Every year in October I tell myself that I’m gonna review all my TV show episodes and every year I fail almost immediately, so this year I’m not gonna try that hard at it. I watch a lot of TV and it’s hard to keep up. Especially with all this “life” and “work” and “Trump” junk that keeps getting in the way.

5 Things to Read Today

Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist who was an American resident and a columnist for the Washington Post. He went “missing” recently, and it seems pretty damn certain that Saudi Arabia had him assassinated. Trump is, of course, doing nothing about it, because the guy works for a paper Trump hates and he’s a non-white person. Also because the Saudis own Trump.

Black Lightning Season 2

Black Lightning

I am consistently thrilled with Black Lightning. It’s excellently written, has fantastic acting, and it’s topical. It’s one of the best superhero shows the CW is putting out right now.

Riverdale Season 2

Riverdale

Riverdale is my guilty pleasure. This show is a melodramatic soap opera packed full of terrible people doing stupid things, but the acting and writing are great and the show is frequently hilarious. Plus, Cheryl, who is my Patronus.

Supernatural Season 14

Supernatural

We re-watched the whole run of Supernatural over the summer, which was the first time I’d ever done that, and it was a lot of fun. You forget how far these characters have come. I’m pretty tickled with the setup for this season. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

The Flash is back! On one hand, there were a lot of cool things in this episode. On the other hand, there were a few annoying CW/Flash things in this episode.

(Spoilers, y’all.)

The Flash: Season 5

Cool Things

Drunk Cisco was funny. Hungover Cisco was a riot. We got the ring with the suit in it – finally! – and it was apparently made by a protege of our Atom, Ryan Choi. Ralph Dibney figured out time travel and the “many” -verse all on his own (“And all of you already knew this, didn’t you?”). Plus, we got a new set, the lounge (“You finally found my spot. I’ve been napping in here since Day One.”) Also, Cecile’s apparently keeping her telepathy?

Annoying Things

Of course Nora’s back to save her dad. And of course Barry didn’t tell anyone about it. Oh my gaaaaawd how many times do we have to do this “keeping a secret” plot?

Also, are you seriously trying to tell me Barry’s been staring at that damn newspaper for four seasons and is only just now thinking about the part where the Flash disappears in a crisis?

We’re going to have to deal with Iris being hurt and pushy about her relationship with Nora instead of having her immediately be like, “Something is weird, here… Barry’s about to die or something, right? Damn it.”

To Summarize

Over all it was a great episode – funny, set up a lot of fun plot-related things for the season, new costumes, new sets, all sorts of good stuff. I like Nora, I’m glad Ralph’s sticking around, I’m interested in the side plots that were introduced, I’m looking forward to whatever comes of Killer Frost’s “disappearance.” I just wish the show could get over a few of it’s trope-y plot hangups.

Line of the Night Award

It obviously has to be Ralph Dibney’s “I mean, if Eddie wanted to erase Thawne from existence, why didn’t he just have a vasectomy?”

Reviews

Up Next

  • Next episode: Oct. 16, 2018
  • Blocked – “Barry and Team Flash track down a meta that is stealing high-tech weapons, only to cross paths with a new foe named Cicada, who is hunting the very same meta, with nefarious intent.” (IMDB)
  • Trailer!

I have no complaints about The Woman Who Fell To Earth. It was amazing and perfect and I love it. You should too, because I said so.

That’s it. That’s my review.

Here’s what’s in store for the new series of Doctor Who.

Okay, okay. A little more detail. Fine.

Here’s what I love about Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, lucky number thirteen. She’s kind and empathetic. She brooks no nonsense. She’s decent, apologizes, and says thank you to her companions, whom she empowers to get the job done. (“Do what you have to, use your initiative!”)

She used some kind of double-headed super blowtorch and a bunch of tools to jury-rig spoons and leftover widgets into a new sonic screwdriver. She made no real comment whatsoever on suddenly being a woman. When she knew a new friend was hurting, she stopped by to check in on him.

She was awesome and clearly the Doctor. I love her and may have a tiny crush on her.

I have heard a few complaints. I saw one on Twitter that stuck out, some turd complaining that the Doctor’s new sonic screwdriver looked like “a cyberman’s dildo.”

Guys? All of the sonic screwdrivers looked like a dildo. This one just looks like it was made by a woman. You can tell, because it has a smooth surface, no edges, and a handy curve.

I love the new companions. They seem earthier and more real than recent companions.

I loved the tone of the episode. Small but very real stakes. Grounded.

During the Moffat years things had gotten too big and silly. The Doctor was a smug jerk. A magic alien who always had all the answers and really only needed a companion around so he had someone to brag to and rescue occasionally. The stakes of the adventure were always The End Of The World. The companions were always the special this, or the impossible that.

This felt like a return to the 9th Doctor years, when things were a little more low key, more real, and, for me, at least, that makes them more engaging.

I can’t wait for the rest of this season.

Line of the Night Award

“That’s right, I’m calling you Yaz, ‘cos we’re friends now.” – the Doctor.

Reviews

Coming Up

  • Next episode: Oct. 14, 8 p.m.
  • The Ghost Monument: “Still reeling from their first encounter, can the Doctor and her new friends stay alive long enough, in a hostile alien environment, to solve the mystery of Desolation? And just who are Angstrom and Epzo?” (IMDB)
  • Here’s the trailer.

It’s October, which means one thing: My TV shows are coming back.

I mean, it also means a lot of other things, like the midterm elections are 35 days away, and Halloween is coming up, and it’s almost winter, and you really should have started your Christmas shopping already, and all sorts of stuff like that.

But really, the important bit is the TV shows.

📺 TV Series

Of all the shows I have listed up there, I have to say the one I’m looking forward to the least is Arrow. The back half of that last season was just so frickin’ tedious. We still haven’t finished it. I guess Oliver went to prison or some junk? Do I need to know anything more than that?

💻 Netflix

There’s no word yet on when season 4 of Lucifer will hit – sometime in early 2019 is anyone’s best guess. However, word has it that Tom Ellis will have nude scenes in the Netflix season, which I point out because the actor seems to have panicked over that a bit and hit literally all the gyms. Dude looks like Captain America now.

Iron Fist‘s second season dropped a couple weeks ago and we’ve only watched the first episode of that. I heard it was better, but I haven’t been able to work up the interest yet. I just hate everyone on that show so much. The only character I really have any interest in is Colleen. I don’t suppose Danny dies and she ends up being the Iron Fist, does she? Because then I’d be interested.

📽️ Movies

Upcoming movies that I have any interest in are thin on the ground. Aquaman comes out early next year I think, but I’m not giving movie theater money to a DC movie until they prove they’re worth it. I think Venom is actually out in a couple of days, but I can’t summon any interest at all in that. We might catch it some night on Netflix if we’re bored.

I have a busy day ahead, so here’s a quick look at all the nerd news that’s come out in the last few days.

5 Things to Read Today

  1. EW: Brie Larson takes flight as Captain Marvel on this week’s EW cover – First “official” pics of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel!
  2. io9: Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who Will Premiere in October, on a New Night – Doctor Who debuts Oct. 7!
  3. Den of Geek: House of Cards Season 6: Release Date, Trailer, Cast, News, and Story Details – The sixth and final season of House of Cards, headlining my fav, Claire Underwood, drops on Nov. 2.
  4. SlashFilm: ‘Iron Fist’ Season 2 Early Buzz: A Vast Improvement Over the First Season But Still Not Great – Season 2 of Iron Fist drops this Friday, Sept. 7, so y’all know what I’m doing this weekend. I don’t expect it to be spectacular, but it sounds like it’ll be fun.
  5. TV Line: Supernatural Boss: ‘It’s Challenging to Write Episodes Without Dean’ – Sounds like they’re not doing that BS they pulled with “demon Dean” where it was only a thing for like three episodes. Michael’s apparently going to be the season’s Big Bad.

I spent my long weekend basically ignoring the world while watching entirely too many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (stumbled over it on Netflix). ST:TNG debuted in 1987, 31 years ago, and man, does it ever show. The structure of the episodes is positively bizarre compared to how TV shows today are put together. I watched the first season and a few episodes of the second season, and it’s full of hour-long episodes where nothing of any particular import happens to much of anyone. Like, there’s plot and stuff happens, but the lack of any kind of over-arching, season-long plot, episode-to-episode character development, stakes, all that, really stands out.

TV from thirty years ago seems super dull now, which is weird, because I remember watching and loving this show when it was on back in the day.

Anyway, we’re back, and it’s time for real life again. Let’s see what’s happening out there.

Over the weekend Trump tweeted – well, he tweeted a bunch of things, but the big one was, “Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…… ….The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!” (Tweets: 1, 2.)

In case you missed it, because parsing Trump’s jibberjabber is a bit of a trick, that’s the President of the United States yelling at his Attorney General on Twitter because AG Sessions didn’t stop the conviction of two Republican House members who got caught committing crimes.

Meanwhile, Nike picked up Colin Kaepernick, former NFL quarterback and activist who started the “kneeling during the anthem” protests, to head up their 30th anniversary “Just Do It.” campaign. Conservative Twitter immediately started burning their sneakers and cutting Nike swoops off their clothes and whatnot.

You may have heard a lot of BS about what the “kneeling during the anthem” protests are about. Just so you know, when Colin Kaepernick – and now other NFL football players – kneel during the national anthem, they’re protesting police brutality and the regular murder of black people by cops. It has nothing to do with the actual anthem, or military vets, or whatever other BS Trump and Fox News has been peddling.

In other news, the New Yorker does a big “ideas festival” every year that you’ve never heard of before because it’s kind of a “journalism nerds” type of thing. Big in certain circles, mostly unheard of outside of them. Anyway, this year they announced Steve Bannon as their headliner. As you might expect, Liberal Twitter promptly – and correctly – burned right the hell down. The backlash was immediate and huge, and other headliners like Patton Oswalt, John Mulaney, Judd Apatow and others, all announced they were backing out if the New Yorker put Bannon on stage. After a few hours of being eaten alive, the New Yorker dropped Bannon.

There’s no journalistic value in interviewing Steve Bannon or giving him a platform to spew his garbage. The dude’s a dumpy old white supremacist spouting white supremacist twaddle. He has nothing particularly new or intelligent to add to a conversation. We know what he’s up to, and we know what he has to say – we’ve covered that all already. By putting him up in the public sphere, you’re just amplifying and legitimizing his message, which is hateful. Don’t play that game, journalists.

Today’s news includes excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new book about the Trump administration, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” Bob Woodward, in case you’re forgetting where you’ve heard the name, is half of the Washington Post team whose reporting helped bring to light Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Apparently Trump flunkies willingly interviewed with the guy, and he wrote a book which is, somewhat shockingly, not titled “I Can’t Believe All These Guys Were Dumb Enough To Talk To Me.” Anyway, CNN got their hands on the book and published some of what’s said in the book. It’s not surprising. We already knew the Trump White House is a cesspool full of incompetent, backstabbing sharks, led by a rampaging lunatic child. But just in case you were curious about some of the details of the rampaging lunatic child, CNN’s got ’em.

Also, the Arizona governor, Doug Ducey, picked former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, one of the guys who’s been shepherding Brett Kavanaugh through his SCotUS process, to replace John McCain. Yeah.

And speaking of Brett Kavanaugh, his hearings started today, and as you might expect, they’re a shitshow. Republicans are ramrodding him through the process, and barring some kind of miracle, Kavanaugh’s gonna be the next Supreme Court Justice. This is bad in a vast multitude of ways, and the GOP has been ridiculously shady about the whole process. All I can say is call your senators, particularly if you’ve got a Republican senator, and when you hang up, if you’re a woman or a minority, get your ass to a blue state as fast as possible and stay there. It’s gonna get ugly with a conservative Supreme Court.

Westworld. Ug. The first season was so good. Then the second season just stuffed its head up its own ass and inhaled as hard as it could. Look, it’s this simple: If, at the end of your story, no one can tell you WTF just happened, then your story wasn’t that good.

The first season of Westworld did this interesting, clever, non-linear storytelling thing that blew everyone away. I guess they decided to double down on that for the second season, but instead of being clever, it was mostly just incomprehensible. It was next to impossible to tell what was happening to who, when, and one episode of that might be kind of fun, but a whole season? By the end of last night’s episode I had no effing clue at all when anything had happened or, more importantly, why I should give a damn.

What was the theme of Westworld‘s season two? “Humans suck”? “Free will doesn’t exist”? “Less full frontal nudity this time”? I don’t know.

What was the plot? Delos was harvesting information on players to turn them into immortal hosts. I assume this was a service they were intending to sell? But they never said that. They didn’t have any players’ permission to do that, no one outside of a handful of employees seemed to know they were trying to do that, and as far as we can tell, Delos had been trying to do it for 30+ years and were failing the whole time. That seems like an awful lot of money and effort to put into something that flat wasn’t working.

They clearly weren’t trying to do it for corporate espionage or to take over the world with Delos-controlled host copies of people, because you wouldn’t need perfect copies of people with free will and consciousness to do that.

The end credits scene seems to indicate that Delos was eventually successful at inventing immortal human hosts, maybe, but years into the future? So they’ve spent billions, trillions of dollars and, what, 50 years? 100 years? more? to accomplish this goal. That has got to be the worst ROI I’ve ever heard of. In that time, with that money and tech, they could have easily solved whatever other problems were plaguing society that was driving Delos to try to invent immortality.

I cannot conceive of what state the world and/or society could possibly be in where you’d have both the impetus to undertake such a stupid investment while still having the means to do so.

And since the state of the outside world has been deliberately hidden from us for two full seasons, I have to imagine the writers can’t figure it out, either.

Meanwhile, what was Dolores’ plan? It wasn’t to save the hosts, because she was clearly happy to kill them all right off. It wasn’t to get her hands on that treasure trove of human data to use for some nefarious means, because she glanced at a bit of it and immediately started deleting it all.

As far as I can tell, Dolores intended to escape into the “real world” and go on being a crappy, manipulative, homicidal maniac, but not even, like, a successful homicidal maniac, because she ignored or crapped on every opportunity to build an army or do things on a grand scale. I guess an immortal, mostly unkillable entity, with the ability and resources to quietly build a loyal, immortal, mostly unkillable army, decided the best way to destroy all humans was 5th column-style guerilla warfare with a tiny handful of helpers. Yeah, ’cause that’s historically been an excellent tactic.

We have a show full of painfully dumb and/or incompetent hosts/people, doing incomprehensible things for incomprehensible reasons, and none of it makes sense. Worst of all, since everyone on the show is either stupid, awful, or cannon fodder, we have no reason to invest in what any of these characters are doing. The worldbuilding and backstory we’d need to decide if anything that was happening was logical or worthy has been deliberately hidden from us, and the people behind the show are pulling Lost‘s old schtick of “We know exactly what we’re doing, it’s going to be super cool, just trust us,” without giving us any reason to do so.

Yeah. No. That’s crap storytelling.

Let me tell you what’s really happening here. This show is custom built to generate online theorizing and social media buzz, which in turn buys the show more viewers, more merchandising buyers, more ad views, more HBO subscribers, and etc. Westworld is the TV version of a clickbait Buzzfeed listicle. And with so much other good TV out there to watch and enjoy, I’m not gonna waste anymore of my time on it.