Sunday, June 7, 2015

One Episode: Mr. Robot, Stitchers & Supergirl

One Episode is the segment where we edit the opening italicized paragraph, and talk about shows we have watched one episode of (and sometimes more, and sometimes less). We would rather watch less volume and more quality, but that involves wading through the meh to get to the good stuff. 

Mr Robot -- USA
Stitchers -- ABC Family
Supergirl -- CBS

Not that I need anything more in my queue to watch (or maybe I do; everything is currently ending), but I always like premieres. This round we have a show about hackers, a show about superheroic brain hacking and a show about a superhero in a short skirt.

Mr Robot was fantastic. If you watch a cyber show like CSI:Cyber or Scorpion your head might explode from the inaccurate and fictionalized accounts of computing. Well, if you know anything about computing. If you don't, then you might just be terrified as to what hackers can do. Or thrilled Which, I suppose, is the point. Anywayz! Mr Robot depicts a much more grounded, but probably not much more realistic, view of computers and hacking. It just feels right. They mention Linux flavours.

Elliot is kind of messed up. He is young, depressed and suffers from social issues. Actually, he is not that messed up, for he interacts with his friends quite well, his coworkers (as long as they don't touch him) but he just doesn't do well in large crowds. If that was the definition of messed up, me and many people I know would be very messed up. Shut up, you. Anywayz, by the show's standards he really is. He is also rather misanthropic, being able to see the weakness in everyone. And he's a great hacker, so he often manipulates that weakness. Sometimes to his own advantage, but often he takes on a white knight approach and protects others he cares for.

The show felt British. The color tones, the angles and the way they filled space felt like like a BBC or Channel 4 show. I have said that before, but different production styles are apparent around the world. Hell, even the production styles between US network television and cable is apparent. Anywayz, felt British.

Elliot is being dragged into a conspiracy, sort of Fight Club-style, to bring down the debt-owning financial institutes. Mr Robot is weirdo, pseudo-homeless Christian Slater, who may or may not be just a hallucination of Elliot's. And if not hallucinating, the definitely Elliot is being manipulated by other socially dangerous hackers. And men in black ARE following him.

Very good first episode. Rami Malek as Elliot is brilliant, with his slightly off eyes and dark, low voice putting across the socially aware, and socially angry introvert quite well.

And then we have Stitchers on ABC Family. Before you go, "Well, there you are, its on Family!" remember that the utter fantabulous The Middleman came from ABC Family. This is far below fantabulous. It wants to be like Scorpion in introducing a rather far-end-of-spectrum smart but weird person. This time, she has Temporal Dysplasia, or, well, she has no concept of the passing of time. What does that mean? The show doesn't really know, but it's a buzzword that they can have her spout from time to time to explain why she can do miraculous things and is so very very odd.

With her magic power, she is stolen by a secret secret agency to hack into other people's memories, to stitch (*ahem*) together a story and prevent something .... further from happening? I don't know, the first episode is about finding two more bombs by looking at the last few hours of memories of the bomber who killed himself. I am not sure how this top secret hacking trick will apply in future episodes, nor will I find out.

The show is filled to the brim with dialogue, rather well written dialogue, if you ignore the fact it often contributes little to the scene or story. I never heard of a teleplay needing an editor, but, well here you go.

Very terrible first episode.

And you may or may not have already seen Supergirl. These days, when you hear about a leak, you are probably hearing more about a purposely leaked show. Supergirl was likely leaked to generate some early buzz and anticipation for the series that will begin on CBS much later on this fall. It probably also allows them to tweak/edit the show to some degree based on upon reaction.

I kind of liked it, which is odd, considering I haven't bought into any of the DC shows. Arrow, The Flash and Gotham are only of so much interest to me. The last one at least gets downloads from me; but mainly for Jim Gordon, who I really enjoy for his GI Joe aspect of the character, and the weird out-of-time feel to the show.

Supergirl starts off with a weird sort of cameo to both the previous Supergirl and Lois & Clark, with cameos from Dean Cain and Helen Slater, as her adoptive parents. It is this smile & nod that sets the lighter tone to the series. And that is slammed into us by having Kara Zor-El nee Kara Danvers playing Anne Hathaway's character from The Devil Wears Prada. Is that enough of an stylistic character choice to be a trope yet? Basically, Kara works for a media mogul who is utterly full of herself and desperate to have the same ratings as The Daily Planet, but without the easy catch of a Superman.  Kara gets her coffee and is verbally abused.

But nervous, perky desperate to approve Kara also knows who her cousin is, and what he has been doing. And she wants some of that. Teenage, anxiety ridden but really really wants to be beside her cousin instead of in his shadow. The boot in the right direction comes in the crashing of her adopted sister's plane, and Kara's up up and away rescue of the plane. Boing, enter one more flying superhero, one that Kara's boss can take credit for the image of.

Its light. I said that already, but its nice and light. Oh, there will be badguys of the week, with criminals from the Phantom Zone, when she bumped through their micro-dimension in her spaceship, showing up from time to time. As for it entering into the same universe as the other two, I doubt it, for this one was very focused on mentioning her cousin, and the other two seem unaware of a flying superhero on the east coast.

We shall have to wait to see if I will continue to watch it.