailed it, IMO. Maybe Boardwalk Empire to a lesser extent? What else?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 12:07 pm
Re: the Breaking Bad finale, I never felt "Felina" was a peak episode, but I do think it managed to wrap up most things in a fairly satisfactory way. I remember reading something, not sure if it was official or just one of you back in RT, in the vein that the show really ended with "Ozymandias", and the last two episodes are more of a coda/epilogue to everything. Truth is there are a lot of things I like in it. I really wasn't bothered by it.

EDIT: Whoops, posted without reading Melvin's post.
Not that I can easily check now (obviously), but I think that MKS was the one who said that the last 2 eps were basically "epilogues" to the show. Anyway, regarding "Felina", I did really like the scene where
Walt admitted to Skyler that he did it all for himself, as opposed to the family, so the ep was far from a total loss on the whole.
Thief wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:38 pm
I think this recent discussion begs the question... what series do you all think had great/good finales/conclusions? Lot of people mentioning The Shield, and I agree. Others have mentioned The Sopranos, which I haven't seen, but what others? The Americans is a recent example of one that really nailed it, IMO. Maybe Boardwalk Empire to a lesser extent? What else?
Besides its underrated 3rd season, I wasn't really fully satisfied with Boardwalk in general, which includes its final season, but "El Dorado" did have one of the best final shots of any show I've ever seen, which, when you know its full context, has SO much to say thematically about Nucky on the whole, in addition to just being so beautifully tragic on its own merits:
Image

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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 9:26 pm

Stu wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 pm
Not that I can easily check now (obviously), but I think that MKS was the one who said that the last 2 eps were basically "epilogues" to the show. Anyway, regarding "Felina", I did really like the scene where
Walt admitted to Skyler that he did it all for himself, as opposed to the family, so the ep was far from a total loss on the whole.
To me, that's the best moment of the episode, and was probably the scene I had in mind when I mentioned the episode.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Tue May 07, 2019 9:29 pm

Thief wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:38 pm
I think this recent discussion begs the question... what series do you all think had great/good finales/conclusions? Lot of people mentioning The Shield, and I agree. Others have mentioned The Sopranos, which I haven't seen, but what others? The Americans is a recent example of one that really nailed it, IMO. Maybe Boardwalk Empire to a lesser extent? What else?
Angel, while mostly a hit or miss show had a killer ending.

And I agree with Stu that the third season of Boardwalk Empire doesn’t get enough credit. Easily my favorite season of that show.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Tue May 07, 2019 9:43 pm

Deschain13 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:29 pm
And I agree with Stu that the third season of Boardwalk Empire doesn’t get enough credit. Easily my favorite season of that show.
Yeah, great fucking season; that moment at the end of "Two Imposters" when...
...Capone just strolls onto the scene, and goes:

Image

"We been on the road for 18 hours; I need a bath, some chow... then you and me sit down, and we talk about who dies, eh?"

So awesome :heart:
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Tue May 07, 2019 11:07 pm

Deschain13 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:29 pm
And I agree with Stu that the third season of Boardwalk Empire doesn’t get enough credit. Easily my favorite season of that show.
I liked season 3 a lot, but Eli became my favorite character so I kinda lean more towards season 4 as my favorite. However, I think season 3 had one of the most "WTF" shocking moments for me.
When they brought the crate with Owen's body.
Caught me completely off guard.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Evil Prevails » Wed May 08, 2019 12:32 am

I think like 200 people died on screen in the boardwalk s3 finale. Show was such trash after s2, should have killed Nucky and become the Jimmy show.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed May 08, 2019 12:34 am

Stu wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:23 pm
Not that I can easily check now (obviously), but I think that MKS was the one who said that the last 2 eps were basically "epilogues" to the show. Anyway, regarding "Felina", I did really like the scene where
Walt admitted to Skyler that he did it all for himself, as opposed to the family, so the ep was far from a total loss on the whole.
Besides its underrated 3rd season, I wasn't really fully satisfied with Boardwalk in general, which includes its final season, but "El Dorado" did have one of the best final shots of any show I've ever seen, which, when you know its full context, has SO much to say thematically about Nucky on the whole, in addition to just being so beautifully tragic on its own merits:
Image

Twas I!

Despite how poor this latest episode was, I do think there's a lot of presumption going on about the thematic purpose of the Long Night. Perhaps it's blind optimism or simply my own ego in that I've been predicting Dani as the secret big bad of the franchise since s2, but I'm betting that the anti-climax in regards to the Night King DID have the same purpose in that it emphasizes the pettiness and self destructive nature of this fight for the throne.

Virtually everyone was predicting and wanting a climactic battle with all parties getting slaughtered in glorious battle. I suspect we'll get hit hard with deaths of characters to conceited, power hungry or loyal that are decidedly inglorious and pathetic, like the climax of this weak episode.

It was sloppy, but I'm still a fan of the direction this is moving.

As for best finales, Six Feet Under is the greatest. Then Angel and the Shield.
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