General TV Discussion

ayase

State Alchemist
I've just polished off Season 4 of Boardwalk Empire, which I've been watching at a rate which has probably not been great for my productiveness elsewhere.

This show really was not what I expected. It's much bigger in scope and the way all the different plot lines weave together and around each other is really quite something. The writers must have employed pin boards the FBI agents (though it was just the BI back then, I think) in the show would be jealous of. I certainly didn't expect from the synopsis that a show ostensibly about prohibition era gangsters in Atlantic City would also criss-cross the United States featuring so many historical underworld figures including Stephen Graham's wonderful Al Capone whose introduction is one of many great little "ah-ha!" moments so I'm loathe to spoil it.

As far as the real-life gangsters go, while their stories are still engaging (helped by some truly excellent actors) and awash with period charm, I also know how most of them are going to end up so have often found myself more invested in the stories of some of the show's invented characters - Prohibition agent turned accidental member of the Chicago Outfit Nelson Van Alden particularly, whose comedy of errors could have been a show all of itself. With all the disparate plot threads though, I found I couldn't help but pick favourites and wish the action would go back to certain characters and stop dwelling on some I found a bit too slow or uninteresting. The plots involving Gillian Darmody in particular (an invented character whose main role was being the mother of another invented character and who ceased to be of any real importance at the end of season two) had started to drag something terrible by season four. Also a thoroughly horrible person, all I was really interested in was seeing her get her comeuppance, which took far too long to arrive.

Overall though, it does a very good job of balancing the known historical events and creating suspense via the fictional elements and characters whose fates aren't so certain. At times it's been quite shocking, and has done an amazing job of creating a cast of characters I find myself really rooting for, hoping for their downfalls or being concerned for their futures. That's the kind of world these characters (and real people) inhabited, one where any kind of brutality could befall them at any moment, deserved or not, and it is quite edge of the seat stuff.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
Amanda Lorian, Episode 1

8900 seeds and counting, this is why you can't lock the rest of the world out on day one any more, Disney.

Firstly, yes! The creative team behind The Mandalorian actually remembered aliens other than Chewbacca exist and play a part in the world of Star Wars outside of just being set dressing. That was nice to see, as was Werner Herzog, but he always is. It's early days yet - First episodes are almost always scene-setting, but from what I've seen I'm very hopeful for this series. It's exploring a time period not much is yet known about away from the central conflicts of the trilogies, and while it's obviously trying to feel familiar (my own personal favourite reference: one of Salacious Crumb's relatives being roasted on a spit) it also feels satisfyingly different. This is a positive observation I'd also make of the previous animated Star Wars series' (Dave Filoni of The Clone Wars and Rebels directs this first episode) so that bodes well, I think. We were promised a space Western, we got a space Western. It looks like Star Wars. It feels like Star Wars. Roll on Friday.

I am fascinated by the several professional reviewers who have complained about the main character constantly wearing a helmet because they're unable to emotionally connect with a character who doesn't have a visible, emoting human face (I don't ever recall that being a criticism levelled at any of the droids in Star Wars or say, Darth Vader). Personally I've been able to emotionally connect with inanimate objects since I was a small child (sometimes moreso than with people) and also have an imagination, so this was not a barrier to my enjoyment.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
The Mandalorian - Episodes 2-4

Enjoying this a whole lot. It’s very thematically tied to Lucas’ original inspirations for Star Wars, Westerns, old TV serials and the Samurai genre. Just as Lucas took inspiration from Kurosawa, so Favreau and co. Have quite obviously taken inspiration from Lone Wolf & Cub, which should certainly make it of interest to a few people here. In doing so, it also incorporates a major theme of Lucas’ films (which he’s discussed in interviews) of relationships between fathers (or father figures) and sons. In their own ways, Obi-Wan, Yoda and Vader (spoilers) were all father figures of different kinds to Luke, just as Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan and Palpatine were all father figures of different kinds to Anakin. The Mandalorian feels like a natural progression of this theme, and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

This also got me thinking about the newer movies, and it’s interesting to note that with the exception of Solo (which I do still think is the most reminiscent of the OT) the older, male mentor figure to a younger male character isn’t really something that’s explored beyond being presented as something which has already failed or had negative consequences off-screen (Han, Luke and Snoke to Kylo). I wonder if people didn’t perhaps even subconsciously become so used to that dynamic being an important part of Star Wars that when it’s missing, they feel it even without realising quite what it is that’s not the same. It’s also interesting to note that from what we know of Lucas’ treatments for the ST, his version would have showed Kylo’s fall to the dark side, restoring that father-son link between him and Han and Luke.
 
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thedoctor2016

Shinigami
But Epiosde 7 and 8 have the father aspect as Rey feels Han and Luke are her adoptive father figure in those films. Her treating Han as her father and Kyle refusing him is the whole basis of their rivalry.
 

ayase

State Alchemist
But Epiosde 7 and 8 have the father aspect as Rey feels Han and Luke are her adoptive father figure in those films. Her treating Han as her father and Kyle refusing him is the whole basis of their rivalry.
I almost mentioned this, but I think a father-daughter relationship (also a mother-son dynamic, which could arguably be said of Poe and Leia's interactions in TLJ) is different to a father-son relationship. It is interesting that those parallels are there and not a slight on those films at all, it's another way of exploring those familial types of relationships between the characters but I think it's also notable that the dynamic of an older male mentor of a younger male character is almost entirely absent among the main cast. It's not a bad thing that it's not present, but it is different.
 
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