Series discoveries: Midseason follies, part deux

Hey, gang!

This is going to be a short post to catch up on the few midseason series I watched after my last post of this nature in April.

Beware. Spoilers ahead.

Game of Thrones

After last season’s heap of misogyny, I was hoping for better in this season. I was (thankfully) not disappointed.

Yeah. Jon Snow died, but Melisandre brought him back and now claims that he is the one who was prophesied. Having died, however, Jon was free of his oath to the Nightswatch and moved south to retake Winterfell.

Sansa and Theon survived their leap from the walls. Sansa met up with Jon and together they retook Winterfell (not without great cost or the help of the young puppet of the Vale) and the bastard of Bolton got his just desserts.

Theon has reunited with his sister and they’ve taken (actually stolen) the ironborn fleet and offered it to Dani. Uncle Euron may still kill them, but I’m kind of liking the alliance.

Arya is finally a faceless one (yay!), but her story suffered the most from implausibility of any in the series this season. I have great hopes for her, and a theory that I won’t share in case I’m wrong. It would be so cool if I’m right, though 🙂

Bran has become the new three eyed raven, and we now know Hodor’s heart-wrenching backstory. I have no idea what’s going to happen now as most of the children of the forest appear to be dead. Even with his new powers, what can Bran do on his own?

Dani’s finally in control of her dragons and should be retaking the seven kingdoms with her fearsome brood, Dothraki hoard, Unsullied, and I’m kind of excited to see what happens with her. Also interesting, another red priestess has appeared and is saying that Dani is the one who was prophesied.

Does this mean Dani and Jon are destined to kill each other or share the throne after they’ve driven back the White Walkers?

Cersei is certifiably insane. I think her number will be up shortly.

So aside from some glaring plot holes, I was pleased. Even though the body count continued to rise, sometimes sensationally rather than for legitimate plot reasons, I could deal. With the new, compressed schedule, I’m thinking they had to eliminate a lot of secondary plot lines and subplots post-hasty.

Two short and delayed seasons until the end of all.

Stranger Things

OMG. Loved this series so much, I don’t know if I can properly express it without babbling.

80’s nostalgia. A truly kick-ass young female protagonist. Great, geeky supporting roles. Tonnes of Easter eggs and homage. Heaven!

The story was fast-paced and compelling. The end of the season was satisfying and I’m so happy they’re working on season two.

No spoilers here. I want you all to watch it. Go on. Binge!

The only movie/show I’m looking forward to more is the adaptation of Ready Player One.

Outcast

This was a recommendation from a work friend. Phil and I were looking for something to watch and decided to give it a try.

Though the story is about a man who has been surrounded by possessed people all his life (mother, wife) and discovers that he has the ability to drive out the possessing spirits, there was something off about the season, more than what you’d expect from a story about possession.

I wasn’t watching so much because I enjoyed it, but because I wanted to see if the writers would answer any of the story questions in a satisfying way. There were answers, and they were surprising, but not satisfying.

Lucky Man

This series is interesting. It’s billed as Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any Marvel property.

In fact, it had the feel of a gritty police procedural with paranormal influences like River, which Phil and I also watched and enjoyed.

A London Police detective and addicted gambler inherits a mystical bracelet that endows him with incredible luck.

I’m not sure if I would have watched it if there was anything else on, but I have and don’t regret it.

Outlander season two was fabulous. Loved it. Too much of a fangirl to offer critique.

Orphan Black was awesomesauce and I’m so pleased Tatiana Maslany got her Emmy. So well-deserved.

My main guilty pleasure and only reality television I watch, So You Think You Can Dance, did a next generation version, and it was amazing and adorable.

I’ll probably do a Fall 2016 series discoveries toward the end of October when I’ve had the chance to see most of the new offerings. I can tell you, I’m not terribly optimistic with all of the retreads, but we’ll see.

Series Discoveries

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Series discoveries: mid-season follies

As a lead up to my fall 2015 series discoveries post, I thought I’d talk about the series I’ve been watching in the mid-season and what happened to the few I was watching that dropped off my radar.

From fall 2014:

I stopped watching Gotham (I know, people love it, but not me) and Stalker (just couldn’t get into it) after a couple of episodes each.

Followed Forever to the end of the season, but it doesn’t look like it will be back (at this point).

Watched Sleepy Hollow through to the end of its season, as well, but the writers kind of lost their way toward the end with the whole dark Katrina/time travel thing. When they resume, I hope they get their collective shit together.

Sad that Constantine wasn’t renewed, but I have to admit the series had its issues. The season story arc never really solidified.

Stuck with Once Upon a Time, Castle, The Flash, Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Grimm, and Doctor Who. I found, though, with the exception of AoS and HtGAwM, I could really take or leave any series. If I missed an episode, I wasn’t sad.

I’m still getting used to the new Doctor (more on that when I get to fall 2015). I love Nathan Fillion enough that I can’t abandon Castle altogether, The Flash was a little cotton candy, but I’m good with that, and the last few eps of Grey’s were gripping.

Arrow’s a little dark and convoluted. OUaT and Criminal Minds were okay, but just that.

I liked the AoS plot, moving forward (Inhumans—yay) and as the HtGAwM mystery unfolded, I really had to watch every episode.

Telling the tale in two directions (inciting incident forward and climax backward) was an interesting technique that I hadn’t seen done well in TV. It can work really well in books (The Dispossessed, anyone?) but it’s imperfect in a television series. A lot of shows start at the climax and then rewind to tell the story leading up to it, but HtGAwM was the first show that I’ve seen that stretches the technique over a whole season.

It was tasty television. Emmy-winning, even. Viola Davis rawks.

Mid-season:

I liked Agent Peggy Carter enough to give it another view if/when it returns.

I loved, loved, LOVED the conclusion of Outlander and am so sad that I have to wait until 2016 for the second season. It was so well written and so well acted. Kudos to the entire cast and crew for making one of my favourite novel series in to my absolute favourite television series ever. Evar.

Game of Thrones, while still well-acted (as evidenced by the large numbers of Emmy wins), diverged from the novels in what I can only call a cluster of epic fails. I’ve written about these briefly in my Tipsday curations as the controversies hit the interwebz. My reaction was profound disappointment. Too much rapey, misogynistic shit. We’ll see if the show runners can pull their collective ass out of the fire this year.

I have been watching Vikings since its beginning. I love this show. The characters are compelling, the history is fairly accurate, and the writing is superb. This show surprises me. There are plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The acting is great, too.

I stopped watching The Following when season two dropped. It just wasn’t my thing. I do watch thrillers and cops dramas, but something about The Following turned me off. I checked out a few episodes in season three, but it was more of the same. Really. Although they were different characters, the baddies of each season were all the same underneath. It was like one guy trying on different human skin suits. Blah.

Orphan Black was phenomenal from the moment it started. Tatiana Maslany is amazeballs as an actor playing multiple Leda clones. Ari Millen hasn’t done too badly playing a cast of Castors, either. Great characters, dark storylines with awesome, light fun, and incredible, technical wizardry.

Side note: Leda is a figure from Greek myth, impregnated by Zeus in the form of a swan (awkweird) who bore four children: Helen (yes, that Helen) and Polydeuces by Zeus, and Castor and Clytemnestra by her human husband. So the female clones would more properly be Helens (yawn) or Clytemnestras (ick), or the male clones Polydeuces (double ick), so I forgive the writers for messing the mythology up. Leda and Castor work just fine, thank you.

Bitten. I didn’t mention this series last year, but I should have. Enjoyed it quite a bit. Differences from the books aside, the second season didn’t disappoint. The only male witch fights the only female werewolf. Wackiness ensues.

Killjoys was fun. It’s one of those SF series that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Bounty Hunters in space? I’m in. Intrigue me with a solid season story arc? Done and done.

Dark Matter wasn’t as good. The series is built around a gimmick. Six people wake up from hypersleep (or whatever) and have no memory of who they are or what they’re doing on the ship. The first season is all about discovering bits and pieces of the puzzle, but by the time something really interesting started to happen, I was yawning.

The Good Witch movies have now become a series. This one’s a guilty pleasure. Not heavy on the magic, it’s a sweet, romantic drama. Come on, it’s from Hallmark (!)

Side note: one of the actors in Dark Matter, Anthony Lemke, who plays an asshole (Three) on that show, also plays a character on The Good Witch. He’s a real estate agent and the hapless love interest of the title character, Cassie Nightingale. It’s interesting to see the two back to back. They are really different characters.

iZombie was great. Phil and I just finished watching the first season a week or so ago. Interesting take on zombies. Also, the comic book frame is really suitable. The main character, a med student turned coroner, named Liv, by virtue of being able to take on the memories and abilities of the people whose brains she eats, helps to solve crimes. She’s kind of like a zombie superhero.

Also, the series is full of word play and homage (like one of my other favourite zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead). There isn’t an episode that doesn’t make a clever pop culture reference. Easter eggs galore. Full on zombie? Oh, yeah. I’m there.

Phil and I picked up on Hemlock Grove, which we’d abandoned in favour of anime last year, and it was okay. I wasn’t blown away with either the first or the second seasons, though I did think some of the different takes on vampires and werewolves were interesting, and a number of the plot twists were actually cool.

Speaking of Netflix series . . . We thought Daredevil’s first season was pretty good. It was definitely dark, but well done. Tortured hero, check. Doubly tortured villain, check. Murphy’s law applied liberally, check. Matt Murdock is like a Timex. Takes a licking . . .

Sens8. Loved. It may have been a “slow burn,” but we felt that something pivotal happened in each episode and we watched the first season in short order. Excellent writing. The character development was fabulous. Everything came together really well. You’ll have to watch it to see the intended pun in that last sentence 😀

Phil and I are on tenterhooks waiting to see if the second season will get the green light. Due to the sexual and cultural diversity of the characters, a lot of people didn’t like Sens8. Really? We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

And my true guilty pleasure (and the only reality TV I watch), So You Think You Can Dance, just finished. I like how the judges aren’t mean and everyone is really trying to help the competitors become the best dancers they can be. No manufactured drama.

Yeah, so that’s what I’ve been doing with myself for the last few months, TV-wise.

I’ve getting into the new and returning fall season shows and I’ll have something for you in October, probably. I’ll do an anime update as well, though we’ve eased back on watching it a bit. There’s a story of intrigue that goes with the anime post, so I’ll leave you with that teaser 🙂

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!

Series Discoveries