Passive Entertainment

by wjw on May 17, 2013

While I’ve been traveling and working and livin’ large and otherwise engaged, my DVR has been recording hours and hours of stuff.  Is it worth watching?  You tell me.

I have a good many episodes of Defiance stored up.  I’ve watched the first half of the pilot, in which high production values were matched with an utter lack of originality.  Generic post-holocaust future, generic aliens with generic Star Trek forehead bumps, and a great deal ripped off from Alien Nation, assuming of course that Rockne S. O’Bannon can rip off himself.  Does it get any better?

My DVR has also been recording Vikings.  Are the wholly fictionalized adventures of Ragnar Hairypants worth a look?

Ditto Ripper Street.

And while I’m asking, should I break my longstanding tradition of avoiding films with “3” in the title and see the new Iron Man?  Because the precedents set by other superhero films hat were third in the series are not encouraging.

Y’all let me know.

Eric May 17, 2013 at 6:19 am

The reviews are correct: Iron Man 3 is a fitting capper for the trilogy and a hell of a lot of fun. Far more humorous than the trailers would suggest and just extreme quality all around. As someone put it: much more of a Toy Story 3 than an X-men 3.

I’ve also been liking Defiance, though I can certainly see the derivative nature. The first few episodes are definitely…exploratory: marking out territory in terms of worldbuilding or character that can be used for future plots.

Matt May 17, 2013 at 6:31 am

I saw Iron Man 3. It’s sad that Gwenyth Paltrow’s mother was much hotter at that age. And even sadder that I remember her at that age.

gar logan May 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

Defiance is not worth the time. It looks good and the actors do a reasonably good job but it’s very poorly written. There’s no subtlety. There are no surprises. The shelves are fully stocked with cliches.
Vikings is better. With exacting historical accuracy to rival a Kevin Costner movie.

TJIC May 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

I saw Iron Man 3 and liked it. A-.

Better than #2, I’d say.

Urban May 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Iron Man 1 was quite good. Iron Man 2 I hardly remember what it was about even though I saw it on DVD a couple of months ago.

Iron Man 3: Wow! If you liked 1 go see 3.
Very good acting and/or direction, the trailers certainly did not show the coolest parts or give away anything.
As science fiction there are three critical things that are nowhere realistic in our world.
This short review is what made me go see it:

IronOre May 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I’ve watched the first two episodes of Defiance. The second episode was better than the pilot. I have also seen reviews on io9 that the following episodes continue to improve. As Rockne O’Bannon did Farscape, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Michael Grosberg May 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I saw IM3 and liked it a lot. I only saw the first one on cable and haven’t seen the second. I simply enjoyed it as an entertaining action-comedy, and entertaining is the key word: It was co-written and directed by the writer of Lethal weapon, Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodbye and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Lots and lots of comic relief, a mostly disposable plot, a scene-stealing Ben Kingsley, an “adorable kid” sidekick that amazingly IS adorable and not cringe inducing, and just the right ratio of action to dialog. Oh, and see it in 2D, the 3D is worse than useless.

As for Defiance, it’s a space western. Bonanza with laser pistols. Could have been nice in the right hands, I guess.

Pat Mathews May 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Well, I liked Iron Man 3. As comic-book-based movies go, it was quite good. I saw it with my daughter’s family, and my son-in-law said it was better than Iron Man 1. And that he didn’t really remember Iron Man 2 that much. So, for what it’s worth, if you’re a fan of the genre, I’d say, go for it.

Camille Flynn May 18, 2013 at 1:57 am

Vikings, no
Ripper Street, probably, if you’re into that era of US History, definitely
Iron Man 3, oh hell yeah

Mastadge May 18, 2013 at 3:50 am

Iron Man 3 was possibly the weakest of the Marvel/Avengers franchise to date, though I’m in the minority who preferred each of the individual character movies to The Avengers so take that as you will.

I watched the first 3 episodes or so of Defiance and it is as you say: extremely generic. Unless someone tells me it improves considerably as it goes on, I won’t be returning to it. Looking forward to sampling both Vikings and Ripper Street but have heard both good and bad about both of them.

Clyde May 19, 2013 at 3:29 am

Defiance: I am waiting, as I don’t want to invest myself in a show only to have it canceled. I will start watching it if it exhibits that it has some legs.
Vikings: I have watched five episodes. It is slickly produced and has pretty good acting. But, I donno. I want to like Vikings, but I just cannot get very excited by it. Perhaps that is because some modern attitudes and gratuitous PC stuff sneaks in.
Iron Man 3: Will watch soon.

TC/Writer Underground May 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I really wanted to like Defiance (hey, I’ve been up in that Arch thingee), but the stories seemed pretty pedestrian. I killed the “Record All” setting on the DVR just this week.

I have a four year-old and a two year-old, and the things they do are far more shocking than anything a Defiance alien has done.

Bruce Arthurs May 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

I enjoyed Ripper Street a lot.

Watched the first few episodes of Defiance, haven’t felt any imperative to watch additional episodes.

As I noted on my own blog, the recent David E. Kelley show Monday Mornings was one I liked a whole lot. Cancelled after its initial 6-epsiode order, but imho worth catching if it becomes available on CD or Netflix.

Chris Mills May 21, 2013 at 8:49 am

Iron Man 3 is worth a watch. In 3D!

Dave L May 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Ripper Street was great, and the BBC have signed a second series. One of those programmes that makes me happy to pay the license fee. If you like Victorian Noir, look out for “the Suspicions of Mr Whicher” and “The Crimson Petal and the White”.

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