July Medialogging
By Dwip July 31, 2014, 10:56 pm Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

And so, another month passes. Lots of Dresden Files. Lots of film and TV. I thought we were actually going to be going through a bunch of non-fiction, but apparently it was very important to watch some things.

So it goes.

YTD stats:

January:
February:
March: : 4 books; 4 fiction (1,450 p.) / 3 videos; 1 movies (2.6 h.); 2 TV seasons (15.2 h.)
April: : 5 books; 1 graphic (136 p.); 4 fiction (1,269 p.) / 1 videos; 1 TV seasons (6 h.)
May: : 8 books; 5 graphic (1,352 p.); 1 fiction (465 p.); 2 non-fiction (829 p.) / 2 videos; 2 TV seasons (11 h.)
June: : 17 books; 5 graphic (1,584 p.); 12 fiction (4,483 p.) / 1 videos; 1 TV seasons (4.8 h.)
July: 7 books; 6 fiction (3,221 p.); 1 non-fiction (576 p.) / 7 videos; 1 anime series (10.6 h.); 4 movies (7.7 h.); 2 TV seasons (10.5 h.)

Year to Date: 41 books; 11 graphic (3,072 p.); 27 fiction (10,888 p.); 3 non-fiction (1,405 p.) / 14 videos; 1 anime series (10.6 h.); 5 movies (10.3 h.); 8 TV seasons (47.5 h.)

Details for July after the jump.

07/01/2014 Jim Butcher, Small Favor (2009 Roc mass market paperback, 545 pages – Personal collection, 2012)

I keep talking about how this series is now firing on all cylinders here, but come on. Summer Court assassins? Denarian plotting? Each one of these could have easily been an entire book, and in the early days probably would have been.

That said, I’m not wholly sure what to say about it. Obviously I’m a huge fan of the Carpenters, and I love their dynamic with Harry, and I’ll be sad to be seeing less of Michael from here on out. The final parts of this book are a real punch to the gut, and I think we can all put ourselves in Harry’s shoes in the chapel.

I guess this would probably be a good time to talk about exactly why I like the Carpenters. Individually, of course, they’re all awesome – He’s a Knight of the Cross! She’s an asskicking blacksmith! Their daughter is a master of illusion magic! Together, they fight supernatural crime! But collectively, and you see this any time Harry is actually in the Carpenter household, they’re about as close to the perfect family as this series is ever gonna get, and that’s a very nice and comforting thing to have in a series that revolves around a whole bunch of characters who are often desperately searching for that kind of family. DIE ALONE and everything to do with Harry and his (lack of) family aren’t just there for kicks.

Dug the (three!) big ass fight scenes, especially the train station, though obviously it’s the island that’s important. Too, I love how Butcher can make the Gruffs both menacing and comic at the same time.

Got a bit of whiplash here – not two books ago Fix and Lilly were tight as hell with Harry, and now we’ve got Fix holding a shotgun on him. Along with Mab, the whole faerie arc here is what makes the faeries so terrifying, to hark back to Summer Knight for a moment – you never, ever quite know where you stand with them or what they’re really doing even if they tell you straight up. I got troubles with that, and obviously so does Harry.

And, speaking of whiplash, remember when it was, like, a really big deal to go to Murphy’s house? Hell, remember when she didn’t even trust Dresden? And now it’s like whatever, all the Wardens are kicking it at Murphy’s, it’s all cool. Murph’s come a long ways with Dresden. And, to continue that thought, Dresden’s definitely moving out of the solo crimefighter thing to the Justice League thing. Used to be, all his various allies were either secret from each other, didn’t trust each other, or both, and now we’ve got the Wardens chilling at Murphy’s house.

And to continue down that train of thought, remember the last time Dresden actually went to his office and had somebody show up there to give him a case? He and Mab are maybe a bit past that at this point in their relationship, I guess, but still. That whole private investigator thing is rapidly reaching the end of its shelf life.

I too want a doughnut.

07/04/2014 Jim Butcher, Turn Coat (2010 Roc mass market paperback, 563 pages – Personal collection, 2012)

I never remember this book fondly. After all, it’s the one with Morgan in it, and man, screw that guy.

But that’s being really unfair. This is, continuing the streak of every Dresden Files book in a long while being better than the one before it, at least the equal of Small Favor.

It says something that we’re eleven books into this series and we’re really just now getting a look at the day to day of the White Council, but here we are. And, along the way, we get a nice big dose of what Harry must have gone through with them all these years, twisted and flipped around a bit, with the odd vampire and really creepy nasty evil creature thrown in for good measure, plus some kind of nature elemental and a few werewolves.

We’ve been sort of working our way back to the whole troubles in the White Council arc for a couple of books now in a roundabout way, and this book confronts it head on, with all the crazy politics of the thing on full display. We’ll be getting more of it later, but I especially like all the interactions Dresden has with the Senior Council, some of whom (Ancient Mai!) are getting their first real appearances here.

The White Court continues to be a favorite faction, and I quite enjoy Lara Raith’s frenemy relationship with Dresden, and the aura of malice, sexuality, but also something almost like trust that it exudes. Lara and Harry aren’t friends, but they make good allies.

Also, for as much as one loathes Morgan even through this book, his ultimate fate ended up being quite touching and thought provoking. Wrong though he was, enemy though he was, he’s one of those guys that really walks the walk, and he went out walking his particular brand of walk in a hell of a way.

Less overjoyed about the skinwalker. As villains go, it seemed a little…geriatric most of the time, and for all its power it was less frightening than somebody like Nicodemus, and less interesting than the vampire subplot and the White Council subplot.

Too, this is where Harry really starts to take some levels in badass. He’s been steadily climbing the power ladder for a while now, but it’s one thing to get a more power, it’s quite another to bind yourself to a powerful being and subsequently offer to throw down with all comers. More on that later.

07/04/2014 Jim Butcher, Changes (2011 Roc mass market paperback, 546 pages – Personal collection, 2012)

Never has a title been more appropriate to the contents of a book than this one.

And never has a spoiler warning been more appropriate than right now, because I’m about to spoil all major plot points. Maybe want to read this series? TL;DR, this is easily the best book in the series bar none, totally worth reading its eleven predecessors for, and you should stop reading this right now and go buy it.

In fact, there are so many changes in this book, it’s hard to even know where to start with them. We’re twelve books in now, and in the first eleven of them Harry has built up an entire world around himself of people, places, and things. By the end of Turn Coat he’s turning into a major player.

And then Changes hits and systematically destroys all of it. War with the vampires that’s been going on for like 9 books? Yeah, that’s done. We’ve been moving pretty far beyond the whole private investigator wizard thing for a long time now (Harry hasn’t even been back to his office in, what, four books or so now?) but this book puts an end to that fairly permanently, plus takes away all of Harry’s (and Murphy’s!) good will in the police department. Even Harry’s apartment is done for. His relationship with Susan was pretty much over for a long time, too, but boy is it ever done now and in easily the best climactic ending in the entire series to date.

Hell, there’s so much going on in this book even the throwaway stuff would normally be a major plotline in another book in the series. What the hell is up with Cristos, the Black Council, and whatever happened in Edinburgh, i.e., all of the major set ups from the last book? No idea. Harry’s got bigger fish to fry.

Which, by the way, Harry’s a father and his daughter is in trouble. The Dresden Files as a series spends a great deal of time talking about family relationships or the lack thereof, and toying around with different concepts, be it Murphy’s mostly normal family, Thomas’ hellscape of a family, the Carpenter nirvana, or Harry’s complete lack of a family. And now he’s suddenly got one, and Changes poses and answers the question of exactly what would Harry do for his children. And the answer is quite a lot.

And you have to figure that Jim Butcher is a father and that he had to have thought long and hard about that particular question before writing Changes. He also had to know what exactly he was doing with all of his changes, which shows in all of the hooks and foreshadowing here. This is, from the title onwards (oooh, one word title and not two, this book is going to be big!), easily the best written book in the entire series and probably one of the best in my collection. Butcher has come a long way from the days of “well, what’s one more group of werewolves in the book?” to a book where I can’t think of a single out of place scene. The drama is dramatic, the humor is humorous, the moments are momentous, and we Dresden fans are going to be coming back to this book for the rest of the series. This is probably the manual on how to write sweeping changes to your series.

I could go on gushing, but I think I’ll end by noting that every time I’ve read Changes, I blew through it in a single sitting. It’s absolutely riveting, the single best Dresden Files book to date.

07/05/2014 Jim Butcher, Ghost Story (2012 Roc mass market paperback, 598 pages – Personal collection, 2012)

In which the…well…changes in Changes come home to roost in entirely unexpected but thoroughly obvious ways once you figure out what’s up.

This is obviously a book about Harry Dresden’s ghost reaching out to affect the world he left behind. It is also, of course, about his figurative ghost still affecting the people and places he left behind. Molly, Murphy, and Thomas are complete wrecks, to say nothing of the Chicago without Harry’s protection. We’ve spent years seeing Harry protect Chicago, and now here we are without him, and it’s pretty bad, pretty postapocalypse.

This is also a book about manipulation. To one extent or another this entire series has been about manipulation in one way or the other, be it from the fae, archangels, Denarians, vampires…everybody, really, but this is the book that makes a lot of explicit. Uriel’s running a bit of a con on Harry, his underlings are running one on him, Molly’s conning just about everybody, Harry’s trying to run one on Mab, Mab’s running one on Harry, and the list goes on.

All of this CIA stuff makes Ghost Story a strange read. Whereas Changes was finely honed to a point with no scene out of place, it’s hard to make heads or tails of a lot of what happens in Ghost Story. What’s the point with the whole Fitz subplot? What’s with the Fomor? Who was that statue in the graveyard? What’s the deal with He Who Walks Behind? It’s hard to make heads or tails of a lot of this, and so you end up with two possible approaches to reading the book: either all of this in service to the greater series plot, or Butcher completely flubbed it after Changes.

I tend towards the former view. Considering we’re still dealing with ramifications of things that happened at least as far back as Dead Beat (hi Corpsetaker! Hi Evil Bob!), I think Ghost Story is serving as the setup book for the next major series arc, and we have no idea what that is as of yet.

07/07/2014 Jim Butcher, Cold Days (2012 Roc hardcover, 515 pages – Personal collection, 2012)

If we’re going to cast Harry Dresden as a Christ-like figure (and I’m pretty sure we’re going to be going there sooner or later), and if Changes was Golgotha and Ghost Story is that bit between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, Cold Days gets to be the Resurrection itself.

And how. Also, remind me to keep going in this Jesus Christ vein once we get to Skin Game.

For now, well, we’ve been all been sort of waiting for that other shoe to drop on the whole Mab-offers-Winter-Knight-mantle-to-Harry-several-times-with-hyphens situation for ages now, and here we are. And you know how way back when I was talking about Summer Knight I talked about deeply scary the faeries were? Yeah, lot of frightening things in this book in that regard.

More importantly, to go back to the Christ thing, Changes almost entirely killed off what came before it in the series, and Ghost Story was something of a Purgatory between that and what we’re getting now, which is the start of a revalation of what’s coming next. And this goes on on all sorts of levels. Harry obviously took a couple levels in badass as we can see (it’s almost shocking to compare him now to even four books ago), and this is where we learn a lot about what the true stakes here are with the revealing of the Outsiders as a faction and some of what’s really been going on with the faerie courts this entire time. Oh, and they have some kind of creepy plague thing, which obviously in no way ties back to the whole Shroud of Turin and Nicodemus trying to create a supernatural plague business. I don’t know why references to that would ever come up again.

Likewise, absolutely nothing at all could go wrong with Molly’s new gig.

07/08/2014 Jim Butcher, Skin Game (2014 Roc hardcover, 454 pages – Personal collection, 2014)

Unlike previous entries in this Dresden thing, this is the first one I’m reading for the first time, so I’m going to be a lot more scattershot about talking about it.

First, I find it quite amusing that for a while now we’ve all been talking during Payday 2 games about how cool a Dresden Files RPG game revolving around bank heists would be without my having any idea whatsoever what this novel was about.

Second, as a throwaway line to stop people from trying to tell me Skin Game spoilers, I got into the habit of saying “Yes, yes, obviously Harry gets pregnant. Duh.” Imagine my surprise when I found out this is, in fact, what happens.

I mean, what are the odds, right?

As far as the plot goes, I dig the move from detective novel to heist novel, both because it worked great as an Oceans Eleven type thing and because we’ve all been waiting for this Winter Knight thing to well and truly bite Harry in the ass, and here it is well and truly biting Harry in the ass with a super sized order of moral quandaries. So that’s fun.

Again, there is no possible connection between Outsiders, the creepy mental corruption explicitly discussed in Cold Days and implicitly hinted at prior, Nicodemus, the whole Shroud of Turin as power source for supernatural plague to create new world order thing, and stealing the actual artifacts of the Crucifixion.

And to harken back to all that Christ imagery I was throwing about in Cold Days I’m sure it’s just coincidence that Harry has died and been reborn and takes a number of wounds in this book explicitly matching up with the wounds Christ took on the cross. Almost sure that has nothing to do with anything.

Raise your hand if you cheered out loud and fist pumped when Michael showed up.

Butters, for that matter, is about the last person I would have expected to become a Knight of the Cross, but it’s an awesome bit of character growth and an awesome way to subvert the obvious Karrin Murphy-as-Knight foreshadowing (although I still wonder), and in any event Harry’s various not-quite-Superfriends have all been picking up levels in badass lately so why not Butters.

We’re clearly moving into Epic territory fairly rapidly here, by the by.

07/10/2014 Tom Ricks, The Generals (2012 Penguin hardcover, 576 pages – Corvallis Public Library)

I am, it should be stated up front, something of an admirer of Tom Ricks’, as well as a long time reader of his blog, which I would link to you if it weren’t mired behind the abyss of the Foreign Policy website, as well as his books Fiasco and The Gamble which greatly informed my thinking on our late sojurn in Iraq.

This book, however, is a curious sort of thing. It purports to examine US Army generalship during and since the Second World War, and takes as its core thesis a set of ideals set forth by General George C. Marshall, foremost among them the idea of rapid relief of incompetent officers.

What it actually does is something different and I think not altogether coherent. While each of its sections (World War II, Korea, Vietnam, post-Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan) mostly contain coherent narratives and are right on the major themes, those narratives do not always support the major thesis particularly well, and the relatively short length of the book versus the subject means that Ricks becomes prone to rather sweeping characterizations and statements with relatively little backing inside the narrative, or to rather major digressions that do not always serve to further the points he’s attempting to make.

The section on World War II generals, for instance, is organized into a series of case studies on particular officers (Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, Mark Clark, and Terry Allen) with a bit of narrative on Eisenhower versus Montgomery. These are all relatively brief treatments, and considering how often figures like Douglas MacArthur and Omar Bradley come up late in the book, it’s rather puzzling to see almost nothing of them appear here. In many ways, the World War II section of the book is thematically and organizationally seperate from the rest of the book.

The Korea chapters start roughly in the same vein before detouring off into a somewhat overly detailed account of the epic fight at the Chosin Reservoir. While an interesting subject, it tends to obscure rather more important points, such as why Matthew Ridgway was such a good general. For that matter, this entire book is likely best read by people with a good grounding in the conflicts discussed – if you’re not sure what Chosin or Inchon were, or Anzio, or the broad outline of the invasion of Sicily, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Starting with the Vietnam chapters, we start going to a different place in the narrative, with a discussion of Westmoreland as a leader abruptly veering into a narrative on the course of the war different from the previous sections. It then uses that narrative to expand into a discussion of the post-Vietnam rebuilding of the Army before suddenly moving back into case studies of individual generals for the two Gulf Wars and a brief bit on Afghanistan.

On page 25, Ricks lists a set of attributes set down by Marshall as being ideal for a leader, including common sense, a knowledge of their profession, physical strength, cheer and optimism, an energetic manner, extreme loyalty, and determination. He then goes on to lay out how these virtues worked in World War II.

What Ricks does not seem to do, and this puzzles me, is to explain the transition between the generals of World War II and the, as Ricks describes it, corporatized and bureaucratized generals of the succeeding eras, nor does he seem to recognize that many of these traits (physical emphasis, optimism, loyalty) are at least partially responsible for the corporate and bureaucratic atmosphere of later years. Nor, for all the discussion of personnel policy, does he entirely explain how the policies of the 1940s and 50s led to the debacle of the 60s or how the successful generals of World War II failed to properly pick their successors. This seems a glaring hole.

All of that having been said, there are parts of this book that shine. Ricks has gone fairly deep into the mind of William DePuy, and thus his discussion of the post-Vietnam rebuilding of the Army and its doctrine is engrossing and thought provoking. In particular, he makes the point that the Army’s move away from its hard-won lessons of counterinsurgency in Vietnam and towards tactical level fights against the Soviet Union in Europe, led by DePuy, made the Army extremely successful in that type of fight, but effectively destroyed any competency at the former or in understanding the political nature of war, opening the gap for what Ricks deems a tactical success/strategic failure in the first Gulf War followed by what amount to strategic defeats or draws in both the second Iraq war and Afghanistan. He is further able to leverage his own writing on those wars to discuss the particular failures of the various generals in those wars, from Powell and Scwartzkopf to Franks and Sanchez. There’s a lot in there I hadn’t considered previously, and this book is worth it if only for this sort of connection.

For all of that and his discussions of a lack of strategic ability and thinking among generals, Ricks seems largely reticent to discuss the other half of that problem – a lack of strategic ability and thinking among senior civilian officials that seems to hobble the points he’s making somewhat.

To summarize this long and disjointed essay, The Generals is a surprisingly short and disjointed book that is nevertheless a fairly reasonable overview of a number of topics possibly discussed better in more specialized books or a much larger version of this one. It’s clear that Ricks has his finger on something very important here, but isn’t expressing it quite as well as he perhaps might have.

07/12/2014 Adam Reed, et al., Archer: The Complete Season Four (2014 20th Century Fox DVD, 286 minutes, 13 episodes – Corvallis Public Library)

Per previous commentary on this show, Archer continues to be absolutely hilarious, and it’s full of well-written episodes that make me laugh.

And I got nuthin’. For 20 minutes or so, I laugh, and then I turn the show off, and 5 minutes later I’ve forgotten everything. I realize I keep railing about Archer’s complete lack of anything substantive, but man, it’s true. There are comedies you can discuss at length, about the references, about the points it makes, about the commentaries it makes on things, and so on and so forth. With Archer all you’ve got is a discussion of how offensively hilarious its jokes are and how I can’t stop saying “holy shit snacks!” now. And that seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

And yet I enjoy the show.

07/14/2014 Doug Liman, et al., The Bourne Identity (2004 Universal Studios DVD, 119 minutes – Personal collection, 2007)

07/14/2014 Paul Greengrass, et al., The Bourne Supremacy (2004 Universal Studios DVD, 109 minutes – , 2007)

07/15/2014 Paul Greengrass, et al., The Bourne Ultimatum (2007 Universal Studios DVD, 116 minutes – Personal collection, 2007)

I’ve now seen the Bourne movies quite a few times. They’re probably the best action/spy movies of their generation with the possible exception of the Daniel Craig Bonds, with a really great mixture of suspense, action, intrigue, and backstabbery that makes each of them a joy to watch. I’d never expect Matt Damon of all people to an action star, but he’s basically perfect for the role of Jason Bourne.

So they’re good movies. I think we all knew that. pity they never made another one. But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about.

See, the thing about these movies that resonated with me is how very American they are by contrast with, say, Bond. In any given Bond movie, you can usually expect some for Queen and country patriotism, and everybody from 007 on down is essentially doing the right thing and doing it pretty well.

Zero of these things are true for Bourne. Oh, Bourne himself does the right thing, except the times when he doesn’t, but nobody else does, and man is the CIA corrupt and evil and most of them outright suck at their jobs.

And you’ve got to wonder. The Bourne Identity was published in 1980 as a novel. That’s a scant few years after the Church Committee came out with revalations on the various abuses and incompetencies of the US intelligence agencies. And you add COINTELPRO and MKULTRA and the CIA’s history of assasinations and coups, and it’s pretty easy to see how you might get Jason Bourne out of those things. And in a world with the Patriot Act and “enhanced interrogation techniques” it’s fairly easy to see why you might bring him back.

07/27/2014 Shinichiro Watanabe, Cowboy Bebop (2001 Bandai DVD, 637 minutes, 26 episodes – Personal collection, 2007)

Amigo!

Cowboy Bebop is a show that I’ve quoted an awful lot from on here, but I’ve never really talked about. And now I’m doing this big giant series of posts where I experience things and write about them and I just finished Cowboy Bebop for the umpteenth time and…

…shit guys, shit.

Every so often, you read something, or watch something, or hear something, and you know and feel that it’s a great thing that’s going to stick with you, and also that it is absolutely outside of your powers of comprehension to describe effectively. This is going to be one of those times, but I’m going to give it a shot. I’m gonna carry that weight, so to speak.

Let me start by linking you to this series of posts, which greatly informed my rewatching of the series this time about. I think maybe I learned something, and that guy expresses what I’m going to try to say better than I can.

Now, fresh off the end of The Real Folk Blues, what the hell do I say here.

This is a show, nominally, about a group of down on their luck bounty hunters cruising about space in 2071 with a dog and a preteen girl hacking genius. It’s a mixture of space western, noir detective novel, martial arts flick, and bizzare comedy stirred together with a healthy dose of bebop and jazz music. It’s the sort of thing that shouldn’t work, yet from the moment that Tank! starts blaring to kick off the intro, it all somehow does.

The music, of course, is fantastic. Yoko Kanno’s work is astoundingly addictive, even if you hate all the genres she draws from. The score for Cowboy Bebop is one of the few where the vocal tracks actually work out, and it veers between light little instrumental pieces, brassy big band stuff, loud RAWK, and tinny little music box numbers effortlessly.

This is me forcing myself to not link like ten random YouTube videos of songs here. Instead, I’m just going to leave you the one scene that shows everything I’m trying to say here.

The music, though, is one part of a larger whole which turns out to be greater than the sum of all those parts I mentioned up there. Make no mistake, the episodes in this show is frenetic and random, and the lineup of the first few episodes goes from “tragic remake of Desperadoes” to “a madcap homage to Bruce Lee movies with a serial pet thief” to “femme fatale in the casino!” to “Greenpeace! In spaaaaaaaace!” to “ultra-artsy cathedral shootout”. Later, we’re going to get Heaven’s Gate and a homage to the Batman animated series.

Shit gets crazy, you know? It’s kind of like a Tarantino movie. There’s a guy who loves his cinema, knows how to take a homage and make it his own thing. And Cowboy Bebop does the same thing, only it does it in every episode in different ways, sometimes multiple things in the same episode. While the series is completely enjoyable to the casual viewer, it also very much rewards people with some knowledge of film with a very dense layer of references that serve to reinforce the further layers of metaphor and allegory that in turn reinforce the message of the overarching story.

And yes, I just got pretty English major there. I’m as surprised as you are. I hated all that stuff in high school. And yet, it works here. Cowboy Bebop is about a lot of things. It is about nothing. It is about the past. It is about the present. It is about futility and loss. It is about focusing so hard on the one thing you miss the things in front of you.

I could go on, but it’s the sort of thing you have to watch for yourself. Suffice it to say, I can see a lot of myself in Spike Spiegel. Maybe too much.

07/26/2014 Shinichiro Watanabe, et al., Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (2003 Sony DVD, 115 minutes – Personal collection, 2007)

I’m not entirely sure what to say about the Cowboy Bebop after everything I just said about Cowboy Bebop itself. As an extended Cowboy Bebop episode it kind of works, and if you just couldn’t carry that weight after the final episode of the main show it’s great to see all the characters again, and as an extension of the themes from the show I guess it basically works, but I don’t altogether love it as a movie. It doesn’t do much.

Then again, maybe that’s the point.

07/29/2014 Vince Gilligan, et al., Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season (2009 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD, 346 minutes, 9 episodes – Corvallis Public Library)

In which we watch a sitcom about making meth.

One season into this thing and I’m of two minds about it. On the one hand, it’s funny, it’s clever, sometimes intense, and all the ingredients are here to make something really great. Maybe in the later seasons we’ll really get as great a show as they say this is. I was certainly enthralled enough watching this season.

On the other hand, it’s not without problems. I’m willing to forgive a lot in order to make a show work for me, but I’m not altogether buying Walter White’s motivations in descending into epic criminality. Don’t get me wrong, the initial “I’ll make some meth to take care of my family” setup is good good stuff, and I really loved the entire arc with Crazy 8.

And then Grey Matter hit and it just didn’t do a particularly wonderful job of explaining to me why Walt is throwing up a giant middle finger to everyone. It further doesn’t much help that I more and more loathe Skyler White, who seems thoroughly unlovable, astoundingly clueless, and constantly 30 seconds from starring as the wife in an American Beauty remake. If I didn’t like the other characters so much, I’d throw my hands up and quit. Seriously, Walt, you’re doing all of this for this woman? Oi. It’s a little hard to picture Skyler White as the launcher of a thousand meth ships, here.

Of course, I am apparently not alone in this.

But this is the first season of a show, and a first season that apparently got thrown sideways by the writer’s strike of the time. So we’ll see where it goes.


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