Sunday, February 18, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year

I finally got to see Black Panther this weekend, and enjoyed it a lot. So many great female characters, and so much depth to the villain's motivations. The only parts I didn't really like were during the battle with the different Wakandan factions fighting each other and the fight on the maglev train track. They just seemed to go on too long with too much chaos. Otherwise it was great, and I enjoyed so many people celebrating the cultural moment. I hope Disney's upcoming Mulan remake will be similarly well done, with no whitewashing.

I saw that Jeffrey Tambor got officially fired from Transparent. I really hate that he keeps claiming he's a victim of a "politicized atmosphere." Even though the investigation took three months, presumably enough time to confirm allegations, people still defensively whine about "rush to judgment" and "witch hunts" ruining men's lives. This wasn't an instant firing after a "misunderstanding"; this was a decision based on multiple people coming forward. I'm very disappointed in Tambor.

Still haven't heard much about Arrested Development season 5, which has already been shot. I hope they don't keep up the stupid "George got female hormones" storyline because it was already misguided and icky in itself, and will be even worse after this scandal. And frankly I don't care that much about Tambor's character getting an independent storyline from the rest of the family. I'm more concerned that Tony Wonder will return to resolve his relationship with Gob.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Private Eyes

There's a new show on ION called Private Eyes starring Jason Priestley and Cindy Sampson. Actually, they just bought the rights to air it in America; it's Canadian made. So far it's pretty good, light and fun like Castle used to be before it turned horrendously bad and melodromatic. However they keep making reference to Matt Shade's ex-manager screwing him out of money when he was a professional hockey player, and Matt has said more than once that he'd like to get revenge on him. I hope this not a warning sign that they're going to turn this into a quest like the conspiracy shit about the murder of Beckett's mother on Castle. Maybe it'll be bearable and dealt with quickly like Nate's season 1 quest against the insurance company on Leverage. Private Eyes at least looks like it will deal with a variety of cases instead of murder every damn time like Elementary did. Hopefully that will keep it fresh for a while.

Meanwhile, I also saw an episode online of a new British Chinese show called Wok that was pretty funny. Sort of offbeat and fun like Fresh Off the Boat. It's cool seeing them act/speak in a way that's both Asian and yet very British, like I've seen on whiter British sitcoms. I don't know if there will be anymore episodes available besides this pilot episode. Maybe we'll eventually be able to buy DVDs stateside, or else I'll just buy something PAL-formatted, since I have a PAL player.

I've read that Michelle Yeoh eventually came back to Star Trek Discovery, playing the mirror universe Empress Georgiou. I'm glad that she knew all along about the twist, and that she didn't willingly agree to be on the show just to be killed off almost immediately. At first, when we didn't know, I was cheesed off that we were getting a bait-and-switch, promising an Asian captain only to be replaced by the boring white male captain again. I'm still not sure I'll pay to watch the show, but it's nice to know the showrunners knew better than to waste Michelle Yeoh.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Not Worth It

So, the Olympics have started. I still don't care about the sports, and only sorta wonder if this temporary Korean unity thing will last after the Olympics have ended. It would be nice if North and South Korea could make moves toward peace, though I don't know how likely that would be. In the meantime I'm just annoyed that the TV coverage is gonna dominate for over two weeks.

Plus, Supergirl's gonna be on hiatus, and Lucifer is still keeping around the pointless Cain character even though he's still boring as hell. Why can't Amendiel have his powers back instead of just hanging around being his brother's keeper? TV is so disappointing lately, with the exception of Black Lightning, which isn't perfect, but at least is ambitious. I still can't figure out Gambi, though.

No good movies out yet. The reviews for Peter Rabbit are decidedly mixed, so I don't know if the smarmy slapstick antics are bearable enough for me to try to see Sam Neill in what is probably a very small part. Not worth it, I think. Guess I'll have to spend my excess time trying out recipes in my new Crockpot.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waiting for Thunder

Meanwhile on Black Lightning, Anissa was trying out her superstrength powers and broke up with her girlfriend for someone new named Grace. (Apparently she's somebody important in comics.) It was kind of sudden, and there's still some kind of continuity error about whose house Anissa was in when she broke the bathroom sink. If it was her Dad's house, then why didn't she have to explain to somebody and get it fixed? If it was her girlfriend's house, why did the girlfriend not know until they were in bed together? So strange. Anissa is adult, right, with a job? Why not have her living on her own instead of with her family? Or why don't the girls live with their Mom, even part of the time? Everything's so vague there.

Also, how is Gambi such a computer whiz and electronics expert? How rich is he to afford all the techno stuff in his basement? He's just a tailor in his day job, right?

Those issues aside, the overall show is incredibly mature and deep in contrast to other superhero shows on TV. Everybody keeps calling Jefferson "Black Jesus" and arguing about how to save Freeland. One thing I didn't like was Jefferson trying to intimidate his daughter's boyfriend into not having sex, rather than give him a warning about using protection. Just really inappropriate questions coming not only from a father, but also the school principal.

The new villain Lady Eve is interesting and apparently boss to Tobias Whale. Not sure why he keeps maiming his subordinates when he needs them to do jobs. How are they supposed to shoot when you stab their hands? Not sure about the woman sniper who never speaks, and who missed so badly at the march. Poor Khalil getting shot and possibly paralyzed. Other than suggesting that Jennifer move in with her, Lynn seemed less argumentative about Jefferson becoming Black Lightning again. She was very perceptive about Anissa's issues, and I thought Anissa would confess to her in the hospital. I'm impatient for her to start fighting crime (more than the accidental encounter in the pharmacy) so I hope she'll start in next episode.

Colorblind

Well the creator of BoJack Horseman finally gave an interview about casting Diane Nguyen. Part of what turned me off the show and made me not watch after season 1 was Alison Brie playing Vietnamese, and the stupid fucking jokes about mispronouncing her last name (from the very first episode!). It has annoyed me ever since that fan reviews of the show keep talking up how 3-dimensional and great Diane is, how this is a fabulous female character, while ignoring the fucking elephant in the room. How great and valuable would that role have been if cast with an Asian actress much less a Vietnamese one?

The guy talks about how he cluelessly went into the Netflix pitch meeting with a white actress, felt bad about it afterward and cast an Asian actress who recorded four episodes, but became unavailable, so he recast with a white actress in order to meet some deadline of Netflix's. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he fell back on "colorblind" casting and "the best person for the job" arguments which of course means white people as the default. Why is that "colorblind" casting in animation results so often in white only casts, but "colorblind" casting in theatre roles led to the incredible diversity I saw on display in the Tony Awards? He said there was a lack of Asian actors with experience. How the fuck do they get experience when you cast white actors all the time? They talk about other shows with this whitewashing problem, historical examples like Apu in The Simpsons. Those were insensitive choices in the past, but to have this problem still going on in recent shows is fucking frustrating. Supposedly they are hiring a "consultant" and going to explore Diane's Asian identity in new episodes. I don't know if they ever revisited her family after season 1, but what I saw was so clearly not written by anybody with any experience of Asian families. I guess they were arguing that they were trying to write her family not as Asian stereotypes, but they removed anything recognizable from them as well. Colorblind "I don't see race" attitudes mean you make race invisible; it's forcing everyone to act white to be seen as normal.

He says to fight the system, "If you want to go against that, you have to be active about it. You have to actively hire people of color. You have to actively think for every role: Can this be not a white person? If I’m not thinking about, it’s not going to happen." No fucking shit. So actively do better now; think about it every time this comes up in the future. Think about it behind the scenes by hiring diverse writers as well. It's the only way things will change.

I don't think I'll return to the show anyway, because it's so fricking dark and depressing. That's another reason I gave it up.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Better Cosmos

I finally got the Women of NASA Lego set, after it being out of stock every time I tried to get it before, and I spent the day putting it together. Also I watched a NOVA special on black holes that was hosted by a woman named Janna Levin, a professor at Barnard College. Oftentimes NOVA astronomy specials will be narrated by a man, or feature Neil deGrasse Tyson prominently, so this was quite a change. Not only did Levin host, getting to act out thought-experiments and pilot an imaginary spaceship much like in the 2014 Cosmos, but many of the expert talking heads were women and people of color. Sure there were some white males, but overall the balance was rather diverse. Yes, Neil was there in snippets, but he didn't dominate the conversation. I loved it.

This was what his Cosmos should have been. They spent one episode talking about women astronomers, mentioning the sexism that kept them from getting credit for stuff, but they fucking ignored women the rest of the time, while we learned about obscure men, some of whom weren't even astronomers. I heard that FOX has ordered another Cosmos for 2019, probably to keep in good graces with Seth McFarlane. Let's hope they learn their lesson and feature more diverse scientists this time.

Regardless, I hope that NOVA continues using more women scientists, because it's so important for young girls to see role models in STEM, and to see men acknowledge their female coworkers as equal.