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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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  1. Avatar Glyph
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    Coincidentally, I have season 1 of Person of Interest on my shelf. I keep hesitating to start though because people keep saying things like “it’s gotten really good”, which I take to mean that it wasn’t always, and I am wondering how much slogging I have ahead of me to get to the good stuff.

    Finished season 1 of Vikings.

    Watched Under The Skin, and it’s still there.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph
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      After the Pilot, Season One is pretty much just a bunch of procedurals that have some pretty interesting discussions and moral dilemmas. I wouldn’t call it a slog as much as an exceptionally well-produced series that is mostly unremarkable outside of the usual competence porn and wish fulfillment.

      (OH! One thing that I need to mention is that, several times during the first two seasons, I turned to Maribou and said “I’m in love with the guy who picks out the music for this show.” Seriously. You’ll gigglesnort at some of the songs they pick out for the show because they are so awesomely awesome.)

      By Season Two, you’ll start saying “Huh, this is getting really good.”

      By Season Three? You’ll be telling others to watch it because, seriously, it gets really good.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      Not much slogging, in my view. The first season or two is Target of the Week until they move on to season-long story lines.Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Glyph
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      @glyph
      Others have said this, but I will repeat:

      For Person of Interest, the first season is…well, imagine Leverage, but the only characters were a sober and oddly formal billionaire Nate (named Finch), who hired a straight-out-of-spec-ops Elliot (named Reese), and instead of righting wrongs they’ve just saving people from getting murdered. Then bring in some cops as enemies and allies.

      They are able to save people because of the nation-wide surveillance system Finch created and handed over to the government to stop terrorism, but before he did that he realized it could predict many *non*-terrorism pre-meditated crimes, usually murder, and he’s secretly siphoning those predictions off and stopping them because the government didn’t care.

      Season one, and most of season two, is a very entertaining action show, with some good plots and some great villains. We get a nice treatment to some corrupt cops, and some very nice organized crime subplots, and plenty of actual good guy law enforcement trying to track down our heroes for quite logical reasons.

      A lot of the people viewed it as a spiritual successor to Leverage or Burn Notice.

      And then, in the session 1 finale, they finally admit what the fans figured out almost immediately…the government-owned computer system that is predicting human behavior is, in fact, an artificial intelligence. And there are some people very very interested in this fact. First some individuals, then some organizations.

      And by the end of season two, the show subtly became hard sci-fi *without anyone noticing*, and a pretty good show became *amazing*.

      And at the end of season three, huge spoiler happened, and now, mid-season 4, everything is, well, a little crazy. And the show just keeps getting better and better.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC
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        I’ve never watched Leverage or Burn Notice, so…but this still sounds like a recommendation of even the early going. I loved the first two seasons of Alias, if this is anywhere near as entertaining as that, I should be OK. I definitely prefer more serialized storytelling so I will be anxious to get there.

        I just dread a repeat of my Fringe experience, where the first season is mostly a complete slog (but seasons 2 and 3 were really great).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC
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        I’ve never watched Leverage or Burn Notice, so

        Leverage is just barely OK, but Burn Notice? Best.. show… ever!

        Re POI: That does sound enticing. I may have to go back to it. I watched maybe the first half of season 1, and then lost track of it. I’m much better at watching stuff streaming, when I feel like it. Fgvyy tbvat gb or cvffrq jura gurl xvyy Gnenwv.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC
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        Is it really good? All I know is that it’s some kind of spy show, it’s on USA, and it’s set in Miami, which, aside from Vice, doesn’t always guarantee reliable TV (I’m looking at you, Dexter and Nip/Tuck).Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DavidTC
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        Btw, @chris, I just finished Death of River Guide on your recommendation. Loved it. I think I’m gonna go with Sound of One Hand Clapping next. Sorta work my way up to the more critically acclaimed stuff, as it were.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC
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        @glyph , with the possible exception of Psych, and the A-Team when I was 7, I can’t think of any show more fun than Burn Notice. It is not good: the plots and characters are silly, the lead actor is made of some sort of plastic, I believe, and it’s possible they dragged it out too long, but I would rewatch every episode of it tomorrow if someone wanted me to watch it with them. Then I’d do it again after that, if someone else did.

        @stillwater that makes me very happy (sincerly). Sound of One Hand Clapping is good, but he really came into his own with Gould’s Book of Fish. Then there is Wanting, which moved me greatly. And finally the Booker Prize!Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC
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        @chris – uhhhh…I appreciate the enthusiasm (and I like Bruce Campbell) but…color me a little skeptical. I just don’t know if “A-Team-like” is what I need right now. I may have to wait until the next TV drought (Justified and The Americans are back soon!) to check it out – this last drought caused me to check out Vikings, which really wasn’t bad.

        Also, I watched the first ep of Agent Carter last night and plan to watch the second tonight. I am cautiously optimistic! Hayley Atwell is va-va-va-voom and the sets/costumes etc. were quite good.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC
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        The A-Team when I was 7! 7! It’s that level of fun. When the A-Team was on television here briefly, after the analogue to digital conversion a few years ago, I watched several episodes and thought, “This is the show I loved so much when I was 7?!”.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DavidTC
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        Burn Notice is such great dumb fun that I watched every one of them, and you know what a snob I am.

        Though it would have been even better if they’d gotten Josh Radnor to do the voice-over narration.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to DavidTC
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        I enjoyed the first two seasons of Burn Notice a lot, but my attention lapsed as they moved away from the “look how spy skills can be useful for other things” theme.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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        My bedtime was 8:30 during the period that The A-Team was on television. I always had to go to bed right when the guys got locked in a barn with nothing in it but PVC pipe, engines, and duct tape.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC
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        @jaybird – I don’t want to bring you down, but they all died in that barn. Sorry….Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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        @glyph
        I’ve never watched Leverage or Burn Notice

        Blarg, then what are you even doing watching TV?

        Also, Burn Notice is not really a ‘spy show’. It’s a show about an ex-spy. We get a few actual spy missions throughout the series, but it’s mainly about him randomly helping people, using spy skills, while trying to fix his major problem, that he’s been burned by (as in, painted as a villain and kicked out of) the intelligence community.

        Whereas Leverage is about a team of criminals helping people using *criminal* skills.

        There aren’t a lot of shows in this genre, but the genre is ‘Very skilled people operate outside the law helping victimized people who can’t fix things through the system’. I’m not entirely sure it has a name. (TV Tropes calls it ‘We Help the Helpless’. That is not a name of a genre.)

        So now I’m trying to think of another show to compare POI to.

        The A-Team is also in that genre (Using inexplicably non-lethal military skills), and also MacGyver (Also spy skills) and Knight Rider (Using..car skills?), but the genre has changed *vastly* since the 80s.

        I just dread a repeat of my Fringe experience, where the first season is mostly a complete slog (but seasons 2 and 3 were really great).

        Fringe was one of those sci-fi shows that drive me crazy, like Lost, where the writers liked to pretend there was some great overarching thing going on, with wheels within wheels within wheels…but the writers never actually knew where anything was going, and occasional they’d just erase everything and start over. (Fringe: The TV show with two universes and two timelines in each of those universes, because surely that makes sense somehow.)

        They were the sort of soft sci-fi and fantasy that gives spec-fi the bad rap it has, where anything could happen because Magic! (or Science!)

        POI…isn’t like that. Everything there just sorta builds logically on top of everything, and, like I said, it’s hard sci-fi. It’s the current world, plus an airport-hanger-sized supercomputer that is sentient, can model human behavior fairly well, and is basically a good guy. (In fact, it’s so hard sci-fi that a few times reality has outpaced them…the show had to dismiss the PRISM revelations as a ‘misdirect’ to hid the actual government program doing all this.)Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to DavidTC
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        @davidtc – you won’t catch me defending Lost, which was one of the greatest TV disappointments ever, but I stand by Fringe as, for a time, a terrific show.

        Except for most of season one, and all of season 5, and much of season 4 ;-).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC
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        I never fully got over the pivot away from the dualing timeliness. I understand moving on to a different plot, but the merger/erasure was the wrong way to do it. It erased my relationship with the characters.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to DavidTC
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        the guys got locked in a barn with nothing in it but PVC pipe, engines, and duct tape.

        Oh, yeah, the episode where they blew stuff up. That was a good one,Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to DavidTC
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        Between the A-Team and GI Joe, I wondered if the U.S. military trained soldiers to miss.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
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        @will-truman
        I never fully got over the pivot away from the dualing timeliness. I understand moving on to a different plot, but the merger/erasure was the wrong way to do it. It erased my relationship with the characters.

        And right about the time we got used to it, they decided to do, like, two time skips, one inside the other. I have no better way to describe what happened. ‘Oh, it’s the future, and the main characters were frozen in time, except, wait, a bunch of stuff happened to them since we last saw them *before* they got frozen in time, like five years worth of stuff, like they had a kid and broke up and there was a time-traveller invasion and they helped fight it off…and *then* they got frozen, and now it’s all later.’

        It was two idiotic time-skips for the price of one. And it’s exactly how *not* to do time-skips. (If you’re doing a time skip that involves POV characters actually skipping through time, you have to start them in ‘the present’ of the show. Likewise, when they get into the future, they need to *not know what is going on* so you can explain it to the damn audience.)

        The entire show was a mess like that. I know Glyph has decided to claim season 2 and 3 as some sort of glory days, and I admit that most of the stupidity I remember was after that, but, damn. I’ve never seen such ADD from a TV show since…well, like I said, Lost. Before that, the X-Files.

        You can’t just wander around rewriting the entire damn universe. Multiple times. This is why *people dislike sci-fi*.Report

  2. Avatar Vikram Bath
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    Anyway, are there any shows out there that you’ve gone through getting back into?

    Yes, I managed to do this with Breaking Bad of all shows. I got through 2.5 seasons and then had a break of several months because I was trying to actually do work. I actually just managed to finish it, largely by watching several hours a day for a few days.

    And then Glyph recommended Black Mirror, which is even darker…

    Oh, Will, I finished Breaking Bad, by the way.Report

  3. Avatar ScarletNumbers
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    My condolsences go out to @kazzy on the passing of one of his heroes, Stuart Scott.

    Boo Yah, indeed.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to ScarletNumbers
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      When did I ever identify Stuart Scott as a ‘hero’, @scarletnumbers ? I really don’t get you some times.

      Scott was very good at what he did. His influence on his field is a mixed-bag as he helped remove the stodginess that dominated his colleagues but also helped usher in some of the more ridiculous personalities (which is hard to really put on him specifically but that argument will be made). More importantly, Scott was a good man, a devoted father, and an inspiration to others fighting his battle. His passing is sad for any number of reasons. Why you see it as fodder for whatever the hell you are doing here is… weird…Report

  4. Avatar Michael M.
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    says:

    I just finished season 3 of American Horror Story. Season 3 was Coven, with witches. Season 2 was Asylum and season 1, which I don’t believe had a tag in its title, was a haunted house story. Season 4, which isn’t yet concluded, is Freak Show and I think it is about a traveling circus sideshow. I find that this show works really well for me in concentrated doses when I’m in the mood for over-the-top melodrama and generous dollops of camp, so I have never watched it on a weekly basis when it first broadcasts. I rewatched The Craft recently and that put me back in the mood for more AHS.

    Coven did not disappoint, especially with its running Stevie Nicks* homage. Lily Rabe did a great job as a Nicks superfan and the show brought the White Witch herself for a couple of cameos. (Luckily, all Nicks had to do was play herself, a piano, and sing a couple of songs. I don’t think she is or ever has pretended to be a particularly good actress.) That alone makes it a television event in my book. As usual with this show, the season have benefited from being anywhere from 1-3 episodes shorter than it is. Thirteen episodes are too many when you are as self-indulgent as Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck are. Still, while it may be a good thing that there is nothing else quite like this on TV, I’m glad it exists because where else could divas like Jessica Lange, Angela Basset and Kathy Bates chew the scenery so effectively and entertainingly?

    *(Interesting to me that more of the Nicks songs used throughout the season were from her work with Fleetwood Mac rather than from her solo career.)Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Michael M.
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      I didn’t realize there was a season 3. I had seen season 1 and kind of liked it but also thought it was kind of icky–and the plot twist about what happened to Dylan McDermott’s character’s daughter was, while not entirely predictable (by me), sort eye-rollingly cliche’d. I started watching season 2, but only saw the first 1 or 2 episodes because it just seemed like people being cruel to others.

      I might watch season 3, however, but will probably pass on season 4. (I don’t like circuses/clowns.)Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Michael M.
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      I’m given that season 1 turned into “Murder House” by roughly the same mechanism that “Star Wars” became “A New Hope”.

      I watched bits of seasons 1 and 3 over my boyfriend’s shoulder–I think I had class while he was watching season 2, so I never saw any of it. It seemed like a cool show, and I really enjoyed Evan Peters in S1.

      But I have to leave the room when he’s watching season 4. The plot is ridiculous, the scoring is horrible, and their treatment of disability is off-putting.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Dwyer
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    I started The Librarians over the holiday break. They got the feel and tempo of the movies right but I just don’t know if it is a concept that can be sustained as a series. Going to hang in for a few more episodes before I make a decision whether it will have a permanent spot on the DVR.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      I stumbled across an episode of this while settling in on the exercise bike the other evening, and had exactly the opposite reaction relative to the movies: the story line was rushed to make it fit into the hour-less-commercial-time space and all of the actors were rushing through their lines. Fundamentally the writers were trying to cram 8-10 characters into a vehicle where there was only room for 4-5.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      I’m a huge John Rogers fan, so there was no way I was ever going to say no to this show, but was very disappointed with the opening two-parter.

      Apparently, though, production on this show was even more rushed than the pace of the show–per Rogers, they had five weeks to do what most shows do in three or four months–so a lot of the rough edges are to be expected.

      Last week’s episode, though, knocked it out of the park.

      If you like behind the scenes stuff, check out John Rogers’s Blog.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mike Dwyer
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      I’ve been enjoying it a lot. but I have a “smart people make B television” hole in my heart that is hard to sufficiently fill. It’s helping.Report

  6. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
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    I’ve been thinking of going back to The Wire, but maybe not.

    [WARNING…SPOILERS FOLLOW]

    I recently watched the first two seasons and a couple episodes of the 3rd. I got very frustrated because to me, it doesn’t live up to its cachet as “the cop show that portrays the story from all sides and even the criminals are human.”

    Some of the criminals are human: Wallace, Stringer Bell, D’Angelo, and Avon. But others are just stereotyped gang bangers. Sometimes comical, sometimes brutal. And there’s the theme of “see, drug running is just a business. Isn’t it funny to see them study supply and demand just like real businessmen!” (Also, why, in the second season, are Avon and Stringer Bell plotting illegal activities while in the visitor’s room at the prison? They’re so careful in the first season about not getting caught. But now they talk on those phone thingies that might be bugged or listened in on as if they were in their hideout.

    McNulty fits the old story of “cop who’s unlucky in love, but his heart is in the right place and if the suits in charge just minded their own business he’d do the job he was supposed to be doing all along.”

    I guess it’s better than I’m giving it credit for. I think I liked the first season a lot. And I’ve been told by people who’ve seen the other seasons that season 2 is the weakest. So maybe I’ll go back.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      The more I think about it, the more I feel like only seasons 2 and 4 are really good tv. Season 1 is a flawed but entertaining cop drama, and season 3 is an extended action movie. Season 2 is a big digression, which I didn’t like at first, but is well executed. Season 4 is spectacular.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Chris
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        Thanks. Maybe I’ll give it a try.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
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        I notice you do not mention Season 5.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        I thought there was a Season 5, but turns out it was simply a scam by McNulty and an unscrupulous news reporter to get more money from HBO for another season.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        The only reason to watch season 5 is Meldrick.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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        Clark Johnson also has a cameo in the finale of The Shield, a part simply called “Handsome Marshall”.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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        The montage at the end of the last episode was awesome, but didn’t make up for the rest of season 5. I’d say the same about seasons 4 and 5 of Six Feet Under.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
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        Six Feet Under is a case of dark and slow that I couldn’t go with after a season.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        I’ve been told by people who’ve seen the other seasons that season 2 is the weakest

        Disagree strongly, not just because season 5 is clearly the weakest, but because I am also a strong proponent of 2. It’s when the series first showed its ambition to be more than a cop show, exploring many of the systems that make up the city’s (and society’s) “body”, and taking seriously the show’s taglines (“It’s All Connected/All The Pieces Matter”).

        The story of the Sobotkas et al is no less fascinating (or heartbreaking) to me, than anybody else’s in the show.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Chris
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        @glyph

        Yeah, I’m not sure exactly how I think of season 2 and not having seen any of the other seasons, except 1 and a small part of 3, I don’t have a strong basis of comparison. It seemed a little pathetic. But only a little. There were some points about that show that I really liked, and I did like the effort to carry the story from season 1.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        Can you expand on what you mean by “pathetic”?

        Is it the fact that people fail (and die) needlessly and pointlessly, sometimes as the result of some petty grudge match (or arcane larger machination) that they aren’t even aware of?

        ‘Cos to me, that just seems pathetic like…life.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Chris
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        Maybe pathetic was a little harsh. But here’s what I meant. My sense of the second season was a certain argument about choices, namely, that Frank Sobotka really had no choice to do other than what he did because deindustrialization had eviscerated most of the longshoreworkers’ jobs. The workers in this case were poor tools of capital who had been “betrayed” by their country because of things like NAFTA and other types of free(r) trade. If you buy my claim that the season makes this argument, Sobotka wasn’t brought down by his choices, but by the system that betrayed him and his fellow workers. To me that’s something of a caricature.

        That’s maybe an overdetermined reading on my part. I can imagine someone watching that season and not getting the the same “meta-argument” I get out of it as I do. In fact, maybe I came to the story with my own predispositions and imposed them on the story. For one thing, I don’t recall anyone referencing NAFTA, and free(r) trade is referenced only indirectly, for example, in discussion of competition with other ports.

        Finally, I’ll admit there are references to Sobotka’s choices, so that he seems like what the show wants him to seem like: a tragic (not pathetic) character brought down by his own good intentions. (And his brother stays clean from crime, suggesting that Sobotka didn’t have to make the choices he made.)Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        @gabriel-conroy – Interesting. I guess I don’t see things totally one way or the other (per my earlier comment, in a certain sense Sobotka wasn’t brought down by NAFTA OR his own actions, but by the pettiness of Valchek over a stupid stained glass window).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris
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        Frank Sobotka was doomed once he got in bed with The Greek. That his fall came via Valchek was just happenstance (and irony, given how corrupt Valchek is.)

        One thing that occurred to me is that Ziggy was pretty good with computers, even if he just used them to pull pranks. If his family has embraced the new economy instead of sinking with the old one, he might have been OK.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Chris
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        Michael and Glyph:

        Both very good points.

        And Glyph (and James K), you’re probably right about your point(s) below, too. I do think if I were more of a connoisseur of such shows, I’d be better able to rate the Wire (and other shores) and appreciate what it has to offer, especially considering when they came on the air and not this year, when I first began watching in earnest (I’d seen a couple episodes a few years ago).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        I definitely took Season 2 to be a commentary on the economy, and politics, but I don’t know that this is true:

        that Frank Sobotka really had no choice to do other than what he did because deindustrialization had eviscerated most of the longshoreworkers’ jobs

        The Sobotkas were corrupt from the start. Sure, they used the corruption to help the union, but they also used it to help themselves, and the fact that there were new opportunities for corruption and they took them was influenced by what was happening to the work at the docks, but it was mostly a result of them being corrupt. And they got in over their heads not because of anything to do with the economy, but because they simply made bad choices in the name of corruption.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chris
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        “One thing that occurred to me is that Ziggy was pretty good with computers, even if he just used them to pull pranks. If his family has embraced the new economy instead of sinking with the old one, he might have been OK.”

        That was the exact tragic flaw they were highlighting, methinks. Technological disruption and the extinction of those who fail to adapt was a running theme in season 2. They even have a post-facto meta with Ziggy using the digital camera.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        What @Chris just said.

        Why Simon’s work works, IMO, is that while he understands the systems that create or enable the Frank Sobotkas and Marlo Stanfields and Stringer Bells of the world (yes, on the one hand Bell’s a “businessman”, and McNulty’s dawning realization of “Who the fish did I THINK I was chasing?” when he sees Bell’s bookshelf is a great line; but Bell’s also a vicious stone-cold killer, who takes what he wants from foe, friend and family alike), he doesn’t excuse anyone. We’re ALL on the hook, in Simon’s world.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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        And also what @kolohe and @mike-schilling said. 😉Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      @gabriel-conroy

      I think The Wire suffers from excessive hype. It was an incredible show when it first aired but TV has improved a lot since then. By today’s standards it is merely very good.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James K
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        I can think of other shows I’d put at the same level — The Sopranos, Deadwood, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones — but I’d still name The Wire as the head of that class.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to James K
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        Honestly I’m not sure that any other show has even attempted what Wire largely succeeded at. If Wire seems (intentionally) less visually or structurally ambitious in any given episode than some other later shows (and I would agree that its characters are sometimes ‘stock’ in certain ways), no other show has attempted a top-to-bottom depiction of almost the the entirety of certain US political/economic systems (and their interactive effects on each other, with democracy and capitalism and prohibition concertedly turning a wheel under which anyone may be crushed) with a reasonable amount of verisimilitude and very engrossing dramatic stakes.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      “And there’s the theme of “see, drug running is just a business. Isn’t it funny to see them study supply and demand just like real businessmen!”

      The other thing to keep in mind that this was launched in 2005. Freakonomics would publish the same year. While it is blindingly obvious now (and should have been then), linking the drug trade with larger economic forces in the minds of an audience wasn’t the trivial exercise it is today.

      As for the prison thing, the idea demonstrated was that Jessup was *so* corrupt (beyond even the incompetence attributed to all institutions in the show) that the Barksdale gang could operate with impunity there – even more than on the streets.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Gabriel Conroy
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      A few thoughts on The Wire:

      – The whole series is excellent. Full stop. Season 4 is sublime and, for me, is about the best season of television there is. Season 5 is sub par, but at that point you are so enmeshed in the universe that you’ll take whatever they are serving, whether it’s a weak package or a smoker.

      – Upon re-watching, Season 3 gets better and better for me. Bunny Colvin is one of the handful of fully righteous characters in that show and the Hamsterdam plot is the essence of The Wire distilled. Also, the whole Stringer-Avon subplot is, for lack of a better term, Shakespearean.

      – For all of Season 5’s faults, it gets the most out of the Marlo Stanfield character. Tell me that weathering a bit of hackneyed moralizing on the journalism theme is not worth “My name is my name!” or the scene when Marlo goes back to the corner.

      – Season 2 has a really great moment that I only caught in retrospect, when everything is wrapping up and Vondas says, “He knows my name, but my name is not my name.” Set that against the Marlo line above and it tells you so much about how these worlds work.

      – Season 5 has another great scene: McNulty getting the FBI profile.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Season 5 is a comparatively weak Wire season, but a weak Wire season is still > most anything else.

        Marlo’s character (and the closing montage of the show) reminded me a bit of the terrific favela/gangster pic City of God, which is sort of a Brazilian Goodfellas (seriously, see it if you haven’t); this idea that as successive generations pass through these trenches, natural selection posits that only the most psychopathically vicious and their symbolic offspring will survive and prosper. As bad as Stringer was, he had some remnants of a conscience, and somewhat understandable goals; Marlo cares for no one and nothing but his reputation; the money and the game are incidental to that for him.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        I should probably rewatch Season 3. I definitely felt underwhelmed when I finished it, and was wondering at that point why people loved the show as much as they do.

        Season 1’s best scenes are at the couch. And anything Lester Freamon says.

        Really, Lester Freamon may be my favorite cop character ever (though Meldrick, Pembleton, and Giardello are strong competitors).Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        When I first watched it, I thought as Season 3 as little more than a set-up for Season 4, a way to transition back into a full focus on the West Baltimore drug game after Season 2. Now it might be my second favorite season.Report

  7. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    I am still working through Harry Bosch. I was going to listen to Grey’s Anatomy (season 10) next, but am leaning towards Harry Turtledove’s Atlantis series (wherein the eastern chunk of North America split off into an island continent) next.Report

  8. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    I have seen all but the last couple episodes of Rubicon, and half of FlashForward. I really, really want to go back and watch the rest of it. For various reasons, though, that hasn’t happened. In the former case, the prospect of re-watching the first 10 is a bit daunting, because it feels twice as long as it is (which isn’t bad like it sounds, really!). In the case of FlashForward, it’s because I’m trying (unsuccessfully) to use it to motivate myself to get on the exercise bike.

    In both cases, I would have to re-start from scratch.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    I recently started watching Boss (halfway through season 1), and it’s pretty rough going. Kelsey Grammer is first-rate, and it has several very attractive women who are, I think, contractually obligated to show off their body parts at least once an episode, but it’s pretty slow and very (at times, absurdly) dark.

    I blame Will.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      R. loves Boss, so I have seen all of it. There are some really good performances, and some interesting stories, but I couldn’t get into it. Might have been the pace, might have been the daughter’s Australian accent randomly peaking through, or maybe the writing, which was never on par with the acting.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      Hey, I read mostly just endorsing Grammer! The Boss takes place in the universe of that dysfunctional and paranoid coworker who wont stop telling you how things really work. Once I accepted that, the rest fell in to place.

      I should probably warn people that I do have a high tolerance for slow-moving dramas.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m still dumbfounded that

        1. Gurl phg gur thl’f rnef bss. Orng gur penc bhg bs uvz, znlor, ohg ubj qb lbh rkcynva na rzcyblrr jvgu ab rnef?

        2. Gurl qvfnccrnerq gur arhebybtvfg. Gurl guerngrarq ure jvgu tvivat shyy phfgbql bs ure fba gb ure rk, fb

        N. Gur gjb bs gurz pheeragyl funer phfgbql, naq

        O. Gur xvq vf tbvat jvgu ure gb xrrc ure dhvrg.

        Fb ure rk jba’g znxr n fgvax naq uver fbzrbar gb svaq uvf zvffvat rk naq uvf (nf sne nf ur pna frr) xvqanccrq puvyq orpnhfr …

        I can put up with a certain amount of stupid masquerading as ruthless, but there are limits.Report

  10. Avatar ScarletNumbers
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m watching 60 Minutes

    Wow does Lara Logan look like hell.Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Watched the xmas episode of Doctor Who earlier this week; I did not like it as much as the internet did (specifically, the AV Club)Report

  12. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    My wife and I are set to watch the first episode of the new season of Downton Abbey in a few minutes. I wonder whether (and I hope that) Rose and Russell will be offering their commentary again.Report

  13. Avatar Maribou
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve started watching this weird British skiffy/horror series called The Misfits, which is marvelous (at least the first season was) on Hulu. (It’s free even if you don’t have a Hulu account!). I’m looking forward to Downton. I’ve been rewatching How I Met Your Mother (from the beginning) while doing mindless tasks, and I think I have the sort of relationship to that show that some of my friends have to Friends… (ie, my inner 13-year-old LOVES it SO MUCH).

    I’m reading an obscure but delightful sci-fi mass market original from the 80s, T. Jackson King’s Retread Shop. Kinda reminds me of the Starbridge series, only much more geeked out over tech / alien biology and way less into romance.

    And I read a couple of big gorgeous coffee table books so I could pass them along to the next reader – The Celtic Quest (one of those snippet type books, lovely pictures and short excerpts it is fun to read aloud to oneself) and Under Antarctic Ice, which was much more scientific than I was expecting (had forgotten it was published by a university press).Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Maribou
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh holy crap! I did not realize that misfits was free without subscription. I watched the first two seasons (which were amazing) and then had to cancel my H+ subscription. I need to get back on that.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Maribou
      Ignored
      says:

      I enjoyed HIMYM because the characters were so charming to spend time with, but it hardly ever made me laugh. The slap bets, because giant Jason Segel sending NPH flying was such great, umm, slapstick. But not much else comes to mind. The first few seasons of Friends, though, had gems like the image below, when the boys realized Ross would have to get rid of his pet monkey:

      See no evilReport

  14. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks to a friend and his HBOGo account, my son and I are discovering the joys of East Bound & Down. Hilarious portrayal of a character that could only exist in baseball.

    My wife and I just finished Downton Abbey, season 4, episode 1 (“The Servants Feel Their Oats”). Pretty soapy stuff, and it boggles my mind that sort arrangement survived the Enlightenment, but she likes it and I like spending time with her.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Slade the Leveller
      Ignored
      says:

      I have a DVD of EB&D I got as a present last Christmas. I’ve heard good things, I just never think to watch DVDs these days.

      Speaking of which, can anyone recommend an external DVD player for a Mac laptop? All the ones on Amazon have some reviews saying they broke after a few months.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        Knowing you are a baseball fan, I highly recommend EB&D (actually E&D).

        If pressed for time you can skip season 2, which I found tiresome, but the other seasons (especially 1) are laugh-out-loud funny.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Slade the Leveller
      Ignored
      says:

      Are you or your friend violating the terms and conditions of HBO Go?

      Not that I’m a direct stockholder of Time Warner or anything, but still…Report

  15. Avatar Kimmi
    Ignored
    says:

    I found a pun in Keats today…
    Know the meaning of the word beldam?Report

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