adelagia: (community | brain wrinkled)
Way back when summer was still new and I was celebrating being freshly off work for an extended period and therefore had nothing to do -- HAPPY, HALCYON DAYS -- I got super into Korean dramas again. After watching City Hunter a few years ago and it knocking every standard for drama out of the park, I didn't feel like watching any other K-dramas, feeling quite certain none of them would measure up.

Over the summer, I managed to get over it and get three more under my belt (and a few that I started and then just ended up reading recaps for instead): School 2013; Pinocchio; and Signal.

They're all great in different ways, though if I only get to rec one, I aggressively rec Signal. More on that in a bit.

School 2013
What's awesome about it: It's a high school drama about a low-performing school and more specifically, about the "bad" class, the quiet, still-waters-run-deep student who doesn't listen to lessons but hears everything, the inexperienced teacher with her heart in the right place. It's kind of difficult, actually, to pin down an easy summary for it, because it's all about the relationships between the characters -- and I'm not talking romantic relationships; in fact, what worked so well for it was that it didn't have any canon romances, and centered itself on character growth instead. Also, it has THE CUTEST, ANGSTIEST BROMANCE EVER. (And the actors are BFFs in real life; SO ADORABLE.)

Pinocchio
What's awesome about it: A female lead who says what she means, doesn't take any crap, and goes for exactly what she wants? THANK YOU, I'LL TAKE TEN. No noble idiocy or inane love triangles to be found here; the lead couple are refreshingly communicative and honest with each other and cute cute cute.

Signal
What's awesome about it: It's my new City Hunter. After watching this, I'm off K-dramas again. The premise is a time paradox: a police profiler hears someone calling his name over a radio transmission and he finds an old walkie-talkie and starts getting messages from the past to help solve cold case crimes, from a detective who, in the present, has been missing and presumed dead for over a decade. It's part murder mystery(/ies) and part thriller, grounded in profound emotion. It's about the human connections we make, the decisions that change the course of history, the lifelong regrets about the things we never said. I can't tell you how many times I cried while watching this -- and listen, I cry at A LOT of things, but I know when I'm being manipulated to cry and when I'm not; Signal isn't by any stretch of the imagination a tearjerker melodrama. It earns every tear and gasp and howl of injustice. And the acting in this by actors who play the veteran detectives, OMG.

I will say, I didn't get fully hooked until about episode 4, so if you do give this a looksee, make it at least that far before you decide whether or not you want to go on. AND YOU WILL. (Also, watch it on Dramafever. At the time I watched it, Viki didn't have it fully subbed.)

tl;dr: Watch Signal. Do it do it do it.
adelagia: (community | brain wrinkled)
Remember how I was slightly iffy on Mr. Robot a few weeks ago? Well, I changed my mind. I'm recommending the crap out of it. You should all definitely watch it, and, as I told [livejournal.com profile] sarea_okelani, sooner rather than later, because you do not want to be accidentally spoiled for the twists that happen in the back half of the episodes. There are two more to go before the season wraps up (ten episodes in all; not a huge commitment), and it's already been greenlit for a second. Super, super strong writing, and when it doesn't seem like it, there's a reason. Watching Rami Malek go about his business is a seized-by-your-lungs pleasure; he's phenomenal playing the brilliant and brittle lead. All the awards!

adelagia: (community | brain wrinkled)
As usual, I'm behind the curve and I missed In the Flesh when it originally aired its first series last year and its second earlier this summer. I'd heard a few rumblings here and there of it being good, but I didn't really pay attention as zombies are not particularly my thing. A few weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] accordingtomel told me that it was on her list, so we decided we'd watch it at the same time. She hasn't managed to start watching, as her computer has been giving her a hellish time, and I've been terrible and binge-watched the entire thing, because it turns out that it doesn't matter that zombies aren't my thing. Set in the microcosm of a claustrophobic, small town in Lancashire, the show is an insightful, piercing reflection of human society in all its intolerances, self-aggrandizements, and snide asides. That this mirror includes a few risen undead somehow only manages to enhance its humanity all the more.

But to leave it there would be doing it a disservice, as In the Flesh covers a damn lot of territory and does it all with a deft hand -- navigating the balance between getting by and taking charge, getting prejudice thrown in your face and exposing your own, earning forgiveness from others and accepting yourself. There are a few moments that are a tad heavy-handed, but many more that are handled with impressive subtlety -- the protagonist's sexuality, for one, is, to paraphrase Orphan Black's Cosima Niehaus, not the most interesting thing about him; it simply is what it is. Small, mundane moments -- the dreaded and banal task of untangling bunting, a toaster that only works if you have the right knack to it -- bind the show even tighter to reality.

And in that vein, it isn't, either, a blood, guts, and braaains fest one might expect on hearing the word zombie; there certainly is some of it sprinkled in, but this isn't the usual fare about violence and bare-bones survival. It's about coming home and reconciling who you are and who you've become with the things you remember and the things that have changed, a lesson all the harder when you've been dead a few years and have, for reasons still unknown, risen from your grave, been rehabilitated with medications and daily affirmations, and reintroduced to the living.

The anchor of the show is Kieren Walker, sensitive, artistic, and unsure of himself, who in S1 has just been released from a treatment center; he doesn't want to cause a fuss or stir anything up, and even less wants to take sides. Pulling him in one direction is his loving but emotionally shuttered family (and let me just say, when the dam finally does break, it is a seriously powerful moment), and in the other, his new, undead friends who are vociferously proud of who they are, and all around them, the denizens of this tiny, bleak town where mob mentality can rear its head in a second flat. That being said, any single one of the characters could be us; there's no pure black-and-white in this 'verse. Even the moustache-twirlingest of them have understandable, if horribly misguided, reasons for the havoc they cause.

Of course, the best writing in the world could fall flat without the right cast, but thankfully, the cast is amazing through and through. Kieren's played by Luke Newberry, who very rightly was nominated for a BAFTA for this role (and is an adorable fluffy bunny in interviews and things), and he infuses Kieren with a beautifully awkward energy, mild at first glance, but thrumming with anxiety under his skin. Even the way he lopes along, just slightly off, is wonderful to watch.

Also of note, Emily Bevan, playing Amy Dyer, Kieren's best dead friend forever. I don't know where she came from, but Emily Bevan is a gem. Amy sparkles every minute she's on screen, with more joie de vivre in her pinky finger than any of the living do in their entire beings. It would be unbelievably easy for her flair and her quirks to shunt her into the substance-free manic pixie dream girl trap, but she's grounded with sympathy and sadness, and I love her. And then there's Emmett Scanlan (on whom I now have a massive talent-crush), who shows up in S2 as Simon, an enigmatic disciple from the undead opposition whose magnetism and whisky-velvet voice earn him plenty of followers himself. His performance in the episode that gives us Simon's backstory is exquisite.

There are admittedly a few logistical and physiological quibbles to be had, but all of the above more than make up for it. An infinity's worth of kudos to the creator Dominic Mitchell for building such an intricate yet familiar universe and populating it with characters who feel all too real. I cannot recommend this show enough.

tl;dr: OMG IN THE FLESH IS AMAZING YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT.

adelagia: (pixar | dug lolling)
Oof, this Daylight Saving is a bear. I guess it's nice that it's not pitch black at 5:30 in the evening anymore; on the flip side, getting up this morning was a damned chore. Haven't we, as a society, outgrown Daylight Saving? Let it go, I say. Just let it go.

Relatedly, here is a video on How to Get Out of Bed. It speaks to the very depths of my soul.



This next one was shared by [livejournal.com profile] sarea_okelani; it's a Bad Lip Reading of NFL players/coaches. I've seen this thing at least eight times now, and it's still hysterical every time. Just thinking about some of the little overdubs makes me giggle.



They crushed his fuzzy cape!

adelagia: (1d | soml)
Gather round, children. Grab a chair, get comfortable. I'm going to talk about One Direction's new album, Midnight Memories, officially out today.

First, can I just say, the boys co-wrote almost the entire thing? I am full to bursting with all the proud mother feels.

The album: Is pretty damn good. It has a much more contemporary, adult sound, alternately indie pop/rock and '80s-influenced rock. There are a few missteps that run a little too saccharine or boisterous for my tastes (but as I came out of the womb fully formed as a crotchety old woman, I am heavily biased against any song about being young and doing whatever the hell you want, because I always feel like those things should come with a caveat of as long as you don't hurt, disrespect or otherwise inconvenience someone else in the process. Yeah, that would make an excellent pop song; somebody get on it), but overall, it's a pretty brilliant showcase for what they're capable of: solid songwriting, rich harmonies, emotional gravity.

Story of My Life remains the best track I've ever heard from them, but I've expounded on that one endlessly, so here are three of my other favourites from the album:

Happily. Co-written by Harry, this (or perhaps Through the Dark) should have been their third single instead of the lacklustre, cloying Diana. It starts off with a quick, folksy vibe and builds to a wonderfully, rousingly anthemic chorus, the kind that makes you want to stomp your feet to the beat and sing at the top of your lungs with your friends in the car with the top down and every other cliche of joyous abandon.



Something Great. Also co-written by Harry (I sense a theme forming*). This one's almost purely visceral for me. I have a hard time articulating what it is about this song that just gets me. The first time I heard it, it made my insides twist hopeful and melancholy at the same time, and any song that can elicit that kind of reaction gets a thumbs up from me.



Half a Heart. Sometimes songs can make me fall in love with or loathe their entirety because of a single line, and Half a Heart happily lands smack in the former camp. It's this: Being here without you is like I'm waking up to only half a blue sky, kinda there but not quite, which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of missing someone when you're all cried out, and all that's left is so dulled that, just like you, nothing else in the world seems whole.



*And if you enjoyed the songs Harry wrote, you might also like his Don't Let Me Go, which leaked as a demo some months back, but didn't make the album for reasons that elude me.

adelagia: (ernie banana)
Continuing in the trend of avoiding things I actually need to do, like, I don't know, study for the exam I have at the end of this week, I have written a little ditty to elucidate my feelings on the matter. Here's how it goes. Ahem.

This is the procrastination song/ It isn't very long/ My coursework makes me want to drown myself in a vat of boiling grease/ Olé! *UKELELE SOLO*

In other news, the video for Story of My Life was released yesterday. I quite love it; lots of pretty nostalgia and motherly feels involved. They're so precious and all grown up now. *weeps* Good job, everyone, I hate you.



adelagia: (Default)
Does Katy Perry's Firework ever make anyone else cry on a regular basis? It always seems to come on when I've had a bad day and am thinking unkind things about myself, and I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be an uplifting song, but invariably I end up sitting in traffic, wailing at the radio, "But Katy, I can't."

No? Okay.

This really made me laugh, though: Graduate School Barbie -- comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie (TM) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (TM). *snorts* I feel you, girlfriend.

Also, One Direction has a new single out, and it's really good. I'm not just saying that because I like 1D; in all honesty, I think a couple of their songs are total lyrical crap -- I've still never gotten over the weird ickiness of the line from Gotta Be You, which goes, "Girl, what a mess I made upon your innocence," and just no -- but Story of My Life is lovely. Have a listen, won't you?



adelagia: (pixar | seagulls have a freak-out)
It is irksome that Aiden Grimshaw's album isn't available in these United States. Obviously there are very easy workarounds for that, but I really quite like a lot of his songs and would love to pay real monies for his excellent work.

Here's a live acoustic version of Is This Love that I've got on endless repeat:



(Also he is cute in the face, no?)

adelagia: (mst3k | we like it)
Gasp, could it be? Sunny? Warm? Is spring actually here? I damn well hope so!

... Even if I have stayed inside for a good 90% of the past week. It's because [livejournal.com profile] sarea_okelani lent me her Veronica Mars DVDs and I have been cruising through them over spring break. Just finished S3 yesterday and now I think I'm in VM withdrawal. Must... have... snark. *twitches*

When VM was on the air way back in the day I caught a few episodes here and there but it didn't leave much of an impression; I think I just didn't get it at the time, much like how I watched Spinal Tap back in high school but didn't appreciate it till some years later and is now one of my favourite films of all time. Now I can definitely see why VM is such a beloved series and am really happy they get to finally make their movie. (As a sidenote -- and you may throw garbage at me if you wish because plenty of people seem to want to when I admit this -- but the appeal of The Big Lebowski, which I also watched in high school and then again a few years ago, continues to elude me to this day, big time.)

It's a shame I wasn't in VM fandom back then to enjoy it with other people. It's so sad when there's no one to ship your ship with, though, of course (of course), my ship happens to be a non-canon pairing with excellent chemistry and no hope of ever happening. So if anyone happens to be a Veronica/Weevil shipper, come talk to me! Or write a ton of fic or something! I need more Weevil in my life. I mean, badass kid from the wrong side of the tracks with secret heart of gold? It's like he was created for me. :)))

adelagia: (unapologetic fangirl)
Independently of each other, [livejournal.com profile] slitherhither and [livejournal.com profile] accordingtomel both told me that I absolutely must watch the K-drama Flower Boy Next Door. True to their word, it's fantastic. I watched the first six episodes in a single day. So now it's my turn to tell you all that you absolutely must watch the K-drama Flower Boy Next Door.

 photo e6048357-7a59-400a-a007-03c5453f6507_zps634918d7.jpg
OTP: Enrique Geum (Yoon Shi Yoon) and Go Dok Mi (Park Shin Hye)


The gist of it is that a reclusive young woman who's hidden herself away from the world due to past psychological trauma slowly gets drawn out when she encounters two neighbors, one who can't leave her alone because he sees through her defenses and wants to help her be courageous, and one who wants to keep protecting her from the big, bad world that hurt her.

Ahjumma, what are you doing? )

adelagia: (spinal tap | eleven)
I've been working on making my own Horrible Histories mood theme this past week, which of course has meant rewatching all three series. It's been a delight! I'd forgotten how much this sketch made me laugh the first time around:



Also, finally got a chance to listen to the Penny Dreadfuls' most recent radio play Revolution. I've recced them before for their Victorian Brothers Faversham series, and was really excited about this new one. It doesn't disappoint. As before, the writing is sharp and snappy and knee-slappingly hilarious, and while they are brilliant at putting cracky spins on history, they don't simply rely on their humour to sell the story either. Set during the Reign of Terror, Revolution imagines the undocumented conversation between Robespierre and Marie Therese -- Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's daughter -- at one point in her imprisonment; the jokes come fast and furious, but there's still enough emotional breathing space for the anguish, anger and confusion surrounding the French Revolution to come through.

If it makes you more inclined to check them out, the Dreadfuls are Edinburgh Festival Fringe winners, and Humphrey Ker, one third of the group, just won Best Newcomer for his solo show at this year's festival. So, there you go. They're really good, you guys.



adelagia: (spinal tap | stonehenge)
I've been neglectful about bashing you over the head with how awesome Horrible Histories is. My apologies, and due rectification: a song about Aztec religious rituals that had me simultaneously weirded out and mesmerized.



adelagia: (hh | dick turpin)
Danger, Will Robinson! I'm about to get as in-your-face about Horrible Histories as I have been Improv-a-ganza because this:



adelagia: (pixar | dug lolling)
Does anyone watch Horrible Histories? It's a children's TV show about various events/practices in world history that airs on CBBC. I'd heard some good things about it, so watched the first ep of S3 today, and I found it really entertaining -- and educational. :) But the one sketch that really stuck with me was this song, for being unexpectedly sexy. OMG. (Self, wtf, it's a show for children under ten.)



And, of course, you didn't think I was going to leave you without more pimpage of Improv-a-ganza, did you? Today's sterling entry is the game Sentences, in which the audience writes whatever they want on scraps of paper, and the performers have to incorporate those sentences into their scene. Here are Ryan and Jonathan in the Ice Age:

adelagia: (mst3k | whimsy overdose)
Guys, I'm kind of obsessed with this little show called Improv-a-ganza. I don't know if you've noticed. It's not like I've been talking incessantly about it or anything, right?

Our rewatch yesterday morning went well; super fun to revisit the episodes, AND we managed to recruit [livejournal.com profile] ellasphere onto the bandwagon, even though she could only stay for an episode and a half, and [livejournal.com profile] venivincere before her. We're coming for you next. Yes, YOU THERE. Haa. Mwaaahaa.

Feast your eyeballs on the guys playing a little game of Freeze Tag:



adelagia: (iag | chip and jeff dance like dorks)
Get ready to rock, f-list; it's Celebrate Improv-a-ganza Week here on my journal. *vuvuzelas* First off, open invitation to anyone who wants to join me and [livejournal.com profile] accordingtomel in a rewatch on Saturday at noon EST/11am CST -- we will probably do three episodes. Just DM, PM, email or leave a comment for one of us for further details!

To kick things off, here are Jeff Davis and Chip Esten to regale you with a Song of the Gas Station Guy, in the form of a truly stunning '80s rock epic:



AREN'T THEY FREAKISHLY AMAZING? ♥__♥

And now you should all definitely hie yourselves to [livejournal.com profile] accordingtomel's wonderful, funderful IAG picspam and luxuriate in the telling of how utterly delightful this show and its players are.

Srsly, y'all need to watch this show. It will make you so happy in the face!

adelagia: (mst3k | believe in magic)
Friends, Romans, countrymen, for the love of all things wonderful and hilarious, you must watch these videos from Improv-a-ganza. Seriously, these improv comedians are so lightning quick, it is mind-boggling. They are awesome in every sense of the word. And when you have finally stopped laughing five minutes later and reattached your jaw, watch the show's reruns on GSN. And then when you're properly hooked, do us all a solid and email GSN to ask them to please, pretty please, renew the show. They haven't decided whether they want to yet, and IT IS KILLING ME.





YOU GUYS, THIS SHOW.

adelagia: (iag | chip and jeff have a laugh)
... mostly involve wasting hours and hours on YouTube. I've watched a few episodes of Fast and Loose, a British improv show that aired earlier this year. It could use some format tweaks, and a handful of games just need to be jettisoned, but it's entertaining enough. One of the gems from this show, though, is David Armand doing interpretive mime to pop songs. Not exactly improv, but check it out; it's brilliant:



And on looking up one of the performers from Fast and Loose, I was led to The Penny Dreadfuls, who do hilarious, cracktastic, Victorian-era sketch comedy and give me yet another reason to mourn the fact that I live on the wrong continent and therefore cannot see one of their live shows. Normally I have a really poor attention span for radio shows, but I've been mainlining the Dreadfuls' The Brothers Faversham series for the past day and a half and it is aaawesome.



adelagia: (mst3k | whimsy overdose)
Well, this post likely won't be of interest to anyone except [livejournal.com profile] accordingtomel, but I come bearing icons of Jeff B. Davis!

If you don't know who he is, the short version is this: Tall. Handsome. Hilarious. Sings. The long version is that he's an excellent improv comedian and one of the strongest players on Drew Carey's Improv-a-ganza show currently airing on GSN. I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out the show; even if you don't have GSN, they put up full episodes and clips on their website, which are all viewable in and out of the US, so YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE. (Episode 5 is particularly good, and 11, which isn't up yet, but I laughed till it hurt last night.)

On with the icons!

Preview:   

Trumpet solo! )

adelagia: (heart in hands)
Dear Fringe writers,

I ♥ you. Like, a lot.

I'd be hard-pressed to find another show as tightly written as this. The plots, even in the weaker episodes, are always engaging; the characters are wonderfully real, flaws and all (and not to mention incredibly acted all around, especially most recently by Anna Torv); the thinky, sciencey bits enhance rather than bog down the storylines; the continuity -- omg, the continuity -- is aces.

It's clear everything's been meticulously planned out from the get-go; what seem like throwaway lines in one season become major plot points in the next, but never in a way that obstructs or retcons character development. I never have to worry about whether or not an episode will be good because I have every confidence that they'll all be, and in two and a half seasons, I've not been let down yet.

A million thumbs up, you guys.

Love,
Me

PS: You probably have everything plotted through the end of S5 by now (may the TV gods see fit to let the show run at least that long), but if there's a way we can keep Lincoln and Charlie on the show forever and ever, kindly make it so.

August 2017

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