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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Editorial: What We're Watching.

Editorial: What We're Watching.
(Television and Web Series Version.)

So, a new series of television has started. It's kind of bare on the ground, but I'm bolstering my supply of things to watch with a couple of web series, so here's a brief rundown of what we're watching.


Guys, this is amazing. 

It's just - okay, it's an American television series set in Britain, about an American university student who is accused of murdering her Northern Irish roommate, and my god, it's terrible. It's so wonderfully terrible.

About a third of the series is devoted to characters rambling about how all British people hate Americans (and how all British women especially hate American women and believe they're plotting to steal and/or murder their men), and how they're conspiring against them. Several times, a character dramatically yells about how, in America, they do things a certain way, and every other character is awestruck with simultaneous revulsion and admiration.

Another third is devoted to just the weirdest, most off-the-wall plot twists imaginable, as a Prince Harry expy engages in sadistic underground bondage sessions and blackmails people to keep it a secret; the wife of a minor character is introduced only to then immediately be revealed to be a multiple murderer; and the main character's father, played by Anthony Stewart Head doing the world's worst American accent, is blackmailed by the main character's roommate so that she can get Russian mob money to pay off the seedy bondage club that the prince visited.

The final third is devoted to getting every possible detail just wrong enough to be jarring. Characters will casually refer to 'the ITV', or talk about the BBC's vast army of paparazzi. On multiple occasions, people discuss the Troubles without ever seeming to know what they are, instead discussing them as if they were a couple-of-months-long civil rights movement. The show makes a big deal of how 'they do things differently here' only to then regularly portray it as being exactly like the US.

It's just - it's so beautiful. I hate it and I'm going to watch the entire series.

Scream: The TV Series S2.

Scream: The TV Series is back! 

I have a love-hate relationship with this show, in that I hated it at first and thought it was a genuine contender for worst show on television, and then it kind of grew on me in that way that silly and ridiculous things always do, and then this series started and I flipped right back around to hating it again, and now I think I'm back to liking it? Probably?

This second series is about three or four episodes in, with the first body only just having been revealed to the rest of the cast, so it seems like they're going for a slower burn and a bit more of a psychological horror plotline. A terribly done psychological horror plotline, I will grant you, but it's still a nice change from the pure slasher shenanigans of the first series - and if Scream is going to last as a television show, it's going to need to be able to vary things up pretty significantly.

The show's introduced about seven new characters as well, presumably so that they have a decent supply of murder victims for the episodes to come, and they're - fine. We're being set up to think that one of the two new boys, Creepy Sheriff's Son and Creepy Former Sheriff's Nephew, are the killers, so naturally, neither of them are, and one or both of them will probably end up super-dead before too long.

I'm interested in seeing whether this show can make a second series work, and with the most recent episode - which had everyone locked in a school, and have I mentioned that I love episodes where everyone is forced into a tense, confined space - it seems like it might.

Digimon Adventure 01: The Abridged Series.

I'm a sucker for a good abridged series, and the Project Mouthwash crew do some really good abridged shows. I first encountered them when they did Digimon Adventure Tri (which is also excellent), so I was pretty pleased to see them doing 01.

Since a lot of the jokes and characterisation from their Tri Abridged series carry over, it almost reverses the paradigm of the original shows, with 01 feeling more like a prequel than like the first entry in a franchise. Which is interesting.

There's only one episode so far, but go check it out, it's good, and only, like, seven minutes long.

Dark Matter S2 and Killjoys S2.

Grouped together because they're kind of sister series: They're back! Both Killjoys and Dark Matter have returned to screens, both with, it seems, significantly higher budgets than when they left, if the boosted special effects and the glitzy(ish) opening sequences are anything to go by.

They both started airing at about the point last year where I was really craving a good space opera, and they're both fun, engaging shows (although I think I prefer Killjoys to Dark Matter) with diverse and interesting casts of characters and some genuinely great storylines that blend sci-fi shenanigans with musings on the nature of law and politics.

Both shows are only one episode in to their second series so far: Dark Matter has opened with most of the cast in a high security prison, with Six uncomfortably now part of the GA, and One shot (seemingly) dead by his doppelganger, the real Jace Corso; while Killjoys picked up with the rescue of D'avin, who has been revealed to have mysterious abilities, and with the capture of Dutch's mentor Khlyen.

I'm looking forward to seeing how both of these pan out. Neither of them are set to be especially long series - Killjoys is going to be ten episodes, and Dark Matter thirteen episodes, but they'll be fun while they last, and hopefully will get renewed for a third series each as well.

Bleach: The Abridged Series.

Another Project Mouthwash one, albeit a much longer-running one than either of their Digimon ones. There's a pretty clear uptick in quality over time (they're not exactly brilliant at the beginning, but they get a lot better), but still, worth checking out. That can be found here, and I will now say no more about it lest I accidentally become the Project Mouthwash PR team.

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