What’s on TV?

It has been a while since I have reviewed TV or movies.  I might be a little bit rusty, but here goes.  I am not on the bandwagon for Game of Thrones quite yet.  I let my HBO subscription lapse in November after completing Westworld, Sharp Objects, and a number of other series as well.  I was underwhelmed with season 2 of Westworld, but Sharp Objects was amazing.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get caught up on two series that are offered through STARZ: Outlander and American Gods.  I’ll catch up on Game of Thrones when the series ends, that way I can binge it all for $15 in one month instead of $30 plus to watch each new episode as it is released.

There’s gonna be spoilers.  Get ready.

American Gods

I haven’t read the book, but I am a fan of Neil Gaiman’s work.  Mostly I’m a fan of his brand, so to speak.  I have liked some of his books and the resulting movies and television shows, but generally, I find his work to be adequate, but not really worth the hype the fanboys/girls throw his way.  He seems like a nice enough guy though!  And I think he has made himself into an icon based on crisp, clean storytelling.  1602 was the story the Avengers movies should have been.  I didn’t like Neverwhere at all. But he takes liminal characters and incorporates them into worlds that are a blend of magic and reality, and he does this nicely.  The 90s passed me by without having ever read a Sandman comic.  I did read Anansi Boys, and loved it.

That being said, American Gods was incredible for the first season.  The second season, not so much.  The most recent episode featured a five minute striptease to “Don’t Fence Me In” and Ian McShane doing the soft shoe, literally, for another five minutes of run time.  There was also some serious ass-kissing to Lou Reed as some kind of rock and roll icon, but it was nice to see one of the Skids from Letterkenny get some screen time…playing a skid in a pawn shop I guess.

Though I enjoy the story, there is a lot of gratuitous sex throughout the series, sometimes it actually has something to do with the plot.  It’s at about Game of Thrones levels for sexposition.  The goddess who picks up men in bars and then consumes their bodies whole, via her vagina, was…interesting?  I don’t know, I just remember that being done in Creepshow back in the 80s.  Bill Murray’s brother should have seen that one from a mile off.

My favorite character is Mr. Wednesday and probably Dead Wife.  McShane is not wasted in his characterization of Odin the Allfather.  Just as much a huckster/powerhouse/force to be reckoned with as you would expect from Odin.   I don’t like Shadow Moon–aside from the biggest Mary Sue name in literary history since Mary Sue.  Half the time he wanders around clueless and brooding and then he switches on the charm and plucks all sorts of craftiness out of thin air when it serves the plot.

Give it a watch.  But probably not with your mom.  Definitely not with the kids in the room.

Outlander

Visually stunning, this series is based on the Diana Gabaldon books which tell the tale of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser Puddintame Alloysus Ratslab III and how she travels back in time 200 years to be the smartest person in the room, have all the solutions to all the problems, and nearly get raped chapter after chapter while wearing the finest of clothes.  The book is an overwritten attempt of a college professor who decided she could write smutty bodice rippers for smart people that are as long and tedious as a George RR Martin novel.  I have yet to find anything about Claire I like in either the books or the television show, other than she is pretty.  In the series, the post-neolithic Scots defer to the wisdom of a supermodel who continues to set them straight, while constantly doing stupid things that nearly get her killed or raped over and over again.

Plot twist! and Spoilers!

Claire doesn’t get raped, but her strapping Highlander husband does!

Season one was great…until Claire and studly husband Jamie Fraser’s antics get him tossed into prison again and this time he gets brutally raped for two episodes.  Just ugh.  Never has there been this much sexual violence on TV.  You thought GoT was bad?  Nope.  This was like two hours of Monica Bellucci in Irreversible only for a really jacked guy in a kilt.

A+ on the pretty dresses, but not so much on the contrived story-lines, gratuitous sex and violence, and yet another Mary Sue protagonist. This could be classified as Girl Porn.  Mostly I find myself falling asleep to it, waking up and throwing a Nerf ball at the screen for such corniness that if hadn’t paid $10 for the month subscription, I would be embarrassed to watch this.

I guess what I’m saying…

Starz has never really been the place for quality programming, but I have been entertained, sometimes disgusted, sometimes bored out of my skull.  The production value of both shows is great!  But Game of Thrones gave cable the bad example of when you can’t get them with captivating storytelling, you can hook ’em with blood and nudity.  Sometimes all at once.

Maybe I need to sex up my books to get a series so I can sell out and live in a mansion.  Beats me.

2 thoughts on “What’s on TV?

  1. OMG we have the same reaction to Outlander. I basically read the series because of the way Gabaldon manages to juggle all of her plot threads, but Claire and Jamie both…yuck. I got through it pretty fast because there were a LOT of rapey scenes to ignore. Cut that out and you have a much shorter body of work. Since I read them all so quickly I could keep track of the OMG she brought that up two books ago and let it simmer moments. But they are books to check out from the library, not buy.

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