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Hemlock Grove (2013)

Hemlock Grove

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Three episodes in, so I tried. I really did.

Over those three episodes, the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove got off to an extremely languid start and just never went anywhere. At all. It half-heartedly dropped plot points that the series utterly failed to develop or inspire the viewer to care about, while simultaneously marching out a bunch of characters that were uninteresting, unlikable, seemingly unimportant, and poorly acted. Relationships were implied but never properly developed, nor do they seem to really be leading to anything.

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4 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    I watched maybe the first ten minutes of the first episode of this show and that was as long as it took me to shut it off. It’s just not for me. Everybody says it’s great and I’m sure it is, I just hated the main character immediately and had no interest in watching any stories revolved around him.

    That’s all I have to say.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      I didn’t love it immediately. Actually, I’ve never loved it, but the pace did pick up toward the end of the first season. I wasn’t sold on it at all after one episode. Or two. Or three. It’s not a show I’d say must be watched.

      Honestly, I’ve never felt that Kevin Spacey is too good of an actor. Maybe with a different lead I’d feel more compelled to go back.

      Though it still wouldn’t exonerate the series from a stupid first episode in the second season.

  • fuwalda says:

    I think I watched Mad Men for 30 minutes before I turned it off.

  • fuwalda says:

    I’ve seen every episode of Family Matters, however, if that accounts for anything.

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The One Where Frank Underwood Throws [spoiler] in Front of the [spoiler]

Frank UnderwoodIf you read beyond this point without having watched House of Cards season one, or the first couple of episodes of season two, then you accept the consequences of your actions–because I’m going to spoil the hell out of them.

It has been a couple of weeks since I watched the episode referenced in the article title, and I am still attempting to decide whether or not this is House of Cards’s moment of shark-jumping. It wasn’t the reason that I took a break from the series, but it may be the reason that I haven’t felt strongly drawn back to it yet, despite the fact that I had found the building tension at the end of the first season to be fairly riveting. (more…)

2 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    Is this the kind of thing I can watch even though it was cancelled? I don’t want to watch some story that goes unresolved.

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    No, it wasn’t cancelled on FOX, so it was actually allowed to resolve the major storyline. To be sure, some of the best stories in the season are in the winding down. The writers had found a pretty good formula in the end, though it’s also the point where things come completely off the hinges for Isaacs’s character, and improbabilities mount to the point that it does sort of leave you with a lot of questions. But intentionally, and in a good way (mostly).

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Awake (2012)

awake_nbc1[1]

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Awake is the sort of series about which I could probably spend way more time talking than I really want to, so I will endeavor to confine this to essentials. Ultimately, my recommendation is going to be as follows: watch the pilot (currently available on Netflix’s streaming service) and decide for yourself. For my part, I won’t mince words here: Awake was a brilliant, I think.

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Tron: Uprising – Season One (2012)

tron-and-beck

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

I’m erring on the side of a higher rating for Tron: Uprising based upon style and likability, more so than, necessarily, the quality of the series narrative. I don’t know that I would consider Tron: Uprising a great television series, but it is consistently entertaining, and I found myself more or less marathoning through the season whenever I could find a block of time to watch the episodes.

To be certain, I’m not specifically using the word “entertaining” in the way that, say, a bunch of stuff blowing up in a summer blockbuster is entertaining. Though Tron: Uprising is, to be sure, never short on kung fu, chases, and stuff blowing up, I think there is real substance to this series based upon character, themes, and lore. It does have trouble, however, rising above its episodic constraints.

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  • tara says:

    This is probably close to 30xs I’ve listened to this song. I’m not sure what u meant that he was too technical. Istopped watching on a consistent basis after devin got eliminated. His voice was and is the best on the show candace is perhaps the top girl. Those 2 would should have been in the final. I hope devin keeps singingand someone signs him 2 a contract. When a singer sings a song and it moves u or goes thru ur soul. That was devin. Nice to hear ur comments as I say goodbye and play somos novious for the 31st time

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American Idol Season 12, Devin Velez, Somos Novios, Elimination

Every once in a while I like to post something on this dead blog just to mess with people.

Anyway, here’s the parting song (“Somos Novios”/”It’s Impossible”) for American Idol Season 12 contestant Devin Velez. I’ve always liked Devin, though I do appreciate why he was eliminated. He is an amazing technical singer, and he has a lot of confidence on stage, but he does have a tendency to get so caught up in technique that it disconnects him from the song–as if maybe he’s inside his head a bit too much. As a result, I suppose he wasn’t the most exciting performer, and after a few weeks of being at the bottom of the pack, it wasn’t surprising that he was eliminated.

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11 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    It’s been years since I’ve watched anything on any of these channels. Can you elaborate on how far they’ve fallen?

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    Ironically, I wound up actually watching something on National Geographic last night about how humans would respond to an alien invasion.

    History Channel is probably the worst. I’ve heard people call it “redneck tv”. Here’s the schedule for the next few hours:

    Ax Men x 3 (about lumberjacks)
    Hillbilly: The Real Story
    Modern Marvels x 3 (holy shit–I didn’t even realize they even showed this anymore–it’s not really history, but it’s not about hillbillies)
    American Pickers x 2 (I think this is something about memorabilia collectors)
    Top Gear x 3 (I think this is some sort of reality show about car racing)
    American Pickers
    Top Gear x 3
    Paid Programming

    I don’t know…it’s just all reality television. It’s just not interesting to me at all. I used to watch this channel for this historical programming.

  • fuwalda says:

    So I’m looking at the History Channel’s TV schedule for today. Here are some highlights:

    “2:00 PM: Hillbilly: The Real Story

    The two-hour special, hosted by celebrity Billy Ray Cyrus, brings these mythic people to life through stories that span 300 years. Outcast immigrants, war heroes, isolated backwoodsmen, hard working miners, fast moving moon shiners, religious warriors, musicians and statesmen make up the rugged cast of characters.”

    “9:00 PM: Top Gear: Limos

    Limousines have become more about bachelorette parties than star-studded premieres, so Adam, Rutledge and Tanner decide it’s time to get some of the glamour back by building their own. To find out which is best, each of them has to transport a celebrity to the Primetime Emmy Awards.”

    “3:00 AM: Modern Marvels: Ropes & Chains

    From hauling our heaviest gear to mastering the tallest mountains, they have been around for centuries, but we constantly improve upon them. Get an inside look at factories where every kind and style of Ropes & Chains are made.”

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    Yeah, they suck. I was reading some comment on another blog about how for 4th of July last year, instead of showing anything about the American Revolution, they showed a Pawn Stars marathon.

  • fuwalda says:

    That’s hilarious.

    What channel is Pun’kin chunkin on? You ever seen that?

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    What a bizarre idea upon which to base a series…

  • fuwalda says:

    This is probably the most important program the History Channel has ever aired:

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    Jeff Foxworthy is adding this to his shtick: “If you’re watching the History Channel and you think, ‘This is a pretty good channel!'”…you just might be a redneck!”

  • BlackBear says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m having my cable service turned off Monday morning.

    The “nail in the coffin” was the most ridiculous program I’ve ever run across. It was called, “Mermaids: A Body Found”, and was on Discovery (although I’ve heard it has also been on History Channel, and it WAS produced by HC). Talk about dreck… Who are these effing morons that run these networks? Seriously – they’re all run by IDIOTS.

    Add to this the fact that about 70% of the time I turn on the TV, what’s on? COMMERCIALS. The sheer volume of them is an insult. Never mind that Madison Ave. is obviously now populated by the dregs of society. Such imagination. Not.

    And the news networks? LOL. They are all now nothing but State propaganda outlets. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

    I AM DONE WITH TV.
    IT IS DEAD.
    R.I.P.

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cable television = worthless

Can we all just admit that channels like The History Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet, and other themed channels in this vain have completely jumped the shark? You know, they’re so terrible that they actually made me use the expression “jumped the shark”, which is an expression I sort of hate. But really, all of these channels that used to be my go-tos when I just wanted to kill some time watching something interesting on television are now almost completely piled up with reality show dreck.

I realize I’m not saying anything new or remotely original here, but I just wanted my small voice to be yet one more in the chorus of people around the country who absolutely hate the direction in which these channels have gone. So just to be clear here:

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  • fuwalda says:

    I think this was the first time I’ve ever actually seen Patrick Warburton emote. In fact, I think this was the first time I’ve seen him act. Why isn’t he allowed to do that more? Why does he always have to play Puddy in every movie and TV series?

    Don’t get me wrong… that’s a funny character and he’s good at it, but come on. Let the man show his range. Same with John O’Hurley. Does he have to play every character as J Peterman? Is it just that Seinfeld was so popular that every minor character actor who appeared is now completely stereotyped forever?

    Oh, and “this has something to do with building schools in Pakistan or some shit” should be a blurb on the cover of that book.

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    You know how every terrible movie that comes out always has some blurb on the commercial like, “The most fun you’ll have at the movies this year!” or “Carrot Top is a national treasure”? And you know that nobody actually said that. Anyway, they should have guys like us write those blurbs.

    “This wasn’t as big of a piece of shit as people said it was.”

    “It was worth a dollar from the Red Box.”

    Stuff like that. I’d be more willing to see a movie like that.

  • fuwalda says:

    “This movie wasn’t all that good, but it’s got Robert Wuhl and he’s always good. Actually wait… I was thinking of Robert Loggia. Go rent Big instead.”

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Product Placement

On YouTube today, there’s a big-ass advertisement for some newish Honda ad campaign starring Patrick Warburton. Most of the world will probably remember Warburton as David Puddy–Elaine’s on again/off again boyfriend–on Seinfeld. He also does a shitload of voice acting work, where he doesn’t have a tremendous range, really, but he’s usually pretty great. I particularly loved him as Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove and as Brock Samson in The Venture Brothers.

I like the guy–what can I say? So I clicked to watch the video.

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6 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    I don’t have cable, just an antenna on my TV that picks up a lot of weird stuff. I watched this one children’s show the other day featuring a host named Retro Bob who taught really odd life lessons and gave children advice that seemed hopelessly nihilistic. For example, he spent an inordinate amount of time telling kids what they should do if somebody tries to molest them, be it in the park by a stranger or at home from a relative. He went on and on about why this is bad, how to react, and who to tell if it happens. It was just… weird and depressing.

  • fuwalda says:

    Also, I’ve never seen Blue’s Clues, but I have heard many girls say that the host is sexy. He looks like Paul Simon in that picture.

  • Anna says:

    NIce! Have you ever read any of the Berenstein Bears books yet? They are almost intolerable. Somehow we ended up with every blasted one of those things in existence and I’ve just finally gotten rid of the last one. Papa Bear is a huge, crabby almost discriminating bear (hating on the panda bear neighbors immediately as they move in next door) and just generally not tolerant of anything. and the language they use slays me it’s so bad.

    I do find Steve from Blue’s Clues attractive, but he seems a little short.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      Well, in fairness, who wants Chinese people living next door to them?

      Kidding. I read them when I was a kid, but not lately.

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Random Thoughts on Children’s Television

SteveBlue’s Clues. I don’t know why I looked this up on the IMDb the other day, but the profile photo for the guy who plays Steve made me laugh. That’s it at the left. Admittedly, it seemed funnier at first glance when I thought he was smoking a cigarette, but even still, that’s a picture of a guy who doesn’t want to be thought of as “Steve from Blue’s Clues”.

While I was there, I checked out some of the user comments for the show, and half of them are about how much worse the new guy, “Joe”, is compared with Steve. Which is funny because they’re exactly the same person. I mean, they look different, but they’re the same. Maybe Steve was a little weirder or something, whereas Joe is a little more chipper. But it makes me laugh that there are Blue’s Clues purists out there who are saying, “The show is ruined!”

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Pia, Outfit, Etc.

Quick follow-up post just to say that I’ve been Tweeted, and even though I sort of hate Twitter, that’s still kind of cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been Tweeted before. So thanks, Jill Morton, whoever you are.

jillmorton Jill Morton
Getting a pop color fix from American Idol. Image trumps hot vocals. Did the horrible matronly outfit push Pia out? http://ow.ly/4vPkk

 

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6 Comments

  • Andrea Blum says:

    I completely agree with everything you said. Gwen Stefani and Randy were the main contributors to Pia’s losing. In Randy’s case, perhaps he shouldn’t have suggested that she deviate from the ballads. I liked her ballads, but really did not enjoy this week’s performance. When the judges said they were angry I guess they were making the assumption that Pia’s supporters just didn’t bother to vote. Is it really so impossible to believe she just didn’t connect with her audience as well as the others? Who did they think should go? They raved about all of them the night before. I think the judges insulted the remaining contestants and the viewing audience. They were mad?? I was mad!! Sorry Pia, but I’m glad you’re gone.

  • Justin Garrett Blum says:

    There’s more to singing than having an impeccable voice. Didn’t Jennifer Lopez even kind of subtly criticize her performance, saying that she should study other performers? Maybe she said that to somebody else–I don’t remember.

    Anyway, the American Idol judges are big babies. They’re as bad as the obnoxious fans who can’t believe that everybody else doesn’t agree with them. They should be above that sort of favoritism.

  • Lily says:

    I agree, as well. I’ve been saying the same thing: at this point, somebody talented will leave the show every week. I actually liked Pia this last time (not the outfit, however), but it was no surprise to me that she left. I always thought she did not connect well with the audience, even though she was very talented. I felt bad especially for Stefano last night, because the judges’ reaction was so strong when it was announced that he would stay and Pia would leave.

  • Andrea Blum says:

    One of the moments I really enjoyed in Wednesday night’s show occurred right at the end when the contestants were jumping around the stage dancing and acting silly. It was a real “feel good” moment and kept me laughing. I made a comment at the time that Pia, and to a smaller extent Haley, seemed like they were pretending to be having fun while the others were into it. That’s just one more reason I enjoy everyone else more than Pia and Haley. They’re fun to watch. If I want sheer vocal talent, I’ll listen to opera.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      Believe me–I sympathize. I’m a pretty boring and restrained person. If I were up on that stage, you wouldn’t be interested in me either. But them’s the breaks.

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Gwen Stefani Is To Blame, Johnny Cash Is NOT Rolling Over in His Grave

Okay, my obligatory American Idol post for the week.

The media are going to make a lot of fuss about Pia Toscano being eliminated from the show tonight. She was an early favorite and, I’ll confess, in terms of raw vocal ability and control, Pia is probably (though not handily) the most impressive of all of the contestants.

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