I wasn’t sure if I should continue this watching-lately series since I already set up a separate page for listing my 2020 movies watched. It might have been more consistent to have a list for the 2020 TV shows also? But then again, TV shows are a much different beast, since each show/season is broken into an episode and sometimes you watch them all in one go or sometimes over the span of a few months. So maybe let’s keep this going for the while.
So yeah, movies. From the list for January, I think the best one was Parasite. I didn’t have any expectations on what this movie was about yet somehow I still feel like it subverted those expectations anyway. I only saw 15 movies in January, which is below rate if I’m targetting 200 for the year. Maybe it’s one of those NYR things that peters out after a month or so. Too early to tell, and besides, that’s not an insurmountable deficit. And 200 isn’t a hard target either so let’s just see what happens.
In the realm of TV, this kind of explains why my movie-watching trailed off in the second half of the month, since the regular TV series started coming back.
I already wrote about the Arrowverse crossover when the back half aired. This month the last two episodes of Arrow aired. The first one was a backdoor pilot for a new spinoff series, Green Arrow and the Canaries, starring Mia Queen. I’m not sure what to think about the spinoff or whether I’ll even try it out. The whole time travel thing seems so convoluted as a way to bring Mia, E2 Laurel and Dinah together. The second episode was the series finale, basically a retrospective on the entire series. They pulled out all the stops, bringing back supporting characters from all 8 seasons of the show (Except for Malcolm Merlyn, apparently John Barrowman was busy reappearing in a different series), and even surrendering to some long-time fan wishes such as Digg picking up a mysterious green object dropped from space. In spite of all my complaints about the poor writing on this show (and the related ones) through the years, I will admit the finale was pretty good and they stuck the landing.
As for the rest of the Arrowverse, some comments that I’m not sure where else I can post, mostly on the post-crisis set up:
- Apparently in the rebooted universe, there was still a multiverse (since E2 Laurel exists, and doppelgangers showed up in Supergirl), but then the other universes were destroyed in a crisis (probably similar but different than the one we actually watched.) This is totally different from the “it became one universe from the very start” ending of the original CoIE and took away from the crossover a bit.
- I was mildly annoyed when Jonn turned out to be able to restore pre-crisis memories. This only makes sense if what he’s restoring are part of his own memories, but not events he never knew about, otherwise, where did those pre-crisis memories come from? This annoyance was exacerbated by the GAatC backdoor pilot introducing a “device made by Cisco that replicates” Jonn’s powers so now anyone can restore pre-crisis memories, even from people Jonn has never met like future JJ. And in the Arrow finale, it seemed like everyone at the funeral was aware of the previous universe, did Jonn reset them too?? Seemed wholly unnecessary, but I suppose then we get difficult to explain things like Tommy wondering why E2 Laurel seems different
- Fun fact: at Oliver’s funeral, Dinah is from before the GAatC episode (since in that episode she says she vanished after the funeral), Mia is from after that episode, and presumably so is E2 Laurel, although this isn’t explicitly specified. Timey-wimey!
The Good Place is also ending this week. As the time this post goes live, I will not have yet watched the season finale, but I did binge the rest of the seasons leading up to it, so maybe I can share some thoughts anyway. The Good Place was a weird series. It’s highly acclaimed and covers a lot of interesting topics philosophically, and puts its cast through a lot of interesting situations.
My main issue with TGP is that I don’t find it particularly funny. Not like other Schur-influenced shows such as Brooklyn Nine Nine and Parks and Recreation. The characters can be charming sure and ridiculous sure. But their situations are rarely sitcom funny. I think part of it is that the situations they face are always so dire. I mean, their consequences somehow ramped up from eternal torture and damnation to the erasure of earth and all of humanity during the course of the series. Not very light-hearted topics.
Another part of it might be the severe Flanderization of the most of the characters. Typically this is a process that happens over the lifetime of a show, but with TGP, the characters’ most annoying traits are highly focused on from the start: Eleanor is an asshole, Jason is an idiot, Tahani is a name-dropping socialite and Chidi is an anxious, undecisive philosopher. Eleanor and Chidi get a bit of character growth through the series (more Eleanor than Chidi), but Jason and Tahani are kind of still the same people by the end.
Overall, I like the show, but more for the questions it raises about how the afterlife could possibly work, rather than for pure comedic value.
Some friends somehow convinced me to watch Kim’s Convenience (it was on NF). I have no regrets. It’s a smart, funny show about a Korean immigrant family in Canada. There were 3 seasons to binge on NF and it was very easy to side-watch since it’s a sitcom. The best character is the father of the family, a first-generation Korean immigrant who owns a convenience store (hence the show title). My only complaint is that it’s challenging my suspension of disbelief that the first generation immigrants still speak in English when among themselves, but as a friend said, it was probably for the sake of avoiding subtitles. Also, I wanted to see what the future Shang-chi actor looked like. Isn’t it kind of weird that he’s Chinese but he’s playing a Korean?
A shorter series I saw on Netflix was The Witcher. It’s pretty good, and I much prefer Henry Cavill as Geralt in this show rather than as Superman. (Although he looks nothing like W3 Geralt). I wish I had seen this series before playing the games, as it sets up a lot of the character back stories that I kind of just accepted in the games. Looking forward to future seasons!
Finally, I managed to watch the first half of The Expanse season 3. It takes me a whole to catch up with this show because each episode is heavy and a lot of things are always happening, so it always needs my full attention. It’s so good, and it’s not like those shows where you never get any answers, things actually get resolved at a reasonable pace. One and a half more seasons to catch up on!