Friday, December 03, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Squid Game:
This show had an intriguing premise but poor execution. The conceit of desperate people willing to do things and the divide between super-rich and poor has been done before, and the importance of these themes faded into the background after just a couple episodes (3% did it all better). Squid Game might have been more successful as a tight miniseries with 4 or 5 episodes -- by the penultimate episode, I was watching at 1.25x speed to skip through the lingering camera shots that mistook "wasting time" for "building tension". Character development is pretty muddled although there are a few nice moments throughout. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

Best of Standup 2020:
This special allowed us to skip the often-draggy bits of hour-long standup specials and enjoy the best parts. There are a few great laughs to be found (we plan on watching the Michael McIntyre special as a result) but most of the jokes are just chuckles. This is great, though, because by the time we realized a comedian wasn't amazing, the special had already moved on. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Arcane:
This fantasy show based on the lore of a computer game (League of Legends) took me by surprise. I've never played the game and rarely like serious animated shows but this show stands strongly on its own. The style is moody and well-animated, and the plot is pushed forward by characters doing what they think is best, rather than contrived situations. You don't need to know anything about the associated game going in -- even Rebecca liked this. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A

Arcane League of Legends (Soundtrack from the Animated Series):
(This refers to the album containing original songs by contributing artists, not the three similarly-named albums with the original score). The music for Arcane includes songs written just for this show by artists as varied as Imagine Dragons and Fantastic Negrito. Each is a pretty catchy listen and worth the purchase of the 30 minute album. (The original score, spread across three albums, is also good, but not as worthwhile without the visuals to accompany it).

Final Grade: B+

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