Netflix

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Joel Kinnaman

James Purefoy

Martha Higareda

Chris Conner

Dichen Lachman

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Kristen Lehman

Plot:

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.

Review:

It’s been almost a week since I finished watching Altered Carbon and I’ve done a lot of talking about it, my original opinion was mostly neutral but it has become more negative the more I’ve thought about it. AC is visually remarkable, especially considering it’s a TV show. The world created was interesting and definitely something worth exploring. There have been lots of complaints about the acting, but I personally don’t have a problem with it considering it’s a Sci-Fi show and that’s honestly what I expect. My main problems with the show are the characters, story, and the treatment of women.

In AC bodies are called sleeves, if you’re wealthy you can slip in and out of different sleeves depending on your whim. If you are poor, not so much, but it is possible for you to earn enough in your lifetime so that you can feasibly not die. This makes the human body almost like a car and for some disposable, which is supposed to explain a lot of things, like why there is so much nudity in the show.

My problem with that is that the nudity is almost completely one sided. You see all but one main female cast member completely naked. You see one male lead and it’s so brief I missed it. There is a scene where Dichen Lachman’s character jumps into six different sleeves of herself, all completely naked, and fights on a ton of glass. There are multiple sex scenes were you see full frontal female nudity, but the most you get male wise is butt. There are discarded female sex bots all over one episode, but almost no male ones.

I counted 2.5 penises, though I’m told I missed maybe 2 more. I lost track of how much bush I saw. If this was a futuristic world in which women appeared to be able to do everything that men could, they were revolutionaries, capitalists, and police officers, why was there so little in the way of their sexual entertainment? Why were their bodies the only ones on display?

Even ignoring the nudity the female characters were treated and written horribly. It was a violent world, but they almost always ended up worse than the male characters. They made decisions that seemed to go against character, though, most of that seemed to be in situations involving them being naked which just adds to my frustration on that front. Clearly the reason for the female nudity had very little to do with story.

Kristen Ortega, Martha Higareda, stalked Kovacs, Joel Kinnaman, from the beginning because he was in the sleeve of her boyfriend. She hated him because of it and was constantly calling him a terrorist, but this did not stop her from sleeping with him and falling in love to the point where when her boyfriend is cleared and Kovacs is returning the sleeve she is visibly disappointed. She was tortured, her partner killed protecting her, and her entire family brutally murdered. She’s finally at least getting the man she’s supposed to have loved enough that it messed her up emotionally at the beginning of the story, but she’s bummed because…reasons.

Reileen Kawahara, Dichen Lachman, is Kovacs sister. She has miraculously survived these two hundred and fifty years because she has no morals or scruples. This was hinted at in flash backs to their original lives and not out of character at all. What does feel out of character is her sudden incestuous feelings toward Kovacs. While she’s taken over the body of Kristen, she comes on hard to him. He realizes it’s her and is grossed out, but her explanation is nothing is off limits when you’re rich and basically a god. She goes from a younger sister that idolizes her brother to a madam that does truly heinous things all in the pursuit of money and apparently wants to get in his pants. Her getting her brother free is basically a stretch goal and her real purpose was to cover her own ass. She ends up dying, which is much deserved, though who knows if it’s permanent.

Quellcrist Falconer, Renée Elise Goldsberry, is leading a revolution. She’s created a technology that she thought would be good, but of course turned out bad. She’s trying to correct things, she’s got a plan, too bad she falls in love with Kovacs. She ends up dying at the hands of his sister, or does she? She’s currently saved on a stack waiting to be rescued by Kovacs.

Miriam Bancroft, Kristen Lehman, is married to Laurens Bancroft, James Purefoy, and is basically stuck. She can’t do anything because he owns everything, but she’s got her kids. Her kids are everything to her apparently, though apart from a couple seemingly throw away comments you don’t really know this until the last episode. She has been with her husband forever and seems to exist for him. Her body is specifically engineered to be amazing at sex to the point it excretes some kind of pheromone or something. Naturally she has sex with Kovacs and then any time she’s around him is trying to get him to go to an island where all of her clones are so that he can have sex with lots of her. You discover that she killed a sleeve and an unborn baby because of her great love of her children and not wanting someone else to give birth to a child by her husband. She has charges read against her and she’s led away by the police.

I’m not going to list the rest of the female cast, but their histories are similar. They’re dedicated to getting ahead at whatever cost, they do everything for their children, and they’re sexually abused and left for dead.

Just so you can see the contrast here’s a breakdown of some of the male characters.

Kovacs is woken up after two hundred and fifty years in jail, he’s put in an enhanced body, sadly they missed an opportunity here. He went from being Asian to a white male, if bodies are as exchangeable as they keep trying to say in the show it would have been nice if they hadn’t been so tone deaf.

He’s told if he can solve Bancroft’s murder he will get a full pardon and a ton of money, in the meantime he’s allowed to roam free and has access to a ton of money. He indulges in lots of drugs, has sex with his boss’s wife and the cop tailing him and wins a lot of fights. At one point he’s tortured for quite a while, but he eventually breaks himself out and destroys the whole place. The show ends with him killing his sister (maybe), learning his true love is in a stack somewhere and just needs to be found and put in a body, and getting a ton of money and a full pardon.

Laurens Bancroft is RICH and thinks of himself as a benevolent god. He’s kept his children in arrested development and they hate him for it. He believes one of his sleeves was murdered and wants Kovacs to figure out who did it. All the evidence points to suicide, but he refuses to believe that’s what happened. Turns out that’s exactly what happened. His wife drugged him because she was being blackmailed after she killed his baby momma. He gets super violent while on these drugs and permanently kills one of his prostitutes. He can’t believe he’d do something like that and it breaks him, he felt there was a line he’d never cross. So that he will never have to remember what he’s done he kills his sleeve before his memories can be backed up. The show ends with him being arrested, though the charges are never read by the police. He reconciles with his son and leaves him in charge, but let’s be honest there’s no way he’s not getting free with his money and the confession of his wife drugging him.

Poe, Chris Conner, is the most interesting character in the whole show. He’s a hotel AI and takes care of his guest, Kovacs, every whim. He dies a heroes death.

Like I said Altered Carbon is visually amazing to watch, the world interesting, but the story and characters are seriously lacking. There’s a lot wrong with it and I don’t think I’d say I enjoyed watching most of it, but it’s got a lot of potential. If it is picked up for a second season I hope it’s able to live up to that potential and do a lot better. I’m honestly not sure if I would watch a second season though.

2/5

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The Punisher (2017-?)

The Punisher (2017-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Jon Bernthal

Amber Rose Revah

Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Ben Barnes

Jaime Ray Newman

Daniel Webber

Deborah Ann Woll

Plot:

After the murder of his family, Marine veteran Frank Castle became a vigilante known as “The Punisher” with only one goal in mind, to avenge them.

Review:

The Punisher is an antihero that chooses to kill anyone he perceives as a bad guy. He starts off by going after the people that killed his family and it goes from there. He’s a ‘hero’ that when I was young I thought was super cool. Just bypass the system and take them out, but now that I’m older I just can’t get behind that method of justice, if the laws are broken then we need to fix them not just go around killing people. I guess I’m more Superman/Batman brand of justice and for whatever reason I can’t put that aside when I watch a Punisher that’s purposefully placed in a realistic environment.

I wasn’t planning on watching this series, after Iron Fist and Defenders I’ve almost given up on Marvel. Pair that with the fact that I just did not want to watch a show that tried to make me sympathize with a man like Frank Castle, Jon Bernthal, I had planned to sit it out. Next thing I know several friends are telling me I have to watch it, that it doesn’t try to make my empathize, that it does a great job of showing a different side of things, that it’s just the best thing ever and I broke.

One of the main complaints for the Marvel shows on Netflix is that thirteen episodes is too long. I personally didn’t feel that way with the first season of Daredevil or Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, because I really liked the characters and what was going on. I felt every minute of some of these episodes of The Punisher, though, and not in a good way. There was lots of dragging, lots of inactivity, and too much effort put into making The Punisher sympathetic.

The side story that followed Lewis Walcott, Daniel Webber, as he dealt with reintegrating into society was more interesting than The Punisher side for a while. I can see what they were trying to do, show a parallel between The Punisher and Lewis and how they reacted to trauma and coming home. However, they decided to push Lewis over the edge and then kept calling him a coward and trying to say that The Punisher was better. In the process they made Karen, Deborah Ann Woll, sound like an idiot because she refused to acknowledge the similarities.

David ‘Microchip’ Lieberman, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, was also another heavy handed parallel to The Punisher. He faked his own death and left his wife and two children alone to think he was dead. Naturally he spied on them with multiple cameras all over his old house. He was very willing to use The Punisher for a means to an end but acted like he was better than him. My main problem with Microchip, which has nothing to do with the story, is when he’s finally reunited with his wife, Jaime Ray Newman. After some time when she’s been understandably angry with him, they hook up in the bathroom. He finishes superfast, they laugh, he says he’s sorry, she says it’s okay, end scene. Why couldn’t they take two seconds to just show him slipping his hand down her panties? Why did he get to finish, but not her? Why couldn’t they have him saying he’d take care of her? Something? We’d already watched the whole awkward scene why did the wife get nothing?

Which brings me to my main complaint with the series, and something I already knew would be the case going in, but I was convinced it wouldn’t be this way by others. The Punisher is just male fantasy erotica, female fans of the Punisher get almost nothing from this series. Karen is made to be stupid. Dinah Madani, Amber Rose Revah, sleeps with a man she basically only originally talked to because he had connections to Castle and the criminal investigation she’s obsessed with, then of course develops some feelings for him, and is nearly killed by him. Microchip’s wife relies on her daughter for common household issues, then the Punisher as he comes along, and is just a damsel in distress. She at least protects her children as much as she can, but she allows her son to just walk all over her and kisses Castle because he’s of course the only man she’s come in close contact with since her husband has passed.

Tons of bullets flying, bad guys getting beat up, sex with hot women. I like action movies, but this was basically all my least favorite parts rolled up into one.

2/5

Side Note: I wasn’t able to pay 100% attention to this show, I just couldn’t, it would annoy me and I’d distract myself with something else while it played in the background.

Godless (2017-?)

Godless (2017)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Jack O’Connell

Michelle Dockery

Scoot McNairy

Merritt Wever

Jeff Daniels

Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Plot:

Frank Griffin, an outlaw terrorizing the 1880s American West, hunts down Roy Goode, his partner turned enemy. Roy hides out at a ranch as Frank’s chase leads him to La Belle, New Mexico – a town mysteriously made up almost entirely of women.

Review:

I canceled Netflix in 2017 because they canceled Sense 8 and I was pissed. At the end of October when I saw the trailer for Godless I decided I’d resubscribe. It looked incredible, it was a western where women were kicking butt. A whole town filled with women who’d lost their husbands tragically but were able to take care of business. It was everything I’d ever wanted.

Then the second trailer hit and I grew concerned. On November 22nd when it launched I wasn’t at home so I wasn’t able to watch and as impressions started to roll in I became incredibly disappointed.

I’m not sure who in the Netflix marketing department thought it would be a good idea to paint the series out to be something it wasn’t but I hope they had a stern talking too. I thought I was going to get a western where men were the bystanders and women took the wheel and settled shit. I understand that’s not what the creator ever intended and I feel kind of bad for him since that’s what a lot of people expected, but I’m also pissed. I would have watched the stupid thing if it was just a normal western, why did they have to go and raise my hopes with that amazing trailer?

It took me a while to work my way to watching Godless, then it took me a while to make my way through the seven episodes, and I know I didn’t give it a fair chance, but I don’t care. I enjoy westerns and this was certainly one of them. It was beautifully shot and the female characters were pretty awesome and diverse, but they barely had any screen time and they were still taken advantage of and weak.

There was no need to make this a miniseries, it was needlessly long and filled with unnecessary flashbacks. It took whole episodes to cover what could have been covered with a few words. It was boring and filled with longing glances. Most of the best scenes were in the last episode and you could almost skip everything and just watch that if you wanted.

The women ended up doing all the heavy lifting but it only followed them when there was a chance at nudity or a lesbian relationship. Merritt Wever’s character was so perfect and I wish we’d had more of her. Instead we spent most of our time following four men live out a story that has already been told a million times.

I know I’m being harsh, maybe even too harsh, but I saw a glimpse of what could have been and I can’t forget it.

2/5

Longmire (2012-2017)

Longmire (2012-2017)

Season 6

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Robert Taylor

Katee Sackhoff

Lou Diamond Phillips

Cassidy Freeman

Plot:

Walt Longmire is the dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Widowed only a year, he is a man in psychic repair but buries his pain behind his brave face, unassuming grin and dry wit.

Review:

This is the last season of Longmire and it had a few things to wrap up.

I was disappointed with the previous season of Longmire because Walt, Robert Taylor, seemed to go off the deep end. He could not get past suspecting that casino dude of doing everything. This season finds him a bit more in control of his faculties, though just slightly.

The main story line was wrapped up by the end of the season and we got lots of character resolution. There were tons of beautiful shots of Wyoming and despite all the murders I would totally visit.

I enjoyed this season, there was enough small stories that it didn’t feel like just one giant buildup to an ending that couldn’t possibly deliver. The ending of the overarching story line was good, we saw all the characters develop, it was mostly an enjoyable season.

The part I didn’t like was

****SPOILERS***

the relationship development between Walt and Vic, Katee Sackoff. I wanted her to finally move past her thing for him. She mourned the loss of her child for most of the season and then gets together with a man that is past child raising years. I’ve never liked her character, she always seems to make bad personal decisions, but I really did not want her with Walt.

After getting with Vic, Walt then goes to see his daughter, Cassidy Freeman, and tells her that he thinks she’d make a great sheriff and he could retire if she took over. She’s spent the last few episodes telling her new man that she wants to go to NYC, that she wants to leave this small town, and now all of a sudden she’s running for sheriff. It greatly annoyed me.

If it wasn’t for the ending I would really have liked this season. As is, I’d still recommend watching the show because it’s honestly really good, especially if you like westerns.

3/5

El Camino Christmas (2017)

El Camino Christmas (2017)

Netflix Original

Director:

David E. Talbert

Starring:

Vincent D’Onofrio

Tim Allen

Jessica Alba

Plot:

The project, scripted by Melfi and writer Chris Wehner, is about a young man (Grimes) who seeks out a father he has never met and, through no fault of his own, ends up barricaded in a liquor store with five other people on Christmas Eve. The story takes place in the fictitious town of El Camino, NV.

Review:

Giant cluster fuck the movie. Everything that can go wrong basically does but it’s not funny in the slightest. So if that’s what you want this holiday season, a shootout in a gas station liquor store, involving incompetent cops, and a whole lot of booze then this is the movie for you.

It was depressing.

Tim Allen seemed to be phoning it in, though everyone else was pretty good. Vincent D’Onofrio did a bit of overacting, well maybe not, his character was a fucking asshole and a drunk so who knows. Ending was not very satisfying, though, I appreciated the epilogue. It was not a happy Christmas movie.

2/5