Tuesday, August 19, 2014

You have to watch


Lately we've tried a few other shows.

The Following with Kevin Bacon as ex-FBI drunkard on the trail of charismatic serial killer cult leader. It's worth a look if only for the weirdness of the cult man. The episodes can be very jam-packed with unrealistic events and the pacing is too much.

We had a look at Banshee and after a few episodes I pulled the pin. It's really not very good. While the premise was kind of interesting - criminal gets released from gaol, wanders into situation where he ends up killing and then taking the identity of the new sheriff in town, only to be embroiled in, well, everything.

And then now we are in the midst of Orphan Black. All I can say is watch it, it is so fucking good. I reckon it's up there with Walking Dead, Game of, True Blood (before it went not very good)... In a word, it's clones. That's not a spoiler cause you kind of find it out very quickly. But the actor playing the clones is so good, you really forget she is the same person. It's so clever. The acting is excellent across all the characters, and it's compelling viewing, well-paced, developing well (we are 3 eps from end of second season). And it's possibly the first show I've seen where not just one female leads, but all of the main characters are females. It includes this particular character, Helena, who grew up in a Ukraine nunnery. She is amazing and we love her:

She is disturbed and violent and unpredictable. She is smart and snaky but also sentimental and calls her twin sestra, which I'm guessing is Ukrainian for 'sister.' This tv has amazing acting and amazing scripts. It's dark and dramatic, at turns funny and moving. It's been a wonderful surprise though it did come highly recommended by 'people who know about this stuff.'

The other thing is that sexuality is kind of a theme. Sarah is the central clone character and her foster brother is Felix, a gay guy. Then one of her clone 'sisters' is a lesbian (or at least is in a relationship with a woman) and then, just in the episode we watched last night, a trans element was introduced. Did not see it coming, but it's great. I'm wondering whether they are going to make a comment about genetics and sexuality in any way.

I cannot recommend highly enough.


Nothing else much to report. Am teaching, am writing. Melbourne Writers Festival is coming up, I'm going to a few events.

And I'm going overseas again next year, for about 4 weeks in northern winter. That'll be fun. More about that later.

Hope you are all well.


Melba said...

Just finished Season 2. Amazing. Can't wait for the next season, can't believe where they're going with it.

Cath said...

Hey Melbs.. I have been watching this as well... Partway into Season 2 and LOVE it. I think Cosima is amazing and I do forget that it is the same actor as Alison etc. Freaking amazing and the twists are freaking me out!

suze2000 said...

Hmmm... I watched the first five eps and pretty much hated it. Mainly because there's something about the main actress that I dislike. You are not the first person to tell me to watch it, but I'm unsure if recommendations are enough for me to overcome my irrational hatred.

OTOH, I thought Hannibal was amazing. Funny how people see things differently.

suze2000 said...

Sorry, you werent talking about Hannibal. You talked about The Following, which I watched S1 avidly and loved it. The killer was creepy as all getup and Kevin Bacon never phones it in. But S2 was pretty average in comparison.

squib said...

I'm not sure how many episodes I watched but had completely forgotten I was watching this series (on smart TV). Up to Series 2 on Game of Thrones, bit annoying as it's only available on DVD by post and not direct download - they only send 2 episodes at a time. Grrr. Loved Breaking Bad, esp the lawyer and Jessie characters

squib said...

Have only seen two episodes but True Detective is pretty good - great music, also

Melba said...

Squib, we are re-watching True Detective (with subtitles) just watched the first two - fantastic stuff.

Melba said...

Funny but tonight I went to the keynote for Melb Writers Festival. Helen Garner, it was good. But afterwards, having a vino with a coupla writing compadres, they said they'd been to the Melb Film Festival and I kind of went 'I don't do films, not really any more, it's all tv. And books.' And they were like 'what? what are you watching?' It turned out they also watch tv series but do movies as well I used to like movies but I think I've gone off them, have no interest in contemporary movies for some reason. The narrative is too short and unsatisfying. I prefer the long unwinding of a tv series.

Melba said...

Hey Cath, nice to see you. Remember when we met years ago at the pub in Richmond was it? For Perseus's birthday? How are you? I love all the clones including Cosima but Helena is my fave.

Haven't checked out Hannibal Suze, should I? can I ask a question? Do you also irrationally hate Nicole Kidman?

Breaking Bad - couldn't do it. We tried but didn't get into it. Something wrong with us?

Alex said...

I want to watch more TV series. And movies. And read more fiction. I've a hard drive full of recorded stuff and a tablet full of books. But there always seems to be projects that demand attention. Manuals and how-tos that have to take precedence. News stories that need to be looked at. I'm obviously doing something wrong as far as time management goes.

I've been told Orphan Black is very good and that the acting is outstanding. Maybe I shall look into it once I get home.

I've got Breaking Bad. I like what I've seen, but haven't made time to watch it yet. Melbs, didn't you tell me you'd only watched one or two episodes? Maybe you should give it a season? I gave GIRLS 3. I know that didn't work out, but y'know, at least my decision wasn't premature. It took me half a season to get into Game Of Thrones. I could have easily ditched that after 2 episodes. Glad I didn't.

Squib, do you need Game Of Thrones episodes? Do you have a download limit? Do you think the Doctor will ever be a woman? That's sort of a non-sequitur, but I was thinking about it the other day, and didn't know who else to ask.

squib said...

Melbs, I've been the same that way. TV series are better and smarter than they used to be. True Detective is very philosophical and the script is more like a literary novel. I think the first series of Breaking Bad was pretty average and Walt and his wife are so incredibly unlikeable, almost unbearably so. But it does pick up and gets so you find yourself watching 4 episodes in
a row

Alex, I didn't like Game of Thrones either at first. It had a kind of misogynist whiff about it but have finished series 1 and want to see next series. No download limit, why?

I doubt the doctor will be a woman but that depends how long they string it out for. If they find some way around the number of lives he has and it's still going in another decade, maybe, just maybe. I thought last night's episode was ho-hum, the beginning with the dinosaur was rubbish. Concluded once again that Star Trek is better

Alex said...

The first season of Game Of Thrones looked like it was filmed by someone who was used to shooting daytime soap operas. Flat, dull, uninspired cinematography. The following seasons are all much better.

Are you opposed to file sharing? If so, on what grounds? And whom do you think would make a good female Doctor?

Alex said...
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Alex said...
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Alex said...

Holy duplicate comments Batman!

squib said...

Yes. On the grounds that I would not be able to work out how to watch it on my telly

Am truly bad with actors/actresses. Their names, their faces. Have the same problem with people. So no idea except maybe moi. I'd be an excellent timelord. Any suggestions?

Alex said...

So, you don't want me to fix you up with something, GoT related?

I hadn't considered a Doctor without a British actress. But an Aussie voice might work quite well (unless you've already picked up a burr?). I don't think I'd want a yank but. Would you play it wacky, or tortured, or something else?

I thought that redhead comedian who played Donna might have made a decent Doc. The only other person who comes to mind is Sally Phillips from Smack The Pony. Apparently I can only think of comedians. I need to put more thought into it.

squib said...

No, it's ok but thanks anyway. I'm not paying for it anyway, just episodes by drip-feed bit annoying

I would play it aloof and slightly megalomaniacal

suze2000 said...

Melba, I don't irrationally hate Nicole Kidman, but I do think she's somehow lost her ability to be a convincing actress.

Alex said...

I'm not paying for it anyway

Okay, but it's not a question of money. Lots of people I know buy shit after they download it. It's often a question of convenience.

Hey Melbs, I don't know when you're likely to be reading this, and I don't know if this is a rude request, but I had a bit of a weird night, and I could use some advice. If you're not busy. And you want to.

Details over at mine.

squib said...

Alex, say I wanted to watch ABC iplayer in the UK. How safe are these proxy thingies that make it appear as though I am in oz? Like Hide My Ass

What sort of weird night. Well??

Melba said...

Suze, I concur about Kidman. Feel a bit sorry for her that she hasn't been able to (or allowed herself) to age and work with that. Not that I was ever a huge fan of hers, but there have been things I liked her in, but then she went kinda bad, hanging onto her ingenue status, or trying to.

Alex said...

How safe are these proxy thingies

Well, I've never heard of anyone getting injured using one.

Seriously but, it does depend on what you mean by safe. Any free service that isn't trying to upsell you to a paid subscription is almost certainly either trying to infect your computer with something or pushing ads that may or may not infect your computer with something. (If your computer can handle it, I'd seriously consider running as much stuff as you can (including web browsers) in virtual machines these days.)

If you mean safe from the prying eyes of government and law-enforcement, that's going to depend on the individual service provider. HideMyAss got some very bad publicity a few years ago, when they worked with British law enforcement to log their customers data, so I wouldn't touch them with a pole.

Having said all that, I and everyone I know professionally, uses a paid VPN service of some description. Most people use them to get NetFlix from the USA and iPlayer from the UK. I mostly just use them for the same reason I use cash -- distrust of data collection.

Not all VPNs will have servers within Australia, and sometimes the Australian speeds are abysmal -- far too slow to stream video. While I don't use it myself, tunnelbear.com has been around for a few years, and I've heard many favourable reports from people who say that it's simple for non-technical users to set up and operate. They have a free tier, so you can try them out, but I notice that access to Australia is only included in their paid tier ($5USD).

If you're worried about a VPN service ripping off your credit card, maybe try an intermediary like PayPal. They're a horrible company, but they're pretty well ubiquitous now.

If you do go with a VPN, let me know how it goes, 'ay?


The weird night? Well, I had what I would call a fairly unusual dinner with a foreign client (Melbs can probably attest to the level of unusualness), and it did freak me out there for a bit. I've settled down now, but for a while, I was kind of desperate to get a second opinion, and I couldn't think of anyone in real life that I could talk to. I don't have much in the way of close friends.

Does that stem your curiosity, or do you need more details?


I really liked Kidman in Dogville. Can't think of anything else.

There is quite a bit of file sharing going on out here (I'm on a work-site out bush right now), so I might end up seeing Orphan Black after all. In the meantime, I've discovered an animated show which I think is quite good. Have you heard of Gravity Falls, Squib? If not, it's about a twelve-year-old brother and sister team, solving paranormal mysteries while on holidays at their uncle's place in hillbilly country USA. The humour reminds me of a kid-friendly Futurama, but with more of an X-Files/American Gothic vibe, and ongoing story elements, like a romantic subplot. I forget how old Little Squib is (about 10~12, isn't she?), but I was thinking she may appreciate it. You may too, if you watch it. The second season has apparently just started, and the first two episodes are the best I've seen of the whole show (of course, you have to watch the early stuff first).

Alex said...

Also, speaking of Kevin Bacon never phoning it in, has anyone else seen Super.

Possibly the most fun I've ever had watching a super-hero movie.

squib said...

Yeah, by safe I don't mean I want to google How to murder my husband and dispose of body heh (though VERY tempting). More worried about infectious bots and trojan ponies.Thanks for info on VPN. I just get Amazon Prime ATM which has usual dismal array of b-grade films but some good stuff by post. In fact, I just wanted to watch Rage but I just found a good Youtube playlist which is almost exactly like Rage but easier to forward through. Called Newmusicweekly. Yayz. Just wanted some new music as have not had time

thanks for cartoon suggestion for littlesquib. I have emailed her the link

erm noooo, that has just piqued my curiosity even more

Alex said...

Okay Squib, fair enough. To avoid any confusion regarding the details, you should probably start here and read forward. Note that the comments have gotten a bit interwoven between posts, too.

As for music, the internet is awash with options. Here are but a few. If you want to limit the options to free services, and you're looking for specific artists, albums, or songs, GrooveShark.com should have most of what you're chasing, and if you're looking for online radio stations, TuneIn.com probably has you covered. If you want music videos though, that's another story.

Alex said...

Whoa, just heard you had a nasty storm in Melbourne town.

Everyone okay down there?

Melba said...

Sorry for late reply. Yes all fine here. It was very windy for more than a day. I worry about walls falling and killing people when we get days like that. Because it happened previously, a worker on a building site, and then before that three or four people got killed when a brick wall fell in the city. Elsewhere it might be gum trees; in Melbourne it's walls. I tell the kids to stay away from walls on days like that, and on that day I picked P up from school.

Thanks for checking, sorry I haven't been here. BUSY

suze2000 said...

Alex, you finally have a blog? Is it okay if I read it? I remember asking about it and you humming and herring about it...

Alex said...

Sure thing, Suze. Although honestly, it's a bit of an embarrassment. It was supposed to be an art blog, but in nine months, I haven't posted any pictures. I don't know if it's nerves or what, but so far it's all just ranting and nonsense.

I still haven't taken down the decorations from the "Orange Is The New Black Season 2" discussion either. Christ I'm lazy.


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