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Onhell

Infinite Dreamer
I think it has potential for a better model. Using cable now for example, you buy a bundle, you have 50% of the stations that you do not give a shit about, but pay for them. If someone can find a better way to bundle the streaming services, over the air TV, sports packages, etc you can pay for what you want to watch .. if not exact shows, at least all or parts of streaming services. I could see 3 tiers (using Disney as an example). Tier 1 the back catalog and new shows after a year, Tier 2 new shows, not back catalog, tier 3, all of the above.

It will be interesting to see how it shakes out, but to my original point I was saying "Golden Age", it is in terms of quality of content more than the delivery mechanisms, because the delivery portion is still in a state of flux and it will probably be a year or two before that becomes more clear. Now with big ticket shows like Star Wars, Star Trek, etc being on streaming services, that is a clear sign that is where this is headed.
So as to not hijack the Star Wars thread I'm continuing a well worth discussion here.

I agree with you to a point. Yes, the main point to this second (some argue 3rd) "Golden Age" of TV is definitely the content, BUT how that content is delivered plays a major role and my main point of contention. Being slightly older than I am you will remember things I had to research, like the format war between BETAMAX and VHS, how VCRs changed the home viewing experience, the birth of MTV, Cable, going to rent videos, whatever you wanted and watch it at home with family or friends.

It's not a coincidence the alledged second golden age of TV was the early 80s. Growing up in Mexico, video rental was our main way of media consumption outside of actually going to the movies. Finding children movies in English was difficult. I remember we drove across all of Mexico City to the only theater showing Aladdin in English. While that is rare now, it still happens. Now in Guadalajara the nearest theater to me only shows dubbed movies, I have to drive an extra 15 to 20 minutes to the nearest one showing them in English. Thus, how media is available is very important to its success.

This 2nd/3rd wave is said to have begun in 1999 with the Sopranos spearheading it. This wave is characterized by 3 things: 1. The quality of the show, both technically and in the storytelling. 2. The acting. There was a time when TV was seen as less than hollywood and once a TV star made it to hollywood they'd be stupid to go back to TV, now TV and Hollywood stars go back and forth seemlessly. Like, David Hasselhoff was a HUGE TV star, never made it in movies. George Clooney was a HUGE TV star that became a HUGE Hollywood star and did not go back to TV. However, Elijah Woods, Kevin Spacey, Anthony Hopkins and others jump back and forth. 3. The delivery system. TV changed everything in the 50s and the VCR again in the 80s. In the late 90s early 2000s we got the DVR, Tivo, and On Demand, which was pay per view, but when YOU wanted it, not when it was scheduled. Then Netflix happened and changed EVERYTHING.

I have a love/hate relationship with Netflix. Remember the Sopranos? I never watched it as it was on HBO. I did have AMC, but never watched Breaking Bad or MadMen when they aired. I didn't have Showtime or Starz either, so Six Feet Under and Weeds went unwatched as well, but here came Netflix and not only was I able to watch shows I grew up with like Wings and Murder She Wrote, but Weeds and Breaking Bad as well. I was lucky that FullMetal Alchemist was available in their limited Anime collection at that time. But as easily as content went up, it came down. I only made it to the third season of Murder She wrote before they took it down along with McGyver and the Twilight Zone... just gone. That wouldn't be a problem if I could go rent them at my local Blockbuster, but... they were gone too. So was Hollywood video or ANY video rental place. Redbox only had new movies, but last I heard they are struggling as we speak, if not already dead. When I moved back to Mexico my choices to watch something are: the movies (which is very expensive), buy the original at any number of stores, buy a pirated version from a street vendor or stream it from a pirate site if NOT available on a streaming service I already own.

Here lies not just my problem, but a lot of people's problem. If one is to purchase all major streaming services they'd be spending between 90 to 100 dollars a month! Before you say, who the fuck would do something so stupid? Remember that for years people purchased Cable packages for similar prices. When in the states my mother jumped around from Cable to Dish Network to Direct TV, you know why? She was hunting down ONE chanel, TV España. For that ONE chanel she was shelling out 60-80 bucks a month. She did watch other things, but I'll tell you the same thing I told a Direct TV rep trying to upsell me a package. We had a 50 chanel package, My mom MAYBE watched 3 chanels, I watched 5.... out of 50. Dude was trying to sell me 500 chanels. So I already don't watch EVERYTHING on Netflix, but I only spend 169 pesos a month, that's roughtly the 8.99 Americans used to pay. I don't watch Last Week Tonight on HBO or their streaming service, I watch it the next day when it goes up on Youtube. I rarely go to the movies and since rental places are dead I simply watch them on a pirate movie site, because I'm not buying either legal or illegal copies. I have a decently big TV and surround sound system at home, no need to shell out 75 pesos a ticket for a theater experience.

But my complaint isn't that I live in Mexico now and I can't get what I want, because the problem is in the U.S too. Sure Disney+ was available right away there, but you still had to buy it. Did you like The Expanse on Netflix? Well, now it's on Prime and you can't just change chanels like with cable, there is no package here, you have to buy the service seperately. In short what good is it to live in such a great age of media when it is all fenced behind 5 different streaming services and as time goes by that is the ONLY way to consume it? Netflix was supposed to further "democratize" media consumption. After launching House of Cards Kevin Spacey gave a speech on how streaming was the future, not only watch what you want when you want it, but HOW MUCH. Want to watch one episode? Ok. Want to watch the whole season? Knock yourself out. Instead it has become another TV chanel with A LOT of its content rolling out new episodes weekly. If I wanted to wait a week for a new episode I'd watch TV. It killed the only other way to get media when it obliterated the home rental market and there is no sign of this.... consolidation you speak of. I HOPE, one day, Netflix, HULU, Prime, Disney, NBC, CBS, YouTube, etc wake up and partner like you predict, but for that to happen an even BIGGER company may have to buy them and offer them as a package. No one is buying Disney, but I can see someone scooping up say, Netflix, Hulu and Youtube and offering them in packages. That goes into a whole other mess about oligarchies and competition, but I'll quit here.

In short, I agree there is great content out there, but we are at the whims of multibillion, transnational giants that don't care about us the consumer, you know, like any other business.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
Yeah but I can cancel my subscription to Netflix for a few months while I work my way through Disney+ (which I have done).
 

Onhell

Infinite Dreamer
In weighing all the pros and cons I'll have both, though who knows what the landscape will look like in 2 years when it will finally be available here. If it is similar I don't see why not, Netflix and Disney+ for the win. I honestly don't see ANY reason to get Prime except for the shipping perks. For those who do ALL their shopping online and specifically Amazon, it's worth it. While a yearly suscription, it is still cheaper (not by much) than Netflix with the added shipping perks. But content-wise? I've heard of ONE show, which I can't recall at the moment, and like I said, they bought The Expanse... that's it.
 

Black Wizard

Cereal Litigator
I want to watch the rest of The Expanse and I'd like to see Man in the High Castle. Hopefully they'll get DVD releases or already have.
 

Onhell

Infinite Dreamer
Watched Ready or Not and Taken 13, I mean, Rambo Last Blood.

Ready or Not was a nice surprise. I thought it was going to be straight horror like Your Next, The Invitation, The Strangers, etc. Nope, It was basically a dark comedy. The tone isn't what was disappointing, it was some of the character's motivations. I don't like it when characters flip flop so drastically without a set-up. One of the character's change is hinted at the whole movie, the other, not at all and it felt... stupid. Aside from that, a fun time to be had like with Happy Deathday.

Rambo Last Blood was EXACTLY what I expected to get LOL. And no joke, it's Taken meets Home Alone a la Rambo. Something Skyfall had already done. Just a quick sidenote, I just found out last week that due to a 1971 case, it has been ruled illegal to boobytrap your home. That means the Wet Bandits could've sued the Macallisters. It also reminded me what a gun owning friend told me, "I was always told if you're going to fire your gun, make sure they don't get up, dead people can't talk in court." Though that is not the only law Rambo breaks as he does so in not just one, but TWO countries lol. Didn't take a look at the run time, but it felt shorter than Rambo, but still as brutal with it's violence. Let's see how true they are to the title, I mean, we did have like 7 more Jason movies after "Final Chapter."

Still making our way through Creeped Out. The quality of the second season episodes dropped a bit, but the Sci-Fi B-Movie influence is still there, even if the execution isn't. One episode had a tick invasion, yup, as stupid as it sounds, but it reminded me of that one Ant movie from like 40 years ago. My favorite episodes so far are the creepy santa one which had notes of Child's Play and The Shinnig and the one of a kid who stays home only to find out his neighbor is a monster. Basically Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Rear Window and Fright Night.
 

Onhell

Infinite Dreamer
Watched Will Smith's Gemini Man. It's a fun ride. I wish they'd not spoil their gimmick in the promotional posters. The movie builds up the reveal well, but when you see who is after him there is no shock as it's in every poster. The ending worked better in that regard. Will Smith continues to do with action movies what Adam Sandler has done with the pieces of shit he calls comedies. They somehow manage to make it about family. Doesn't make it any less fun, just feels like I'm watching a cross between the fresh prince of bel air and gattacca.

That got me thinking, the fresh prince is the only time Will Smith has been the source of the jokes, the clown. In his movies he's usually the straight man with ocasional wise cracks or flat out serious.
 

Perun

Dominus et deus
Staff member
With every year I get older, I realise more that Kevin McCallister is an insane psychopath and the only thing he does I want other children to take an example of is showering and doing the laundry. And it's weird that an 8 year old would do these things, which really only makes him worse.
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
With every year I get older, I realise more that Kevin McCallister is an insane psychopath and the only thing he does I want other children to take an example of is showering and doing the laundry. And it's weird that an 8 year old would do these things, which really only makes him worse.
Basically, yes. Home Alone shouldn't be shown to kids ever. As an adult, though, it's great.
 

Perun

Dominus et deus
Staff member
Home Alone 2 is really painful to watch, and it's really telling that Trump isn't the worst part of it.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
It’s A Wonderful Life is honestly a pretty much perfect movie. I don’t know how they were able to assemble something like it the way they did but it’s such an emotional ride and I love it.
 

chaosapiant

Ancient Marinade
I'm on my second viewing of The Witcher on Netflix. It's a beautiful adaptation of what are probably my favorite fantasy novels.
 

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
I'm on my second viewing of The Witcher on Netflix. It's a beautiful adaptation of what are probably my favorite fantasy novels.
The castle from "The Witcher" really exists and is located in Poland. The building also appeared in the Iron Maiden clip
Article in Polish about the Castle that appears in that series. It's the same that appears in the Iron Maiden's Behind the Iron Curtain video (Nicko and Bruce visiting the ruins of that castle) :D
link here

11269
 

LooseCannon

Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I just watched the first episode of The Witcher.

1 word review: Yikes.

Longer review:

I'll start with aesthetics. For $10 million an episode they didn't get very much, with extremely poor CGI anytime CGI was used. We're talking one step above SyFy-level CGI here, so really, not very good. The set design looks good, but I can tell that we better get used to everything being grey and drab, because it's a grey and drab world, so better be ready to be visually bored! The battle scene was really piss poor and it was very poorly arranged from a logical standpoint, it challenged my suspension of disbelief.

The one place, aesthetically, the episode seems to deliver was in costume design. The costumes look, for lack of a better word, spectacular. Geralt of Rivia in particular looks awesome, but the armour the King & Queen wore were great too. All of the peasant costumes were really well made, I enjoyed the work on all the dresses too, so great marks there. Really excellent costumes.

I really question the fight choreography as well. The big fight scene looked cool, but my brain was already screaming in the background. Every single "bad guy" was lined up for Geralt to kill in sequence, and he turned his back multiple times on a few fellows who calmly waited for their time to die. It looks fun, but it doesn't make any fucking sense. This technique is used quite well by some directors, such as Kirosawa and Leone - whatever's off screen isn't there - but when we are pivoting the camera quickly and aggressively to reveal the next person waiting for death, even before the current murderee is off screen, it's real obvious. Sword work with the fight with Renfri was super fun, though, except for the very, very poor cgi blood used anytime one nicked the other, I just don't think they should choreograph murdering 10 men the same as a duel against a skilled duelist.

The direction wasn't great either. The time shift between the interactions with Ciri & her family and Geralt in wherevertown was really hard to notice, and didn't seem to at this point serve a narrative function. A skilled director would have accented the time differences with visual and directoral differences, but everything feels the exact same from cut to cut, which means you don't notice that something should be different. As this is "bland medieval world #400", there's very little to tell me that one or another happens later or earlier in the timeline. A 16 year difference in our world is extremely notable (a tv show set in 1994 should have different visual and audible cultural touchpoints than one in 2020) but in these fantasy worlds they don't establish cultural differences.

The key to getting the time shift is noticing that Ciri comments on Queeny's first battle being something she learned about in song, and then Renfri later says that it just happened. But Ciri's comment comes in the middle of an exposition dump, so it's very easy to miss (my girlfriend missed it altogether, and I only got it by reading a summary of the episode after). A smart way to do this would be to have Ciri sing some of the song, and then later, Geralt hears the same tune but with different lyrics, possibly something bawdy. Enough to make you stop and think about it. Nope, no subtleties here!

So this brings me to the worst part of the episode, by far: the dialogue. Ohh, is the dialogue bad. Every single thing is either a standard fantasy trope trotted out as if it's new, or an exposition dump. The characters deliver their lines woodenly, prattling on about politics that they don't deem to show us, instead, they tell us about the way the world is organized and arranged. Talented actors like Lars Mikkelsen and Jodhi May prattle on about this thing and that endlessly like they are just looking forward to going home and cashing their paycheque, and very little people have on screen chemistry with anyone else. But the worst line is from Lars Mikkelsen at the end, when he tells Geralt that he had a choice, and he will never know if he made the wrong one - an extremely hamfisted attempt to make the show seem like it has the same moral choice plays that exist within the game. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Cavill is alright in the role, because it doesn't require any actual acting talent. He gets to stand there and look pretty, most of the time, or grunt and grumble and swing a sword. Really, it's the role he was born to play, and it's fun to watch him swing swords and mutter a lot. So that's...if not a point, it's not a downgrade, anyway.

But that's when it comes back to the other big failure of the episode: the story. The Witcher, as a game series, is about a world where nothing is good, everything is grey, and you are mostly choosing what depth of grey you want to indulge within. This show has a very hardened white and black divide. They try to pretend that the choice between Renfri and Lars Mikkelsen is grey vs grey, but it actually isn't - Geralt is just really stupid and mistakes a prophecy for a curse. When it comes to the political situation, they throw names endlessly at you to the point where you check out. I've already forgot the name of Evil Country, but what I do know is this: they are so laughably evil that my brain rejects them. "They will take no prisoners, they will torture everyone to death" is just dumb. This country is supposed to be taking over the world, you literally can't do that as a city state if you kill all the people in the countries you conquer. They're so laughably evil that it just blows up the whole concept of grey.

2/10.
 
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