I’m ‘aaaarggh’ Pirate: The Good, The Bad, and The TV Shows I Watch

The past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating on the lack of so-called material to write about. Unlike before where I have several photos to post or I am enthusiastically reviewing FHM, I now am in a slump where I am not confident enough to blog about the things occupying my ever free life.

Then I remembered, there is something I really enjoy doing these past few months. I really enjoy this activity that I can spend hours and hours just doing this. And hey, I’m not even talking about being awesome, or being delusional. I’m referring to my love for watching TV series on DVD. Pirated, that is.

I know, as illegal as it is, there’s just too much to love about American TV series on boot-legged copies. And I also know that originals are better: with highly functional features, proper subtitles and 100% complete episodes. But dealing with life as it is, it definitely is quantity over quality.

Of course, I go for the sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory (covered all seasons, save for some episodes on the fourth as my copy got lost. like thieves crossing a pirate. Despicable), Modern Family (definitely funny to the core, especially Sofia Vergara and everybody else. Only thing funnier is me missing the 2nd season), and most recently, New Girl (I would also say 2 Broke Girls but I have no DVD for that. And I actually watched both series on TV. So…). And also, I watch shows in other genre like The Walking Dead and Falling Skies.

But other than those aforementioned famed TV shows, I also go for less generic, but definitely not of lesser quality, series. And I think that’s what I wanna talk about. TV series, what I like and don’t like about them. (I know I just sounded like a person on a children’s show, stating the obvious and shit)

1. Off the Map

No. of Episodes: 13

Off the Map is a medical drama set in the jungles of  South America. It’s actually my first try on watching a medical drama (no Grey’s Anatomy for me).  I never really considered it, since I have very low tolerance on gore, but I figured seeing internal organs, blood and different body parts in various levels of destruction isn’t that gory if it’s done with substance (sorry, Saw and Final Destination).

The Good: The South American jungle (which they shot in Hawaii), relate-able and well done characterizations, medical practice on its core (medicinal plants), Mamie Gummer, Rachel Lefevre, Español

The Bad: ITS NOT BEING RENEWED

2. The River

No. of Episodes: 8

The River is an American paranormal/action/horror/found-footage television series, according to Wikipedia. That’s too many a slash for such a short TV series. I was mislead buying this series. I thought this is going to be a scientific, biological shizz. Well, it’s from the creators of Paranormal Activity, hence the same treatment they did.  It showed promise on the first few episodes, but went from ok to bad as the episodes unfold. The scare tactics they used are just too overpowering that the plot got lost along their Amazon tour.

The Good: Puerto Rico and Hawaii (the filming locations), Paulina Gaitan, Episode 2, Amazon cultural and ethnic traditions and rituals

The Bad: taboo and cliche scare tactics (read: zombie breakout in the jungle), Amazon cultural and ethnic traditions and rituals bastardized

3. Once Upon A Time

No. of Episodes: 22 (S1)

It’s your fairy tales living and breathing the present, without knowing they were from the books. Set in fictional Storybrooke, where these characters were stuck after evil queen/mayor cursed Snow White.  Then comes along Snow White’s daughter, the savior, with her son she gave away for adoption, to bring hope to the whole town.

It’s a pretty interesting series, especially seeing the twists on the back stories of some well-loved characters.

The Good: Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White, Little Red Riding hood’s story, Rumpletstiltskin

The Bad: Too dragging for 22 episodes

4. Grimm

No. of Episodes: 22 (S1)

It’s a police drama with the usual suspects turn out to be creatures called Wesens, character’s from Grimm Fairytales. Lead guy Nick is a Grimm, hunter of Wesens. The series is really captivating on the get go, with a quick but not steep development on the first episode. It’s action, fantasy, supernatural and suspense in a not so generic way.

The DVD I got only has the first 14 episodes, with the remaining 8 episodes I try catching on Chase.

The Good: Monroe, the ‘creatures’ of Grimm, Portland, Oregon

The Bad: Somewhere mid-series, the plot got lost among cases.

5. Mike and Molly

No. of Episodes: 24 (S1), 47 (total)

Mike and Molly is a sitcom about two overweight lovers dealing with life with sarcasm, self-deprecating humor, wit and food. Well, if those don’t hit home for me, then I don’t know what would. The wit and the abrasiveness of both Mike and Molly really takes this show a notch nearer my probably fat covered heart.

The Good: More than Mike and Molly, supporting characters loud-mouth Carl, sarcastic Samuel and dimwitted, pothead Victoria add so much more to the dynamics.

The Bad: Mike Biggs’ thick accent, and, let’s admit it, the downsides of being heavy

6. Game of Thrones

No. of Episodes: 20 (S1-2)

Well, Game of Thrones is Game of Thrones. Medieval and fantasy and geeky… with knights and kings and wars and castles and incest and dragons and blood and nudity. Can’t get any better.

We’ll, my fascination came around during the second season. With the first being too distracting for my taste.

The Good:  Medieval and fantasy and geeky… with knights and kings and wars and castles and incest and dragons and nudity.

The Bad: The books the series was based from are slowly attracting me, and I still have yet to buy.

Well, there are real good things to get from illegal stuff, but on the flip side are really unsatisfying things (Like how the DVD copy of the series Touch has only 5 out of the 12 episodes). I just hope my pirate friends here can sail higher seas and have copies of Awake, Suits and Persons Unknown to trade with me soon.

Argggh!

 

 

Advertisements

‘Lumayo ka nga sa TV’ REVIEW: Bob Ong’s Lumayo ka nga sa Akin

Itong ika-siyam na libro ni Bob Ong ay kulay pink.

Green

Yellow

Black

Orange

White

Red

Silver

Violet

Tapos itong pink.

Wala lang. Gusto ko lang banggitin yung mga kulay, bakit ba?

Base sa pabalat (naks!) nitong libro, at kung ikukumpara natin ito sa mga pabalat ng mga naunang akda ni Bob Ong, masasabi kong ito na yata ang pinakamahalay. Pero yung tipo ng halay na tolerable naman. Yung may nagkakagatan lang ng labi habang basa ng pawis tipo ng halay. (Isipin mo kung ito yung naging kulay ube na libro. Isipin mong maigi. Tapos mahalay ‘yung imahe sa cover. Ube. Halay. Patawarin nyo ako.)

Ok ‘tong librong ‘to. Binili ko ‘to nito lang 27, ilang linggo lang makaraan ang release. Binili ko ‘to na wala akong masyadong idea kung tungkol saan ba talaga itong ‘Lumayo ka nga sa Akin’. Hindi tulad nung kay Mama Susan na may naglipana nang book reviews na readily available na bago ko pa man din mabili yung libro. Ang alam ko lang telenobela-ish itong LknsA base sa teasers na ipinost ni BobOng sa internet. At kung babalikan nga natin iyong pabalat ng libro – may puso, may naglalaplapan naghahalikan, pink- ano pa nga ba ang maiisip mong nilalaman ng libro na ‘to? Hindi, hindi ito ‘Passionate Kissing 101’.

Nahahati itong libro sa tatlong unequal parts. Bale tatlong istorya ito na magkakaiba pero napagbuklod ng isang mind boggling na ending.

Syempre nakasulat itong aklat sa panibago at kakaibang paraan. Yung nakaraang akda ni BO ay nailahad sa atin via Galo’s journal entries. Eto naman parang script. Hindi yung script na typeface, ha? Yung script a la movie script. Hindi pala ‘a la’ dahil movie script talaga yung structure nung istorya.

___________________________

 Yung unang bahagi, entitled ‘Bala sa Bala, Kamao sa Kamao, Satsat sa Satsat’, ay isang maaksyong akda base sa pilosopiya ng Code of Hammurabi. Tungkol naman sa pag-alog at sa mga hatid nitong katatakutan yung ‘Shake, Shaker, Shakest’. Ang huling bahagi namang may pamagat na ‘Asawa ni Marie’ ay tungkol sa Greek god na si Poseidon, puno ng bayabas at sa isang diary. Ganyan yata yun. Basta, bumili na lang kayo para sure tayo.

Ulit.

Isang action movie yung una. Tapos yung pamilya nung bida pinatay ng mga bad guys nung kasal nya. Tapos nun may artistang babaeng self-righteous. May mga sidekick yung bida. Nandun din si Ron-Ron. At yung mga goons sa abandonadong warehouse. May whorehouse din na itatago natin sa tawag na beer garden. May cameo din si Dora.

Masyado nang marami yang spoilers ko. ‘Yan na yung key elements nung istorya. Makukuha nyo na yung flow ng movie nyan. You’re welcome.

___________________________

 Part Two.

Title:Shake, Shaker, Shakest

Genre: Suspense, Horror, Gore

Running Time: 30 minutes, more or less

Cast: Mang Carlos, Aling Cora, Mar, Aby, Samuel, Pundit, Samuel na Possessed

Summary: May stranded na pamilya. Tumuloy sila sa puting mansion permanently. Maraming agiw yung bahay. Tapos sinabi ni Pundit na meron silang sinumpang bagay. Tapos matutuyo na yung suka sa damit ni Samuel. Reality show star si Aby. Platinum recording artist si Mar. May ari ng bookstore sila Aling Cora at Mang Carlos. May sumpa.

___________________________

 Ang ikatlong bahagi naman ng aklat ay umiikot sa istorya ng pag-ibig, panlilinlang, kapusukan, kahirapan, kasakiman, pantasya at Botany. Dito matutunghayan natin ang masalimuot na buhay ni Marie na iibig nang tunay na sya namang tututhulan ng pagkakataon. Samahan natin si Marie sa bawat nyang pangarap, ngiti, luha, pagtibok ng puso, pagbabagong anyo, paghihilamos ng putik, pakikipagniig sa ibabaw ng iba’t ibang puno, pagtataksil at paghahanap ng kabiyak na willing wag mag-suot ng panty.

Abangan nyo na lang sa primetime.

___________________________

 Sobrang loaded nitong librong ito. Kailangan maging malawak ang isipan mo para naman maintindihan mo nang buong-buo iyong ipininapahatid ng LknsA.

Satirical yung tone nitong libro. Bale dinali ni Bob Ong dito yung dynamics ng generation ngayon, mass media to be specific.  Be it the movies, television, music, books, online behavior, lahat yan covered dito.

Ok na ok sa akin ‘to dahil napapansin ko na nitong mga nakaraang taon, bumababa yung quality ng mga pumapatok na bagay-bagay dito sa Pilipinas. Lalo na sa pelikula at telebisyon. Kung iisipin nga, base sa mga ihinahain sa atin ng mga producers na yan, parang ayaw na nila masyadong pag-isipin ‘yung mga audience nila.

Take for example itong Metro Manila Film Festival. During the past few years puro sequel, remake o rehash ang mga nagiging prominent entries sa box office. Kung meron mang mangilan-ngilang promising o bagong timplang pelikula ang sumasali, nagkakaroon ng nitpicking sa judging at hindi talaga malakas sa takilya yung mga pelikulang ‘bago’. May mali talaga. Mas sinusugalan na ng mga producer yung mga may ‘tried and tested formula’. Walang masyadong risks. Naikakahon na yung mga artista, pati mga viewers. Kung sabagay, mahal talaga ang mag-produce at nakakawasak naman kung hindi magbabalik ng pera yung investment mo. At mahirap magbenta ng bagong produkto sa mga consumer na may nakasanayan na.

Hindi ako mahilig manuod ng sine. Pero alam ko kung ano yung mga pumapatok. Madalas kagatin ng tao yung makakapagpatawa sa kanila o kaya yung makakapagpakilig. Hindi na mahalaga yung sustansya, yung storya. Hindi na bale kung walang kwenta umarte yung mga artista, basta mataas ang face value at may maipapakitang kung anu-ano.

Tama yung mga sidekick ni Diego sa part 1. Kailangan slapstick lagi, kailangan big time sa visuals. Yun kasi ang hanap ng mga tao. Kung akala mo sa mga pelikula lang ni Dolphy pumapatok yung mga slapstick skits na ganun, hindi kaya. Hindi uubra yung subtle attacks at witty quips na yan. Well, pwede siguro basta may scoring na kasabay na maghuhudyat na kailangan mo nang matawa.

Sa mga love story naman dito sa Pinas, panandaliang kilig lang. Lahat feel-good. Lahat bright and sunshiny. Hindi naman totoo yun. Well, hindi naman talaga totoo ang mga pelikula. Pero basta, masyadong idealistic.

Sa mga horror naman, hay nako. Napanood nyo ba yung pelikulang ‘White House’ ng Regal? Ganoon, nakakagawa ng ganoong kasaklap na horror movie. Walang character build-up, walang malinaw na plot, masaklap na casting and all that jazz. Nakadepende din sa scoring at visuals yung mga pananakot (na kung mamalasin pa, lalabas na katawa-tawa).

Napapanahon din yung mga resentment ni Bob Ong sa dynamics ng television ngayon. Malaki naman talaga ang nagiging epekto ng TV sa lifestyle ng mga tao, lalo na ng mga bata. Tulad din ng sa pelikula, may mga ‘tried and tested’ formulated shows ang mga pumapatok. May ibang magsasabi na may mga ‘bagong’ TV shows ngayon, but if you look at the bigger picture TV shows nowadays are either based on the plot of something else or a remake of this and a rehash of that. Hindi talagang maangkin na original.

Hindi mo rin naman masisisi yung mga gumagawa ng mga shows na ito kasi nga, business pa din ‘yun. Pera pa din. Tignan mo yung mga artista sa TV ngayon, masyado na silang marami pero hindi naman directly proportional sa bilang nila yung talentong naiko-contribute nila sa industriya. Konti lang ang sumisikat, at very volatile lang ang fame. Lahat kasi idinaaan sa face value. Na sya namang basehan ng pagtangkilik ng masa, na sya namang bumibili ng mga ginagawa ng mga producer, na tiyak namang kulang sa sustansya.

Hindi na din maingat ang media sa paglalabas ng sexually-charged visuals na very accessible sa mga bata, matanda, may malawak man na isipan o wala. Kaya masyadong bumibilis ang development ng kabataan ngayon e. Masyadong mapusok ang sense ng kagandahan na ipinapahatid ng media.

Madalas ding nabanggit sa libro yung short-attention span ng mga tao ngayon. Sa sobrang bilis ng information influx sa panahon ngayon, marami tayong input na nakukuha pero iilan lang yung talagang napoproseso natin. Lahat tayo maraming alam, pero hindi malalim na kaalaaman ang meron tayo. Jack of all trades, master of none. Kulang sa sustansya.

___________________________

 

Sobrang na-entertain ako sa libro na ito, marahil dahil matagal na ding naglalaro sa isip ko yung mgs kabulukan ng media. Pero hindi ko talaga alam kung yun talaga ang dahilan. Basta naka-relate ako sa librong ito.

Nakakahanga yung bagong paraan ng pagsulat ni Bob Ong sa librong ito. Nakakabilib. Ater nung ika-limang libro nya, masasabi ko na namiss ko yung fast-paced form ng mga libro ni Bob Ong. Yung cohesive pero walang solid na plot. A la green at yellow book. Pero magaganda din ‘tong mga nobela-ish books nya. Sabi ko nga, same soul, different body.

Nakakatawa itong ‘Lumayo ka nga sa Akin’. Sa tingin ko pantay lang yung ganda nito at nung ‘Mama Susan’. Magkaiba sila pero pantay yung pagkaaliw ko dito sa mga librong ito. Kung may pagka-ignorante ka sa mga kabuktutan (naks!) ng mga pelikula at tv dito sa Pilipinas, kailangan dagdagan mo pa ng konti yung lawak ng isip. Pero sa tingin ko naman aliw pa din kahit anong mangyari.

___________________________

PS. Maganda sigurong i-adapt to sa entablado. O kaya sa pelikula na. Eye-opener lang (o kaya isang malutong na sampal) para sa mga gumagawa ng mga bagay na pang-aliw sa pamamagitan ng media.  Sana malaman ng mga producer na humahanap din tayo ng sustansya mula sa mga produktong pinagkakakitaan nila. Although hindi naman masama yung ginagawa nila dahil wala namang naaagrabyado maliban dun sa mga higit na talentadong mga akda na nananankawan ng pagkakataon, sana lang i-consider din nila yung laman ng ginagawa nila. Sana din maging mas mapanuri din tayong mga tumatangkilik, in general. Hindi naman dapat maging sobrang mapili, tamang mapanuri lang