Things I’m Watching: Geek Stuff Gone Mainstream

I dunno, does Archie even count as “geek stuff”? Oh well, I’m going with it.

But first, an announcement! Several months ago I submitted a piece of writing to a zine that would be put out by one of my favorite websites. And now it’s been published! You can check it out (and maybe even buy it) here! I’m about halfway through it now and just completely blown away by the talent of the other contributors. It’s good.

My regular reading this week suffered a bit. I got through the pages I assigned myself for my challenges, but didn’t get to any new comic issues or anything. I did watch some new shows that all have sort of geeky themes reworked for a mainstream audience. A sitcom about non-heroes in the DC universe, another sitcom about zombies, and a drama about Archie.

Riverdale
This is definitely not something I expected to enjoy. Actually, I didn’t even plan to watch, but I kept hearing from people I trusted that they loved it. So I decided to try it, fully ready to close the tab at any second when it got too terrible to continue.

But that did not happen. I actually like it a lot, enough that it’s replaced Supergirl as my must-watch when I only have time to catch up on a single episode. (I almost never watch things when they actually air. Hurray for streaming shows.) There are things I really don’t like about it, and I’m sure at some point I’ll have things to say about Grundy. I do not like what they choose to do with that character. But the way they choose to handle it matters and I’m seeing signs that they intend to call her out as a predator and not play it up so much as a sexy/cool thing, so I hope that’s the case and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for a little while.

The main teen characters are pretty great despite some lazy stereotypes, and I look forward to seeing them develop further. Archie was my first comic and even though looking back at it now it seems pretty gross and unfunny, I also have nostalgic feelings for it and it’s important to me. I’ve enjoyed the comic reboots of it and it’s fun to see writers playing with the characters and re-imagining them for today. (Some do a much better job of this than others, and in general I think Riverdale seems to be one of the more successful versions. It’s different, obviously, but I think they’ve done a good job of capturing who the Archie crew would be in the world of CW teen dramas.)

Powerless
I don’t like it.

Pilots are terrible and I’ll give it at least one more shot, but I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I found it boring enough that I just drifted off to sleep. So for all I know it was super interesting and it’s just that all the good parts happened in the 15 minutes or so I missed, but…I doubt it.

Santa Clarita Diet
Another one I didn’t really expect to like. I have no interest at all in things like Dexter or Breaking Bad. Although I did like The Voices, I also found it incredibly disturbing and don’t expect to watch it again. In general I don’t want to see protagonists who are bad guys or justify terrible behavior. And to try making it funny? Ehhhhhhhhhh.

But I do like it. The humor largely comes from the most ordinary human moments, not the zombie aspects or the violence. I’m 5 episodes in and so far it’s mostly about what we do in hard situations and how we balance our own needs and wants with our responsibilities to the other people in our lives. It just does that with a zombie subplot.

What are you watching/reading? Any recommendations? If you watched any of these, what did you think of them?

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7 thoughts on “Things I’m Watching: Geek Stuff Gone Mainstream

  1. Archie counts as geek stuff.

    I second the YAY! for getting published YAY!!!

    Okay, so, Riverdale. Haven’t watched it. I kind of meant to, then forgot that it was starting. Maybe I’ll check Hulu and see if they have it. It kind of threw me, the whole murder in Riverdale thing? Is that even what’s going on? I only know what I’ve caught in commercials on other shows, sorry.

    Powerless. I don’t….don’t even know. I’ve watched all three episodes? I think it’s been three. And I’m very meh about it. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t like it. I feel like they’ve gone for ridiculous and they could have had the same sort of humour we get in the CW verse shows but also being serious because hey, the body count during pointless superhero fights is actually pretty high if you think about it.

    Santa Clarita Diet. Oh god, wow, do I love this show. I need to watch the season finale, but everything else I’ve seen was gorgeous and wonderful and I laughed so hard during so many of the scenes. The humor definitely comes from the mundanity of the rest of the show and then you just have this one zombie running around trying to…not zombie. Sort of.

    I’m more of a hard/dark fan, but the humor in this is just right, not overly campy or sit-com-y.

    I’m so behind on most of my regular Tv I can’t even talk about any of the shows, because what I know is out of sync. I’m trying to catch up, slowly, but then I also have Netflix and Hulu and I’m watching The Path (cults, cults everywhere led by Hugh Dancy…mmmmm….*digresses into Hannibal dreaming*) but I’m still back in season one of that one too.

    Reading, murder mysteries. The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. I’m currently in the middle of the latest book (The Trespasser) and I’ve already given my murderer prediction to a friend so we can see if I’m right rather than me retconning to feel like I knew all along.

    And I just finished the Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie, which is just so, so good. It’s good science fiction and I will recommend it to everyone for forever.

    Various manga, old comics, and I just finished reading the trades for Saga, which I am deeply in love with and I can’t wait for the next one to come out. I really miss having a LCS so I could get issues, but I make due.

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    1. Yes, that is what’s going on. Jason Blossom – who I don’t even remember from the comics at all – is dead at the start of the series and figuring out whodunnit is a big part of the plot. Kind of. A big part that is kind of pushed to the side in favor of teen romance drama and only brought up a couple of times an episode so we won’t forget it happened. Almost like..there’s no reason for it to have happened at all. Huh.

      After episodes 2 and 3 I’m on the side of liking Powerless. It has its problems but it’s kind of timely. The incompetence of Tudyk’s character seems kind of familiar and I keep thinking they might have changed from the pilot so much in part to make some sort of weird commentary about entitlement and white male mediocrity (or less) being rewarded with success. I could be totally off base there, but intentional or not that’s what I’m getting out of it. And I do find it funny, at least some of the time.

      I finished Santa Clarita Diet! In one weekend. It has a weird ending but I still like it. I hope we get a second season and don’t have to wait long for it.

      Still haven’t watched Hannibal. I sort of plan to, at some point, because I love other things I’ve seen from Bryan Fuller…But I’ve never seen Silence of the Lambs and have very little interest in the subject matter or any of the actors. So it’s way down the list, after Pushing Daisies at least.

      Retconning to feel like you knew all along. 😀 I may have done that..a lot…It’s an interesting thing about the world of social media and in particular things like Facebook’s memory feature. Sometimes I don’t remember ever feeling differently about something from how I feel now, so I assume I’ve always loved this thing/felt angry about that thing/identified with yet another thing…and then a post pops up where I expressed exactly the opposite a few years ago. So weird. Memory, what can ya do?

      I will look for that series! The sci-fi one. I’ve been adding more recs lately. Will I actually get to them? I dunno. But at the very least I’ve got a backlist in case I’m ever in the mood to start something new and don’t know where to start. I’m thinking if the reading challenges I do this year continue to go well, though, I might replace my “backlist” challenge with a recommendation challenge and read at least one thing that has been recommended to me every month. A “finally get back to friends who want to know what I think of books” challenge.

      Yay Saga! It’s going to be awhile before I read more of that but I’m excited for it.

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      1. LOL

        I also don’t remember him, but I was never a really big Archie reader so that’s not a surprise. I still haven’t watched the show either!

        Powerless amuses me, less for the actual humor than for the in jokes I guess. I’m a fan of getting to go, ‘Hee-hee’ and chortling. Like the latest episode with Random Wayne wanting to be Robin. I think he was pretty painfully and stereotypically incompetent and arrogant from the pilot too, but they do make changes so maybe they amped it up or made him funnier? I remember him being ‘out to get’ her because she’s kept him from failing up, but I don’t think it’s been mentioned since.

        I still haven’t watched the finale of Santa Clarita! I’ve been sick this past week so I’ve just been watching baking shows, nothing that requires thinking of any kind.

        HANNIBAL. *flails a lot* Okay, okay, I’m kind of into serial killers in fiction, so I may have gone into this prejudiced. BUT SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS THIS SHOW. If you can deal with the death and major gaslighting and deeply unhealthy relationships, it’s gorgeous and worth it. The plotting and cinematography alone….*rolls in it*

        Again, I admit to being prejudiced because Hannibal/Will is just…wrong and yet perfect. But the show embraced it anyway. My dark side, let me embrace it.

        Serial killers in love. Gorgeously.

        But anyway, you don’t need to have watched Silence of the Lambs or anything, since the series takes place prior to all that and is definitely AU at this point. Due to…well. Hannibal/Will being an actual real thing that they did in the show, this is not a drill!

        Pushing Daisies is definitely lighter, and a lot of fun.

        Do you like Lee Pace? Have you seen The Fall? Movie, not tv show. It was on Netflix, last time I checked. More gorgeous cinematography and an interesting story exploring reality v fiction and love and the drive to live.

        I find myself doing it all the time, retconning my opinions of things. I’ve gotten better at at least realizing I do it, though. But a while back I did exactly what you’re talking about. When I went through my super serious Catholic phase, I went from, ‘Women can do all the things!’ to, ‘Well, of course women can’t be *priests*’ and I did a lot of footwork to make the people pointing out my sudden change of opinion realize that I had never changed my opinion! LOL Of course they were right, bad Amber! I think it’s part of the wanting to always be right. And if I am currently right, then I must have always been right which means that I always thought this way, and you have no proof otherwise!

        Imperial Radch! Woo! Here, let me…

        Book trailer!!!

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      2. Well, you caught my interest, at least! I did not realize Hannibal/Will was an actual canon thing, so I spent some time reading articles today. Interesting! I’m so torn on that, because I still have really no interest in watching something about a serial killer (let alone apparently two??) but like…representation…non-heteronormative semi-ace relationships…canon autistic character…

        Ugh. Bryan Fuller, not fair. Not fair at all. You couldn’t do this with, like, a nice HAPPY show? Ok then. Maybe I’ll give it a try anyway.

        I have not ever heard of The Fall, at least not that I remember. I’ll look into it.

        That is a good book trailer! Book trailers in general seem so weird to me and most I’ve seen have not been good. But I want to read this. Thank you!

        Also, I can’t decide how “radch” should be pronounced but I’m naturally saying “radish” in my head and that makes it a little silly. Imperial Radish! Lord of the Radish! This also sounds like a fun book, but a totally different genre.

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      3. Okay, okay, so…much as I love Hannibal and all things Hannibal and I want everyone to watch and love it, it also comes with GIANT warnings? So sure, non-het, semi-ace, autistic character, all very good. But serial killers. Cannibal serial killers in love, basically, and it is not a healthy relationship in the least, definitely not, all sorts of arguments can be made to the lack of self determination and willingness and self awareness (in such a literal sense) of Will in the relationship even into the later seasons given the amount of manipulation going on in season 1 but I am there for that in a fictional relationship but it is DEFINITELY not for everyone.

        I mean, I’m on the side of Will owning it and just, well, being almost as equally a terrible person as Hannibal, but um. I’m a terrible person?

        And there’s a lot of murder

        A lot

        So if blood and guts and suffering are not a thing you want to deal with, avoid Hannibal.

        But I could argue that Hannibal has a happy ending. From a certain point of view. 🙂

        The Fall is PRETTY.

        I know, book trailers generally make no sense to me? But this was done by a fan and it’s more and act of love than consumerism which makes a difference, I feel. And there’s a lot to love about the Imperial Radch world, but I want to spoil nothing. 😀

        Breq would approve of this, anything to take the Lord of the Radch down a couple of pegs. I’ve been giggling about this since I saw your reply. Reminds me of Avatar and Toph. Melon Lord!

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      4. Eh, I’ll probably give it a try anyway. Might not finish it but it doesn’t *seem* like there’s anything that’s going to traumatize me.

        My sister and I have had this discussion about our tolerance levels for different types of scary movies/stories. She’s fine with things about human stalkers because they all seem like revenge stories and she knows she’s never gotten that much on someone’s bad side, but she’s scared of ghosts. I’m fine with ghosts because I’ve never met one I didn’t like, but I hate things with normal human killers because the target selection is often so random. Even in revenge stories, it’s never a normal expected reaction. How do you know that guy you accidentally bumped into in the supermarket isn’t going to take it super personally and come after you?

        Hannibal (character) is very much in my nooooooooooo category. It’s not so much about the graphic violence (although I’ll probably look away a lot) as it is the psychology. But I’m interested in the cat and mouse aspect of it, and Will fighting his inner demons. The impression I get of it from reading the articles I’ve dug up in the past day or so have me intrigued. We’ll see how long it takes for the gruesome content to overpower my curiosity.

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