Let me start by stating how I feel about the Marvel Netflix series so far: I thought the first season of Daredevil was fantastic, and I was especially wowed by Fisk and the great fight choreography; season 2 of Daredevil was a disappointment, and although I liked the portrayal of The Punisher, I felt that sticking him in court for a half a season was beyond boring; I very much disliked Jessica Jones, too dour with frustratingly slow development, and the only reason I watched the entire season was because I kept hoping it would right itself; I loved Luke Cage for the first half of the season, but then I felt it lost its way after they got rid of Cottonmouth. So Iron Fist, which arrives with horrible reviews. I used to be excited for this series — after seeing the exciting fight scenes in Daredevil, I thought we’d get that and more with Iron Fist. Alas, two episodes in, although I’m not hating the show like I did Jessica Jones, it is hugely disappointing to see such uninspired fight scenes. I don’t know if I’ll make it to the end of the season, but I’m at least still willing to give it a few more episodes.
I thought the movie Tangled was pretty good — a lot more than Frozen, and most Disney animated films since — but what really has me interested in the upcoming Tangled TV series is that I really dig the 2D animated style they’re using. Last week they aired a movie that leads into the series (starting later this week), and I quite enjoyed it. It’s got a fun vibe to it, and I do really like the art direction. I’ll at least watch the first few episodes of the series.
I love Samurai Jack — and its creator, Genndy Tartakovsky — to death, and so the prospect of a new season had me beyond excited. The first episode of season 5 aired last night, and it made for a perfect cap to my animation-heavy day (Mobile Police Patlabor Reboot, Gantz: 0, Your Name, Onihei). What did I think? I’ve already watched last night’s episode twice, and it went beyond my expectations. It promises a darker storyline, and the visual flair is intact. I often complain about the lack of animation for adults in the West outside of comedy, and Samurai Jack is proof that it can be fantastic. I’m so happy to get more Samurai Jack, even if it’s just for 10 episodes.
I already wrote about checking out the Onihei series, but after watching the first two episodes, I’d fallen behind — I wasn’t watching a lot of anime in general these past two months, probably because of my 1985 movie marathon — and over the past few days I’ve been catching up on the season, and have really fallen in love with the series. I’m not usually that into straight up jidaigeki stuff, but this show has really gotten my attention, and I’ve been enjoying each self-contained episode. This winter anime season has been pretty light for me, and this is the only show that I’ve been engaging with (I’m still debating whether I want to watch more of ACCA, beyond the first few episodes I already watched).
I ended up watching a bunch of anime yesterday, starting with the “Mobile Police Patlabor Reboot” short, which I hope is going to lead into a new series of some sort. It’s only a few minutes long (about 5-6 minutes), but acts as a really great segment to re-introduce the concept of the series, and to show off some awesome mech action inside a city environment. And let me just remind you of this great Patlabor zine, if you want to read more about the series.
I’m so in love with the Noclip series of game-related documentaries, and the latest one is called “Rediscovering Mystery,” covering the mysteries and secrets found in games. It features some great interviews, including Spelunky‘s Derek Yu (and I now want to go play Spelunky again). I’m also really happy that they’re going to release follow-up segments that focus on Spelunky, The Witness, and Frog Fractions.
The latest series I’ve been watching during lunch time at work with colleagues (I started a “Watch Club,” and so far we’ve watched Crazy Head and Medici) is Santa Clarita Diet, and I’m absolutely loving it so far (from the first two episodes). Funny as hell, and yet it gets pretty dark — and gory — but in a deliciously ridiculous way. Great job by both Barrymore and Olyphant — the latter a revelation as a comedic actor. Can’t wait to watch the rest of the season.
I’d never heard of Katherine Ryan, but I saw her Netflix comedy special, In Trouble, pop up while I was browsing for something to watch and was in the mood for some laughs. I ended up really enjoying her routine — I definitely do tend to enjoy crass comedy from female comics (think Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, Amy Schumer). Ends up she’s Canadian and has been based in the UK for a few years, which probably explains why I hadn’t heard of her. Definitely worth watching, very funny.
Although I’ve heard of the franchise, I’ve never actually read or watched any Cyborg 009. I saw that a new series just debuted on Netflix, and so decided to watch the first episode. So far so good — the episode does a good job of setting up the whole thing, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything even though I’m new to the series. Produced by Production I.G, it’s CG-animated with a traditional anime-look — sort of like what you see in Ajin and Knights of Sidonia, but I’d say not as successful. But it’s not to say that it looks bad, and I’m interested in giving it a few more episodes.
I was quite looking forward to watching this documentary series that just debuted on Netflix this weekend, following the tease from Scott Dadich in the latest issue of Wired (Dadich is Executive Producer on the series). I watched the first episode, covering one of my favorite illustrators, Christoph Niemann. It’s really well done, with slick animation used throughout to highlight the work, and I love the mix of interviews and staging to illustrate a point. Can’t wait to watch the rest.