Tag: Television

Maybe I Can Binge Watch After All

Maybe I Can Binge Watch After All

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Maybe it is possible for me to binge watch something after all.

I’m specifically referring to The Flash here. Last Sunday afternoon, I caught up to current, and now I have to wait for new episodes with everyone else. In some ways that’s interesting and some ways it’s annoying.

It’s interesting, because up until very recently, if I tried to actually binge watch something, I wound up overdosing on it and then setting it down, in some cases never going back, in some cases going back after weeks or months to see the next episode. In this case, I seem to been able to watch an episode every couple of days, or even two or three episodes per day on the weekend, with the ultimate result being that I was able to watch four solid seasons, and I guess we’re about halfway into the fifth, in a couple of months.

It’s also alarming, because it actually means that I do have the possibility of deep diving into something and not coming up for air until it’s done. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I lean towards not liking it. It could turn something into a major distraction when I’m actually trying to get stuff done.

Still, after four and a half seasons in a few months, The Flash. So far, at least, I like all the primary characters, and the growth and direction of them has mostly made sense in terms of the overall storytelling. And I like the overall storytelling, the characters have memory (and so do the writers), there’s an overarching story arc for each season, it’s layered, and there are things in the first handful of episodes that are still affecting what’s going on now. And while I have, more than once, had to remind myself that I’m watching essentially a visual comic book, once I settle back into that realization, it’s a lot of fun.

But now I have to tolerate the teasers and cliffhangers along with everyone else and I can’t just finished watching one episode, be annoyed at one of those teasers or cliffhangers, and watch the first scene or two of the next episode to clear things up a bit.

I think that’s okay. After all, it’s the way the medium is actually designed, right?

Much as I enjoy The Flash, I’m probably still not going to do Arrow. I don’t really do dark and gritty for the most part. Not my thing. I prefer things to end or stand on an uptick, and for there to always be hope. It’s nice to have small appearances here and there by various characters from different shows, and I like that it reminds us we’re watching a show that’s part of a larger universe, but I don’t see a need to explore all the parts of that universe.

Actually, sometimes I don’t like a reminder. Every year in the first half the season there seems be a giant crossover adventure that involves as many heroes as possible, spread across three or four shows that are too focused on showcasing everything all at once so no one really gets enough screen time to flesh things out. And not all of the shows are available on Netflix, so I have to go hunting for various parts story. Giant crossovers like that are one of things I don’t really like about comic books, but I get why a set of linked TV shows is going to do it. Really, it’s the same reason comic books do it: eyeballs.

But still not my thing.

I am, although movie much more slowly, and deliberately so, about halfway through the first season of Supergirl as well. I am curious to find out whether this show is going to be as addictive for me as The Flash in the longer run, because it is very much in the same heroic, hope-filled vein, and that’s working for me so far. I do feel like they’ve skimped a couple places on the special effects. A lot of her powers, only showcased when fighting villains, look really, really good, but the bits of things where she’s just flying look much more primitive to me, and not very impressive. It’s stylized, but I don’t like the style.

And then there’s Legends, and Black Lightning. I’m not sure how much potential Legends has for me, though I like several of the characters involved, and I’m concerned Black Lightning is in the same dark and gritty tone as Arrow, but I will probably check both out at some point.

Be well, everyone.

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Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion

Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion

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Or, in the original German, Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion.

Usually abbreviated as Space Patrol Orion or Raumpatrouille Orion.

A classic 1960s science fiction television show, a cult classic, in fact.

What’s that, you’ve never heard of it?

Well, that’s probably because (as you’ve likely guessed) it’s 1960s German science fiction television, filmed in black and white, never dubbed, and, possibly only recently becoming available with subtitles. The only place I’ve found so far is on YouTube, at least in a way that I can enjoy it.

How did I even find out about it, you ask? Well, on Facebook (yes I still have Facebook) a friend of mine posted a small clip from it that he gotten from some group or website or shared to him by some else with a couple of odd dancing scenes. Filmed in 1960s, in black and white, the caption was something like, “this was how people in 1960s thought we would dance in the future.” It was weird, stylized, formalized, and very structured. It was also very 1960s. So I decided I wanted to figure out the show it came from, to see if that was just as 1960s. In this day of everything interlinked everything else, it actually didn’t take an awful lot of Google to track down in German and only a few seconds longer to locate a version with subtitles.

And I quite enjoyed the first episode.

Special effects aside, and those were probably pretty impressive in the 1960s, especially the robots, the show is clearly a product 1960s. It’s hard not to set it beside the giants of the science-fiction TV genre from the same time and see it compare favourably, most specifically with Star Trek. There are certain similarities in outlook and ideas, but it’s also very, very different. A similar level of specialized technology and technobabble, some keen fashion sense on the uniforms. Sometimes, the pacing is what we might consider slow when put next to modern TV, but it works. Still comparing to Star Trek, in some ways the writing is less mature, and in some ways more complex. There is an overall story arc to the seven episode series (yes, only seven episodes, unfortunately) which, in North American TV was unheard of in time. Two episodes with the same story linking together were difficult in those days. But not, apparently, in Germany.

And there was a lot more attention to background. Less use of background painting, and more physical sets, and in social places there were plenty of extras actually being social. See the aforementioned dancing, which never seems to be a real focus, but whenever characters are gathered in the bar on the base, which happens regularly during off duty time, there is futuristic music playing, and futuristic dancing going on.

There’s an attempt to give the show international flavor, although not quite as international Star Trek, and mostly through the use of names. It is 1960s Germany, after all, and their choices of actors were fairly limited in that regard, so you get a German actor as an Italian character, a Swedish character, a Russian character, and so on. Not so different, really, but with fewer ethnic backgrounds available.

It’s actually pretty cool to watch, and it’s sent me on the beginning of a search for other classic, non-English, 1960s, 70s, and 80s science-fiction to watch. I can pick up a word or two here and there of a number of languages, especially numbers, but don’t speak anything competently other than English, so I’m glad for subtitles (and actually prefer them to dubbing as that usually disrupts the tone of the speech for me). But there’s a lot more out there than North American entertainment. It’s a big world. As I get older, I want to explore more of it.

The link to the first episode (subtitled) of Orion on YouTube is at the end of this post. If I come across anything else really cool in my search, I’ll probably pass that along, too.

Orion, a serendipitous find through an unlikely moment, has made me wonder what else I’m missing, and it’s made me wish I had a lot more disposable income so I could go to some different science-fiction conventions around the world, and see what things are like beyond my own borders.

Maybe someday.

Be well, everyone.

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