Category Archives: TV

Reboots

The other night, I watched the first episode of the CBS reboot of Murphy Brown, and my first thought is that I hope it gets better. A lot better. The only part I liked was the cameo by Hillary Clinton playing “Hillary Clindon,” a potential secretary for Candice Bergen’s Murphy Brown. (If I remember the original show correctly, Brown had a long and troubled history with secretaries, which puts a bit of icing on the scene.)

Seeing the main characters again, for me, was awkward and close to cringe-worthy. They seem very much a product of their era (1988-1998) and didn’t translate well across the two decades that have brought so much social and technical change.

Part of the problem might be that I find CBS half-hour sitcoms tediously dull, cliché-filled, totally unfunny, marshmallow realities.

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The Break Break Up

In an almost weird bit of prescience, I broke up with Michelle Wolf’s The Break just days before Netflix did. The several articles I read announcing it reported that Netflix hadn’t offered a reason for the cancellation, and speculated on connections with an apparent history of failed talk shows. Netflix just bad at talk shows, was the implication.

Let me offer another reason, perhaps the real reason. The show was awful. It was painfully not funny, nor was it terribly creative. It tried hard to be, but the result was usually more like a bad SNL script. And, regrettably, Ms Wolf may not be a good choice for talk show host.

After hanging in there since the beginning, I just couldn’t any more. I had to bail.

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Barr and Bee

Roseanne Barr is still generating the occasional headline with her antics in reaction to the cancellation of her ABC show, so I thought that, rather than just delete this post (which has been sitting in my Drafts folder), I’d set it free to roam the web. “Better out than in,” I believe the saying goes (and, yes, I’m well aware of what that then compares this post to; I stand by that comparison).

One thing I found interesting about it all was the contrast between Barr’s transgression and one made by Samantha Bee on her TBS show. There were some similarities in that both involved personal insults made by popular entertainment figures from their chosen platforms. There are also differences in content, as well as in how Barr and Bee handled themselves after.

Currently we’re in a very reactive, very polarized environment, and the Barr and Bee fracas put it all on mini-display.

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I Don’t Like Dinosaurs

I should probably start by hastening to add: I don’t dislike dinosaurs, either! It’s an ambiguity of English that when one says, “I don’t like X,” it can mean one has negative feelings about the ‘X’ in question, or it can mean just that one has no positive feelings for it — that one is neutral (or perhaps not interested enough to have an opinion).

It’s an easy jump from “don’t like” to “dislike,” so the phrase, “I don’t like X,” is usually taken that way. But I have wiring in my brain that makes me see it more literally — as failing to have a liking for ‘X’ — so I often have to clarify what I mean.

And what I mean is that I have zero interest in dinosaurs.

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Westworld: Final Reflections

Make no mistake here: I am still definitely a fan of HBO’s Westworld. I think it’s pretty darn good television science fiction, but I do recognize that it’s not great TV SF. It is a bit niche, both as SF and as a puzzle box, and this season seems to suffer some poor (or at least odd) thinking along with some apparent style-over-substance decisions.

But I’m still a fan; I’ll be back to watch season three. In 2020. If I’m even still alive. (I’m old enough for that not to be a given, although it never really is.) I’ve seen a lot more negative coverage this season (generally well-deserved, I think), and I’m hoping it is taken to heart and results in a better third season.

In this last Westworld post (for now) I offer some general reflections and observations of the series so far.

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Westworld: Yeah, But!

The more I reflect on the second season of HBO’s Westworld, the more I have some very serious questions about key aspects of the story. In the first season, I had serious questions about The Maze, which was central to the story. This season’s serious questions, equally story central, seem even more serious.

Primarily, there is the matter of the Peter Abernathy encryption key, which spans both seasons. Secondarily, there are the related matters of The Door and The Flood. And, finally, there is the matter of Ford’s Final Game for William.

I really can’t seem to find the logic behind any of them! They all give me a bad case of the Yeah, Buts!

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Westworld: More Questions!

The second season of the HBO show, Westworld, has answered many of the questions raised in season one. Of course, it’s also raised a whole crop of new questions! And, sadly, that crop seems to contain more WTF questions than last season.

The big WTF in the first season was The Maze, and there were some smaller ones, mostly to do with Ford’s astonishing foresight into what people would do. (Smacks a bit of Hari Seldon’s Psychohistory.) But this season has a number of choices that strike me as working backwards from a cool image or as style over substance.

More important are the actual questions raised, and hopefully there are far more of those. Let’s find out (serious spoilers, obviously)…

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Westworld: Host Brains!

In a previous post I wrote a story about how the guns might work in the HBO show, Westworld. In this post I thought I’d take a stab at describing how the host brains might work — a much more challenging task!

As with the guns, as with any of us fans trying to understand any work of fiction we love, our guesswork depends on the facts we can observe in the show — the official canon, so to speak. Additional facts can come from the Word Of God (the show’s creators). Any creation of ours has to fit all these facts, and has to be logical and plausible within the context of the story.

So what do we know about host brains, and what might we guess about their operation, capabilities, and limits?

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Westworld: Those Guns!

As a long-time fan of both science and science fiction, I expect the science in the fiction to be, at least, not mind-blowing stupid. Especially, I expect it to not be too magical, but a better way to put it is I expect it to not piss me off. Granted, the hardness of the SF determines how important this is. By the time you get to fantasy (completely soft SF), the science is magic!

And as a long-time Star Trek fan, I’m used to taking the ball and running with it, to imaging how, for instance, transporters and holodecks work. In fact, I call such flights of imagination “Star Trekkin’ it,” and I’ve been doing it since the 1960s!

The point is that I’ve decided how the guns work on the HBO show Westworld. And the best part is, it might even actually work!

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Westworld: Season 2!

The first time I posted about the HBO show Westworld was after the first season had completed. Back then I called it a “gem” with much that was “worthy” of “thought and discussion.” I saw it as some of the best science fiction available on TV or in film.

With the second season now over — the finale airing just last night — I am still a big fan, still consider it very worthy, very superior, SF TV, but some of the blush is off the rose. Just a tiny bit. I just wasn’t quite as impressed with season two, but that could be a matter of familiarity.

In any event, now that it’s over, and we know the whole story (so far), it’s time to start dissecting it!

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