Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2016

All of Westworld’s secret was out, thanks to the internet

 

The Internet is amazing. Ever since the first episode of Westworld came out, people have been discussing, and sharing ideas, hunches and numerous clues which appeared on the show. Thanks to some very sharp eyed viewers armed with magnifying glasses, nearly every secret on the show was leaked. By episode 2, fans had worked out that William is the younger version of Man in Black in an ealier timeline, and that Bernard Lowe is Arnold Weber. A redditor called it out as early as episode 4. There are still other secrets they had called out, but I guess these two are the grandest of them all. Reddit is really a curious place, full of spoilers.  When today’s episode reveled that Bernard is actually build in Arnold’s image by Ford, I guess it really didn’t surprise most fans. Now the only secret remaining is what is Dolore’s role in this whole time.

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The creators of Westworld had already revealed that they have written enough of the story for five seasons. I had assumed that their plan was to expand this whole storyline across 5 seasons. But now that they plan to reveal most of the secret in this first season itself, I wonder what more they have in store for us.

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Dolores' scenes from episode nine were spread across three different time frames in the "Westworld" universe. In chronological order, the scenes with her in a blue dress were the earliest - likely about 35 years ago.

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I am sure Maeve will escape from the facility, along with some more of the hosts. But still not sure what Dolores plans to do. She still has no idea she is a host…just that she keeps on confusing her memories with her real life in the park.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stranger Things renewed..for Season 2 !!

 

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Yep. Its official.

And now, the wait begins. The director brother’s biggest worry seems to be the fact that the kids are growing up way too fast.

PS: I am hoping they don’t do a shoddy follow up like Mr Robot Season 2.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stranger Things is the best TV show this year

 

The best publicity a program can get is via word of mouth. Even after all the advertising and campaigning and social media posts, what really matters is good content. Good content drives good reviews, and results in good publicity. I just finished binge watching the first season of ‘Stranger Things’ , which debuted on  Netflix. It is an awesome piece of TV fiction. The story sound cheesy, there are kids running around un-supervised, monsters from another dimension, and evil government projects run by shady old men. But the treatment of this work and the spectacular acting by the cast of this show convinces us, the viewer, that everything depicted actually took place.

I guess that convincingness the core of this story. The internet is going ga-ga over all the 80s culture references sprinkled across the episodes. But the simplicity of that time before internet and cellphones allowed a little more realism. Today there are too many scenes in shows and movies depicting charachters simply talking into their phones. And there is an app for anything. The joy of the analog radio , ham radios, and big cathode ray televisions denotes simplicity.

But the best part of this show is the cast. Specially, the young cast. The chidren. There are 11-12 year old children playing the primary protagonists inthe show, and their controlled acting was mindblowing. Most hollywood actors of today can’t act even half as well these young studs. I was similarly surprised last year when that TV show The Whispers aired. The child actors of that show were years ahead of their adult peers, but the show itself suffered from shoddy writing, and went bonkers. Stranger , however, is supported by excellent writing, and witty dialogues.  Crown jewel is of course Millie, who plays the telekinetic young girl, and she has the least number of dialogues in the show, at times communicating only with gasps and meaningful stares. This girl is going places. My favourite charachter though, was Dustin.

I can’t wait for this show to be renewed, so I can continue this time travel to the good old eighties….and what happened to Will ?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BrainDead seems promising

 

Lot of new TV series starting this year. But most of them ridiculous nonsense with no essence. But I have been watching the episodes of the new US political TV series Braindead. And it seems promising. Very interesting. It has that mix of science-fiction and politics, and alien bugs !. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead !

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Stephen Colbert has the best writers

 

It seems I have a lot of free time at work nowadays. When I have to wait for things to get compiled, which sometimes take upto 45 minutes, I switch over to the web to ‘waste time’. Most of the time, I end up on youtube again, watching uploads of American Late Night shows. Fallon and Conan are two regulars, but then I stumbled upon Stephen Colbert.

Now every Late Night host out there has his own stlye. Fallon mostly plays games and music, uses twitter a lot and reads out jokes. Conan is plain sarcastic, uses his deadpan on anything. But Colbert by far has the best writers. His jokes blend into his dialogue, he even builds his own specially when debating things. No games, no sarcasm from him. He is just your friendly funny host. But then his writers come up with bizarre ideas to host a segment.

Take a look at this segment where he interviews Bruce Willis.

That has some phenomenal editing in there. Its obvious and visible that they used doubles for the actual stunt scenes, but then the edited that footage into the live camera footage, and the audience reaction is genuine. Fun part is that even the band plays their part fantastically. I have never seen any talk show make something like this.

Or this one: This episode aired after the Superbowl show. Stephen’s live show is cut with footage from Iraq, footage from Internation Space Station, and even the POTUS.

Once you see it, you can make out which parts were pre-taped earlier, and how they all fit in. But this is really awesome work ! Its clear that Colbert has a great team in place, specially the writers.

Check out this new one  !!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Heroes Recancelled

 

Some good news came out this week, they are going to cancel the horrible, terrible TV series Heroes Reborn. I can’t believe this, but this new reboot/sequel of the original Heroes series is probably the most hated show on American TV right now. Its amazing how one can come up with such and exciting (albeit, borrowed) story concept with multiple promising premises, and then screw it all up and serve nonsense. Ten years ago (really, that long ?) when the original Heroes TV series premiered, it was the most watched show, and won many awards. They essentially took the humans-mutating-into-evos storyline from X-men, but gave the charachters a little more sense, and how they would try to fit in the modern world. But just after the first season, all hell broke loose, they lost direction, kept on adding more and more super-humans/evos, and finally admitted they had no idea how to take the story forward.

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So when I heard about the new miniseries Heroes Reborn, I was a little sceptic, and a little hopeful. It started off ok, but very soon the cracks started to develop. Stupid writing, horrible actors, multiple unnecessary plot lines, and so many many new evos all filled up the screen. It was difficult to care about the charachters. Lets face it, kids are bad actors, so when the protagonists are going to be kids, they should have al least chosen credible actors. The original Heroes had go that right, it had great actors, and not too many bad guys.

When everyone is special, no one is.

But there was one episode of the new series which I particulary liked, episode 8 “June 13th Part Two”. That episode gave me hope, because for once they got something right. First, Masi Oka is there as Hiro Nakamura. He carries the two baby heroes back into 1999 ! And he becomes the foster father to Tommy, and trains him in the art of time-travel. Tommy knows about and improves his power, but then they are attacked. So for his own safety, Tommy travels to another place, and has his memory removed about everything he knows. This episode tied up a lot of loose ends, explains Tommy’s powers, and his dilemna at the start of the series. There is also som nice sequences with two Noah Bennets, and some other wierd Japanese game story. Noah and Tommy get their memory erased, so they know nothing of what happened. The stage was set, all that was needed was to  use Tommy’s and Malina’s powers to save the world. Again.

@Tim Kring. Please let the series die. Bringing it back up is just going to make it worse.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Scream Queens

 

On hindsight, the big reveal at the end of Scream Queens revealing Hester to be the brains of the operation, was a obvious. The identities of the killers in “Scream Queens” haven’t really mattered since about the third episode, when it became clear that the show was mostly interested in milking caricatures and seeing how many pop-culture references it could cram into every hour. Fans of the TV show have long had Hester as prime suspect, because that character was completely crazy. But now it should have been more obvious. Because of her casting. Lea Michaels was the star of Ryan Murphy's previous TV show Glee, so casting her in a less important role on Scream Queens was the biggest clue that her role was more than just a bystander.

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While the Bathtub Babies and Pete had a clear motive — destroying Kappa and Greek life because of what happened to their mother — the  crimes don't make any sense now. Why kill Shondell, the Pizza Guy, and Coney the new mascot? How does that exact revenge? Why kill the Kappa pledges? As outcasts, wouldn't they be the ones to make Kappa a better place? And why kill Chanel No. 2, but none of the other Chanels?

If vengeance were really the motive, why didn't they go after Dean Munsch? She was the one person still alive and on-campus the night their mother died in the bathtub. Why let her live? That doesn't make any sense either. How could they feel any real satisfaction when the one person literally responsible for the cover-up is still alive? Dean Munsch can still be a scourge to feminism everywhere, especially now that she still knows Hester is the killer. Also, wouldn't Hester be mad that Pete killed Boone? Wouldn't she have gone after him?

For me, the real surprise was that Pete was in on the killings. He seemed so honest and committed to finding the truth behind the devils. That was awesome writing.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Scream Queens question : Why doesn't the Red Devil kill Pete in Episode 2 ?

 

This question has been nagging at me for weeks now. In the second episode, we see Pete rummaging around Dean's office looking for clues to who were Kappa members in 1995. The Red devil attacks and renders him unconscious . But does not kill him. Pete is left hanging unconscious with a note which says MYOB.

Later we see the Red Devil killing people who are not Kappas and simple innocent bystanders. So, why wasn't Pete killed ?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Mr Robot effect, now every TV show features the Dark Web

 

Mr Robot , the hit 2015 summer hit on US television, brought focus onto hi-technology, hacking, 90s culture, and .. the dark web. The very first episode of Mr Robot had talks about Tor and dark web. Well, the effect of that Pilot episode is now visible across US Tv programming. In the past two weeks, I have counted three episodes from three different TV shows which talk about the dark web now.

The Blacklist: S3E5, the fifth episode talks about an online bounty being placed on Elizabeth Keen on the dark web, and the FBI is not able to bring down the servers due to its anonymity. Reddington has to stage Liz's death to take down the bounty.

Quantico: S1E5, the third episode of Quantico details how Alex does an online interview which is broadcast on the dark web, and again, the FBI cannot bring it down. All they can do it trace it, which takes them 5 minutes.

Blindspot: S1E6, Blindspots 6th episode features  the darkweb, they have made  an app which can track government agents. Again, due to the anonymous nature, the FBI is helpless, and have to burn down the servers to bring down the services.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Mr Robot. Or, the continuous goof-ups of Elliot Alderson, vigilante hacker.

 

There is a lot of buzz online about the new TV series Mr Robot, currently airing on USA network. Breaking away from the procedural and investigate formulaic shows, Mr Robot follows the story of Elliot, a young 20-something cyber security engineer in New York, and how moonlights as an 'ethical' hacker. He is, fortunately, on the good side of the world and the wrong side of the law as he uses this hacking skills to expose hidden criminals and save a few innocents in the process. He suffers from social anxiety, and chronic depression, and it is stated he occasionally suffers from schizophrenic delusions. He is brilliant on-line on any network, but sucks IRL (in real life). The show itself is getting accolades for depicting real life, plausible hacking. But for me, it also hammers home the idea that when it comes to real life situations, Elliot (and others like him) cannot handle themselves responsibly.


 

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For instance until episode six, which aired yesterday, all that Elliot has done in this show is to screw up. Continuously. Repeatedly.

His first mistake  was definitely in the pilot episode, which got rave reviews and set expectations high for this series one month before it even started airing. After a brilliant depiction of DDoS style attack, and his counter hack to prevent further damage,  Elliot is presented with a choice. Up till that point in his life, Elliot had flown under the radar, without getting into trouble with any authorities. But now, he can either expose the hacker group f-society, or frame Terry Colby, his customer's CTO. And Elliot, reacting to how Angela was made to leave a meeting room, decides at the very last moment to frame Terry. Bad choice. We later come to know that framing Terry was just a first step for f-society, who recruit him for bigger and more dangerous things further up. If he had simply exposed f-society, he could have ended it all, and gone back to his hacker-vigilante life. Technically, this goofup was required, this is the action which starts the stage for the later events in the series. So Elliot HAS to make this mistake for the sake of the series.

Second mistake.  Getting Fernando Vera arrested. This happens in the second episode. Now this might not have been the first time Elliot is exposing a drug dealer, but he explains in his voice-over that he gets this drugs from Vera via Shayla. And he needs his drugs to stay in control. Shayla getting abused by Vera was occupational hazard. But he started caring for Shayla, and the only way he could protect her was to get Vera out of the equation. This will lead to two things later on. Without his drugs, Elliot goes through painful withdrawals, which could affect his life ,and could even jeopardise operation destroy-steel-mountain. The other thing, Shayla gets killed by Vera. That was painful.

Mistake numbre trios. Elliot gives in to his daemons. His childhood and back life was not explained till this point, but then it is made clear that his father death to cancer was caused by Evilcorp. And when this truth hits him, he puts aside logic and decides to take things personally, in an act of revenge. This will lead him to think of a way to bring down Evilcorp's servers in a 'humane' way with very little spare time. And for this, he decides to team up with f-society. Big mistake. But I think later the show will establish that Elliot was always part of the group. And we all know that Mr Robot is not real. He is simply an illusion, created by poor Elliot himself.

Fourth one was in the fourth episode. Elliot gets the Chinese hacker group, Dark Army, involved in his plan. He clearly knows that the DA hacks only for profit, and will understand his reason for targeting E-corp. But he gets their help. This gets Angela in danger, her personal life is destroyed, and it might also affect her work at allsafe. And.. the DA turns back at the last moment, leaving Elliot and his team on their own. And all this because he decides to go ahead with a poorly put together plan.

Five. Elliot goes in personally to steel-mountain to install his hack. He does not have the best social skills to talk to people without coming off as awkward. But he does it anyway. This way he runs into Tyler, his nemesis. He cooks up a story about some audit, but the truth is , he has lied. So he will have to back this up tomorrow in a later episode somehow. Which means more lying. Sending somebody else  he could have avoided the confrontation.

And his biggest mistake so far, coming up at number 6. He gets Vera freed from the jail. Once Vera got Shayla kidnapped, there was no plan in which Elliot and she could come out save forever. He should have handled that more diplomatically, could have flatly refused he knew her. But by playing to Vera's demands, he has endangered the two other girls in his life; Angela and Darlene. And with Shayla's death, he could again turn to revenge and do something stupid.

In the pilot episode, Elliot was able to balance his day job, and his nighttime hacktivism perfectly, neither coming in each other's way. But now the two sides have to dangeroulsy muddled up. It will take him a miracle to come out of this.

And some pretty neat hacks.

 

 

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Ratings of this show have declined over time.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Person Of Interest, Forever & Allegiance … season finales

 

So I was watching the season finales of three US TV series I have been following diligently the past couple of months. All three of them have ended on cliffhangers…sort of. And I hope they return to tell us their stories. But here are some thoughts.

Person Of Interest

This Jonathan Nolan created cyber-and-real world thriller has definitely gone way beyond what the show creators intended. What began as a two-man vigilante team out to protect the innocent took a u-turn somewhere and is now a war of the machines. A battle of the Artificially Intellgent. Two advanced AIs are now  fighting to control the world, or just the US of A, for the time being. The team of two has also grown, with a lots of friends in high places. The season 4 finale ended in a John Woo type super heroism. The machine has effectively given up, and is now copied from a grid or cloud configuration to a suitcase of RAMs. So it is a cloud system getting migrated to a traditional on-premise software system, to escape the other Samaritan. Nearly all of the recurring characters of the season had a role in the finale, except Sameen. I was hoping that she would show up at the last moment to save the day. Nope. Not this time. The story itself was too fast, about three parallel storylines being told at high pace. The 'control' part storyline was the least interesting, we are not worried about another attack, we simply wanted to know what happened to the machine. The last minutes of 'dialogue' between the machine and Harrold was …awkward. It felt as if the machine was sobbing to its parent like a little helpless child, not one of its finest moments. And is samaritan bad after all ? That is a question they have left ambitious. I think the only way for this show to end is to have both the machines wiped out, because human beings are much beyond algorithms. I think in a future episode we will see Harrold concurring Samaritan and wiping it out, followed by destroying his baby, the machine.

Forever

This was a brand new show this year, with an interesting premise and believable characters. Dr Henry Morgan, the immortal medical examiner of NY, does NOT die after all, even after being shot by the same centuries old gun, twice ! So Adam's belief that it could his immortality was wrong after all, something I was expecting. Again, the story was too fast, the build up to Adam's encounter with Henry , the misplaced flashbacks, Lucas's dialogue and faith in the awkward Henry…nope…all unexpected. Lucas did not have any questions about the dagger to Henry, when he has always asked questions for the audience. The scenes were Jo followed Henry in the subway was interesting. We had seen the subway in the first episode of the season, and this is the only time we are here again.

I am hoping this series gets renewed for a second season, so far there is no news. Apparently, viewership has not been great. But if it does return, this show can go on for a really looooong time. I also hope in the new season, that we see a few flashbacks from Adam's perspective. He has been around for 2000 years, and has seen and experienced that much more than Henry. We could go all the way upto the roman times from Adam's side.

Allegiance

This series probably ended for the best. But it had an interesting story. A little too cold-war influenced. A family of Russian sleeper cell agents living in New York have to decide whether to serve their mother Russia, or to act for the best interests of America. None of the actors in the series could act, except maybe the ruthless killer they introduced in the end : Christopher. The mom and dad team of the O'Connors are more effective than the entire FBI and FSR combined ! And the plotline of the planned attack restoring Russia to an energy super power was completely ridiculous. But it was interesting to see how the plot unfolded putting the O'Connor family in a powerful position at the end, now that Victor is the new resident. There was a time when spy work was all about secrecy, and stealth, and breaking code and finding patterns, and leaving the action to the forces. But now even the spies have to be in gun fights and standoffs. This show could do a lot better if they could replace all of the leading actor roles.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Suits Season 4 - Where is this heading ?

 

Suits used to be my favourite TV series, when they started airing it on Z-Cafe some years ago. Now I catch up on the series via episode downloads, like everyone else, I guess. So much has happened since Mike walked into Harvey’s interview room, now I am no longer sure what I am watching it for.

Now, two steps back. Suits is not the first lawyer/courtroom drama to hit English TV networks, it has been done for years. Most such series was focused on finding the culprit, or punishing the murderer, or following the twists and turns of the case investigation. In every case, the protagonists of the series was on the good side, for some reason, the mobsters/villains never thought of taking the help of the good guys and making them win it for them. But on Suits, the focus was on what else was happening in the lives of these lawyers, and specially, the bromance between Mike Ross and Harvey Specter.

Mike was the bumbling, but super smart new intern at one of the top law firms, where he landed purely by chance and managed to impress the Alpha-Male Harvey. Mike enters the firm without even a college degree, because Harvey saw potential in him; another Harvey. Harvey, on the other hand, is the firm’s top closer, he talks obscenities coolly in the office at anyone, except Jessica, maybe. He is so good at what he does, most of the time, he just scares and negotiates with the other side before the case reaches court. He has mastered his art, and now has to train an intern as part of his work at the firm. After hiring Mike, Harvey proceeds to dump all his regular work on him, and just, well, struts around the huge office in his shiny suits and gelled hair. But there was chemistry between them, Harvey may have overworked and tortured Mike with work, but there were various places in the first three seasons where he seemed to care about him to. Harvey saved Mike more than once, and tries and does his best to keep Mike’s not-having-a-degree-from-Harvard a secret, so Mike can keep his job. Fro his part, Mike used to reach out to his super efficient brain to go through complex documents in minutes, and memorize everything in it AND find any loopholes in them too. He is grateful for his new job, and wants to turn over a new leaf, so he works his ass-off. In the process, he has to break up with his gf, and even anger old friends too.

In short, Suits was best when Harvey and Mike were on the same side. Together. Same team. Together they worked as one solid giant law machine. They could solve any case and make anyone win. But the on-going side story was, how to keep Mike’s secret a secret? For how long ?

Now I am watching season 4 of the series, I cannot find reasons to stay with the show. Mike and Harvey are on opposite sides now, different teams. Against each other. Sure, they still care about each other, but corporate law is a difficult realm to be good friends with the enemy. In the current season, not once have they focussed on Mike’s amazing memory and power of recall. Or on Harvey closing deal after deal by just showing up in court.

The only person I still care about in the show – Louis Litt. Here is a hardworking, dedicated and honest guy, who does not get the appreciation he deserves. He once got the chance to move out of the firm, and start over fresh, but he decided to stay and work his way up. He has his own problems, but his integrity to the firm, and Jessica in particular, is unbreakable. I just hope Litt gets his long due recognition, otherwise it just proves that honest guys don’t win in life, but corrupt guys do.

I have just been Litt-up !

 

Go to hell, Mike !