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Author Topic: Syfy Miniseries (Childhood's End, Magicians, etc.)  (Read 2349 times)
Khaldun
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on: December 17, 2015, 08:47:38 AM

Syfy seems to have decided that wrestling and Sharknado aren't going to keep the lights on in this new era of content-creation. Good.

So, Childhood's End is mostly pretty good. I could have done without making Stormgren into a cornfed middle-American white boy and adding the whole dead-wife thing, but I get it--one of the weaknesses of the Clarke novel is that it's all plot and no character for 75% of the way, really. Appearance of the Overlords was well done.

Magicians looks promising, but some significant shifts from the books may or may not be a problem depending on how much you like the books. I like them quite a bit but there's not much to the narrative that couldn't be changed to better purpose--the main thing is that you have to keep the "Harry Potter/Narnia + sex and drugs" feeling and to allow the protagonists to be at least somewhat unlikeable (though I think Grossman overdoes that by the third book).
Threash
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Reply #1 on: December 17, 2015, 09:01:51 AM

I watched the first episode of the expanse and liked it a lot, that's another miniseries right?

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satael
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Reply #2 on: December 17, 2015, 11:07:48 AM

I watched the first episode of the expanse and liked it a lot, that's another miniseries right?

Expanse is 10 episodes for season 1 and while there is no decision on season 2 yet (as far as I know) there isn't really any reason to limit it to 1 season since there's plenty of source material to draw from.
Khaldun
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Reply #3 on: December 17, 2015, 11:10:51 AM

Plus the Expanse already has its own thread. Still it's part of Syfy's new determination to stop sucking, so there's that.
Merusk
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Reply #4 on: December 17, 2015, 11:21:55 AM

My viewing habits have altered enough while they fucked over their programming mission that I just at don't care.  I stopped watching in protest when they first changed I'm not coming back now. Best of luck and all but it's a dying if not dead channel and the leadership can blame only themselves.

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I really like the cocks. - Lantyssa
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MahrinSkel
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Reply #5 on: December 17, 2015, 01:02:08 PM

My viewing habits have altered enough while they fucked over their programming mission that I just at don't care.  I stopped watching in protest when they first changed I'm not coming back now. Best of luck and all but it's a dying if not dead channel and the leadership can blame only themselves.
Watch the Expanse. You're only hurting yourself if you don't.

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Draegan
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Reply #6 on: December 18, 2015, 08:46:44 AM

I've only seen the first episode of Expanse (I think 2nd ep was this week? Should be on my DVR, but I've been travelling all week). Excellent show.
MahrinSkel
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Reply #7 on: December 18, 2015, 07:26:31 PM

Just watched Childhood's End: Really good. The kind of thing you would wish SyFy had been doing all along. Mostly faithful to the source material, really does a great job of getting the message of the book across without slavishly reproducing it.

It seems like they are serious about doing a 180 from their attempts to distance themselves from 'geek culture' and are embracing it.

--Dave

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HaemishM
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Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 01:21:38 PM

I watched the mini series without having read the book, and now that I'm done with the mini series, I'm reading the book.

Parts of the mini series were really well done, particularly anything with Charles Dance in it and the talk with the Overmind. Having read just the first few parts of the book, the feeling I got while watching the mini series is confirmed. It felt like they added a SHITLOAD of padding to stretch this to 3 nights when it probably could have been done in 2. Especially annoying were all the Bay-esque "United Colors of Benetton" moments with shots of people doing nothing dragged out for dramatic effect, particularly in the Four Seasons hotel room scenes. The whole dead wife thing didn't really work for me.

Decent but not great, but at least it was SyFy doing ACTUAL SCIENCE-FICTION like they are supposed to do.

Khaldun
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Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 07:07:47 PM

Honestly, to be blunt? It's partly because the book is really not that great to begin with. It has an undeserved reputation as a classic, I think. It has almost no emotional heft in the places where it should.
Raph
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Reply #10 on: January 24, 2016, 12:44:28 PM

Now, now, everyone knows science fiction didn't develop emotional heft until the late 60s. :)
Evildrider
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Reply #11 on: January 24, 2016, 12:46:09 PM

Now, now, everyone knows science fiction didn't develop emotional heft until the late 60s. :)

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jgsugden
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Reply #12 on: January 28, 2016, 11:17:05 PM

Magicians?  Yes? No? It is on my DVR... delete or watch?

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MahrinSkel
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Reply #13 on: January 28, 2016, 11:21:00 PM

Magicians?  Yes? No? It is on my DVR... delete or watch?
It's not completely terrible, sort of a Hipster Harry Potter meets Chronicles of Narnia.

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Quinton
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Reply #14 on: January 29, 2016, 05:21:00 AM

I was kinda hoping they might change things up a bit to improve on the books (which I enjoyed, but had their issues), but so far I feel like it's going in the opposite direction.
Threash
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Reply #15 on: January 29, 2016, 10:25:14 AM

It just makes you want to go back and watch Esme Bianco in the early seasons of game of thrones.  It's not terrible though.

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HaemishM
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Reply #16 on: January 29, 2016, 11:01:09 AM

Honestly, to be blunt? It's partly because the book is really not that great to begin with. It has an undeserved reputation as a classic, I think. It has almost no emotional heft in the places where it should.


I'm about halfway through the book now and not only are there significant departures on the series that are probably understandable (budget as well as different time periods and cultural shifts) but yeah, the book is really not very good.

Shannow
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Reply #17 on: February 04, 2016, 06:12:08 PM

The Magicians is basically Harry Potter goes to college in the US but it's still trashy fun. I must admit I laughed at the two magical books humping in the last episode I watched. The minor characters are kinda fun, the main lead is a whiny douchebag (kinda like the Expanse, wtf syfy)

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Khaldun
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Reply #18 on: February 05, 2016, 05:08:20 AM

He's a whiny douchebag in the books too, on purpose. It's kind of what Grossman is trying to think about: what is the arc of a person who grows through magic and fantasy if he's a fallible, ordinary, morally flawed person who wants magic to make life more interesting and better and finds out that magic is hard work too and not altogether that special?
Shannow
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Reply #19 on: February 17, 2016, 06:30:09 PM

Does he need to be a depressive whiney non entity though? I'm quite fond of Julia actually, she knows what she wants and is hell bent on getting it. Her character arc is a lot better.

Oh and they killed cancer puppy. :D

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apocrypha
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Reply #20 on: February 18, 2016, 12:28:29 AM

This may drop off of my watch list because the protagonists are all incredibly annoying tweenies. Seriously, they're all terrible caricatures. And the story is moving way, way too slowly.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Draegan
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Reply #21 on: February 23, 2016, 07:45:32 AM

I binged watch the Magicians first 5 episodes. I kind of like the show. It is slowing down though, but it's enjoyable.
jgsugden
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Reply #22 on: February 23, 2016, 10:47:42 AM

Alice is bugging me.  They needed to cast a 'girl next door' for this roll.  If she is a girl next door, I'm living next to Heff.  I wonder how the character is described in the books. 

I miss Good Eats.  *Sniff*
Johny Cee
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Reply #23 on: February 23, 2016, 10:54:09 AM

I wonder if they follow the plot of book 1 through season 1.  If so, you folks are in for a  ACK! treat.
Khaldun
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Reply #24 on: February 23, 2016, 10:06:32 PM

Yeah.

I am trying to remember how Alice is described before something, um, happens. Yeah, I don't quite think this Alice is the Alice I had in my mind. But then Quentin doesn't really feel like Quentin to me in terms of how I pictured him.
Goldenmean
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Reply #25 on: February 24, 2016, 11:10:21 PM

I wonder if they follow the plot of book 1 through season 1.  If so, you folks are in for a  ACK! treat.

They've been pretty far away from the books for a while now, but I expect it's going to follow the same general arc and end roughly where book one does (though I expect they're going to change everything after the climax quite a bit). I'm mostly fine with the changes. I like Quentin more than most people, but his flavor of ennui is a lot easier to pull off in book form than it is on screen, and showing us Julia's arc side by side with his makes more sense than doing it as an extended flashback like they do in the books. The tv version of Penny is a lot more interesting also. My only real quibble is that they're following the pretty typical fantasy trope of "Here is the big bad. You must go and defeat it. Huzzah!", and the best part of the bulk of book one was really exploring how bleak a world with magic is when there *isn't* a big bad, or an epic quest, etc.
apocrypha
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Reply #26 on: April 16, 2016, 02:24:33 AM

Well The Magicians wrapped up the first season this week and overall I enjoyed it. It certainly improved as it went on, partly because the characters had less chance to be whiny dickbags as more happened.


It's been renewed for a 2nd season which apparently will focus more on the perpetually-stoned-looking Julia and her trauma.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Threash
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Reply #27 on: April 16, 2016, 08:04:45 AM

A whole lot more jizz than i expected.

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apocrypha
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Reply #28 on: April 16, 2016, 09:06:13 AM

I too was slightly taken aback by the importance of jism to the plot. Young, dumb and full of.... magic?

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Threash
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Reply #29 on: April 16, 2016, 09:36:47 AM

Specially the whole thing about Quentin realizing he wasn't the big hero, it mostly just came of as "I really don't want to drink all this jizz".

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Goldenmean
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Reply #30 on: April 16, 2016, 01:28:09 PM

Specially the whole thing about Quentin realizing he wasn't the big hero, it mostly just came of as "I really don't want to drink all this jizz".

Should probably spoiler this I guess

apocrypha
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Reply #31 on: February 23, 2017, 02:02:50 AM

Please don't take my revival of this thread for The Magicians as any kind of endorsement. 2nd season is underway and it's still pretty mediocre whilst mildly entertaining at the same time. It's so painfully obvious at times that they're trying to make this on a very limited budget. Some of the props are terrible and they often show magic in the least demonstrative way possible, reminiscent of when Buffy had run out of budget for that episode and vampire dusting happened just off-camera with someone throwing a handful of crap pulled out of the vacuum in Buffy's face.

Anyway, the thing that I find utterly bizarre is the weird censorship. There's sex, group sex, gay sex, casual sex, rape and a surreal importance of semen to the plot. There's murder, eyeballs being gouged out, hearts ripped out and eaten, hands severed, throats slashed. There's themes of drug addiction and mental illness. A lot of this is often very graphic and somewhat disturbing - this is not PG-13 material. And yet they cannot show any nudity at all (although we did briefly see a male bum) and every single time someone says 'fuck' they blank it out. And they say fuck a lot so the dialogue sounds stilted and odd and often difficult to understand because of it.

I don't understand the boundaries, I really don't. I know all American TV shows aren't like this, so why is this one?

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Johny Cee
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Reply #32 on: February 23, 2017, 12:10:16 PM

Anyway, the thing that I find utterly bizarre is the weird censorship. There's sex, group sex, gay sex, casual sex, rape and a surreal importance of semen to the plot. There's murder, eyeballs being gouged out, hearts ripped out and eaten, hands severed, throats slashed. There's themes of drug addiction and mental illness. A lot of this is often very graphic and somewhat disturbing - this is not PG-13 material. And yet they cannot show any nudity at all (although we did briefly see a male bum) and every single time someone says 'fuck' they blank it out. And they say fuck a lot so the dialogue sounds stilted and odd and often difficult to understand because of it.

I don't understand the boundaries, I really don't. I know all American TV shows aren't like this, so why is this one?

The only American TV with honest-to-god government restrictions is "broadcast" tv...   Basically the big networks.  They still operate broadcast towers that you can pick up for free, so it is regulated.  Networks are broad demographics as well.  Networks censor the most...  with a couple of notable exceptions (like Hannibal,  or NYPD Blue pushed language/nudity bounds).

The Magicians is on Syfy, which is a basic cable channel.  Basic cable channels, it depends.  Most stay away from the most egregious language, and usually no nipples or dongs, but things as different as South Park, FX shows (Fargo, Justified, Americans, the Shield, Rescue Me, Archer), AMC shows (Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, etc), animal shows, all-ages family fare, etc. are basic cable.  It comes down to what audience they are targeting. It feels like they shoot for PG-13.  Some channels (ABC Family) skew younger/more tame, some (IFC? or Sundance?) basically don't cut anything. 

Premium American TV is the subscription stuff (Showtime, HBO, Starz) where anything goes violence, language, nudity, gore and sex-wise.  Want to give a Shakespearean monologue while getting fellatio from a prostitute? (Deadwood)  Sure!!  All tits and gore all the time? (Spartacus) Sure!!

Magicians is trying to push boundaries, but stay in the envelope of what its typical viewer (younger teens, man-child neckbeards) finds acceptable.  I think its complicated by the fact financing arrangements might mean they are preping for different cuts in different regions?

___________________________________

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American tv isn't really regulated.  We like our entertainment to sort itself out, though, such that we don't get tits/violence/extreme language when we aren't expecting them.  Janet Jackson nip slip while watching the Superbowl with your parents/young children?  RAGE.  Cinemax shows soft-core porn after 11pm?  Don't care, we're in bed anyway and you knew what you were getting when you signed up.

apocrypha
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Reply #33 on: February 23, 2017, 12:17:33 PM

Magicians is trying to push boundaries, but stay in the envelope of what its typical viewer (younger teens, man-child neckbeards) finds acceptable. 

I suppose this is the bit that I don't really get - I'm not sure exactly what SyFy are trying to achieve with this show and it feels almost as if one group of people commissioned it and another group of people subsequently decided there was too much swearing in it. Which is entirely possible, if not probable of course. I just find myself struggling with the idea of someone who was OK with all the jism and shagging and murder but wasn't OK with the word 'fuck'.

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism" - Rosa Luxemburg, 1915.
Merusk
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Reply #34 on: February 23, 2017, 12:43:12 PM

Yeah, from what you described it sounds like they prepped the show for HBO/ Showtime who passed and it wound-up on basic cable. After the first season that should have been resolved and the tone should have changed.

Just found a Reddit thread that said it was originally made for Showcase Canada, which explains the odd censorship. They're cleaning it up to meet the standards they'd use.
https://www.reddit.com/r/syfy/comments/47tvmh/why_is_syfys_the_magicians_censored/

Amusingly I was searching for "why can HBO swear" and this popped up.

As for the content: With Trump's FCC chair I expect more stringent decency standards to be implemented. To the point I don't expect HBO to get away with their all-day GOT marathons without scrambling the channels anymore. (A requirement of cable content providers during hours 'children might view obscene material.' even if sub-based, apparently.) 
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 12:45:39 PM by Merusk »

I can't get past the panties - Alluvian
I really like the cocks. - Lantyssa
People rarely believe just how good I am at sucking. - Lantyssa
I love the swinging dongs - Signe
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