Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 9/15/13 – 9/21/13

Note: None of this looks rape-yI am not going to lie to the dozen of you that bother noticing it when I do post this article, Grand Theft Auto V came out last week and I ended up being rather distracted.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I had already kind of started this, got a large chunk of it done, and was thinking of posting it ahead of time it might have been later than it already is.  Hopefully I have learned my lesson and will stop entertaining people and playing games where killers get to run around and save people from muggers.  I guess I will just go on watching that instead of interacting with it.

Good
Aqua Teen Show Show

Guess who's back! Back again!

Where: Adult Swim
When: Monday (Sunday kind of) at 12:30
Why:
Did you know that they are still making episodes of Aqua Teen?  Don’t worry, because the way that Cartoon Network operates I am pretty sure that everyone involved with the project was blindsided by getting a call to come in and start recording again as well.  I remember when this this first aired and it was a big deal that the voice actor who played Master Shake (Dana Synder) jumped on Xbox Live for a couple of promotions and just did the voice while he actively lost.  Keep in mind that is also when the system launched. The year 2005. There are children who were born when that happened and are now old enough to be on Live annoying you with racist slurs and completely unaware, and will probably continue to be, of any culture touchstones of our lives.

So, somehow after 10 seasons, the team finally hits the point in their life when they need to find a job to continue having electricity and cable. Granted, I believe it was mentioned at several points that they are pretty much living off the system—as sentient food items are known to do—and something around 10 years sounds about correct for the government stepping in and starting to question if they really want to advance themselves in anyway or not.  The turn that both the writers and, I believe, the audience has taken on Master Shake being a totally hate-able character as it appears that in more and more episodes it is either expected or implied that the end result of things is that he is just going to die from his actions is rather enjoyable, as I have kind of hated him all along.

Bad
It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia

I do kind of want that drink

Where: FXX
When: Thursdays at 10:30PM
Why:
Not every episode of one of the best shows on TV can be great.  The Dave and Buster’s episode clearly had product placement in a building that was both clearly not Dave and Buster’s and some where that I am pretty someone might have been murdered the week before.  The episodes when Dennis (Glenn Howerton) was married was preachy and annoying, as well as very clearly also being sponsored by Subway (screw them they gave me the worst case of food poisoning in my life), and this isn’t even mentioning a ton of the first season when Charlie (Charlie Day) didn’t have several learning disabilities mixed with music writing super powers, and “the gang” hadn’t really formed into what they are today.  Also the show just got way better when Danny Devito (who plays Frank) joined the crew as a crazy millionare/bum/pistol wielding gremlin.

The root of the issue with this episode is that it feels like they have kind of done this script before, and after 9 seasons I can get going back on some of the same ground, but this ground was the boring episode when they tried to get Paddy’s Pub recognized as a historical land mark.  This time they try to win an award for being the best bar in town.  I am not saying that I don’t think that a dive bar shouldn’t be allowed to win awards, in its own category of low lights and hiding your depression in an ever increasing sea of watered down drinking, but I do think that you probably aren’t going to get anything when the staff either is kidnapping a guy—normally the wrong one—or randomly stabbing/shooting/setting ablaze someone in their establishment.  Call me old fashioned but I am pretty sure that most people want a sense of safety when they are disrespecting their body with fire water.

Good
Adventure Time

Sneak Sneak Sneak

Where: Cartoon Network
When: Monday’s at 7:00 PM
Why:
Adventure Time likes to drop hints about things way before it talks about them.  Lady (Niki Yang) speaks entirely in Japanese, but if you translate it—or understand it—there are all kinds of crazy and interesting things that she will randomly spout out.  I would love to think that this is just the wondrous mind of Pendleton Ward who has planned this from the start, but since I have gone back and started watching from the beginning again I kind of know that isn’t the case; at the very least it mostly isn’t the case.  When the show does manage to drop a knowledge bomb, or at the very least a reference to a previous episode and its importance, it does make the keen eyed observer feel all the smarter for seeing it before it happened.  It must be a wonderful time to be a kid.  All I had when I was younger to look forward to is Gargoyles, and looking back that show is kind of hot garbage at this point.

This week we are treated to the world of the past, when humans roamed the landscape uneaten by Rainicorns and for some reason Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch) was still exactly the same age even though it was like hundreds of years ago.  I don’t really know if this story was meant to give the viewers more of a taste of what the world was like when it was still being established or if they really just wanted to write something about Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his past lives, either way it was ended up being effective story telling the same way that grandparents war stories wind up being way better when you realize how many people they killed and that they are also true.

Bad
Bones

Why... Did that work?

Where: Fox
When: Mondays at 8:00 PM
Why:
There is a certain point in my life when I have to admit that I am not even sure why I watch some shows anymore.  I know that I have seen pretty much every episode of Bones, some twice, and some in my sleep, because my wife thinks that David Boreanaz (Booth) is pretty much the definition of dreamy—she is wrong as that would be Emily Deschanel (Bones) and her ever increasingly amazing rack upper torso boob area breasts. Boobs.  I am sure that if I could stop looking at her long enough to follow or care about the ever increasingly boring and nonsensical plots, then lose 20 IQ points, I might enjoy the show.  I am pretty sure that when this series started it was about catching killers through nifty uses of science, and has since become what wacky way they can skate around doing hard work in favor of getting the job done quicker and possibly and probably entirely unscientifically.

Last season ended with Pelant (Andrew Leeds) telling Booth that if he married Bones five random people somewhere would die, a threat both so vague and easy to pull off it is akin to me saying that if more people don’t start reading this article I am going to eat a snack after work—shit is probably going to happen, I can blame it on what I want. In a series where named characters and interns at the lab most of the stories are shot at are as disposable as tissues in a teenage boy’s room it is hard to put any value on any human life in this show.  It turns out that Booth has been really struggling with the fact that he can’t marry the woman that he adores like a teenage boy adores locks on his door, and this entire episode is not only with his struggle to not marry Bones but her struggle with him rejecting her just completely amazing fun bags.  If it had been anything other than dragged out or boring it might have had something, but it was both of those things with the thin wrapping of a stupid and solvable under normal means murder trying to make it watchable.

Best:
Breaking Bad

While singing "so you had a bad day"

Where: AMC
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
At this point bashing my head against the keyboard to make hundreds of random letters appear filled with spaces would be a better argument for why you shouldn’t be watching this show than anything that anyone could ever come up with.  It is just really, really, really good.  I have a job, that I go to on a somewhat frequent basis, and while we might talk about Game of Thrones or Walking Dead in passing with feigned interest. That is not the case with Breaking Bad; we stop what we are doing and start talking about it the moment every last one of us has watched it.  Yes, we are that large a collection of nerds that we refuse to even start the longed for conversation of the week until everyone around us can partake in the enjoyment.  I think the only sad part of this entire paragraph is right here where I happily admit that it is the highlight of my week.

Last episode ended with a massive shootout that Walt (Bryan Cranston) sort of not really instigated and managed to start at the wrap up of that event.  There are entire movies that would be based off that chunk that they casually skipped, probably because of standards and practices, as the selling point—Breaking Bad just treated it like a matter of course. The show likes to start off by doing flash forwards with the impression that things have gone south for Walt, even though always work out in such a way that his friends should seriously start wondering if he owns a genie.  This episode basically goes out of its way to explain, in great detail, how badly things went for him and how quickly they went that way.  It is weird thinking that just a couple of episodes ago things probably seemed like they were looking so far up for him.

Worst:
Paranormal Witness

It is exactly as dumb as it looks

Where: SYFY
When: Wednesdays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I poke a ton of fun at the people that run this show.  I honestly believe that if you spend enough time talking to someone they can tell you some kind of ghost story or spooky story from their life, like a run in with Honey Boo-Boo mother or seeing a car drive the wrong way down a one way street.  There are things out there that kind of break your brain when you see them, and while not all of them are true (I am sure we will one day explain the congealed mass that is Honey Boo Boo’s mother) there are some of them out there that we just probably won’t have enough information to explain for the foreseeable ever.  With all that said, I think that what most psychics do should be considered fraud and many of them should be beaten with sticks until they admit how giant douches they are in their personal life.

This is the story of a murder case that was “solved” by a psychic helping two police officers along, and if the show is to be believed one of them was studying to be chief Wiggum and the other one was clearly trying to decide if he wanted to be Enos or Cletus more.  All it took to prove that that woman was feeding them information that they, literally, already knew is simply asking them—although not with cameras or saying that you were from anywhere investigating the incident as that would make them double down on the lie, just causally asking the cops over a beer or as an interested part and they admitted that she totally had access to all the files.  Now this case was 30 years ago, and I understand that everyone is retired and has long since forgotten some of the finer details about things that happened the year I was born; nothing mentioned is really an excuse to try and defend the practice of using psychics for real work.  Also even the show admits that she didn’t solve the case, the guy basically turned himself in, although it does insist that she used her super pals to stab him with the power of her hate.  I wish I made that up.

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/28/13 – 5/4/13

Mythbusters at their best: Breaking things

So Mythbusters makes it come back, and I am here complaining about everything else.  Quickly, without judgment as I still don’t even know how I feel about this episode, I would like to say that I both enjoy this show and thought that it stopped being a show two years ago.  It turns out that instead of gracefully bowing out they brought it back and are planning on bringing more guest stars, also known as the worst episodes, in to do more awful myths that no one believed in the first place.  Also, on the off chance that you are wondering, they disproved the jet car thing, finally, and there was very little of the “build team” (mythbusters junior) this time around.

Good
Community

Not check IMDB forums.  Will be frightened by braces conversations...

Where: NBC
When: Thursday at 8:00 PM
Why:
Abed (Danny Pudi) makes a family tree, styled after the web of insanity from A Beautiful Mind, of chance encounters by the group for the previous year before they all decided that they would go to Greendale.  Basically it is the events leading up to the first episode, in much the same way that Muppet Babies was a show about how Kermit and Miss Piggy always had a non-standard abusive relationship between two awesome tasting food groups.  It is like seeing the origin stories of the world’s most boring super heroes who only have the power to discuss other heroes, sort of like what the DC universe would be like if Kevin Smith wrote it.  This of course turns the entire group against each other, but only so long as it makes the audience feel better when they finally come back together afterwards by learning about their differences and how important growth is—just like the aforementioned Muppet Babies reference during a Gonzo based episode, but this has more of Annie (Alison Brie) looking stupid hot even though she has braces on.

The only complaint that I have about this show is that the rest of the cast is constantly surprised that Jeff (Joel McHale) used to be a completely shady lawyer.  It wasn’t even that long ago that he was getting drunken Englishmen off of reckless endangerment charges for money instead of moral reasons; this isn’t like trusting a reformed criminal who has done their time, this is a man who for all logical reasons has been presented no cause to change besides the friendship of a rag-tag group of educational failures.  No one, save the Dean (Jim Rash), is the same person that they were at the start of this show four seasons ago.  That complaint aside the show was more about how far everyone had come than worrying about the now versions of them bitching about closure.

Bad
Bones:

Wait. 1 Bullet did that?  Sure it wasn't... Face... AIDS...

Where: Fox
When: Monday at 8:00 PM
Why:
Because I am so tired of Pelant (Andrew Leeds) and every story that they try and force down the audiences throat about how evil he is and how science is the new Harry Potter.  Most of the time the show manages to conclude the evil villain BS in a under a season, two if they are really having a hard time coming up with story lines, but at this point they are pushing three, if not four, seasons using the same mechanics to make us freak out about computers and how people can track us/destroy our lives if they want.  I love that the theory that it is creepy when it’s just some guy doing whatever, but it is neat and science when a cop does it.  Because I guess it isn’t an invasion of privacy, or at the very least an expectation of privacy, if it is a “good guy”.

Because this is the last episode of the season it needed to be some kind of cliff hanger, because nothing attempts to force a studio to renew a show faster than not letting the world in on how things resolve.  Since that has never worked in the past, but people keep doing it, we pretty much have that same exact thing happen here.  If this had been any other episode it wouldn’t have had cyborg Dumbledore Pelant pulling the strings and would have just been a normal murder thing, also we would have been left with a warm feeling about Booth (David Boreanaz) and Bones (Emily Deschanel who is oddly Zoey’s sister) getting together and about to start a family.  Too bad that this is modern TV with a show that is getting later in its run, because that stuff just cannot be allowed to happen anymore until they get a movie deal.  I am willing to bet money right now that in the first two episodes of next season they admit to each other what has happened and have some kind of stupid and secret/private wedding.

Good
Modern Family

Something about covering that section of her face....

Where: ABC
When: Wednesday at 9:00 PM
Why:
I always feel like when I talk about Modern Family I am doing it some kind of stupid and terrible disservice. It is like trying to describe an analogy to someone who doesn’t have the internet, sure they might understand what you are getting at but they aren’t able to get distracted by porn along the way; that was the entire point! The show is slowly getting away from any plot points that involve the children, which is good because it feels like one of those times that people are telling cute kid stories that you just don’t get because you don’t have children and hate people that do; but it also is weird because they built the five of them up to be characters who kind of just seem to be shoved into the background at this point—namely Alex (Ariel Winter) who doesn’t seem to have more than 3 lines of dialog in the last year.

This episode is about Cam (Eric Stonestreet—who has an amazing last name) and Mitchell (!) (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) trying to teach their daughter, Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons who is quickly becoming the best part of the show), about the importance of being truthful and honest.  It sounds dumb, but it also resulted in Haley (Sarah Hyland) dressing up as the sexiest Tooth Fairy ever seen outside of the oddest frat party kegger.  There is also something about Claire (Julie Bowen) wondering if being a stay at home mom is really all that she should do with her life, but considering that most of it is filled with penis joke it is really hard to take that as a plot thread.  Although with that in mind I guess I can’t describe anything Always Sunny does as “story”.

Bad
The Simpsons:

Pictured here, future meth addicts. Even Flanders.

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8:00 PM
Why:
So Reverend Lovejoy (Harry Shearer) proves to be so terrible at his job that the guy above him, in whatever denomination it is that town worships, comes in with a new priest to replace him.  This being the Simpsons the next logical move is for him to take up selling hot tubs, because I guess that when you leave a job that you aren’t good at the next step is to take a job that showing up sober is considered a B- grade in the grand scheme.  The confusion, for me, comes in the fact that I never really saw him “quit” his job makes me kind of think that he is either trying to ride two paychecks until someone notices and boots him out, or whatever religion he practices has some weird “forever” clause much in the same was as the Crypts and Bloods.

There is also something about Homer (Dan Castellaneta) being a deacon or something, because if it doesn’t directly involve the core group of people it simply cannot be an episode I guess.   I think that it is kind of bad that all of the more recent episodes are blurring to the point that I can’t even remember if there was another odd plot about Marge (Julie Kavner) or not.  When your show has successfully became the kind of bland that people in the 50s in Canada would speak up about it being hallow maybe it is time to, at the very least, shake things up every now and then on the show.  Instead we get boring and forgettable garbage I hate watching every second.

Best:
Doctor Who

The look of happy surprise

Where: BBC
When: Saturdays at 6:15 PM (GMT)
Why:
Because while it probably wasn’t the best episode, even of the season, it had these moments that I just simply loved.  The Victorian take on Sherlock Holmes, “Madame Vastra” (Neve McIntosh), both being a woman and a lizard is possibly one of my favorite plot points of the recent series.  Her “Watson” assistant, Jenny (Catrin Stewart) while not Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) hot manages in her own right.  Also, the on the Doctor’s (Matt Smith) face when she rips off her clothing to have some kind of leather judo suit on is awesome.  Very, “Not what I was expecting, but I will take it!” which is almost the motto of the show since Moffit took over.

There is seemingly some kind of poison, or disease traveling around the north of England that is turning people red and then painfully killing them.  Granted, it is kind of annoying that this was another one of those “not where I meant to end up, but adventure!” episodes tropes that are getting really annoying at this point.  I know that it is kind of a long standing thing, but it isn’t like the Doctor doesn’t get into trouble when he just goes on vacation—why can’t they just do more of those episodes.

Worst:
The Big C:

HAWKEYE!!!

Where: Showtime
When: Mondays at 10:00 PM
Why:
The Big C is about Cathy, (Laura Linney who is terrible in everything) a woman who is diagnosed with cancer and decides that she hates her entire family.  Normally this kind of thing would be interesting or zany or at the very least enjoyable, it is none of those.  Instead we are treaded to one of the most annoying people on the planet pushing her beliefs on everyone else, all the while using the fact that she is going to die as an excuse to be a total and insufferable jerk. For the first three season her husband, Paul (Oliver Pratt), stood by while she cheated on him, spent every penny of their savings, and stopped just short of killing a young couple; when she was told that she was going to live he decided to leave her after she pushed his mentor, literally, under a bus. As I am writing this I kind of realized it hard to be funny about something you have active disdain for.

Last season ended with her swimming away with a random fisherman to live a peaceful life in the tropics and presumably die a quiet and peaceful death.  It turns out that none of that happened, probably because it would be too hard to conclude inside of a season, and that it was simply the cancer returning and attacking her brain.  If the before descriptions sound like something that you may not want to sit through, this is basically the same crap just cranked up—she has been told that she is dying, there is nothing that she can do, and now it seems that she wants the entire world to know just how miserable she is.  The only redeeming thing about this show is that Alan Alda plays a doctor, and even that makes me sad because Hawkeye is getting old (my heroes should forever stay young and witty).  M*A*S*H forever!

Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 4/21/13-4/27/13

The real disappointment last week, for me, is that the best things all week seemed to occur on Sunday night; which was wonderful for me the next day when I got around to watching them, but is kind of terrible for the rest of the week when things either sucked or didn’t live up to expectations (both if you are The Office).  Shows that I normally like ended up being kind of terrible runs at ironing out plot or forgettable—even Doctor Who wasn’t great.

Good
Game of Thrones: Season 4, Episode 4

Everyone in this shows has a "shit is about to get real" face

Where:  HBO
When: Sundays at 9:00 PM
Why:
Game of Thrones can just kind of go around being Game of Thrones and end up on the list in a good category.  Sure, there might be some forgettable episodes that are just talk heavily, light on the nudity, and devoid of anything good for the violence.  This was not that episode.  There might have been more talk of nudity then there was actual, but the fact that Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) young squire is amazing enough in bed that whores refuse to take money from him seemingly makes up for that.  I have to admit, the fact that the rumor about his skill continues to spread throughout King’s Landing is one of the more enjoyable side events that could have happened during the series.  If this was Friends it would have been an entire season story arch that would have been referenced more than “on a break”.

Game of Thrones does an interesting job with politics, but to this day I still do not know who is supposed to be trusted in King’s Landing—my theory is no one.  None of that seems to stop Tyrion at all, as it seems that he instinctively knows exactly how to address everyone to get the information that he wants, but if I had any kind of job there I am sure that I would just sit around crying and hugging my knees while worried that my child is not mine and that my customers want to watch a rat eat its way inside of me.  Between how awesome Dinklage performs his role and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) kind of being all of insane, stupid hot, and plotting this show could just run on those two, interestingly it seems that it wants to just follow every person who is ever introduced as a character gets a story arch that follows them until death.  So either this series ends with the world exploding or everyone else just losing interest.

Bad
Bones: Season 8, Episode 23

I know, call in bone people for the virus

Where:  Fox
When: Monday at 8:00 PM
Why:
Bones is a TV series about a FBI agent that teams up with some kind of super anthropologist that can tell anything about any human being from simply looking at the damage done to their bones.  While this concept manages to be completely defeated by any murder or death that caused only internal damage, and nothing to the skeletal structure, it seems like at the very least 24 times a year they find a murder case that can only be solved this way.  At one point, years ago, the show had no issue with murdering major characters in the name of advancing the plot or just making you hate someone, but now seems to have taken a more Simpsons style approach to storytelling and not ever changing anything.

I brought up the “murder characters” thing in the last paragraph because that is exactly what I was looking forward to while watching this episode.  A deadly virus is unleashed on a reporter looking to expose big pharmaceutical for their mega shady practices, like every reporter in every fictional world who write only about scandal and not boring town meetings, and that of course that means that one of the people on the team of investigators just happens to get exposed.  So when the CDC can’t figure out what is causing all this organ explosion they go to a bone expert, because I guess when you can’t figure something out you just seek help from people in very close to the exact opposite field.  The only way that this could have played out in any more of a ridiculous fashion would have been to have one of the tech guys from the FBI figure out the cure through “clever accounting”.

Good
Mad Men: Season 6, Episode 4

That guy doesn't even know how lucky he is

Where:  AMC
When: Sundays at 10:00 PM
Why:
I cannot be the only person that cannot stop staring at Megan’s (Jessica Paré) teeth, right?  I looked her up on IMDB, because if I am honest I know almost none of these people’s real names, and it seems to be a hotly contested issue.  While I might be on the entire, “Please never smile, your large blue whale teeth creep me out,” side it seems sad that the only valid—non-disturbingly rape sounding—argument for her to keep her prostatic donkey grin is so she doesn’t become another “Hollywood Phony”.  If I was going off those comments alone I would probably just stop acting and go into the lucrative business of hiding from all of the world.

Joan (Christiana Hendricks) takes a friend out on the town whoring.  The only thing that separates the actions of those two that night and my ability to use the word “literally” in the previous sentence is that they don’t accept money at the end.  Granted, I think that if I was the one that was lucky enough to end up with Joan I probably would have attempted to tip either way. There is some really interesting inner-personal relationships that have developed over the years that are starting to bite people in the ass, mainly because the show has been going on long enough that characters are starting take jobs that aren’t all at the same business, and companies are losing rather large accounts over people talking.  Also, when reading the recap on IMDB for this episode I love how people will be completely no biased about 2000 other words, but when they mention that Don Draper (Jon Hamm) cheats on his wife they spare no time in calling him a scumbag.  Good reporting internet, that was the only underhanded thing that he or anyone else did recently.

Bad
The Office: Season 9, Episode 20

Andy's screams of terror are the best part of this episode

Where:  NBC
When: Thursdays at 8:30 PM
Why:
Because it could have been so much better.  The entire Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) having marriage issues it just stupid and not being dealt with well.  There was roughly one line that made the entire experience seem like it was even based on a real relationship and that was three episodes ago.  Everything about this, from the delivery of the lines to the gags that are implied, feels tired and like something they copied from an old episode of Seinfeld and swapped the word masturbation for marriage.  This entire season has felt like the first couple of seconds when you see a car driving the wrong way down a one way street, you know something is terribly wrong and out of place but it is hard to say what.

There is a paper plane contest, because this is a paper company that this is the first time that has happened in the 9 seasons that this show has been on the air.  This kind of thing seemed like it would be an annually event, or something you do on lunch when you only carry paper and paper products, but here we are experiencing it for the first time.  Andy (Ed Helms) has gotten an acting gig, because he is so terrible at everything else he does I guess it is just time for him to fail at something else.  I have brought this up before, that there are moments that the show almost hits the same feel that it had so long ago—it just never seems to get there.  Aside from a couple of exceptions most of the cast simply seems to have been demoted to background characters at this point, either that or they came to their senses and just collect their checks while waiting for this train wreck to end.

Best:
Bob’s Burger: Season 3, Episode 20

Children, sailors, KFC guy... Seems legit

Where: Fox
When: Sundays at 8:30 PM
Why:
The title of the episode is “When kids run the restaurant,” and the solution to that puzzle is, “they open a basement casino. There just seems to be a point in every show that Bob’s Burgers make a choice to either be normal or go off the rails; the more times that the “go off the rails” ability check passes the better that an episode seems to turn out.  Keep in mind that this isn’t the same kind of randomness associated with an American Dad or Family Guy, this is weird juxtapositions that simply make my heart happy when I hear H. Jon Benjamin (Bob) make them.

So it turns out that Bob can’t stand the site of even the most trace amount of blood, because that doesn’t seem like it should ever be an issue with someone who actively plays with sharp objects for a living.  This leads to a hospital visit with the world’s worst Doctor that uses stitches the way that serial killers use roadside ditches, keep throwing stuff in there until it is either full or someone says something.  The aforementioned casino is interesting in its own right simply because it seems that all of the adults in this world just accept that, yeah, this is something that happens from time to time.

Worst:
Big Bang Theory: Season 6, Episode 21

Funny that Penny isn't even "the hot one" any more

Where:  CBS
When: Thursdays at 8:00 PM
Why:
I sort of feel like I have been one of the only Big Bang Theory supporters for a rather long time now.  When it first came out I was the person running around and telling everyone how clever it was and handing out USB sticks with episodes on them.  For a while now I have ignored the mounting roar against this show, but this weeks’ was almost too much for me to sit through.  The show that I once enjoyed that was about awkward, smart, people doing fun and interesting things that I could totally see myself doing is now seemingly more about someone’s impression of what a geek probably acts like.  This has gone from a show that seemed to be written by geeks to one that is written by people who are only vaguely aware that they are part of a social structure.

This week Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is depressed because all of her, now only, friends are super smart and have passions, while she –the dumb one of the group and possibly of a group of disabled people—doesn’t seem to have one.  The argument is made that the reason everyone else is smart is because of their passions, possibly being smart allows you to be very passionate about things, but this feels like the argument that dumb people make about “everyone is smart in their own way”.  That is not true.  Having a working knowledge of the social structure of Gossip Girls isn’t a way to be smart, it is a terrible party trick and flag that denotes that people should stop talking to you and start stabbing your genitals.  Also, choosing the people around you as your passion doesn’t count as most three year olds can accomplish that as it is called “making friends”.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: October 8th – October 14th

The fall anime season is finally in full swing, and all of the shows I am planning on watching have at least aired their first episodes at this point.  This week MuvLuv did not air, and I dropped To Love Ru Darkness since even the AT-X airing was a butchered mess of censorship.  I plan on covering the Blu-ray of TLR in a future article about ecchi anime at some point, but don’t hold your breath on that since it will be a long time for those disks to come out.  Despite that little disappointment from the fall season, there are still lots of really awesome shows to watch, so let’s get started…

Busou Shinki:  Episode 2

This week’s episode of a glorified toy commercial has a new Shinki joining the crew.  Unlike the rest of the girls, it would seem the new model isn’t quite satisfied living a simple life around the house, as she has a thirst for combat.  While the other three girls literally risk their lives to surprise their master with a home cooked meal, they soon will appreciate having someone around that lives to fight!

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!:  Episode 2
(Despite My Adolescent Delusions, I Want To Date!)

This week we are introduced to the “villain” within Rikka’s delusional game of pretend, her sister.  There are all sorts of craziness that goes on when Rikka fights off her sister in brilliantly animated fight sequences of her delusions, all for the sake of keeping her pet “chimera”, (a cat.)  This is the most fun I have had watching an anime from Kyoto Animation in a long time, and I already recommend this show to anyone looking for a unique take on slice of life shows.

Girls und Panzer:  Episode 1

Even though Uppotte turned out to be a commercial disappointment, it would seem the anime industry is not done trying to bring out some stuff for that breed of otaku with a love for cute girls and weapons.  This is yet another anime that had such a silly concept I at least had to check it out.  This anime is about an alternate world where tanks are not as much used as tools of war, but instead are used for a type of sport for young women to earn respect and discipline through tank combat; almost like a ritual for entering adulthood.  No, I’m not making this up, in this world, tanks are for girls… in fact they even laugh at the notion of men using tanks right in the first episode.  I have no idea how this show is going to turn out, but I’m giving it a shot out of pure curiosity.

Little Busters!  Episode: 2

This week the Little Busters continue their hunt for new members so they can form a proper Baseball team, simply because it’s something to do.  Unfortunately for them, the only new recruit to show up thus far is a cute, yet athletically inept girl from another class.  However, it seems the Buster’s don’t really care, and happily add her to the crew.  The show has a really goofy, light hearted atmosphere about it, and it’s made me laugh out loud on several occasions.  I’m loving this so far, and I can’t wait for more next week.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:  Airing Next Week…

Psycho Pass:  Episode 1

Psycho pass could best be described as a cross between The Minority Report and Ghost in the Shell.  It takes place in a future where science has such a vivid understanding of the human mind that computers can judge how a person will behave.  This judgment is based on a reading called a “psycho pass”, which is taken by scanners all around the city.  When someone’s psycho pass changes for the worst, they are hunted down by the police, with deadly force if necessary.  This first episode opens up with some great world building and action, and will have viewers asking questions right off the bat.  Oh, did I mention they have guns that make people explode?  Yeah, there’s that.  Have fun!

Robotics Notes:  Episode 1

This anime takes place in the same universe as Steins;Gate and Chaos Head, so I decided to try it out.  I should warn anyone going into this thinking that this show is a “sequel” to Steins;Gate will be disappointed, as the only thing that these shows really share are a couple themes that usually only get mentioned briefly at some point.  (Chaos Head and Steins;Gate are so dramatically different, most viewers would never really know they are even remotely related.)  Anyway, this show takes place in a near future where advanced smartphones/tablets, and robotics are becoming commonplace tools in the lives of regular people.  The story is about a pair of students in the “Robotics Club”, who hope to build a giant robot based on a robot from a world-renowned anime.

Shinsekai Yori:  Episode 3
(From The New World)

Much like last week, this episode opens with another “history lesson,” featuring samurai fighting off psychics.  Once things catch back up to the “modern” world, the children set off on their canoeing/camping trip.  What starts as a seemingly normal camping trip soon makes a turn for the strange when the students encounter yet another mysterious creature of the new world.  The end of this episode is guaranteed to make anyone ask, “What the fuck is going on?”

Sword Art Online:  Episode 15

Okay, I’m going to be nice and warn anyone reading this to stop if they have not watched the show up until now, since they will be spoiled.  Okay, with that out of the way, Kirito has begun to rehabilitate his atrophied muscles and is adjusting to being back in the real world.  Even better, he has found Asuna.  The problem is, not only is Asuna still in a comatose state, it seems there is a scheme by the owner of a tech firm to take advantage of the unusual legal situation caused by Asuna’s unconsciousness.  He plans to marry her, and did I mention he is a complete creep that likes to poke, prod, and sniff comatose girls?  He’s pretty much a well-dressed version of the sketchy trucker from Kill Bill, so be ready to be disgusted.

Zetsuen no Tempest:  Episode 2
(Blast of Tempest/ AKA The Civilization Blaster)

This week there is a bit of explanation about the events unfolding around the world along with even more magical fighting.  To make things even more interesting, the well-armed assassin from the first episode returns for some revenge.  Also, I thought I was going crazy because I thought there were a few references to Shakespeare throughout the episode, but after doing a bit of research it turns out the author had a thing for Shakespeare’s stuff.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: October 1st – October 7th

This has been a really crazy week for anime, now that the new season is getting in gear, last season’s shows are wrapping up, and the shows that are still running have been getting even better.  There are still a few more shows to come that I plan to cover in the round up this fall, so expect even more shows to pop up next week.    Here is how the fall is shaping up so far:

Busou Shinki:  Episode 1

This is a show I was not planning to pick up, but there was a lot of buzz about it being “surprisingly” good from all over the internet.  I had poor expectations of this because this show is essentially a toy commercial for Konami’s line of super popular (and super expensive) action figures called “Busou Shinki” (which roughly translates to “armed divine princesses”).  Busou Shinki figures are 15cm tall, highly-customizable cute anime girls in high-tech combat armor.  In the show, Shinki are sentient robots that assist their masters, and for whatever reason, they fight each other with high-tech weapons.  This show combines cute slice of life moments with remarkably awesome fight scenes, and some tidbits of fan service on the side.  I honestly did not expect this show to be so fun and entertaining, and I’m actually looking forward to more of this.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!:  Episode 1
(Despite My Adolescent Delusions, I Want To Date!)

During his middle school years, Yuuta Togashi had what the Japanese call “chuunibyou”, or adolescent delusions.  He often role-played as the “Dark Flame Master”, a character he made up that seemed to be based on a character from a fighting anime.  Now that he is going to a new high-school where no one knows him, he has decided to start over, put aside his childish behavior and try to finally fit in.  Everything seems to be going to plan until he runs into a cute girl named Rikka, which claims to have a power she calls “The Tyrant Eye of Truth.”  Even worse, she knows about Yuuta’s past as the “Dark Flame Master,” and she wants him to play along with her.  This anime is done by Kyoto Animation, a studio famous for high-quality animation and several critically acclaimed hits, such as Lucky Star, and K-ON!  While I am not nuts about everything this studio does, (I actually passed on their hit from last season, Hyouka.) I really enjoyed this.  The strange situation and Rikka’s wacky behavior have already given this slice of life show a unique and fun twist.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Season 2:  Episode 13 END
(Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere)

The crew of the Musashi is now in the final stretch in their fight against the Spanish Armada.  As is the style for Horizon, the frenzied action continues all the way to the conclusion.  This story arc is now wrapped up, here’s to hoping that they will keep pumping out seasons of this show until the main storyline is complete!

Little Busters!  Episode: 1

This is a story adapted from a hugely popular visual novel, and the anime adaptation is one of the most anticipated shows of this year.  The story is about a boy named Riki that fell into a deep depression when his parents died, but soon befriended a group of kids calling themselves the “Little Busters” that changed his life to a happy one.  This show carries the brand of the visual novel company Key, and anyone familiar with their works should know how this will go… a mix of slice of life, comedy, romance… and the inevitable sadness.  Key productions are emotional rollercoasters, but they are unforgettable.  I never played the visual novel, (I know, I’m a filthy secondary.) so I’m not sure what to expect, but as a fan of anime with the Key brand, I have high hopes for this show.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse:  Episode 14

Just as it seems Yuuya is finished, he is saved by an unlikely group of friends, er, comrades.  But this is Muv-Luv, it’s never that simple, so it’s time for more Soviet backstabbing and the arrival of the deadly laser-class BETA.  A whole lot of things happen this week, and once again I’m going to wrap this up to avoid spoilers.

Shinsekai Yori:  Episode 2
(From The New World)

This week things start off with a disturbing look at some events from 500 years ago, and then moves on to fun and games at school.  This is a really interesting show, because every time you become calmed by the slice of life type of stuff, some kind of strange, mysterious, and potentially disturbing element of the society pops up and gets the viewer guessing at what is really going on.  Oh, get ready for rat people, the future of labor.

Sword Art Online:  Episode 14

So are you one of the many fans out there watching this?  If you are, and you have not watched this week’s episode, stop reading this and go fucking watch it.  There is absolutely NOTHING I can say about this week without spoiling something.  I will say this however, keep in mind at the end of this episode that this show is only halfway over.

To Love Ru Darkness (Brightness?):  Episode NOPE

If anyone bothered to read my articles on ecchi shows, I made a promise to cover this show in the round-up.  Unfortunately, there is a problem:  this show got extremely heavily edited by censorship, and to be honest, I sort of expected it thanks to all the pressure the Japanese government has been putting on the anime industry over sexual content.  Pretty much everything is covered up by bright beams of light and steam, so this is now an ecchi show, without ecchi.  That is like ordering a cheeseburger and getting and empty bun.

I didn’t even waste my time watching this, since all the fun has been stripped right out of the show.  I do however, have a backup plan.  A premium network known as AT-X in Japan usually airs uncut versions of some anime shows a few days after airing on major networks, and I will start to cover the show if they manage to air the uncut version of this.  Unfortunately, some studios like the censorship because it increases Blu-ray sales, and if there is no airing of the uncut version, I will have to wait for the Blu-ray.  If that happens, I will likely just cover this show in another one of my articles about ecchi anime in the future.

 Zetsuen no Tempest:  Episode 1
(Blast of Tempest/ AKA The Civilization Blaster)

I have been looking forward to this show since it comes from Bones studio, a studio that puts out some really great action shows.  This is a story about a high school student named Mahiro who is trying to find the killer of his parents, and he also happens to be a badass mage.  This episode has already delivered on my expectations with a really awesome fight scene and an intriguing storyline.  I’m excited to see much more of this in the weeks to come.