Recently Watched

37054157_84e399d39b_mGirls, Season 2 – I admire Lena Dunham’s willingness to write and play a character so thoroughly unlikable. Actually, it wouldn’t kill them to bring in a sympathetic main character at some point. The writing is still clever and funny, but the dilemmas are increasingly preposterous and so less immersive. Good for them for introducing complicated, interesting, and/or “risky” topics, but they could be engaged with more meaningfully instead of just shoved in your face as part of a character’s dysfunction.

Orphan Black, Season 1 – Good premise, but to work it would need cleverer writing and a stronger lead actor.

The Sapphires – Harmlessly charming and funny. The wife and I both enjoyed it, which isn’t all that common for a movie.

F/X – A fun premise and effects that haven’t aged as badly as you’d think. Still, it cries out for a remake – something that had apparently been considered as recently as 2010.

The Fall, Series 1 – Gillian Anderson can out-glare the dourest of detectives, and it’s fun to watch her play the sort of brutally cold, calculating hero that would normally “need” to be portrayed by a man. Dark, violent, and suspenseful, but not gory. Written with the confidence that they’d get picked up for a second series.

Top of the Lake – The BBC makes producing excellent detective shows seem effortless, and in this case it’s not (just) the detective who’s eccentric and fascinating. The solving of the primary crime turns out not to be the most compelling of the plot lines. Holly Hunter’s character is jarringly frivolous and out-of-place.

Orange is the New Black, Season 1 – This didn’t get as much hype as House of Cards or Arrested Development, but it’s probably as compelling as the former and as funny as the latter. The portrayal of minimum-security life is apparently reasonably accurate, too. Sort of Weeds meets The Wire. A few too many hearts-of-gold, though.

Doctor Who, Series 7 – The writing is still very good, but the goofy-geeky Doctor schtick is wearing thin after 7 years so the Peter Capaldi (who is 55!) announcement was good news. I’m also itching for them to do something different companion-wise, but I don’t know exactly what.

The Revisionaries – Creationism in the classroom is one of those things that’s outrageous not because it has huge, terrible effects, but because it’s absurd that we’re even having a debate about it. It’s so absurd, in fact, that this movie doesn’t even really bother trying to make the pro-evolution-education argument. Such self-evident silliness doesn’t really need a movie, although I’d maybe have been interested in something that engaged more directly with Discovery Institute-type arguments about ‘intelligent design’ just because I like biology.

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