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Friday, 20 January 2017

What We're Watching 20/01/17

What We're Watching

This bit went on a short hiatus, and while it's probably not back on a weekly basis (yet), it behooves us to sit down with the new season of television and anime and take a look at a few of the things that I'll be watching for the next three months.


I got about seven minutes into the first episode before I decided this show wasn't for me.

A Japanese dub of a Chinese cartoon, Spiritpact is about -- I don't know, exorcists? Spirits? Dead people? Spirit pacts. In the first seven minutes, it manages to cycle through about three different opening cliches, and manages to completely strip itself bare of any impact through a combination of shoddy, bland animation and bad comedy.

It was just very boring, basically. Very, very boring.

A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I've only watched the first episode of this series,  but for the moment I'm -- cautiously impressed, I guess? The first episode falls into a few pitfalls associated with trying to adapt a novel too closely -- a reaction, one imagines, that is at least in part down to how poorly the feature film, which was a far less close adaptation, did -- with very often poor pacing, an over-reliance on narration, and dialogue that can feel quite unwieldy when spoken out loud.

That said, it does a pretty good job of capturing the tone of the books, and of recreating the odd, timeless setting of the series. It feels very much like the books transposed onto television, and that wins it some nostalgia points, at least.

As one might expect, Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf is something of a highlight, while in the first episode at least, the three children are a little flat and dry. That's partly because of how their characters are written in the books, where they're often not very human in how they react to the world around them, but it doesn't work so well for television.

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen.

I'm acutely aware that, having neither seen nor read any of this series prior to this point, I'm coming into this story part of the way through, and so should expect some adjustment time. Luckily, the writers apparently foresaw this exact situation happening, and so the first episode does take a little time to subtly introduce all of the characters.

(Well. 'Subtly.' Some of it involves shoehorned in flashbacks.)

The plotline being set up -- involving the main cast going to Kyoto to deal with someone who's stolen the eyes of a demon called the Impure King -- isn't the most original, but it has a lot of potential to spin out in interesting ways, especially when you add in the character drama of Rin's team all hating and fearing him, having all previously lost important family members to his father's blue flames.

Agents of Shield S4 (Second Half).

With its new storyline about mad scientists and Life Model Decoys in true 'invasion of the body snatchers' style ticking along, Agents of Shield is pretty much as it has always been -- an enjoyable watch, but not really anything to write home about.

It does get some points, however, for setting us up for an evil robot storyline, revealing that the evil robots are just pawns of a mad scientist, and then an episode later starting to set us up for an evil robot storyline again, since Ada is definitely going to kill Radcliffe and take his place as the main villain.

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