Saturday, September 24, 2016


While there are some in the establishment who propose that the British Sci-Fi Comediy TV Show Misfits was just as good all five seasons, but after watching the first three seasons I agree with those who say the show sucked and really went bad after the second season. Even during the first two seasons I found it challenging to consider it Science Fiction. The science is basically absent and if logic was a smile, this show would be missing most of it's teeth. The story lines stretched the limits of logic to the point of annoyance at times. I mean, they don't even follow the proper rules of killing zombies.

The sophomoric humor provided a juvenile amusement mainly because you can tell the main character was enjoying being an obnoxious stereotype of a teenage sex-hound so much. Then, he suddenly disappeared without any reference and and was never mentioned again. His replacement seemed to try to follow in his footsteps, but several rather unpleasantries kept him from being enjoyable. First, he was a lot older so he presented must less forgivable for his misogynistic sexual hungers. He definitely did not appear to be enjoying life or himself so he was more pitiful than amusing. What started as a group of teenagers doing community service (shades of Breakfast Club blended with Heroes without as much eye candy, with less character building and bonding, and without much (if any) of the intelligence of either story line. Mix some Idiocracy or Dumb and Dumber, with less clever humor, in and we may have Misfits.

Sheer boredom and a desperate need for distraction and that often ridiculous hope for some redemption for anything as well as a few very good reviews of season five kept me sort of watching through the third season. Mostly I was typing, playing chess, reading, or falling asleep while the show was on. One annoying aspect of the show is that while it is rated MA, it is so variable in sound volume that watching it late at night is only ok if you have no one sleeping anywhere within earshot.

The first two seasons are silly fun with an amusing and potentially fascinating premise if you can get past the gratuitous sex (complete with the unrealistic Victorian practice of leaving underwear on that TV shows seem to continue) and womanizing. Season three introduces a main character way too old to be in a teenage community service group hanging out with and flashing his penis at teenagers, no less children. The missing ridiculously irresponsible teenager humor is replaced with an uncomfortable feeling way too serious for illogical soap opera the show turned into. The acting went downhill as well, not just in quality, but in the sense of fun and character development that gave the first two seasons as sense of novelty and amusement.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

CBS All Access

I turned to CBS because I wanted to watch NCIS and it seemed to be either the only or maybe the best way to watch current CBS shows. CBS has a lot to learn from other TV streaming sites. It is slow and when watching with commercials, it cuts the show up poorly. Hulu has a much cleaner interface that plays much more smoothly and remembers shows watched and where viewing left off. CBS does not provide a very convenient or enjoyable user experience.

So far I have not found a way to identify shows I have watched on CBS All Access. That adds a very annoying waste of time when returning to a series because it forces the need to guess and watch through the first commercial and some of an episode before realizing I already watched that episode, then repeating that until I find the episode at which i left off. The slowness of loading adds waiting time and further diminishes the user experience. I suppose one solution is to keep track in a spreadsheet or some other document I maintain, but that is just another inconvenience.

Another flaw in the site is their choice to put only selected episodes of some shows on the site. This destroys the continuity of a show and diminishes the desire to watch a series. I've found that I will put up with these things for a series that was true long time favorite, but that shortens the list of shows and ultimately, makes paying each month less likely. More likely I will sign up once or maybe twice a year for one month each time and catch up on the top favorites, not watching shows that do not have full seasons available and not checking out much of anything new.

CBS needs to understand the online viewing audience they seek. I'd rate the user experience fair at best and poor much of the time. It is worth the annoyances for specific shows but I will let go of most shows I used to watch and might have watched on CBS.

Monday, September 12, 2016


The primary inadequacy at Hulu is lack of current season programs. So the choice is go pay somewhere that provides current seasons or wait until a few months (or longer) after the season ends to watch the shows. Unfortunately, word gets out about shows to most anyone who goes online or talks to people and I don[t want to live under a rock. In fact, one of the major reasons I watch TV is to share the experience and even when I watch by myself I want to talk to others about shows and characters and stories and waiting months or a year to talk to people about what happens in fictional entertainment is often a let down.

The second flaw is the selection. A lot of shows I would like to watch are just not there.

The user experience is good, especially without commercials. The free month was the reason I tried without commercials. .

I am a newbie to online TV watching so I may update this as I learn more. For now, I like the user experience of Hulu but wish there were more shows as well as more current shows available.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Ok, with a fair amount of resentment for the usual corporate greed, I signed up for a free week of CBS so I can watch the latest episodes of some of my favorite shows. While Elementary is one of them, I am starting with NCIS. $6.99 a month with a ton of commercials and just one week for free. $11.99 without the commercials. So I need to decide if it's worth it and that is what I will be doing this week. The commercials are already annoying enough to be worth it, unless I get used to them and find that writing during the commercials can work for me. Thing is, watching will take a lot longer with commercials than without. Pondering the possibilities. No forward or reverse control on the video doesn't help.

NOTE: If you have not watched season 13, there will be spoilers in this entry.

I don't remember where I left off with this show. I started with episode 1 for season 13, but decided that I am pretty sure I saw that one so I skipped ahead to episode 12 and 13. It does not look familiar, so I will watch. The typing above happened during the first commercial break. Eating (chocolate and dried papaya) happened during the second commercial. This typing is happeneing during the third commercial. Too many commercials, definitely too many commmercials. Worse, the commercial buffer poorly so they take even longer than they would take on TV. I will be writing to CBS and checking their message boards (if they have any) to see if that can be fixed. It sucks.

The show, however, is NCIS. I let the characters become part of my imaginary family a few years ago when I started watching regularly because it was a shared experience with Jackson we both enjoyed. I miss Jackson while watching, as I would expect I would. We watched most during the Ziva years and for me, it was Ziva and Abby who drew me in but the rest of the characters and their interactions provided just the right mix to seduce my imagination. They overcame the police-state arrogance and flag-waving blindness and military self-righteousness that turns me off in the real world and in most fiction. Even overcame the programmed plot advancement as the cast "reports" to each other systematically that is way too scripted. Some of the stories show imaginative twists, but most follow the same old format.

The characters bring me back, but without Jackson and given some time away and the buffer-delayed commercials diminish the vitality and my interest in the show. Could be that the second half of this episode is an NCIS New Orleans episode and I am realizing why I don't watch that show religiously. Also, Abby's brother is obnoxiously stupid, though the nature of the show would point to his naive spirit not being completely broken so some sort of hard-to-believe plot twist is likely coming. The leeway they are allowing the brother is pathetic and unreal. I half expect him to drug his babysitter and escape. Redeeming him with even a modicum of respect or validity will not be easy. Then there are the commercials, also obnoxiously stupid. Then there is the Russian enemy cliche which is getting really old, in real life too.

Hopefully the next episode of NCIS will overcome all these challenges. I enjoyed Elementary much more than I am watching this. I suppose this has become another background TV commercial even though I am genuinely trying to give the show my full attention. It is apparently not doing a good job of holding it. Red Lobster endless shrimp is really annoying my wallet lol but at least I laughed for the first time in the past two hours. I should noy be hungry, but the commercials are doing their job working on my weak spot.

I love shrimp. That is a big reason I go to Chinese buffets so often.

So this first episode back to NCIS is a huge disappointment. I don't remember seeing it before, but then, I have a way of forgetting episodes so I can enjoy them again. I suppose I ought to watch the episode before this one to double check whether I caught up on all the NCIS episodes we DVRed or whether I waited for Jackson to watch them with me and never got to see them because she never did.

And then the episodes flow (in spite of the excruciatingly repetitive commercials). The characters draw me in. The emotional endings that are so attractive for anyone appreciating family (or longing for family, as I do) do their thing. Every season there are some killer emotional endings... Ducky and his brother. McGee looking at wedding rings. Gibbs laying on his bed. Dinozzo's father adopting a homeless girl. The occasional sad one, Bishop's divorce, a death, potential death of main characters, and of course the build-up to the departure of one of the main characters (way too anti-climactic for me as I could not avoid the spoilers). Not to mention the surprisingly surprising surprise guest star. Will old charcters return? Will she?

I am trying to be obscure with my spoilers when it comes to the biggest change. lol.

The highlight of the season is the main stars leaving the show. Ignoring the double standard of the good guys mentality of seeking revenge first and justice second (of course, they're only human... and we wonder why the world is the way it is... at least it reflects reality... it would be nice if it reflected an evolutionary leap in conscious awareness, but then, the show is not targeted to intelligence which is why it is so popular for so long). Ok, so ignoring human stupidity is not as easy for me as it is for many other humans. Blame it on the reflective time commercials provide.

The new FBI character fits in almost perfectly. Yes, we are into the next to last episode of the 13th season now. Casting would be fools not to keep her, no matter what they do with Furnell's character. The new MI6 guy fits great as well. It might take two great new characters to replace him. They again, Bishop needs to move up the chain and not be the probee and the FBI woman is another Gibbs, so keep her as a love interest for him? And of course, she is mentioned. Had to be there for his exit. Jackson used to say I should write these shows. I just say I can see the optimal emotional impact and this show seems to find that more often than most.

So she come back and does he and she sail off into the sunset with his dad in the final episode? Creating a new family? Is there already a love child he never knew about? Does dad die? Is the new FBI agent a new love interest for Gibbs? This is why many people do not like to watch TV or movies with me. My mind is writing the potential scripts as the show goes on. If she doesn't want to come back even for a cameo, will they finally kill her off? Or will the think she's dead and bring her back like they have with others? Will the show really be that sexist to kill off only the female leads? That would suck to know there is that much misogyny in the most popular show on TV for many years? I will hope the death was faked so the romantic ending can happen.

Ok, enough speculation. I've seen this twist before. The guy everyone almost unanimously wants dead walks into the room with his hands up. Moral dilemma. I wonder if the writers actually consider that and deliberately set it up. Then the ultimate confrontation, the power of Gibbs against the master criminal and doubling down on that, the Gibbs gut vs everyone else. Then the usual good guy turns bad guy turns good guy turns bad guy spinning wheel spins even further in a seemingly out of control ever-widening loop.

Potential new characters... Tess Monroe, Clayton Reeves, Gibb's new doctor. All approved (because they would not do anything without my approval, right?... oh, come on, we've got to laugh sometimes). Hopefully they keep all three around. Even formula says it is time to introduce a non-white main character other than Vance. They found perfect fits, especially in the FBI woman, but... they could go Hispanic (cynical, I am).

The end of season 13 was ok. Maybe excellent. Not perfect. It could have been perfect. At least closer to it. :)