Munchman sees ‘Altered Carbon’

Holy crapoly, guys ‘n’ gals. We live in a dystopia where every new show being presented to us on TV and its hangers on is being labeled “dystopic” and “about a future dystopia where…”(fill in the dots – it’s easy cuz all you have to do is look at just about any new description of just about any fiction just about anywhere).

Except that it’s all bullshit, with the in, hip, trendy, and in and of itself totally dystopic buzzword of the day being used when it absolutely doesn’t apply. By which yer friendly neighborhood munchamatic magilla here means, CHECK OUT THE GODDAMN DEFINITION, OKAY MOTHERFUCKERS?!

Cases in point:

“Dystopia. Relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.”

And “An imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.”

With that I mind, munchamoneybags has to say, “Sorry, misreading, misinterpreting, misogynist momos,” but while yes, this is a dystopia if ever there was one:

As is this:

And this back in 2016 when we were all certain it could only be a fictional future:

This is not:

It’s just another interesting science fiction novel about a future civilization that has its good sides and bad sides and exciting sides and terrifying ones and everything in between, just like just about every civilization just about anywhere and anywhen.

And this:

Netflix’s Altered Carbon TV show is just another overblown, pompous, self-important, hideously violent, unconscious parody of every ridiculous trope used in every other science fiction show and film that totally misinterpreted what made the book interesting.

Oh Christ! The voiceover! Puh-leeze! And the music! Turn them off, turn them off, turn them off! For the love of God, montresor!

In other words, nope, munchikins didn’t really get much of a kick out of watching this abomination. But I sure liked writing this review.

Kathryn Graham: Deconstructing Supergirl & Homophobia

by Kathryn Graham

*** CAUTION! Mild spoilers for Supergirl if you are 11 weeks behind. ***

Last week, I was perusing a comment section on TV Guide regarding Alex & Maggie’s breakup on Supergirl. One fella, let’s call him Major Homophobe, said he was glad it was over. The show ‘isn’t about lesbians’ and now they could ‘get back to what it’s really about’.

It’s a typical criticism: I don’t watch this show for kissing! I watch for punching! There’s too much damn romance in this show!

Funny how it’s only mentioned when the couple are same sex.

I have news for for the Major. The show he loves is about both punching and kissing no matter who’s doing it, and I can show you how.

Supergirl follows classic structure with A, B, and C stories.

A Story – Supergirl and her allies fight some evil-doer(s). This will most often center Supergirl herself.

B Story – Conflict in someone’s romantic life, family, or friendships. Up close and personal.

C Story – Something short, sweet, and sometimes silly. Kind of a wild-card. Defined by having the least amount of screen time.

Specific Examples:

Season 1 Episode 12 – Bizarro

A Story – Maxwell Lord tries to ruin Supergirl’s reputation by releasing an evil Bizarro version of her on National City.

B Story – Kara navigates her budding romance with Adam under the watchful eye of his mother (and her boss): Cat Grant.

C Story – Winn helps James come to terms with his feelings for Kara.

Season 2 Episode 9 – Supergirl Lives

A Story – Without her powers, Supergirl must fight to free herself, Mon-El, and a group of humans before they are sold into slavery.

B Story – Alex blames herself for Supergirl’s capture and tries to break up with Maggie.

C Story – Winn almost dies on a mission with Guardian and needs to find the courage to get back in the field.

All three stories intersect and cross with each other, but they are the main threads.

Romance is typical B-Story. The Major sees it in nearly every show, book, and video game. If it was missing, he’d know something was gone. It’s a part of our lives. It’s important to so many of us. Why wouldn’t it be in our stories?

If you’re like Major, there are only a few options for why you would complain about queer romances ‘taking over’ a show you like:

  • You have no earthly idea how the stories you’re watching work. (Hope this helps.)
  • You hate romance in general – straight, gay, etc – and wish there wasn’t so much of it everywhere. (You have my sympathies.)
  • You’re being disingenuous about your discomfort and/or dislike of queer people. (I see what you’re doing.)

Maybe you didn’t see this before. Heterosexual romances are so ubiquitous that, to you, they’re window dressing. You feel the space queer romances take up because you haven’t encountered them before.

Maybe you, like the Major, are just dodging the fact that you don’t want to see any queer romance because you’re uncomfortable with it.

I’d ask you to consider that discomfort for a minute. If you can put it aside, even for a little while, you might be able to connect with stories and people in ways you never thought possible. I love Moulin Rouge. It’s a romance about a man and a woman. I don’t love it the way I would with two women as the leads (can someone make this?), but I still enjoy it.

If you still can’t do that, if you’re still uncomfortable, realize that this is how many queer people feel watching every. single. other. show. ever. It’s one show. You’ll be fine. I promise.

If you liked this article, or you’re curious to know more, I suggest hanging with me at ClexaCon in Las Vegas this April 5th – 9th! It’s a multi-fandom convention focused on queer women in the media. Everyone is welcome to attend. Not only will you have a lot of cool discussions along these lines, but Chyler Leigh, who plays Alex, is going to be there!


Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and a Fine Writer Of All Things. Learn more about Kate HERE

How-to-be-good TV: “The Good Place”

There was a time not all that long ago when a network executive could leap up on his or her high horse, throw down a script and scream to those assembled below: “Every scene in this is about something! We can’t do a show like that!”

But now:

by Melanie McFarland

he Trolley Problem” is type of episode a person recommends to demonstrate to an uninitiated potential viewer what’s best about the series in question —“The Good Place,” in this case — and, just maybe, to call attention to their own cleverness. It refers to a thought experiment that asks a person to choose between saving five people in danger of being killed by a trolley by switching tracks and killing one person on the other side, or allowing the train to continue on its course.

In this comedy set in the afterlife a former professor of moral philosophy, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), attempts to explain the concept to the otherworldly architect of The Good Place, Michael (Ted Danson), as the central point of an ethics lesson.

The question illustrates two ethical viewpoints: utilitarianism, doing the greatest good for as many people as possible, and deontology, doing as much good as possible while being conscious of the actions taken to do it. This is not a concept I knew off the top of my head, by the way. My husband the philosophy buff had to explain it to me while we watched it.

I tuned him out, though, because I was more delighted by the all-powerful Michael’s reaction. Professing to be unclear on the lesson he created a reenactment of the problem for Chidi, himself and Chidi’s soul-mate Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) to experience in all its variations. The trolley would kill five, spare one, and reset. The trolley would kill the single person, save the five, and reset.

Then Michael spices it up: What if he knew the guy on the other track? How about if it were five Shakespeares? Each time the simulated victims would explode a shower of blood and guts all over a Chidi shocked into silence. It was a tremendous sight gag that would have gone on forever if Eleanor hadn’t figure out that Michael wasn’t learning any lessons about being good at all. He was torturing Chidi and figuring out how long he could push it until he got caught.

In that a single broad stroke “The Good Place” thrilled the philosophy nerd sitting next to me while incapacitating me, a couch potato for whom Jean-Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit” in high school represents the extent of my philosophy education, with belly-bruising laughter….

Read it all at Salon

Munchman sees ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

TV science fiction’s best robot and friends, one of whom is human. Can you tell who’s who?

by Munchman

One of my favorite series of books when I was in high school was Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. They were funny, they were – to me at the time – new, they weree – again, to me at that time – deeply philosophical and a wonderful analyses of the human condition.

To high schooler munchman, AKA tim muncher, or (and this one fills me with shame) t.t. muncher, as I thought of myself back then in a now-embarrassing homage to several obscene mags I’d seen while peering into the darkened window of a San Fernando Valley adult bookstore, Adams’ was what/who (?) Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was to the feeble old folks of LB’s generation.

My Writing God.

My Holy Shit This Son Of A Bitch Is So Cool inspiration.

Which is why when, one day over the 2017 Christmas vacay, I discovered a 1981, six episode BBC Television adaptation of the original BBC Radio series written by Mr. My Holy Shit This Son Of A Bitch Is So Cool hisself to actually write the damn books, I nearly crapped meself with excitement.

Thanking the Most Highest, whoever the hell that was or they were, I did what anybody who knows me would plainly expect. I set my bittorrent client to “Download, download, download” (the voice in my brain screeching it ala the “Dive! Dive! Dive” alarm in all the classic WWII submarine movies I’d heard in my Brit mom’s womb), and pulled all the episodes onto my hard drive from my current favorite interweb pirate site that I won’t name because for some reason that causes trouble but it sounds a lot like “Da Pilot’s Gay.”

And then I sat down in front of the screen of my horrifically overpriced MacBook and binged, baby binged.

Bring yer friendly neighborhood munchaholic to:

THE GOOD:

  • Forget that terrible movie some idiots made in 2005, this is the real fuckin’ Hitchhiker’s Guide,  peeps. Complete with the most memorable tropes from the book (and, I assume, the radio show too). “The answer to the universe is 42!” “Thanks for all the fish!” “The Restaurant at The End of Universe!” and, yeppers, more, more, more.
  • It’s every bit as funny as the books were in my mind, and five times as droll, with perfect – I mean this – perfect casting and direction. Woah! The timing of these episodes! Amazing!

THE NOT SO GOOD:

  • It was made in ’81, which means that the sfx are almost as primitive as the ’70s earthlings who populate the first episode before, as aficionados may recall, the earth is destroyed to make way for a new intergalactic express road.
  • The middle sags. A lot. But so do the middle volumes of Adams’ “trilogy.” (Hey, it’s comprised of five volumes but it’s a trilogy. Who but the Great God Dougie could get away with that, huh?)
  • It’s only six half-hour episodes. A measly 180 minutes. Crap.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

The beginning and end of the series each are such a solidly entertaining combination of the original Doctor Who (a show where My Holy Shit This Son Of A Bitch Is So Cool was one of the most popular and highly regarded writers) and one of the funniest UK comedies of the ’70s, olde Monty Python itself (particularly the music and graphics and “who gives a fuck” aspect throughout.)

Hey, what can I say except that this munchy one loved it and definitely thinks everybody out there who’s sick of the slick corporate propagandtainment we’re subjected to today.

C’mon, get up off yer butts. Fire up yer copy of  qBittorent and head on over to https://thepiratebay.org. Oops. Well, what the hell. Go on. And tell ’em munchadaddio sentcha because I’m just a figment of yer imaginations anyway.

Buh-bye fer now!

yer friendly neighberhood munchhausen

 

Diana Vacc sees ‘The Gifted’ Opening Episode ‘eXposed’

by Diana Vaccarelli

—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—

Monday October 2, 2017, Fox premiered the new series The Gifted. The series takes place after the X-Men film Days of Future Past. It tells the story as a “What if the X-Men didn’t succeed in defeating the Sentinel Program?” adventure.

Basically, the show addresses the issue of, given their failure, what happens to the X-Men next? The main focus of the series is that mutants are on the run from a government agency tasked with imprisoning them.

THE GOOD:

  • Over the years, what fans call the “X-Men saga” has always done one thing very well: It shines a bright light on bigotry and on how we need to learn to accept one another and embrace each other’s differences.
  • This theme continues in The Gifted. One scene particularly effective in making the point is when Andy Strucker (Percy Hynes White) is pulled into the school showers by bullies and tortured with blasts of both hot and cold water. Through his terror he triggers mutant abilities that nearly tear the school down.
  • That storyline continues as we follow the very normal Reed Stucker (Stephen Moyer) searching for entree into the secret mutant underground in order to get help for his children their mutant natures become clear. I loved the way we could see his desperation, even though previously he had been instrumental in hunting mutants down.

THE BAD:

  • The performances in general aren’t exactly the best. The actors seemed strangely (unprofessionally?) uneasy in their roles.

THE REST:

The acting problems aren’t stopping me from wanting to see more episodes of The Gifted, and as an X-Men saga fan I’m hopeful that the performances will improve as the cast gets more into the storylines and writing in general.

If Marvel superheroes, and the X-Men in particular, are your kind of thing, then I believe you should give this series a try. It’s no Legion – not by a longshot – but over time it evolve into something interesting…and besides, it’s always fun to watch mutants kick the butts of biased abusers.


Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a student in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop. Find out more about her HERE

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ or ‘The Orville?’ Who do you love?

Bleeding Cool’s chief film writer Kaitlyn Booth and a crew of in-the-know TV journalists have a few words to say about the relative merits of two of the newest science fiction shows on TV, Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville, each show highly controversial in its own way.

It isn’t exactly a boxing match, but still, we can’t help but wonder: What corner of the ring are you in? Let us know!

Diana Vacc sees Outlander S03 Episode “Of Lost Things”

by Diana Vaccarelli

—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—

Sunday October 1, 2017, Starz aired season 3, episode 4 of Outlander. In this episode, Jamie (Sam Heughan) is serving as a groomsman for a noble British family and is pulled into a web of intrigue by the scheming Lady Geneva Dunsany. Meanwhile, in a much later time period, Claire, Brianna, and Roger continue their search for Jamie’s whereabouts via history books.

THE GOOD:

  • Toni Graphia pens this episode, and takes a difficult chapter of material from the novel “Voyager” written by Diana Gabaldon, which this season is based on, and builds up the drama and intrigue with care. I was very impressed and happy with how this part of the story was handled by all involved.
  • Lady Geneva (Hannah James) is a spoiled brat and really doesn’t want to marry the much older Lord Ellesmere. After eyeing Jamie and liking what she sees, Geneva threatens his family, leveraging him into sleeping with her three days before her wedding. What makes this turn of events so powerful is that after the “deed” Geneva professes love for Jamie, totally changing my perspective about her and putting me more on her side even after all her deceit. Heughan and James have terrific chemistry in this episode, their characters challenging each other brilliantly.
  • The union of Geneva and Jamie produces a child, Willie (Clark Butler). After Geneva’s death in childbirth, Lord Ellesmere, now her husband threatens the life the newborn child, who is saved – yay! – Jamie. Gratefully, the Dunsanys give Jamie the opportunity to go home, but he rejects the offer because he wants to watch his son grow, even if it’s from outside the family. Jamie stays for a while, and whispers about Willie looking like him begin. To protect the boy, Jamie leaves and return home to his estate.

THE BAD:

The Claire storyline in this episode is dull both conceptually ands visually, with nothing at all exciting to push it along. Research is not a dramatic enough replacement for conflict!

THE REST:

I LOVED the Jamie storyline in this episode. So heartfelt! Heughan shines as he grows his character’s relationship with his son. I couldn’t help but tear up as he rides away, with 4 year old Willie calling out, “Don’t go Mac” and runnint after him futilely while Jamie continues with a perfect single tear falling down his face. Truly perfection. We feel the hurt in both of them.

I’ve said it before and must say it again. If you haven’t watched this series yet, what are you waiting for?


Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a student in the TVWriter™ Online Workshop. Find out more about her HERE