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SCHWARTZBLOG: The Very Worst Named Blog
(10-21-2019, 11:47 PM)schwartz Wrote: WATCHMEN 1.01 - "IT'S SUMMER AND WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF ICE"

It's an interesting write-up, but I would say I find your insights regarding the Watchmen graphic novel more compelling and convincing than your discussion of the TV show.

The world-building parallels between the TV show and graphic novel are tenuous, AT BEST, and feel completely disconnected, at worst. The combination of super advanced hovercraft/flame thrower/interrogation tech with cops not wearing body armor, using pagers, and storming a terrorist compound with maybe ten local PD and a collection of sidearms felt completely ridiculous.

And while it may be okay in something light and campy like the Flarrowverse, a 125 pound terminator waif with no body armor and no peripheral version (nice hood) taking out multiple, full-grown, armed men in hand-to-hand combat came across as absurd.

This world just doesn't make a lot of sense to me, particularly as an outgrowth of events at the end of Moore's Watchmen.

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The pager is a weird bit of throwback tech, but the cops being so underarmed and undermanned is as much a part of the worldbuilding as their being forced to hide their identities. And women vigilantes being able to hold their own physically is certainly of a piece with the GN. King is built just solidly enough for me to buy it, but such things never bother me as much as they do you.

The biggest bit of silliness for me is that the visual of Night literally beating the piss (then blood) out of the suspect seemed designed for a comic panel, not live action. In execution, it took me awhile to even realize what was supposed to be going on, because there were about 2 gallons too much liquid for even a grown man with a full bladder to produce, and it would have taken more than 4 seconds to leak out, and unless she tore off his pants 2 seconds in, they would absorb most of it.
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(10-25-2019, 02:06 PM)schwartz Wrote: King is built just solidly enough for me to buy it, but such things never bother me as much as they do you.

"Solidly enough?"  I glanced at her "stats," she's 5'3", 121, in her late 40s, and has zero musculature ... the notion of her pulling a big guy (who isn't wearing cuffs of any sort) into a room and beating several gallons of liquid out of him came across as 100% unbelievable.  

The problem could have been easily solved.  Just give her some tech gimmickry ... like some hand-wave-ry "kinetic arm/leg bands" so it isn't so immediately suspension-of-disbelief-breaking.

**And I will admit, as someone with a certain degree of experience in full contact boxing/martial arts sparring and as a former bouncer I might be more sensitive to the plausibility of media portrayals of hand-to-hand violence than most.

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And Tom Cruise is knee-high to a Keebler elf and 84 years old to boot, but when MI: BINDING ARBITRATION needs him to fight John Cena in a barrel as it drops over Niagra Falls next year, I know which one of them will wind up taking the L.

King looks fairly athletic, that's about all the suspension of disbelief I require.
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WATCHMEN 1.02 - "MARTIAL FEATS OF COMANCHE HORSEMANSHIP"
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WATCHMEN 1.03 - SHE WAS KILLED BY SPACE JUNK"
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(11-05-2019, 06:37 PM)schwartz Wrote: WATCHMEN 1.03 - SHE WAS KILLED BY SPACE JUNK"


You and are widely diverging on our opinion of this show, so I'll reserve commentary for most of this. 

However I did want to comment on this portion:  


Quote:It was probably wise to hold back Smart and Laurie for a couple episodes ...

As you might have guessed, I disagree. 

I felt like the show radically shifted tone and focus with her appearance.  It's one thing when you hint at a character, or that character's actions are driving the plot, and then the character doesn't show up until well into the season (Kingpin in S1 of Daredevil comes to mind, I don't think he makes an appearance until the fourth or fifth episode, but he's "looming" in the background the entire time). However, when you just COMPLETELY shift focus to someone else who suddenly feels like they're a main character, if not THE main character, it's a bit jarring. 

Sure, you can say that one would expect Sally to show up as the show has "Watchmen" in the title, but that's a bit of a narrative cheat.

It also doesn't help (and opinions, of course, will vary) that Smart immediately proceeds to just blow everyone else in the show out of the water acting and presence-wise ... and I find her story to be significantly more compelling to the extent that I wish we'd just started with her from the first scene of the first episode.

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It's still quite early in the season to say for sure what is a mistake and what is genius, structurally, particularly for a show that has such heavy mystery/mythology elements to it. All I know for sure is I dug the hell out of Laurie's introductory episode. It is a curious decision to wait until the 3rd out of only 9 episodes to introduce her, if she is indeed one of the co-leads. But on the flip side, I thought it was also a little early to be bringing in a wry outsider character to take the piss out of the new characters whose mythologies have only had 2 episodes to develop in the first place.
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WATCHMEN 1.04 - "IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY STORY, WRITE YOUR OWN"
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Fantastic rundown as usual Schwartz. I must say I've been having similar problems with Veidt. Nothing about him reminds me of the twisted altruist of the graphic novel. Same goes for Lady Trieu, who I assume has somewhat similar motivations despite coming off a relatively villainous.

My other issue at the moment is that I’m having trouble sussing out what the stakes are. The GN, despite containing some oblique elements, was a straightforward play on a genre whodunnit and backgrounded by the Doomsday clock which made the stakes feel quite immediate. The series meanwhile is more in keeping with Lindelof's typical writing style which involves a bunch of well drawn characters populating a story that constantly makes you wonder "what the fuck is going on??" It starts to feel a bit unsatisfying after a while.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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WATCHMEN 1.05 - "LITTLE FEAR OF LIGHTNING"
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WATCHMEN 1.07 - "AN ALMOST RELIGIOUS AWE"
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WATCHMEN 1.08 - "A GOD WALKS INTO ABAR"
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WATCHMEN 1.09 - "SEE HOW THEY FLY"
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SCHWARTZBLOG HAS ONE MORE GAME OF THRONES THING, AND IT'S BASICALLY JUST FANFIC

Well, one thing, in three parts.
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LOVECRAFT COUNTRY and the effect of metatext on horror
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FARGO IS BACK, SCHWARTZBLOG IS PLEASED
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FARGO 4.04 - "RADDIOPPARLO"
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FARGO 4.04 - "THE PRETEND WAR"
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FARGO 4.05 - "THE BIRTHPLACE OF CIVILIZATION"
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FARGO 4.06 - "CAMP ELEGANCE"
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FARGO 4.07 - "LAYAWAY"
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FARGO 4.08 - "THE NADIR"
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You're a little more positive about this season than I am. It barely feels like Fargo. While we do have some great characters, two of of the most interesting/compelling to watch are now dead, and we really only have two characters with enough personality to distinguish them from a lot of other shows (Ethelrida and Oraetta). And both of those are getting precious little screen and story time and development.

The remaining three episodes have a lot of heavy lifting, IMNSHO, to elevate what's come before. S3 was in a similarly precarious position; E8 of that season did a LOT for everything that came before, and the following episodes, while not as strong, went a long way to justify the slow burn that'd come before. I don't think S3 quite got there but certainly came close.

Maybe it's just this horrible, shitty year in general, but I'm not feeling super optimistic about S4 taking a sudden, sustained turn upward in turns of payoffs and satisfying storytelling.

Spoiler alert for those who care:

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Odis shooting Deafy was good in that it does something to the plot and Odis' character - and I appreciate Hawley not keeping a presumed audience favorite around and alive simply because they are one. OTOH, as soon as Odis said he was talking to Loy on the phone, I knew what was coming, despite the show and Odis trying to feint the other way. I don't know if that's me becoming a more astute viewer, the show not being as clever as it thought it was, or both.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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FARGO 4.09 - "EAST/WEST"
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Have you updated that earlier article so that Thor: Dark World is no longer ranked above films such as Wolf of Wall Street?

REALITY CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WISH.

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FARGO 4.10 - "HAPPY"
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FARGO 4.11 - "STORIA AMERICANA"
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Schwartz, I'm only three-ish episodes in so please don't spoil me, but just generally: do you think that it might have been a stronger season if there were 1.)More anachronisms and 2.)If it featured more instances of characters ruminating on the nature of life in America?

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I do gripe about the speechifying at points, but it's with the awareness that FARGO is the wrong place to be looking if I don't want to hear anyone pontificate ellipitcally about the dark side of human nature.
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(12-03-2020, 10:29 PM)schwartz Wrote: I do gripe about the speechifying at points, but it's with the awareness that FARGO is the wrong place to be looking if I don't want to hear anyone pontificate ellipitcally about the dark side of human nature.

I have to admit I'm at somewhat of a loss as I don't recall that being a common narrative device through the first three seasons of the show.

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It certainly wasn't employed to quite the same repetitive effect as this year, but loquacious and philosophical types always abounded (Malvo, Milligan, Varga).
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