Review – X-Men: Evolution & Leverage

I’ve had less than my usual stellar luck with picking shows to stream, lately. I’ve been picking with the intent of having background noise; watching something out of the corner of my eye while I work around the house.

X-Men: Evolution

Normally, I would worry about getting sucked in to an X-Men cartoon. If this had been the one from the 90’s (Apocalypse!), I’d never get any work done. I figured, hey, it’s set in a high school, I can let the teenager crap just buzz in the background, and focus when actual story happens. That’d be fun!

I’m still waiting for the story.

I’ll keep it around in my queue, because I still hold of glimmer of hope that story will happen.

Leverage

I’d watched a couple of seasons of this show when it was airing, and I’d loved it. I figured that coming back to it would give me the familiarity to half-ignore it, and there would be enough for me to keep coming back. That worked perfectly, for the first season. Halfway through the second season, I was bored to tears and yoinked it out of my queue. Even my love for Mark Sheppard and my anticipation of Wil Wheaton’s character couldn’t keep me coming back.

Parker is a badass, though, don’t let anyone tell you different.

Supernatural

I’ve given up using TV as background noise. Though, as my wife has been healing from her injury, she’s caught up on the entirety of Supernatural that’s available to stream, and I’ve gotten sucked in far more than I’d liked.  Great show.

Review – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Nikki and I have finally caught up on the second season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Several of the episodes on our DVR were rendered unwatchable by digital interference, but it was available to stream on Netflix, so we watched it there, instead.

I’m going to do my best to review the season without spoilers. Why? I hate spoilers, that’s why.

If I had to sum this series up in one word, I’d choose tension. It showed up in all kinds of varieties: interpersonal, world-ending, engineered, sexual, and my favorite – inner conflict. Lots of doubt, lots of misleading, a healthy dose of misunderstanding, plenty of preconceptions, and one notable case of overreaction to fear.

Strike that, there’s a lot of overreacting to fear.

The characters hurt each other more than they ever have. I wondered, at times, if there was a team left to save.

If I had to pick a second word, I’d pick triumph. S.H.I.E.L.D. succeeds in so many places where they could have failed, making some major headway. The writers timed it well; just when things were about to get overwhelmingly bad, the characters Got Shit Done.

While this season was missing a lot of the team cohesion that took so achingly long to build in the first season, I give it an unabashed thumbs-up. Now I ahve to wait until late September for season three.

Ah, well. I am happy to comply.

Review: Redshirts

Redshirts
Redshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This one had a frantic pace that kept me turning the page as the main character actively sought out the source of the strangeness going on aboard his spaceship.

I’ve deleted four sentences now, because each gave something of the plot away, and it’s too much fun to ruin.

I read this over two days, and I have a job, four kids, and a house full of chores. Definitely difficult to put down. Definitely a fun read. Definitely worth your time and money, if you’ve ever watched (or enjoyed!) a crappy sci-fi show.

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Review: Insane City

Insane City
Insane City by Dave Barry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this one cover to cover on a plane from Detroit to San Francisco. I’ve got mixed feelings about it.

Dave Barry’s humor was stellar, as always. I chuckled and laughed out loud quite a bit as I wondered how thin a person has to be to be comfortable in economy seating.

The discovery that the main character really did give a damn, and the contrast between causes and real people were both well woven into the story. They weren’t subtle, but they didn’t club me over the head, either.

Unfortunately, there’s always a but.

The amount of terrible coincidences that kept happening to the main character strained credulity, and then tore through it like a crazed orangutan. It went beyond the character reacting with “oh, you have GOT to be kidding me.” I found myself uttering that very phrase every time I got thrown out of the story.

Even for Miami, the insanity was just too focused on one person.

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Review: Questionable Content

Antro PCs are not to be trusted. Hipsters have feelings, too. These are the first two things that I learned while reading through QC’s archives. While the AI angle was something that snagged my interest, I have an active bafflement of hipster culture that is only increasing over time.

And yet I didn’t close the tab. This wasn’t my usual kind of webcomic, but I kept reading through the archives. I still can’t tell you why.

I think that the facepalm was invented for Marten, and the headdesk for Faye.

I’m still reading. PintSize makes fewer and fewer appearances, and I’m fine with that. Every character that gets introduced is interesting, flawed, and filled to overflowing with hilarious quirks. Every. Single. One. Even characters that seem to be designed to be one-shot and/or throw-away are missed when they go away. I don’t think any of them have stayed away for long, though.

Also, mad props for introducing and sticking with a transgendered character

How does he update so often with so much awesome? Be ready to care about the AIs you meet. Be ready to give a shit about a bunch of hipsters.

But not about that shouting bird. Screw that guy.