Friday, March 31, 2017

Iron Fist 1.01

Snow Gives Way

I didn't mean to watch the whole episode. I thought I would just give it a try. I didn't love it but I also didn't hate it. I would have to say that I liked it.

Danny Rand returns to NYC. He has been missing, presumed dead, for 15 years. Now he walks around barefoot and lives on the street. He tries approaching some people he knew when he was last in New York, the Meachum siblings: Wade and Joy. They don't believe he is Danny. They sick security on him, He tries approaching them individually away from their high-rise office building in Manhattan but isn't any more successful.

Danny meets a martial arts instructor named Colleen Wing when he is hanging out in a park. He tries talking her into letting him teach a class at her school. She brushes him off but later witnesses how he deals with Meachum's security.

He tries approaching Joy one more time toward the end of the episode. This time she agrees to talk to him. He starts to tell her about what happened to him but he doesn't get very far before he realizes that the tea she gave him was drugged. He collapses and wakes up in a mental institution just in time to get injected with another sedative. The way this part is done and placed just at the end of the episode makes it seem as if all that came before was might have just been a dream. I don't think it was but the thought did occur to me.

This feels like a slow burn. There aren't a lot of fights in this episode. I can see how people who like to shotgun episodes of shows like these wouldn't be too excited after watching the first episode. It is quieter and feels more sedate than the other Marvel Netflix shows. I'm not confident that it will be in the same class as the other Marvel Netflix shows but I want to continue watching.

I'm not coming at this show with any preconceived notions of what came before it. I have read very little of the Iron Fist or Power Man and Iron Fist comic books. I haven't heard anyone praising the virtues of this show. I have heard a lot of grumbling from people who either haven't started watching it or only watched a few episodes. At the moment on Netflix the consensus rating is 1.5 out of 5.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

NewsRadio 2.15

Houses of the Holy

Beth dates Theo (played by David Cross), Mr. James nephew. It is a bit of a wild ride.

Joe fills in for Catherine when she is out sick. It is Phil's idea, initially, but then when he sees how good Joe is at reading the news and talking on the air extemporaneously he changes his mind very quickly.

Good one. Not great but solidly good.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Flash 1.14

Fallout

This is part two of the story that began in the previous episode, even though it is not labeled as such. This two-part story does not feature the first appearances of Dr. Martin Stein, Ronnie Raymond, and Firestorm but they are definitely the focus of it.

Barry gets himself and Dr. Snow clear of the blast that occurred when Firestorm "exploded" at the end of the previous episode. Once they realize that there is no danger of radioactive contamination they go back to investigate the blast site and find the two men separated once again. They take them back to S.T.A.R. Labs  to run some tests on them. For the most part everything seems normal. The two men try to return to their previous lives only to discover that a couple things have changed.

The first thing they find is that they now share a symbiotic relationship in that when one feels pain the other one does too. I have to wonder why is it just pain that they share? Why not pleasurable sensations too? This symbiotic nature of their existence warns Dr. Stein when Ronnie is in danger even though they are miles apart. He calls Barry and tells him so he can come to Ronnie's rescue. This brings in the second thing which was seen at the very end of the previous episode, the return of General Wade Eiling.

General Eiling wants to capture Firestorm and figure out how to reverse engineer him. He wants super-soldiers with Firestorm's powers under his command. He first tries to capture Ronnie but Flash interferes with that plan. Even though the general isn't successful he came prepared for Flash with a weapon that causes him some serious harm, temporarily. This is a set back for Eiling but he isn't ready to give up just yet. His next move is to convince Dr. Wells to do his dirty work for him. It is unclear why Dr. Wells helps the general but he knocks out Dr. Stein with a glass of scotch that presumably was laced with some sort of drug. Eiling comes in and takes the unconscious doctor away.

The good guys use the symbiotic relationship between Dr. Stein and Ronnie to locate the former and free him. The two men, for the first time, merge into Firestorm willingly. Together with the Flash they defeat General Eiling and his men. Their part of this story ends with them flying off to Pittsburgh in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the general.

Most of the action revolves around Firestorm but there are a couple other plot threads that get some screen time in this episode.

Iris gets talked into investigating S.T.A.R Labs by Mason Bridge, her colleague. As she begins to investigate she starts to notice some inconsistencies in the facts she gets from Caitlin. I am sure this will be pursued further.

Joe reveals to Barry what he and Cisco discovered in the last episode: that he will time travel back to the night his mother was murdered and attempt to stop the other speedster from killing her. It bothers Barry that he knows he won't be successful. It is just a minor setback. He quickly decides that what he needs to do is learn from the evidence they have found so that he can change the past. I think, based on what little I have heard about the end of this season, that this is what is going to happen.

There are a number of things that get cleared up very quickly without explanation. The prime example in my mind is the effects of the weapon that General Eiling uses on the Flash when he comes to Ronnie Raymond's rescue. It looks pretty serious. He has hundreds of little needles sticking out of his skin. Without explanation, after a scene shift the needles have all been removed. The story flows along nicely so there was plenty of other things to keep my attention but still, how did they fix him up so quickly?

A couple other thoughts. First, I'm wondering if Caitlin Snow's exposure to the blast at the beginning of this episode will be the catalyst that will give her super powers. In the comic books Caitlin Frost is the civilian name of the villain known as Killer Frost. I don't recall what her origin was there or if she was a scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs before acquiring superpowers and becoming a villain.

Second, in the final scene Dr. Wells is shown wearing the Reverse Flash costume, I think for the first time. He pays a visit to General Eiling, whisks him away, and delivers him to Gorilla Grodd. Is General Eiling dead? I hope not but if not I'm not sure what comes next for him. When is Grodd going to get his own episode. This marks the third time he has appeared. What about Solivar? Gorilla City?

Overall I enjoyed this two-part story very much.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Maron 4.06

Sobriety Bush

Marc has to find a place to live after returning to Los Angeles. He attends an AA meeting and gets a sponsor who helps him find a place to live. He starts taking steps towards getting back to work; he goes on stage at the Ice House, and bombs.

This was not an extremely upbeat episode but there were a few good laughs.

Shirley, the woman who owns the place where Marc stays, is played by Sally Struthers. Gerry, Marc's sponsor, is played by Don Stark who was part of the cast of That 70s Show, which I watched when it first aired.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.11

Tall Men with Feelings

Piper does it again. Her big mouth and greater than thou sense of entitlement causes trouble for her.

Dayanara and Bennett try to figure out how to deal with the fact that he got her pregnant. His idea doesn't pan out so she goes with a plan suggested by Red. Dayanara gets Mendez to have sex with her. The plan is that afterwards she will scream rape and he will get arrested. The plan doesn't work out because Mendez insists on using a condom, so there isn't any physical evidence. Red tells Dayanara she will have to do it again and make sure to get evidence next time. Dayanara wasn't too keen on Red's plan originally and if anything she feels worse about continuing to pursue this approach. Presumably if she does Bennett will find out about it and there will be fireworks.

Doggett is sent to psych. It wasn't easy to watch those scenes. It was disturbing. She's kind of nutty. She doesn't say anything to make me like her but it still was chilling stuff to watch. In the end she gets out because Chapman goes to Caputo and tells him that it's her fault and that Doggett isn't crazy. Chapman gets some extra duty and Doggett is released. Who knows what the fallout from that will be.

I thought Chapman was nuts for going to Caputo like that. She still thinks that she is better than everyone else or at the very least sees things differently than her fellow inmates. I wonder if that changes over the course of the next few seasons. The show has run for four seasons so far and has been renewed for a few more after that. Her original sentence was for 15 months. I'm thinking that Chapman is going to do something that will get her prison sentence lengthened.

There is a small informal memorial service for Miller. Chapman tried to organize one but no one showed up to help her. Instead a bunch of the other inmates organized their own.

The episode ends with Larry appearing on NPR. He talks about his relationship with Piper but mostly he tells stories that she told him. Everyone in the prison is listening. They all learn what she thinks of them or at least what she told Larry about them. The last scene is of her on the phone with Larry. She admits to what she did, cheating on him with Alex. He tells her that he lied to her before and that Alex is the one who betrayed her. I didn't side with or feel empathy toward either Piper or Larry. They've both done reprehensible things.

This sets things up nicely for the last two episodes of the season. At one point in this episode it seemed like Chapman was finally starting to fit in and accept her place but now things are looking more down than up.

This one really kept my attention. The focus bounced around from thread to thread but my interest never waned.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Kids on the Slope 1.02

Summertime

Kaoru practices playing the opening of Moanin' and fantasizes about how impressed Ritsouko and Sentarou will be when he plays it for them. He gets attacked by some bullies after school, possibly the same ones that Sentarou fought in the last episode. He is rescued by Sentarou and Ritsouko. After he regains his bearings and realizes how pathetic he must look he takes off his glasses and attempts to help Sentarou deal with the bullies.

The trio finds someone waiting for them back at Mukae Records, another musician. His name is Junichi and he is a university student in Tokyo. He used to live just down the street. Kauru and Sentarou jam with Junichi and Ritsouko's father. This, along with the scenes of Kaoru practiving at home are my favorite parts of the episode.

After the jam session, Kaoru suggests to Ritsouko that they should study together. She says yes but when he shows up to meet her he finds that she has brought Sentarou along with her. They don't study together. They go to the beach, rent a boat, and go swimming. Kaoru doesn't get the alone time he desired with Ritsouko but sparks fly between Sentarou and Yurika, a girl he saves from some bullies.

I'm still enjoying the show but this episode seemed tilted a little less toward the music than the last one. If anything the focus of this one seemed to be more about Kaoru crushing on Ritsuoko. If she had seemed more three dimensional, like Kaoru does, then I probably would have enjoyed this episode more than I did.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Flash 1.13

The Nuclear Man

Dr. Stein returns. He is in the body of Ronnie Raymond. The only sighting of Dr. Stein in his own body is in a flashback to a memory Barry has of meeting him about a year ago, before he gained his speed powers.

Cisco and Detective West investigate the murder of Barry's mother. They visit the home that Barry lived in when he was a kid. Using some high tech gadget Cisco is able to pick up some readings which leads them to peel back the wallpaper. Behind the wallpaper are bloodstains. Cisco has the bloodstains tested. There is blood from two different people. One is Barry, adult Barry.

Barry goes on a date with Linda. All is going well until he gets a call from STAR Labs just as things are getting hot and heavy. Linda isn't happy but the next day she forgives him until he gets another call (just as they are making plans for another date) and runs off again. Linda has a chat with Iris about Barry which leaves Linda thinking that Barry had feelings for Iris that were not reciprocated. Barry calls again and Linda tells him what she learned. He pulls a crazy stunt, eating a hot pepper, and Linda agrees to give him another chance.

With some help from Dr. Stein's wife the STAR Labs team tracks down Dr. Stein/Ronnie Raymond. They bring him back to the lab, clean him up and give him some medication that help him to control his emotional state. They want to separate Stein and Raymond but they soon learn that his body is about to go nuclear. Stein/Raymond wanders off. Flash and Caitlin go after him with a device created by Dr. Wells and Cisco, a quantum splicer. They get the device to Stein/Raymond but then he goes nuclear which is noticed by General Eiling.

Pretty good but not great. I did enjoy the dating drama and emotional turmoil experienced by Barry, Linda, and Iris. For the first time it seems like Iris is jealous because Barry is seeing someone. I guess she is worried she will lose him to Linda.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NewsRadio 2.14

Zoso

Beth is going to start her own business and asks Mr. James for advice on how to negotiate. Lisa sits in on the advice sessions and unsuccessfully tries to use Mr. James' tips to help her get a raise from Dave. Bill brings his new girlfriend to the radio station. She thinks he is British and Bill asks everyone to play along.

I recall seeing this one before. Not blow my socks off great but there were lots of nice little moments that made me chuckle.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Maron 4.05

Marc in Florida

Marc graduates from the rehab clinic. He had nowhere else to go so he accepts an invitation from his mother to come stay with her in Miami. Marc clashes with Ralph, his mother's boyfriend. By the end of the episode he is packing and on his way back to LA.

On the whole a pretty good episode. I chuckled more than a few times. It wasn't what I was expecting. I was starting to get used to the rehab clinic arc as the new normal. Now it is over. I wonder if Trey, Adam, or Chris will surface again during this season.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Azumanga Daioh 1.02

Osaka's Day

This episode focuses on the girl from Osaka whose nickname is Osaka. She's a little spacey, maybe a lot spacey. She isn't athletic in the least bit, she loses to Chiyo-chan in a race and can't seem to catch a ball. She gets the hiccups and then gets all sort of help getting rid of them, most which isn't very helpful and some of which is painful. She daydreams about Chiyo's pigtails. Most of the humor seemed to revolve around how dim-witted Osaka is. Not my favorite episode.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.10

Bora Bora Bora

What an intense episode. Things are starting to come to a head.

Vause enlists the aid of a few other inmates to pull a long con on Pensatucky. They convince her that her so-called faith healing abilities are real. By the end of the episode she believes so strongly in her gift that she tries to make a wheelchair-bound visitor to the prison walk. She doesn't get thanked but she does get pepper-sprayed for assaulting the visitor. I had hard time figuring out how this was going to play out in the end. I was pleasantly surprised with the direction it took.

Chapman talks to her brother about Larry who hasn't called or visited since Thanksgiving when she was locked up in SHU. There is a brief backstory spotlight on Larry and Piper that shows how they met. Everyone seems to know that Chapman and Vause are an item now. She tries to deny it but she likes it. In a way her story kind of takes a back seat to or at least shares the spotlight with some of the other stories running through this episode.

Bennett gets a visit at home from Cesar who tells him that Dayanara is pregnant. It was tense for a moment there where it looked like Cesar was there to do more than talk and that Bennett was about to reach for a gun. Bennett confronts Dayanara about being pregnant. Aleida joins the conversation. The big upshot of this conversation is that Bennett didn't lose his leg in combat but after he got out of the military. Dayanara still plans to keep the baby even though Bennett could go to prison if it is discovered that he's the father.

The other backstory spotlight is on Miller. In the present she's back from detox. In the past she is shown living on the streets, doing what she has to do to get by, stealing from a store and getting caught red handed doing so. She didn't have it easy then and she doesn't now. In the present, Mendez tries to get her start using again. She refuses and he insists that she distribute drugs for him. She starts to and then has a moment of clarity and does something drastic. Before she does it she says something about setting the record straight or words to that effect. When I head her say that I had a bad feeling about how this episode would end.

Miss Claudette gets a visit from her old friend who was last seen in flashback in 1.04 and she hasn't seen in over 10 years.

Some teenagers in the Scared Straight program are brought to the prison for a visit. A group of prisoners do their best to mess with the girls. One of the teens, who is in a wheelchair, seems tougher than the rest. Poussey tries to scare her but she is a little too respectful of the wheelchair. Chapman has a little more success with scaring the girl in the wheelchair.

In the aftermath of Miller's actions, Nichols goes to Red and tells her that she was the one who told Mendez about Neptune. That's where the episode ends, with Red vowing that they will get back at Mendez for what he did to Miller.

Intense, beyond belief. This is an excellent episode which set things up nicely and has me hungry for more. I really want to see what's going to happen with Red and Nichols and Mendez.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kids on the Slope 1.01

Moanin'

Kaoru Nishimi is new to Kyushu. On his first day at a new school he meets a number of students but ends up hanging out with two of them more than the rest. Kaoru is fairly reserved. Ritsuoko Mukae, a classmate of his, is assigned to show him around the school. While she is giving him the tour he gets beaned by a ball thrown by another student and starts to feel like he is going to throw up.

This isn't the first time this has happened to Kaoru. He has a history of getting disorienting nausea at inopportune times. His cure for these debilitating attacks is to go to the roof of the school. It there or on his way there that he first encounters Sentarou Kawabuchi.

Sentarou is much bigger than the other kids in the class. When he is first shown he is drumming away with a couple of sticks, not drumsticks, just sticks. He gets into a fight on a whim with three older students. He's a bit reckless and at one point it looks like he is going to start picking on Kaoru.

After school the three meet up again at the record store that Ritsuko's father owns. It is there that Kaoru learns that Sentarou like to play drums and jazz. He has no interest in classical music, which is what drew Kaoru to the record store.

Director, Shinichiro Watanabe, and music composer, Yoko Kanno, also worked together on Cowboy Bebop, probably my favorite anime series.

So far Ritsuko is playing third fiddle to the guys. I'm fairly confident it won't stay that way based on past experiences with anime about a trio of friends, two male, one female, like Cowboy Bebop.

I realize that I am just one episode in but I really like this show so far. I thought the first minute or two were a bit stiff, probably because the focus was on Kaoru, who is by far the most uptight of the trio. As with Cowboy Bebop, I really like the way music is used. Of course, in this case music plays a role in the plot of the story, unlike Cowboy Bebop. The show only runs 12 episodes.

The title of the episode is a reference to Art Blakey's tune of the same name. The song is also mentioned in the episode.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Flash 1.12

Crazy for You

Cisco lets Hartley, the villain from last episode, out of lock up. Hartley has promised to help him find out what happened to Ronnie Raymond. Despite the animosity between he and Hartley, Cisco lets him out. Hartley shows Cisco what he knows about Ronnie's disappearance which includes a brief appearance of Dr. Stein. They also more or less explain what happened to Dr. Stein and Ronnie Raymond. Of course Hartley tricks Cisco in the end and escapes.

A new villain appears on the scene. As of yet she doesn't have a code name. Her real name is Shawna Baez. Caitlin suggests that they call her Peekaboo but that doesn't seem to stick. Shawna breaks her boyfriend out of Iron Heights. She has the ability to teleport with the restriction that she has to be able to see the place to which she is teleporting. With some help from Barry's Dad, who is still in Iron Heights, the Flash is able to track down and eventually catch Shawna. Clay Parker, her boyfriend gets away. His disappearance seems kind of sudden and makes me wonder if her powers rubbed off on him.

Barry and Caitlin commiserate over their non-existent personal lives, first at S.T.A.R. Labs and later at a bar. Caitlin gets hammered and gets Barry to sing karaoke with her: Summer Lovin' from Grease. Barry gets approached by a woman after singing, it seems like she is hitting on him. Her name is Linda Park. It turns out she is a coworker of Iris although they work in separate department at the newspaper and don't know one another. The episode ends with Barry going out on a date with Linda. Iris looked disappointed when she saw Barry at the newspaper only to discover that he wasn't there to see her.

A few scenes before Barry met Linda for a date it looked like Caitlin was ready to move on and give up on Ronnie ever coming back. It also looked like she was interested in Barry but he didn't reciprocate that interest.

If I remember correctly Linda Park in the comic books was married to Wally West, not Barry Allen. I'm going to try to not look ahead to see how many episodes Linda will be appearing in. I could see their relationship lasting the rest of the season but it could also be over in the next episode.

Barry's Dad appears in three scenes. First he offers to help by finding out what he can about Clay Parker. Barry returns to the prison for another visit after his father is stabbed. Barry returns for one more visit near the end of the episode. Henry, Barry's Dad, seems to know that his son is the Flash. This goes back to episode 3 when Henry got a quick look at the Flash. Barry doesn't say he is the Flash but the way he talks makes it seem like isn't denying the fact either.

The final scene is of a couple guys from the power company walking around the sewers only to find the name Grodd written on wall. Then they are attacked and presumably killed by an ape or a gorilla. Gorilla Grodd presumably.

This was a fun episode. I liked all the twists and turns and the way that relationships changed or progressed. I also like the new villain.

Maron 4.04

The 13th Step

I was wrong. The rehab arc is not over. Marc is still in rehab.

Marc is hit on by Natalie, a fresh face at the rehab center. She is age appropriate and drank heavily before she arrived at the rehab center. She needs something and hopes to get it from Marc. Even though he is attracted to her he can't get himself to do the wrong thing. He turns down sex with her twice.

This episode probably should have been called Natalie because the plot revolved heavily around her. I'm still confused about what the 13th step is exactly. Loved the humorous moments with Trey and Adam.

Monday, March 13, 2017

UFO Robo Grendizer 1.01

Kouji Kabuto and Duke Fleed

Kouji Kabuto returns to Japan, his homeland, to investigate UFO sightings. He arrives at the Shirakaba Ranch, owned by Dabei Makiba and Dr Umon. Kouji arrives in the TFO, a flying saucer that he built himself. Dandei is obsessed with welcoming aliens to Earth and at first thinks that Kouji is an alien. Kouji similarly dreams of establishing trade between the Earth and other planets. Both of them are unaware that there is a real alien force from the planet Vega monitoring Earth and preparing to conquer the planet.

Daisuke Umon, Danbei's employee, warns Kouji and Dr. Umon, his father, when he sees the moon turn red that it is a sign that the UFOs are getting ready to attack. Kouji scoffs at Daisuke's warning. More UFOs are sighted the next day and Kouji goes up in the TFO to investigate even though Daisuke warned him about them. The UFOs attack Kouji and Daisuke is forced to take action. He heads for the Space Science Institute where he transforms into Duke Fleed, retrieves Grendizer, his giant robo, and fights off the alien space craft.

When the Vegans see Grendizer they release a more powerful spacecraft, the saucer beast Giru Giru. The beast attacks the TFO but Grendizer rescues Kouji and destroys the beast. After the battle Kouji returns to the Shirakaba Ranch and talks to Daisuke. He suspects that the ranch hand was the pilot in the giant robo that saved him but he hesitates and doesn't push the matter.

There are a lot of introductions in this episode. It took watching it a couple times to put it all together succinctly. I watched this show dubbed in French when I was a child. In French it is called Goldorak. I now have two sets of DVDs of the series, one is in Japanese with English subtitles and the other is dubbed in French. I was watching the Japanese version. My French isn't quite good enough for me to pick up everything and there are no subtitles on the French dubbed version. I have fond memories of watching the show in the late 1970s. It doesn't quite live up to my memories of it but like some old comic books I think it needs to be viewed in the proper context.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.09

Fucksgiving

It is Thanksgiving.

Taystee gets out but before that happens her fellow inmates throw a party for her. Vause and Chapman get caught dancing together, by Pensatucky who tells Healy about it, shows it to him. He has Chapman locked up in SHU, solitary, for lewd dancing. That's where she spends most of the episode. She goes a bit around the bend. She goes off on Healy when he comes to visit her. In the end she gets out because Larry raises a stink and starts calling all sorts of people.

Vause tries to get back at Pensatucky but that backfires. Vause gets the backstory spotlight. Her father was in a rock band. Her mother was a single mom because dad didn't stick around. She didn't have it easy growing up. She didn't meet her Dad until she was in her late teens or early twenties. That is also where and when she was introduced to the world of drug smuggling.

Dayanara tries homemade remedies to get rid of the that which is growing inside of her. It is probably a little too early to call it a baby. She gets hoodwinked and the potion she takes just makes her feel a little sick. In the end she decides she wants to carry on with the pregnancy. Her mother is very happy with her decision.

Crystal, Burset's wife, wants her blessing to pursue a relationship with a man, a pastor. She balks and at first refuses to give it. Burset talks to Ingalls, the nun, about it. Ultimately she gives her blessing.

Red finds a bag of pills in the grocery delivery. She flushes them down the toilet. They were for Mendez. She still doesn't know that Nichols is the one who told Mendez how she was getting stuff smuggled into Litchfield. Mendez returns the favor by pissing in the big pot of gravy.

The episode ends with two crucial moments. Healy calls Larry and presumably tells him about Piper's lesbian leanings. The scene ends mid conversation so it isn't clear exactly what he tells Larry but the implication is clear. Once Chapman gets out of SHU, after about 2 days, she find Vause, pulls her into the chapel. The two start making out and tearing off their clothes.

There was at least two moments that got me choked up. One of them, Taystee waving good-bye to Poussey, was understandale. The other moment was much more subtle. It was when then showed the spread at the Thanksgiving meal that Larry hosts. I don't recall what immediately preceeded it but it was definitely a scene from Litchfield.

This was a crazy good episode. There's just 4 episodes left in season one and I'm eager to see how and in which direction the various plotlines develop from here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Secret Diary of a Call Girl 1.08

Belle is invited to join a high class agency. She accepts the offer but soon learns that it isn't the life she needs. Ben breaks off his engagement with his fiancee.

The episodes of this show really should have been longer than they were. Many, possibly all, of the episodes in this season felt rushed. There just wasn't enough time to pace things in a way that felt right to me. A situation would be set up and then before you know it the episode is ending and things have changed drastically. It was very unsatisfying. I don't hate this show, I just find it to be flawed in a way that makes me reluctant to watch more.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

NewsRadio 2.13

The Bitch Session

Dave accidentally overhears the staff bitching about the way he runs things at the radio station. He is unable to deal with the situation so he turns to Mr. James, his boss, for support.

Bill asks Joe to buy him a voice modulator. Joe insists on building one himself.

The b-plot was lacking in laughs but the a-plot was pleasantly amusing. Not a great episode but not truly awful either.

Azumanga Daioh 1.01

I've watched some, possibly most of this show before but it has probably been about 10 years since I last watched it. It is not a sit com but it is played for laughs. The show is based on a manga series of the same name which I have not read.

The focus of this episode is to introduce five characters. Accordingly each chapter spotlights a different character

1. Child High School Student

I'm not sue about the title for this one but the character who is spotlighted is Yukari Tanizaki, who isn't a student but a teacher. Her bicycle beaks down. She goes a little nuts (in a humorous way) imagining what the principal will say when she arrives late on the first day of the school year.

2. She's a Prodigy

Chiyo Mihama or Chiyo-chan is just 10 but has enrolled in high school. She's smart enough to keep up intellectually but she is emotionally just 10.

3. Scary Maybe?

Sakaki is much taller and more physically developed that the other girls in her class, most of whom are intimidated by her. Despite her appearance she isn't very aggressive.

4. Wildcat Tomo-chan

Tomo Takino is the tomboy of the class. She is constantly concerned about measuring herself and her accomplishments against those of her classmates.

5. The Osakan Girl

Ayuma Kasuga is from Osaka, which quickly becomes her nickname. She just wants to fit in but Tomo-chan and Tanizaki-san, her teacher, insist that she live up to their preconceived notions of how people from Osaka behave.

So far so good. The show lives up to my memories of it. It is light fare and with a few laughs. I love how wacky it can be at times like when the cat bites Sakaki's hand. It does it so calmly. I was expecting it to happen when she reached out to pet the cat but I expected something much more menacing in appearance.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Orange Is the New Black 1.08

Moscow Mule

Larry's piece about Piper gets published. Healy isn't happy about it. Chapman is definitely on his shit list now. She isn't happy about the article although it takes a while before she comes out and says that. She isn't happy about Larry celebrating the publication of his article.

There's a bug going around the prison. Everyone is sick or trying to avoid getting sick. Tasytee finds out she is will be getting out before the end of her full sentence. Outside of prison, Polly gives birth.

Dayanara is pregnant. I'm not sure what this will mean for her boyfriend, Bennett. He isn't in this episode. Maybe he isn't the father. Maybe she got pregnant just before she went to prison.

Red is pressured, again, by Mendez to help him smuggle drugs into the prison. She says no. Miller is experiencing withdrawal symptoms because she isn't getting the drugs she is used to having. After having a chat with Red, Nichols talks Miller into turning herself in. Nichols hates herself for doing it and when Mendez comes around asking questions she tells him how Red smuggles contraband into the Litchfield.

Chapman and Vause grow closer after Piper is sent to the laundry to fix a broken dryer. They both get in trouble after Alex gets locked in the broken dryer by Pensatucky. They have a moment together at the end of the episode. They are definitely heading for something more than just a friendly reconciliation.

Red gets the backstory spotlight for the second time. This time it is all about how she and her husband got in deeper with the Russian mob before she went to prison.

Overall a decent episode. Not the most groundbreaking but it is setting somethings up nicely.

Justice League Unlimited 3.X

In addition to episodes there are also a couple notable extras on the second DVD in this set

Justice League Chronicles

This is look back at some of the episodes from this season.Bruce Timm, Dwayne McDuffie, and James Tucker sat down to re-watch and discuss part of the season.

The first few minutes are about the concept behind the season. They show scenes from the first episode during this part but it isn't about the first episode as much as it is about the season as a whole. After that they focus on three episode: The Great Brain Robbery, Ancient History, and Alive. Timm and McDuffie do most of the talking. They tell stories about the making of these episodes and the actors who read the parts. They also and show some of the storyboards side-by-side with the episode.

Most interesting to me was the disagreement over whether Carter Hall really was the reincarnation of Prince Khufu. Timm said he was, McDuffie said he was not. I tend to side with McDuffie and think that at least the way it was played in the two episodes (Shadow of the Hawk, Ancient History) it seemed more likely that Hall was delusional and not really the reincarnation of a Thanagarian.

I'm not sure if this is essential viewing but it was fun to get a behind the scenes look at these episodes.

Destroyer (with music-only audio track)

There is a brief introduction by Bruce Timm before the episode begins. He explains that there was considerably more soundtrack in this episode than in a typical one. The music runs almost non-stop. The audio track includes just the music. There are no sound effects.

This was great, probably better than the other extra.