The Television Thread

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wichares
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by wichares » Wed May 29, 2019 2:36 pm

Weird how my feeling on Barry and Atlanta are very similar, as in I only liked, but was not as high as most people on the shows' first season, even with some great episodes, but their second seasons are such a big step up for me. In Barry, ramping up the plot’s urgency has made the show’s drama deeper, and its humor sharper too.

I know it’s been compared often, but the way so many pieces move into place in Barry's finale really reminds me of Breaking Bad (with Barry’s very black comedy streak adding unique flavor/insight into an anti-hero of its own). The same kind of putting characters into impossible situations just to watch them get out of it somehow, complete with intense emotions and bursts of violence.
Even that ending feels so BB5.1’s cliffhanger, fading into important flashback, then back to a character's earth-shattering realization
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Wed May 29, 2019 3:58 pm

wichares wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 2:36 pm
Weird how my feeling on Barry and Atlanta are very similar, as in I only liked, but was not as high as most people on the shows' first season, even with some great episodes, but their second seasons are such a big step up for me. In Barry, ramping up the plot’s urgency has made the show’s drama deeper, and its humor sharper too.

I know it’s been compared often, but the way so many pieces move into place in Barry's finale really reminds me of Breaking Bad (with Barry’s very black comedy streak adding unique flavor/insight into an anti-hero of its own). The same kind of putting characters into impossible situations just to watch them get out of it somehow, complete with intense emotions and bursts of violence.
Even that ending feels so BB5.1’s cliffhanger, fading into important flashback, then back to a character's earth-shattering realization
Are they ramping up the urgency? Season 1 ends with a big cliff hanger
Barry murders the detective
which devolved into a big fizzle
Cops conveniently pin the blame on the Chechen mafia
which again turned upward when
detective's partner wants to catch Barry
, which then fizzles out into a punchline
Detective #2 only wanted Barry to kill his wife
- a loop which is conveniently closed(!) when
Karate-man death-kicks Detective #2 in the "supermarket showdown."
Is Old Man Fonzie now
divided against Barry in deadly hate?
I hope so, but the show has demonstrated, so far, that it is committed to its premise and that it is willing to use a comic deus ex machina as a reset button. And don't think for a second that they might not walk-back that earth-shattering realization. Worst case scenario,
you can kill off Old Man Fonzie as the man who knows too much, like Detective #2. The upside here is that you can milk it for pathos and give the show a sheen of realism (they're not afraid to kill off characters!)
Alternatively,
you can use the amnesia plot.
Or
Barry can provide an interpretation of Fuch's sentence which does NOT literally implicate him has the killer of Detective #1. Barry might confess to being connected to the people who did kill Detective #1. Perhaps Old Man Fonzie comes to believe that assassins were dispatched to his cabin to kill Barry and that Detective #2 had the bad luck of confronting them.
The writing on the show is fun, but circular. We are continually circling back to square one with the writers setting up cliffhangers (how will the Duke boys get out of this one?) and resolving them with the General Lee jumping the gap. This is not Breaking Bad. It's a different show. And this is fine. Barry can be held constant, our pole star in this wacky world. Enjoy the ride, but it's a ride that goes in circles. The show isn't so much about the "stakes" (the simple cliff-hanger frame), but about the comedic and tragic insights into human nature and the absurdity of life.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed May 29, 2019 8:27 pm

Okay. Now I remember this guy.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:56 pm

Am I to take it that none of you cocksuckers saw fit to bear witness to the proper cessation of this here series Deadwood?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:11 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:56 pm
Am I to take it that none of you cocksuckers saw fit to bear witness to the proper cessation of this here series Deadwood?
Is it out now?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:25 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:56 pm
Am I to take it that none of you cocksuckers saw fit to bear witness to the proper cessation of this here series Deadwood?
I’m watching the movie tonight! Only saw the show once years ago hope I remember everything.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:37 pm

Melvin Butterworth wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:11 pm
Is it out now?
Ah-fucking-ffirmative.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:43 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:37 pm
Ah-fucking-ffirmative.
Well, sheeit, I think I'll have to head down to the Gem Saloon.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:16 am

Oh shit! The Deadwood movie is so good!
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:56 am

I think Archer might be officially played out. And I had my DVR set to start recording NOS4A2 but stopped, erased and canceled the series after a few minutes. I remember the book didn't really get going until after
Vic's son is kidnapped
but I don't have the time to start following yet another show.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:03 am

Deschain13 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:16 am
Oh shit! The Deadwood movie is so good!
You're goddamn right.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Torgo » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:04 pm

Torgo wrote:
Tue May 28, 2019 2:30 pm
Without spoiling things too much, are the things I've heard about what happens to
the Pripyat animal population
in episode 4 of Chernobyl that hard to watch?
That episode was rough (no pun intended). I had to watch the entire animal hunting sequence on mute. My wife, who is much more sensitive to depictions of animal violence, couldn't look at the screen at all. My dog was on the sofa at the time, and luckily, he was fine with me squeezing him when I needed the emotional support.
To the director's credit, he depicted how harrowing a job like that would be without venturing into tastelessness. Casting the great Barry Keoghan as the audience surrogate character helped a great deal.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:39 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:56 am
I think Archer might be officially played out. And I had my DVR set to start recording NOS4A2 but stopped, erased and canceled the series after a few minutes. I remember the book didn't really get going until after
Vic's son is kidnapped
but I don't have the time to start following yet another show.
I watched the first episode of N0S4A2. It wasn’t great. I remember liking the book but they changed some stuff around with the characters in the show.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:10 pm

Torgo wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:04 pm
That episode was rough (no pun intended). I had to watch the entire animal hunting sequence on mute. My wife, who is much more sensitive to depictions of animal violence, couldn't look at the screen at all. My dog was on the sofa at the time, and luckily, he was fine with me squeezing him when I needed the emotional support.
To the director's credit, he depicted how harrowing a job like that would be without venturing into tastelessness. Casting the great Barry Keoghan as the audience surrogate character helped a great deal.
Mazin said he toned down the events for the episode, which might give you an idea of what happened.

Also, for anybody affected by what happened, know that although it was true, some animals managed to survive and are currently being taken care of within the restricted area.

Meet the dogs of Chernobyl

The writer of the article is a nuclear expert, has her own podcast (Atomic Hobo), and is a neat follow on Twitter.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:45 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:10 pm
Mazin said he toned down the events for the episode, which might give you an idea of what happened.

Also, for anybody affected by what happened, know that although it was true, some animals managed to survive and are currently being taken care of within the restricted area.

Meet the dogs of Chernobyl

The writer of the article is a nuclear expert, has her own podcast (Atomic Hobo), and is a neat follow on Twitter.
Don't forget the OST for both



As for the dogs living in Chernobyl today, I saw a YouTube video which stated that they are now able to adopt some of these pups into human homes.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Torgo » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:02 pm

Thief wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:10 pm
Mazin said he toned down the events for the episode, which might give you an idea of what happened.

Also, for anybody affected by what happened, know that although it was true, some animals managed to survive and are currently being taken care of within the restricted area.

Meet the dogs of Chernobyl

The writer of the article is a nuclear expert, has her own podcast (Atomic Hobo), and is a neat follow on Twitter.
Thanks, that article is just what I needed. In the immortal words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, "life, uhh...finds a way."
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Jun 03, 2019 10:01 pm

Deschain13 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:39 pm
I watched the first episode of N0S4A2. It wasn’t great. I remember liking the book but they changed some stuff around with the characters in the show.
I read an article after I deleted it and it said that they weren't even going to address Victoria's later years which sounds nuts if it's true. I frankly don't see how they go about adapting a novel for the small screen and leave out three quarters of the story. Unless they're pulling another IT and plan on splitting it into two parts. However they end up doing it the part I sat through was like the opposite of compelling.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:13 am

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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Torgo » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:05 pm

Deschain13 wrote:
Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:16 am
Oh shit! The Deadwood movie is so good!
I really enjoyed it too. It succeeded on a storytelling level and on a fan service level. It was so satisfying not only to see this cast again, but also to just see actors like Brad Dourif and William Sanderson simply working again.
I like how
everyone got one last little victory in before South Dakota's statehood became official. This doesn't entirely apply to Al, but he did score a victory by having the last - and best - line ("let him fucking stay there!")
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Stu » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:57 am

I recently came across this list uproxx created of their top 10 episodes of Breaking Bad, which, while not bad, I don't quite agree with 100%, so I decided to make one of my own:

Pilot: great first episode with consistently amazing style, energy, and substance, and it set the tone and pace for the rest of the series brilliantly
Crazy Handful Of Nothin': thrilling as fuck, and it has the birth of Heisenberg, baby!
Grilled: one of the tensest single hours in the show's history
Fly: divisive among the fanbase, but I've always felt it was a brilliantly written character study, with what is my favorite monologue in the entire series
Half Measures: incredibly momentous, and has one of the most shocking endings on the show
Box Cutter: tense, claustrophobic, and sets up the main conflict of Season 4 brilliantly
Hermanos: it's all about that flashback, baby!
Dead Freight: great premise/scenario that's completely set up and resolved within one ep, with a great climax, and an absolute gut punch of an ending
Blood Money: so much inter-character drama, and it shows the ramifications of an extremely long-in-coming revelation in one of the series' best scenes at the end
Ozymandias: do I really need to say anything else about this one?

And for fun, here's my rankings of the rest of the show as well (these are all chosen by memory, but they're my current opinions):
All-timer eps that I couldn't fit into the top 10:

One Minute
Full Measure
Crawl Space

Great eps:
Bit By A Dead Bee
Peakaboo
4 Days Out
Mandala
Phoenix
ABQ
Sunset
I See You
Kafkaesque
Cornered
Bug
Thirty-Eight Snub
Problem Dog
Salud
End Times
Face Off
Madrigal
Fifty-One
Buyout
Say My Name
Gliding Over All
Buried
Confessions
To'hajiilee
Granite State

Very good eps:

Cat's in the Bag...
...And the Bag's in the River
Gray Matter
A No-Rough-Stuff-Type Deal
Seven Thirty-Seven
Better Call Saul
No Mas
I.F.T.
Shotgun
Hazard Pay
Rabid Dog

Good eps:

Negro y Azul
Breakage
Caballo sin Nombre
Green Light
Mas
Abiquiu
Open House
Bullet Points
Live Free Or Die
Felina

Okay eps:

Cancer Man
Down
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:46 pm

Gawd, I would have to go back to remind myself which episode is which. Right now, I'm more comfortable listing favorite moments or sequences; for example...

1. The last part of "One Minute" is probably one of the most tense moments I've lived on TV.
2. The "half measures" speech from Mike at the end of, well, "Half Measures".
3. The ending of "Full Measures"... "Run"
4. The last part of "To'hajiilee", with Hank finally arresting Walter, then the shootout, which ties into "Ozymandias".
5. Hank confronting Walter in the garage after finding out he is Heisenberg. Such great acting from both actors.
6. Walter meeting Gus for the first time at the Pollos Hermanos restaurant.
7. The "Say My Name" scene.
8. The "I Am the Danger" scene.
9. The ending of "Crawl Space".
10. Walter *not* saving Jane as she dies.

That's off the top of my head. I could probably come up with 10 more, but those moments, scenes, episodes are the first ones that come to mind when I think of how great this show was.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:07 pm

I know I'll probably stand alone here, but I still prefer Season 4 over Season 5 of BB. But yeah, great show. As for my favorite moments (in no particular order)...

1. "This is not meth"
2. The opening to season 2.
3. "Stay Out of My Territory"
4. Walter not saving Jane
5. The ending to "One Minute"
6. The ending to "Half Measures"
7. Gus sees Victor working on the meth
8. Walt tells Hank that Gale copied someone else.
9. Don Eladio's pool flashback
10. The ending of "Crawl Space"
11. The wheelchair bomb
12. The ending to "Dead Freight"
13. The prison killings.
14. Walt confronting Hank in his garage
15. The intro to "Ozymandias"

Yep, so many to choose from.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by wichares » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:07 pm

Top 10 Breaking Bad Episodes...

1. Ozymandias
2. One Minute
3. Gliding Over All
4. Crawl Space
5. Phoenix
6. Face Off
7. Full Measure
8. Dead Freight
9. 4 Days Out
10. Fly
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Torgo » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:27 am

Season 2 of the Netflix series Dark returns later this month. I highly recommend watching the first season if you haven't yet.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Deschain13 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:50 am

Torgo wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:27 am
Season 2 of the Netflix series Dark returns later this month. I highly recommend watching the first season if you haven't yet.
Yeah S1 was solid and definitely has me anticipating 2. I’m really gonna need that recap though lol.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:50 pm

Some thoughts on recent shows I've seen...

Took me a while to catch up with Chernobyl's last episode, but it was as good as everything that came before. A great show with great direction, dialogue, and performances (kudos to Stellan Skarsgard, who was possibly my favorite from the bunch).

I've already mentioned how I was warming up to Jack Ryan, after what I thought was a pretty bad first episode. Finally finished it last week and although I wouldn't say it was perfect, I really thought it was pretty solid. There was one episode in particular that really had me on the edge at one point. Really good direction and tense-buildup. Also, there was a puzzling side-plot that was connected to the main plot very, very weakly. I ultimately liked the way it ended up, but it still felt pretty awkward in how separate from the main plot it was. Anyway, solid, entertaining show.

I also finished Agent Carter's first season and thought it was pretty good. As someone who really liked Carter's character and Hayley Atwell's performance in the first Captain America, I really enjoyed the way the show handled its premise. The retro 40's look was cool, the chemistry with James D'Arcy was great, and Shea Whigham remains one of my favorite character actors. Very fun, entertaining show.

On the other hand, I've continued with Agents of SHIELD's second season and it has been pretty mediocre. Not that the first season was great, but I really think they ended up in a great stretch with the Captain America: Winter Soldier tie-in. Second season hasn't been as good so far. Sometimes it feels like it spins its wheels too much, but it might also be the fact that I don't like the character of Skye (or whatsherface performance). The other thing I really liked about season 1 was the interaction and chemistry between Fitz & Simmons, but since they've broken that up, I don't have that either. I just hope the payoff with them is worth it. As for the rest, I still like Coulson, but I really don't care about the new characters (Bobbi, Hunter, Mack). I'll probably go on, but it's on my low priority.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Melvin Butterworth » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:56 pm

Making history as it should've been?: Two Opposing views Chernobyl's Fictional Ulana Khomyuk
Watson's character isn't simply one woman in the Soviet science field. "She represents all of these other scientists that came in and risked quite a bit to fight a system — not just the system of government, but also the system of science, which in and of itself, had a certain patriarchy to it and was very interested in protecting itself from its own mistakes," Mazin said.

Ulana will help hold Harris' character Valery Legasov accountable in Chernobyl as she seeks out what caused the accident. So even though no Ulana existed in real life, she represents many women in STEM who had to break through gender-biased barriers in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.
https://www.bustle.com/p/ulana-khomyuk- ... e-17304139
The biggest fiction in this scene, though, is Khomyuk herself. Unlike other characters, she is made up—according to the closing titles, she represents dozens of scientists who helped Legasov investigate the cause of the disaster. Khomyuk appears to embody every possible Hollywood fantasy. She is a truth-knower: the first time we see her, she is already figuring out that something has gone terribly wrong, and she is grasping it terribly fast, unlike the dense men at the actual scene of the disaster, who seem to need hours to take it in. She is also a truth-seeker: she interviews dozens of people (some of them as they are dying of radiation exposure), digs up a scientific paper that has been censored, and figures out exactly what happened, minute by minute. She also gets herself arrested and then immediately seated at a meeting on the disaster, led by Gorbachev. None of this is possible, and all of it is hackneyed. The problem is not just that Khomyuk is a fiction; it’s that the kind of expert knowledge she represents is a fiction. The Soviet system of propaganda and censorship existed not so much for the purpose of spreading a particular message as for the purpose of making learning impossible, replacing facts with mush, and handing the faceless state a monopoly on defining an ever-shifting reality.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-colu ... ibly-wrong
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:46 am

First episode of "Too Old to Die Young" is feature length and has got me feeling like this will be to Refn what Twin Peaks: the Return was to Lynch: a completely liberated excercise in artistic indulgence. I can't wait to watch more.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:22 pm

Everyone stop what you're doing, important breaking news, Chernobyl is a very good show, thank God I was here to tell you that.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:32 pm

DaMU wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:22 pm
Everyone stop what you're doing, important breaking news, Chernobyl is a very good show, thank God I was here to tell you that.
I was about to start it but that dang Refn show stole me away from the hit show from the mastermind behind Rocketman, Senseless, Scary Movie 3 &4, and Hangover 2 & 3.

I believe you (and everyone) about Chernobyl but Mazin's previous work needs more mentioning for context.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Spencie Returns » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:31 pm

One of my top five Breaking Bad moments would definitely be the prison shanking montage in season five.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:34 pm

DaMU wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:22 pm
Everyone stop what you're doing, important breaking news, Chernobyl is a very good show, thank God I was here to tell you that.
I came close to bingeing it but saved the last episode for today. This was quality television no doubt about it. I don't know how many people actually followed it when it first aired but I think word of mouth is gonna build. It'll probably do well at awards time too. Let me add my voice to the chorus of people recommending it.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Thief » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:57 pm

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:34 pm
I came close to bingeing it but saved the last episode for today. This was quality television no doubt about it. I don't know how many people actually followed it when it first aired but I think word of mouth is gonna build. It'll probably do well at awards time too. Let me add my voice to the chorus of people recommending it.
The media and Twitter have been crazy about it since the second or third episode, and with reason. It really is a great show.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Rock » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:22 pm

Chernobyl's explosive finale will blow you away!
"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Rock » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:22 pm

But yeah, great show.
"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:09 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:32 pm
I was about to start it but that dang Refn show stole me away from the hit show from the mastermind behind Rocketman, Senseless, Scary Movie 3 &4, and Hangover 2 & 3.

I believe you (and everyone) about Chernobyl but Mazin's previous work needs more mentioning for context.
Absolutely. His trajectory is bizarre. And also it's not a perfect show - sometimes its Fincher-ian direction and its more didactic elements feels a wee bit trite (Emily Watson does her best to transcend Female Voice of Reason Character, but it is a battle). In that regard, you can see a bit of how his trajectory resembles McKay and Farrelly similarly jumping from broad comedy into at-times flat-flooted docudrama. Although Mazin acquits himself much more effectively than those two, I think.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:10 am

Rock wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:22 pm
Chernobyl's explosive finale will blow you away!
What's the over/under on someone posting a fan video to YouTube set to Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive"?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:11 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:34 pm
I came close to bingeing it but saved the last episode for today. This was quality television no doubt about it. I don't know how many people actually followed it when it first aired but I think word of mouth is gonna build. It'll probably do well at awards time too. Let me add my voice to the chorus of people recommending it.
I started watching last night, thinking one episode would suit me fine. Ended up staying up for the first three episodes, then wrapped up the next two this morning.

More limited mini-series! It was the perfect binge size.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:43 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:11 am
I started watching last night, thinking one episode would suit me fine. Ended up staying up for the first three episodes, then wrapped up the next two this morning.

More limited mini-series! It was the perfect binge size.
I know what you mean. I thought I'd watch one, which turned into two, then three etc. It is the perfect size. The only reason I stopped was it had been a long day and I didn't want to watch the conclusion with a fuzzy brain.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Rock » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:43 am

The shorter length definitely helped my enjoyment. As someone who finds a lot of series bloated and laborious to get through, I appreciated the economy of this one's storytelling.
"We're outgunned and undermanned. But you know somethin'? We're gonna win. You know why? Superior attitude. Superior state of mind." - Mason Storm
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:49 am

Rock wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:43 am
The shorter length definitely helped my enjoyment. As someone who finds a lot of series bloated and laborious to get through, I appreciated the economy of this one's storytelling.
You'll never make it through Too Young to Die Old with that attitude.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by Rock » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:24 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:49 am
You'll never make it through Too Young to Die Old with that attitude.
Is it 10 episodes of spinning its wheels with all the good stuff in the last episode?
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:28 am

Rock wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:24 am
Is it 10 episodes of spinning its wheels with all the good stuff in the last episode?
It's all the good stuff all the time if you love Refn's somnambulist style of slow pace, long stretches of silence and gorgeous shot composition.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:06 am

Russian Doll is obviously a series now, but its run was similarly nice and tidy.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by djerdap » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:13 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:09 am
Absolutely. His trajectory is bizarre. And also it's not a perfect show - sometimes its Fincher-ian direction and its more didactic elements feels a wee bit trite (Emily Watson does her best to transcend Female Voice of Reason Character, but it is a battle). In that regard, you can see a bit of how his trajectory resembles McKay and Farrelly similarly jumping from broad comedy into at-times flat-flooted docudrama. Although Mazin acquits himself much more effectively than those two, I think.
As far as I'm concerned, the writing is absolutely the Achilles' heel of Chernobyl. Technical aspects of the show, the acting and the direction (loved that scene of removing graphite on the roof) were top-notch, and the tension didn't waiver until the final episode, even though one knew (or presumed to know) how it will end for all of the characters. But some of the dialogue is incredibly on-the-nose and trite (a lot of it involving Watson's and Skarsgård's characters - "They work in the dark - that's how they can see everything!"), and certain depictions of the USSR regime seem to be lifted from a cliched and paranoid Cold War propaganda textbook. Case in point is the scene where an elderly party member lectures the engineers and administrative personnel in the meeting room (but not before emphasising his presence with a cane!) or a conflict scene between a party official and Emily Watson's character about the regime looking down at scientists, which really needed a touch of subtlety. Also, pretty much everything involving the miners subconsciously reminded me of Armageddon out of all things... not a good sign.

Overall, there are just way too many scenes where the characters don't seem to be talking to each other but more to the audience. And I'm not referring just to the expository dialogue.

However, I'm vividly reminded of these moments precisely because so much of the thing worked, thus these subpar scenes sticking out even more like a sore thumb. Quite an effort has been dedicated to the atmosphere and the overall mood with the effective cinematography and glacial score (I can definitely see that Come and See was a commendable inspiration), while the pacing (maybe faltering just a bit in the final episode) always left me wanting for more. I actually visited the Chernobyl site two years ago and I can say the show did justice to the almost post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Pripyat of today.

Finally, kudos to Jared Harris and to the rest of the acting ensemble for the impeccable performances. But I can say that it was no surprise to find out in the end credits that Watson's two-dimensional character was made up for narrative purposes. Her character seemed to serve only to move the plot and the themes forward without having any of the complexities and contradictions depicted in other main characters.

Nevertheless, for somebody who is close to that socio-cultural region... the fucking show should have been made in Russian. The make-up of trying to "Russify" these actors was a bit cringey, but I'm at least thankful they didn't attempt the accents.

I truly hope that one day, one will watch these kinds of movies or TV shows without the threat of the masses complaining about subtitles, no matter where the financing comes from. If Tarantino can make a blockbuster movie with 70% of the film having subtitles, I don't think there should be any issue with an HBO show in 2019.

P.S. Thank you to the poster who shared that New Yorker article. Pretty much spot on and in accordance with some of my impressions, although we seem to disagree on the execution on that one scene with the elderly party official.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by wichares » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:21 pm

Fleabag's season 2 (also its last) is my favorite season of TV in years, since maybe The Good Wife's season 5.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by wichares » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:32 pm

Re: Chernobyl. It's funny that I see quite a lot of Americans find the English speaking more distracting than the Russian viewers. Both a well-known reporter and many forum commentators who are Russian appreciate how the show never force accents onto characters, while also acknowledging that this kind of show with this level of authenticity can never be made in Russian.

As for question of authenticity, Mazin really, really does his research, including people who lived through that period in production process to make sure every detail and perspective is as accurate as possible. I think he did a podcast alongsides every episode to point out which parts are facts and which parts are fictionalized.
Slava Malamud, the Russian reporter I mentioned, has some thoughts to share on the show’s verisimilitude for every episode. This is for the first episode, with barely any "spoiler". If anyone doesn’t want to read a twitter thread, here:
I have just finished watching Episode 1 of Chernobyl on @HBO. My perspective is that of someone born and raised in the Soviet Union who has vivid memories of 1986, the catastrophe itself and how it was handled by the Soviet politicians and the state media.

First of all, it is almost inconceivable that a Western TV show would go to this amount of detail authentically portraying Soviet life in that era, knowing full well that its target audience (Western viewers) would never appreciate the effort or indeed even understand it. Trust me, I try very hard to find inaccuracies, however minor. The Americans, a show with similar fetish-like obsession with authenticity, had plenty of small and big Soviet errata to be entertained with. Improperly fastened military shoulder bars, that sort of thing... Not here.

Everything, and I mean everything so far has been incredibly authentic. The typical provincial babushkas talking outside, the kitchen supplies and utensils, the white "celebratory" uniforms of school children (the tragedy occurred just before May Day), the shoes, the hair. Even the little buckets used by Soviet citizens to take out the trash. They even found that crap somewhere! But I'm impressed by much more than the mere minutiae of Soviet everyday life. Yes, in this regard, Chernobyl is much more true to life than any Western show about Russia..

But, what is more impressive, is the characters, their actions, their thoughts, their motivation. The deep, ruthless drilling of the Soviet mind, what governed us, drove us and shackled us. Chernobyl pulls no punches and lays it all bare. And this is really the key to its magic, for me at least. Not only is Chernobyl more realistic than any Western show/film about Russia, it's more realistic than anything Russians would have ever made about themselves, at least on this topic. I am not hyperbolizing. Not at all.

In fact, there have been several Russian films about Chernobyl, and only one, made in 1990, during final stages of Perestroika, does justice to the sheer brutality of this deplorable event. And even this one is more about a hero struggling against the odds, a melodramatic trope. As for the more modern product, there is a film about heroic KGB agents trying to stop a CIA saboteur, for example. Modern Russian cinema, unable to unshackle itself from political expediencies and the "glory of the Motherland", could never make a drama like this one. As an aside, I am particularly happy about the decision to have the characters speak normal British English, not mangled Russian or English with a corny "Russian" accent. Poor Matthew Rhys and Kerry Russel... Their tortured attempts to speak Russian almost ruined The Americans...

In conclusion, yes, the nit-picky Russian viewer in me was utterly satisfied. The initial "Wait a minute, why are kids going to school on a Saturday?" response quickly gave way to "Shit, that's right! We didn't switch to the 5-day week until 1989!" Pure delight, I tell ya. But, far more importantly, the intellectual honesty in how the show treats an extremely traumatic event is more than impressive. It's important. Knowing how many fans HBO has in Russia, my hope is that it will elicit more than just knee-jerk defensive responses. Also, my 17 year old son watched with me, and his first reaction was to immediately dive into the Google rabbit holes trying to research as much as possible about Chernobyl. I don't know about you, but to me this is as good a testimony of the shows greatness as anything

I have just finished a thread where I review Episode 2, scene by scene, if anyone is interested.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by djerdap » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:16 pm

I have no idea how you concluded from that review that a show in Russian would never achieve that level of authenticity. A show made in the Russian langauge is different than a show made in Russia under certain regime restrictions. Western directors such as Soderbergh, Mel Gibson and Tarantino have already filmed movies in foreign langauges with various (but sometimes surprisingly excellent) box-office results.

And your American/Russian claim (I am neither American nor Russian BTW) seems to be anecdotal at best. If we have to talk from personal experience - pretty much everybody I talked to mentioned the annoying fact that the show was not made in Russian, but with acknowledgment that this is the world we're in and that this was first and foremost a commercial, not an artistic decision. Besides, I have already acknowledged that it is a good thing there were no attempts at Russian English accents.
Imagine there is a Fukushima miniseries... now in that case it would be much more difficult to sell the show with British actors. ;) We'd probably see a bunch of Hugo Weaving in Cloud Atlas lookalikes running from a tsunami.
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by wichares » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:40 pm

I was taking more note of the fact that you think the depiction of the Russia/Russian people are stereotypical and propaganda whereas people from there find it the opposite, I may have been a little rushed/confused in my wording. But yeah I was referring to it as impossible to make *in Russia*. About the language, at first I was not going to use "American", but native English-speakers, but I fussed that the phrase "English speakers find the English speaking" will sound werid (peril in overthinking of a non-native English user). It is anecdotal, but I find it kind of notable how similar those few separate instances are, in that the Russian reporter and two Russian commentators on a forum's show thread use almost the same wording in expressing their same viewpoint about the issue of English language here.

And what werid take about Fukushima, lol. Language and race are two whole separate things in term of depiction. (Even thinking in term of language, Cloud Atlas is predominantly in English anyway; even in Neo Seoul section Weaving spoke English, so there's no comparison, really, unless there's an Asian actor made up to be Caucasian (aka Doona Bae as a colonist's American daughter) at the Chernobyl factory escaping my eyes)
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Re: The Television Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:01 pm

They wouldn't race-bend a Fukishima film (I'm not entirely sure how that compares to Chernobyl), but they would *definitely* include a few surrogate American speakers to ask relevant questions and encourage everyone around them to speak English/Japanese interchangeably, similar to Cranston in Godzilla.
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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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