The Mandalorian

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I’ve watched a lot of great sci-fi series lately. Watchmen (which everybody should see), Star Trek: Picard (which was good), The Expanse season 4 (which was pretty good), and Westworld season 3 (which was ok). The Mandalorian, however, was not my favorite.
It’s basically a Western in space, but unlike Firefly which set the gold standard for doing a Western in space, The Mandalorian doesn’t have any compelling characters. The main character (who is nicknamed Mando) is a gruff loner who doesn’t talk much, doesn’t remove his helmet, and doesn’t even have a proper name until the end. So we don’t get much personality from him.

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Westworld Season 3

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As we’ve come to expect from Westworld, season 3 brings us more violence for the sake of violence. It felt like every episode had at least one scene in which a robot slaughters half a dozen humans or so. Sometimes, just to mix things up, the robots kill other robots.

We get it. Robots are really good at killing. Also, in case you didn’t realize how cool murder is, they usually play high-energy music during the mass murder scenes. And of course, all the humans have about as good an aim as your average stormtrooper. Continue reading

True Detective Season 1

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I saw the first season of True Detective recently. I can see why everyone was raving about it. I think it’s undeniable that most of Rust Cohle’s best lines are cribbed from Thomas Ligotti, although at least one was taken from Alan Moore. It was interesting that the villain was into Chamber’s King in Yellow mythos, but I feel like there were a lot of missed opportunities. Rust Cohle has synethesia and sometimes gets acid flashbacks, which could have made this a pretty trippy series, but these aspects of his character don’t really get explored. I did like the scene in which an old man talks about the good old days and his son-in-law says, if the good old days were so perfect, they never would have changed. (I wonder who that line was cribbed from.)

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Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2 by G. Willow Wilson

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In many ways, this is a typical superhero comic with people not guessing the secret identity of the hero even though it should be obvious, the main villain starting out as a friend, gratuitous cameos from other superheroes, and so forth. Also, as a middle-aged man, I don’t exactly fit into the target demographic since it’s about a high-school girl with high-school problems like falling in love for the first time and going through the awkward transition into adulthood. (In fact, her shape-changing superpower makes a great metaphor for the bodily changes teenagers go through.) Continue reading

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote

This is a basic haunted house story, but I really liked it. It starts, like many similar stories, with the main character seeing things other people don’t, so her sanity is questioned and so forth. However, the fact the main character is a Muslim makes the story stand out from other similar stories and it does a great job building tension by having racism and paranoia divide the neighbors of the apartment building from each other. Continue reading

The Witcher

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I didn’t care much for The Witcher. One problem I had with it is how magic works. Magic can basically do anything: teleportation, telekinesis, mind control, illusion, healing, etc. There’s even a genie that can grant wishes. So anything can happen. (At least we didn’t see anyone raised from the dead, but maybe that’s just because they’re saving that for the next season.)

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Deep Space Nine Season 3

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Continuing my Star Trek rewatch, I’ve reached the end of Deep Space Nine season 3. It’s still a bit rocky, which I think is largely due to the awkward transition a lot of TV shows were going through at the time between trying to have each episode stand on its own and also trying to make each episode a piece of a larger overarching plot. Early seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fall into this same category. Continue reading

Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy

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I originally didn’t intend to write a review of Batman: White Knight. The premise is Joker becomes the hero of Gotham, which drives Batman crazy, thus reversing their roles. I felt like it was a nice palette cleanser after reading The Dark Knight Returns (which is inexplicably considered the best comic ever written by many people), but I didn’t have much to say about it other than that. Continue reading

The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

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The Dark Knight Returns was originally published in 1986 and is largely considered one of the best comics ever written. I somehow never got around to reading it until now.

The premise is that Batman decides to retire from crime fighting after the death of the second Robin. However, without Batman, crime in Gotham skyrockets, so he decides to dawn the bat costume once again, despite now being in his 50s. Continue reading