I don’t know how it is with hobbies and interests for others, but mine — the ones that persist, anyway— are typically cyclic. I’ll be into something, reading, blogging, programming, trying to learn quantum mechanics, whatever, and then I’ll burn out or get temporarily tired of it and take a break.
Watching TV is definitely an interest that waxes and wanes. Through most of March, it was more or less on the wane. In April, though, it waxed, and one result of that is another TV Tuesday post.
Perhaps not surprisingly (given my tastes), the main entry today is a Japanese anime series, but there are a number of side dishes, including some movies that snuck in because I watched them on TV.
3 Comments | tags: anime, Japanese anime, Netflix | posted in TV Tuesday
I’ve been a fan of Japanese anime since the 1980s, but in the last decade or so I’ve come to appreciate it even more (because what’s been coming out of Hollywood lately so often has little redeeming value). As fans of the genre know, anime can be as creative and engaging as any form of storytelling you care to name.
Lately, I’ve begun exploring the Japanese media franchise, Lupin the Third (aka Lupin III or Lupin the 3rd). It began back in 1967 and comprises multiple manga, at least six anime TV series, over a dozen films, and other related media.
It taps into our love of master thieves. The fictional monkey-faced Lupin III is acknowledged worldwide as the greatest (and most fun) thief in the world.
13 Comments | tags: anime, Japanese anime, Lupin III, Lupin the Third, thieves | posted in Books, Movies, TV
Early last year I wrote about Cowboy Bebop, an award-winning Japanese anime classic from 1998. It’s on my list of favorite things ever. It’s so rich on so many levels that I’ve watched and enjoyed it at least half a dozen times. For me it’s an almost perfect combination of anime, hard SF, music, action, and humor.
Late last year Netflix released a live action version with John Cho, Mustafa Shakir, and Daniella Pineda, as Spike, Jet, and Faye, respectively. I watched three episodes and bailed. It wasn’t just me. Netflix cancelled the series only a few weeks after its release.
Ever since, I’ve wanted to give it another try, see if it really is that bad.
10 Comments | tags: anime, Boston Legal, Cowboy Bebop, Lucy Liu, science fiction, science fiction TV, SF, SF TV | posted in TV Tuesday
I’ve been awaiting the sophomore season of Netflix’s Russian Doll with both anticipation and dread. Anticipation because I thought season one was outstanding, one of the best shows of 2019. I only mentioned it briefly in a post back then (and gave it a solid Wow! rating). I meant to write a whole post about it but never did.
The dread came largely from how complete the story arc of season one was. It was hard to see more story there. Dread also came from how good it was — a very hard act to follow. Maybe best not to try?
Season two finally came out last month. My best reaction is something along the lines of “Huh?” but the phrase “muddled mess” keeps running through my mind.
10 Comments | tags: animation, anime, Futurama, Hulu, Japanese anime, Netflix, Russian Doll (TV series) | posted in TV Tuesday
One of many benefits gained when I cut the cable and subscribed to Netflix and Hulu was access to a very large catalog of Japanese anime. Until then I was largely at the mercy of the Cartoon Network cable channel and rented videos. While I’ve so far barely scratched the surface of the Netflix catalog, I have been steadily working my way through Hulu’s.
Recently I’ve enjoyed two there: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and xxxHolic. The former is a fun medieval fantasy adventure series (with expected twists and unexpected depth). Saying the latter is about a beautiful hard-drinking witch who grants wishes is accurate but misses the point.
It’s a lot more interesting than that.
9 Comments | tags: anime, Japanese anime, streaming video | posted in TV Tuesday
Recently I watched the first season (twelve episodes) of a new Amazon Prime “original” series, The Legend of Vox Machina. I say “original” because Amazon didn’t originate it and, according to Wikipedia, the first ten episodes were funded by a Kickstarter campaign, so it seems Amazon didn’t really even pay for it.
On the other hand, by acquiring the rights and putting it on their streaming service, they allowed this animated series to be decidedly adult (which, in the USA, means over-the-top violence and gore with some bits of coy T&A because Americans wallow in blood and are scared to death of (yet obsessed with) sex… which is a weird definition of “adult” given it’s what I remember about being 12 years old).
That said, it has some good bits and nothing that really pissed me off.
11 Comments | tags: Amazon Prime, animation, anime, medieval fantasy | posted in TV Tuesday
I discovered, and become a huge fan of, Sherlock Holmes at an early age — somewhere in grade school. Too long ago to remember, so it feels like I’ve “always” been a fan. (Conversely, I can remember watching the first episode of Star Trek in 1966, so reading A.C. Doyle for the first time must be many years earlier.)
Per Doyle’s stories, Holmes has a well-defined center, but as adapted, extended, reimaged, even satirized, by others, his boundaries are extremely fuzzy [see The Real Sherlock Holmes].
There is even a Japanese anime version of Holmes: Case File nº221: Kabukicho.
4 Comments | tags: anime, Japanese anime, Sherlock Holmes | posted in TV Tuesday
For me, Japanese anime seems a gift that keeps on giving. Perhaps a better way to put it is that it’s a well that hasn’t yet come close to running dry for me. For one, there is a ton of Japanese anime and even Sturgeon’s Law gives good results on such a big catalog.
There is also that it seems, on average, more nuanced and perceptive than modern Western storytelling. Or it could be a combination of over-familiarity with our dregs and the same cherry-picking selectiveness that sometimes makes the BBC seem superior in contrast (it’s so not).
In any event, here are four I enjoyed recently and can recommend.
17 Comments | tags: anime, Japanese anime | posted in TV Tuesday
For broadcast networks that still observe such archaic traditions, the new “season” has begun doling out episodes. Over the years I’ve watched fewer network shows, although this year I’ve actually added two new ones (at least temporarily). I’m still watching the old three… and still questioning why I do.
It would be easy to dump the three old giant dinosaurs, CBS, NBC, and ABC. I haven’t watched the smaller ones (TNT, USA, etc) in years. Other than baseball, regularly scheduled TV broadcasts are decades in my past. I’m solidly about streaming these days — Netflix, Hulu, Prime. I’m considering adding Apple TV and HBO Max.
I’ve definitely taken to binge watching!
21 Comments | tags: anime, CSI, Gibbs' Rules, James Spader, Japanese anime, Jethro Gibbs, Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Nadine Velazquez, NCIS, Reservation Dogs | posted in TV Tuesday
Last weekend I watched the final episodes of Lucifer, a show I’ve really enjoyed since it began in 2016. It’s based on a DC comic book character created by Neil Gaiman, and I’ve always liked his work, so it’s not surprising I’ve enjoyed this series. On top of that, it blends a bunch of my favorite story genres, plus it gets right one of the most important aspects for such fantastic stories: it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
In honor of the show ending I thought I’d also mention a couple other favorite shows I’ve been re-watching lately, Elementary and Boston Legal. I’ve always ranked the latter as a favorite favorite, but seeing the former again I’m experiencing the love all over again.
Got a couple of Japanese anime stories to mention, as well.
37 Comments | tags: anime, Boston Legal, Elementary (TV series), Japanese anime, Lucifer (TV series), Neil Gaiman | posted in TV, TV Tuesday