State of Media Consumption - July
by Luv Mehta
Two months have gone by since that last post! Work’s become even harder, this pandemic-stricken world has no change in its new status quo, and I’ve had a lot of trouble writing anything about any of the stories I’ve seen/played through.
But work’s winding down, and I finally have some time. I haven’t written anything but code in a very long while, so I wrote all of this in a span of two hours.
So here’s a bunch of impressions of some media I’ve consumed, ranked in order of least to most enjoyed.
by Luv Mehta
So BoJack Horseman just came back for a fifth season this past weekend. Predictably, it's excellent in all the best ways, of course - but in the end, I wasn’t very sure about what I thought of it. After every season of this show I’ve watched before, the first thing that’s always come to my mind has been, “This is the best season of BoJack Horseman yet”. That thought did not come to me this time.
There were a lot of criticisms I had, first and foremost being this - how many times are we supposed to see BoJack’s character hit rock bottom? How many times are we going to see another attempt at becoming better being so completely botched? How many times do we have to see him hurt other people?
So I rewatched the whole season again.
I’ll have to recap some parts of the season, but before all that - there are a lot of plotlines related to other characters in the series that are extremely interesting and worth an entire article on their own. I won’t be able to do justice to them, however, so this article will solely be focusing on BoJack’s plotline. This article is extremely spoiler heavy, so if you haven’t seen the most recent season, now would be a good time to close this tab.
by Luv Mehta
It's quite an achievement when a TV show carves such a name for itself that entire stories and situations can be described as "Black Mirror-y". Trump's bid for presidency (as predicted by The Waldo Moment) is Black Mirror-y. David Cameron's pig controversy is Black Mirror-y. An AI interacting with the Internet and becoming a Neo Nazi sexbot is Black Mirror-y, and so on.
It's with these expectations that we go into the new series, now on Netflix, produced with a higher budget and a star studded cast. Does it retain the same cynicism and pessimism? Is it still quintessentially British? Do the increased amount of episodes still have consistently high quality across the board?
The answer - not really.
But does that make this series weak?
by Luv Mehta
Welcome to another edition of this recap on the new Doctor Who, from the eyes of a complete newbie!
Last time, we covered Series Five, and while the new Doctor is pretty much perfect, I was somewhat disappointed by the overall story arc, the focus on the love triangle, the plot holes and the reduced focus on the rest of the supporting characters. Mostly, though, I was just disappointed that we didn’t get a story full of inventive sci-fi concepts on par with the best Doctor Who has to offer, with even the few fantastic efforts of the previous season mostly working on character interactions.
As it turns out, my opinion turned out to be in the minority, with many people calling it the best series of NuWho. I really want to like this show, though, so I’m soldiering ahead with the next season and hoping I can find more brilliance.
by Sananda Gopalakrishnan
Shows that have you empathising with characters to the point of extreme guilt – when you find yourself justifying the so-called villain’s motives for cleansing an entire city of its supposed vermin, and you know you’re at the point of no return – undeniably work. Marvel’s Daredevil (the Netflix TV series) is one such show that will have you in the throes of self-doubt and confusion, because its supposed antagonists – Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin (Season 1) and Frank Castle a.k.a. the Punisher (Season 2) – have frankly understandable motives for reformation, or rather, a city-wide killing spree.
But there is always the victim, and ironically, it’s Hell’s Kitchen itself, a town in New York, plunged into tyranny and somehow a hub for international, independent power play: the Yakuza, the Hand, the Mexican drug cartel, the Irish, the Russians, to name a few, and the Kitchen’s own Fisk. All battle it out to the finish, razing a town already reduced to its drugged raggedy bones. The town soon becomes represented in a human metaphor, and she becomes the marker of the extent of villainy, and her unquenchable thirst for information, sheer gut instinct and invincible iron-clad will signify a city continuously rising from the ashes.
by Luv Mehta
We just came off Doctor Who’s strongest season yet, the final season for both Tennant and Davies, and now we’re heading into completely new territory - new Doctor, new showrunner, and as the resident Doctor Who expert (my sister) tells me, a completely new crew to film these episodes. Exciting times ahead, so let’s jump in!
by Luv Mehta
When Netflix came to India, it took a while for me to get on the bandwagon, but I’m glad I did. I like having contributed money to stuff I like, and I like having shows and movies a mere click away (and that has been your requisite promotion, Netflix™, I’ll send you my email address, and you can send me all of the money).
Netflix has a lot of original shows too, though, and one of them caught my eye. BoJack Horseman is, at first glance, a show seemingly filled with every stereotype common to American animation (black comedy, filthy humour, satire of Hollywood and American obsession with any form of excess), which has nevertheless captured the imagination of many a critic. So I checked it out.
And, well, I found another new favourite TV show. Let me tell you why, in a few spoiler-free paragraphs.
by Zehra Kazmi
As I watched the season finale of Penny Dreadful, a sense of foreboding came to me on seeing the ‘special’ opening credits. Only when the final credits had rolled and my laptop screen turned blank, and when I found myself hoping against what I knew to be true and Googling if this was in fact, the last episode of the series, did it start to sink in. The new cover photo on the official facebook page of the show proclaimed, ‘It was foretold.’ and that just made me angry. It took a day for me to come to terms with it. It has ended. They won’t air new episodes of my favourite show anymore.
As someone who followed the plot closely, I was sure the show wouldn’t go on endlessly and would wrap up in few seasons but to end it, without warning, in just its third season felt like creator John Logan (writer of Skyfall, Hugo and The Aviator among other films) had strangled a prodigy right in the middle of her swan song. The multiple new characters that were introduced this season made us believe that there was room for this story to continue, but it was all an unnecessary facade.
Yet, if you still haven’t seen Penny Dreadful, you need to watch it NOW. Because it’s simply one of the best TV shows you will ever see.