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TV: Some Good Stuff
dalecoz
Not related to science fiction at all, but my wife and I have gotten addicted to Jane the Virgin. It’s an absolutely hilarious pseudo-Spanish soap opera, deliberately over-the-top. Jane is saving herself for marriage with her cop fiancée, but is accidentally artificially inseminated with sperm from a wealthy childhood crush, decides to have the baby. Instant love triangle, which the show exploits gleefully. Lots of “I can’t believe they went there” humor, but Jane and her family come across as very human, very likeable people.

Telenuevo is sort of like Jane the Virgin. It follows a Spanish soap opera with a main character who doesn’t actually speak Spanish. After a couple episodes it looks enjoyable. Another non-science fiction possibility: Superstore. It’s a comedy set in a thinly disguised Walmart. I’ve watched three episodes so far. Two were quite good. One was weak. A lot of the humor comes from characters interacting with racial and other stereotypes of themselves and can be quite funny--the photographer from corporate who is absolutely determined to get the black employee in a wheelchair in any photos he takes of the store. The Latina girl who refuses to volunteer to sell salsa, but ends up pulled into doing it with an exaggerated stereotypical Mexican accent. Good, funny, non-preachy playing off our obsessions with race.

Another good new find: Limitless. Guy takes a pill and becomes a genius. There is a price to be paid. And then there is Killjoys, another SyFy channel attempt to capture the magic of Firefly. It’s visually quite well done and the characters and world-building should grab me. So far, they haven’t. After four episodes, I don’t have any real desire to watch more. Maybe I should give it another chance. I want SyFy original series to succeed.

Another find: NetFlix's original show Jessica Jones. This one took a while to grow on me. It features David Tennant, of Dr Who fame, as a very credible and nasty villain. I noted my reactions as I watched the episodes:


  1. After an episode and a half: wasn’t too impressed, to be honest. I think it’s going to be worth watching, but it starts out very slow by my tastes. I’ll probably try again sometime. David Tennant as a villain and apparently a very good one is too good to pass up.

  2. After seven episodes it’s growing on me. One disappointment: I don’t know how they manage it, but the show managing to make sex scenes incredibly, is it over yet? boring. On the other hand, David Tennant makes does make a very convincing and scary villain. Oddly, he becomes more scary when he moves out of the shadows and takes a major role around episode six.

  3. After the final episode: The last half of the season became incredibly intense. I watched it every chance I got. I was a little disappointed in the ending, for reasons I can't discuss without major spoilers, which I don't want to do.

A last minute addition: Quantico. This is a thriller, not science fiction. It centers around a group of FBI cadets, one of whom is apparently a terrorist. Which one? The writers do a very good job of keeping you guessing. The acting is quite good, with a lot of attractive young men and women who I think you'll see a lot of over the next few years. The writing so far (I'm about halfway through the first season) has been sophisticated and polished, with a lot of interpersonal tension and an interesting structure where events from the cadet training are shown in parallel with events right after a major terrorist attack that one of the cadets is accused of carrying off. So far, quite good.

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