Finally Friday (06.15.18)

This week, I (Dave) am the lone contributor. Mainly because I didn’t ask anyone else. 😀

READING

Titans (DC Comics)

I started my journey into DC Comics a couple months ago by reading The Flash, beginning with the New 52 run and continuing through the most recent issues. When Wally West showed back up after (unbeknownst to me) being missing for quite some time, I got curious about who he was. David Hunt recommended that I pick up Titans, since he’s a key character. I’m really enjoying this series. The dynamic of the group keeps you on your toes. It also makes me want to look into other books with these characters. It’s getting me excited for the upcoming Titans series on DC Universe. (Rated 8/10)

WATCHING

Ugly Delicious (Netflix)

Food, man! I freaking love food to a fault! Ugly Delicious is quickly becoming a favorite in the food/travel documentary genre. In this series, David Chang – an award-winning chef – explores a variety of cultures and cuisines without the hoity-toity air. In the first episode he tackles what pizza really is. Is Neopolitan the only real pizza out there? As a chef, are you allowed to even like Domino’s? After that, he tackles barbecue and creates an American/Korean dish that makes my mouth water as I’m typing. There’s strong language, so if you’re not familiar with the way Chef Chang interacts with food, that’s your warning. If you love food, though… mmm… you need to be watching this. (Rated 9/10)

LISTENING

Reply All (Gimlet)

Generally I avoid podcasts created by media companies. I like supporting the little guy (GEEK THIS is one of them), but Reply All caught my attention due to it’s use of storytelling, research, and how it dives into the humanity behind everything. It’s also just a fun listen back and forth to work. The relationship between hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman feels like one developed over a good amount of time and not thrown together solely for the sake of the show. They have a segment called “Yes Yes No” where Gimlet co-founder Alex Blumberg (the guy who Zach Braff kind of played on Alex, Inc) asks Alex Goldman and PJ about something he saw on the internet, usually from Twitter, and they make him understand.


Want to contribute to Finally Friday? Fill out the contact form below and I’ll get in touch with you about guest-writing for an upcoming week.

The Toys That Made Us – 096

GEEK THIS! is back from a short hiatus! The Toys That Made us could easily be marketed solely to collectors, but for me, there was a little bit of nostalgia, even with the good amount of toys that I never played with. I’m a fan of history, documentaries, and pop culture, so the series hit on multiple cylinders. Continue reading “The Toys That Made Us – 096”

Why I Stopped Binging

I am unabashedly a proponent of cord-cutting. Even the idea of paying an ungodly amount for cable channels makes me a little nauseous. That said, I’m glad to have my subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. There’s plenty to choose from and I always feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. The only problem that seems to plague those of us who call ourselves “cord cutters” is the abundance of shows and movies being released every week, whether we know it or not.

This has led to the cultural phenomenon of “binge-watching”. If I’m not mistaken, this term was popularized by Netflix, going as far back as their DVD mailing service. Nowadays, binge-watching is a regular household activity. I’m sure you do it, too! I do… well, I did.

When season two of Stranger Things dropped on Netflix at the end of October, I was as excited as it seems the rest of the world was. The problem for me, though, was that my wife hadn’t watched season one. It isn’t really a rule that I can’t watch things without her, but I had an inkling that this may be a should that she would really enjoy. We had to go back and watch the first season.

We decided not to binge the entire series over the weekend, but instead watch one or two episodes each day until we had finished the whole thing. This led to an interesting experience on my part: I could actually keep track of what was going on with the show! (Amazing, right?)

As reviews came in from friends and family, I kept hearing about one episode that they “could have done without”. When we got to that episode and it was finished, my wife and I looked at each other and asked, “What was so bad about that?” Sure, it wasn’t a typical episode for Stranger Things, but it was important in the development of Eleven’s character. It was also a good set up for things I’m sure are coming in season three.

What I realized after this was that not only was I able to understand what was going on better, I was able to get the experience that the creators – be it show runners, directors, writers, etc – had planned from the beginning. There are nuances about characters and story points you’re going to miss out on and appreciate less if you’re just trying to get to the end. This is another reason why I’m working harder to put down my phone or iPad when I’m watching something and why I think movie theaters are great places for those of us trying to soak in a film.

I’ve taken this mindset into watching Hannibal, a TV series that was on NBC for three seasons. Every episode is on Amazon right now, but I’m only watching one or two episodes in a sitting. There’s a lot to digest in them (pun intended). If I were to binge them, I’m missing out on small pieces of character and story development that would lose me a season and a half in. Even watching them in small doses, I still find myself having to think back to previous episodes and finding that… um… connective tissue.

What do you think about this idea of not binge-watching? If you enjoy binging the latest season of a show, what do you find appealing? Let me know in the comments.

Connect

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Death Note: Adaptation – 068

Surprise! Another bonus episode! This time, Dave digs into anime via the new Netflix film, Death Note, which is an adaption of a well-received anime and manga of the same name. He also shares how his opinion changed after watching the first couple episodes of the anime.

This episode was sponsored by Geek Fuel! Get 25% off your first box.

I split this episode into two sections: “Before the Anime” and “After the Anime”. I wanted my opinion of the film adaptation to be as unbiased as possible, but I also wanted to share how watching some of the television show added to my opinion.

Before the Anime

Light Turner – a high school student – comes across a mysterious notebook that gives him the ability to kill anyone whose name he writes. He turns into a hidden vigilante known as “Kira”, taking down criminals one after another while a god of death named Ryuk watches him. Eventually an enigmatic detective known only by the name “L” shows up and makes it his mission to take down Kira (Light) who is now considered a mass murderer

Expectations

I had high hopes for what it could be. I didn’t know anything about the manga or anime it was based on, but the premise was extremely interesting. When a film poses the question, “What would you do with this power”, it’s hard to resist checking it out.

Reaction

I enjoyed the first half of the movie. It kept me intrigued, trying to figure out where the story would go next. The longer the movie went, the more it fell apart. There were too many unanswered questions about the overall plot, as well as some details about the characters. In the end, I didn’t really care about any of the characters except for Ryuk. He was mysterious and Willem Dafoe’s voice-over just seemed to fit him perfectly.

After the Anime

First of all, so many of the details from the anime (which I’ve only watched two episodes of so far) are left out. For starters, I’m upset that the film was (insert overused phrase) white-washed. They inexplicably moved the setting from Japan to Seattle. I understand the need to get people interested and set it in a more familiar place, but I feel like they’re alienating the audience that loved the source material.

They started the movie off with an extremely gory scene. The anime (as far as I’ve seen) hasn’t done that. I understand that they have to convey the power of the Death Note in a very short time span, but they way they did it was graphic and totally un-needed. The anime explicitly states that names written without a specific death will die of a heart attack. Why couldn’t we do that?

As I mentioned before, I enjoyed the setup for the movie. If that tone and energy had gone through the movie, I would have been much happier. Things start to fall apart when Light decides to hook up with Mia, a romance that it seems like the director/writers through in just for giggles. It doesn’t drive the story, it just makes it all the more confusing to follow in the end.

Light himself isn’t likeable, even from the start. You can almost see that the power the Death Note has will go to his head. This is different from the anime, because he honestly feels that he is doing good in the world until L comes and challenges him, then you see the morality of the character start to change. The Americanized version of Light comes off as a moody teenager, not some smart kid who happened upon a powerful book. He’s just a brat.

The ending of the movie has a bad case of sequel-itis. I cannot stand this, even if I know there is going to be a sequel, I want a full movie. Don’t just leave something unanswered until the next time we visit the world you’ve created!

Final Thoughts

I’m glad that I decided to watch the movie on Netflix, but I’m sad that I’m just now finding out about the anime. I’ve never been into anime and Death Note has me hooked – despite it all being in Japanese with English subtitles. It’s opening my eyes to better storytelling, outside of the media I would consider my norm. I’ll definitely finish the anime. Will I watch the sequel to the movie? Probably, just because I’m a mild completionist.

If you’ve watch the movie or the anime or even delved into the manga, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Death Note.

Episode Artwork by CrazyDiamond