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TV Series - old & new Favourite TV series

#181 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-22, 15:40

My memory of the first season is a little hazy, It was 4 years or so ago. But I think the answer is yes, it also had implausible aspects to it. Of course that's true of many shows, but this one also has some very strong features, so the weaker spots are noticed.

More later, gtg.
Ken
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#182 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2017-September-22, 16:45

This season of Rick and Morty has been brilliant.

"Tales from the Citadel", "The Rickshank Redemption", and "Pickle Rick" were particularly good
Alderaan delenda est
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#183 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-23, 06:22

I have thought a bit more since my first post on China Girl. I then went online and found a review in the Guardian:
https://www.theguard...-the-bitter-end

I have to admit I agree with it.
Spoiler

Ken
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#184 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 05:17

The flaws you describe are common tropes in literature and drama. To produce really interesting stories, you often need to have extreme behaviors and coincidences that wouldn't exist in the real world.

For example, it's incredulous that the Enterprise on Star Trek would encounter some kind of unknown alien or an emergency situation on a weekly basis -- just how unlucky can one ship be? But no one would watch a TV show about a ship just flying around space measuring on routine missions.

#185 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 09:16

One of the greatest flaws I see in many movies and tv series is the writers mistaking the creation of confusion with an attempt at creating tension. They tend to conflate surprise endings and good storytelling. They are not always the same thing. To create tension for the reader (watcher), and a genuine surprise, the story must be explained, not kept hidden.

It doesn't create interest (tension) to have the boogeyman jump out in the last frame to explain unresolved phenomena. To produce tension - show the viewer the boogeyman to start - and then show them that the characters involved are unaware that the boogeyman lives in the basement. Once you do that, the actions and reactions make sense and you watch to see if the protagonists win or lose.

Tension begins with the opening lines, with not trying to hide what is going on:

Quote

"Marley was dead, to begin with." - A Christmas Carol

Quote

"The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years - if it ever did end - began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain." - IT

Quote

As Gregor Samsa awoke from a night of uneasy dreaming, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. - The Metamorphosis

If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#186 User is offline   StevenG 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 11:13

View Postkenberg, on 2017-September-22, 15:40, said:

My memory of the first season is a little hazy, It was 4 years or so ago. But I think the answer is yes, it also had implausible aspects to it. Of course that's true of many shows, but this one also has some very strong features, so the weaker spots are noticed.

More later, gtg.

I could hardly remember the first series of Top of the Lake, other than I didn't particularly enjoy it. I enjoyed China Girl a lot more.

I think it's a mistake to concentrate on the erratic plot. Any police procedural aspects were clearly just there to sell the show (especially as the BBC seems to been the major co-producer, and they love crime shows). The narrative was, I thought, made deliberately surreal to show the plot to be unimportant. No, the show was about the nature of motherhood and the power and sense of ownership that goes with motherhood and how it is complicated by adoption and surrogacy. Most of the rest was just padding.
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#187 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 11:56

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-24, 05:17, said:

The flaws you describe are common tropes in literature and drama. To produce really interesting stories, you often need to have extreme behaviors and coincidences that wouldn't exist in the real world.

For example, it's incredulous that the Enterprise on Star Trek would encounter some kind of unknown alien or an emergency situation on a weekly basis -- just how unlucky can one ship be? But no one would watch a TV show about a ship just flying around space measuring on routine missions.


True enough. As I recall, the Piano, which I liked very much, had some unlikely aspects to it. But I liked it. I liked the first season or so of Saving Grace in which Grace, in despiar, says "God help me" at which point a somewhat down and out looking angel appears and says "What did you have in mind?". At a presumably more elevated level we have God and Mephistopheles placing a bet about Faust. Back to China Girl the young girl Mary is a fascinating mix of wisdom beyond her years coupled with some really bad choices. I am something of a sucker for stories featuring young people struggling to choose their own path. Often I can grasp how they could make the choices they do, here it was difficult. What ever the song might advise, love is not always the answer.

If a large part part of a plot involves severe degradation, as here with the prostitution of young women/girls and their use as surrogates, there has to be some strong dramatic interest or I quickly find something else to watch. So there was merit.

I am not taking back the fact that I liked it. But there were some frustrations. Pyke spoke briefly of killing Puss. This sounded like a fine idea to me and it seemed unlikely that someone would not have done so much earlier, before the story even began since he is not all that young. The idea, thrown in at the end, that Cinnamon actually hung herself and they just disposed of the body, a one liner you could almost miss, and then Puss was really a noble guy, well, no, I'm not buying it. Nor what's his name hiding by burying himself in sand on a beach. After Pyke mentioned killing Puss, then we just moved on. No indication that he thought better of it or why. We just moved on. Becky and I both found the last chapter of the series to be a frustration. I acknowledge that this could be our failure, but of course I don't think so.
Ken
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#188 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-September-24, 20:17

Thus far the final season of Halt and Catch Fire has been a disappointment.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#189 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 07:45

View PostStevenG, on 2017-September-24, 11:13, said:

I could hardly remember the first series of Top of the Lake, other than I didn't particularly enjoy it. I enjoyed China Girl a lot more.

I think it's a mistake to concentrate on the erratic plot. Any police procedural aspects were clearly just there to sell the show (especially as the BBC seems to been the major co-producer, and they love crime shows). The narrative was, I thought, made deliberately surreal to show the plot to be unimportant. No, the show was about the nature of motherhood and the power and sense of ownership that goes with motherhood and how it is complicated by adoption and surrogacy. Most of the rest was just padding.


Yes, but did you not think that this examination of motherhood sort of fell apart in the last episode? Adoption can lead to complicated emotions although for me I can't really say that it did. My mother explained my adoption to me when I was 12 and gave me the four or five pages that she had from the adoption agency explaining the circumstances of my birth. She also had, although she was not supposed to have, the names both of my birth mother and my birth father and she gave me these as well. Whatever I did with this information was up to me. I mentally wished my birth parents the best, and went on with my life. My parents were my parents, this changed nothing. My adolescence was at times a bit turbulent, whose isn't? I had a minister explaining that if I look with lust upon a female I should pluck out my eye because it is better to lose an eye than to have your soul rot in hell. Working through this took precedence over any concern about the circumstances of my birth. I was discovering an interest in science and mathematics. I was working and bought a car with my own money when I was 15. And my father, adoptive father if one prefers but my father as far as I ever thought of it, had a stroke,. As I say, I wished my birth mother well, but I was busy.

I saw the movie Philomena, I watched the show This is Us, I watched China Girl. I liked all three although my understanding is that the film Philomena significantly softened the book. There seems to be sudden interest in adoption, with trauma and angst. Well, ok if that's what they had. But take Mary. A young girl/woman trying to choose the course of her life. That's what we all do. Access to her birth mother helped her in her choices about her life. Yes, in the end she decided, undramatically, that the woman who raised her was her mother. Well, yes. But walking away from Puss was the real issue. At least for me.

We make our choices. That's life, and I think it is a good part of a well done story. I found this story interesting but more than once I thought that it could have been done better.


And by the way: Isadora? I can understand Julia leaving Pyke, even though later episodes show him to be slightly more interesting than at first glance. But for Isadora? Five minutes of chatting with Isadora would send me at a fast pace from the room. A waling cliche collection. I liked the Julia character but her interest in Isadora is inexplicable.. Love is blind. And deaf, I guess. Maybe that's the theme.
Ken
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#190 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 09:25

View PostWinstonm, on 2017-September-24, 09:16, said:

One of the greatest flaws I see in many movies and tv series is the writers mistaking the creation of confusion with an attempt at creating tension. They tend to conflate surprise endings and good storytelling. They are not always the same thing. To create tension for the reader (watcher), and a genuine surprise, the story must be explained, not kept hidden.

But sometimes it works well, e.g. "The Sixth Sense".

Quote

It doesn't create interest (tension) to have the boogeyman jump out in the last frame to explain unresolved phenomena.

It's probably not what you're talking about, but this line reminded me of "Wait Until Dark", with Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman being terrorized in her apartment. I first saw this movie when I was at summer camp at age 11 or 12.
Spoiler

The closest thing since then was the moment that triggered the line "We're gonna need a bigger boat" in "Jaws".

#191 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 15:47

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 09:25, said:

But sometimes it works well, e.g. "The Sixth Sense".

It's probably not what you're talking about, but this line reminded me of "Wait Until Dark", with Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman being terrorized in her apartment. I first saw this movie when I was at summer camp at age 11 or 12.
Spoiler

The closest thing since then was the moment that triggered the line "We're gonna need a bigger boat" in "Jaws".


Actually, in The Sixth Sense you are shown up front what happened to Bruce Willis. It is our own bias that makes us assume Bruce Willis is alive after that start.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#192 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 16:01

View Postbarmar, on 2017-September-25, 09:25, said:

But sometimes it works well, e.g. "The Sixth Sense".

It's probably not what you're talking about, but this line reminded me of "Wait Until Dark", with Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman being terrorized in her apartment. I first saw this movie when I was at summer camp at age 11 or 12.
Spoiler

The closest thing since then was the moment that triggered the line "We're gonna need a bigger boat" in "Jaws".


I loved Wait Until Dark. You are right that it is not that of which I speak. In that movie - and Jaws - you are aware of the situation. It's not like what is often confused for creating tension - for example, if Jaws had been the story that a bunch of islanders go missing and in the last ten minutes we discover they all went skinny dipping in a hidden cover where there is a killer shark.

Another really good example is the movie Halloween. In that, the scenario was set early on - a madman killer escaped a mental facility and was heading home, pursued by his psychiatrist, who was convinced the kid was the devil. A bad script would have reversed all that - having all the kids in town being killed but the audience having no idea why - until the very end when the script explains the backstory. But notice how much better - and scarier - it is when you know up front what is going on. That's what I am talking about. The tension is created by the audience being aware of what is going on but they keep wondering or hoping that the protagonist will find out and escape an awful fate before it is too late.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#193 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-25, 16:54

I never have seen Jaws, but I believe it was the first full length book my younger daughter ever read. I saw Wait Until Dark as a re-run, this same younger daughter insisted that take her. She, as with Barry, was 11 or maybe 12. . My older daughter insisted that we see Aliens when it came out. .

I liked Wait Until Dark, and I very much liked Aliens, but this was as an adult. I saw Les Diaboliques when it came out but I was already in high school. As a younger child I was upset by some movies and so I was a bit cautious in what I saw. I might have been the only child in my eighth grade class who did not see The Thing From Another World. Otoh, Salome with Rita Hayworth came out around that time. Her dance was memorable, as was the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Or so I recall it.
Ken
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#194 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-October-01, 19:24

I watched The Handmaid's Tale. Kept waiting for it to get better. Would have given up after 20 minutes if not for Elisabeth Moss. Should have anyway and watched Mad Men reruns instead.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#195 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2017-October-01, 21:10

View Posty66, on 2017-October-01, 19:24, said:

I watched The Handmaid's Tale. Kept waiting for it to get better. Would have given up after 20 minutes if not for Elisabeth Moss. Should have anyway and watched Mad Men reruns instead.


I made it through about 1 1/2 episodes.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#196 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-October-02, 06:50

Becky liked the book. I never read it. No surprise there, she reads at least five books to my one. We never saw the 1990 movie, and I see from the Wikipedia there is now also an opera. As to the tv series we had not gotten around to it. It sounds as if we needn't bother. This will also save some money. We subscribe to XFinity, which is ok I guess, but I pressed the search button and found that I can buy episodes of The Handmaids Tale. Three bucks a shot, or something like that. This seems to happen more these days, that my subscription to XFinity allows me to pay some more money to watch something., I suppose I will have to deal with that eventually. Sort of like losing weight, I'll get around to it sometime.

Anyway, it seems that we can save the time and the money for this series. Thanks.
Ken
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#197 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-October-11, 18:51

Engrenages Saison 5 - best series ever? It's up there.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#198 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2017-October-12, 05:28

View Posty66, on 2017-October-11, 18:51, said:

Engrenages Saison 5 - best series ever? It's up there.

This, this or something else?
(-: Zel :-)
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#199 User is offline   StevenG 

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Posted 2017-October-12, 05:46

View PostZelandakh, on 2017-October-12, 05:28, said:

This, this or something else?

The first link. Shown as Spiral on BBC4. My favoutite cop show ever.
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#200 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2017-October-28, 19:25

I'm enjoying The Americans Season 5 starting with episode 2 when Stan became a real American for me. :)
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again. Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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