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One definition of art is that great art tells the observer something about humanity.

Well, the Wachowski siblings new series Sense8 desperately wants to be fine art. In the first episode you’re greeted with 8 different main characters in vastly different situations who all have their own small supporting cast. We’re talking 20-30 characters in the FIRST EPISODE. We have a cop in Chicago, a bus-driver in Nairobi, a businesswoman in Seoul, an Icelandic DJ in London and so on. The basic premise is that the characters suddenly start experiencing things from each others lives and through telepathy they lend their viewpoints and skills to each other.

Sounds ambitious? That’s just the start…

The cast is not just from different countries but also of different sexual preferences and of course economic as well as parental backgrounds. We have a trans-woman with awful parents, a guy whose father was killed by a rival gang, a super-manly secretly gay Mexican actor and a Indian woman with loving parents who is about to marry the perfect guy only she’s not in love. They have done their absolute best to create a cast that’s supposed to in a way represent humanity as a whole. And man are they proud of it!

A type of scene that keeps showing is up is on where two characters are doing similar things. The camera pans in and out, spins around the room or whatever they feel like for the moment while switching back and forth between the characters. And the first time it’s fine. “Yeah cool, different people still have things in common, no matter where they’re from.” Then you realize the creators thinks this is the best thing ever as they have at least two of these scenes in every episode, just two people with vastly different backgrounds doing a similar thing…

Furthermore, they also over and over again have two characters face similar situations and because of this telepathic link-thing they suddenly find themselves together so they can talk their situations out with each other. And the writers want this to be the most profound thing ever seen on TV as they often play on all the heartstrings whenever there’s a dramatic moment. But the writers simply aren’t that good, though they wouldn’t know it!
There’s pathos in every other scene with characters staring longingly at each other and whispering sweet nonsense. Love conquers all, especially distance! I audibly groaned and exclaimed “Oh come on!” multiple times when it got too over the top.

The final point is that much of it is also too on the nose. The transsexual has a bitch of a mother who refuses to call her by anything but her old male name and the mother staunchly believes that her now-daughter should just come to her senses. Yes we get it, people haven’t been very nice to transsexuals but please, some subtlety would be nice! This is far from the only example. Did you know Mexican macho culture looks down on gays? It’s true! Also Korean business culture is sexist and Africans are all poor, except the guys who sell drugs.

With all of this said, I couldn’t stop watching. When the show is funny I find it hilarious and a lot of the characters are well-written, if a bit stereotypical. The mystery surrounding the telepathy is interesting and it’s cool seeing them lend their abilities to each other. The show also have breathtaking visuals and amazing camerawork as well as good music.

The one downside to the overarching story is that the secret conspiracy is ridiculously evil. They kidnap people and pretty much kill them for no other reason than that they are telepaths. Oooh, a oppressed minority!

So it’s good and it gets better but the writers refuse to realize that they aren’t world-class artists and that their attempts to be thought-provoking often feels contrived and silly. When they keep it grounded and just lets the characters interact it’s great but sadly, unintentionally funny is the best descriptor for a lot of the drama.

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I’ve been a fan of Dexter since pretty much episode one. But then again, the first two seasons are still by far the best ones (I’m rewatching them for the sixth time or something). Now, I loved season seven and was really looking forward to the final season and the first five episodes were pretty good. There wasn’t much going on (which is something that’s been plaguing the show since season 3, more on that later) but it was certainly enjoyable.

On a related note I saw this fan-theory, namely that Dexter would teach the Hamilton kid the code and that the season would end with him killing Dexter. This was one of the worst ideas I could think of concerning Dexter. The reason being that the Hamilton boy is simply uninteresting. Dexter has had loads of interesting characters like Sergeant Doakes, Special agent Lundy, Miguel, the Trinity Killer and Hannah McKay. I call this the Quinn problem (I just called it that).
Quinn shows up in season 3 and it amazes me how much time they’ve spent exploring him without him becoming even a little interesting. One of his problem is that his sideplots rarely are relevant for Dexter and considering the shows name it’s ALWAYS filler. Quinn doesn’t add anything, he’s just sort of there and takes up screen time when the writers has no idea how to fill their 40 minutes. This might be because Desmond Harrington never makes him very likeable.
Zach Hamilton suffers from similar problems. He’s just a rich fucking douche and I do not give a single shit about him. There’s nothing about him that wakes your sympathy like with Dexter. The fact that we like Dexter even though he’s a serial killer is largely thanks to Michael C Hall. He’s simply charming as fuck. We love the Trinity Killer because John Lithgow is awesome as him and the only good thing about season 3 is Jimmy Smits a.k.a Miguel Prada. Sam Underwood (Zach Hamilton) simply doesn’t have the acting chops for taking the role as Dexters intern. He comes across as a rich douche and little else.
When they casted Will Graham in Hannibal they realised they needed someone who people could sympathize with, otherwise he’d just come across as an asshole. Hugh Dancy with his puppy eyes and mild manners fits perfectly. Imagine a young Ron Perlman as Dexter and you’d have an entirely different show. Yeah, the reason people like Sons of Anarchy is probably because Charlie Hunnam (Jackson) is likeable. If Hugh Laurie wasn’t such a funloving rascal House would never have become as big as it did. What I’m saying is that for such a huge role, they sure casted Zach Hamilton horribly. The only good thing about the last episode was that Hannah McKay finally makes her comeback. Yvonne Strahovski wipes the floor with the rest of the cast. Ugh, just kill the fucking Hamilton kid already.

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Dexter

Dexter used to be my absolute favourite show, liek ever, but now it’s not even in my top five due to how shitty the writers have handled the show the uh, last four seasons?
A slight exaggeration but I’ll elaborate.

Season 1 sets the tone for the whole show. Dexter is a sociopath and a serial-killer faking himself through what seems like an ordinary life. He only kills other serial killers though so he’s not all that bad(?). What came to be a staple of the show later on is first seen here, the big bad. Usually another serial killer who indirectly tells Dexter things about himself. The show is also immensely funny thanks to Dexters inner monologues clashing with what is deemed normal and Doakes being a dry asshole.

Season 2 switched things up something fierce by having Dexter himself being the big bad, this made all the focus turn to Dexter. And this is how it should be, I really don’t care about the other characters except as contrasts to Dexter. (Deb might be the exception.) They also introduced Lundy, the still funniest character of the whole show who was a much needed intellectual adversary. All the subplots are somehow related to Dexter unlike later on where Quinn, LaGuerta and Batista all have their own incredibly uninteresting sideshows.

Before season 3 one of the creators jumped ship and the one left thought to himself – “That thing we did in season 1 was pretty good, let’s do that again.” And so they made another season where Dexter meets a inspiring person who tells him things about himself, only the writers ran out of interesting ideas. They also split the big bad into two persons with one being interesting (not the serial killer) and the serial killer being completely irrelevant. Dexters and Miguels relationship is kind of interesting but it’s really the only saving grace. No Doakes, no Lundy and instead we get Quinn? What the fuck guys?

When they were gonna write season 4 someone said “That thing you did in season 1 was pretty good, you should do that again.” and the creator nodded to himself. So they made another season about a serial killer who tells Dexter things about himself but at least this time they had something to say. Lundy came back and made things generally great but they killed him off after less than half the season. (Note: If you have a interesting and funny character, don’t kill him.) The Trinity killer is great but that chick who is his oldest daughter? No I don’t remember her name and I don’t care, you could have skipper her entirely and noone would have thought something was missing. Still, it was pretty good all in all.

For season 5 yet again someone said – “That thing you did in season 1 was pretty good, you should do that again.” and the creator unsurprisingly nodded to himself. And so they made yet another season about a serial killer who tells Dexter things about himself only they added things from all over the place. They had a “minor bad” noone cares about, a new best friend who is also his girlfriend and a big bad who inspires Dexter. And after half a season of having no idea of what to do with all of this it shaped up and turned out great in the end. But really, half a season of fuck all happening is not good writing. I realise it was a sort-of necessary set-up for what came later but you couldn’t have sped things up a bit?

Finally in season 6 someone said that the thing they did in season 3 was pretty great (It wasn’t) and the creator nodded to himself. So they added a new best friend who is quickly killed off, two big bads with one of them being really bland and Dexter never interacting with the other . Dexter doesn’t learn anything about himself except that religion can be sort of cool even though it’s not his thing, they borrow a plottwist from M.Night Shyamalan and the pacing is about as impressive as the first half of season 5. All in all the absolute worst season to date. Perhaps not the Walking Dead season 2 bad but not far from it either.

And on that note, Debra has been realising more and more (since season 1) that morality is something relative and not set in stone. It was already possible for her to somewhat accept what Dexter really is so the writers didn’t need to add the whole “I want to bone my brother”-subplot. During the shows entire run many a guy has told Dexter how hot Debra is and Dexter has always been – “Dude, she’s my sister!” Her seeing Dexter during a kill was a long time coming and will hopefully make things interesting again, especially with that thing I read about LaGuerta getting hold of new evidence in the Bay Harbor Butcher case.

So, will season 7 be fucking awesome? The evidence points the other way sadly. They occasionally get it right but they really have to stop it with all these fucking subplots about nothing. I don’t care about LaGuerta and Batistas fling, I do not care about Quinn in the slightest and I never will and I don’t care about Batistas freakin sister either. And that geeky serial killer fanboy? No I don’t care about him either, just have Dexter kill him.

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Breaking Bad is one of those magical things that keeps getting better instead of just diluting itself until you stop caring (like Dexter and hundreds of bands/authors etc). What sets it apart from the majority of things is that the writers dares. They dared turning a mildmannered highschool teacher into a manipulative monster who you can’t root for any longer.
To draw another parallel to Dexter, during season two when Dexter realises he doesn’t have to kill but he’s gonna do it anyway he goes from some sort of anti-hero vigilante to pure serial killer. He lies, manipulates and kills people standing in his way just because he fucking can. But then he starts pretending again, he gets married and has his own child. Sure, Dexter has always been pretending to be someone he’s not but at least during the first two seasons he at least realises it instead of trying to be a normal boy. He is a compulsive serial killer after all, a goodamned monster who kills people in ritualistic manners and not a handsome widow bachelor like he’s been lately. Like it’s some goddamned cop show where the main character works outside the law whenevr he has to.

In Breaking Bad they instead went all the way. Walter has slowly been turning more and more sociopathic over the seasons and now in the fifth and final one he’s pretty much the big bad. Stealing, killing and lying is just shit you have to do to get ahead. Anyone who objects is naive and should grow some balls. Family is everything!

It’s fucking great is what I’m saying.

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Fuck you Laura Roslin

I just got the urge to write something about Battlestar Galactica.

While the first two seasons are highly watchable they’re also to me written the wrong way. Good shows are about its characters and all the storys evolve from them. A great show also has characters that you start to expect certain behaviour from because they feel like real persons and not just narrative tools.

Season 1 is about the last humans escaping the final extinction of the race. While that’s heavy stuff in itself when well-written all the episodes are self-contained and have little to do with the overall narrative. There are exceptions of course like Helos survival on Caprica. Also there are no characters who feels like persons and while I (in a very manly way) love Bill Adama not even he is especially well-rounded (yet). Almost all the episodes are about external threats that the crew faces and overcomes and those external threats are always Cylons. Yawn.

Now I don’t dislike season 1 but compared to what comes later it really isn’t anything special. Also Laura Roslin is a asshole.

In season 2 the show starts to shape up, more episodes are about conflicts inside the fleet or characters who have internal conflicts. In other words, character drama instead of action drama. They start to touch on different political factions, criminality and they even dedicate an entire episode to Caprica 6 and Boomer. Funny thing that the Cylons are more sympathetic than the president of the colonys. Also that episode about Scar where they realised the Cylons hates them just as much as they hate the Cylons was great. We got to see what a bleak and shitty life the crew on Galactica actually leads and how they risk their lives every single day. Also Baltar is fun as usual, Bill Adama is the manliest man in space and Laura Roslin is a asshole. Fuck you Laura.

Then I started watching season 3 and hot damn, every single episode suddenly has internal conflicts, the characters starts showing real feelings and they explore relationships not only between the crewmembers but also between the different Cylon models and the models starts to show inviduality amongst themselves. Dr Baltar suddenly goes from comic relief to a person searching for a purpose. Even Lee stops being so fucking perfect and behaves like a human being, blemishes and all. While Kara has always been a bit of a bitch here more than ever we’re shown her flaws. I like flaws, flaws is what makes people unique. Bill has flaws in this season too and it’s awesome. They’re no longer the heroes defending the last remnants of humanity, instead they’re just a bunch of assholes doing their best not to fuck up. Glorious. I’ve watched til the episode where Baltar has been reclaimed by Galactica and interrogated but it’s late so I have to sleep soon. :(

Also, fuck you Laura Roslin.

I’ll get to the point. There is no other character I can think of (That is supposed to be on of  the good guys) that I hate as much as Laura Roslin, not in any show or movie ever. The main reason is that she believes that everything she does is in fact the only moral and/or right thing to do. If you do no agree with Laura or does something that she does not approve of she WILL look at you above her glasses like you’re a brat who should come to his senses. She does this to absolutely everyone.

As a extension of this, nothing she ever does is in any way wrong. A great example would be when Helo tells her “If you hadn’t lied and stolen our child we wouldn’t be in this situation.” her response is to look at him above her glasses and tell him that while she might be partly to blame the future of humanity now lies in the hands of his and Bills trust in Sharon bla bla bla. As soon as anyone tells her she might have done something wrong she holds a convoluted speech and shifts the blame on someone else. Nothing is ever her fault and she never does anything wrong. Fuck you Laura Roslin. Fuck. You.

To be honest, I was a bit bummed when she survived her cancer. I really wanted her to just die because her mere presence in a scene is often enough to make me pissed. And if she opens her mouth I will more often than not exclaim – yes you guessed it – Fuck you Laura Roslin.

But I guess I got to give the writers their props for writing such a massively flawed human being. I can’t find anything nice to say about her except that she seems to like children and she at least knows what she’s doing as the president. What I don’t get is of course how Bill can like her because she is not a particulary nice person. She is massively judgemental, preachy and often talks like she has a audience, even when only one other person is nearby. I’m trying all I can but I really can’t find a single reason why people would want to hang around her.

In conclusion, fuck you Laura Roslin.

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