Tag Archives: TV

Genre TV Update: Fall 2015

Somehow I’ve managed to end up watching mostly shows based on comic books this year. And amazingly, there are enough of them out there that I have to pick and choose. It seems I’m able to keep up with about 3 shows on a weekly basis, and still fit in family, work and other hobbies.

The Flash: I’m still amazed that 1. there’s a Flash TV show, 2. it’s good, and 3. it’s successful enough that it’s actually been renewed. This is the one show I make an effort to watch the night it airs, and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I’ve enjoyed the comic book in the last few years.

iZombie: The other show I’ve managed to stay current with. I’ve found that as fun as the case of the week is, it’s the continuing subplots that keep me coming back: the search for a cure, the back and forth with Blaine and the zombie population of Seattle, Major’s living hell, etc.

Supergirl: This has turned out to be a lot of fun, though I’m not *ahem* super-invested in it yet.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Uneven. I’m finding the Inhumans storyline tedious, but then I’ve never liked that sort of story much. Simmons’ adventures on the other side of the obelisk, though….I’m really intrigued by that. (Note: I’m behind a couple of weeks, so I haven’t had a chance to watch “4,722 Hours” yet.) Update: “4,722 Hours” was absolutely fascinating. The Hydra/Inhumans stuff is really turning into a slog.

I am really looking forward to Jessica Jones. I was a fan of the original Alias comics, and this group did an amazing job with Daredevil. Update: It’s fantastic. Even better than Daredevil. But it’s intense enough that I only want to watch one episode at a time, when I can follow it with something lighter.

The Librarians: Fun popcorn adventure with a literary bent to it. Not sure I’m totally sold on Prospero and Moriarity as the villains, but if they follow last year’s pattern, they’ll mix things up.

Heroes Reborn: It was a lot better than I expected, but not enough to keep me.

Meanwhile, I’ve given up on “Once Upon a Time” completely. It just slowly turned into a parody of itself. “Castle” was still fun last I caught it, but too far down the priority list to keep up with it.

Quick TV Thoughts: Flash, SHIELD, Grimm, Castle, Once Upon a Time/Frozen

Five episodes in, The Flash has turned out to be a lot of fun. There are a few things that still bother me (the dead-mother plot being in every.single.intro., for instance, but it kind of has to be), but so far nothing has pulled me out far enough to stop me from enjoying the action and characters.  I love that they’ve gone all-in on it instead of dipping one toe in at a time like Warner Bros. usually seems to do.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seriously leveled up this season. I’m a couple of episodes behind, but damn, this show has been knocking it out of the park. And I like that they’ve (mostly) been avoiding Idiot Ball tropes — if someone does something stupid, it’s because it makes sense for the character, not because the plot requires it. For example: So many shows would have had Coulson trying to keep his mental issues under wraps from everyone for half the season, but you find out right away that he’s told May, has her documenting it, and has Skye investigating it.

Grimm really needs to decide whether Wu knows about Wesen soon, or things are going to blow up. Or maybe that’s what they’re going for.

Castle almost lost me during the season premiere with the disappearance/amnesia mystery, but they pulled back from the brink by giving us (and Becket) solid evidence to support his story. They’ve managed to avoid falling into frog-eating clone territory. Still, since the show is mostly a standard police procedural, the only reasons to watch it are (1) the characters’ banter, which is still intact, and (2) the occasionally crazy plots. Speaking of which, “Meme is Murder” just barely managed to avoid being a Very Special Episode about how Snapchat Can Kill You! (tune in at 11). Barely.

Once Upon a Time….I want to like this season more than I do, but it’s just been dragging on.

Weaving the past and future from Frozen into the OUAT mythology has been interesting, particularly the way the Snow Queen was set up. Anna is probably the best cast — she’s absolutely the same character as in the movie, and even when her actions or speech *should* seem affected, it comes off as being natural for her. Elsa comes off as a slightly different, but still valid, interpretation. Kristoff just comes off as awkward.

But remember that thing I was saying about the idiot ball? Most of the time, characters do things because the plot requires it…or stand there not doing something because the plot (or a commercial break cliffhanger) requires it. Regulars, side characters, and guest stars alike. Except when the character motivation is the plot motivation, in which case rather than show it through action, they announce it loudly like a character in a fighting game.

(And they are totally wasting the Knave of Hearts. He was great in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, but so far he’s been nothing but a one-note joke here.)

A Wicked Weekend

WickedI’ve been catching up on last year’s movies. I finally saw Frozen last week, which prompted me to track down the soundtracks to both that movie and Tangled (more about that later), and listening to those prompted me to dig out the cast album for Wicked for the first time in, well, forever.

I was reminded of why I hadn’t listened to it much. Aside from a handful of songs (“Corner of the Sky” and “Colors of the Wind” come to mind immediately), something about Stephen Schwartz’s music just doesn’t stick in my head, and Wicked isn’t an exception. No matter that I like the story, that I like the characters, that I like Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth…the songs just don’t stick. Not even “Defying Gravity,” except for the title refrain.

But remember how I mentioned I was catching up on last year’s movies? I had a disc out from Netflix of Oz: The Great and Powerful, and several episodes of Once Upon a Time on the DVR…the ones introducing the Wicked Witch as the villain for this half of the season. And it was weekend of Emerald City Comicon.

It seemed appropriate to continue catching up.

For the record, so far I much prefer Zelena (OUAT) to Theodora (Oz:TGAP) as far as characterization goes (she has some), though I haven’t seen enough to decide how she stacks up against Elphaba.

Vizio E422VA: Connecting that Internet-Connected TV to Wi-Fi

If anyone’s having trouble connecting a Vizio E422VA or similar television to a wireless router to run Netflix, etc., here are some gotchas I ran into hooking it up to our FIOS-provided router:

  1. Update the firmware on the TV. You can do this by connecting to the router with an ethernet cable, verifying that it’s on the network, then turning the TV off and waiting a while. When you turn it on again, it should tell you it’s installing a firmware update. Repeat until it doesn’t offer any more, then you can disconnect the cable.
  2. Don’t use spaces in your WPA password. The device can’t handle it.
  3. Yes, it can connect to a WPA2-protected network even though it only says WPA.
  4. It can’t connect to a network running 802.11n or newer, even with the updated firmware. It needs the older (and slower) b/g compatibility mode.

This has been bugging me forever – it worked just fine until we moved from a U-Verse area to a FIOS area and had to get a new router for the new service. It wasn’t critical, since we had other sources of TV and other devices we could use for Netflix (though with a much less useful interface), but every few months I would give it another shot. Finally I tracked down how to update the firmware in the manual, and found the recommendation on spaces. Put the two together, and BAM! Connected.

Better Off Ted is Complete!

When ABC canceled* the insane-office-politics sitcom Better Off Ted in February, they decided not to show the last two episodes. I don’t know what they were waiting for, or why they didn’t just throw them on at 3am on a Sunday to get it over with, except that it would have let people watch it on DVR and Hulu. They eventually decided to show the two episodes in the timeslot for the seventh game of the NBA finals in June, since the finals never go to a seventh game…except, of course, this year they did.

I was beginning to think we’d have to wait for the DVDs just to be able to see the last two episodes…except there was no sign of a season 2 DVD release, either.

The wait is over: as of the first of the month, Better Off Ted Season 2 is available online at Netflix Instant, Amazon Video on Demand, and iTunes. The whole season, including those last two episodes!

We watched them both tonight. They were great: just as funny, quirky, absurd (in every sense of the word) and uncomfortable as ever.

I’m really going to miss this show. Really, I’ve been missing it since February, but there was always that thought that, somewhere in a network vault there were two more new episodes to see, if ABC would ever let them out.

For now, they’re streaming online. Here’s hoping for an eventual DVD or Blu-Ray release — some form of semi-permanent library. Because I don’t trust ABC to keep the show available long-term.

*Technically they didn’t officially cancel it until May, but production was shut down and they hadn’t shown an episode since February. It was pretty clear they weren’t going to bring it back.