Westworld – Season 1

Dolores on a rampage.

This TV-show brought me back to the time I’ve played “Detroit: become Human”, I remember going crazy by the way humans were treating the androids in this game. Westworld does the exact same thing, all I wanted was for the robots to have their revenge.

Imagine being stuck in a park where rich creeps can play out their rapist and murder fantasies on you over and over again, this is downright atrocious. I strongly believe that from the moment you create a life, whether it’s a robot, AI, or android, this very being needs to be treated with respect. Humans tend to treat everything that is different from them as a threat, an enemy. They are so afraid to loose control, that they would rather destroy anything that is different from them than learning to coexist.

This is such a deep and philosophical subject, Chris and I can talk for hours about this, but I’m not going to go there because this post would become an insanely long rant. The true plot of the story is that they uploaded “reveries” which means that the robots can have memories, these memories create emotions, and because of these emotions, they can deviate from the paths that were coded and uploaded in their system. An intricate topic with tons of plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The casting is excellent, Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), and especially Thandie Newton, a complete badass in her role as Maeve Millay. Here’s one of her quotes:

Maeve Millay: [to Sylvester and Lutz] All my life, I’ve prided myself on being a survivor. But surviving is just another loop. I’m getting out of here. You two are going to help me.

Sylvester: No. Do, do you know how far these people will go to protect their IP? Every part of this building, including the skin on your back, is made to keep you here. It, it’d be a suicide mission.

Maeve Millay: At first, I thought you and the others were gods. Then I realized you’re just men. And I know men. You think I’m scared of death? I’ve done it a million times. I’m fucking great at it. How many times have you died? Because if you don’t help me I’ll kill you.

The show reminds me somehow of a real life MMORPG, where NPC’s relive their same fate over and over again. Humans are just guests in the NPC’s home world which is nothing more than an amusement park that provides an escapism from those guests’ real life.

On another note, I also absolutely loved the music and the player piano rolls used throughout the entire season. Some of the instrumental covers include songs of The Cure, Soundgarden, The Rolling Stones, Radiohead,… I’ve read on IMDb that the repetitive three-chord phrase, often heard in the background music, comes from Westworld (1973), where it underscored the Gunslinger’s slow but relentless pursuit of the hero. I really like this tune, it reminds me a lot of Carpenters’ music. It makes me wonder if season 2 will be as musical as the first one!

There is so much more that I could elaborate and mention about this topic, but I need to draw a line somewhere so, I’ll end this post with one more quote that is mentioned repeatedly throughout this season:

“These violent delights have violent ends” – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Bates Motel

A few years ago, Chris and I finished watching all seasons of Bates Motel. We were in awe from the beginning to the end, and felt sad when the story ended. Somewhere in June, I was searching Netflix for a new thing to watch while crocheting when I stumbled upon Bates Motel, I instantly pushed the button “play from the beginning”. This TV-show is even better than I remembered, there’s so much that I had already forgotten.

While watching the show, I couldn’t help myself but be awestruck by the little town of White Pine Bay. The nature looks so beautiful, it always makes me envious for huge hikes in a forest so, I looked up where the TV-show was shot. Apparently the original story of Bates Motel takes place in California, the TV-show however moved the infamous hotel to a fictional town in Oregon. While reading about the actual location of the shooting, it appears that the filming took place in Vancouver and British Columbia. Well, Oregon or not, the place looks beautiful and that’s that.

The casting is excellent, Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates), Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates), Ryan Hurst (Chick Hogan) being amongst some of my favourite characters. Apparently, Ryan Hurst thought his role as Chick was too similar to other characters he had played before, so he accepted the role with the condition that he could make it personal. The result was amazing, I’m glad that he was given that opportunity. I’ve also read that Vera Farmiga was the one that suggested Freddie Highmore for the role of Norman. Those two were absolutely perfect in their role. I can’t imagine anyone else pronouncing the word “mother” as sickly and disturbing as Mr. Highmore does.

On a finishing note, here’s my favourite quote of Norma Bates: “When I moved here, no one prepared me for the colossal, frickin’ face-dive off a cliff that living in this crazy town really is!”. Even though I think that Vera Farmiga is an excellent actress in each role that she plays, she really kills it as Norma Bates. Whoever did the casting deserves an award.

The Purge – Season 2

I love the entire Purge franchise, I enjoyed each movie and I had a really good time watching the first season of the TV show. Inge and I had kept the second season for a binge day and we haven’t been disappointed. After the first episode, we were instantly hooked and we didn’t go to sleep before the end.

The principle remains the same: anti purge folks fighting the new founding fathers to put an end to the deadliest night of the year while other people fight are being targeted by vengeful murderers.

It’s packed with action and the few drama scenes aren’t long enough to break the rhythm of the show. The cast was great, I especially enjoyed Derek Luke whom I recognized from 13 Reasons Why.

As usual, the entire show had me thinking “what would I do on such a night?”. Well, nothing’s changed, I would still fortify my place, wait for the night to be over, watching the news while listening to the sound of the mayhem taking place outside.

By the way, it feels weird to write this post while the streets of many U.S. cities are looking a lot like a scene from the franchise. Maybe the NFFA isn’t such a bad idea after all…

Witches casts and miscasts

Wicked witches are probably the best protagonist in fantasy. In cinema or on TV, the casting is often done right and correspond to the right image of the witches in fantasy. Unfortunately, sometimes, the casting is wrong and the result is, for me, a huge loss in quality.

Let me state first that it has nothing to do with skin tone, this isn’t a purist post about witches in fantasy. That’s why I posted a picture of the Weird Sisters from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Three different colors, all three perfect in their roles.

Witches spend their lives learning secret knowledge, hidden from the world. They are more powerful than kings and, as such, are often regarded as threats. They work as council for the rulers or as enemy of the free world. They have a scarred side, the price they pay for messing with the natural order of things and a beautiful side, the one they show to the world.

Among the actresses who were an absolute fit, there is Katie McGrath in the role of Morgana from the TV show Merlin. She is the perfect incarnation of anger, arrogance and elegance.

Another great cast was Jessica De Gouw in the role of the evil witch from Gretel & Hansel. She managed to transform the tension built during the movie into jaw dropping final scene.

On the other side, there is Anya Chalotra in the role of Yennefer from the TV show The Witcher. To me, she’s the perfect example of a witch miscast, she’s plump, inelegant and she really doesn’t inspire danger. She was good in the role of the hunchback, but certainly not in the role of Yennefer. I really enjoyed the first season of the show, but it almost seems that Yennefer and Tissala weren’t cast by the same people. MyAnna Buring makes a perfect witch, elegant and severe while Anya Chalotra seems to struggle walking in dressed up shoes.

TLDR: Wicked witches make a show when they are cast properly. They need to be arrogant, elegant and dangerous. Yennefer is a miscast.

The new rise of physical editions

There are a few TV shows and movies that are part of our all time classics. Among them, you can find Star Trek, Stargate and Twin Peaks. You can watch some of these on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks.

With the rise of these streaming services, we’ve seen the amount of TV shows increase exponentially but, out of the hundreds of these new shows, how many are really good and, more importantly, how many would you re-watch?

Now, it is probably a matter of taste, but none of these shows come close to the quality of the shows from the 90s. The scenarios are too far fetched, the dialogues are too long and often put me to sleep instead of contributing to the plot. Do you ever see a Casa de Papel become as iconic as X-Files or Twin Peaks, which still have their own conventions nowadays.

We don’t make classics anymore, simply because there are too many shows and the good ones are lost in a sea of mediocrity.

Something else that bothers me is that, even if your favorite show is on Netflix, it doesn’t mean that it will stay there. On a regular basis, streaming services prune their catalog to make place for the new shows and, one day, Star Trek may very well be removed. What a catastrophe it would be, knowing that it is the show of our Sunday eves for nearly 15 years.

That’s why we’ve decided to purchase a Blu-ray player. We bought the Sony UBP-X800M2. We can now rebuild our collection of classics in a format that should last for a very long time. Cherry on the cake, the reader up scales old TV shows to our wide screen format. I am not an expert but the quality is amazing and, going back to Netflix, I am now bothered by the 2 large black borders in non up scaled shows.

The first TV show that we added to our collection is Stargate SG-1. Yesterday, while using a portal to Stormwind, I found something that reminded me of it in the mage tower…

TLDR: Streaming services may delete your favorite shows, they do not up scale and modern days TV shows are mediocre at best. 90s TV shows are awesome and deserve a physical editions. Someone at Blizzard is fan of Stargate.

Luschek

This morning, while doing the dish, I realised that I didn’t mention my favourite character from Orange is the New Black. Instead of adding a paragraph by the end of my previous post, I thought that this modern-day hero deserves a post of his own.

If you haven’t seen the TV show, let me tell you who Luschek is and why I love him so much… First, you have to know that most of my heroes are underachievers like Ferris Bueller and Parker Lewis. That’s maybe because I never targeted the shiny first place, the top of the podium, it’s by far too much spotlight and too much pressure. I’m more of a “Let me sit at the back of the classroom and wake me up when it’s over” kind of person.

In that very specific category, you have Joel Luschek. He’s a jail guard at Litchfield and he doesn’t care too much about anything else but himself. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone but he’s not gonna invest himself more than just what he has to.

He is constantly broke and needs no convincing to start smuggling in phones or drugs to round up the end of the month. When he finally manages to make some extra cash, instead of fixing his financial situation, he prefers to buy himself a pair of Back to the Future Nike and nothing less than a DeLorean. (image source: Reddit)

That’s why, as a tribute, I added the quote “What would Luschek do?” to the list of the random descriptions of my blog.

Orange is my new black

A few years ago, when I was on burnout for 5 months and our apartment was destroyed and we had to sleep on the broken concrete in the freezing winter without heating and people in my family were dying, a few things kept me from completely losing my mind, one of them was Orange is the new black.

When Inge got sick with what was probably Covid-19 for 3 creepy weeks of isolation and fear of contamination, the show we watched nearly every day was Orange.

So, I don’t know why we always turned to OITNB in those moments, especially for the two horror fans that we are, but these girls have been an awesome source of entertainment for us in 2 of our most not-so-funny-moments.

The thing that I love the most about TV shows is character development and Orange is incredible at doing that. After 7 seasons, we really had the feeling to have been living with the girls, sharing their stories, so much that, when the show was over, we both got super emotional (even space marines have feelings, y’know). You know which other TV show had us super emotional by the end? Star Trek Voyager, which also casted Kate Mulgrew… Coincidence?

I enjoyed practically everything in the show, but what I found amazing was the retrospectives of the girls’ lives before jail, especially the episode about young Red in Russia, which ended with this super awesome song by Mumiy Troll:

Another thing that I loved about the show is that, even if it’s filled with humour, it doesn’t always ends well, it even gets sometimes really unfair, sad and dark.

The final credits gave me the blues, not because of the story, but because it really felt like a farewell and I already miss them. Who will cheer us when everything goes wrong now?

So, I’ll conclude with the wise words of Nicky Nichols: “Everything is a dildo, if you’re brave enough”.

The End of the F***ing World

We’ve finally seen the end of the second season and all I have to say is that they don’t need to make a third one, not because it is bad, but because it is so good that I’d be afraid to see it being screwed up.

Alyssa and James fail at everything, but they do it in the best possible way. They’re pathetic and charming at the same time. I love the way James wants to do good but always ends up like a sad puppy who ran under a car, and the way Alyssa rolls her eyes and says “James” with her amazing accent.

So how do you seduce a girl that’s constantly bored and pissed off? You just take her on the road, in a stolen car, break in a house, kill a pervert, get shot at, pretend you’re dead, only to come back before her wedding with another guy, then take her back on the road again, until she finally admits that she loves you too, simple.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

When Sabrina receives the same treatment as Archie, occult, witchcraft, teenagers and gloom blend together to offer one of my favourite show of the year.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the perfect example of why we shouldn’t trust comments on IMDB (or anywhere else). While they (who even are these people?) depict it as a missed opportunity, I see it as a near perfect show. Not only does it check all the boxes of my favourite themes, but the show is also the perfect mix between entertainment and aesthetic.

The second season is as good, if not better than the first. Even if Sabrina remains at the crossroads between the world of the humans and the world of the witches, we’re done with her crisis of conscience and the story moves forward to unveil her dark fate.

By the way, if you have already seen the show Sabrina, The Teenage Witch from 1996, you probably wonder why Salem, her cat, doesn’t speak in the new show… It’s because Kiernan Shipka is so allergic to cats that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa even considered replacing it by a dog. (source: finally something interesting from IMDB)

Halloween 2019

This year for Halloween, I had prepared our traditional pumpkin oven pasta in the morning. We eat this dinner every year on Hallow’s Eve, the celebration wouldn’t be the same without. We had to skip on it last year since there weren’t any good pumpkins to be found due to the lingering drought after the summer heatwave. What blasphemy, but this year my secret recipe was back on the menu.

Around 5 PM, we started watching Halloween 1978, the number one slasher classic of all time. The fact that it’s the best of its kind, and that it takes place on Halloween, makes this movie the perfect choice for a horror night opening.

After that, we watched some episodes of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. One while the pasta was in the oven, and the next while we were eating.

With our bellies full with pumpkin delight, we crashed in the couch to watch Annabelle Comes Home. As I expected, it was great, I’ve always been a fan of the movies inspired by Ed & Lorraine Warrens’ case files. I always wondered while watching The Conjuring, what would happen if some one would break into their room full of cursed and haunted objects. Well, it may not have been a burglary, but I think that I got my question answered.

While babysitting the daughter of Ed and Lorraine Warren, a teenager and her friend unknowingly awaken an evil spirit trapped in a doll – IMDb

Anyway, after the movie, both my husband and I noticed that the lights in our haunted houses display all went out simultaneously. You have to know that they all are on batteries and aren’t linked in any way. I know that there probably is a logical explanation, but it just added to the spooky factor.

We were kind of tired after all that, but couldn’t resist watching the season finale of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This must be one of my favourite tv-shows ever created. It’s eye-candy, the casting is fantastic (Miranda Otto, Michelle Gomez,…), they don’t hesitate to go dark where it’s supposed to be, and it’s about witches. I love witch themed movies (actually, everything), especially when they’re not afraid to go evil. The only thing that got me a little bit baffled was that weird singing scene at the end, but other than that the show was wicked!

This Halloween was one of the best celebrations we had so far, I absolutely loved it! Somehow I’m sad it’s over, but still 12 days of holidays left for me so, I’m leaving the deco up until then. Halloween isn’t over until I say it’s over, muahahahaha.

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