A Series of Unfortunate Events, Review

Don’t look away, don’t look away. Always hit play, don’t look away. This show just made my evening, my dusk, dawn and my day. Don’t look away.

Ahem. Yes, I enjoyed this a lot. I have not read the books, a real shame I know. I did totally plan to after seeing the movie of the series, but then I didn’t. It still seems like a worthy read, but I’m going into this series like someone that only knows the basics of what it’s about. That’s because I forgot most of the movie, too.

The series is about three recent orphans, the Boudelaires, who are forced to go live with a series of relatives as the wicked Count Olaf tries to steal their family fortune. Each time, they have to run away since Count Olaf destroys their current home.

I do think that the Netflix series has a lot more style and quirkiness. At least I don’t remember the movie having that much meta jokes and narration jokes. The series does. The author of the events, Lemony Snicket, is constantly standing there explaining things or making comments on what’s happening. It totally works and adds to the strange charm of the series.

The visuals are great. It has a sort of surreal quality to everything. The architecture all seems plausible, but fantastical. The same goes with most of the characters, too. They’re all normal, yet fantastical. It’s a great blend that makes the world timeless. It’s also timeless because they drop specific lines about all sorts of stuff from different periods.

The main characters are all fun to watch. Count Olaf is great. Perhaps due to the longer nature of the series, he seems even more diabolical than compared to the movie, and it really shows off his profession as an actor while not losing any of his ego. Lemony Snicket has a great deadpan while talking about how everything is depressing. Mr. Poe, I did not remember him coughing all the time. He’s somehow still endearing despite being less than competent.

The three main characters, they get better as the season goes on. Though I also think their stilted performance was a bit intentional earlier on. After the kids realize they need to rely on themselves more, they get much more expressive and engaged with everything.

They really made Sunny (the youngest of the Boudelair siblings) a fun character despite just being a baby. There are a lot of compositing and computer stuff going on, but it does give nice personality and something to do besides just being held by one of her older siblings all the time.

The first season was great. They did one thing special for the season finale, but other than that, it feels like a normal episode. And that’s good. Once further seasons come out, you can roll right along and not miss a thing. I can’t wait for more!

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Milly, News

Huh, okay. I found this old post about my Nanowrimo series, Milly, that was saved as a draft. It’s a shorter post about the various Rock Giants that Milly meets during the second book. I have no idea if I posted something like it or not, but I’ll post it now. It will be the second half of the post since this part is an announcement!

After too long, I have finally put up books 3 and 4 to my Milly series! For those that don’t know, it’s a childrens book I’ve been writing, one a year, during Nanowrimo. That means there are still a lot of writing mistakes in there that I have yet to correct. The style is meant sort of to be like the Wizard of Oz. A girl gets taken to a magical land where she has wonderous adventures!

All four books are available to read for free on my Google docs. Find the links here.

I’ll start putting up my thought process on the characters and plots starting next week. So, hope you’ll stay around for that!

And below is the post I had on draft.


In keeping with my approach of not having anyone be outright villainous, not even villains with good reasons, I made all of the sessa reasonable even though they were the main antagonists of the book.

Oh, here are the list of Rock Giants that I named. I gave the first few some more well-known names and hopefully it would be obvious of the naming scheme Milly was using. Now I guess the question is how does Milly know about all the mountains? Perhaps she planned out going there?

The named giants are Rocky, the first one Milly met. Everest is the largest one she’s met. Arapile is the newborn rock giant. And Cooroora is the one waiting in the lava field. Whatever I set up with Cooroora, I hope I remember in the future books because it will happen!

Trollhunters

Trollhunters, a great animated show from Netflix. The story centers around Jim Lake Jr. who becomes the eponymous Trollhunter. Though the trollhunter protects trolls and hunts the bad trolls. Oh, there’s also an entire secret society of trolls living underneath our normal world.

The show is full of action, magic, fun characters, with bits of comedy. The show is also not afraid to dive into more serious stuff. It might be kiddy most of the time, but then the bad guys will just try to kill a main character. They even say they’re going to kill the heroes. Not, ‘destroy,’ or ‘remove,’ but they say, ‘kill.’ Right in the first episode, the show opens with the old troll hunter dying. The kids also curse occasionally, and Rule 3 of troll hunting is liberally applied.

The show is a lot of fun. It builds ideas and concepts at a good pace. I had enough time to get to know the trolls and the world before they introduced something new. Jim, being the new troll hunter, must try to prevent the rise of the king of the evil trolls. Fortunately, the king was sealed away a long time ago. Unfortunately, the king’s son is still in the regular world and he’s upset.

Jim must train to be a troll hunter while also balancing his regular life. It’s actually done pretty well. I think the regular stuff adds to Jim’s struggles in a meaningful way rather than just be annoying, most of the time. There are sometimes when it seems like Jim should just ignore what’s going on in his regular life since there are more serious things happening.

The supporting characters are great. Blinky is Jim’s teacher, and I really enjoy him. If a character speaks with a charming polite manner, I’ll like them. ARRRRGH (the character’s name) is a big and soft-spoken troll that prefers not to fight. And he’s adorable. There’s Toby, Jim’s best friend. While not too useful in fighting trolls, he’s just useful enough. And he’s always supportive. Then there’s Claire. For most of the first half of the season, she’s sort of just there to cause heartaches for Jim.

The second half, though, oh man. Everything gets kicked up in the second half. I would really consider Netflix as putting out two seasons at once since the first half completes a story and the second half starts a new one. Or it’s like two arcs per season.

But in the second half, they introduce more of the troll world and make both Claire and Toby more helpful to the troll hunting.

Even the antagonists get a lot of good developing moments while still keeping them scary.

The show is fun and well-written. Its for a bit older kids, but even older people can watch it. It’s fine to enjoy CGI cartoons. Regular cartoons. Kids shows. It’s fine. I really enjoyed the show and can’t wait for the second season.

Sherlock, Season 4

Is it season 4 or series 4? Either way, it’s the fourth new set of Sherlock Episodes. Hmm. The tone of the show feels off now. It’s kind arrogant about how clever its trying to be. I think that’s a large problem with the season and the previous season. The show still has great actors that really sell all of the moments from annoyance to anger to sadness. Notice how I left out any positive emotions. Despite the show having jokes and fun moments, the characters are rarely ever happy in it.

The show is still shot wonderfully. It has some of the most imaginative and creative scenes I’ve seen on recent television. There are a lot of great moments in the show, but each episode prefers to move on at a manic pace instead of letting me appreciate it more.

So, the main two problems I have with Sherlock right now is that the pacing is too fast, and it’s trying to be too clever. The show does feel like it suffers from sequelitis, the need to make each season top the last. It didn’t happen to with Magnussen last season, but it did happen to Mary by making her a former super agent. In season 4, the main antagonist goes up even more in order to challenge Sherlock.

I will say that I was entertained. I really enjoyed the bonding between Sherlock and the main antagonist, but it does start going into ridiculous levels. I’ll have more on that in my individual episode thoughts. Those will have spoilers, so just know that Sherlock is proceeding on trying to be ever-grander and more obnoxiously clever. The cases all mostly around Sherlock rather than him going out to find them.

Episode 1

This is mostly a Mary Episode with bouts of Sherlock showing off. It really does feel just like showing off at this point. It didn’t really play to Sherlock’s strength as a detective that much. The case was more straightforward and not that interesting to me.

Episode 2

This was a fun and great episode. The main bad guy of this one, Culverton Smith, is memorably and really creepy. It has a lot of great moments where you’re not supposed to be certain if Sherlock is all there or not. The moment does get spoiled in the middle of the episode when we see that Sherlock really did get a visitor, though. I think that should have been left only as an end reveal.

This has an interesting mystery going through most of the episode, which was great.

Episode 3

I enjoyed this episode as ridiculous as it was. This one really felt like the writers had some fun ideas they wanted to include, but no realistic way to get it into the world of Sherlock. They said, “Let’s do it anyway!” which led to a ridiculous setup.

Still, it was different, and I liked seeing Sherlock and his closest friends in that situation. And I did like Sherlock’s moments with the main antagonist. It’s just a tough sell to buy into the entire premise.

And I will nitpick about one thing. The moment the main antagonist decides to kill all the targets even after Sherlock correctly won the game should be when they changed their strategy. The rules are no longer applying.

Fifth Element, My Favorites

Fifth Element is some kind of awesome sci-fi action movie. The feel of it is really clever, and all of the characters are great. Yes, even Ruby Rhod. The Fifth Element has a dirty, somewhat tacky feel, but it is clever and fun throughout. Oh, there will be some spoilers throughout. If you like sci-fi and have not seen this movie yet, get to it!

I remember reading for the first time that the main character of the movie, Korben Dallas, never comes across the main villain. That realization kind of made me sit back and go, “Whoa.” The closest that Korben comes to knowing about the villain is that his cab company is owned by the villain. That’s it.

And that scene where some thug tries to rob Korben was the best.

The villain, Emmanuel Zorg, looks pretty goofy, and he’s over the top pretty much all the time. He has a lot of great moments sprinkled throughout the movie from selling the crates of weapons to the scene with the priest in the office.

Of course, when speaking about the characters of the movie, I can’t forget to talk about Leeloo. Her introduction was really memorable to me, and I had no idea what was going on the first time I saw it. I had to watch it a second time before I realized they were bringing the piece of alien back alive again. It’s weird. Over the course of the movie, it’s so easy for me to forget that Leeloo is actually some ancient alien and not a lab-grown woman.

And this movie is full of scenes that I just like so much. That opera scene? Yes. The bomb countdown, yes! It’s different compared to the other countdowns. This time, the bomb is diffused at 5 seconds! But then there’s a second bomb that has a 5 second timer that starts up immediately afterwards so everything still blows up. Awesome.

The visuals of the movie are great, too. I just enjoy the flavor and atmosphere of everything from the grungy city to the extravagant space hotel. I’m hoping that new Valerian film will match up to the Fifth Element, at least somewhat. Note that I have not read the original Valerian comics, so I really have no idea what to expect from it.

Fuller House, Season 2

Fuller House is back! And much sooner than I had anticipated. I subscribed to Netflix for the first season of Fuller House. And stopped subscribing while waiting for new shows to watch. Now that Fuller House Season 2 is up, I’m back! Judge me all you want. I never claimed to like serious, thought-provoking stuff.

I like Fuller House Season 2 better than season 1. Season 1 felt like a celebratory season. It was a “Hey look, we’re back!” kind of thing where they had a huge event or party every other episode. Now we’re heading back. And while Season 2 has a lot of holiday stuff, it’s mostly about the Tanner (and extended) family.

There are still fun guests aplenty, including a few people from the original show. This time, all of that doesn’t get in the way of the family dynamics as much. This season has a lot more of those at home episodes that I enjoy.

There’s still a DJ, Matt and Steve thing going on, but I enjoy how friendly it is overall. And I like Steve’s new girlfriend, CJ. (Hey, he has a type). Stephanie gets a new boyfriend, a more permanent one from how things are shaping up. They’re pretty cute together, and I enjoy seeing them. You know, everyone is getting romantic partners. Jackson and Lola are getting together. Max even gets a friend. Ramona and Popko has a frienemy sort of thing happening.

I liked the appearances by Danny, Jesse, Joey and Becky more this time around. Instead of just randomly showing up, it makes a lot more sense that they would drop by for the holiday parties. I think strange, though understandable, that we don’t get to see Danny’s wife more. Maybe if his wife had been Vicky, she would appear more.

And we do catch more glimpses into the older generations lives without making it seem like they’re taking over the show. It’s fun to catch up with them and still have it mainly be about DJ, Steph and Kimmy.

Also, it was nice to see some of the old minor characters again. I didn’t recognize Gia immediately, but I could tell it was her. I had no idea what Kathy Santoni looked like since she didn’t appear that much in the original show, but its the same actress! Awesome. Nelson is back, though he’s a different actor. Viper’s back, too! I think he’s the same.

Strangely, out of all the old minor characters that came back, I recognized Duane immediately. And it’s not because he’s the voice of Robin in Teen Titans, but he still looked a bit like Duane. More than the other returning characters looked like their yougner selves.

Fuller House season 2 has more of the heart and warmth of the original Full House. I think that they don’t need to do the larger events anymore, and it gives more time for the characters to have fun and play off each other, and they do. Fernando is still great, and has been upgraded to a main character. That gives him more subtle moments of him interacting with the rest of the family.

One thing I do want to see is more on Tommy Fuller’s (Jackson, Max and Tommy’s father) side of the family. In the original Full House, Jesse was a constant reminder of the mother’s side of the family, yet we have nothing on the father’s side so far.

I hear they have a season 3. Oh yeah! And that quiet she-wolf howl, so adorable.

Emerald City, Premiere

A world premiere event, apparently. Emerald City is a more serious and dark retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Alright, I can dig it. I’m always up for more fantasy shows, and this show is that. Dorothy gets sucked into a magical land by a tornado. Only this time, everything is dark and horrible.

Hmm. There will be spoilers for the premiere here. But hey, it’s only the first 2 episodes out of however many in the season, so it’s not too bad.

I think the show is its own thing enough that you don’t have to know the original story (even though most everyone does). The two hour premiere gives enough on the world of Oz that it stands on its own. Witchcraftery has been outlawed. The most powerful witches are the cardinal witches. Lots of other jerks around, too.

I’m hoping the pace of the show isn’t too slow and that it’s just the need to set up the world a bit. Or maybe I just think it’s slow because I don’t know what happened in the “first episode” and what happened in the “second episode”. Still, I sort of hope each episode has a definite point rather than just one long story broken up because it has to be.

I liked most of the performances. The Witches had some great scenes, especially opposite the Wizard. Vincent D’Onofrio does great as the wizard. And he just has that sort of powerful, yet soft, voice. Dorothy and Lucas (who’s like the scarecrow) are pretty good so far. They introduced the plight of both characters well, and gave some possible mysterious history to Lucas. Dorothy is also possibly the daughter of a witch. Over the course of the series, it’ll be interesting to see if she develops more of an interest in Oz or a screw everything Oz just to get home kind of way. I mean, the people of Oz have been pretty bad.

So, yeah, being a fantasy series, I’m interested. There’s going to be magic aplenty from what little scenes they showed of future episodes.

You know, if later seasons happen, they could do the other books beyond the first book. That’d be great. Really. Get some Ozma up in there.