Series Review: Disappointment Abounds In “Jupiter’s Legacy”

My series review for Jupiter’s Legacy on Film Festival Today.

This one was tough to write. If you’re planning to watch Jupiter’s Legacy, brace yourself. One thing I don’t cover in this review is the cavalier attitudes towards mental illness, addiction, and suicide.

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With the yo-yoing back and forth between centuries, plus an overcrowded cast of characters, plot threads get muddled or abandoned altogether … which causes the symbolism to grow murky and elicits uncomfortable questions… A few moments manage to shine, including an Episode-Seven fight sequence featuring the non-super-powered Hutch (Ian Quinlan). The show really would have benefitted from more of such ingenuity.

The ideas of generational divides, idealism vs. harsh reality and, perhaps the most important and underused of all, action vs. inaction, may be worthwhile in theory, but they just don’t deliver in execution.


Source: Disappointment Abounds In “Jupiter’s Legacy”

Having Way Too Much Fun

One of the unexpected delights of working on a podcast has been creating the audio previews. I enjoy making captions anyway – even for my professional video work – and mining each episode for snippets, choosing backdrops, and creating these little sneak peeks is way more fun than it should be.

Our listenership is small at this point, but I’m having a blast with the project, and it’s proven to be a healthy distraction during such a turbulent year, which, in my estimation, deems it worthwhile investment.

That said… [shameless plug incoming]…if you haven’t checked out the podcast but have even a smidgen of interest in Stranger Things, 80s pop culture, nerdy stuff, or intellectual tv/film analysis, wander over and check out Coffee & Contemplation!

“Mornings are for Coffee & Contemplation.”

I’m a podcaster! The first episode of my new podcast, Coffee & Contemplation is now live. It’s a journey back through the world of Stranger Things from a post-season three perspective. Expect spoilers, in-depth, close readings of the story and technique behind the series, and gushing over our favorite moments and characters.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and more, and join the conversation on Facebook and Tumblr.

“Stranger Things 4 Will Not Be the Show’s Final Season”

ScreenRant Article by Rachel Gibson: 
Matt and Ross Duffer…announce they are not ending the series after season 4 and know how it will conclude.


If you know me at all, you know how much I love this show. Including season two, unlike the rest of the world, apparently. However, I did not love season three (also unlike the rest of the world). The seasons have grown steadily less restrained; from season one’s cool, austere tone and brilliant efficiency in its storytelling, to season three’s broad humor and presentation. Personal preferences may vary, but from what I’ve gathered, the general response from both the fandom and casual viewers alike seems to be that season one continues to reign supreme among the three. I’m left to wonder if the show overall has strayed into “too much of a good thing” territory. That said, when the credits rolled on the final episode of season three (prior to the post-credits scene), I was a bundle of mixed feelings.

*minor spoilers ahead*

The thought of never seeing the characters again – leaving most of them suspended in circumstances that ranged from bittersweet and sad to disheartening and inconclusive – the idea of never returning to wrap up certain arcs? It stings.

At the same time, I also found that the massive reveal in the season four teaser trailer did not generate excitement or relief, but frustration. I’m glad that a certain character will make a return – that he’s not, yanno, dead – but I feel unnecessarily emotionally manipulated. Almost resentful over the emotional turmoil we were put through last season, just to have it get magically undone. Somehow. Because reasons. Meanwhile, I  can also appreciate the difficulty the creators were faced with because it’s been my belief that the show had neither reached a natural conclusion nor has it struck an organic flow to continue.

So, the ScreenRant article’s headline may have induced a heavy sigh from me, but the content therein actually led me to be cautiously optimistic. I still think the sentiment of “know when to walk away,” is called for, but this specific quote jumped out at me:

Ross [Duffer] went on to explain that the Covid-19 pandemic has given them the time to reflect on the direction they want to take the show in. They have been able to fill out more of the story’s plot and have discovered just how long they will need to finish the story while giving the series the best possible ending.

I personally felt that season three felt uncharacteristically rushed, even a bit bloated. There were definitely aspects that I enjoyed – I continue to be impressed with Steve Harrington’s growth as a character, I’m completely on board for more of his friendship with Robin (not to mention Robin as a character overall), and the scenes between Karen and Nancy Wheeler are some of the best scenes in the whole series. I loved getting to see Lucas land some seriously impressive blows with the wrist-rocket, Alexei was a delight, as was Murray speaking Russian and his eventual bonding with Alexei, Dustin calling Erica out for being a nerd was super satisfying, and – separate from the “Neverending Story” sequence – I love Suzie and hope to see her return in the seasons to come. 
 
Still, those positive pieces felt outweighed by the bigger missteps, where it seemed to lose focus, lose the emotional connection with some of the characters (namely with Mike and Hopper). So I’ve got my guard up. Reading the SR article, though, if the Duffers really mean what they say, if they’re sincerely taking advantage of this forced pause in the proceedings and they’re actually building towards a deliberate conclusion rather than just keep barrelling on ahead without any clear finish line, then I’m on board to at least give it a chance.
 

Gilmore Girls: The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton

Season 1, Episode 2: The Lorelais’ First Day at Chilton
Directed by Arlene Sanford, Written by Amy Sherman-Palladino
Air date: October 12th, 2000

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I did not realize this until I researched the production details of this episode, but director Arlene Sanford directed three episodes of Nashville, an episode of Friends, and, to my great surprise, nineteen of twenty episodes of little known show The Torkelsons, which I adored as a teenager.  The Torkelsons was very successful at creating a believable warmth by way of an unquestionable sense of home and family, which lends itself naturally to the likes of Gilmore Girls.  

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Why I Like: Gilmore Girls

GG 2One of the highlights of my young life came in the summer of 2008, when I was working in Marina del Rey, CA and, on my day off, drove to Burbank and took the Warner Brothers VIP Tour.  I wore my ‘Luke’s Diner’ t-shirt, which I still have today.  Needless to say, I’m rather a big fan of Gilmore Girls.  Unlike many of the other fandoms to which I belong, however, there’s something a trifle mysterious and – dare I say – even out of place with this show.  Most of my other escapes are to faraway worlds with the flair of the fantastical; Hogwarts, Gotham City, Pern, Middle Earth, Dragaera, Gallifrey, and so on.  These universes, and the stories that take place within them, have all been well traversed, speaking to me on many different levels.  From adolescence and early adulthood, they have proved to be the tools that would shed light on my innermost identity, shape who I am as a writer/filmmaker/creative and continue to help me understand and trust myself during my darkest hours.   Gilmore Girls was no less instrumental in this process, but I still find myself at a bit of loss to explain why.  To start with, fantasy worlds provide built-in escapism, but Gilmore Girls is a real-world sentimental drama series.  Harry Potter (along with several of the others) place heavy emphasis on what it means to be powerful; Hogwarts has been the place where I go to remember my inner strength and find adventure.

So what drew me – and kept me attached – to Gilmore Girls? 

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