Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Haldurson, May 20, 2013.

  1. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I'm watching these videos now that are critical discussions about "The Sopranos", and television in general, how shows get made, why things are the way they are, and so on. The first couple of videos focus on the last episode of The Sopranos, but the discussion gets broader as it goes on. A lot of is really interesting, and I've learned a lot that I didn't know before. If you don't like or didn't watch "The Sopranos", it also discusses a lot of other shows as well, some just mentioned, some in detail ("Breaking Bad", "Louis", etc. -- even "The Simpsons", "Cheers", and "Archer" are mentioned). I'm on the last video (they are kind of lengthy), but I thought that they may be of interest. I don't necessarily agree with everything, but it's still fascinating to watch.

    And darn it, the last episode (of the discussion, not of "The Sopranos") is poorly edited -- don't worry, the discussion sounded like it was ending, but they kind of screwed it up.
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  2. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    I just recently re-discovered an old favorite of mine that I'd forgotten. 3rd Rock From the Sun is a hilarious sitcom about 4 aliens who take on human form in order to study Earth, and in the process they do just about everything wrong. I enjoy it as an "outsiders looking in" on just about everything we humans do and forget about because it's a daily thing. Very amusing. Also, John Lithgow is a genius.
  3. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    What I've been watching on and off lately are episodes of "Arrested Development", a very funny show about the Bluth family. They are all in trouble because just about everyone in the family (except, mostly, the oldest brother) are both totallly unscrupulous and total idiots. The patriarch of the family ends up going to prison for his business practices, and the eldest son ends up having to step in to run the family business. Everyone else in the family pretty much uses the company as their own private piggy bank, they fight, they screw one another and just behave badly. And I understand that they recently (out of nowhere) came out with a 4th season only on Netflix. I'm only up to the start of the second season myself, and I think that I must either have a horrible memory (which I know has been true lately) or I missed a lot of episodes, but either way, I'm enjoying some of it as if its brand new to me now.
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  4. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    Arrested Development is amazing and everyone should watch it.
    That said, I didn't enjoy the new season unfortunately, personally. Probably due to the format (each episode being focused around one character, so you don't really ever see the whole crew in one episode).
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  5. I've been watching Deep Space 9 which is turning out to be surprisingly good (except on occasion--mostly the feringi episodse--but, meh, star trek is like that). I hadn't actually watched much star trek before--I saw a biiiiit of TNG when I was like, six or something and then a while back tried to watch more of it but was put off by just how BAD the first season of TNG was.

    But like. DS9 is really good! (and the characters are much more interesting than TNG--other than the part where Quark SOMEHOW manages to never face any consequences for his actions--that is going to get REALLY OLD by the time this show is done ughhh.)

    (I also tried watching Babylon 5 a while back, and like. Honestly despite the similar premises they are really different shows.)
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  6. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    Not television, but to see the differences between Star Trek and Babylon 5 put in a cheesy comedic prospective, try Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning.
    (Direct download available from a number of sources, but the Internet Archive is the most common one.)

    DS9 was one of the worst series in all of Star Trek due to the awful Three Stooges imitations that the Ferangi always seem to be doing, and the political and religious nonsense that was injected as artificial filler content to waste time in boring episodes. Still some of it was well done. But the bad far outweighs the good in my never humble opinion.
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  7. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Most (not all) of the science fiction that we remember with fondness, actually were never as good as we remember them to be. I think that experience makes us a bit jaded, and we start demanding more. I kind of agree with you about DS9, and will go one step further and state that Star Trek, when compared with much modern science fiction and most literary science fiction, doesn't hold up. Don't get me wrong -- there were specific episodes of the original series that I think were great. But overall, it doesn't hold up as a series for a variety of reasons.

    My main problems with the Star Trek series that followed the original one was that they kept trying to create a bunch of quirky characters, and far too often, instead of inspiring humor, they inspired irritation (at least in me). When they dropped Wesley Crusher from TNG, I thought that they picked the wrong character -- don't get me wrong, he needed to go. But that first officer, I just hated him. And the stories were cheats, poorly written with cheap deus-ex-machina gimmicks (like Helen o'Troy (or whatever her name actually was) always sensing what people were thinking. It was a cheap gimmick and I always felt cheated by it.

    Anyway enough with my rant answering your rant. I did really enjoy (most) of Babylon 5. Seasons 2 and 3, and most of 4 were excellent. I know that Bruce Boxleitner got a lot of flack when he replaced Michael O'Hare, but it was something that really had to happen. I thought he was miscast, but he did better when they brought Sinclair back as a recurring character. Boxleitner is not a great actor, but he was good as Sheridan. The writing of the show was much better than the VAST majority of Trek, the stories made more sense, they actually LISTENED a bit to their technical advisors (instead of Trek, where they just made the science up as they went along), and they paid tribute to a lot of the great science fiction writers of the past (there are references to Alfred Bester (the character "Bester", played by Walther Koenig of Trek fame), and Arthur C. Clark (the Technomages), and so on. I remember there were more but that's all I can think of offhand.

    /edit I always wondered what B5 would have been had the studios not screwed with it forcing them to rewrite and then rewrite again. I feel that had Straczynsky been left to his own devices, it would be up there with the revised Battlestar Galactica as one of the greats.
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  8. Yeah I have not particularly liked the Star Trek I've seen for the most part; DS9 is the only one I've liked--and even then the quality is really uneven--see: the Feringi. But it seems to be mostly ignoring the stuff I hated in the other serieses--holodecks, everyone being inexplicably perfect, Q. (...I mean the fact that I think Picard is boring probably contributes to my not liking TNG)

    Although then it has Quark. :\ IDK I'd rather have Wesley Crusher or Riker or Picard than Quark.
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  9. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    I would rather have Barney the Dinosaur than Quark... :)

    B5 was great in that some of the technology in the series was actually possible stuff. They did not use artificial gravity in most of the Human ships and stations until very late in the series, and they fired projectiles rather than beams of strangely visible light. Ion drives were common, and their solution to FTL was to use alien technology that most people barely understood anything at all about.

    No shields, no transporters, no indestructible materials. Armor was simple ablative materials. Air was different for different races. Most races spoke different languages and had no comprehension of most other races languages. Power was a finite thing in every possible case. It made the series much easier to watch, despite having an agonizing amount of alien political BS to use as filler for each and every episode.

    I have watched practically every last science fiction series, and despite some awful parts that irritate me, B5 was one of the very best.

    It made Star Trek look awful by comparison. Star Trek always had the recurring theme of ending with happy thoughts.
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  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    It's one thing to have a character with interesting quirks or personality traits, but that was just done for humor, and while that may have been funny for a single episode or two at the most, you don't want to see the same guy week after week after week.

    Which reminds me (as a segue to get off the subject of Trek), there's a new series now that may turn out to have the same problem (which is a shame, because otherwise, the first episode of it was promising). They've been advertising the hell out of this new television series "The Bridge", and story-wise and acting-wise, it shows a lot of promise... except for the main character. It's one of these continuing story series in a similar vein as "The Killing" (which actually is a pretty good show itself). It's another crime drama like "The Killing", and in this case, its dealing with a murder mystery that spans the Texas/Mexico border. But one of the main characters, played by Diane Kruger, has Aspergers. Now I've seen people portrayed before who have Aspergers, and I had a friend who had mild Aspergers. But this character is just so plain annoying and so obviously is not qualified for her job as a result. She's a police detective who can't deal properly with people. Maybe that's realistic, maybe it's loosely based on a real person, but it doesn't make it any less painful to watch.

    The rest of the show shows promise, so maybe I'll give it a chance going forward.

    BTW, I had a friend/co-worker with mild Aspergers, and occasionally he would irritate me as well. He was a very talented programmer, also a very nice guy, who obviously knew what he was doing from a technical standpoint -- I certainly learned from him. But he also happened to be completely inflexible, which is not good if you are part of a team.
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  11. So are we talking Hollywood Asperger's or actual well researched depiction of autism that isn't just a collection of stereotypes? ("can't interact with people!" "likes math!" "is always male!" ...well obviously it's not doing that last one but. Which I mean those all happen but they're hardly universal and I am none of them :p)

    Because I don't think I've actually seen any depiction of autism on TV that I actually thought was any good. >.<
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  12. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Stereotypes aside, I only one real life example I can point to, the one friend I've mentioned, and he was nothing like anyone that I've seen depicted by Hollywood or television, and I think that would be the case with any individual suffering from any disorder. To quote something I once heard (and I wish I could remember where, because I love the saying): "I'm unique, just like everyone else". In other words, no one fits exactly into any stereotypes in real life, but stereotypes often include characteristics of multiple individuals thrown together, and thus never depict anyone real.

    Another real life example I can think of: I have TWO (yes, two) aunts that were diagnosed as Schizophrenic, one was one of my Dad's sisters, and the other was my Mom's sister (no wonder I'm so screwed up lol). My mom's sister delusional, was frequently institutionalized (but kept walking out of those institutions because they could not afford security), kept going off her meds, thought she was married when she wasn't (had almost the whole family convinced of it, in fact), and so on.

    On the other hand, my Dad's sister, also diagnosed with the same disease, was an officer in the army, a dietician, never institutionalized, and pretty much self-reliant until she got so old and frail that she could not live on her own. On the other hand, when my brother and I were kids, she once threatened to kill both of us (which I only found out about in recent years). It explains her absence from all family functions and get-togethers from my pre-teen years and going forward.

    So I know what you mean.
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  13. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I'm sorry, I realized after that that I actually never answered your original question. My answer is "I don't know". They never actually said that she was autistic, had Aspergers. That was my inference from her behavior. Essentially, she volunteered to inform the husband of one of the dead women and handled it completely without tact or sensitivity to the point that the husband kicked her out of his home. Essentially, she's depicted as being socially awkward and lacking in tact.

    But back to my original statement, just because you (I assume you are claiming you have Aspergers) are not like this or that, doesn't mean that there aren't individuals who have those characteristics. As in my example with my two aunts, there's all different degrees, and possible symptoms, plus people learn to deal better or worse, learn to compensate for whatever deficiencies they may have better or worse than another individual, and so on. No two people are the same, and that applies whether you have Aspergers or are Schizophrenic, or suffer from depression or are bipolar, or just an average gamer who wandered unknowingly into this strange conversation.
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  14. Oh no it's not that the stereotypes never happen or are always wrong, just that if they're relying on them it's a good chance the writers didn't actually do much research (like autism is as much, if not more, about sensory/information processing, and that never seems to be included). It isn't so much an issue of the person not resembling me specifically (it's called a spectrum for a reason! :p), it's more that if they're only following stereotypes it's a warning sign that they probably didn't bother to do actual research--and thus to someone who deals with this for a living ("living" mostly meaning volunteer stuff 'cause disabilities :p) it's probably not going to hold up.

    But yeah I know how it works, I have quite a lot of experience with developmental disorders/mental illness/psychiatry; I am autistic (I wouldn't call it aspergers or mild), but that doesn't actually have all that much to do with television shows so.

    I mean unless I wanted to use it to go into shows that I did like? Which I can't think of many; I liked Parker from Leverage? (Idk if I'd say she was super well written as an autistic character but I also haven't watched the show recently so its hard to be sure >.<)
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  15. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Been watching three things recently.

    Seinfeld - Onto Season 8 now. I think I've watched almost every episode to this point in its entirety, but I'm watching it via a web player (legit, I get access to it due to our house subscribing to satellite TV), so sometimes bits of episodes just don't play or something, so lately I've been missing the last few minutes or so. But I love this show, and I love how it doesn't actually make sense... except it does.

    The X-Files - Cheating here as I've been watching it via DVD. I just finished the first season today, and I'll be ordering the second soon, I think. Going to go for the more expensive (but arguably more sensible) path of buying each season as I watch it. It was sat on my shelf for a year before getting to S1, so yeah. Still haven't really touched Battlestar Galactica and I've got the first two seasons. Ahem. But yeah, gotta say I have a love for The X-Files already, and I'm gonna get to work on the comics in the meantime.

    Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire - History Channel documentary. Got a boxset of 13 episodes of it, and it's American so you have all these funny looking, over-enthusiastic professors with funny accents and stuff alongside really badly done Lithuanian-produced re-enactments where the people shout "YAY!" and talk to each other in what I assume is Lithuanian rather than Latin or Greek or whatever. And it's sooooooo hilariously bad, yet the professors can be quite interesting, and already they've said things and looked at things in ways I hadn't considered.
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  16. The X-Files is one of those shows I sort of tried to watch but couldn't get into.

    I should probably try again at some point (I seem to recall I didn't particularly like it? Except thinking back it doesn't seem like I can remember what was actually bothering me about it >.< Besides maybe I wasn't used to 90s production qualities???)
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  17. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    It requires patience.
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  18. Well it appears to be on netflix so I might try watching it again at some point.
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  19. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I was kind of a fan of the X-Files back in the early days when it was on the air. When it was good, it could be very good. But I also have to admit that the show sometimes made me mad and it was completely inconsistent and I wanted to shoot the writers half the time, and Mulder the other half (and even Scully, once in a blue moon). Also, it pretty much became unwatchable towards the last few seasons, so I actually stopped watching it at that point.
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  20. OmniaNigrum

    OmniaNigrum Member

    What science fiction does not get worse near the end of a series?

    There may be one, but I cannot recall one that did not try every lame trick to stretch too little out for another season or two.

    X-files was not a particular favorite, but I watched it all. It is however not rewatchable, whereas more fiction focused science fiction can be rewatched without feeling as lame. (X-files was Science Fiction pretending to be non-fiction. Most of the genre may as well star My Little Pony for all the realism they have.)
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