Thursday, April 7, 2016

Another TV Party!

A while ago... a looooong while ago, I wrote a post about television shows that I watch. Like the Time Hop feature from Facebook, I found it interesting to reread that post and see what exactly I was watching several years ago. Only one of those shows is still on. This post is a follow up.

Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands

Right away, this show is kind of suspect. The subtitle is awkward. A show about Beowulf could go either way, epically awesome, or shallow and lame. The show was made for the British network ITV, but is also broadcast on the Esquire network in the US.

The show is loosely based on the epic poem. It takes place in the fictional Shieldlands (obviously). The sets and costumes have a middle ages Germanic/Norse quality to them. The basic plot so far follows the politics of the Shieldlands following the death of their jarl, Beowulf's adoptive father, and the power struggle that ensues. Also, there are non humans called the mudborn that are feared and hated by people, but are uniting for war.

This series is clearly a response to HBO's Game of Thrones. But it is still quality. The characters are interesting and complex, there are plenty of strong multidimensional female characters (actually the best characters), and there are plenty of subplots that keep things interesting and set up future story lines.

There are connections to the actual epic poem. Beowulf is the main character, obviously. Heorot is the village he returns to, once ruled by Hrothgar. The Wulfings are a thing in the show too, and are depicted as Viking raiders. There also seems to be a monster character who may eventually be Grendel. Other than that, there are no other connections from the original poem.
Rick and Morty

Animation stopped being just for kids sometime in the early 90s. This show follows in the footsteps of Futurama and Back to the Future. This is certainly a show for science fiction dorks. Rick is a Doc Brown-esque mad scientist, and Morty is his grandson. The show follows their balance between domestic life and space/time travel. It's super clever, funny, and Ren and Stimpy disgusting. There are only 2 seasons, but each episode is totally rewatchable over and over.

Brooklyn Nine Nine

I was a huge fan of Super Troopers when it came out in college. I was excited for Reno 911 when it debuted too, because I figured it was piggybacking on the success of the Broken Lizard movie. Apparently there is a difference between funny slacker cops, and cops that are funny because they're stupid and behave like Kindergarten was yesterday. Basically Reno 911 makes the Keystone Cops look like Dragnet. It's terrible. So, when Brooklyn Nine Nine debuted I was skeptical.

While watching the first episode, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is this show hilarious, but the police officers aren't ridiculous stoners, or incredibly incompetent idiots. The captain is a gay black man who takes his job very serious. There are good detectives who do good police work. The personalities are what make the comedy. This show proves that a cop show can be funny and still be about professional policemen.

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