What Have I Been Watching? October 2020 edition

Well, I have not been getting out to the theater much lately, but with the pandemic, very few of us are. However, I have been streaming a lot lately. I’ve also converted my entire DVD/Blu-Ray library over to Plex and have been watching a lot more of the things I already owned as a result. You know, now that I no longer have to face that epic struggle of standing up, walking over to the DVD player, and putting in a disc.

As part of her ongoing cultural literacy, we have been watching Star Trek (TOS) with my daughter. We’re in early season 2 at this point. We’ve also been watching Star Trek Lower Decks, and of course, half the references are going right over her head. But she’s enjoying it. Why this? Why now? Because I made a reference to “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario,” a few months back, and my wife and I realized our daughter had no frame of reference for it. So, it’s family TV night—something we weren’t able to do for most of her childhood. For reasons that are a whole’nuther story.

I’ve also been watching Masters of Sex. I’d heard good things about it, and it is good, but I have to pause every so often because I get fed up with Bill Masters. At least Don Draper was a handsome asshole. I’ve also been watching Killing Eve, which is all fucked up in its own unique ways. And I’ve been rewatching the old M*A*S*H series from the 70s. I’m about halfway through season 2 on all three of these.

It’s interesting watching M*A*S*H because this particular transfer seems to have gone back to the original film stock and done an HD 1080p widescreen transfer. That’s nice and all, but I’m noticing a lot of issues that were hidden in the lower resolution and general fuzziness of the original 480i signal. In particular, the lighting looks much more like it’s on a soundstage, while the original version’s lighting looked much more like they were in those real environs.

I suspect it’s that the original crew had a gut feel for how what they saw with their eyes would end up looking on the old TVs and could light and shoot for that, but the HD transfer from the film just aimed to faithfully capture what was there. It reminds me of how the bandana worn by the real cavalry was often brown or dark red, but it became yellow in films because the darker colors didn’t look good on black-and-white filmstock. They shot M*A*S*H for their target medium, and it doesn’t look quite right in this new one.

As for movies, I did see Mulan but not Tenant. I saw Old Guard but not Hamilton. And I’d say I didn’t see Bill & Ted Face the Music except that I really mean to say that I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll get to it. The last film I actually saw in a physical theater was Emma back in March, two days before we went into lockdown. It was OK, but overall “meh”. I’m looking forward to getting back to the theater, if for nothing else than I wouldn’t want that to be the last film I ever got to see on the big screen.

I’ve also been watching some TV series on the treadmill, though for various excuses reasons excuses I haven’t been so good about it in the last month or so. I’ve got those on a 7-day rotation to keep me motivated to not skip a day. Clearly that hasn’t been working so well recently, but here they are:

Sundays: Supernatural, currently in season 13 – NO SPOILERS!
Mondays: Netflix’s Marvel shows, in order. Currently in Jessica Jones Season 2.
Tuesdays: a bit of a wildcard but currently in season 1 of Star Trek Discovery
Wednesdays: The Expanse, currently season 2
Thursdays: Battlestar Galactica, the reboot, currently late season 3
Fridays: Babylon 5, currently late season 3
Saturdays: another wildcard, currently iZombie season 5.

And that’s it for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll manage to get back to iZombie tomorrow.

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