Streaming service Netflix in August 2018 provided lots of fantasy and weirdness.
The New Legends of Monkey (Season 1) [7/10]
A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 1, Episodes 5-8) [5/10]
A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 2) [5/10]
The New Legends of Monkey is an adaptation of the epic Chinese novel Journey to the West, and even if I’d only had some knowledge because of the rather excellent Enslaved: Odyssey to the West action-adventure game for the Xbox 360 (or I now have with the recently covered the re-release of arcade shooter Monkey King: Master of the Clouds), I can’t say that my expectations weren’t particularly high. The reason why I gave it a go was probably because it was just 10 episodes with 30 minutes runtime each, and that is always a plus when watching TV shows. I was pleasantly surprised, as it’s refreshing to see a hero like the Monkey King robbed of his powers and trying to maintain his condescending tone towards others, even if he isn’t the superhero he thinks he is and more often than not acts in stupid ways, making for some pretty funny scenes. The action is satisfying, the characters likable, and the special effects aren’t too shabby, even if some of the make-up and costumes look a bit too cosplay for my taste. While there isn’t a particularly exciting plot to speak of, at least none of the episodes drag on. It’s certainly a show I’d like to see continued, as it always felt more like a prelude to something much bigger.
It seems like ages since I watched the first four episodes of A Series of Unfortunate Events‘ Season 1 (actually featured in the Neflix watchlist: April to May 2017 article), but as I wanted to see if the series would be just as faithful to the books (of which I barely remembered anything), I tried to get into it again. Now I don’t know what it is about the series, but after having been impressed with the high production values, especially the backgrounds and special effects, the whole cinematography, there was something that bothered me throughout the remaining episodes, and that’s Neil Patrick Harris. Sure, he’s the perfect fit for such an eccentric character like Count Olaf who puts on all sorts of disguises to fool the Baudelaire orphans. But the overacting was too much at times, and it didn’t help that the rest of the cast followed his example. Of course the whole scenarios and storylines are weird, but the way how forced all the puns and slapstick scenes as well as dialogues were presented left me strangely annoyed.
The second season obviously continues the weirdness and also adds a bit more horror, as four episodes take place in a strange hospital or an even stranger carnival. Again it felt like a freak show in which Harris’ overacting and especially annoying singing fit right in. But despite a few fun one-liners and surreal sequences, I rarely felt entertained in the way reading the books made me feel. I’ll probably watch the concluding season when it’s out, but this is one of the few shows I have a really hard time adjusting to, which is even weirder, because I’m usually all up for twisted stuff.
So again no movies last month (except for preparing with physical BD copies for an upcoming Halloween special), but short TV shows that were something of a mixed bag.
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