10 Reasons that I am Disenchanted by Matt Groening’s Disenchantment

I feel bad criticizing Matt Groening’s work, the man who gave us such wonderful shows like The Simpsons and Futurama really made the last two decades. I have a theory that eventually artists lose their creative streak, or at least go into some kind of downward slide. I mean, just compare Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark with Ready Player One. The former is a game-changing action film that has withstood the test of time (for the most part), but the other is just kind of a movie with a lot of special effects.

Perhaps the way to combat this downward slope of creativity is to constantly evolve. After all, most people in the eighties knew Clint Eastwood as a successful actor, but in his twilight years, he has become quite the director. If one looks at Seth MacFarlene, you can see that Family Guy has declined in quality, but The Orville brought back the Star Trek fun to TV again (mostly by imitating).

So it is interesting to see Groening, with The Simpsons also in constant quality decline, attempt something new with Disenchantment. This Netflix show promised Groening’s subversive humor, but in an epic fantasy setting. Before I get into the show, I will say that The Simpsons already did a high fantasy episode on their Season 29 pilot called “The Serfsons”. Generally, The Simpsons has one good gem every season, but even the giant medieval look did not make this particular episode stand out. Any show that is near its 3rd decade will probably not produce something decent, even by accident. I get the feeling that “The Serfsons” was some sort of test by the animation department to get the visuals right on Disenchantment. By the way, the visuals of this show look fantastic.

Unfortunately, Disenchantment is not good with its story and characters, and this is 10 reasons why Disenchantment fails to enchant. There are spoilers ahead.

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Does Jessica Jones Season 2 Just Suck? (Spoilers Ahead)

So far, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) seems to be getting better, as they have been taking ideas that seem weak like Ant-Man or Black Panther and milking billions out of them. A few years ago, when Daredevil hit Netflix, it was proof that this more mature and darker branch of the MCU could be just as successful.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Daredevil‘s Season 1 was a huge hit, and Jessica Jones Season 1 was an even better step up (in my humble opinion). The reason Jessica Jones was so successful is because Season 1 ignored the conventions of superheroes, as it spent very little time on heroic origin stories or dressing up in a costume. Instead, Jessica Jones first season story was about how she was victimized by a mind-controller known as Kilgrave, and how she rose from this. It was a more character-driven story that still had plenty of action and introduced the audience to interesting characters like Trish Walker, Jeri Hogarth, and even Luke Cage (before he got his own decent series).

Jessica Jones Season 1 just sucked me in, but Season 2 had the opposite effect on me. There were scenes in this season that just made me say: “man, this is terrible”. Instead of interesting characters and story, Jessica Jones Season 2 made these characters a mockery and had very lame plot elements. Even though an attempt at a story-length season was made, it still felt like things were just happening during each individual episode.

I’m going to bring some spoilers here, so don’t hit the jump unless you want to see Jessica Jones Season 2 for yourself to see if you thought it was as bad as I thought it was. What is interesting is how Rotten Tomatoes gives Jessica Jones Season 1 a 92 percent, while Jessica Jones Season 2 is given an 86. That is not much of a decrease, but I would given it a decrease of double digits.

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Final Space and the Difficulty of Science Fiction Epics

The thing about science-fiction epics on television is that it is starting to be done more successfully, but this is only a recent development. It was a quarter-century ago when Babylon 5 was released, an epic science-fiction series that had a definite beginning and end in mind. It lasted five years, but it was a gamble back then as TV audiences were not very committed to programs for the long-term. This was the days before streaming TV, so each TV show was planned to exist for the casual viewer.

If you aren’t familiar with Final Space, it is a new animated science-fiction series on TBS that is pretty imaginative and appears to have one giant storyline in mind. The difference between it and the aforementioned Babylon 5 is that Final Space is made to be a half-hour comedy show.

I should probably get this out of the way and say that it feels like Final Space was made to fill in the gap between seasons of Rick and Morty. The animation looks similar, even though it has a brighter color palette, and the show even had a cameo appearance from Rick’s saucer ship. Something tells me that was how the show was pitched, and fans of both science fiction and animation will be drawn to this show like a magnet.

The show is created by Olan Rogers, a name that I was not familiar with, but it is very apparent that he is giving his heart to this work. Olan plays Gary, a man who is serving a five-year prison sentence in space. Gary’s crime is that he blew up a lot of stuff in a vain attempt to impress a girl. Gary has gone nuts during his space solitary confinement, but he has this incredible spirit of optimism that seems to come out of nowhere. He is such a great character that he could probably carry the show on his own.

On the first episode, it is revealed that Gary’s sentence is almost over, but then a cute small alien comes into his life. Gary calls this alien Mooncake, because it reminds him of a pet bug that he had once as a child. Mooncake is followed by a group of bounty hunters, who know that Mooncake is a planet-killer capable of launching much energy out of his eyes. The first episode consists of Gary escaping from the bounty hunters, but one of them, a cat-man named Avocado, becomes Gary’s partner.

As you might have guessed, this show takes place in some future world with faster-than-light spaceships, aliens, and all other sorts of science fiction machinery. There is no shortage of voice talent here with Tom Kenny as HUE, Gary’s ship’s computer, Fred Armisen as KVN, Gary’s annoying robot sidekick, and David Tennant as Lord Commander, who appears to be the main villain on the show. Lord Commander’s name is pretty weak (not to mention redundant), and the character itself doesn’t appear to be anything more than a funnier version of the Emperor from Star Wars. What is really odd is how Olan Rogers’ name is third-billed, because he is the creator of the show and the main character.

So, is the show good? Honestly, I was pretty surprised by it, as there are genuine great levels of action and comedy. There are even moments of extreme drama, as it is clear Gary has some daddy separation issues. Avocado also has a missing son that tears him apart as well.

Similar to other science fiction series, Final Space is off to an awkward start, but something like this has never really been done before, and that goes for its beautiful animation. I’m personally anxious to see where this show is going, and I’m hoping that when this show is over, I can look back at it and say it is one of the best space sagas ever.

The Good Place Season 2 Release Date, and Why Does It Have One?

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Most Improved Player" Episode 107 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE — “Most Improved Player” Episode 107 — Pictured: (l-r) Kristen Bell as Eleanor, Ted Danson as Michael — (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

It is difficult to be a new fall TV show on the networks, as your lifespan is not going to be long, statistically speaking. Television has changed a lot in the past decade, and how we view it online has affected how shows are marketed and distributed. Most shows rely on being a hit from the get-go, such as last season’s incredibly popular This is Us. However, some shows, like the mediocre The Good Place, somehow receive another season, and this is what is known about The Good Place Season 2 with its release date and why it even has one.

If you aren’t familiar with The Good Place, it is a TV comedy series from creator Michael Schur, who also had his hand on such modern-day hit comedy shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office. The show stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, who ends up being in the highest heaven, even though she has spent her life in constant selfishness. As it turns out, her presence in the blissful afterlife is some kind of celestial clerical error, and the first season was Eleanor facing the truth in this “liar revealed” plot. You can read my review of the pilot on another site here.

I started watching The Good Place last season, and I just lost interest after the tenth or eleventh episode. As I said before, TV watching has changed, and if you just forget to TiVo it or stream it online, you just really forget about it. I didn’t really hear about the show at all last spring, and just assumed that it had been cancelled. When I saw the first season on Netflix, I decided to catch the last few episodes, including the finale, which I assumed was the series finale.

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Why are Critics and Audiences Split Over Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville

Orville 1Last Sunday night, FOX aired The Orville, a science-fiction comedy show created by the one-and-only Seth MacFarlane, much more famous for Family Guy and American Dad. What is strange is how divided critics and audiences are split on this particular show. The Rotten Tomatoes score is 17 percent, which is quite low and would usually signal a definite cancellation. However, it has a 90 percent love from audiences. How in the world can this happen?

Is The Orville Pilot Recap

I guess since I write online, this makes me a critic. I will have to say that I was less than thrilled at Seth MacFarlane’s foray into space fiction, but I do think that 17 percent is too low of a grade. I would at least give it a passing grade, and yes, that would be a D, something in the 50-65 range.

The Orville opens by showing the New York of the future of 2147, and the world looks very lush and green. I will have to commend the special effects on this from the get-go.

Ed Mercer (MacFarlane), the main character, comes home and discovers his wife, Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), in bed with an alien. The alien is ugly and blue, and spews blue liquid from his head because…it’s Seth MacFarlane, and he is known for pushing the envelope, and why wouldn’t you want to see how an alien has an orgasm?

This is the tone set at the opening, but really fails to deliver for the rest of the episode. The issue is that I am glad, because I would rather see a lot of great science-fiction action rather than MacFarlane’s normal gross-out humor. The rest of the episode is essentially a better-looking episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In fact, after Mercer receives the command of the Orville, which looks to be a brand-new vessel, the crew is introduced rather lazily. By lazily, he just gets his senior officers together and essentially talks to them about their positions. It isn’t very exciting, and it is more tell than show.

The first mission of the Orville sends them to a planet for a supply mission. As it turns out, this planet has some new technology that can age something or someone 100 years in a few seconds. As it turns out, this weapon is wanted by the Krill, a race who travels in green spaceships like the Romulans and look like Klingons.

There’s an interesting way where they stop the villains, which is a mix of technology and strategy. I’m not going to spoil it, but during the credits promises a lot of episodes with a lot of space action.

Is The Orville Worth Watching?

Yeah, the Orville feels like Star Trek, which is the point, apparently. In fact, the only “original” plot point comes from finding our that Mercer’s second-in-command is his ex-wife, creating awkward tension. The problem is that a similar awkwardness was done on Other Space, where the captain had his sister be the second-in-command.

Even the commercial breaks, effects, and music seem ripped off from the late-eighties/early nineties Star Trek era. It doesn’t seem to succeed as a comedy, as there are only a few jokes, and many of them don’t work. If MacFarlane was going for Star Trek parody, it was kind of already done with Galaxy Quest back in 1999, which parodied both Star Trek and its fans.

The Orville feels like a copy, and even though everything looks better, it is not even an superior copy. It feels like The Orville is a vanity project from MacFarlane, who has a track record of success with animated shows like Family Guy, American Dad, and not The Cleveland Show. He also has success with Ted, Ted 2, and not Eight Million Ways to Die in the West. It’s very clear that he is a huge Star Trek fan, and that’s probably good, because who doesn’t like Star Trek?

The answer is a lot of people. Sure, it is a show that probably invented the term “fanbase”, but some think it is only for Trekkie nerds. If that is you, then you will hate The Orville.

So Why Are Critics and Audiences So Divided on The Orville

So what is with the schism between critics and audiences? Perhaps fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation remember that the first season was terrible as that show had to establish its characters and world. The Orville seems to have its characters and setting established with a simple Copy and Paste, and perhaps audiences enjoy what has become Seth MacFarlane’s trademark lazy writing.

In other words, perhaps the audience might like the concept of The Orville rather than its execution, at least until Star Trek: Discovery comes out. Personally, I think MacFarlane is best at parody, which is visible in his Family Guy Star Wars episodes. There was also a parody of Die Hard on The Cleveland Show which was easily the best episode in the short-lived series. Maybe audiences realize that and can’t help but like it, which can be the only explanation that I can think of.

“Bojack Horseman” Season 4 Recap, Season 5 Release Date and Predictions

Bojack 1Animated television shows for an adult audience have really grown up since the days of The Flintstones premiered on prime time in 1960. Family Guy and other similar adult-oriented cartoons constantly tackle non-family-friendly humor, but Bojack Horseman is an animated show that tackles drama in a way that is superior to most live-action drama shows. Not only has Bojack Horseman Season 4 proven that it is one of the finest animated shows ever made, but it might be one of the finest shows ever made. It is so good, that is going to be hard to the producers to top Bojack Horseman Season 4 with Bojack Horseman Season 5.

Who and What is Bojack Horseman?

In case you don’t have a Netflix subscription and are unfamiliar with Bojack Horseman, it is an animated program that premiered in 2014. Seasons of the show have shown up all at once for streaming every summer, even though Season 4 arrived slightly later than usual. Bojack Horseman takes place in an anthropomophoric world, but unlike worlds like Zootopia, ordinary humans live beside half-human/half-animal people. Not only that, but the humans and animal hybrids mate with other and the science of this is justly never addressed.

The title character, played by comedy alum Will Arnett, was once the star of a nineties comedy shown known as Horsin’ Around, a kitschy premise about a half horse/half man raising three kids, in the spirit of Full House or Family Matters. After the show ended, Bojack has spent the last decade and a half doing nothing in his presumably paid for mansion, doing nothing but drowning in booze and one-night stands.

Bojack 2Season 1 was all about Bojack making a book deal on his autobiography, and attempting to start a relationship with his fully human ghostwriter Diane Nguyen (Alison Brie). It was one that was doomed to fail as Diane developed a relationship with Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins), a half-man, half-dog who was the star of Mr. Peanutbutter’s House, a rip-off of Horsin’ Around. Other characters introduced were Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris), Bojack’s off-and-on agent/sex partner, and Todd Chavez (Aaron Paul), a freeloading free spirit who has lived on Bojack’s couch for quite some time.

As for Season 2, you can see my summary of it here with an old article that I wrote for The Gospel Herald, along with predictions. Yeah, I was slightly off on them, as well as my predictions for Season 4 after watching Season 3. By the way, there are some spoilers coming up ahead, so don’t hit the jump unless you want to see them.

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TiVo Bolt + Has more Tuners and More Memory

tivo-boltOkay, I have had a great time reviewing the TiVo Bolt, and now there is a TiVo Bolt +, or Plus. It has six tuners (the ability to record six shows at once) and three terabytes of recording capacity (up to 450 hours).

Now, I don’t know about the tuners part in comparison to the old version, but my Bolt only has 1 TB. Just to compare, the TiVo Bolt + has the same dimensions as the original, and I am assuming that it is black in color (the original was white).

Also with the Bolt + is the Skip Mode, which helps to skip commercial breaks at the press of a button. I’m not certain if the original Bolt had Quick Mode, but it allows watching for shows 30 percent faster with pitch-corrected audio.

Oh yes, it also has the Mobile live TV and recorded shows on the application, which is something that I love, personally.

As far as all the ports are concerned, it has the Coax, Audio L/R, HDMI, Ethernet, and USB 2.0 ports. Again, I don’t know how this compares to the original Bolt, but it is capable of 4K TV.

As far as the price is concerned, it is about $499. As a comparison, it is $200 more than the original. Normally, I put a link on the site for how to purchase the item, but I am told that it won’t show up until September 15.

TiVo Roamio OTA DVR

tivo roamio_ota_frontI’ve had a fun time reviewing TiVo products, with my review of the TiVo Bolt, and it has changed the way that I watch TV. It is high time for my review of the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR, which is made for those who want to experience the TiVo experience on antenna TV.

Now, I am not familiar with an HD antenna, but it is apparently a thing. For those who have been using the HD antenna, the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR is able to give users one terabyte of recording, which is about 150 HD hours. For those who want to do SkipMode, this will do it, so you don’t get to see commercials. Oh, and you will have access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and YouTube.

It also includes OnePass, which can track every available season and episode of a show. So if you want to watch an entire program, it is possible. There is also QuickMode, which allows for skipping through shows at a 30 percent faster rate.

So yes, it has all of the TiVo features that make a TiVo a TiVo. What is interesting is how even though it is antenna only, there is this thing on back that allows me to open it up. Now, I have the TiVo Bolt, and this is the spot where the cable card is inserted. Granted, the cable-card doesn’t have a cradle, but I made a transfer from the Bolt. It didn’t take.

Here’s the thing: when I set up the Roamio on my TV, it gave the option of setting it up for cable. I called the company to see if I could set it up for cable, and they said no. So what gives? Did TiVo make this thing and say: “Nah, we don’t need no stinking cable”.

You should be able to purchase the TiVo Roamio OTA DVR here on the TiVo site. Just to let you know, you might be able to get a cheaper version of it. Speaking of cheap, there is no subscription cost.

Just Watch the Nostalgia Critic if you aren’t already.

Picture 36Yes, that is me in the middle, and the Nostalgia Critic on the right. On the left is Rob Walker, the Nostalgia Critic’s brother, and this picture was taken at MomoCon 2015 in Atlanta two weeks ago.

Okay, about a few years ago, I remembered hearing of a movie called Delgo, and I had never heard of it. Apparently, it was one of the worst computer-generated films of all time, and I thought that I could probably find a way to watch it for free online. I could not find it, but I found an Internet critic of it. From there, I became hooked on Internet critics, and if you are not familiar with them, it is essentially when a critic reviews a movie by showing quite a few more scenes than Siskel and Ebert, and really makes fun of it.

I found one of the best known as the Nostalgia Critic. The Nostalgia Critic, aka That Guy with the Glasses, aka Doug Walker, is a man that I could easily watch every day, and he has been doing work as an Internet critic since around 2007. In his early years, he would take movies that were not well-received, and he gave these films a deserved beat-down.

Some of the films he has done in the past include Batman and Robin, Space Jam, Patch Adams, and usually a lot of nineties ones that some have considered treasures from their childhood, but Walker disassembles these films for how bad they actually are. He has done other more recent films, and the most recent, to this writing, is Jupiter Ascending.

Picture 50What makes the Nostalgia Critic so interesting is that he has a lot of charisma and excitement when talking about film. He has the exuberance of Weird Al Yankovic, and he can get pretty loud when ranting about how stupid scenes from blockbusters can be. He is at his best when he is reviewing bad films, but he has discussed good films as well, and a few editorial comments where he just shares is opinion. He has also done several Top 11 lists (why 11, because he likes to go one step further).

He has several other running gags on his show, which has really upped its production values since its popularity. It used to be, his show was filmed in his house with a single camera in front of a blank background, but now he has his own office and goes out of his way to create various parody sketches around the movies that he reviews.

The Nostalgia Critic has his own channel called Channel Awesome and there are many Internet Critics that are under his wing including Angry Joe, who reviews video games, Linkara, who reviews comic books, and various other critics who review other mediums. Doug is no one man show on his own program, as he also has a few assistants who work with him like Malcolm and Tamara, as well as his brother Rob.

I have no idea why I like watching the Nostalgia Critic so much, but perhaps it is that is as excited about TV and movies as much as I am, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. In a way, he shows fanboys like me that we aren’t alone, and we have a voice. Catch him on Channel Awesome with a new video every Tuesday.

New Reality Show allows competitors to build their own Utopia

UtopiaI’m not a big fan of reality shows, as you might tell from my review of Series 7: The Contenders. I just don’t really see the appeal of them, and I actually can’t stand watching confession cam after confession cam in a situation where people start acting like idiots. That seems to be what all reality shows boil down to: people doing stupid stuff.

Fox is currently casting a new reality show simply called Utopia, and it is about 15 strangers made to live in some out-of-the-way farm and build a society from the ground up. I don’t know what will happen to this, but it has already been a hit in the Netherlands. Yeah, there are a lot of shows in America that were originally from other countries.

Now, here’s the point: there’s isn’t one. Seriously, what is the point a reality show where the competitors start a new society? Is it to find out if we really can come back from a zombie apocalypse? Well, if you want to apply, head to the Utopia website.

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