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UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #720 on: 06-09-2015 05:55 »

Full disclosure: I don't know shit about American politics so it was unlikely that I'd ever find HoC enjoyable. I wouldn't say it's a terrible show though; the acting and dialogue is quite solid.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #721 on: 06-09-2015 06:37 »

Honestly, I don't think you need to know that much about American politics to enjoy the show. As long as you have a very rudimentary understanding of how United States congress and The White House work (as in, maybe read a single paragraph on each summarising the roles they play), you should be fine. It's adapted from a fictional book (and subsequent miniseries) about British politics anyway - obviously they reworked some of the finer details, but with a few minor cosmetic changes, you could set it in pretty much any democratic country and it'd work.

Though, admittedly, I probably have a better understanding of U.S. politics than Australian politics at this point. hmpf

Pulpy, sure. Dumb? No. I honestly think it's a very intelligent, well-researched, cleverly plotted show, despite having some narrative flaws. But we've already had this discussion on Facebook.

Yeah, there's a lot I could say in response to this, but I'd pretty much just be echoing my words from our previous discussion on the show. Thing is, House of Cards does have moments that are well-researched and cleverly plotted (the latter especially, since, despite a few gaping plot holes, it's genuinely thrilling to see Frank's elaborate plans come together). But the writers are also completely willing to throw that out the window for narrative convenience, or to make a scene more entertaining (I mean, seriously, just how many times people are able to have clandestine one-on-one meetings out in public with THE FUCKING PRESIDENT?!!).

As for season 3...


Also (and this is about to go into pure speculation here), I dare say Veep has the most realistic depiction of politics on television right now. If we're comparing shows that deal with similar subject matter, you've got things like Parks and Recreation and The West Wing whose central politicians are idealistic optimists trying to work around a flawed system to enact positive change, whereas House of Cards is at the opposite end of the spectrum, depicting politicians as evil sociopaths willing to blackmail, extort and even murder their way to the top in a quest for power. Veep, on the other hand, takes a much more understated route - more often than not, the characters on Veep are running around (with varying degrees of competency) trying to put out fires that most likely stemmed from a media-related faux pas. Granted, Veep's take on the U.S. political system most certainly does not paint politicians in a positive light, but I like the fact that the characters aren't evil. They're just self-centred assholes who care more about P.R. than policy, and that seems about right to me.

Now, obviously, I don't have anything to go on here other than my own assumptions, but still, if I had to bet on it, my money's on Veep. tongue

But it did introduce me to Corey Stoll who made a really reprehensible character somehow likeable.

Oh god, that guy is the spitting image of my boss at work. I enjoyed the actor's work on the show, but holy shit, the resemblance is uncanny to the point where his scenes were actually a little unnerving to watch. eek
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #722 on: 06-09-2015 21:14 »
« Last Edit on: 06-09-2015 21:16 »

I think having at least some knowledge of U.S. politics probably makes watching House Of Cards slightly more engaging and relatable, but your point about it being applicable to numerous democratic countries is probably true.

Also, I actually mostly share your opinions on season 3. It was a bit deeper and more character-focused, but not quite as fun as the first two seasons and didn't deliver quite as much story in a short span. To be fair though, both the first two seasons feel pretty slowly paced for most of their run (not that I'm personally bothered by that), until the last episode or two of each where things suddenly seem to go into hyperdrive.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #723 on: 06-10-2015 06:32 »

House of Cards never once felt slow-paced to me, though I also watch shows like Mad Men and Rectify, which will make just about any other series seem like its plot is progressing at lightning speed in comparison*. I mean, most seasons of House of Cards cover about 6 to 9 months each (although the writers' grasp on their own timeline is quite iffy), and while the pacing is definitely inconsistent, it's never been one of the show's flaws.

* The slow pacing of Mad Men and Rectify is definitely intentional though, as the shows like to really get into the psychology of their characters and cultivate an immersive atmosphere in the process. Just wanted to clarify that my comment wasn't a sleight on either series, as I feel they're both infinitely superior to House of Cards overall.
Scrappylive

Professor
*
« Reply #724 on: 06-10-2015 08:07 »

I tend to really like political shows.

Veep
I haven't had a chance to see this show yet, though I've always wanted to. From what I've read, it seems really engaging.

House of Cards
This is the first time I've seen people talking about House of Cards without blowing horns to celebrate its obvious superiority. I think I only made it about half way through the first season. I thought it was good, but not great. I think it's a bit too heavy for me to invest myself in. I watched probably one episode a week and found myself having a hard time following the plot.

The West Wing
Witty, sharp, and intelligent. Pretty much everything about this show was great: The plot, the storytelling, the atmosphere, the character development, et cetera. This was a show that never talked down to its viewers. It was also pretty faithful to the way American politics actually work, although some exceptions were made in order to make it work as a serialized TV show. I took a political science course a couple years ago and the professor referenced this show quite a lot. We even had assigned viewing as homework. big grin When I got to the last season of this show, I actually felt a little sad since I would soon be losing something important to me. That's the mark of a great show.

Boss
Boss is a political drama starring Kelsey Grammer in the role of Tom Kane, a fictional Chicago mayor in the mold of Richard J. Daley. Kane is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder but decides to hide this from everyone so he can stay in charge. The show aired on Starz for two years. However, it was unable to find an audience and was subsequently cancelled.

1600 Penn
Ughh...
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
****
« Reply #725 on: 06-10-2015 09:11 »

Jon Bernthal (aka Shane from The Walking Dead) cast as the Punisher for season 2 of Daredevil!

I personally couldn't think of a more perfect choice for the role. big grin
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #726 on: 06-10-2015 10:34 »

Veep
I haven't had a chance to see this show yet, though I've always wanted to. From what I've read, it seems really engaging.

Veep's biggest strength, by far, is the incredibly witty (and highly explicit) dialogue, which flies out from its characters mouths as breakneck speed. The show really does manage to turn insults into poetry.

House of Cards
This is the first time I've seen people talking about House of Cards without blowing horns to celebrate its obvious superiority.

Hmm, you and I must run in different online circles, because, aside from one die-hard fan I know in real life, most of the reception I've seen for House of Cards has been lukewarm at best. Even the members at The A.V. Club who genuinely liked House of Cards still treat the show as more of a guilty pleasure than anything else when discussing it.

For context, the original conversation Josh and I had on the matter stemmed from whether or not we'd classify the show as a "prestige" drama, a label I generally use sparsely (in my opinion, there are very few shows fully deserving of this category would be "the big four" - The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad and Mad Men). I'd classify House of Cards in the same category I classify The Walking Dead - it shares a lot of the aesthetic elements of these shows, but it lacks any of their substance. Except The Walking Dead is a far more frustrating viewing experience, and a much worse show overall. tongue

Boss
Boss is a political drama starring Kelsey Grammer in the role of Tom Kane, a fictional Chicago mayor in the mold of Richard J. Daley. Kane is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder but decides to hide this from everyone so he can stay in charge. The show aired on Starz for two years. However, it was unable to find an audience and was subsequently cancelled.

Haha, I almost brought this show up earlier but didn't bother because I doubted that anyone here had even so much as heard of it. This is probably the closest thing ever made to the U.S. version of House of Cards, in my opinion (and predates it by a few years, too) - in that it walked the same shaky line, forever unsure if it wanted to be a gritty political thriller or an over-the-top Shakespearean melodrama about a machiavellian villain repeatedly crushing his foes. Only Boss was a little more ridiculous, and far less enjoyable to watch.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #727 on: 06-10-2015 16:13 »

Ya, in case I haven't made it clear, I adore House of Cards to the extent that I'd easily consider it one if my three favorite dramas currently in production. I'm in an apparent minority here, but I know quite a few people in real life who are as into it as I am, including friends as well as both my parents.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #728 on: 06-10-2015 19:45 »
« Last Edit on: 06-10-2015 19:46 »

Oh, had it been made at another time, I'm sure I'd hold it in much higher regard. But the golden age of television has set the bar ridiculously high for serialised drama. Breaking Bad is the benchmark now, and I can't see any show surpassing its level of quality anytime soon.

I also think the high-profile names involved may have created a level of anticipation for House of Cards that it could never fully live up to (much like the similarly "good but not great" Boardwalk Empire).
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #729 on: 06-10-2015 20:25 »

Breaking Bad is the benchmark now...

Perhaps in terms of storytelling, and the ability to slowly draw an audience in whilst they turn a character from sympathetic to truly reviled. But in terms of visual spectacle, Game of Thrones is the benchmark against which to measure all others. Not just for serialised drama, either. There's a lot of different metrics that apply across the board, from one genre to the next.*

There are also plenty of other TV shows that are the best at one particular thing which forms part of their schtick. For example, Archer is the benchmark in terms of an ambiguous era. The Big Bang Theory is the benchmark in terms of something that's shitty on an epic scale yet has an enormous fanbase for no particular reason. Rick and Morty is the benchmark in terms of absolute, pure, addictive, insanity. Futurama is the benchmark in terms of having been cancelled, revived, cancelled, revived, cancelled, revived, and finally put out to pasture in the realm of endless re-runs.

I'm sure that the next big thing will be coming along in the next couple of years, and I certainly wouldn't bet on Breaking Bad's overall quality not being surpassed. TV production values are going up at the moment in general as people seek to invest in the right franchise and give it the money that it needs in order to become a flourishing and popular cash cow.

We could be in for some real treats coming up.

*Not that I don't agree with you in general - Breaking Bad was ridiculously fucking good. I just don't think it's close to being the ultimate benchmark for modern television, since there's so much else out there that's also great.
Quantum Neutrino Field

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #730 on: 06-10-2015 21:04 »

Speaking of Game of Thrones, is it as good as it's popular? Are the boobs worth it? I mean, everyone seems to like it, but is it so good that I should definitely watch it?
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #731 on: 06-10-2015 22:36 »
« Last Edit on: 06-10-2015 22:45 »

I'd probably agree with Beamer about Breaking Bad being the benchmark for modern television, at least in terms of serialized dramas. It was more exciting, suspenseful, clever, and thoughtful than any other show I can think of, as well as being phenomenally acted and directed. Game of Thrones is truly fantastic, but it's not without some flaws, and at times it can rely on spectacle over intelligence. That's not necessarily a bad thing in the context of the whole show, but Breaking Bad managed to consistently reach those heights of intensity (though perhaps not quite visually, as you pointed out, but that's a matter of budget and scale of the story) without ever losing any subtextual potency.

I'm just pointing out why I wouldn't take Game of Thrones over Breaking Bad though. Game of Thrones is still a wonderfully acted, shot, and written series that lies in that top 3 current dramas grouping I mentioned earlier and is definitely worth watching. I almost don't know how to answer your question about the boobs, Quantum...it is true that the show's semi-frequent use of nudity sometimes comes off as unnecessary or even silly, but I wouldn't say it's ever hindered the brilliance of the show's narrative. I personally wouldn't ever complain about it. wink

I will say that it starts off a bit slowly. I recommend giving it a few episodes to grow on you, from my experience most people are hooked by at least the halfway point of the first season, and if not then completely hooked by the end of that season, and the show only continues to get monumentally more interesting and intense as it goes on. I especially recommend watching if you've somehow managed to miraculously avoid big spoilers up until this point, as they've become increasingly more pervasive pretty much everywhere.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #732 on: 06-11-2015 05:29 »

Breaking Bad is the benchmark now...

Perhaps in terms of storytelling, and the ability to slowly draw an audience in whilst they turn a character from sympathetic to truly reviled.

That's the thing though, I really did mean that in regards to pretty much all aspects imaginable - firstly, the overall quality of the writing. For the reasons you mentioned, but also, in retrospect, it's kind of amazing how laser-focused the show remained on its overall story, and even the various tangents the narrative took along the way turned out to be relevant, either on a plot level or a character level. The show definitely borrows a lot of elements from The Sopranos (in terms of the subject matter, likability of its main character, and the way it structured seasons), and while the latter remains immeasurably important in the evolution of television, it was far from perfect, and Breaking Bad avoided making the same mistakes along the way. And the show manages to incorporate enough subtext and create a universe intricate enough that it can be watched on multiple levels - something I, personally, always appreciate. The writers also structured their story arcs masterfully, allowing the perfect amount of time between every big/intense turn the story took, and as far as those intense moments go - no other show has gripped me like Breaking Bad did. Breaking Bad literally had me on the edge of my seat at times, often forgetting that humans need to exhale, and overcome with anxiety for the characters. The show had atmosphere - it really did suck you into its world in a way even good television rarely ever manages to do.

You may be right about Game of Thrones being the more visually spectacular show, though - admittedly, I've barely watched any of it, due to my general disdain for the fantasy genre - though I've seen enough to know that the cinematography is utterly gorgeous (I've also seen nothing but praise for the performances in GoT, though I've read some mixed things in regards to the show's writing - but fuck, I can't imagine it's easy adapting a long-running book series that doesn't yet have an ending). However, I'd argue that it's not how great a show looks, so much as how unique its visual style is. In terms of shot composition, camera angles, and the way the geographical setting of the show as utilised in certain shots/scenes to become almost its own character, Breaking Bad created a truly distinctive visual style for itself. You could catch just a few seconds of the show playing from afar, on mute, and would still know, unequivocally, that you're looking at an episode of Breaking Bad. The show's visuals may not boast the grandoise resplendence of that of Game of Thrones, but Breaking Bad shouldn't be written off on account of that, because the crew still managed some major achievements in that field.

You're right about being able to refer to different shows as the "benchmark" for various specific things, but if we had to define an overall benchmark for serialised drama in general, I honestly can't think of a better candidate than Breaking Bad. smile

In terms of the "next big thing," I dare say Orange is the New Black deserves a mention. It's certainly not up to the same level of Breaking Bad, of course (or any of the "prestige" dramas I mentioned earlier), but it's still a very high quality show. More importantly, however, I feel Orange is the New Black is probably the most culturally significant series to come out in a very long time.
Scrappylive

Professor
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« Reply #733 on: 06-11-2015 05:52 »

Game of Thrones... Whenever somebody raves about it, they always just say one should watch it because it has a lot of sex and violence. Nobody (in my experience, except Josh) ever praises any elements that would make it a worthy TV show. Does it build up an interesting lore? Is the character development noteworthy? Is the storytelling thought-provoking and engaging? Who cares! It has a lot of sex and violence!

(I've never watched the show and its reputation doesn't compel me one iota.)



I have a couple questions regarding House of Cards. Answer these according to your own opinion or popular opinion.

1. What is it that makes House of Cards trashy, non-prestigious, or a guilty pleasure? Is it the presence or the lack of something? The content or the aforementioned lack of substance?

2. I mentioned that I had some trouble following House of Cards' plot. (It's been long enough that I can't recall an example, but) I remember being somewhat consistently confused as to who some characters were and what they were supposed to be doing. (Why is so-and-so mad at whatshisface? Was I informed that Person A is aware of Person B's actions? I don't know!) Was my inability to follow the plot more my fault or the show's?
Spacedal11

Space Pope
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« Reply #734 on: 06-11-2015 07:18 »
« Last Edit on: 06-11-2015 07:21 »

The main problem I have with House of Cards is that I found it rather taxing and frankly, boring, to watch Frank Underwood undermine every single obstacle that's thrown at him. Since I'm only going off the first season I'll say the breaking point was when his character went on some CNN kind of show and made a dumbass of himself, probably the most humanizing moment he had had. And then by the end of the episode you realize it's all been a long ploy that he and Claire cooked up because somehow he was able to orchestrate and predict everything that happened. Like the difference between that and Veep is that for every victory the characters on Veep have, they are immediately thrown another hardball that knocks them back down a peg. On House of Cards it never felt like that, it's all so easy for Frank to manipulate and get his way because he literally has no competition or situation that he hasn't already defeated. At a certain point, you have to question the integrity of the show. What's the point of me watching this if he constantly wins? If there is no true antagonist on that kind of show for him, than it's not really interesting to watch. As I understand that same kind of thing happened on Dexter after a few seasons.

In answer to that second question Scrappy, I couldn't tell you at all the accuracy or factual interpretation of these kind of shows but basically both Veep and House of Cards rely on the system of errands, where someone has to do a thing for Politician A so they can Win Over/Screw Over Politician B. In all honesty I only got the core concept of House of Cards, I didn't understand the details very well myself. But it didn't really seem to matter. There was an episode where Claire went to a fertility clinic, she admitted to having three abortions but wanted to have a baby, and then she didn't. Why? Because who gives a crap that's her plot for the episode.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #735 on: 06-11-2015 07:22 »

1. What is it that makes House of Cards trashy, non-prestigious, or a guilty pleasure? Is it the presence or the lack of something? The content or the aforementioned lack of substance?

2. I mentioned that I had some trouble following House of Cards' plot. (It's been long enough that I can't recall an example, but) I remember being somewhat consistently confused as to who some characters were and what they were supposed to be doing. (Why is so-and-so mad at whatshisface? Was I informed that Person A is aware of Person B's actions? I don't know!) Was my inability to follow the plot more my fault or the show's?

1. As Spacedal said, the show (at least for its first two seasons) largely consists of one tyrannical character conspiring against people, and mercilessly crushing them with minimal narrative repercussions. It's also very over-the-top at times (Kevin Spacey's character actually MURDERS PEOPLE) and seems to revel in that very fact - which is actually one of the reasons I like the show, but also one of the reasons I can't take it particularly seriously. And it's not so much a lack of substance as a lack of subtext - it develops more substance as it progresses, but every time the show comes up with some kind of clever metaphor, or inserts any form of symbolism for that matter, the characters will always outright say what that thing represents, destroying any attempt at creating subtext and turning it into plain ol' text - usually in the form of the main character LITERALLY looking at the camera and explaining it. It's done in a very tongue-in-cheek manner so it's not as insulting to one's intelligence as it sounds, but I'd definitely prefer it if they just leave it there in the background and let the audience figure things like that out for themselves. But I've watched enough of the show at this point to know that House of Cards just doesn't do subtlety.

2. It depends how far in you got. It definitely took me a few episodes to get my bearings - figure out who's who, what their role is, etc. But that's a problem I have with most tv shows, particularly one with a cast this size. After about 3 or 4 episodes, I found the show very easy to follow for the most part (again, that total lack of subtlety helps there - along with the fact that, in the early seasons especially, pretty much every ancillary character is defined solely by their relationship to the main character). Maybe you just weren't in the right state of mind when you first watched it?
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #736 on: 06-11-2015 10:24 »

Speaking of Game of Thrones, is it as good as it's popular?

Game of Thrones... Whenever somebody raves about it, they always just say one should watch it because it has a lot of sex and violence.

How about for the strong, compelling, characters making their way through a vast, richly-detailed world, in which you can trust almost nobody, you could be killed by almost anything at any time, there are epic battles (using epic in the true sense of the word), and the great struggle between good and evil is slowly coming to a head that will culminate with the changing of the landscape that these characters inhabit forever?

I mean, sure, there's the occasional nipple and there are frequent maimings, beheadings, murders, maimings, rape, torture, maimings, and sometimes people get burned alive for a little variety, but those aren't really the reasons you should be watching. You should be watching to see if Jamie Lannister ever redeems himself, you should be watching to see if Ned Stark is ever avenged, you should be watching to see if Danaerys Targeryan ever reclaims her throne, you should be watching to see if Cersei Lannister ever gets her comeuppance.

You should be watching to see the fate of the characters, which forms a far richer tapestry against the backdrop of sex and violence than it would against a bland and pious void. You should be watching to see the dragons. To see Kings Landing and Old Valyria brought to life on screen. To see giants. To see mammoths. To see the wall - seven hundred feet tall and made of ice.

The brutality, the harsh realities, and the general struggle that the characters have been facing over the last season/book, and the richness with which they are brought to life will compel you.

I've barely watched any of it, due to my general disdain for the fantasy genre...

It's fantasy with plots, intrigue, subtext, and wheels within wheels. Is Cersei in control of things? Is Littlefinger? Does Varys have a guiding hand on the realm, or is he as adrift in petty intrigue as anybody else? Could Olenna Tyrell be the mastermind behind events? Perhaps it's nobody. Maybe it's the sorcerors in the House of the Undying. It could even be R'hllor.

All we know is that it's not one of the characters who have died, and there are plenty of those. Get to know and like a character, and they're going to meet a grisly end (or possibly worse). Start hating a character, and they'll go from strength to strength (before they meet their own grisly end). You can't stay neutral though.

Will you despise Robert Baratheon for a drunken sot of a usurper, will you pity him for the loss of his glory days as a young man astride the battlefield, or will you look to him as a success - his youth spent fighting, his middle years being spent carousing, hunting, and whoring, all whilst amply supplied with wine?

Will you respect Eddard Stark as a man of honour, despise him as a hypocrite, despair of him for being so politically unastute as to be unable to navigate the treacherous currents of King's Landing, where every hand in the dark holds a dagger, or simply hope that he gets home to Winterfell where his ancestors await him?

It's very much a show that brings new surprises, subverts a lot of expectations, and grips the viewer. There's a lot beneath the surface, there's a lot of questions that are left unanswered, and there's a high mortality rate for the main cast. All in all, it's an unrelenting ride that should leave you wanting more after each episode.

Don't watch it for the tits. Don't think of it as more of a fantasy than any other TV show. It's set in a world that differs from our own in as many ways as it is similar, relevant, and connected to ours. But it's so much more than mere "fantasy", and deserves to be acknowledged as a show with as much substance as style - the style by the way, is absolutely breathtaking. It's visually stunning and does the best job I've seen of bringing to life a whole other world on screen. Westeros and Essos do a fantastic job of not seeming like locations, but like their own distinct places in a real world.

Plus (and this is a big plus), there are the moments when somebody gets their long-awaited just desserts to look forward to. Those are the big moments that the show turns on. Have you ever watched a show and thought that a particular character really deserved to just die horribly? Well, Game of Thrones won't disappoint you on that score.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #737 on: 06-11-2015 15:16 »
« Last Edit on: 06-11-2015 16:54 »

Ya. I can get behind all of that. Very well stated, tnuk. I never quite understood the "I don't like fantasy" reasoning for people who don't watch it either, considering that there are so incredibly few actual examples of the genre in television or film currently, to the point that developing some kind of comparative outline for it seems impossible. I mean, most people wouldn't dare to lump Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings into the same pot, and yet I'd say those two properties still have infinitely more in common with each other (in terms of story and character development) than Game of Thrones has with either. So "not liking fantasy" seems like an entirely moot qualification.

As for House of Cards, I never personally had any trouble following the show's narrative or large cast. That said, I watch shows very attentively...not as background noise or while attempting to do other work. I will pause if I need to step away for even a second, and if I miss something I will rewind. I definitely would say it's not a show you can watch passively. You have to want to immerse yourself in the details, which I can absolutely understand might not be as enjoyable for some people as it is for me.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #738 on: 06-11-2015 16:05 »

I never quite understood the "I don't like fantasy" reasoning for people who don't watch it either, considering that there are so incredibly few actual examples of the genre in television or film currently, to the point that developing some kind of comparative outline for it seems impossible.

Personally, I never understood it as an argument applied to entertainment, since all entertainment is fantasy of one type or another. I suspect that what people mean is that they don't like swords and sorcery or dungeons and dragons, in which case they're obviously barking mad.

I mean, the stories falling into this genre are usually the ur-examples of any trope you care to name that's not native to the post-Victorian era. They're in many cases where our ideas about narrative, structure, style, and plotting come from.

With that said, I can understand people being wary of cliches and wanting to be able to suspend their disbelief. Which is probably another reason that Game of Thrones is a breath of fresh air - cliches are used well (where they're used), and if you can suspend your disbelief high enough to enjoy the Marvel franchise, then you can suspend it high enough to enjoy a world ruled by the descendants of the dragon-taming kings of a vast and ancient slave empire as it's riven from within by petty squabbles and blood feuds alike.
Scrappylive

Professor
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« Reply #739 on: 06-11-2015 18:38 »

If it takes a few episodes to get a good hold on the plot and characters of House of Cards, then perhaps I just watched it too sparsely and stopped too soon.

Tnuk, if the general populous were as intellectual as you (or most of the rest of PEEL), then maybe I would have drummed up interest for Game of Thrones long ago. At this point, I would like to check it out at some point, though there are various other shows higher on that list: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, The Sopranos, Veep, 30 Rock, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Although, if the general populous were on par with PEELlectualism, then I think my interest in a TV show would be the smallest measure of difference between that world and ours.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #740 on: 06-11-2015 18:44 »

I never quite understood the "I don't like fantasy" reasoning for people who don't watch it either, considering that there are so incredibly few actual examples of the genre in television or film currently, to the point that developing some kind of comparative outline for it seems impossible.

Personally, I never understood it as an argument applied to entertainment, since all entertainment is fantasy of one type or another. I suspect that what people mean is that they don't like swords and sorcery or dungeons and dragons, in which case they're obviously barking mad.

Well, when I said it, I was definitely referring specifically to the genre known as fantasy - categorised by many of the things mentioned in your second sentence - rather than the broader definition of the term, which applies to pretty much all fiction. Though I can't speak on behalf of others who've said that. I remember saying "I don't like fantasy" to someone who immediately agreed, and then subsequently defined "fantasy" as being "shows like True Blood" (which I also can't stand, but it sure as hell doesn't fall into the fantasy genre). hmpf

As for why I have such strong distaste for the genre, I can't really give a good reason. There's just nothing about it that sparks my interest. The same goes for pretty much all works of fiction set in the medieval era and similar time periods (or something strongly resembling it, as is the case with a lot of fantasy) - it just fails to capture my attention. I watched the pilot to Game of Thrones a few years ago, and despite my usual "give every show 6 episodes" rule, I just couldn't bring myself to continue beyond that point - it damn near put me to sleep. I also couldn't get through the first Lord of the Rings movie for that same reason. The fact that I can't stand fantasy yet generally enjoy science fiction just makes my reasoning even more nonsensical, given the numerous parallels the genres share (although I suppose one key difference is that the latter at least tries to root the fictitious rules of its universe in real-life science, or at least somewhat logical scientific theories, while the former can just chalk anything up to "it's magic"). It's a shitty personal bias, I know, and completely contradicts my belief that quality should prevail over all else, but everyone's got their preferences - and the opposite thereof - when it comes to consumable media, and I know mine well enough to be able to tell when something's just "not gonna be my thing."

For what it's worth, I feel the same way about the Marvel comic universe, so it looks like your last paragraph holds up. tongue
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #741 on: 06-11-2015 19:06 »
« Last Edit on: 06-11-2015 19:08 by totalnerduk »

I can't stand fantasy yet generally enjoy science fiction just makes my reasoning even more nonsensical, given the numerous parallels the genres share (although I suppose one key difference is that the latter at least tries to root the fictitious rules of its universe in real-life science, or at least somewhat logical scientific theories, while the former can just chalk anything up to "it's magic").

The vast, vast, majority of science fiction (and certainly the majority of enjoyable sci-fi is in general neither logical, nor scientific, nor reasonable in what it allows to exist within the confines of its defined universe. Almost any time you see "science" on TV or in a film, it's complete horseshit (and Breaking Bad is once again a good example of higher quality TV in that they only fudged the details slightly now and again, with most of the actual science, where it occurs, being solid).

The difference, essentially is that the word "science" is invoked, rather than the idea of magic. There are notable "hard sci-fi" exceptions, and most of these are either long, boring, artlessly-told stories with scripts full of stuff that doesn't sound like it means anything but is in fact as clever as it is boring. Contrast this with a well-told science fiction story, in which there will be lots of stuff that sounds like it means something really cool, but is in fact just random and meaningless jargon. Science is very much the slave of fiction in this sort of setting, and may as well be called "magic" for all the relation it bears to the real world.

I say this, by the way, as an enormous science-fiction fan, as well as a scientist.

I think that much of what you enjoy about well-told sci-fi will be there to interest you in well-told fantasy if you give it a shot.
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« Reply #742 on: 06-12-2015 07:47 »
« Last Edit on: 06-12-2015 07:50 »

I think in terms of the "Sorcery and Swords" fantasy genre, which I also am not a huge fan of, overall it just feels like homework. The same can be said of the sci-fi genre, in regards to shows like Dr. Who or Battlestar Galactica: there's so much backstory and information you need to know to understand the context that it buries the subtext and makes it harder for me to care. I like plenty of fantasy things, for example Lord of the Rings are movies I enjoy on an entertainment value. But if you start talking to me about the books or the deeper mythologies of the elves and dwarfs you will quickly see a glaze across my eyes. I'm not a scientist, I'm not smart enough or interested enough to understand science, and I think that applies to my aversion of those kind of genres on a more intimate level. (Though it should be said, unfortunately because I have had to clarify this with people: obviously there are sci-fi and fantasy films/books/movies that I do thoroughly enjoy).

Tl:dr; I honestly consider myself too stupid to appreciate the nuance of something like Game of Thrones and therefore have no interest in watching it.
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #743 on: 06-12-2015 10:44 »

I honestly consider myself too stupid to appreciate the nuance of something like Game of Thrones and therefore have no interest in watching it.

In that case, you're somebody who absolutely should watch it for the nudity and violence.
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« Reply #744 on: 06-12-2015 10:52 »

Woo-hoo I'm the lowest common denominator!

JoshTheater

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« Reply #745 on: 06-12-2015 10:56 »
« Last Edit on: 06-12-2015 11:11 »

Keep in mind that tnuk has also read the books. Despite how he may have made it seem, the Game of Thrones television series actually barely ever delves into obscure tangential trivia or tedious backstory, and doesn't really require any further exploration of extra resources to follow. That's not to say there aren't some sporadic mentions of past events that shaped the world we're thrown into at the start of the show, but I'd go as far as to say it probably has even less mention of extraneous lore than even the LotR movies managed to cram in, and there were only three of those compared to the five seasons of the show so far!

It's actually a relatively straightforward story told chronologically on a very human level. The only thing that makes it somewhat tough to penetrate is the large amount of characters and different situations going on at once, but really that just boils down to maybe not being able to remember everyone's names immediately. Almost everything you see in the show is relevant to the main story in its own way...I think the showrunners were deliberate about differentiating it from the books in that way. I've heard some complain that them doing so detracts from the worldbuilding, but I think for the film medium of storytelling it's a smart choice and has worked. To be fair, I have not read the books, so I'm wildly speculating on that front.

Just responding to some of your specific gripes. You could very well still hate the show.
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #746 on: 06-12-2015 11:03 »
« Last Edit on: 06-12-2015 11:05 by totalnerduk »

Keep in mind that tnuk has also read the books.

Whatever is under discussion, this statement will be generally true. tongue

I've heard some complain that them doing so detracts from the worldbuilding, but I think for the film medium of storytelling it's a smart choice and has worked. To be fair, I have not read the books, so I'm speculating.

You're right, of course. The fact that they've cut out a lot of details that wouldn't have translated well has upset some of the hardcore nerdrage spergers out there, but that's all to the good.

The show and the books are different animals. The basic story/characters are the same, and they are each telling their own version of the tale wonderfully, with rich attention to detail.

With all that said, I do think that if somebody genuinely can't be bothered to (or just can't) follow all the plotlines on screen and the nuances of character and intrigue, the sex and violence will at least keep them engaged and entertained. Like Robert Arryn watching people he dislikes going through the Moon Door. He doesn't know who they are or why they're "bad", but he does know that he likes to watch them "fly".

Woo-hoo I'm the lowest common denominator!

Yes, dear. Have a can of Steel Reserve and a Big Mac, then just try to sleep whilst the other children learn.

tongue
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« Reply #747 on: 06-12-2015 11:17 »

I honestly consider myself too stupid to appreciate the nuance of something like Game of Thrones and therefore have no interest in watching it.

In that case, you're somebody who absolutely should watch it for the nudity and violence.

Banshee's three seasons (so far) have already filled my nudity and violence quota for a liftetime. tongue

And yeah, from what little I've seen of Game of Thrones, the writers definitely love using sexposition. Though that's likely more HBO's doing - premium cable channels will often have an unspoken "nudity quota" in order to keep their more perverted subscribers happy. I remember reading an interview with a cast member from the excellent cult comedy series Party Down, who revealed the network kept sending notes that essentially equated to "MORE TITS," and some speculate that was one of the reasons the show was later cancelled (either way, the joke's on the network now, as most of the show's cast have since gone on to achieve mainstream success).

As for all the points you made in your original reply, TNUK, I have given the fantasy genre an honest chance. Many times, in fact. But I keep struggling to find anything that interests me about it. The majority of fantasy I've tried to watch and/or read has just bored me. I wish I could come up with a more sustainable explanation to convey my level of distaste, but again - it's just not my thing. hmpf

Back to general tv discussion, my girlfriend and I finished watching The Bridge last night. Definitely not in the same league as many of the other dramas mentioned on this page, but I found it thoroughly entertaining, and occasionally fascinating (particularly when the show focused on US/Mexico relations, corruption within the Mexican police force, and the main character's severe Asperger's). Definitely not the most coherent story ever told, but it's worth checking out, and they managed to tie up most of the loose story threads before the show was cancelled, which is always a bonus. Because too many shows I like get axed without a proper ending.

And, as I'm sure many are aware, Netflix released season 3 of Orange is the New Black 6 hours early, so hopefully I can catch a few episodes of that tonight! big grin
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #748 on: 06-16-2015 08:31 »

Just watched BoJack Horseman on Netflix. It has a few stupid Family Guy-ish moments but overall I thought it was a very hilarious show. I like how the fact that half the population being anthropomorphic animals is never really explained, and they just roll with it. tongue

Favourite line: "How was I supposed to know he was a Navy S.E.A.L? I thought he was just a regular seal!"

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« Reply #749 on: 06-16-2015 08:55 »

BoJack Horseman is fantastic. It took a little while to get going, but once it did, it was absolutely hilarious (I'd say around about the "Boreanaz House" storyline). Mr. Peanutbutter is definitely my favourite character - especially when paired up with Todd, though I like all the weird little idiosyncrasies packed into the background - ie. The D being stolen from the Hollywood sign and Hollywood officially being known as "Hollywoo" from that point onwards, Mr. Peanutbutter's house being filled with framed pictures of tennis balls, etc. And the fact that one of the recurring characters is three kids in a trenchcoat. laff

What really made it memorable, though, is just how poignant the show turned out to be. It creeps up on you, but there's a profound sadness behind all of the characters and the show is almost better when it drops the pretense of being a comedy and just focuses on that. The fact that it still manages possess such deep impact, yet somehow also be this completely batshit insane show about a society consisting of anthropomorphic animals - AND an absurd satire on Hollywood and the concept of celebrity on top of that - made the show stay with me in a way I never expected it to.



Oh, and the Family Guy comparison was totally uncalled for. There are a lot of silly cutaways, sure, but Family Guy hardly invented them. And unlike Family Guy, Bojack's cutaway gags are actually funny. shifty
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #750 on: 06-16-2015 12:00 »

Oh, and the Family Guy comparison was totally uncalled for. There are a lot of silly cutaways, sure, but Family Guy hardly invented them. And unlike Family Guy, Bojack's cutaway gags are actually funny. shifty

Well, I don't always consider "stupid" to necessarily be a bad thing. I meant more along the lines of "basic humor that's easy to digest". Maybe comparing it to Family Guy is a bit harsh. I've never even seen a full episode of Family Guy, so it's possible I've got the wrong idea. tongue

A quick google search says that BoJack's getting a second season this July, which I'll definitely tune in for. And between this and Arrested Development, I think Will Arnet is one of my favourite actors now.
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #751 on: 06-16-2015 17:59 »

Does this show compare well with Ugly Americans? I really enjoyed that series. It'd be nice to have something to fill the void it left.
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« Reply #752 on: 06-16-2015 18:33 »

Well, I don't always consider "stupid" to necessarily be a bad thing. I meant more along the lines of "basic humor that's easy to digest". Maybe comparing it to Family Guy is a bit harsh. I've never even seen a full episode of Family Guy, so it's possible I've got the wrong idea. tongue

Hey, I love stupid humour as much as anyone. But while Family Guy does occasionally contain a genuinely funny moment here and there, the majority of its "jokes" often consist of simply referencing things, or being outrageous/offensive for the hell of it. Bojack Horseman's humour has a lot more thought to it, in my opinion.

A quick google search says that BoJack's getting a second season this July, which I'll definitely tune in for. And between this and Arrested Development, I think Will Arnet is one of my favourite actors now.

Will Arnett is fucking fantastic. Unfortunately, he's been in a lot of crappy shows/movies, so there aren't many things of his I can recommend, though he did have an absolutely hilarious guest spot in the second season of Parks and Recreation, which is a show well worth watching.

Does this show compare well with Ugly Americans? I really enjoyed that series. It'd be nice to have something to fill the void it left.

I haven't seen much of Ugly Americans so I can't comment in regards to the writing on the two shows, though their drawing/animation styles definitely warrant some comparison. I think you may enjoy Bojack though, so long as you give it a chance - the early episodes may lean a little too heavily on dumb humour for your liking, but if you stick with it, it's a very affecting experience (and also becomes much funnier as it progresses). Plus, it's got one of the best casts of any tv show currently on the air - Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie and Paul F. Tompkins all play major characters. I never knew how badly I needed a show where Gob Bluth and Jesse Pinkman live together as roommates. tongue

I think the two closest shows to Bojack Horseman would probably be The Comeback and Eastbound & Down, if you've seen either of them. Bojack's backstory is very similar to Valerie Cherish of the former (they're both has-been sit-com stars desperate to get back in the spotlight), and his personality bears some striking similarities to Kenny Powers of the latter (both are quite arrogant and possess delusions of grandeur, believing that they remain the top-tier celebrities they thought they once were, despite never being particularly well-liked to begin with). And Bojack Horseman, The Comeback and Eastbound & Down all have similar story concepts, along with an unique ability to tow the line perfectly between drama and (often very black) comedy, while still remaining funny as fuck in the process.

Lastly, Bojack draws a surprising amount of its material from the general existential agony of human existence, which is something that tends to resonate deeply with me (think things along the line the speech Morty gives to Summer in Rick and Morty when he reveals what's buried in the backyard). That alone puts it on a different level to most other comedies currently on the air, and as such, I feel warrants the show a viewing.
JoshTheater

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« Reply #753 on: 06-16-2015 20:06 »

I finally watched a couple of episodes of Bojack fairly recently, actually. I thought it was pleasant enough, but it wasn't succeeding in making me laugh as much as I'd like out of an animated comedy.

I still plan on watching some more of it, but overall i found it unremarkable. Though Paul F. Tompkins and Aaron Paul are fantastic.
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« Reply #754 on: 06-17-2015 03:18 »

How far in did you get, Josh? As mentioned above, the first few episodes aren't anything special, but the quality improves greatly as it progresses.

I will concede, however, that Bojack doesn't make me laugh as frequently as a lot of the other comedies I watch, but it does usually make me laugh harder, so I think it ultimately evens out in the humour department. smile
Spacedal11

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« Reply #755 on: 06-17-2015 03:52 »

A quick google search says that BoJack's getting a second season this July, which I'll definitely tune in for. And between this and Arrested Development, I think Will Arnet is one of my favourite actors now.

Will Arnett is fucking fantastic. Unfortunately, he's been in a lot of crappy shows/movies, so there aren't many things of his I can recommend, though he did have an absolutely hilarious guest spot in the second season of Parks and Recreation, which is a show well worth watching.

I don't know about you but I actually have a hard time watching old projects that Will Arnett and Amy Poehler did together. Their divorce was one of those that actually really made me sad and the fact that she's now dating fish-faced Nick Kroll, it all just has an air of "man what a bummer".
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« Reply #756 on: 06-17-2015 04:42 »

Eh, I don't really follow celebrity relationships at all, and don't really have any strong feelings on their separation one way or the other. To quote Louis C.K. - no happy marriage has ever ended in divorce.

Though I quite enjoy Nick Kroll's work as well, so I guess the one thing I can say on the matter is that I approve of her taste in funny men. tongue
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #757 on: 06-17-2015 14:07 »

Heh... The BoJack Horseman website is very appropriate. big grin

Also... I love this gif:

Spacedal11

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« Reply #758 on: 06-17-2015 18:27 »
« Last Edit on: 06-17-2015 18:28 »

So I finished season one of Silicon Valley last night. Not as sharply written as Veep I'd say, but they're two different kind of comedies. Veep is very dark and cynical while Silicon Valley has TJ Miller smacking the shit out of a 10 year old boy and it's fucking amazing. I remember seeing that the actor who played Peter Gregory had unfortunately passed away but I didn't realize how little work he had actually completed on the show (just five episodes I think) which is a real shame. His character was great and very unique in a way that could not be replicated so easily. I know season two addresses his death so I'll look forward to seeing how they handled that.

Also I now how a huge freaking crush on Zach Woods, because Jared is just the most adorable starved to death virgin that ever walked this earth.
Beamer

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« Reply #759 on: 06-18-2015 02:48 »

Veep's comedy lies mostly in the dialogue, whereas Silicon Valley's is more observational. I'd say I actually prefer Silicon Valley a little more at this point, mainly because the characters and subject matter resonate more strongly with me (seriously, this show has the most hilariously accurate depiction of computer nerds on tv right now). But both shows are excellent - two of the sharpest comedies currently on the air.

And Zach Woods always manages to make everything hilarious. Likewise for season 2's recurring guest star, Chris Diamantopoulos ("That guy fucks!"), who also played what was probably my favourite minor character in the fourth season of Arrested Development. Except maybe for John Slattery's character. I also love TJ Miller's work in the show, especially when he's paired up with Thomas Middleditch- the two are close friends in real life, and it's very evident how perfectly in sync each is with the other's comedic rhythm.

Martin Starr's another person who's hilarious in everything, though I don't think anything's ever going to top his work in Party Down:

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