Netflix Originals, from what I’ve seen, are almost uniformly mediocre. Full disclosure: I have definitely watched far fewer of these things than you (“you” is almost everyone alive right now, I think) and have given up on most after one or two episodes, but the same below-average stink rises from everything I’ve seen and, in discussing Netflix series with those who have watched a good lot of them, I find, even though folks willingly binge these things all the way through, once finished they commonly assess them as no more than “fine” or “not bad” (that is when they’re not claiming they’re the best things ever made–for like a week).
In other words, I’m basing the following on very little and,
as I don’t REALLY want to make this an extensive takedown of Netflix because
that would take a lot of work and force me to watch a lot more of their shows,
I’m going to just shit an opinion half-assedly out into the web, much like
Netflix does with their Originals.
The following is an essay I wrote for one of the modules for my English Literature MA. I sort of always wanted to put this essay online for the heck of it, but my MA was nearly ten years ago and I don’t know that I feel too confident about such ancient writing, so just as a bit of preface:
1. I haphazardly threw myself into an English MA not really knowing what the heck I was doing.
2. I got a bad grade on the essay! I still passed though.
3. I did this degree in England so the grammar and spelling is all Britishized. Yuck!
4. This was meant to be cultural criticism so I tried to make it work for the assignment, but I just wanted to do character analysis, which you can sort of tell, I think.
5. I didn’t know how to use parentheses back then. You’ll see.
6. Footnotes have just been plopped under the paragraph to which they pertain. Some of them do help bolster the argument and are probably worth reading.
7. The little blue footnote links do not do ANYTHING when you click on ’em! Enjoy!
8. Rats off to ya!
The more recent news with Tim Schafer and the rest of the folks at Double Fine is a Full Throttle remaster and the Psychonauts sequel they’ve crowdfunded. While these are both very awesome things, let’s not let that overshadow the truly important, groundbreaking, earthshaking game that Double Fine released last year: Day of the Tentacle.
Okay, so it’s just a remaster of one of Schafer (and Dave Grossman)’s older Lucasarts titles so maybe it already finished up all its earthshaking when it was originally released in 1993. But perhaps you made a huge mistake and missed the game back then. Heck, some of you might not have even been alive for the original release, which is kind of a valid excuse, I guess.
But even if you did play it back then, this is an adventure game well worth revisiting because it’s one of the only well-designed adventure games in existence. With the sharp increase in fans-turned-indie-developers as well as the popularity of Telltale’s episodic titles, the adventure game genre has experienced a recent resurgence. It’s too bad so many of the games are poorly designed.
This is something I wrote on Tumblr back in 2014 about how depressing I find the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It was largely just a long-winded way for me to link to past videos I’d made about E3, but I also think it’s some of my better, sadder writing and I tend to share it on Twitter and Tumblr every year because I still feel the same about all of it. I just now decided it might as well go here, too. Enjoy!
I guess E3 2014 is next week, huh? You may not know this about me, but once, approximately 48 years ago, I made videos about video games. In theory, I might even do it again one day! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I went to E3 last year. I had a horrible time. I’ve been to E3 three times now and have found each time less enjoyable than the previous. The first time I went in 2002 was because I could and it was supposed to be lots of fun and it’s like the Mecca of Gaming or whatever, yeah? I was rather young, with my head certainly not full of wonder, but at least there was still a great deal of ignorance in there, so it seemed like a good idea, like a thing I’d theoretically enjoy, being a gamer and all that.
Probably not enough people know this but Jon Glaser is one of the funniest comedians going. I’m guessing most people who aren’t me will know him as Councilman Jeremy Jamm from Parks and Recreation (I didn’t watch it) but he does lots of great stuff besides. For one thing, he’s Laird, the best non-main recurring character on Girls. Also, he and H. Jon Benjamin did one of the most tedious yet brilliant stand-up bits ever.
However, Glaser’s best work has been with PFFR, the art collective/production company of weirdos responsible for cult classic Wonder Showzen and some of the more divisive, but in frank actuality, best programs on Adult Swim, Xavier: Renegade Angel and The Heart, She Holler, the latter of which featured Glaser as a guy who had his hands replaced with two cans of beer. PFFR then produced Glaser’s Delocated about a douchebag in the witness protection program. It was also really great and is absolutely worth checking out if you missed it.
Now PFFR’s producing another Glaser production, the miniseries Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, the genesis of which was apparently some nonsense, imaginary show Glaser invented on the spot during an interview with Jimmy Fallon two years back. Because Adult Swim is nothing if not a network that champions nonsense, this is now a real thing about, well, a werewolf hunter hunting werewolves in a small town known for its abundance of B&Bs. It stars Glaser as the titular character, as well as Scott Adsit (30 Rock and The Heart, She Holler), Delocated alumnus Steve Cirbus, and, oddly enough, Stephanie March, who nobody knows from anything except Law & Order: SVU.
The original British version of The Office is such a beautiful, sad, funny, dramatic, cringey, redemptive work of art. It is compact, but tells a complete story that is tragic because it has to be because life in that sort of workplace–a company that produces and sells paper goods–would be tragic. And it is tragic in such mundane ways that are so well-observed. It is so much better than the American version because it feels far more real and relatable and it doesn’t go on for 346 seasons or whatever.