kindkit: Man sitting on top of a huge tower of books, reading. (Fandomless--book tower)
[personal profile] kindkit
Being able to stream Netflix on my phone is leading to me watching a lot more (old) TV than I used to. After I finished Leverage, I tried a couple of comedies: Master of None, which I noped out on after about two minutes (explicit het sex plus pregnancy talk, nope nope nope nope), and Bordertown, an animated show about two families on the US-Mexico border. It's made by Seth McFarlane, so I should have known better--I lasted about ten minutes.



Then, because I was in one of those moods where you're desperate to watch something, I tried Grace & Frankie, a Netflix original. The two women of the title, played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin respectively, have known each other for decades, but they only become friends when, early in the first episode, their husbands (longtime law partners and best friends, played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) announce that they're leaving their wives to marry each other. That premise interested me but also worried me quite a bit, because I was afraid the gay husbands would be the villains, or at best the butt of jokes. But this is a show where every character is human and receives narrative compassion; while the pain that Robert and Sol's revelation causes their wives is in no way minimized, we also see their joy and relief at finally being able to be honest. The story follows them too, building their news lives as Grace and Frankie build theirs; it also follows the couples' (adult) children, who have their own struggles. The comedy is often bittersweet and some individual episodes are very sad, but overall it's a show with a lot of joy and, as I mentioned, compassion. I think the first season is the best, because the humor flows naturally out of the situation whereas the next two seasons sometimes have to contrive the funny a bit, sitcom-style. But YMMV on that; a lot of critics seem to like the later seasons better. Anyway, I highly recommend it. A fourth season is scheduled for next year. Oh, and there is much f/f slash potential if that's your jam.

After that, I changed the pace with Hinterland, a British police show set in Wales. It never really clicked for me. The mysteries were kind of leaden, and bleak in an often sordid way. Worse, there's not much character development even for the protagonist, DCI Tom Mathias; some characters are complete ciphers and others are a single trait demonstrated over and over ad tedium. In Mathias's case, it's his inability to move on from his Tragic Backstory (which is the sort of thing that is wrenchingly awful when it happens to real people, but when it happens to a fictional male police officer, all you can do is yawn and think about how many times you've seen it before). I watched two seasons of the damn show because suggestions of Evil Machinations at work in the police force were enough to hook me, and then, at the beginning of season three as the Evil Machinations were beginning to be revealed, boredom overwhelmed me and I just couldn't anymore.

Then I tried Bojack Horseman, another Netflix original. This, on the off chance you haven't heard of it, is an animated comedy about a washed-up actor, the ghost writer who's interviewing him for his autobiography, and their various agents, publishers, friends, and nemeses. Oh, and Bojack is actually a horse. He walks upright and has hands, but his head is a horse's head. Some other characters are human, some are dogs, cats, etc. Otherwise, so far, it's a completely naturalistic show. I have no idea why he's a horse. I do like it a lot, because it's hugely character-driven and unflinching, and anyway I would forgive it a lot just for having the wonderful Paul F. Tompkins in a supporting role. However, people talk about it like it's the greatest thing ever to happen to television, and I don't think it's that good. Maybe it gets that good later? I'm currently stalled at the beginning of S2.

The reason I'm stalled is that a couple of days ago my brain decided that all it wants is to watch 20-year-old episodes of Good News Week on Youtube. Watching the lovely young Paul McDermott (don't get me wrong, older Paul McDermott is also lovely) try to inhabit a completely new stage persona is enthralling, plus a lot of the jokes are still funny, plus it's fun with they do things like mock mobile phones because only wankers would want to have one.



When not staring at the extremely small screen, I've read Charles Stross's latest Laundry Files books, The Delirium Brief. The books have been getting grimmer for some time now, and this one most of all. A good book, but not recommended if you're already in despair about the state of the world.

I also read the new Rivers of London novella The Furthest Station, which is enjoyable as a side story to the main narrative. As usual, there is not enough Thomas Nightingale. I suspect that all those fans who interpret Nightingale as gay (I'm one of them, and I know Aaronovitch is aware of them because reasons) have freaked Aaronovitch out and we're never going to get another tender emotional moment between Thomas and Peter. Indeed, we seem to get less Nightingale with each successive book. *is sad*


Coming up, I want to watch a bunch of the Gay Britannia programming from the BBC. There are two shows about men falling in love during World War II! Oh, BBC, it's like you read my letter to Santa. I don't know yet if either show is any good, but I'm hoping.

Date: 2017-08-12 04:08 am (UTC)
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
From: [personal profile] sovay
But this is a show where every character is human and receives narrative compassion; while the pain that Robert and Sol's revelation causes their wives is in no way minimized, we also see their joy and relief at finally being able to be honest.

That's one of the things I've heard consistently about Grace & Frankie and one of the reasons I'm thinking of trying it, despite TV comedy traditionally being a genre I stay away from. There are occasional rewarding exceptions.

I suspect that all those fans who interpret Nightingale as gay (I'm one of them, and I know Aaronovitch is aware of them because reasons) have freaked Aaronovitch out and we're never going to get another tender emotional moment between Thomas and Peter.

I was just hearing from someone else on Dreamwidth that Aaronovitch's word of God says Nightingale is straight and I find this flabbergasting. Peter reads him as gay in his introductory scene: there's no reason for the reader to distrust that. I don't ship Nightingale with anyone who's still alive, but that's irrelevant!

Date: 2017-08-12 07:35 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
Yay Good News Week! I loved that show.

Aaronovitch's continuing attack of homophobia is really disappointing, particularly given that he's otherwise unusually good (not perfect!) at including minorities. I really wish he'd just give Nightingale a boyfriend who isn't Peter to take that off the table, if that's what he's unhappy about, and then get back to the story where they work together and Nightingale teaches Peter. That was a good story. It also doesn't help that he's overpowered Nightingale to the point that he needs to be removed from the climax of each book to give Peter more to do!

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