Two guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 4)

Yes, I'm back and I'm still ranking. I'm unsure how to begin these posts so we'll just get right to the ranking. Maybe I'll come up with a better introduction next time....but that would require me not to be lazy. As always, if you're unfamiliar with these posts, check out the introduction here.

45. FlashForward: An intriguing premise. The entire world blacks out for 137 seconds and during this period they see a brief glimpse of their future. Naturally, global devastation occurs because of the blackouts and everyone's lives have changed because of what they saw.


I think the problem with the show is everyone (or just me?) expected it to be different than what it was intended to be. This is just my theory, but I feel like the idea of the show was to have only a part of it be the FBI trying to track down the cause of the blackouts. However, the main focus of the show was supposed to be character driven and focus on how people's lives were affected by what they saw in their flashforward.

What was expected by fans was a more plot driven show about the FBI (using what they've seen in their flahsforward as clues) tracking down terrorists who maliciously attacked the world. (At least that's what I wanted to see since watching a doctor with cancer search for his future Japanese lover does nothing for me.)

Anyway, as the show went on it did become more plot driven but that wasn't enough to make it good. It had some ridiculous action scenes, FBI agents seemingly given carte blanche to follow whatever ridiculous whims they had and plot twists that made little sense and seemed to be thrown in at the last minute.

The series ended its first and only season on a cliffhanger that gave the show some promise but whether the show would have improved is something we'll never know...unless we all black out and see a glimpse of an alternate universe where shows weren't cancelled. But that seems extemely unlikely.

44. The Event: See: 45. FlashForward

Seriously, this show is so similar to FlashForward in style and tone it's ridiculous. This one is about long living aliens that crash landed on Earth in the early 1940's. The U.S. Government pretty much put them in an internment camp until present day where President Blair "Makes-My-Wife-Drool" Underwood decides to reveal the alien's existence to the public.

In the end, this show had the same ridiculousness as FlashForward but also contained the same possibilities for improvement that never got realized since it was cancelled after the first season. The only reason it's ranked higher than FlashForward is because it at least knew what kind of show it wanted to be from the beginning.


43. Aeon Flux: Hmmmm...it's weird...very, very weird.

I suppose I could elaborate. Aeon Flux takes place in a weird dystopian future where weird people do weird things for weird reasons. Aeon Flux is a secret agent who does weird things. The series ends weirdly with a story about an alien race coming to Earth with a way to bring peace and harmony to the world. There's a twist ending which I thought was clever at the time but, looking back, was fairly clich├ęd.

Aeon Flux actually debuted as a series of shorts on the animation variety show Liquid Television on MTV. I actually enjoyed those more than the full length series. Maybe I could only handle the weirdness in small doses? Or maybe I enjoyed the fact she always managed to die at the end of every short.


42. Street Fighter 2 V: Hey, I'm always a sucker for Street Fighter 2. I loved that game. I ended up seeing a few of the later episodes in this series and thought they were entertaining enough. But that was partly due to all the stuff I made up in my head about the intricate web of plot points that lead the characters to where they were.

Then I watched the whole thing. Yeah, the plot's about as weak as you'd expect from a video game whose premise is "people fight each other."

So, long story short, lame story but some fun action.


41. Neon Genesis Evangelion: 15 years after a catastrophic impact from what is believed to be a metorite in Antartica wipes out half of Earth's population the world comes under attack by angels. Now it's up to three youths and the giant mechs they pilot to defend the world.

Man, this series started off amazingly. It was entertaining, action packed, smart, thought-provoking, at times funny and had foreshadowing of greater machinations transpiring than just what I was currently viewing. Then the second half of the series happened...and things got weird. Super weird. It got to the point where the "Previously On" and "Next Time On" segments bookending each episode told me what was happening better than any of the actual episodes did.

When I first finished this series (26 episodes) I was heart broken. How could a series with such promise go off the rails so badly? Then I read a few things on the internet, thought I started understanding things better and got scared of being called simple-minded because I just didn't "get it." So I gained a new appreciation for the series. Then I watched it again. I realized that, regardless of any grand metaphors or religous analysis, this series was just plain weird.

This is a series that ended so poorly the creator decided he wanted a mulligan and redid the final episodes in a movie (of sorts). The result? An even worse ending. That's pretty much all you need you to know about Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Well, that's all for this post. Up next time: Some super heroes, a critical darling and, of course, more anime.

8 comments:

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

I think we watched like maybe 3-4 episodes of FlashForward and then gave up. It just wasn't very entertaining. Which was too bad because the premise alone should've been enough to carry it

We skipped the event

We've also never gotten down to watch Aeon Flux

Street Fighter - I can't remember if I've seen parts of this series or not. Me thinks yes... We do own the street fighter movie (the anime one I mean. Not the other one) and I very much love that movie as a standalone movie.

Neon Genesis was a study in disappointment. It was so so great and then it just got so so weird. It was such a let down when we got to then end and we were hoping things would be resolved. But nope. Not at all.

Teebore said...

Not surprisingly, the only two I've seen this post are FlashForward and The Event, and I certainly can't disagree with your assessment of either.

Though FlashForward did give us the "Because I was loaded, okay!" meme, and it did introduce me to Zachary Knighton (the mopey doctor with cancer), who now kills it on Happy Endings, so it deserves props for that.

Does the Street Fighter anime feature gods and/or sweeping declarations regarding who does and does not "got" balls? If so, I'll definitely have to watch it.

In anime circles, is Neon Genesis considered divisive, one of those shows you either love passionately or that just doesn't work for you? Or is it one of those shows that is generally considered brilliant and anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron?

Because, despite having never seen it, I seem to have overheard a lot of discussions/comments about it that suggest it's fairly divisive.

Anne said...

what Sarah said

I remember the ending to Neon Genesis being so freaking confusing that i actually had to look it up online to see if someone could explain it for me- which didn't help much.
We still use Neon Genesis ending as a phrase when trying to explain when a show's ending goes batshit crazy:
"Torchwood is great, but watch out for the ending- it goes all Neon Genesis"

The Aeon Flux movie was enjoyable enough- that's when i learned the original episodes all ended with her dying, which i thought was almost intriguing enough to watch. but meh

Streetfighter- i believe we actually owned the first couple tapes of this series- specifically because we loved the movie so much (and it's amazing soundtrack- Chun Li vs Vega fight set to Alice in Chains 'Them Bones' is like the best fight EVAR). But it didn't hold up as good as the movie so we didn't get too far into it (although...was this the series where Ken jumps into a pool naked?)

Joan Crawford said...

"...since watching a doctor with cancer search for his future Japanese lover does nothing for me."

That's funny because I happen to have a very particular fantasy about that very thing.

Teebore said...

PS I'm excited to see what critically acclaimed show will be appearing in your next post.

Dr. Bitz said...

@Sarah\Anne: Yeah, as I noted in my post, I looked up Evangelion online too back in the day. I thought I figured it out once I realized (at least I think this is the case) that a lot of the religious references are literal not just symbolic.

As in when an Evangelion is equipped with the Spear of Destiny to destroy an Angel, it literally is THE Spear of Destiny. And when there's a weird bloated corpse-like thing hanging from the ceiling named "Adam," it literally IS Adam (of eating the apple fame). And, thus, Earth is literally under attack by angels.

But then I realized that explained nothing. And these days I have no idea if I was right in my assertion.

One thing I do remember is that on one of the "Next Time On" segments they say something to the affect of "and find out how this is all connected to the Dead Sea Scrolls." I'm fairly sure the Dead Sea Scrolls are never mentioned in any episode.

I don't remember Ken jumping into a pool naked...but that doesn't mean it didn't happen in an earlier episode. I remember the anime movie too...but I think I liked it less than you. I didn't hate it. But it was certainly better than the live action movie. Its funny how, for all the money Hollywood invests in movies, they usually end up with the poorest form of the subject matter.

@Teebore - I think it is a fairly divisive show. Probably the same way 2001: A Space Oddysey is viewed.

Obviously I'm biased, but I think part of it is people being afraid to say that they just didn't get it.

But I think another part of it (and this is just my personal theory) is that this was one of the earlier animes of the 90's\00's anime explosion. So this was probably one of the first anime (and, more importantly, first well produced, more adult anime) some people saw. (Kind of like the movie Akira in the 80's.)

To keep a certain somebody happy, I should note that Dragon Ball Z also helped usher in that late 90's boom. Although it was more geared towards a younger audience.

I don't know. All I really know is I like shows that make you think, but when I feel like something is being weird for the sake of being weird, I hate it.

And, in Street Fighter 2 V, no one declares themselves a God or talk about balls...but I would suggest you click on the picture next to Street Fighter 2 V.

Teebore said...

"You got no balls!"

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Yeah, i don't see how the metaphors being literal actually explains anything. Because i'm pretty sure i took those metaphors at face value and assumed it was all literal and i was still lost. I wonder, though, if i would be able to follow it a bit better now, now that i'm an adult and better read. Probably not