Feb 032014

Blacks sails at midnight!Black Sails is a television show about pirates currently airing on the Starz network. Because it is about pirates I knew that I would be watching it but the question is, will I enjoy watching it? Is it any good?

It is very good.

The first episode is about Captain Flint tryingto find a certain treasure laden ship but to find it, he has to raid a bunch of small next-to-penniless ships that know where the big ship is. He doesn’t tell his crew what he is up to so they have no idea why their big scary Captain is robbing these tiny ships and that pisses them off.

The first episode is concerned with the upcoming vote for Captain.  Movies tell us that pirate Captains were tyrants of the sea who had every order obeyed but in real life, pirates were the only democracy at sea.  Hell, they became pirates because they were sick of the tyranny that was common on Navy and merchant ships.  On a pirate ships, captains only serve at the pleasure of their crew and can be voted out on a regular basis.

If pirate politics is not your thing, then you might be interested in the sexy women that populate this show.  There is the sexy innkeeper who buys stolen goods and gets wet for people who steal things.  There is the sexy prostitute who is helping a lucky cook sell something important and there is the super sexy badass pirate chick who is the muscle for her Captain.  All in all, that is a pretty good range of female characters for a period piece.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that this series is supposed to be a prequel to Treasure Island but it didn’t impact my enjoyment at all.  This was an episode about bad people doing bad things to one another. This was also a lot of fun with a lot of ‘Holy shit! That just happened!’ humor. I am a big fan of characters who are in over their head and know it deep down in their bones.

I give it five out of five Pam Griers.

Jun 112013

Hemlock Grove is a series on Netflix. Tenebrous Kate wrote a hilarious review that convinced me to try it. It features two chain smoking teenagers who try to solve the gruesome murders of teenage girls in their area. One of them is a Gypsy kid who some people think is a werewolf and the other is a drug using mind-controlling rich kid. Together they fight crime! Poorly.

Poorly might be the best adjective for this series. The dialogue is often contradictory with itself. Characters are introduced and forgotten. Scenes happen and you wonder what the fuck that was all about. I turned the subtitles on not because I couldn’t hear what they were saying but because what they were saying made so little sense I needed to read it and see if I missed anything.

And yet, I watched all thirteen hours of it in a single weekend. For all of the incompetence in story telling, there were some elements that kept me hooked. Famke Jannssen was one of them. She plays the matriarch of the rich family with the worse British accent you have ever heard but also with the most delicious sexy evil. The rich family has a daughter, Shelley, who is the most adorable freak of nature/science you will ever see. Kandyse McClure plays a werewolf hunter who works for a secret order of Catholic monster hunters and how cool is that? There is also lots of sex, lots of violence and one of the coolest werewolf transformations I have ever seen. There is a lot of good in the piles of shit.

There is also three hundred and two mysteries in the storyline; mysteries that are actually helped by the incompetent story telling. A mystery will pop up and you will have an immediate anwser in your head. But twelve hours will pass by, barely reminding you that the mystery exists, chasing down other story lines half-heartedly and introducing characters and plots that have nothing to do with anything so that by the time the answer is revealed, it comes as a big fucking surprise because you ruled it out long ago as too obvious.

So many questions! Did the rich girl really have sex with an angel? What terrible beast is eating the sexy women of Hemlock Grove? Why does the rich boy sound like he is doing a bad impersonation of John Travolta from Grease? Why do they call the Gypsy boy hirsute when he is as hairless as a baby from the neck down? What is the scientist growing in his blue box? So many questions and half of them is just what the hell was the producers thinking?

But these mysteries are what drove the show for me. Unanswered questions is one of the biggest motivators for readers and watchers to finish a story. We want to know. We need closure.  Hemlock Grove drops so many mysteries and questions and yet takes it’s slow ass time watching the main characters smoke and exchange bad banter, that answers are rare and far between. Which kept me watching and wondering what will happen next.

I think there is an important lesson there. Hemlock Grove does so many things badly and yet the one thing it did well might be the most important – It made the viewer curious about what happens next.

In the spirit of Hemlock Grove’s incomprehensibility, I give it Two Raccoons out of Five Pam Griers.