nenena: (Default)
nenena ([personal profile] nenena) wrote2013-06-17 12:06 pm

More recent adventures in media consumption.

Elementary
So this is officially the best version of Sherlock anything that I've ever seen, ever. Not hyberbole. It's that awesome. And that's not just because it has probably the best Watson of all time, either. I love this Sherlock, I love the complex relationship he has with his Watson, I love the mysteries, and I love everything about this show.

Hannibal
Damn, what can I say about this show that hasn't been said already? The casting is fucking amazing, the horror elements are incredibly disturbing and incredibly well-executed, the characters and their interactions are deliciously complex and complicated, and the atmosphere and cinematography oh my god. I don't care how many times I've seen it every episode, that shot of the swiftly-moving grey clouds on top of EVERY BUILDING that the characters ever step foot in never gets old. What I'm actually torn about, however, is whether this show is treating its viewers like they're smart... or like they're really, really stupid. Honestly, I think the answer is that it does both. On the one hand, it's a show that very deliberately broadcasts the fact that it wants its audience to feel like they're smarter than the average television viewer. Between the subtle acting, the dense visual symbolism, the refusal to neatly tie up subplots or character arcs in single episodes and let them simply percolate in the background until they show up again several episodes later, and the constant references to classical music and food porn (admit it, you've Googled some of those episode titles because you didn't know what they were, I know you have), it's a show that's meant to make you think as you watch it, and it's meant to make you feel clever and sophisticated if you really appreciate all of its layers, its nuances, its refusals to conform to the usual storytelling rules of serial television. BUT, on the other hand... It really is a show that you have to turn off part of your brain to enjoy. Half of this show wants you the viewer to know that it thinks you're smart and you should feel smart for watching it, but the other half of the show is also trying desperately not to reveal the fact that it also thinks that you, the viewer, are very stupid. Stupid enough to believe that Hannibal Lecter can teleport himself from Maryland to Minnesota faster than a speeding airplane (HOW????), stupid enough to believe that a teenage girl can sneak out of a mental hospital in Maryland and dig up a body in Minnesota and then be back in said mental hospital in Maryland in one night (again, HOW?????), and just in general stupid enough to believe that Hannibal Lecter can get away with his crimes for so long despite the fact that the show is set in contemporary times and that we constantly see the FBI applying modern forensic science to the murders. There's a LOT of suspension of disbelief required to really enjoy this show. And that's kind of disappointing considering that the show seems so invested in making you feel like you're a clever, smart, sophisticated television viewer when you watch it.

The Wind in the Keyhole
It's been a long, long time since I sat down with a Stephen King novel that was anywhere near as engrossing as this one. I know that Stephen King loves his high fantasy, but so rarely does he actually pull it off as beautifully as he does in this book. Plus there's actually a lot of interesting gender and sexuality things woven into the subplots of both of the meta-stories, and thankfully these themes are approached with a lot more maturity and sophistication than King usually exhibits, even despite the medieval setting. But really this is my favorite thing that King has written in a while just because it's everything that makes the best of King's writing great: great characters, creepy buildups, epic payoffs, and of course, interwoven stories that echo and mirror each other in very, very intriguing ways. I'd easily rank this one up there with Hearts in Atlantis as my favorite of King's novels, with the happy caveat that Keyhole is actually far better in the way that it handles sexism in its setting than Atlantis is.

Ava's Demon
I started reading this because friends were raving about it, and I love it. The artwork is gorgeous, the characters are intriguing, and the setting is pretty interesting so far, even if not terribly coherent. Yes, some of the writing is amateurish and some of the info-dumps are awkward. But I really do feel like the writing is showing signs of improving already. So this one is definitely a series that I'll be keeping up with.

Gunnerkrigg Court
Just to put things in perspective, this is a comic in which a non-sequitor gag about an octopus jumping off a cliff is presented as a visual metaphor for one of the two main characters finally becoming comfortable with embracing her homosexuality, and it's STILL by far and away the best comic that I'm reading right now, hands-down.

Steven Universe
YES YES CARTOON NETWORK THIS IS GREAT MORE OF THIS PLEASE PLEASE PLEAAAAAAAASE

Aku no Hana/The Flowers of Evil
I'm sticking with exactly four shows from the spring anime season: Attack on Titan, Hataraki Maou-sama, Precure, and Aku no Hana. Of the four, Aku no Hana is by far and away the best of the lot, even accounting for the difficulty of comparing apples to oranges. It's not just good. It's fucking great. I already wrote out my opinions about the animation style, the sexual politics, and the overall themes of the show on tumblr and I don't feel like repeating myself here, but I will say that the animation gets more and more gorgeous (and the actual message of the series harder and harder to ignore) with every episode.

Soul Eater
So we are now two chapters from the end and DAMN, this month's chapter is fucking finally doing what a big series-finale climatic battle chapter SHOULD be doing. Main character gets a badass powerup, supporting characters get their chance to shine with individual Crowning Moments of Awesome (even Gopher!!!), there's significantly less dumbass screaming about order and chaos than we've had to suffer through in previous chapters (man Ohkubo you actually used to be interesting in your treatment of those themes what happened?!), and wow some of those panels of Maka building up toward her finishing move are just fucking spectacular. My threshold requirements for What Would Make a Great Soul Eater Finale were basically "Maka should be awesome" and "it shouldn't drag on forever to the point where it gets boring," which are admittedly low expectations given how great Soul Eater was at its peak a few years ago, but hey so far the finale is delivering so I'm happy.

So obviously I'm not going to be recapping these chapters anymore - not for lack of interest, but lack of time, especially now that Attack on Titan has exploded all over the internet and I can barely keep up with that one fandom. I WOULD like to say that I really want to take time to recap the final chapter in August, but to be honest that's not terribly likely to happen considering that August 12th will be right smack in the middle of my last few vacation days of the year and I'm already making plans to spend that week visiting friends out-of-state. Plus I think that maybe like five people have actually been reading my recaps for the past few months, and although I appreciate the support, let's be honest, writing a recap post is a LOT of effort for little reward, and frankly I'm having more fun spending free time that I would previously have devoted to recapping Soul Eater to catching up my summer reading pile and to-watch list. So for those of you who enjoyed the recaps, thanks for sticking with me for all these years, and I'm sorry that I don't have time to see it through to the end!

But by far the most important thing here is that the Soul Eater ending is actually REALLY FUCKING AWESOME so far, so here's hoping for two more months of this level of FUCK YEAH from Ohkubo.

(Anonymous) 2013-06-20 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
From what I've heard Hannibal is not really meant to be fully grounded in reality and is supposed to have a dream-like quality to it, that might explain at least some of the issues you mentioned.

(Anonymous) 2013-06-20 08:11 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know. I mean I get what you're saying, but I think in this case the show might actually be better in some ways for not trying to be fully realistic or explain every detail and just focusing on building fascinating and disturbing characters, situations and relationships. At least for me. That seems to be more the main focus of the show than the actual criminal investigation parts anyway. There's a quote from Bryan Fuller that sort of ties into that...

“We had an FBI consultant for a while, and we would call that person and say, ‘What are the kinds of mechanisms in the Bureau that support people in these fields? What would happen in this case? What would happen in that case?’ It frustrated them pretty quickly because they were like, ‘Well, why don’t you call us when you have something real to discuss?’ They sort of weren’t along for the fun ride that we’re going on."