13 April 2008

The Office (UK)

Okay. I'm obviously not British and therefore do not understand a lot of this show. That might be why I think it pales in comparison to the US copy. It also could be because the US version had a good base to go off of and expanded to create a much better show. Anyway, this wasn't bad, and I understand why it was popular.

However. Far and wide I keep hearing people say that the US version is a mediocre imitation of greatness. That's bollocks. Steve Carell's character kicks Gervais' ass. I consistently laughed at his antics while Gervais only got a smile here and there and maybe one or two laughs out of the 12 episodes.

The main difference between the two shows is that the original is a lot more depressing. I suppose some people might see this as a good thing; but this is comedy. Comedy is supposed to make you feel good, at least the way I see it. Sure, a trademark of both versions is the cringe humor, but at least the US version usually ended each episode on a positive note.

I suppose one of the underlying reasons I didn't like it as much could be that the receptionist character (Dawn) has an ugly mug. Call me a chauvinist, because I am. I think Jenna Fischer is a babe.

I think the best part of the whole show was the end where the boss got fired. He deserved it. However, it wasn't funny.

UPDATE: I just watched the Christmas special that I had forgotten to watch before. It was probably the best part of the show. There was some good humor and it ended happy.

11 April 2008

Avsky - Malignant

I normally only review stuff that has made at least a marginal impression on me, and this only kind-of has. However, it's the first black metal album that I've actually bought so I figure I might as well write about it.

It was really quite an impulse buy. I saw an article on Blabbermouth about a track that was released from this album before the album release and checked it out. I think it was the first track. I thought it was pretty good, and I felt like buying something I guess.

So it arrived yesterday, and I've listened through it a few times now. There isn't really that much special about it. It's definitely not bad, although the vocals try to emulate the lo-fi black metal style of yore that I don't really like much at all. The instrumentation is pretty solid. At times the beat reminds me of (possibly) my favorite BM album ever, Manifest by Semargl. A sort of machine-like crushing power.

I don't listen to that much BM. My favorites of the genre are the previously mentioned Semargl, along with Emperor, Anaal Nathrakh, Immortal, Deathspell Omega, and maybe Gorgoroth. Ulver used to be BM but I don't like their output from that period, as it was in the lo-fi style. Much too grating.

This album has a slightly grating quality, but not enough to make me ignore it. The lyrics are pretty nasty, as is expected with "tr00" BM. Not needlessly gory or anything like death metal but more of a savage hatred toward inferiority, in line with what I know about Satanism, which isn't much. Lyrics are only given for two of the eight tracks though (unlike Anaal Nathrakh who don't release any of their lyrics).

I think I could grow to enjoy this, but there really isn't that much going on to go crazy about.

07 April 2008

The Office (US)

Pretty much everyone I know has seen this show. I've been meaning to check it out for quite a while. So, after seeing a few mentions of it on a forum, I finally nabbed season 1. From the first episode I've been hooked.

It's a comedy, and a very ridiculous one. Steve Carell, who I have known best for his role as Brick in Anchorman, plays an office manager with pretty much every quirk in the book. His main schtick is that he's an aspiring comedian (a very bad one). Sometimes his antics are almost too much for me; they make me feel awkward. It's not the kind of comedy I usually like. However, the characters in this show are just too lovable, and more often than not the jokes have me reeling.

So, after finishing the first season (which was basically a pilot, only 6 22 minute episodes), I am eager to keep watching.

UPDATE: So I've seen it all now. I even finished watching all the pre-strike episodes about 15 minutes before the new one aired today. I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable shows I've ever seen. I have seen better for sure, but there are elements of this show that just pull you in so tightly that it's completely impossible to drag yourself away from it.

I'll be moving on to the original UK version as soon as I can. From what I've heard, it's supposed to be better than the U.S. one, but that might just be the same old "it came first, I'm better than you" attitude. I do not doubt that it will be excellent though.

02 April 2008

Battlestar Galactica (2004 series)

I've only seen a short segment of one episode of the original series, so I can't speak for that, but this new show is damn great.

Of course, I can't really call it "new" as it's been around for about 4 years now. I guess this blog is living up to its name.

Anyway, I just finished every episode/miniseries/movie that has been put out for this reimaginging so far (except the webisodes), with BSG: Razor being the last bit. Almost every moment of it all was excellent. However, there were a few episodes of filler that I could have done without; but hey, I'm not complaining. It's a great show.

I actually saw the first few episodes a few years ago; it might actually have been 2004. I just remembered having seen them before when I started watching a few weeks ago. Back then I didn't think it was that great. This was probably because I hadn't seen the miniseries from 2003 beforehand and was confused. The miniseries sets up the story for the whole thing and the show starts up pretty much right after the miniseries stops; not really the greatest move, but it seems to have worked anyway, as this is one of the most popular sci-fi shows around.

The great thing about it is the realism. The cheese level is extremely low, unlike the Stargate and Star Trek shows. The CGI is top notch and the camera work hearkens back to the hand-cam-like style of Firefly. The characters are wonderful. The story is better. The use of historical religions is very cool, and I think it makes the story at least twice as good.

The only thing other than the filler that I can fault the show for is the fact that this Colonial civilization that supposedly split with Earth thousands of years ago is still so similar to ours, down to the legal systems and computer hardware. I saw the President waving what looked like a Logitech mouse around once. I suppose it might add to the believability, but I don't think it's all that necessary. There should be a little more variation.

Of course there might be an explanation for this in Season 4, which starts up April 4th. It will reportedly be the final season, so a lot of questions should be answered. I suppose they might leave some to the upcoming series Caprica though. Definitely looking forward to that.