Animaniacs Reboot s1e1: Jurassic Lark

Air Date: November 20, 2020

Rating: 10/10

The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) are back! And Pinky and the Brain manage to take over the world!…for a bit.

As an adult who likes children’s cartoons, this is pretty good. I suppose the Animaniacs has always been a cartoon that can be enjoyed by children as well as adults. They’ve always snuck in more grown-up jokes that kids probably won’t get along with the off-the-wall zaniness.

I think this might be a reboot I can get behind, but it’s also playing it safe in this initial “re-pilot.” It involves four separate sketches, though one is a continuation of another. And the first is incredibly short (but really funny). Within twenty minutes there are two songs, and a Pinky and the Brain sketch. I would say that the music and the two world-domination-obsessed mice were two of the biggest pulls of the old show. This isn’t a bad thing though, and I hope to see more of both these things as the show continues but it’s a bit obvious they’re sticking to their strengths for this.

I know people were complaining about this show getting too political but it doesn’t seem to be so much in this episode (just a tad). There were always some jokes centered around politics in the initial series, such as the “Bill Clinton plays the sax” line in the original opening. Something they changed when he was no longer in office. I’m just saying the Animaniacs being a little political isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just so long as it’s not what they’re leaning on most. It’s just not that type of show.

SCORING:

+10: A great start to hopefully what is a solid re-first re-season

Rogue Legacy

Release Date: June 27, 2013

Rating: 8/10

You play a royal family who has a legacy. A legacy built on each generation going into a dungeon until they die and then looting all the gold off their corpses (I’m assuming). It’s a side-scrolling action-adventure game with roguelike elements and a Metroidvania feel.

Playability 3.2 of 10: This game is a lot of fun and if you’re used to Castlevania or the like you’ll pick up on this game quite easily. It’s a very fluid game that’s easy to control and doesn’t really have flaws in this regard save one thing. That’s the need to grind to an excessive degree before the final boss. Every other boss comes along right when you’d expect your level to be around. Or at least that’s how it felt to me. Sometimes I’d fight a boss over and over and eventually decide to grind up some levels again, but I’d beat it without having to do this too much. However, for the final boss, this caused me to grind for so long afterwards. And I like the exporation in this game but this is long after you’ve seen every part of the castle you can and there’s really not much more to do, aside from try to find all the weapons and runes, but even this is just tedious at this point and I’d essentially been using the same runes and weapons up to this point that I had been for hours. I understand the last boss isn’t meant to be easy, but this is more than a little ridiculous of just how much I had to do so in order to beat it. Sure, claim I’m just not good at action games, and maybe I’m not, but this is just tedious busywork. I don’t think someone should have to be a master in order to just beat a game.

Fun Factor 2.4 of 3: I guess I covered what parts I don’t find fun in this game. Outside of that I think this game is great fun with just enough rogue elements to keep it interesting.

Story 0.7 of 1: The story is fine. You get most of it from diary entries you find going through the dungeon from a previous visitor in your family line. It’s not exactly the driving force of the game though. And when it just shoves it all down your throat at the end I’m not exactly interested. In this way, the story actually gets in the way of the gameplay. It’s not that intensive but it’s enough of a distraction to make me wish there was less of it.

Graphics and Sound 0.9 of 1: It’s very fitting music and I like the cartoon-y graphics which works just as well for making scary monsters. But the first song you hear in the castle is kind of annoying. It’s like they picked the worst song they could to force you to listen to every time you enter it. It makes you really like those Jukebox Rooms, that’s for sure.

Replay Value 0.7 of 1: There is a New Game+ mode that makes everything harder and gives you a reason to grind even more. But after how long it took me to beat the final boss, I just don’t have much incentive to start playing again. Maybe some day, just not very soon…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e18: Frenemy of my Enemy

Air Date: April 21, 2015

Rating: 10/10

Coulson and Hunter choose to recruit an old enemy: Grant Ward. Also, Skye and her daughter catch up, or as close as they can get to it anyway.

A very tense episode that was a bit like Reservoir Dogs oddly enough. It’s a good bit to kick off the rest of the season. I’m not sure what the endgame is going to be this time around but I am nothing if not excited to see it.

I feel the stuff between Cal and Skye is a bit off putting with how exciting the rest of the episode is. Also, I kind of like Cal, even if he is a tad out of his mind. I think he’s just trying to do the best by his daughter this time around and she’s going around his back in order to betray him… like father like daughter, I guess.

SCORING:

+10: A very exciting episode, even when it isn’t somehow

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e17: Melinda

Air Date: April 14, 2015

Rating: 10/10

As we delve into May’s past and learn why she is the way she is. We also see how she uncovers just how much Coulson has lied to her and everyone else. Meanwhile, Skye learns more about her powers and her own past as well.

The plot gets really thick on this one as we discover more about everything. I guess I was right in that you can’t trust anyone. At the same time though, I’m still not entirely sure about this new Shield which claims to be the old Shield. But I guess we’ll see how all the cards play out once they’re all on the table.

What happens with May is pretty messed up and I can see why she’s as hardcore as she is. It plays with horror tropes again, which I’ll keep saying goes with superheros a lot better than it should. Actually, the much darker tone works well on this show, though I don’t think they should turn it into a melodrama or anything.

SCORING:

+10: A very well made episode that continues every story in a dramatic way

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s2e16: Afterlife

Air Date: April 7, 2015

Rating: 6.5/10

Shield, or at least an organization calling itself Shield, is chasing Coulson and Hunter and now have them trapped in a cabin. Meanwhile, Skye is introduced to a group of Supes who seem to understand what she’s going through and want to teach her to accept her powers as a part of her.

I think that Skye is being introduced to the Inhumans or at least something like it. I’m not super familiar with the group, though. There hasn’t been anyone I’d recognize from there on the show yet. I know Disney tried to release a show based on that property later on though so I think it’s probably them. Just thought I’d mention that but after the summary, as I’m just not sure. It’d be like calling them the Justice League at this point.

Anyway, I eventually liked this episode. It started right after Coulson gives a well-set-up one-liner and continued for the rest of the episode. Unfortunately, everything up to that point was just a series of people sitting down and giving each other expository dialogue. I think I complained about something recently saying that exposition is basically always unnecessary. Then again, in one of the Muppet movies, they do say, “…we have to put it somewhere.” But I still don’t think spending two-thirds of the episode on explaining everything we already know is necessary.

SCORING:

+6: They do finish really strong, but it’s a grind to get there

+0.5: I just really appreciate really good one-liners

Her Story

Release Date: June 24, 2015

Rating: 8.2/10

You play a person who is reviewing a series of one-sided police interviews in order to find out the truth about the woman in them. You’ll do this by typing terms into a search bar to bring up Full-Motion Videos with a real-life actress, thus officially combining movies with video games (probably).

Playability 2.8 of 4: The game is played by typing words into a search engine and seeing what comes up. It has to be a word that the woman says in any of the interviews. From there you begin to piece together the story of this FMV game. However, you can only see the first five entries in the system where our mysterious woman said whatever word you put in. It doesn’t hold your hand at all, but it’s so simple that you’ll understand how to play the game within a few minutes. This makes the story something that you have to discover on your own through related searches.

It does give you one clue when you start the game, the word “Murder” is written in the search bar for you. The only problem is that some of the scenes need searches that are especially obscure. It can end with you feel like you just have to keep replaying the same scenes over and over again looking for a clue you missed, or just randomly guessing words until you get a scene you haven’t viewed yet, which kind of takes the fun out of solving a mystery for me.

Fun Factor 2.4 of 3: This game does something better than any other game I’ve played, it really makes you feel like a detective. I mean, there are many games that do that, I just think this one does it better. It’s because you have to figure everything out completely on your own. Even Return of the Obra Djinn had moments that were basically spelled out for you. Here you have to find the facts of the case and ultimately come to your own conclusions.

The part I don’t really like is the end game, after you have about 75% or so of the database you will likely know everything about the overall story, but, if you’re like me, you’ll be searching wildly to find the rest of the scenes in the hope that you’re going to find a missing clue that shines yet another light over the whole thing. You won’t, there’s just an awful lot of scenes where she only says a few words. The reason for having these, but also not giving many clues on what words to search for these almost wordless scenes, makes trying to find them all very frustrating, especially when there’s nothing more to find, information-wise.

Story 1 of 1: This is where Her Story really shines. Though, as someone pointed out online, if you watched it all in the order it was filmed, it would be a very slow paced story that then reveals everything very clearly at the end. But since you have to find everything out yourself, everything is revealed to you only as you find the relevant clues until everything is blown wide open. It’s also written in such a way that behaving like me and sometimes just searching random words like “is” won’t be enough to get real information. Also, even though one interpretation of events is laid out for you in the story, it’s not entirely obvious if this is what we should believe really happened. There might be another mystery locked inside this mystery game.

Graphics and Sound 1 of 1: This is another one of those things where less is more. It has a style of using an old computer and there’s a grainy effect throughout, along with occasionally seeing your character’s reflection in the screen. And, though the sound tends to be ones of an old computer, it perfectly encapsulates what it should as your trying to figure out this woman’s story. I also want to compliment the music, which goes back and forth between a simple piano and something more electronic sounding, but it gives the game an interesting feel that heightens the story itself.

Originality 1 of 1: Well, having replay value as the final category is just an automatic zero for most mystery and adventure games so I think I’m going to change the last category on a game-by-game basis. Anyway, for mystery games I think one of the standout points is how unique they are in how they present their story. Unlike most genres of game, they essentially have to work backwards, just like a mystery book would, and the presentation of that is even more important games than in other media. This is because the player is doing everything themselves. If your mystery feels like it’s basically automated, like in L.A. Noire where nothing the player does seems to really matter, then that either isn’t a good mystery game or there’s other things going on to make up for it, such as L.A. Noire still being a fun open world to run around in.

Sorry, don’t mean to be dissing a game I haven’t reviewed yet. My point is this game really makes you feel like a detective and it does that through it’s amazing and yet very simple presentation. I know it’s not a game a lot of people would enjoy, but I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

Tips

$1.00

The Simpsons s2e3: Treehouse of Horror

Air Date: October 25, 1990

Rating: 10/10

The Simpsons start their annual Halloween episode. Three separate stories of comedic horror. In this case, a haunted house story, the first appearance of Kodos and Kang when aliens kidnap the Simpsons for a feast, and a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven as only James Earl Jones, and the Simpsons, can tell it.

This is a great way for the Simpsons to parody Horror movies every year, as that seems to be a genre that will never go out of style. As Bart says at the end, “It’s pretty tame by today’s standards.” And though I remember this scaring me when I was 5, I can’t imagine why watching it now. Even to a five year old this is pretty unscary compared to today’s Simpsons Halloween episodes. It doesn’t have to be scary though, just funny. And it’s got plenty of jokes that work, even after all these years.

I really like the Raven retelling at the end. Other than a few extra bits thrown in, it’s word-for-word the poem that Mr. Poe wrote so many years ago. It’s a bit classier than what we’ve come to expect after years of Horror-themed episodes of the Simpsons, but it’s a nice touch on a 150-year-old classic.

SCORING:

+10: Very impressive shorts episode that came to be something everyone could look forward to every year

Rick and Morty s1e2: Lawnmower Dog

Air Date: December 9, 2013

Rating: 9/10

As Rick and Morty go to “incept” Morty’s math teacher, the family dog is made sentient with science. Snuffles seeks revenge for his enslavement while Rick and Morty are chased by a monster who kills people in their dreams.

This is an especially hilarious episode. Some jokes that are just in the background and go by so fast you’ll miss them. It’s a specific brand of humor that you’ll be hard to find anywhere else. It doesn’t censor itself or slow down to let you catch up if you’re a bit slower on the uptake. It’s not for everyone. Then again, with how popular this show is, maybe it is for everyone?

I like that this show can be just as smart as it is dumb. Some aspects are largely based in hard science. Others, such as the Inception sequences, are purely fantasy and more for making jokes than anything else. It’s this melding of sci-fi with absurdism that really makes this show what it is.

Stories are important for any show. If the storyline isn’t working it become apparent pretty quickly. It’s not that either plot was overly inconsistent, but they feel like two B-stories that the writers didn’t know how to finish so they threw them together. This is very funny. But it doesn’t quite feel like a solid ending to what was initially presented.

SCORING:

+10: Hilarious and a great beginning to “Rick and Morty Proper”

-1: The ending was a bit disappointing

The Simpsons s2e2: Simpson and Delilah

Air Date: October 18, 1990

Rating: 6/10

Homer tries a new treatment that regrows his hair. With his more youthful appearance, Skinner decides to suddenly promote him to executive. Homer hires a secretary named Karl.

Homer seems to have amazingly good luck throughout this episode. Women want him, men also want him, and most things are just handed to him on a silver platter. It feels like this episode could have some kind of social commentary on how beauty is only skin deep or the like, but instead it’s more a message of “anyone who’s ugly isn’t worth your time.” I mean, this is a comedy show, so even the morals can be a joke, I don’t care. But this isn’t made clear at any point that this is meant to be a joke. I think not having this as a social commentary is a bigger commentary on this period of time than anything else could be, I suppose.

I do like this focus on Homer and seeing how he might act in a particular situation. He is a person who sees need and wishes for change. However, as demonstrated in this episode, those needs are as simple as the man is.

SCORING:

+7: It’s not particularly funny or well written, also it’s incredibly out-of-date, but it’s still entertaining enough and gives us a look into a different era in a way

-1: The moral backbone of the show is a bit wonky on this one

Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends s1e10: The Vengeance of Loki

Air Date: November 14, 1981

Rating:8.5/10

Loki plans on using ancient magic in order to take over New York and get rid of Thor in the same breath. The Spider-Friends team up with Thor in an attempt to stop him.

It kind of bugs me when villains aren’t just trying to kill the good guy and take over the world but also have to ruin the heroes reputation. I mean, in some contexts this works, but I think it’s just overly petty, especially when they’ve already won. It just seems odd that this is the driving force of a lot of villains. Why isn’t the plan to just ruin their enemy’s image? It seems like this would be a lot easier in the long run, and then you can take over the world. It’d probably be much easier with the hero out of the way.

Outside of that, this was a pretty good episode. I like the multitude of guest characters this show uses. Thor was never my favorite before the MCU but how he’s shown here isn’t bad. It’s true to the character, at the very least. I also think the voice of Loki does a terrific job of capturing the character.

SCORING:

+9: A pretty fun episode, overall

-0.5: Sometimes, villains’ plans are just stupid, I guess…