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I tried a couple of Mr. Robot episodes, but it didn't grab me.

I'm starting to think that my brain is wired backwards. It seems like I don't like the things that everyone else loves, and I love the things that everyone else hates.

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Yeah, it's a dense show, and the main character's bug eyes bother me.  But I think it's just so well done.

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Question for anyone who watches Black Mirror:

What is your takeaway from the Christmas episode? How do you view the characters and their stories in the episode? My brother and I are having a disagreement about the intended purpose of the episode. I'd say more, but I don't want to sway the conversation. smile

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I have a lot of catching up to do on Black Mirror.  If I catch it, I will let you know.

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Informant wrote:

Question for anyone who watches Black Mirror:

What is your takeaway from the Christmas episode? How do you view the characters and their stories in the episode? My brother and I are having a disagreement about the intended purpose of the episode. I'd say more, but I don't want to sway the conversation. smile

The Christmas episode is my favorite.

I don't really know what you mean by your question, though.  I feel like the intended purpose is the same as every episode - technology drives us further away from each other, and the "god" of technology has his own, twisted version of justice.

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Basically, the question is: How do you view the main characters in the episode, their situations, and the punishment that they face?


The disagreement is in how people are intended to perceive those elements. Is the justice just? Are the characters bad people? Stuff like that. I'll explain it a little bit more later.

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It's been too long since I've seen it to get too specific.

I don't think Jon Hamm's character was a very good person, and I liked the way his punishment fit.  He's a good-looking, charming, and suave guy who can't use any of that anymore.  He used people to get by, and he can't do that anymore.  I know he ends up getting a guy killed, but I thought his treatment of the "cookie" was the most damning to his personality. 

The other dude....I can't remember if he kills his father in law on purpose or accidentally.  But I don't remember thinking his crime was unjust.

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Okay, so the disagreement...

After watching the episode, my brother said that he didn't think that he could watch the rest of the series if that's what the show is like (he's never seen it before). I asked why, and he told me that different countries have fundamentally different views on what justice looks like. He wasn't comfortable with the way Jon Hamm's character was essentially branded like a pedophile because he whispered lines into a guy's ear, or the way the other guy (and his consciousness in the egg) was treated like a stone-cold killer for snapping, after years of having his mind messed with in the worst possible way. He was pretty much given a child, and then had that child taken away from him, all based on the whims of one woman and her technology.

While I agree with my brother that other countries have severe problems with justice and liberty, which many Americans don't notice because we assume that all civilized countries are like our own, I had a very different take on the episode. It might have come from the fact that I have seen the whole series and understand its themes, but I viewed the episode as a techno-horror story. When someone is able to push a button and block you from their world, or when people have the ability to control what information you're allowed to have access to about your own life, the world becomes a twisted and dark place. People become cold and inhuman, treating people the same way they treat tech, and treating tech no thought or care after working to make it believe that it's alive and can feel.

I certainly don't view Hamm's character as entirely sympathetic or good, but the sentence did not fit the crime (which was essentially just not reporting a crime). And the other guy, I actually did feel sympathy for. I think that he was forced to pay for someone else's misdeeds.

Basically, I viewed the episode as a campfire story about the world that we're creating. I didn't view the police in the episode as though they were intended to be the good guys.

My brother saw it as a reflection of the world that we live in, with the assumption that the show works like most shows, and that "justice" prevailed in the mind of the writers.

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Informant wrote:

Basically, I viewed the episode as a campfire story about the world that we're creating. I didn't view the police in the episode as though they were intended to be the good guys.

I'm on your side.  I think it's definitely supposed to be a fear-based (or, at least, a hesitance-based) glance into what our future can be.  It's a "Black Mirror" into the world we envision with further technological advances.  There's only one episode (in season 3) that doesn't really operate that way (it has a positive ending), and only one episode really doesn't work the technology angle as much (the very first episode).

Wouldn't it be great if we could record everything that we see?  Yes!  Except it might drive us crazy and drive away the people in our lives.

Wouldn't it be great if we could preserve people we'd lost prematurely?  Yes!  Except it might creep us the hell out eventually.

Wouldn't it be great if we could punish people with (something technological)?  Yes!  Except it could be abused or lead to unforeseen consequences.

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Exactly. It's taking what we already have with social media, and fast forwarding ten, twenty, or fifty years. (actually, this is technology, so maybe three years)

Ever since American Idol started, I've found it strange and disturbing how they can take someone who is a genuinely good singer, with a great personality, and put them through this machine that changes how they look and how they sing, until they are a more generic pop star. It was interesting to see the Black Mirror take on that reality show culture.


Still, I have to warn people that the first episode is possibly not the best one to watch first. Why would they open with that?! smile

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The first episode is great in a lot of ways, but it's so much different from the rest of the episodes that it's a hard judge of anything.  I guess it's still focusing on technology in the sense that we're so distracted by the news and being grossed out or whatever....and that's what sets up the ending.  But, still, it doesn't even have the same "feel" that pretty much every other episode (even the 3rd season ones) has.

A lot of people didn't like the "bikes" episodes or a couple of the new Season 3 stuff, but I think every episode they've made so far has had merits of one kind or another.

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I'd heard that season 3 was bad, so I was worried going in. I actually didn't dislike it. There was some good stuff in there. I think my least favorite of season 3 was "Men Against Fire". It had some interesting ideas (using technology to distance soldiers from the people they're killing), but it just didn't work for me.

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That one might've been the weakest, but I still thought it had a lot of good things to say.  The end might've been a bit telegraphed, but I still thought it had a powerful message.

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With Disney buying FOX, what does that mean for.....everything?  I know people are excited about Marvel, but what about the entire FOX network?  What about shows like the Simpsons and Gotham and the Orville and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the FX shows?

Are these going away?  Some moved to ABC?  What's going to happen?

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I haven't read the latest, but I think I once heard that the TV network wasn't part of the deal.

Maybe Gotham can move to the CW and be revealed to take place in Earth 2.


To he real about the whole thing... I don't like it. Disney has turned into a soulless plague that is starting to infect everything around it. They don't make good movies anymore. Their Network is a commercial for their movies, which are commercials for their merchandise. The company used to have passion and soul, but not anymore.

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Yeah, the network isn't a part of the deal, but (I think) the TV studio is.  In reading a lot about the television side, the only way these shows make money is if they save money on studio costs (by owning the studio that makes the show).  That's why you always hear "XXXX might be on the cancellation block because they're owned by YYYY studio and so ZZZZ is a cheaper show to keep" at cancellation time.

In that case, *every* show would be owned by another studio since Fox would be a network without a studio.

From what I'm reading, Disney might be inclined to keep shows that work with their "brand" like The Gifted and shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy that are cheap and big moneymakers.  Maybe they could sell off something like Gotham to the CW, but I think that'd kill the feel of that show (you'd probably lose some of the cast and a great deal of the budget).

Apparently this deal might take a year or so to complete, and I feel like Gotham could be ending in the next couple of seasons.  Maybe Disney will let some FOX properties end on their own terms before changing directions.

My worry is about FX - it has produced a ton of stuff in recent years that I've loved, and I don't want Disney to dismantle it.

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Legion will still benefit them, right? So I could see that show sticking around. The Americans is already ending (or over? I'm behind). So there's Fargo to think about, yeah. And I don't expect to see Sterling Archer walking around Disney World, taking pictures with kids.

It's a mess. It shouldn't be happening. It's going to end up sucking for us, either by seeing shows and movies canceled, or watching them turn to crap. You're right about Gotham. They'd probably have to move to Vancouver, which would kill the feel of the show, and probably cost them some actors along the way.

I don't like this. But whatever. Disney doesn't realize that it's pushing the industry closer to the end of the big studio system that has ruled the industry since it began. People don't need them anymore, and if all they're going to produce is hollow, soulless crap, they will go away.

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Where does Gotham film, by the way?

Legion might benefit them, but it's so weird and out there.  I'd suspect, if they're going to reboot the X-Men, they're going to do things their own way and get rid of whatever Fox was doing.  Which sucks because FOX was actually, sorta, figuring out the X-Men universe.  Yeah, the "main" movies suck, but they're actually branching out and doing some cool stuff. Legion is a trippy drama, Deadpool was a crude comedy, Logan was a violent, gritty western, and the New Mutants is a horror movie.  Say what you want about some of the crap they've produced, but some of their new stuff could be moving the superhero genre in new directions.

Americans is done after this next season, and they've already talked about not doing more Fargo.  Existing shows will either wrap up or find a way to work with disney - what I'm more concerned about is the next idea.  Whether its American Horror Story, the OJ miniseries, Fargo, Legion, The Americans, The Shield, Always Sunny, The League, Sons of Anarchy, etc....FX has produced a ton of great TV.  It took chances on some weird concepts by some great artists, and it's paid off.  If Disney is going to kill it, something else needs to step in and take its place for shows that are great but a little out there.  AMC might get to take some of it, but they think they're pretty artsy.

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Yeah, I honestly have no idea what to expect from Disney taking over FX. I think this whole deal is going to be a mess for anyone who enjoys quality TV or movies.

I believe that Gotham films in New York.

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Anyone watched Black Mirror Season 4 yet?

I really liked it.  I found this year's stories to be less dark, especially the endings.  Even when there are episodes where people do really horrible things (episodes 1 and 3, for example), justice is served by the end.

Slight spoilers for the final episode - I'm really hoping that it takes place in some weird continuity and isn't actually an attempted to tie the whole series together.  To me, Black Mirror functions the best when they're showing us a different world each week.  I don't want it to be one universe and I don't want it to be our world.  Just close enough to scare us but just far enough away that we can steer away smile

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I'm currently watching the season, so I'm not at the last ep yet. So far, it's been pretty interesting.


Did anyone catch the Psych Movie a few weeks ago? I just watched it, and I was impressed by how well they jumped back into the characters and the tone of the series. A lot of revivals have a hard time with that. They didn't skip a beat.

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Psych is one of the shows I completely missed when it was on.  I've never seen more than 5 minutes of it.  Seems like something I'd like, but I've never seen it.

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It's a great show. Mostly stand alone stories, so not a lot to keep up with.

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I'm considering doing a YouTube channel or a podcast, discussing movies/TV/etc. (it could help me build a following for my own work, while discussing the things that I end up discussing anyway!) but I haven't been able to work out the details in my head. A name, or a format. My original plan was to just make videos with on-screen graphics and a voiceover. Then I figured that I could just do a podcast, which is the same thing, minus the graphics. Or I could do the podcast, but release it on YouTube with graphics.

But then I started thinking that rather than, say, one long discussion of Man of Steel (or whatever), I could break those long conversations down into more, much shorter episodes that discuss specific topics. The DCEU is probably good for a ton of episodes, so why limit it to five, right? But those shorter episodes would be better on YouTube than a podcast.

It'd probably be better to have a back and forth of some sort, but I'd be doing it solo, so I'd just have to do my best to express the other sides and try to address them in my own way.


But trying to figure out how to do all of this, and do it in a way that isn't totally hokie, has been driving me nuts. So it'll probably never happen. I'd do it all on a blog, but I've always had a hard time keeping up with a blog, along with all of my other writing.

I'm starting to think that I don't fit into this modern internet world. smile

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The hospitals on American medical dramas really give our heathcare system a bad name. I'm trying to watch The Resident on Fox, but they're getting so much wrong. They're having their hospital violate many, many laws, all for the sake of making the healthcare system look bad and create drama.

Trust me when I say, hospitals are not typically this evil.

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I will not watch THE RED PILL. I will not watch any more PROJECT VERITAS videos. I will not read any more Ben Shapiro.

................................................. but I will watch and read and listen to and buy anything Informant produces. God damn it.

Loyalty can be a terrible thing.

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I do appreciate it!

My stuff isn't usually that political, if that helps at all. Freedom/Hate has some politics, I guess, but it's more about an alternate history/what-if story than it is about hardcore political commentary. Half of the stuff that seems really current is based on things that happened in other countries in the past smile

But yeah, if I do any sort of podcast or YouTube channel, it will be more like my posts here where I review/discuss shows and movies, and writing, but probably not too much by way of politics.

And I think most of my ideas for upcoming writing projects are non-political. I have one book that I wrote years ago that I need to get out, but that takes place in the past, so you should be safe. smile

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And... that's it. The world is officially over. Goodnight, everyone. We don't deserve life anymore.


https://youtu.be/doFpACkiZ2Q