Webseries Review: A Tell Tale Vlog

I was contacted a while ago (::coughlasthalloweencough::), by Yulin Kuang to view the YouTube channel Shipwrecked Comedy. Created by Yulin Kuang, Sinead Persaud, & Sean Persaud, Shipwrecked is a sketch comedy channel that is “[h]ere to fulfill all your historical literary comedy webseries needs.” One of the series on Shipwrecked is, A Tell Tale Vlog, the vlog of Edgar Allan Poe with commentary by Lenore, the beleaguered spirit.

Summary:

 “You’re not the only ghost in town.” Edgar Allan Poe attempts to record a writing vlog while the lady ghost Lenore haunts his study.

A new mini-webseries by Shipwrecked, loosely adapted from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.

Each of the 8 episodes of A Tell Tale Vlog is about two minutes long and follows the awkward ramblings of Poe, played by Sean, and his “Poe-em,” The Raven. Poe’s fake mustache is to die for. If you need a little giggle, watch the first episode below and check it out! Lenore, played by Sinead, pops up several times per episode with her own sighings about life as a ghost. My favorite lines from her are “Such a ghost whore,” and “Next time you see me, I might not be here.”

This channel is full of comedy gold. I laughed every episode, some of them several times. I enjoyed how the series uses technology to add to the story rather than interfere with it. Poe’s written pleas that pop up on his videos are quite amusing and I thought a genius way to give him dialogue without making the sketches longer. For example, as he is signing off of one episode more of his thoughts pop up on the screen, “Lend me your thoughts on my new poem ‘The Raven’ in the comments below.” A beat and then, “If you don’t like it, I can write you another.”

This is one of the best webseries I’ve seen in a while, and each sketch well written. The acting is excellent, the sound engineering great, and the wit of the writers will make you laugh.

Webseries Review: The Court Supreme

I was contacted by, Arik Sternberg, the writer and produce of The Court Supreme who thought I might be interested in viewing it and sharing it with you all. I was not compensated for this review. He told me:

 It’s a surreal legal comedy about the highest Court of Law in the Universe, where pop-culture characters and comic book stereotypes are put on trial.

Pilot Episode: Blood-Knight vs The Blade of Doom

Summary from The Court Supreme

When a BLOOD-KNIGHT from the proud Berserker clan wants to start a new life and leave all the blood and gore behind, he finds out that the cursed blade that served him dutifully during his many battles, is not willing to let him go so easily, especially not when she finds out that she is going to be replaced by a woman.

 

Left with no other choice, the BLOOD-KNIGHT calls upon the eternal justice of THE COURT SUPREME to release him from his Curse and/or Contract.

While obviously a pilot webisode, there are a few excellent moments in the Blood-Knight vs The Blade of Doom. The concept of stereotypical comic book characters on trial or in front of a judge was quite intriguing to me. I like watching people verbally spar, and enjoy doing it myself, to the chagrin of my friends. There is no actual fighting, but I was prepared for it, and since I went in with only an expectation of verbal debate, wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the website explains the webseries is for a specific audience.

So if you read too many books, love language and its rhetorical pitfalls, are fascinated by legal maneuvers, enjoy cultural stereotypes & archetypes, and don’t mind getting into a good argument from time to time – then this web series is for you. 

I liked the question of standing and mootness, though not called by those in the webisode. Basically the lawyers argue whether the Berserker can even bring a case if there is no one to bring the case against. Once that is hammered out, the next question is what is the cause of action, and here the episode took a twist that actually surprised me, The Blood Knight wishes to divorce his Lady Blade of Doom, because he cannot claim it is a defective product, rather that his his contract with the blade is more akin to an accidental marriage. I admit this tickled my fancy and I chuckled a time or two. 

But, I do have a few objections. I have some legal objections, claiming to be a court of equality the judge wants to split everything in half, whereas, here in the states many courts look more at an equitable division in divorces or under the public policy of what is just and right for any particular divorce. This is because the courts have figured out that often one spouse will stay home and not make a lot of money while supporting the other person, loosing job and business opportunities and so an equitably division is often more favorable than an equal fifty/fifty split. But perhaps I dig too deep legally in a comic book setting and perhaps the courts in Canada, where this series is based, have a different public policy around divorce which fed into this universes policies around divorce.

Also, I would have had several objections to lines of questioning in terms of relevance, but there were no objections entered into between the two arguers. I found that surprising, but perhaps this court does not allow objections or such objections are entered into later in the series. 

My other major objection is the sound quality. Understandably, a self financed and produced series isn’t going to have access to amazing sets or cinematography, but using what appears to be a big theater was perhaps not the best choice for picking up sound without echoing. Because the whole episode is just people talking, the quality of sound was a tad of an issue. Not horrible, but not the greatest. 

I did like the ending and the sentencing was not what I expected, and that was a pleasant surprise. The acting was decent and believable as people who like to argue some rather strange cases. The episodes do run a tad longer than some webseries, the first episode was over 15 minutes long. I liked that there was depth to the arguing, but it could have been tightened up a bit as well. 

 I enjoyed the first episode enough to start the second and may see myself finishing the other three as well. This series is exactly what it advertises, interesting rhetoric about comic book stereotypical characters and the problems they face, in the court room.

Television Review: Bitten

After catching up on some of my Netflix series I decided to check out Bitten as it keeps popping up on Netflix as something I might like. But Netflix can be wrong and so I was a bit wary when I started the series. I’ve watched three episodes, my usual requirement to adequately determine if I do or do not like a show (versus whether or not I like the pilot). My initial reaction, as brought on by the very first scene and many thereafter is: That’s a lotta nekked. And the boys are not afraid to show their butts. (Their very nice nekked butts.)

bitten-castWhile not as gory as True Blood’s vampire and werewolf series, nor as sexually explicit, Bitten definitely dances on the edges of overly sexualized characters as substitute for plot. However, as the series progresses and the characters become a bit more fleshed out (or clothed out?) it gets more and more interesting. 

SyFy’s Summary

Based on the Women of the Otherworld novels by #1 NY Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, Bitten is an emotionally charged supernatural thriller starring Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Ted) as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence. Desperate to escape both a world she never wanted to be part of and the man who turned her into a werewolf, Elena has abandoned her pack and taken refuge in a new city. There, she works as a photographer and hides her werewolf existence from her new boyfriend. When bodies start turning up in her pack’s backyard, Elena finds herself back at Stonehaven, the werewolves’ ancestral domain. Torn between two worlds and two loves, she quickly realizes that – when push comes to shove – she’ll stop at nothing to defend her pack.

Laura Vandervoot plays her character smart and grounded, and she is what saves this show from being overly campy. Thought I admit to laughing at the show on a number of times in the pilot especially. I really like Elena’s relationship with her boyfriend Phillips. They seem to trust and take of one another on a day to day capacity that isn’t just about danger saving, and Phillip genuinely cares about her for her whole well being not just her sexy side. I hope they last, but I’ve a feeling it might not. Especially with Elena’s incredibly sexy (and hairy) ex-boyfriend back in the picture. 

The human’s change into wolf is painful for them, and painful for the viewer to watch. The graphics are just not that great. All of the wolves are glaringly CGI. But when there is no CGI to mess it up, the cinematography is excellent, with the use of light and shadows to aid in the story telling. The mythology is a bit vague and not as well narrated as it could have been done. Also, I like all the different characters and how the “cousins” interact with one another. Just like any dysfunctional family.

But I do like seeing a female lead in a werewolf show and I’m willing to continue to give the show a chance. Seeing as there are now two seasons, other people must have agreed with my assessment. I definitely see potential for the cast to grow and for the story about the “Mutt” to unfold over the series. It also makes me want to see if I can find the books, usually characters are better developed on the pages of a book, though not always. Poignant at times, a little cheesy in others, Bitten is a decent supernatural series with potential for stronger plot and deeper character development. 

Also, nice butts on both genders. 

Read another review here

Audio Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Unabridged)

I recently read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams in audiobook form narrated by Stephen Fry. The audiobook is 5 hours and 51 minutes long and I listened to it via Audible. 

hitchhiker's guide

Summary via Audible

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”) and a galaxy full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

For some reason I thought I had read this book some years ago before the movie came out, but as I listened to the story unfold, the mysteries of the universe weave themselves in circles and found out why bringing a towel along on a hitchhiking adventure is a good idea, I realized I remembered nothing. Either I never read the book, or it was so long ago that I completely forgotten it, or memorizing Bar Exam information and pushed it out of my brain. 

What I loved about this book was that all the random pieces of information meant something. It all came together beautifully, and as things fell into place and little universal wonderings revealed, I came to understand why this book is such a cult classic piece of geek history. Arthur Dent is the perfect eyes through which to view the unexpected. His character is so rather bland that the rest of the crew are unusual and beautiful spinning planets around him as center. And I loved the author’s explanation for why pens disappear, it really all makes sense now. 

Stephen Fry did an amazing job as narrator. He was excellent at creating different voices, accents, and cadences to give depth to the characters. It was easy to tell the characters apart by the voices he created even before the narration indicated who was speaking. A couple of his voices sounded similar, but for the most part they were easy to tell apart. 

I also found myself lulled asleep on occasion by the soothing familiarity of a well written story. On nights when I couldn’t get to sleep because I dreaded getting up the next day just to work and study some more, I would play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and fall asleep smiling at some of the more ridiculous parts of the story. This meant going back in the morning and finding the part where I fell asleep (and honestly the only thing I hate about audiobooks is that this is not easy to do), but it was worth it. 

If you haven’t picked up this classic book or have thought about re-reading it, I recommend letting Stephen Fry tell you the tale in this audiobook version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Whedon: The Biography – It’s a Thing

A journalist and friend of Whedon’s has written his biography. While I generally prefer autobiographies, for being slightly more intimate, and humorous ones at that, I will admit I’m intrigued. I’ve been a fan of Whedon’s work for a while, though not always in agreement with everything he does. Everyone has flaws, even our heroes.

A biography about the man should be interesting, perhaps a view into how his mind works and what his close friends think about him. Hopefully it’s as funny as the scripts he writes. Check out the forward by Nathan Fillion:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/popcandy/2014/08/01/joss-whedon-nathan-fillion/13454323/

Bar Exam Break 3: A Monster in the Room

While I study, I doodle on a scrap piece of paper. Usually this is while ruminating on a piece of information and hoping it sinks in upon rumination. For example, The Blockburger Test. A test for determining a lesser included nature of different offenses which relate to an implied acquittal of a charged crime and whether or not Double Jeopardy has attached. Yah, that test.

My doodles are usually full of flowers, blocks of shapes, and occasionally a psychopathic looking cat. Would you believe the cat came out of the doodle of two swirls hooked together by a V?

Doodles

 

Then I decided to draw a present for myself, for being such a studious person. A present to myself, that became a monster. Because this is what studying for the bar looks like: a present monster.

A Present Monster