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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