What’s Good? (Best of Winter TV 2017… & Iron Fist)

I haven’t done one of these in a while.

I guess it’s hard to make lists of what’s good in the world of entertainment when the real world is going to hell in a hand-basket… a hand-basket made of shit.

Once again, Legion, you’ve summed up my feelings precisely.

I know we can’t read tone and inflection on the internet. And sometimes the actual meaning of what we want to say is lost in its misinterpretation. So I’m gonna need for all of you reading this to picture the next sentence with ALL the sarcasm. (ALL OF IT!!!)

“The United States is in a really good place right now.”

“Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke?” “Hey. Hey. Hey. He didn’t mean it like that.”

So instead of spending all day in fear, I have chosen to escape to the land of nod. You know what I mean. While we wait for the next embarrassment, the next offense or the next outrage, I’ll be looking for the next distraction until the revolution starts. (which will not be on TV by the way).

Personally I blame the internet for all of this, but that’s a story for another time.

“Does that mean we WON’T be needing the goat?”

The goat stays.

What follows is a list of TV shows that are freaking unbelievably good and entertaining and well-written and sexy and escapist and brilliant and words fail me. And while it is true that I have talked about most of these in the past… THEY’RE STILL AMAZING.

I think Winter is my favorite TV season.

Let me explain…

“Get on with it, Melvin.”

The Americans is back and better than ever. That show has been consistently good from day one and will go down as one of the best in history.  Bates Motel is having their best season as well. Vera Farmiga has actually turned it up a notch (give the woman an Emmy already). Girls on HBO, just a couple of weeks ago, aired the best episode in its entire series run. A brilliant stand-alone story, that featured Matthew Rhys from The Americans by coincidence, which was just a conversation between a young writer and her creepy literary idol. (Rarely do I watch a show and then watch it again right after. I’ve already watched the episode three times. I wish it were a movie). The Superheroes on the CW are kicking ass on a weekly basis (even DC Legends has gotten better now that it’s embraced its fundamental silliness and monumental nerdy-ness).

Jane the Virgin lost its virginity but did not lose its creativity or its charm. And there are lots of new bisexual characters on my favorite shows. (That list is coming soon… it’s mostly women this time. Not my fault. There’s a shortage of bi men and an abundance of bi women recently. I’m not complaining. Well, I’m kind of complaining. I’m both complaining and not complaining. It’s confusing… that’s a joke). Star Wars Rebels has been amaze-balls this season. Running almost parallel with the events of Rogue One and setting up A New Hope (I almost want to spoil it but I can’t). BEN!!! (I couldn’t help it). Black SailsHomeland the list goes on.

But I’m not talking about any of those shows here today.

“Am I wrong or did he not just talk about them?” “Here comes the part we’ve been waiting for, sire.” “Well don’t just stand there. Keep cranking that monkey.”

What follows is a list of ten absolutely fantastic (relatively new) TV shows (with one notable exception…One of these shows is actually complete and utter garbage. But we’ll get to that one later… okay it’s Iron Fist… I can’t keep a secret).

So ask me the question already…

Go ahead.

Ask me.

Not THAT question, you idiot.

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Expanse (SyFy)

Developed by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby

Based on The Expanse series of novels by James S. A. Corey

Starring Thomas JaneSteven StraitCas AnvarDominique TipperWes ChathamPaulo CostanzoFlorence FaivreShawn DoyleShohreh Aghdashloo & Frankie Adams

“It’s been too long since we’ve had a really kick-ass space opera.”  – George R.R. Martin

We’re in season two now, so if you don’t know The Expanse, you’re a little late to the party but there’s still time for you to catch up. There are three main factions in the 23rd century: Earth (Earthers, Inners, Tumang), all the power, all the resources, United Nations controlled, corrupt bureaucrats and corporations;

“Is that a gun in my pocket or am I just happy to see you?” “It better be a gun.”

Mars Colony (Martians, Inners, Pomang), lacking in resources but making up for it in military might, they put all their effort into building a strong military because they were tired of being Earth’s red-headed step-child;

“Unte kowlting gut, to pochuye ke?”

and The Belt (Belters, Outer Planets, Beltalowda), the workers, born in space, mining asteroids and the moons of Jupiter for water and other resources, no resources of their own, no military, but without them Mars would have no way to get water. Without them Earth corporations would have no leverage over Mars.

Kewe to pensa ere The Expanse, beratna?

There’s a war coming between Earth and Mars. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t read the books but it’s like winter in Game of Thrones; that shit is right around the corner. And yes I just compared it to Game of Thrones. The Expanse is THAT good. Great performances, great story, great direction, fantastic special effects. The Expanse is quite possibly the best thing on TV right now with a language all its own.

But while The Expanse might be the best thing on TV right now, it is not my favorite thing on TV right now. My favorite thing is…

The Magicians (SyFy)

Created by Sera Gamble & John McNamara

Based on The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Starring Jason RalphStella MaeveOlivia Taylor DudleyHale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer BishilRick Worthy & Jade Tailor

“Did you bring me little cakes?” – Umber (Horned Golden Ram God of Fillory)

The Magicians is like if Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a baby and that baby grew up to be as hot as Emma Watson is right now. Oh my god, I love this show so much. Seriously.

Queen Margo and King Eliot

The Magicians is also in its second season and if you’re not watching it… I don’t know, I question your judgement. This show is sensational. And I know I’ve said this a bunch of times but I’m just going to keep right on saying it. I love everything about this show. I love the cast. I love the writing. I love the world. I love the story. And I love that it is the most bi-friendly TV show since True Blood (and you know how I love to see healthy bisexual representation on my TV).

“Is he talking about bisexuality again?” “We get it. You like guys and girls. We’re over it.”

This show has it all. Magic. Mystery. Adventure. Comedy. Time travel. Six-fingered bad guys singing show tunes. Large magical creatures wearing diapers. Hot teachers. Hot librarians. Hot students. Hot teachers and hot librarians hooking up with hot students. Little cakes. Did I mention the little cakes?

The Royal Family

Just watch the show.

Next… more magic.

Emerald City (NBC)

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Based on the Oz book series by L. Frank Baum

Starring Adria ArjonaOliver Jackson-CohenAna UlaruMido HamadaGerran Howell, Jordan Loughran, Joely Richardson & Vincent D’Onofrio

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” – Dorothy Gale

Okay Emerald City just ended its first season and I see a lot of people putting it down but I, for one, enjoyed it. You know me. I’m all in for a good re-imagining of the classics. And with Emerald City, Tarsem Singh created my favorite version of the Land of Oz. A steam punk meets Song of Ice and Fire meets Cirque du Soleil, Land of Oz with giants and warring factions and flying monkey drones and outlawed magic and witches… and guns. And witches with guns. I really liked this show.

‘I am the Wizard of Oz.” “I thought you were the Kingpin.” “Can’t a man be both?”

In fact, I loved it. And I sincerely hope it comes back for another season and I hope Tarsem directs every episode again. Because it’s so gorgeous that I wanted to watch each one again… and I probably will. If I ever find the time. There’s so much good TV.

Next… I don’t even know what to call this one. It’s not a superhero show.

Legion (FX)

Created by Noah Hawley

Based on Legion by Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz

Starring Dan StevensRachel KellerAubrey PlazaBill IrwinJeremie HarrisAmber MidthunderKatie Aselton & Jean Smart

“What is your name?”  – Jesus (from the bible)

“My name is Legion. For we are many.”  – Legion (also from the bible)

Okay. Okay. I watched the first episode of Legion, the new comic book based show from the creator of Fargo, and I was like, wow that was pretty bland. Then after the second episode I felt like I knew more what they were trying to get at and felt it was worth my time. After episode three I was seriously hooked. I loved the characters. I loved the sixties fashion. The tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s amazingly original and fun and I was completely wrong about it. Well anyway, we’re six episodes in and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen in my fucking life… IN MY LIFE!!! It is frightening how good this show is. Frightening. (I think I’m gonna cry… seriously)

“So tell me are we inside your mind or outside your mind right now?” “I don’t know.” “Well that’s kind of scary don’t you think?” “Scary is not the word for it.”

Legion is about a powerful mutant. The back-story is that he’s Professor X’s kid (they may or may not keep this for the show but it doesn’t matter) and he’s got reality warping powers. Basically he’s the most powerful mutant on the planet (possibly in the universe) with awesome god-like powers. Now, that would be boring for a story because basically he can do anything he wants at any time but… you see… he’s not entirely sane in his mind. Also he’s not entirely alone in there either. So most of the comic book takes place in his mind. His main bad guy is inside him. And if you’re thinking, well how the hell are they going to bring that to TV and make it enjoyable. They did it. They fucking did it. And I think I’m going to cry. It’s so good.

“What’s for dinner? Is it chaos again? Are we having utter chaos again?”

Legion is really good and done very well. Noah Hawley has done an excellent job. Fargo is one of the coolest shows on TV and Legion is right up there with it. But it still kind of frightens me because it could go so wrong so fast. I really hope it stays grounded.

And I also like seeing heroes coping with mental disorders in my fiction (almost as much as I like seeing bisexual heroes) It’s refreshing and it’s identifiable.

Oh shit.

To the list!!!

Top Ten Fictional Heroes with Mental Disorders:

10. StormX-Men – Severe Claustrophobia

9. Martin RiggsLethal Weapon – Suicidal, Manic Depressive

8. Tony Stark/Iron Man – Extreme Narcissist (comics), PTSD (movies)

7. Carrie MathesonHomeland – Manic Depressive – Borderline

6. Jason BourneThe Bourne Identity – Amnesic, Dissociate

5. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk –  Multiple Identity Disorder, (Split Personality)

4. David Haller/Legion – Schizophrenic, (see also Demonic Possession)

“That’s me. Everybody dance.”

3. Bruce Wayne/Batman – Obsessive, Compulsive, Social Phobic

2. Sherlock Holmes – Obsessive, Compulsive, Narcissistic, Sociopath

1. James Bond – Dissociate, Extreme Sociopath (Bordering on Psycho)

It was a quickly thrown together list with very likely mislabeled or misdiagnosed disorders but it was fun to compile.

But anyway. I love Legion on FX. I love the casting. I love the story. I love that it’s funny and absurd and romantic. I love that they respect the source material, making it the most original and creative television show in history. Legion is almost too good. Nope. It is literally too good. Because shows that are this good do not last for long (And just thinking about it going away makes me want to cry).

Next… Aliens

Colony (USA)

Created by Carlton Cuse

Starring Josh HollowaySarah Wayne CalliesPeter JacobsonAmanda RighettiTory KittlesAlex Neustaedter & Isabella Crovetti-Cramp

“I’m sorry if I still have a little crush on Sawyer and Carl’s mom.”  – Mel 

Colony is finishing up its second season and it was better than the first. Colony is the story of Earth after alien invasion. Humans are separated into colonies by force and into two factions; Collaborators and Resistance, by necessity.

“Sawyer?” “Yeah, Carl’s mom?” “Do you think Mel will be able to imagine us as anything other than those two characters?” “With our clothes on or off?” “Good point.”

The two lead actors are both very hot, which adds to my enjoyment of the show (sue me. I’d like to have sex with both of these people Is that so wrong? Should I keep that to myself?). Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies play Will and Katie Bowman. One works for the authority and the other runs with the resistance. But it’s not like they’re on opposite sides. They are on each other’s side. It makes for a great story. And the writing is what I like best. Colony has a good premise. And a good mystery. And Carlton Cuse doesn’t slowly drip out the answers like he’s done in the past. We start learning about the aliens early on. But there is still a lot more to learn.

“Just as long as nobody moves and nobody mentions Prison Break we’ll be fine.”

The stories are gritty and cool and suspenseful. And the action and the political drama make Colony one of the best shows on TV right now. And season two cranks up the suspense and brings the rest of the family into the story. So they’re turning into a family of bad-asses and I love that shit.

Let’s move over to Netflix

Love (Netflix)

Created by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin & Paul Rust

Starring Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust & Claudia O’Doherty

“I once had sex w/ a guy whose dick was so small I thought it was a clitoris.” – Bertie Bauer

Love is the story of two broken people trying to make a relationship work. It is quirky and funny and absurd (but in a yeah that could totally happen sort of way). It stars Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust, one of the shows creators, who is not the best actor but embodies the character to a Woody Allen type level. But Gillian is the stand out here for me. She plays this fragile warrior sex addict to perfection and I just want to scoop her up and plop her on my couch. Him, not so much.

“Him not so much? What does that even mean?” “Well at least he doesn’t want to plop you on his couch. Plop me? Is that a euphemism? Is that a sex act?”

I find him more annoying than likable but it’s not a deal-breaker because it’s a very well-written show. And he is a three-dimensional character. I just sometimes wish he had cast another actor to play his part. But look at me, I’m finding fault in something I love. Blowing a little problem out of proportion. Like some kind of self-sabotage. Ignore me.

Do people still smoke? Is that like still a thing? I don’t get out much.

Love is very funny with a lot of great minor characters. The two main characters both work in entertainment, her in radio, him in TV. And the show spends a lot of time on their separate lives. On their work and on their friends. So when they come together, it’s almost like two separate shows connecting through them. It’s a brilliant structure.

“I’m not Woody Allen. I’m not even Jewish. I’m Catholic. And this… this is not Annie Hall.”

And I’m sorry I insulted it before. It’s always only been about them. I mean I like Catastrophe too. Catastrophe is a great relationship show on Amazon. But the characters aren’t as likable. Don’t get me wrong, I think Catastrophe is very funny. And it’s not like I like Amazon more than Netflix. And it’s not like me and Netflix were exclusive or anything. But look at me, talking about another show and another network in my review. I really suck at this.

“This oughta shut you up.” “You said that into my mouth.”

Let me explain. You see, I’m sort of TV addicted and it’s hard for me to commit to just one show or just one network. But I think I’m ready. Can we start over?

Travelers (Netflix)

Created by Brad Wright

Starring Eric McCormackMacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman & Patrick Gilmore

“I distracted myself from the fear and terrorism by thinking about things like how the universe began and whether time travel is possible.”  – Malala Yousafzai

Here’s a show I just discovered on Netflix and was completely blown away. Travelers is a time travel drama like Continuum meets Quantum Leap meets 12 Monkeys. It is some of the tightest time travel writing around. This show is extremely well-written and intelligent and deals with Time Travel paradox in a smart and original way.

Protocol 4 – Don’t Reproduce

But, by far, the best thing about Travelers is the characters. Each of the “travelers” from the future assume the identity and take over the body of a person from our time who is about to die. Seconds before they die. So, first they have to save their own life and then they become that person. And from that moment on they have to pretend to be that person who should actually be dead, all the while knowing only what they learned about them from social media and computer databases in the future. Not the most accurate.

Protocol 1 – The Mission Comes First

The travelers have a precise list of protocols that govern their actions. This is another fantastic part of the show. Like mini prime directives (from Star Trek) that control their behavior so that they don’t do too much damage to the time-line. But if you know time-travel shows then you know that’s laughable.

Protocol 3 – Don’t Take a Life. Don’t Save a Life.

Travelers is an action and adventure show that’s good just from that perspective but it’s the drama in assuming and continuing the life of some one who would have died, that makes Travelers truly outstanding. This is some brilliant writing. With good performances. And a great cast.

Protocol 5 – In The Absence of Direction, Maintain Your Host’s Life

Travelers is fantastic and it has been renewed for a second season… THANK THE DIRECTOR. (that’s a Travelers joke. It’s very funny. Just watch the show)

Next… from Brazil…

3% (Netflix)

Created by Pedro Aguilera

Starring Bianca ComparatoJoão Miguel, Michel Gomes & Rodolfo Valente

“People who would go to an art house cinema and watch a (foreign) movie and read subtitles… it’s a small percentage.” – Steven Zaillian

The 3% is a science fiction drama from Brazil. Watch it with the subtitles people. I know that means you have to actually pay attention and you can’t look away for a few seconds to check your phones but it’s worth it for the original performances and not just the English dub. But if you need to watch it dubbed then watch it dubbed. I’ll just sit in quiet judgement. It really doesn’t matter. The story is awesome either way.

Michel Gomes as Fernando Carvalho

3% is an intriguing story about an overpopulated city in the future and a “process” they use to decide who gets to live in a Utopia just offshore. Only 3% get selected, young people, and they only get one chance to make it through the trials… the process.

Bianca Comparato as Michele Santana

Of course there are other things going on. There are machinations behind the scenes and politics and a rebellion against the process. And then of course there is a love story. And a story of survival. And redemption. And… the show is awesome. I kid you not.

3% has Tough Guys with pipes

But the main story follows several “candidates” as they go through the trials. It’s like The 100 meets The Hunger Games meets Logan’s Run. It’s very good. There are eight fantastically suspenseful episodes of the first season. But I honestly don’t know if it’s as good dubbed as it is with subtitles. I watched it with the subtitles on because I’m all like sophisticated and shit. But you can always switch back and forth, if you’re easily distracted. (I’m just kidding. I kept forgetting that there were subtitles. And I would look down to check my phone. And then realize that I didn’t actually understand what they were saying when I wasn’t looking. It was awful… the internet has destroyed us).

3% has Heartbreaking Romance

3% is a really cool Brazilian Netflix series that has been confirmed for a second season.

And then there’s…

Iron Fist (Netflix)

Iron Fist Poster Not Found. #IronFisted

Created by Scott Buck

Based on Iron Fist by Roy Thomas & Gil Kane

Starring Finn JonesJessica HenwickTom PelphreyJessica StroupRamón RodríguezSacha DhawanRosario Dawson & David Wenham

“His fist glows, he’s got a beard, he has enemies. Boom. Now let’s do the team-up thing.”  – Marvel Television

I know. I know. Let’s slam on the brakes for a second. Iron Fist is horrible. It is awful. It’s like instead of a script they had an eleven year-old kid flailing his arms and making kung-fu noises. “And then Iron Fist goes BAM. And then the bad guy is like POW. But Iron Fist’s got him in a headlock and WOOSH and then a kick and then a punch… got it? Okay? ACTION!!!” and yes the kid was also the director.

He actually farts and was trying to play it off by beating one of her students and that makes more sense than what happens on the screen in Marvel’s Netflix’s Iron Fist.

No honestly, it’s the worse show. But look at it this way. The Defenders can only be better. There’s no way it could be any worse. Iron Fist is total garbage. Netflix had painted themselves into a corner. Daredevil was amazing. And then Jessica Jones was even better than that. So then season two of Daredevil was only pretty good and we’re like maybe they leveled off but then… Luke Cage was fucking great too. It was too much good. And they had already committed to release The Defenders. So all they had to do was put out an Iron Fist series. And you get to a point where there is just too much good. And all that’s left on the creative pile is crap. The Defenders or Iron Fist or both was going to have to be crap. It’s the nature of the universe. It’s just basic physics.

Sometimes they have to sacrifice acting for fighting ability and sometimes they have to sacrifice fighting ability for acting chops. It’s rare when they sacrifice both for naturally curly hair.

So what Iron Fist did was it took one for the team. It used up all the negative space. It sucked up all the crap. And it lowered expectations for the team-up. Iron Fist is as relatively bad as all three of the other Marvel Netflix origin seasons are good… combined. It’s that bad. It’s so bad that The Defenders is going to be Earth-shattering by comparison. You can’t get worse than Iron Fist without losing subscribers. You also can’t make something that cheesy looking and not realize it. The sets are laughable. I thought I was watching old Star Trek reruns. They show the kid being beaten by monks in what’s supposed to be a monastery in a mystical city but they look like they’re in a re-purposed janitor’s closet. It’s bad.

Why does Iron Fist have an erection? Does anyone know? And why is he on a Star Trek planet?

It’s impressively bad. The dialogue is practically offensive. It’s so awful. They used to sneak out of the monastery to have donkey meat? Where is this donkey meat cart located? Or are they killing someone else’s donkey, eating a very small part of it and leaving the rest to rot? Unless he’s talking about sucking a donkey’s dick, it makes absolutely no sense. I can’t start talking about the show critically because I’m just going to get angry.

“No questions… yes, you have a question?”

But I’m still recommending that everyone watch Iron Fist. You’ll want to turn it off after episode three but don’t. And no it doesn’t get any better. It actually gets worse. There’s no humor. There’s no romance. And the so-called bad guys are totally right. Danny Rand is an awful person. As one guy puts it. He’s the worse Iron Fist ever. But… Oh my god. There’s a scene where Iron Fist is being chased through a crowd and to blend in he picks up a mask and puts it on his face. DOESN’T CHANGE HIS CLOTHES or his jacket or anything. He isn’t facing the guy chasing him… like as if that would matter anyway. But then he loses the guy because he doesn’t see him wearing that dumb mask. There is no way they couldn’t tell what they were making was garbage. There’s no way they couldn’t tell. It had to be made shitty on purpose.

“Yes we did just fly to China on a private jet and kidnap someone and take them back to America with us on that same private jet… why do you ask? Is that hard to do?”

So now I’m convinced that Iron Fist was made bad on purpose. And I want to thank the makers. They took a bullet for the team. Pour out a little for the dead on arrival Iron Fist. I mean it is monumentally awful. Truly, truly awful. But it can only serve to make The Defenders look incredible by comparison.

And lastly one pilot from Amazon…

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Pilot)

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino

Starring Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle & Alex Borstein

“Women are smart and funny. Get over it.”  – Eric Cartman

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is about a 1950’s housewife who decides to become one of the first female stand-up comics. It is a fantastic period drama about comedy from the creator of Gilmore Girls. And it has that quick-witted Gilmore Girls style to the writing and the dialogue. But the best part is the marvelous Rachel Brosnahan in the title role.

“Who makes a toast at her own wedding? I do.”

Mrs. Maisel is the story of the most amazingly funny and smart and cute and remarkable woman. It is hard (really hard) not to fall in love with her. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is like Mad Men meets 30 Rock meets I don’t know Buffy? It’s the story of a pioneering female comedian in the late fifties. Maybe she’s Phyllis Diller. Maybe she’s Carol Burnett. Maybe she’s amazing.

“Yes my phone has a cord connecting it to the base. That’s how you know it’s the fifties and not the eighties or the nineties. Why do you ask? And where the hell is my microwave oven?”

She’s awesome. I love funny women and the show makes you fall in love with her almost immediately as she deals with the 50’s era and then accidentally discovers that she has a talent for making people laugh. It’s just a pilot right now but please check it out. It’s the best they have this season on Amazon. I watched them all. There’s not a lot of good there. And I hope The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel doesn’t get buried in that pile because it’s great even when compared to established shows. It’s just a thousand times better than the other pilots this season.

“Dear Diary. I can do so much better than this schmo. Love Midge. PS. I have half a mind to tell the driver to take me to Mel’s house. But it’s the fifties and he’s a negro.”

And I really really really want to see more of her… of it… I mean the show… of the show… okay I’m in love with the character. Bring her back. I have a thing for funny smart women (Fictional, Non-fictional). I always have. It’s a sickness. I find smart and funny women sexy as all hell.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Pilot Season… please.

So that’s what’s good.

Find these shows. Watch these shows. Love these shows as much as I do. And then you’ll be all caught up and ready for the return of Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Dark Matter. Just to name a few.

“Om Mani Padme… um… um… I want to say Om again but that can’t be right.”

Man. When I was a kid there was like a handful of superhero shows and a few more space adventures and a couple of sword & sorcery shows, but they were mostly all crap.

You kids have it so much better than we did.

We had to watch crappy science fiction on TV all the time.

AND YOU NEVER THANKED US!!!

– Mel

What’s Good? (Late Summer)

Hello again and welcome to this the fourth What’s Good? installment. A top ten list (without numbers) of things I’m enjoying or have enjoyed recently. In TV, Movies and life and junk. You get the picture. I wish I could do one of these every month but some months, I’m telling ya, ain’t much good. But that’s just my opinion. I don’t want to fight about it. My EmotionsIf you haven’t heard yet, I had a run-in with my local launder/dry cleaner dude and put my foot through two of the panels on his doors. He had me arrested and the whole thing has sent me into a depressive funk. I hadn’t had an incident in more than a decade and I was getting out more. Hitting the museums and stuff. I felt like I was improving. But he said something to me. I said something back and then he said something else and I did what I did. In the past I would’ve punched him. So maybe it should feel like progress. But police, court dates and the fact he’s right on the corner and I’m not allowed to walk that way anymore has sent me to self-pity city (population one). And it goes without saying that self-pity city is pretty shitty. (the reason it goes without saying is… well you try to say it)

StrangeloveAnyway, I don’t want to get you all down too. So I’m gonna talk about the good stuff

We got mostly TV this time around. And the Mets. The Mets are looking really good. And if all goes well I may even talk about Donald Trump. Everybody else in the world is.

To the list…

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Brink Poster

The Brink on HBO was really good. It was a half hour comedy about the U.S. and Pakistan almost starting world war three. I love Tim Robbins and this has Tim Robbins written all over it. His film Bob Roberts is one of my all time favorites.

Tim Robbins

The Brink stars Jack Black as a government official who gets caught up in an international incident. It’s zany and silly but the messages resonate in our modern society. The fragile state of international diplomacy in the digital world. Very funny and eerily possible. Except the real thing wouldn’t be as comical. Think Dr. Strangelove meets…well  Dr. Strangelove. The Brink is the modern-day Dr. Strangelove. And I loved every minute of it.

Strike Back: Legacy was pretty good. Strike Back is a show that airs on Cinemax in the US. In its fifth season it’s still exciting and they still don’t mind killing off any character at any time. One of the best things about the show is that the main characters get killed off all the time. Nobody is safe. Espionage and military action with the occasional sexiness thrown in for good measure. I mean, it is Cinemax.

Two men playing chess

Chess w/ Friends app is good because I live alone, so I usually play chess against the computer but I’m good, so I’ve burned a few CPU’s. You never realize how hard a good game of chess pushes a processor until you start smelling the smoke. So it’s good to play humans who don’t overheat. And I get beat on occasion which is good because as long as I play mistake free (huge caveat) I can beat or stalemate (usually stalemate) any chess program. But I’m no Carlsen Magnus. Plus I can’t play a speed game. That’s why I love this app. You’ve got six days to make your move before it forfeits for you. The one thing I don’t like about Chess w/ Friends, because I play 10 to 15 games at a time, is sometimes I get weaker opponents and it weakens my game then some novice beats me and gloats. I hate that. I usually beat them on the rematch then put ’em on ignore.

Netflix Originals are very good and get better with repeat viewings. Daredevil, Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Orange is the New Black are four of my favorite TV shows. I watched Sense8 again and it was better the second time. Then I re-watched Daredevil and it was better for the second time as well. Netflix is making some good TV.

Catastrophe

Amazon Prime (not anywhere near Netflix level) has a few good shows and a couple of promising ones coming soon. Catastrophe is very funny and original. The soft insults between the two lead characters are so funny. And I can’t wait for The Man in The High Castle and the return of Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. Plus, you know, free shipping and music and movies and stuff. And it goes well with my Kindle Fire.

Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares in Colorado

New York Mets Trade Deadline Moves and storming into first place is good. I said a couple of months ago that all we needed was a right-hander with some power and they went out and got Yeonis Cespedes (somebody reads my blog) and since they got him they have gone from the worst offense in the league to the best offense in the league. A really good power hitter in the middle of the line-up makes everybody around them better because they all see more fastballs. They also picked up Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson and called up Michael Conforto; a young player with some pop. They were five games behind before the trades and now the Mets are in first place and have an eight game lead. And then… David Wright, the captain, came back. Woo Hoo!

Daily Show with Jon Stewart Finale was very good. By the end, the Daily Show was a shadow of its former self. But the last episode was a trip down correspondent memory lane with a touching tribute from Stephen Colbert, a great last rant from Jon, and Bruce Springsteen sent the show off with a couple of songs. It was a nice finish for one of my all-time favorite talk shows.

humans-amc

Humans on AMC was creepy good. Here is an intriguing and interesting show but it kind of got bogged down in the second half of the season. I liked it though, and hope it comes back for a second season. It reminds me of that zombie show that I eventually had to give up on except swap robots for zombies. In The Flesh. AMC is doing fine work. They have several of my favorite shows including my absolute favorite, the amazing Halt & Catch Fire and the promising Fear (The Walking Dead) which wasn’t amazing but could get there if it can distant itself from the main show while still keeping its audience.

mr-robot-banner

Mr. Robot stayed good the entire way through. I know I mentioned this in my Early Summer What’s Good? but it needs a re-mentioning. Mr. Robot is fantastic. I read a bad review that said the thing they didn’t like was that they thought it would be impossible for them to keep up this level. That was a bad review. If “I don’t think they can stay this good for very long” is the worst thing you can say about a show, it’s got to be good. Truly amazing. With more than a few episodes in the first season that make you want to watch again from the beginning to see what you missed. They delayed the finale because it was disturbingly similar to something that happened here at a news station (more gun violence what else). But judging just by that, it will probably be disturbingly amazing.

And since I’m mentioning shows I talked about last time.

Halle Berry Extant

I need to apologize to Extant on CBS (also on Amazon Prime). The reboot in the second season is really working for me now. The whole robots versus aliens thing is awesome. The show is sort of about the extinction of the human race but you don’t know from which way it’s coming. There are aliens and there are robots and neither group likes humans very much. Extant can be light and fluffy and sometimes it takes itself too seriously but it’s actually pretty good. I really like the direction they’ve taken the story.

This is where I usually put up a new song that has me playing it on repeat. I’m waiting for Chris Cornell’s new one (also Puscifer) in September but what I can’t stop listening to right now is this shit right here. But it just came out a couple of days ago.

Dr. Dre – Compton (A Soundtrack)

Compton A Soundtrack

There is so much good on this soundtrack. Anderson .Paak. I can’t even begin to… Anderson .Paak. Kendrick Lamar is all over it. Anderson .Paak As well as all the usual suspects. Snoop, Eminem, Cube. Anderson .Paak

But honestly, the album serves as Anderson .Paak’s coming out party. Anderson is a drummer from Cali that raps and sings and makes hella weird videos. I love the guy. This is something he did with Knxwledge that is nasty as all hell called Suede…

My boy is fittin’ ta blow up.

And now… for everything there is a dark side.

WHAT’S NOT so GOOD?

Or 5 things that really disappointed me.

Let’s get right into the suck…

harvey_birdman

My Day in Court… sucked. even though they let me go home. They made me wait all day to find out if I signed in for a community service job from 23 years ago. TWENTY THREE YEARS!! It made my stomach ache. I brought money with me thinking I would just pay my fine and get on with my life but they wanted to first find out how much the door panels cost before they figured out what my fine would be or if I had to do jail time. And after making me wait a month and a half in anxiety and paranoia, they tell me I have to wait another month and a half while they get their shit together and find out what the damage is. Meanwhile I’m going through all the scenarios by which I end up in prison and I lose my apartment and all of my stuff gets ransacked by whoever puts it in storage. And they’re making me come back for more humiliation. Because the ADA just has to point out that the argument was about my underwear while stifling a giggle. She’s quite literally a child.

Airing my Dirty Laundry

On a related note… After my run in with Mr. Huang, my local launder, I haven’t left the house at all and that sucks. I’m back to being afraid to interact with people and I feel like everybody in the neighborhood thinks I shit my pants. It wasn’t feces. It was blood. And the fact that I have to explain that to anyone causes me pain. (I know I just posted it here but at this point it’s part of the public record) It was black underwear and it was dried blood. And what really annoyed me is that he had to discuss it with the whole laundry.

“Your honor, there’s a reason ‘to air ones dirty laundry’ is synonymous with indiscretion. It is the very definition of indiscretion. Hasn’t he been humiliated enough? Your honor, I move that all charges be dropped and my client be allowed to leave the courtroom with what’s left of his dignity.” (thunderous applause)

This Man Is A Fool

Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for president of the United States, surprisingly, doesn’t suck. This is what the Republican party has become. This is what the election of Barack Obama has done to them. 30 million Donald Trumps without a clue. And they can’t deny it. He shares all of their traits. Anger, Racism, a weak grasp of reality, an entitled attitude based on skin color alone, the lies and the Insults about the government, the rampant misogyny… the list goes on. But I’m enjoying this. Truly I am. It serves as a last chance for the few sane Republicans to abandon their party and their hateful ideology. When you see yourself bigger than life, this giant ugly version of yourself, it should serve as a wake-up call. The party of lies and hate has found their mascot. But what really sucks is how it makes us look to the world. We were just getting over the image George Bush created. Now we’re not just stupid, we’re angry racists as well.

Wet Hot American Netflix

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix was not so good. I think I just expected more. I’m not saying there wasn’t some funny moments but the entire thing played like a series of cameos. It was nice seeing Janeanne Garofalo on my screen again. (I had the biggest crush on her back in the day) but I wasn’t amused by this star-studded prequel to the cult classic about counselors at a summer camp. I wanted more. Even though the entire series taking place in one day is pretty fucking funny.

Hannibal

Hannibal finally returned to form after going way off course with its European excursion. But it’s too late to save the series. Not good Hannibal. You should have never ended last season with total carnage and then basically took it all back. Like saying, we apologize. No one died. I loved the second season. I just hated the way it ended and coming back like nothing happened made me hate it all the more.

Coming Soon to What’s Good:

Minority Report

New Fall Show Leaked Pilots are good. And these are the ones I liked: The best of them was Minority Report which looked cool but had a lot of effects and we all know those shows never last on the major networks. But I also liked Lucifer which looked good because of the title character being unbelievably awesome and sexy. And there was Supergirl which looked super cute and fun even though the pilot needed work. But what I’m also looking forward to is the return of my doctor. That’s right I called him MY doctor. Peter Capaldi is my favorite doctor on Doctor Who. And one day, if I ever get out of this funk, I will do a post about why Peter is my favorite doctor. It will be amazing.

Coming Soon to What’s NOT so Good:

Chance_go_to_jail

But seriously I wish I could get out of this Funk. In the old days I would just buy some Cocaine and that would do it (I wouldn’t even know who to ask… and I don’t want to know). Coffee just doesn’t work on it. It’s a coffee proof funk. Alcohol doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it darker and more creative. Which is fine temporarily, I guess. Hopefully the day after I find out my punishment I’ll be back to normal… for me. And my new court date isn’t helping. So if there’s no Jail Time, I’ll see you guys in September.

Speaking of funky… and so as not to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. I will leave you with this great song from my boy Anderson .Paak (the dot goes there). This song is about every relationship I ever had when I was on drugs. It’s called Drugs. Enjoy.

Nice. But the video is weird right?

Later Gators,

– Mel