Friday, November 7, 2014

What I'm Watching

In the science-fiction classic Childhood's End, author Arthur C. Clarke imagines mankind's last generation before reaching the next evolutionary level. As humanity discards the earth and is about to take up with extraterrestrial super-intelligent beings, there are tens of thousands of TV channels to amuse us as a sort of farewell present. I think we've reached that plateau since there are now literally millions of shows that can be watched anywhere anytime on hundreds of difference platforms. I am participating in this media frenzy like everyone else but I'm not as bad as the folks on The People's Couch who will watch anything their Bravo overlords tell them to. (But I do like them because they are the only people on TV were respond to my Tweets, especially the Zeno family.) Right now I am following animated original series on Netflix and Hulu as well as new shows on Amazon and Itunes (from Pivot). And let's not forget my standbys Doctor Who, The Amazing Race, and Project Runway.

On Hulu I recently started watching The Awesomes, the service's first original animated series. Its premise of a bunch of bumbling, second-tier superheroes attempting to break into the top tier has been attempted before. DC had a comic book in the 60s called The Inferior Five featuring a crowd of superpowered goof-ups. Seth Meyers of Late Night stars as the voice of Prock, Professor-Doctor Awesome whose only super power is his intelligence and the ability to stop time, but every time he does it, he gets a nosebleed. plus his arm is constantly in a cast. It's genuinely funny, and one of the few series on Hulu you can get for free without having to buy Hulu Plus. But they include commercials. I've grown used to living without these annoying ads so I turned on AdBlocker. But now I have a blank screen on my computer for four minutes during the breaks. It really interrupts the flow worse than the ads. I suppose I could turn off the Adblocker but I'm too lazy.

Netflix is earning Emmy noms and critical approval with original series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, but nobody seems to be talking about their adult animated series Bojack Horseman. This nasty satire of celebrity is so cutting it hurts. In a weird parallel universe where anthropomorphic animals are capable of speech and human stupidity, Bojack Horseman (voiced by Will Arendt) is a washed-up sitcom star attempting a comeback by writing a memoir. Also in the mix are his agent-girlfriend, a cat named Princess Caroline, a dog named Mr. Peanut Butter who seems to have survived starring on bad TV by doing more of it, and Bojack's permanent houseguest Todd, a human with no ambition. The jibes on brainless show biz are hilarious as are the voice cameos by such stars as Stephen Colbert, Keith Olberman and Margo Martindale. It also makes me feel cool to watch this since no one else seems to be. I'm not constantly hearing about it on the media waves, so it's like I have discovered a secret treasure no one else knows about.

On Amazon, I've seen all ten episodes of Transparent which was advertised on a lot of posters in the NYC subway system. Jeffrey Tambor stars as a 70-ish lawyer coming out as transgender to his three adult children, each with serious sexual issues of their own. It's weird, quirky, and so un-TV-ish. That is until the very last episode of season one where they delivered a cliched cliffhanger out of nowhere. (I won't spoil it for you, but it should play big in season two.) Judith Light is absolutely brilliant as Tambor's caustic ex-wife. In one amazing scene she switches from grief over losing her second husband to joy over her son dating a female rabbi without missing a beat.

I'm also in the midst of catching up with Doctor Who and The Amazing Race on DVR and have finished up with Project Runway on Hulu and Please Like Me on iTunes. Old-fashioned TV is dead, what will come next? Implants in our brains so we can keep up with Kardashians while getting a colonoscopy?

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