10 best old school NBA uniforms

10. Chicago Bulls- Few things are more iconic than the Bulls in the 1990s. These jerseys are no exception to that rule.  Clean, easily identifiable, and unquestionably ’90s with the pinstripes, these are still hot today.

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9. Houston Rockets- these are fresh.  Something about pinstripes and a giant image of whatever the team is named after really gets me.  Unlike anything else the Rockets ever wore, these were made popular during Yao Ming’s time in Clutch City.

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(Bonus: This fuego senior-picture type photoshoot from Yao and Stevie Franchise himself.)

8. Seattle Supersonics- this is a color palette we don’t see much in sports, which is a shame.  Maybe it’s better that the franchise left Seattle and became the Thunder, as if they designed a modern look for these colors, I’m not sure justice would be done.  Sorry, Seattle, but at least the Sonics will always be a good looking team. RIP.

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7. Los Angeles Lakers- not much different from the uniforms they wear today, which are among the best in sports.  Purple numbers as opposed to the current white, the white outline on them, and the scoop neck collar are the only big differences between these and the new ones, but in my opinion, these are much better and I’m always excited to see when today’s Lakers pull them out.

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6. Chicago Bulls- their second entry on the list.  Before MJ really took off, they wore these red uniforms with “Chicago” written on the front in cursive.  Name literally anything more iconic than MJ at the dunk contest his rookie year, wearing the 1s, this uniform, and the gold chain. I dare you.

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5. Toronto Raptors- again we have some stripes to go along with a giant image of the team’s mascot.  I’m surprising myself but not putting this higher because it is an absolute gem, but hey, they look really dated, which is why they aren’t higher on this list.  If pictures of dinosaurs on jerseys were still in style in the year of our Lord 2017, it may have been higher, but for now #5 will have to suffice.

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4. Charlotte Hornets- Pinstripes and a unique color lands the Hornets at #4.  Ask just about anyone who lived through the ’90s and they will tell you teal was violently overused on sports uniforms, but the Hornets a rare instance where it actually works.  The new Hornets uniforms take inspiration from these, but they can’t hold a candle to them.

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3.Utah Jazz- worn during the height of the Jazz’s success, these mountain-inspired uniforms are synonymous with Jazz greats Karl Malone and John Stockton.  After these the Jazz went into a uniform identity crisis of sorts, not knowing whether to use the mountain-inspired look or go back to their roots as the New Orleans Jazz.  Their current uniforms definitely embrace the old-school Jazz identity, and they’re good, but these are timeless and define the team’s most successful period.

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2. Orlando Magic- going back to the early days of one of the league’s newest teams, the uniforms they wore in that era are incomparable to anything they wore after.  Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe it’s simply that these were a dope look in white, blue, or black, but when it was Penny and Shaq playing together, bad things were bound to happen to the other team, and they could not look better while doing so.

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1. Phoenix Suns- specifically the purple ones.  The black ones are fire too, but the purple is just too hot, about as hot as the sun to be specific.  It’s a shame the Suns uniforms have only gone downhill since they wore these bad boys, but then again, anything they donned after these would have been a downgrade.

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Leaked Assassins Creed: Empires screenshot?

An image recently surfaced that could possibly be from the newest Assassins Creed game.  Known as Empires, the game is set in ancient Egypt and will release this year, after Ubisoft took a year off from producing a game in this series.

It is not confirmed that this screenshot is from the series, but there are a few hints that lead people to believe it.  The character has a shield on his back that has a symbol resembling the familiar “Assassin” symbol we’ve seen so many times.  Also, we know the game is set in Egypt, and it definitely looks like this character is walking into a pyramid.  Some have speculated that it is from a new Prince of Persia game that may be in the works at Ubisoft, but I’m convinced it is from the new AC.

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The series trended downward after Desmond’s story ended, hitting a major low with 2014’s Unity, which was a disaster in almost every aspect, aside from its setting (at least in my opinion.)  The game was just absolute basura.  That being said, the  most recent release, Syndicate, was a solid game.  It did not get the series back to the level it was before the Desmond saga ended, but it was fun, captivating, and set up the major sci-fi storyline that has been missing since Desmond’s story ended.

I hope by taking a year off, Ubisoft got their act together and created a game that is worthy of bearing the Assassins’s Creed name.  I love ancient Egypt, so I may be biased, but I’m excited for this game to come out and to see if it can restore some glory to this franchise.

 

My top 5 Legend of Zelda games

A little less than a week until Breath of the Wild releases, I thought I might as well share my top 5 games from the series.

#5: Twilight Princess. Starting off my list is one of the more recent releases in the series.  This game was a launch day title for the Wii (and Gamecube) all the way back in 2006, and it holds up as one of the best titles on the Wii.   The story was pretty good, the graphics were great for the time, and it introduced some characters that fit really well within the whole Zelda canon.  It was nice getting back to some land after The Wind Waker‘s seafaring journey, and the game made the best out of the technology the Wii had to offer.  On a side note, holy crap, this game came out over ten years ago? Anyway.  I thought Wolf Link was overdone, but that’s really my only complaint. The game still feels good today, good enough to get a 3D makeover for Wii U virtual console.  Maybe that can be attributed to us only getting one real Zelda game for console after this one, but hey, it’s a strong game nonetheless.

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#4: Ocarina of Time.  I’m gonna catch some heat for this, but Ocarina is #4 in my opinion. Many fans would have this as a #1, but there are a few reasons why I have it at #4.  Again, this is a personal list, and I haven’t spent enough time with this game to truly love it like I love the higher entries on the list.  That being said, if there was one definitive Zelda game, this would probably be it for good reason.  The music is iconic, the gameplay is legendary, and somehow we all played this as children and didn’t get frustrated beyond belief, unlike how we get today when we can’t progress in a game.  Maybe that’s just me, but hey, I lie awake at night thinking how I ever managed to advance in games like this when I was a child.  At any rate, the game is a classic, and for good reason.

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#3: A Link to the Past.  Disclaimer: I’ve only ever played this for virtual console, but I love it nonetheless.  Going way back for this one, A Link to the Past is incredible, and even though it looks dated, the game itself is as fresh as ever.  The early games in this series prove that it doesn’t have to be high-tech to stand among the best in a series.  The story of this game is  so good, so consequential, and so important to the Zelda mythos that not putting it on this list is probably punishable by law.  When coming up with the list I felt obligated to put an older game on, but no obligation is necessary; those games can stand their ground with the best of the best. Also, it has a sequel for 3DS, which is worth playing as well.  To put it simply, the classics are classics for a reason.

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#2: Majora’s Mask.  Ah, this game is a dark horse in the series for some reason.  Even by the series’ own standards, it’s pretty weird and it doesn’t really get too much love compared to other games in the series.  That being said, I love this game.  The puzzle aspect is as strong in this game as any Zelda entry, in no small part due to the constant 3 day cycle we have all repeated time and time again.  The game just feels different than any other entry- it has its own unique flavor with the Termina setting, all the different masks, all the tiny Easter eggs and other things that are so easily missed contribute to the game’s claustrophobic sensibility.  Plus, the art in this game is striking.  The moon, the Zora domain, and even the forest where the game starts all have their own unique look that are somehow related, which is part of the game’s allure.  Maybe not everyone’s favorite Zelda game, but it was and remains absolute fire.

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#1: The Wind Waker.  This was my first love in terms of Zelda games and easily the one I’ve spent the most time with.  Every time I play it I clearly remember the first time playing it at a hotel and being totally drawn in by it- it was so different than anything I ever played before.  This game is what I think of when I think of Zelda.  The game broke new ground in terms of the series, ditching dry land (because dry land is for bitches) and putting us on a boat and making us navigate the seas.  The story isn’t the greatest, even among the other entries on this list, but it still feels like it has consequences.  Oh, and did I mention how dope this game looks?  It still looks better than almost anything Nintendo has released since then, which is not knocking Nintendo, but praising this game in particular.  I am one of those people who do think graphics matter, and in this case, the graphics just take me to a simpler time, one where Nintendo didn’t constantly let us down.

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What do you think of the list?  Would you change the order?  Include different games?  Let me know, and also let me know if you would like to see more lists, I have  few things I’d like to make lists for.  As always, follow me on IG: keithscreen so you don’t miss anything.  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild comes out Friday, March 3rd.

 

Preview- Fargo, Season 3

The writing bug caught me this morning, so here comes my second preview for another April TV premiere- season 3 of Fargo.

I will be completely honest, I have no details as to what this season will be about.  We know about the cast and that this season is set in 2010, but nothing else.  Just under two months away from the season’s premiere, we have very little to go on.  That being said, having nothing to go on is the best thing going for this season.  With a great cast and a time frame that lends to having characters who have previously appeared come back, there are infinite possibilities.  Let’s get into them.

When I found out that Ewan McGregor would be this season’s lead, I did backflips.  When I found out that he would be playing two lead roles on the show, I almost started crying.  Ewan McGregor is a perfect fit for this series, having both the dramatic range and comedic prowess to navigate Noah Hawley’s twisted universe.   In my opinion, McGregor will shine, and I can’t wait to see how he does, as I’ve never seen him in television before.  I think McGregor will be the best part of the season, simply because he’s just so good and in two roles, he’s going to get a lot of face time.  However, he doesn’t have to carry th eload himself, because the rest of the cast is stellar.  Carrie Coon from Gone Girl plays the female lead, the chief of the local police.   While Gone Girl the only thing I’ve seen her in, she was great and I want to see  more of her ability.

Something present in season 1 but not season 2 was a really bizarre casting choice that only made sense when we saw it unfold on screen.  Season 1 had the likes of Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, and Glenn Howerton all in fairly important roles, and they crushed those roles without a doubt.  Season 2 lacked this, although the casting could not have been any better, especially Bokeem Woodbine, who stole every secene he was in and was rightfully nominated for an Emmy.  Season 3 brings back the trend of comedic actors in the show, introducing Jim Gaffigan to the fold.  I don’t know what his role is yet but honestly, will it matter?  He’s going to be great- I think he’ll take the humor to the next level and make the show uncomfortable at times, which is its biggest strength and part of the reason why it navigates between dark comedy and serious drama so effortlessly.  Also, David Thewlis is cast as a “true capitalist,” according to the official logline.  This is an interesting choice, because Thewlis does have a previous Coen Brothers connection as as Knox Harrington.  This is only great news as we know there is someone who is in familiar territory as far as the tone of the show is concerned.

The 2010 setting is fun.  It gives Noah Hawley the opportunity to build off season 1 as well as season 2, as season 1 took place in 2006 and season 2 took place before then and was directly related to the characters of season 1.  There is the possibility we do see old characters come back, and I know there will be connections between all three seasons and perhaps even the movie, as there was a connection to the movie from season 1- Stavros Milos finding Steve Buscemi’s briefcase full of cash.  Things are more modern in this season’s setting, and we do know that technology will play some sort of role.  Carrie Coon’s aforementioned character is newly divorced and discovers that people are spending more and more time on their phones.  Personally, I want to see how Hawley spins this as there will be some sort of commentary on today’s dependency on phones/social media that will leave some character in a bad situation.  Season 3 is going to be a lot of fun if that happens.

Without knowing much more than that, it’s hard to get a grasp on where the show is going, but that’s all part of the ride.  And I feel like it will be an incredible ride.  If we get more information on where the plot is going, I’ll be sure to write more about it.  Season 1 was phenomenal, season 2 was somehow better, and if season 3 continues the upward trend, we are in for a serious treat.

Let me know if you liked this, or if you have any suggestions.  Be sure to follow me on Instagram so you don’t miss any posts: keithscreen.

Fargo season 3 premieres on April 19th on FX.

Preview: Better Call Saul, Season 3

It’s hard to put into words how great April will be for TV.   It all starts April 10th when season 3 of Better Call Saul comes out, so here are my thoughts on that.

Going into the series, we already knew what to expect in certain regards.  However, I personally did not see it coming- it referring to what a beast of TV this show became.  Sure it’s not Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead in terms of popularity, but you would be hard pressed to find shows that are better in every single regard than Better Call Saul.  While we have seen plenty of Breaking Bad-style flair to the way the show is created and run, it has developed its own unique flavor that takes the best of ‘Bad combines it with a dark, twisty sense of humor, incredible atmosphere, and best of all, a great sense of showmanship.  Vince Gilligan has us all eating out of the palm of his hand.  That said, let’s dive into what we can expect from season 3.

Now that we know Jimmy better- and I like to differentiate Saul from Jimmy, as when Saul is introduced in season 2 of Breaking Bad, he’s a full fledged character Jimmy, meanwhile, is naive when we meet him and we don’t yet see how sleazy he can be- we see Jimmy take his first steps into his Saul transformation at the end of season 2.  I’m not going to spoil anything, but the major event as far as Jimmy is concerned is where I feel he begins to turn into the “criminal lawyer” Jesse refers to him as so endearingly.  We will see what Chuck does about this and how it will shape Jimmy moving forward, and whether that jades him even further or perhaps has larger consequences.

So far, there has been only one promo for the show, done as a commercial for a familiar face’s chain of fried chicken restaurants.  Yes, Gus Fring is back, and I am so excited to see how he plays with the other familiar faces we have seen so far in the show- namely the Salamanca twins and their Tio, who is looking a lot better than he did in Breaking Bad.  Perhaps we’re about to see some of Gus’ handiwork in that regard?  Who knows.  What I do know is that Vince Gilligan knows we’re addicted to this and that he recognizes the value of fan service.  Seriously, there has been so much fan service on the show so far, and I love every second of it.  It does not feel forced which is the better part about it; Gilligan knows what we want and he’s so good at what he does that bringing back these characters we came to love is seamless, even in a new-ish setting with different rules and roles.  I can’t wait to see what Gus brings to the series because it will be absolutely bananas.

Speaking of old faces, Mike’s role in the series has been one of many bright spots.  When we last saw Mike he was about to do something foolish, and we will absolutely see how that plays out in season 3, and with Gus coming back, I just know deep down in my soul that there will be a fried chicken restaurant-sized curveball coming at us with the addition of Gus into the mix.  As for Kim and Jimmy’s relationship, it is something I look forward to see develop further as Jimmy sinks further and further and eventually metamorphoses into Saul.  Kim is the best influence in Jimmy’s life, and he knows that, but he also knows that he does not want to hurt Kim- I will be paying attention to every detail of their interactions to predict what will happen with them and if Kim will get wrapped up in some of Jimmy’s less savory activities.

Season 3 of Breaking Bad is where I feel the series became itself, taking on bigger challenges in terms of story and cashing them in for massive payouts.  I see the same thing happening here, and while I have no idea what we’re in store for, I know this season of Better Call Saul will be absolute gas.

Better Call Saul season 3 premiers on April 10th on AMC.

Sneaker Review- Air Jordan 8 “Alternate”

First time posting a sneaker review, I hope you enjoy it.  Pics are my own.

The Air Jordan 8 “Alternate” released today and I’m glad I got my hands on a pair.  I’ve wanted these ever since I saw they would be releasing a few months ago, and I must say they were worth the wait.  The Jordan 8 is not my favorite shoe, and not really iconic in any sense other than that Michael won his third ring in these, but it is a hot shoe nonetheless.  I’ll admit I was bummed out not to cop the Jordan 8 “Take Flight” when they released earlier this year, because those were absolute fire.  In that case, I guess these are a nice consolation prize.

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First of all, it’s a really clean looking shoe.  For not being an OG colorway, it still has some OG flair to it; it definitely could have been released back in 1993.   As I said earlier, I’m not the biggest fan of the 8, but the silhouette is nice, the cross-straps make it unique among the earlier pairs of Jordans, and the red and black accents throughout give it that old-school Bulls vibe.  The inside has a nice pattern going on, which just adds to the appeal of the shoe.  True to form, the Jumpman on the tongue is fuzzy, which is unique among Jordans but also contributes to the 8 being among the heaviest of them.  But hey, let’s be honest, we’re not actually playing basketball in these, so weight is not an issue.

The quality on these is spot-on in my opinion.  The leather is a nice consistency, the perforation on the cross straps add a textured element, and my pair does not have any blemishes on it.  For being an earlier model it is very comfortable and I feel like I could definitely rock these all day without a problem.  The tongue and back both have pull-tabs for getting them on and off easily; the back tab even has some nice detailing on it with “1993” written.

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There are a lot of small details on the shoe which I do like.  Even though it a clean colorway, the shoe itself can be a little busy at times, which is why you don’t see many 8s with crazy colorways- most of the color, if any at all, is on the lower part of the shoe.

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The design there is old school and really makes the shoe.  The black part of the midsole is glittery, so my apologies for not having a camera good enough to adequately capture that.  Of course, you have “Air Jordan” written on the cross strap as you do with any 8.

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Closing thoughts:  Dope for sure.  I had to go a half size down because Foot Locker was sold out of size 12, but it was no problem, 11.5 fits just fine, so if you do have to go down a half size I wouldn’t sweat it.  These will look good with any jeans and will look great with shorts, maybe with some mid-calf socks to go along with them.   If you’re on the fence, I would say to go for it and buy these, the quality is good, colorway is dope, and it stands out from stuff that has already released this year and upcoming releases.

I hope you liked this.  If you do let me know and I’ll do more sneaker-related posts in the future.

What Nintendo can do to make the Switch a success

Under two weeks away from the release of the Switch, there is a lot of speculation going around as to how it is going to do.  Early reviews of it have been promising.  I think the Switch can be how Nintendo rises out of the ashes in terms of its consoles, as they have not been popular ever since the Wii came out.  And considering how the Wii U was a failure- both in terms of lack of games and in console sales- Nintendo really needs the Switch to be revolutionary. Console gaming moved towards the Playstation and XBox, simply because those offered better technology and for the most part, better games.  However, by bucking the trends set by Sony and Microsoft, and keeping true to their past to make their future better, Nintendo can make themselves important again in terms of console gaming.  Here’s how:

Consistently release games.  I have a Wii U, and while it’s a pretty nice piece of technology, there’s nothing to play for it.  Sure you have your Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, but otherwise, there’s very little.  Super Mario 3D World was a nice title, and there are some virtual console games I play, but there is not one game that would warrant buying a Wii U just to play it.  If Nintendo can produce games- and I think they will based on what we’ve seen so far from them- the Switch will be successful because there will be too much for people not to play.  This begins with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  The game looks great, and hopefully will live up to the hype.  Should Nintendo consistently release games like that, the Switch will be something that people pick up.

Don’t delay releases.  I pre-ordered Breath of the Wild months ago, when it still had a Fall 2016 release.  Even before then it was delayed a few times, and it would go on to be delayed further, now aiming for a March 3 release.  Nintendo has to set realistic goals for themselves with releases, meaning if something isn’t ready or they know it won’t be ready in time, they shouldn’t say it will release only to have them push it back multiple times.  I do understand that things come up during production, but this trend is way too consistent, and if Nintendo ever wants get some of their popularity back, they need to stick to a release schedule.

Translate mobile success into console success.  In recent months, Nintendo reached a much larger audience than previous by releasing Pokemon: Go and Super Mario Run on the mobile platform.  While they are watered down versions of the games we know and love, they captivated many people who maybe hadn’t played them.  I’m not saying Nintendo should make these games for consoles, but they should find a way to motivate mobile gamers into buying the Switch.  I’m not sure how exactly they could do this, but offering special characters, DLC, etc., would be a good start.  It also helps that the Switch is designed as a hybrid mobile/console system, so Nintendo should be doing everything in its power to combine that mobile success with the Switch’s innovative design.

Give the fans what they want.  It may sound like a no-brainer, but fan service is the easiest way to get back to the top.  Look at Rogue One.  Was it a good enough movie without the last five minutes?  Sure, definitely worth the price of a ticket.  But slap that last Darth Vader scene in there and you have an iconic moment, one that the fans would do anything to see, and now all of a sudden Rogue One is more than just a silly spin-off; its the iconic Darth Vader moment we did not get in the prequel trilogy.  Nintendo should look into fan service, and early reports indicate that they have in at least one respect- bringing Gamecube titles to the virtual console.  Realistically, I would play my Gamecube all day long if I didn’t have anything better to do.  We already know that virtual console won’t be available upon release, so I’m hoping that they’re saving it to make it flawless when it finally does come out.

Be themselves.  If I wanted to play Call of Duty or something like that, I’d buy it for my PS4.  What Nintendo needs to do is rediscover why they were popular in the first place- fun.  I can’t speak for others, but when I think of Nintendo, I get this nostalgic feeling of pure fun.  Staying up until all hours of the night playing Gamecube or Gameboy games was a regular habit, especially when it was for a new game with the characters I grew up loving.  All their games have a good sense of humor to go along with the adventure, so what Nintendo has to do is find those roots to introduce to a new generation and help the older crowd (relatively speaking) want to play their games again.

 

 

 

The OA Season 1

I watch a lot of TV.  I don’t have one particular genre that I stick to, so as long as it’s good, I’ll be tuned in.  Netflix and Amazon Prime changed the game so that binge-watching is the hot new thing, but you already know that.  However, there is only one show I have truly ever binge watched, where I sat in one place and did not move from start to finish minus a few bathroom breaks- that show is The OA.

In your head, describe your favorite show as simply as you can.  It might be difficult to condense years of television and characters you’ve spent countless hours with and come to love in a few words, but typically it can be done.  Example: The Sopranos is about an Italian crime family in New Jersey.  Breaking Bad is about a chemistry teacher diagnosed with terminal cancer who makes meth to support his family.  Now, those may not do justice to the complexity and development those shows had, but they are pretty good descriptions for a beginner.  The OA, however, can have no simple description.  Where would you start?  How could you possibly start? The show is abound with content, yet, I do not have the words to describe it simply.  If you asked me what it was about, very frankly, I’d say I have no idea.

The show gripped me right from the beginning, where we see Prairie jump off the bride and end up in the hospital.  The first episode can drag a little bit, but once Prairie assembles her audience, the story grabs you and doesn’t let go.  There was no fanfare around the series as it was announced just days before it released, meaning there was no build up or really any time to tease the series.  That being said, I think it should be done more often, because I went in with a blank slate, not knowing what to expect at all, which was good, because if there were expectations going in, I guarantee the end result would have been wildly different from what anyone could have predicted.

It takes some time for the first episode to pick up.  In all fairness, setting the show’s course would have taken a lot of setup anyway they did it, so I’ll give them a pass here.  Without knowing exactly what we were getting into, it was certainly strange watching the events that lead to those five misfits sitting around Prairie listening to her story.   The series takes us back and forth between present day and Prairie’s early life, eventually into her teenage years and starting in the second episode, the real meat of the series: Prairie’s capture by a scientist studying near-death experiences.  Played by the familiar Jason Isaacs, “Hap” as he’s called uses Prairie along with Homer, Rachel, and Scott to study NDEs, as he calls them, to figure out what happens to people having near death experiences and where they go during them.  This is where the show gets really good, and easily where the most questions come from.

Where most shows that are so ridiculously ambitious lose steam, The OA only picked up.  It was after the fifth episode- where Prairie and Homer revive Scott- that the series was at its best.  Watching that scene, you think you know exactly where the series is going, and just when it gets to that point, it practically drops dead, only to pick right back up and start running at 100 miles per hour again.  That is a trend after major plot developments and it keeps you going, which is part of the reason why I could stomach this whole show in one sitting.  However, the pacing of the show is a little off at times between Prairie’s storytelling sessions and the few timelines going on, but its never so bad as to hamper the viewing experience.  The show’s pacing is good where it needs to be.

The one major flaw was the very end.  We were supposed to see the five open the dimension and reunite Prairie with Homer right?  Wrong.  What we got was not really much of anything.  Should we think Prairie made the whole thing up?  I doubt it.   Sure the books were under her bed, but she was blind for most of her life, so how could she have learned how to read them?  If Prairie is making the whole thing up, what was the FBI trauma counselor doing in her house?  And why did French see Homer’s reflection in the mirror?  Personally, I believe Prairie.  There is too much evidence that points to her being right, or at best leaving the real answer ambiguous enough (like why was Rachel’s name written in braille at the FBI office?) that we would need to see more to really get a good idea of what actually happened.

The show is acted well and looks pretty good, and if there is a second season I’m sure Netflix will up the ante a little bit and get the effects looking better.  I hope there is a second season, because there are way too many questions, and not in a way that does the story justice.

Final Grade: B+, the ending was easily the show’s lowest point and left a bad taste in my mouth that only a second season can get out.

2017 Dunk Contest

After high expectations, the NBA’s annual All-Star Saturday night was a total dud.  After opening with a thoroughly entertaining skills competition which Kristaps Porzingis won, the three point contest was sufficiently boring enough to where I thought of changing the channel until the dunk contest was on.  The highlight of the night was raising money for the Sager Foundation, where DJ Khaled actually made a shot and Steph Curry didn’t. (OK, this one’s a little bit of a cheap shot considering Steph was put on the spot like that and that he was shooting from half court, but really? We have seen it all now. )  Finally, after the presentation to the Sager Foundation, it was time for the night’s marquee event.  Yet, this year’s dunk contest left much to be desired

I will admit, there was one moment where I was almost shocked.  That came on Aaron Gordon’s first attempt, where he tried to go between the legs after catching the ball dropped from the drone.  Though he missed it, and took three more tries to actually finish it, the thought of him doing it got my mind back to last year’s contest where it seemed like anything was possible.  It was, then, difficult to watch him miss this dunk three times, convert the fourth, and then not even finish on his second dunk of the round, only to go home without properly getting to display what he had.  This can be attributed to his injury, so credit to Gordon for showing up where other people may not have, but it definitely hindered his performance and let us all down.

DeAndre Jordan, to almost nobody’s surprise, did not do all that great.  I think this proves we shouldn’t have big guys in the dunk contest, simply because they just can’t compete against players who can really fly.  He did dunk over DJ Khaled at a DJ table, which was the highlight of the first round.  However, the dunk was nothing special at all and DJ was booted after the first round.

To be fair, there was absolutely no way it would have ever lived up to last year’s showdown. The competition last year was one for the ages, and moving forward it’s difficult not to compare this year’s contest to that one.  However, trying it see it as objectively as possible, 2017’s contest plainly sucked.  How many times did either Glen Robinson III or Derrick Jones Jr. attempt a dunk where they tried to jump over at least one person?  Too many to count.  The worse part is is that Jones failed to convert a few times, and Robinson was in a position to lose even though he made all of his dunks.  Speaking of Derrick Jones Jr., he did not impress like everyone thought he might.  He has only played 20 minutes in 7 NBA games, so nerves definitely could have been a factor.  Even if he didn’t leave the dunk contest making everyone think he is the best thing since sliced bread, he did show that he was there to compete, and should he get the chance next year I really think he’ll bring it.  His shoes- all gold Supreme x Nike Air Uptempos- were certainly the winner of the night.  Sorry Glen Robinson III.

The best dunk of the night belonged to Robinson- the 360 between the legs dab.  However, it was nothing we hadn’t seen before, just arranged differently.  Robinson’s other three dunks were dunks over people, which isn’t anything new by any means.   The first and last were virtually the same, and the only way the third one was different was because Robinson windmilled it.  Credit to Robinson, he didn’t miss any dunks, and the dunks he made were clean.  Yet, this year’s dunk contest was disappointing.  Hopefully tonight’s All-Star game will make up for it.

 

Legion- Season 1, Episode 1, and what this means for the X-men and superhero TV

Watching the first episode of Legion was a bit of a thrill ride.  Going into the premier, I had high expectations, and boy did Noah Hawley and his team deliver.  It was nice to see the X-Men franchise take a turn for the better here and hopefully that trend will continue with March’s upcoming Logan.  Minor spoilers ahead, so continue at your own risk.

When the show began, it was a little tough to grasp what was going on- there were obviously a few different timelines, changes between what was real and what was in David’s head, and the mystery surrounding the event that brought him to the mental hospital.  Normally, a show that reveals so little after one episode can be frustrating to follow, but in this case, everything came together just enough to point us in the right direction and tell us what to expect in the upcoming weeks.  We kind of know what to expect here- Legion is Professor X’s son and one of the most powerful mutants in the X-Men universe.  We also do get a taste of mutants not being welcome in society, hence the interrogation of David and all that shady government stuff that long time X-Men fans are familiar with.  Being on the run is another common X-Men thread here as well, and at the end of the first episode we see David, Syd, and a mysterious yet familiar group of mutants and maybe non-mutants running away from David’s captors.  Additionally, all we get are small glimpses of David’s power- while incredible, he does not know how to control it and is very destructive when he does, which sets up the event that leads to his capture by those mysterious government people.  We have seen similar instances of this before and it is one of the reasons why the X-Men series is so different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Having a mutation  casts people away from society and is what leads David to be institutionalized, with similar instances of stigma around mutations being popular in previous X-Men adaptations. Whether or not we will see Professor X in the series is still to be determined, and even though I personally will not be holding my breath, I think that the show will still be X-men-y enough and different enough to be successful as both a comic book adaptation and as stand-alone (for now) TV.

I believe Noah Hawley struck gold again here.  The first two seasons of Fargo are criminally underrated and this series, with broader appeal to an established comic book community will turn people on to the great work he is doing with FX.  Hawley created and wrote the series and directed the pilot, a visually stunning and intriguing set-up to what should be a thrilling ride and hopefully the basis for more of the X-Men universe on TV.  That being said, I hope Fox starts exploring characters and stories that  Bryan Singer, er, I mean, they have previously not been bold enough to explore.  Marvel Studios repeatedly shows what lesser known characters and stories are capable of, and with Legion, Fox should taste similar success and diversify what we see out of future X-Men adaptations.

Building off that, this is a step forward for superheroes on TV.  The market for comic book based entertainment is probably nearly saturated, with Marvel and DC dominating box offices even with sub-standard films and superheroes taking up increasing prime time slots.  However, before this, cable had not seen any superhero TV like this.  Marvel and Netflix developed some dark stuff with their Defenders lineup including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, but being on Netflix affords those shows with more opportunity to push boundaries in terms of content and story lines.  Plus, those shows have the added benefit of fitting into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, conveniently using the events of the Avengers as plot points when it suits them.  Legion does not have those opportunities, having to insert itself nebulously into the X-Men universe, and we really don’t know where in the timeline this should fit, for a few reasons.  Does anyone really know where the X-Men universe is after 2016’s Apocalypse? Probably not.  As Deadpool said, “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are so confusing.”  Same, Mr. Pool.  The darkness of the story and catalyst to its events plus the commentary on mental illness are not always easy to watch or process, but Hawley and his team, throughout one episode anyway, demonstrate the ability to balance them out with some humor and don’t overdo any one element, keeping the plot moving and the story focused on superheroes, which is, after all, why we’re here. That aside, I don’t think it should matter too much for Legion, which has already established solid footing between including familiar X-Men themes and setting a tone that resembles the X-Men films but is unique on its own.  We will definitely learn more in the coming weeks, but with that will come more questions, and hopefully more X-Men in the future.