The Killing, Season One

Why didn’t anyone warn me about this show?

Don’t start watching The Killing unless you’re willing to put in the time to finish the entire thing in one sitting. Because it’s really addicting.

And in case you’re thinking you can get away with just watching one season at a time: The murder is not resolved at the end of the first season. The story just keeps right on going into the second season.

I’m writing this paragraph to avoid spoilers, but my full thoughts are way down below: I had an idea of who the murderer might be after four or five episodes, based on my award-winning strategy of “picking the least plausible person it could possibly be.” Through the whole first season I was more and more convinced I was going to be right, because they never showed anything that directly refuted my theory. Once, it was close, but I can think of a way to explain it. At least until they arrested that dude in the last episode of season one. But then some evidence surfaced that made me think my theory could still be plausible, so I’m sticking with it as I start watching season two.

In many ways, The Killing is a stereotypical cop show. It’s got the cop obsessed with finding the murderer at the expense of her family. It’s got the victim’s family coping with the loss of their daughter and the morbid depictions of how a victim’s body gets back to the family after the crime. It’s got the cop who went too far undercover and got hooked on drugs. It’s got the crusty police lieutenants. It’s got the city hall with their political agendas that are more important than the truth.

But somehow it’s still a compelling show.

Continue reading The Killing, Season One

RE: The Leftovers, Episodes 8 and 9

I just finished watching episodes 8 and 9 of HBO’s The Leftovers, and something finally clicked. Yes, I know, I said I wasn’t going to watch more than 4 episodes, but I was intrigued by a television show (and a story) that does nothing but raise questions without ever answering them.

Oh, that crack I made about Lost? Turns out, Leftovers producer Damon Lindelof did write for Lost. No wonder!

Spoilers below if you haven’t seen the show yet. (I don’t recommend it, by the way. Unless the 10th and final episode of the season blows my mind, I just don’t get the point of this show.)

Continue reading RE: The Leftovers, Episodes 8 and 9

RE: The Leftovers

I feel like there should be some sort of law against television shows (or the books they are based on, I guess) that only raise questions without giving any answers in the first four episodes of the series. I can handle two episodes of story without context. I could even go to three episodes without any context. But four? Nope. That’s too much. I should have a basic understanding of where The Leftovers is going by now. (I have talked before about my need to understand the goals of the characters early in a story.) But now I have lost faith in the writers. Didn’t we learn anything from Lost? They are clearly just making it up as they go.

The Time of the Doctor

I didn’t understand much of anything that happened in the Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor, Matt Smith’s final episode as Dr. Who. I didn’t understand the story, I didn’t understand why he was carrying around a Cyberman head, I didn’t understand why the crack was back, I didn’t understand why there was a town called Christmas or why The Doctor was stuck there, I didn’t understand where the Church of the Holy Whatever with the soldiers came from, nothing, zip, zilch. It seemed like a completely random jumble of people, places, and concepts. Was any of that in the last half-season anywhere? I sure don’t remember it. I guess I wasn’t paying nearly enough attention.

Also I’m a little confused over how they calculated this to be Dr. Who’s thirteenth regeneration. By my count* it was his twelfth, counting John Hurt between 8 and 9, unless there’s another one in the lore that I don’t know about, which is entirely possible. I was a bit surprised to see them deal with his limited number of regenerations at all. Of course they resolved it in typical Dr. Who problem-solving fashion, which basically involves hand-waving and magic, but at least they acknowledged it instead of just ignoring it.

The best (and frankly the only meaningful) part of the episode was the touching farewell in the last five minutes or so. I’ve never particularly liked Matt Smith as the Doctor but it was still sad to see him go. It was a nice touch to bring back young Amy and older Amy for a moment.

I couldn’t tell what we’re going to get with Peter Capaldi since we only saw him as The Doctor for about five seconds. I’m hoping for a bit more gravitas, though. (Also, it seems like he should consider not regenerating on the TARDIS – this will be the third time in a row that he crashes the thing after regenerating.)

* 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 8-W, W-9, 9-10, 10-11, 11-12 = twelve regenerations, right?

The Walking Dead Season 4 Has Begun

Since Breaking Bad is gone, I guess The Walking Dead moves up to become the best drama on television, now starting its fourth season. This is traditionally the point in a show’s lifecycle when it starts to die out. Maybe not in TWD’s case, though, because the show didn’t really get going (imo) until its third season.

The first episode of Season 4 didn’t do much but set the stage for what’s to come in the rest of the season. Apparently, we are going to see a lot of: Muddy ground, bleak skies, bleak conditions, bleak people, and zombies.

One thing I had forgotten about TWD is how very, very depressing it is. I mean, I guess the total collapse of civilization and the loss of everything you hold dear would be a major downer in the best of circumstances, but good lord. The humans in this show are just as much zombies as the zombies are. There were some hints that they would deal with this in season 4, and I hope they do: These people have almost nothing to live for right now. They are just surviving. There’s no way that can sustain a story forever.

In preparation for the new season, I re-watched some of season 3. I didn’t realize just how much had happened. It feels like they’ve been in that prison for years, but at the beginning of season 3, they hadn’t even found it yet.

I know someone who has just recently started watching the show, and I was interested to hear them talk about how glad they were to see certain people killed. (Spoiler alert: Main characters sometimes die on TWD.) I guess that’s part of the fun of the survival horror genre. That got me to thinking about which characters I liked and disliked on the show. That got me to thinking that I don’t have any strong feelings about anyone one way or another. ("How very neutral of you.") The more I think about it, the less I seem to know about any of these characters. Almost none of them have any backgrounds or personalities or motivations. They are all completely defined by their actions post-zombies. There’s sheriff-guy, crossbow-guy, katana-gal, old-timey farmer, farmer’s daughter 1 & 2, and formerly-funny Asian guy. And some other people who are largely interchangeable survivors. Sort of cartooney. Or, heh heh, like comic book characters. See what I did there?

Anyway, I hope they start focusing on something besides survival in this season. Because I’m ready to move past the survival phase of this survival horror show.

Oh wait, I just realized that I don’t like Rick’s son, and honestly I wouldn’t be sad to see him go at all, so I guess there’s one person I have strong feelings about. I know he might have sort-of smiled once or twice in the season opener, but I still don’t trust him. He’s going to grow up to be a sociopathic serial killer or a traitor and somebody should put him down before that happens.