Syndicated

In the last five weeks, have watched a lot of different things, either as DVD rentals or streaming on Hulu. There were a few movies, but it was primarily television. We do not have a television, so we’re always exposed to this side of pop culture a bit after everyone else. Here are my impression on various titles.

Movies

The Brothers Grimm: The Brothers Grimm are actually two young con artists who use people’s belief in the supernatural to make a living — until they encounter the real thing. Good premise, awful movie. Oh my God, that was bad. We yanked the DVD out about 40% of the way through — we didn’t want to waste that much more of our lives. What a failure to entertain. Tedious, heavy-handed, trying too hard to ape Tim Burton movies. It reminds us that Terry Gilliam didn’t only make Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen and 12 Monkeys, he also made Jabberwocky, The Meaning of Life and Time Bandits. Beurk.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Vin Diesel is a special kind of badass, the bastard who must save Humanity from worse than himself. Over the top science-fiction, silly adventure stuff, but at least never tried to pass itself off for anything else. Rather entertaining as long as you don’t mind tossing disbelief out of the house while you eat your popcorn.

Television

Jericho: Life in a small town after American metropolises have been taken out by a nuclear attack. We watched the entire first season. The concept was rather interesting, but the further we advanced in the show, the more irritating it became. Hollywood has no fucking idea what life in a small agricultural town is like. Life After the Bomb in rural Kansas would be both less idyllic and more efficient than what was portrayed.

Supernatural: Two brothers whose mother was killed by a demon hunt down supernatural critters and kill them. We watched four or five episodes and decided it was a stinker. There wasn’t much “there” there; the premise is weak, the characters shallow, the patterns predictable. It’s like Dukes of Hazard meets The Exorcist.

Fringe: FBI agents and their consultants investigate weird shit. We’re caught up to the current episode. The show was attractive because of the big name, J.J. Abrams of Lost. So far, the only character of mild interest is crazy Walter, but it’s likely to be a limited bag of tricks. The show merely makes me long for the X Files again.

ReGenesis: The North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission investigates epidemics, bioterror, and mutant viruses. We’ve watched the entire first season. I like this one more than does. I mainly like that fact that it’s much crunchier, more “hard science” than similar shows. I also like the rhythm, with the big plots developing over a few episodes in succession or in cascade mode, rather than wrapping up in one or two episodes. Besides, it’s Canadian, so there. What pisses me off is that the show is classified “For Mature Audiences” for reasons I can’t fathom; it’s certainly no worse than other shows that don’t receive this warning. As a result, Hulu inserts its most immature commercials, T&A crap that makes one embarrassed to be part of the human race.

Burn Notice: A covert intelligence operative has just been marked as disposable by his employers, and dumped in Miami with no resources except a couple of friends, his annoying mother and his even more annoying brother; now he wants to find out who burned him and why, while he makes a living taking cases from people who need a little illegal help. Surprisingly bearable after eight episodes. It has Bruce Campbell as a supporting character, so that’s a plus. It’s fairly tongue-in-cheek, there’s some geeky McGyvering for me, little twists and dry humour. I’m not sick of it yet.

Heroes: What if people did start showing super-powers? We’re all caught up with Episode 4, Season 3. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I didn’t have the same objections to the first couple of episodes of the season that other people brought up. In this episode,without giving spoilers, I thought Sylar was finally wicked cool; and as usual, Matt Parkman gets all the best straight lines (Hiro and Ando get the best geek lines, of course, though nothing spectacular tonight). This is a great show for comic book nerds, obviously written by comic book nerds. In the stupid ads department, though, Hulu was showing tonight’s episode with some really dumb car ads. People get paid money to make ads that are this bad? Bizarre.

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