Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Blurt Nickelodeon Original Movie "Review"

I'm gonna tell you upfront that this isn't so much a "review" as it is just venting in frustration. This also continues the train of thought that I've left off with Mike from the post below, and I'll probably continue this train of thought in a later post. 

But I recorded Blurt (and apparently the first episode of Knight Squad that premiered after it - that's another thing, I kinda feel this trend of making "movies" that's only an hour long to be a little lame) when it premiered on President's Day, but instead of watching it I watched Zombies instead. I guess that's my mistake, and I guess maybe I should've made more time to watch it, but my DVR ended up crashing (that was something I couldn't exactly anticipate, you know) so I lost that recording. And all of the Blurt! replays were really closely spaced together - I don't think they had any scheduled after the first week. Well, that's not entirely true - but NickAndMore! just informed me that they spontaneously cancelled all the repeat showings for this week, so, I'm like, ok. I look it up on the Nickelodeon app and on's not there. At all. You can literally watch every single Nickelodeon Original Movie in the past two years...except this one for some reason. Z-O-M-B-I-E-S (yes I'm going to insist on spelling it that way) is still on the DisneyNOW app for longer, but, well, I guess Nickelodeon just doesn't want me watching Blurt! if I missed it the first showing. I'm going to grade it accordingly.

Movie Grade: Not only is it getting an F minus minus score but it's also getting our first DO NOT WATCH warning, ever. And yes, this is also the first time this blog's given a grade out of pure, unfiltered spite. So friggin' sue me. As much as I praise (some) Nickelodeon shows for being better then their Disney Channel counterparts...the network's a mess. Almost all those shows are imports (or "imports-in-spirit"), the network still treats them crappy compared to their mainline shows, and their mainline shows are for the most part just garbage. And the inflexibility of being able to watch things, at least compared to Disney Channel if not even other cable networks or broadcast, is just more garbage on top of that.

Fuck You, Nickelodeon.

If this movie warrants a grade better than a C+ I might actually give it an honest review if I ever get a chance to watch it. But given that a big punchline from the trailers is do not fart do not fart do not fart, I doubt that's the case. 

And instead of giving a Movie MVP (or LVP as the case would be) I'm also awarding a score of F minus minus and a DO NOT BUY warning to DirecTV. Yes, we're making a bold move here by specifically singling out a product and/or service and warning readers not to buy into it. Somehow I think we'll survive if they threaten to pull sponsorship. But after over two years I'm tired of their absolutely horrific and inexcusable reliability rates that often have nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with just how crappy the equipment is. Not that Xfinity is all that much better, namely in how equally horrifically and inexcusably overpriced their subpar and frustrating service is. It's in my opinion that it seems like the service to use then, if you can afford or want only one, is the one all the other cool chillin' Millennials are scrambling to nowadays - Netflix. And I know a lot of these Disney and Nick shows aren't available on Netflix, especially the latest ones - but a lot of them are, and as I explained, most of the new stuff is garbage anyway. Not to mention I'm hearing Netflix's and Amazon's own original tween/teen programming is really kicking ass in comparison. Really, it's just going to get to the point, with all this talk of "Peak TV" and all, that if it isn't on Netflix (or Amazon at least), then maybe it just isn't worth watching in the first place.

Is that what you really want, Nickelodeon?

Extra Thoughts

 - Honestly I'm not all that big a fan of Amazon's business practices either, which I suppose defaults me to recommending Netflix specifically (or Hulu I guess). They just purchased the Ring security system thingie, and given how frequently they advertise on FOX News and how all their commercials have young women as package thieves, they just strike me as...very alt-right-y (which I'm not afraid to just flat out say "is code for being neo-nazis, because they're legit neo-nazis"). Not to mention they're choking out traditional "white collar" and higher-end "blue collar" jobs in favor of remedial service jobs (package handler, package delivery...and, uh, that's pretty much it in Amazon's ideal world) and I don't think I need to tell you how literally-Great-Depression-like, unimaginably disastrous that is for the economy or the workforce (i.e. you), and yet they get heaps of praise for it, somehow (probably because they donate a lot of money, politically). And now they're moving their headquarters here where...they threaten to choke out even more good quality jobs for remedial service jobs, threaten an already fragile if not outright broken city infrastructure with over-saturated congestion, and well I guess pollute the airwaves with more insinuation that the only good job a young woman professional can get anymore is "petty package thief," probably because she can't find any good jobs that pay a buck or two above minimum wage sorting and delivering packages for 10-hour shifts because, you know, Amazon choked those out of existence. So, yeah. Maybe don't be in a hurry to sign up for Amazon Prime and all.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Disney Channel and Nickelodeon Live-Action shows (and maybe some others) between now and the premiere of Knight Squad this Saturday, ranked

Disney Channel

1. Stuck in the Middle
2. Andi Mack (yes I've decided I like Stuck in the Middle better than Andi Mack)
2. Bizaardvark (yes I've also decided Andi Mack is tied with Bizaardvark)
3. Tangled: The Series (yes I know it's not live-action but at this point it really is making up a huge chunk of the original premiere schedule so, there you go)
4. Raven's Home (see mid-break review)
Unwatchable flaming piles of garbage tier: Bunk'd


1. Hunter Street, and you know what, we might as well group all the other "daily" specials they air in whole month-long blocks at a time right in here, everything from Lip Sync Battle Shorties and Paradise Run to I Am Frankie and, well, Hunter Street
2. know what, starting with "2" still implies that whatever's the best show is still good, which is an incorrect implication, so let's start somewhere more appropriate...
5. The Thundermans
6. Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn (you know this show actually was good, wtf happened in Season 4? This is seriously worse than Jessie's and Austin & Ally's late-season downfall combined...)
7. The Adventures of Kid Danger (yes I know again, see above with Tangled)
8. Henry Danger
9. know, I'm not sure if I should put Game Shakers in here and School of Rock in 10th place, or just move both of them into an "Unwatchable flaming piles of garbage tier" especially since I skipped entire seasons of watching either show on the account of, you know, unwatchable flaming piles of garbage
10. See immediately above

MIKE: I really don't think a show like Knight Squad lends itself well to being a cheesy multi-camera sitcom. Not every new show has to be done in the same format. I get that Nickelodeon hasn't cared about the live-action department for five years now, but why can't this be a single-camera show? Wouldn't that cut production costs? I don't know, just a thought.

Don't you think you're being a little too hard on NRDD? I mean, let's be honest, it was never that good in the first place. Is it worse now that the kids are all going through puberty and their annoying, somewhat endearing kid personalities turned into annoying, scratchy-voiced teenage personalities? Probably. But I don't think it was ever shooting for anything higher to begin with.

Damn, you really gave it to The Thundermans there. I agree, and I'll do a write-up on it at a later time when it ends, but still, that show's been with us for four years, dammit.

I actually watched a School of Rock episode for the first time this month. It was a new one where Kendall from Big Time Rush was a janitor at the kids' school. My first impression is that the show is pretty damn lame. Like, lame to the point where it doesn't stand out at all and if it ended today, nobody would care. They probably wouldn't even know it ended until they look it up on Wikipedia one day out of complete boredom. They'll be like, "Wasn't there some rock shit that came on Nick that one time?" How to Rock was definitely ahead of its time. If it started airing in 2014 instead of 2012, it would definitely get to three seasons.

The main chick on Hunter Street reminds me of Frankie from Degrassi, in voice and appearance. While we're on the subject, Degrassi is atrocious now. I'm all for them addressing social issues, and not all of their attempts fail, but they are way too concerned with being progressive and making a point rather than be entertaining. The show was never so blatant about what it was doing before it came to Netflix. But anyway, Hunter Street. "You used real garbage?!"

You like Stuck in the Middle more than Andi Mack now? I say this having seen almost nothing from either show, but why is that the case? Is Disney Channel getting that good to the point where two live-action shows are consistently pulling off A-quality episodes?

Olivia Rodrigo is going to grow up gorgeous, that's my prediction. Is Bizaardvark a discount iCarly? I heard about the concept a while ago and I just thought it was a ripoff of something we're already familiar with. 

I'm just going to ask, why is Bunk'd still on? Why did Disney Channel renew it for a third season, much less a second one? Why has Peyton List not moved on yet? Why is Jadakiss as hard as it gets? And why am I writing this with the confidence that whoever's reading this will get the reference?

I think Disney Channel needs to get some new blood. They're starting to run out of shows from what I'm seeing on that list. 

RAY: I'm kinda surprised you think that about Knight Squad, I'd think the basic concept of a show like Knight Squad only lends itself to a cheesy multi-cam. It's basically about four buddies who go on knight adventures, and a little bit of school because tween sitcom. To me that screams cheesy, tween/teen multi-cam sitcom. Plus - I'm not saying John D. Beck and Ron Hart (yes the Liv and Maddie guys!) can't do single-cam...but they seem to have really mastered and nailed down the multi-cam format and know what it's good for, especially when it comes to cheese and simple viewer entertainment. After four years of Liv and Maddie (plus the work they did on Shake it Up) and something like two years more or less actually talking to these guys (well, what passes for it on Twitter) plus the heaps of praise Disjointed is getting...I more or less unequivocally trust them.

That said, I'm not entirely sure. I haven't seen it yet. More on that in a bit actually....

As for Andi Mack...I was going to write a more detailed post on this (and I probably will) but...this latest season just doesn't seem as interesting as the first one. Now that you've mentioned what kind of a mess DeGrassi is (that's another show I've never seen much of, as I didn't even have Nick when it was running on that network and I don't even know how to watch it now other than...move to Canada?) I think it's suffering a few of the problems that show has, plus the same ones Girl Meets World has. Namely, Jonah is this show's albatross hanging around its neck. The parts involving Andi herself and Jonah...just aren't interesting anymore. The parts with Buffy aren't all that more interesting, especially since most of her stuff lately seems to revolve around the middle school basketball team equivalent of a teamkilling, team-stealing asshole. Yeah that's really frustrating to deal with, and that's not necessarily a situation that's easily resolved, but as much as creative writing teachers harp on students that you need conflict in order to have a story, you also need actual traction to that story. Otherwise you're just gonna have Buffy stand there in frustration when her own freakin' team captain steals the ball from her. Yeah, that's conflict - and that's all there is. You don't have a complete story without pushback, and without resolution. And yeah, I know, those parts are coming more or less but the conflict doesn't feel interesting. It just feels...exactly like the type of frustration Buffy is feeling, just spinning her wheels helplessly.

But I guess what I'm getting at greatest fears about Andi Mack seem to becoming true. That it's getting so wrapped up in what it wants to do that it feels more tedious to watch than fun. Good Luck Charlie was fun to watch. Hell even Jessie was fun to watch a lot of times, as I've said time and time again, to say nothing of Liv and Maddie especially as that show brilliantly matured. Hell, Stuck in the Middle is experiencing that same brilliant maturity and so is Bizaardvark. And I just want to make it clear that it's attempt to tackle relevant social issues isn't necessarily the thing that's making it a chore to watch. Cyrus' parts are my favorite parts of Andi Mack now. And as it turns out it's not even so much about Cyrus being gay and finding himself, but dealing with the fact that the buy he's attracted to is his best friend's boyfriend. That's brilliant. That's very excellent writing. And just the parts where he's still struggling to fit in, for no other reason than because he just thinks fitting in might be fun, perhaps with a little FOMO in there. But while there's some interesting developments in the actual Mack family, it's overshadowed by Andi-Jonah-Amber drama and as for's as if the writers decided that it'd be cool for Buffy to be the sole girl on the boys' basketball team...and literally just stopped there. Like, once they got to that point they didn't know what to do with her and just left her hanging there. 

And if it sounds as if I myself am stuck on S2E4...yeah because I pretty much am. I didn't get through watching the show in time before I got a DVR upgrade and lost all the episodes, and after that my DVR crashed so I lost the episodes again. But...I've had something like three or even four whole months to catch up on those episodes, and I didn't. I don't do that unless I have reservations that a show just...might not be that interesting to watch anymore. And I don't have reservations on a show without reason, especially a show I've already watched the whole first season on. I make a point of watching Bizaardvark and Stuck in the Middle at the most days after they air because those shows are fun to watch. I make a point of watching Hunter Street hours after viewing, if not just viewing it on the live feed (which is perhaps a habit I need to get back into). Because those shows are actually pretty fun.

...but that's another essay/post altogether. this point I'm just looking at Thundermans even being on my DVR recording list and...smh. I don't even know if I'm going to make it to the show's end at this point.

And speaking of having my DVR crash, I lost Blurt, although I did watch Zombies (or is that Z-O-M-B-I-E-S?) at least. I can't find Blurt on the Nick app which just seems...par for the course given Nickelodeon's general apathy on everything.

No, I don't think I'm too hard on NRDD at all. They were cute in the first two or even three seasons, but it's just so painfully obvious they've outgrown the whole concept of the show without some major retweaks - retweaks that probably aren't that hard to do, save for apparently the writers' and crew's own reluctance and inertia. FFS Lizzy Greene turns 15 in just a couple of weeks, and it's gotten to the point where she can post provocative pictures of herself on her Insta and it's only slightly less disturbing than when Daniella Cohn does it. I'd argue she'd even at least somewhat outgrown her super-comedic, super-intentionally-awkward role in Tiny Christmas. For some of the other castmates like Casey Simpson it's at least as bad if not worse. And then there's Mace Cornell who, as Mal might say, decided to ditch this popsicle stand completely. 

And then there's School of Rock, and while I'm at it Game Shakers and to a lesser degree Henry Danger, although that degree of separation is rapidly shrinking. Or even Thundermans. I think in Thundermans and Henry Danger's cases it might just be the show's getting old - there's a major difference between two different shows doing the same basic humor, and the same show doing the same basic humor it did during its first season. A skilled crew (like Beck and Hart) knows how to make it work, but it's almost useless trying to hide pure and simple creative fatigue. But School of Rock managed to accomplish that feat within the first few episodes. As someone trying to put real honest effort into these reviews, I really want to precisely articulate, exactly nail down, ok, why does School of Rock suck? Aside from just being lame, that is. But the thing is, I can't. I can't nail down exactly why that joke doesn't work, why this plot falls flat, etc. The saying "you know it when you see it" exists for a reason and I guess...School of Rock just can't interest me. 

And Game Shakers just isn't even trying. It does what a lot of Dan Schneider shows post-Drake & Josh (and even Zoey101 did this in spades) tends to do, although iCarly and VicTORious (yes I'll keep insisting on spelling it like that, it's on the damn title card) are lightweights in comparison. Just a lot of dialogue and situational-based humor that's funny in accordance to Schneider's really weird, warped sense of humor and not much else. In iCarly, a lot of the humor was just flat-out physical, and in VicTORious, the situational comedy was very relevant and just made sense. Drake & Josh just about had a perfect balance of this. I can't explain wtf happened.

I'll talk about this more but...long story short, very little of these kiddie shows interests me anymore. As far as I'm concerned these imported/imported-in-spirit "dailies" and game/special event shows (like Paradise Run and Lip Sync Battle Shorties) are what's keeping Nickelodeon afloat. I'm hoping Knight Squad can add to that, but that's based entirely around the reputation of just the specific people who put the show together. I really enjoy Bizaardvark and Stuck in the Middle but those are now the oldest shows on the network, and they're long in the tooth season-count if nothing else (or in other words, they don't have much longer in this world). I really enjoyed Ducktales, but it's been now going on months since the last episode aired and it's painfully obvious DXD itself is a dying network. Disney itself sees the writing on the wall, hence Disney's big announcement of a paid subscription service which might be the future and might spell the actual death of Disney Channel. I'm not paying extra for kiddie shows without a kid of my own, sorry folks. know, these shows were great when I was at a certain time and place and headspace, but that time and place and headspace was a long time ago. Part of my problem is that the time and place have moved on, but the headspace didn't necessarily. But I'm slowly starting to realize that that headspace wasn't as great a headspace to be in as I thought, and it's just time to fucking move on already. Now I'm just more into books, I've got strong potential career commitments coming up that promise a better, more evolving headspace - and part of that includes the real possibility of writing my own stories instead of just absorbing and reviewing the stories other people make up. Are they also kiddie stories of the same ilk as all these shows? Yeah. But at least they're my own, in formats that promise more potential than what Disney and Nickelodeon insist on sticking with, even with Andi Mack.

And videos. That's right, I've made the commitment to move onto YouTube.

But really...I'm not even sure what to do anymore.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Raven's Home: Mid-Break Update

Yes, there haven't been any new episodes of Raven's Home in what seems like forever. That said, after having seen every episode...multiple times, in fact, I think it's a great way to re-evaluate the series especially since we last reviewed it pretty early in its run. Now here in February '18, I feel we can evaluate the series more fairly after the nostalgia filter and novelty has worn off's not looking good, folks.

In fact to be brutally honest if it weren't for Bunk'd I think this might be the most mediocre show on the network right now.

The original That's So Raven was..really good. There's a reason why it got not one but two spinoffs (simultaneously the first DCLAU show to get a spinoff, and the first and so far only one to get a second one...though Suite Life came close). But there's also a reason why they say lightning never strikes the same spot twice, and if it did it's only because Raven's Home is following in Cory in the House's footsteps.

Yeah, what I'm saying is that...the show's a big pile of meh.

Updated Series Grade: D+. I know I said I've seen every episode multiple times but...I think that gives me the authority to say that the episodes aren't very watchable at all on second viewing, let alone third on (which is actually critically important for Disney Channel given how something like 95% of its programming is the repeat schedule). And really, a lot of them aren't really all that great to watch the first time either. That said, there are some decent episodes, like the most recent one

I will say this: The episode where the kids sell snacks at school after the vending machines are taken away is a lot like the episode of That's So Raven where Cory and William sell soda in milk cartons at school after the soda machines are taken away. Except, it's not as funny....or entertaining.

I think the problem with Raven's Home is that it doesn't know which character should be the centerpiece. I mean, after Raven, obviously. Is the show about Booker or Nia? Honestly, I think Nia should have been the psychic. She comes off as the character with more to offer. I don't know how much you could do with Booker after a certain point. With Nia, I feel like there's more potential with her character to lead the show and she'll end up being more interesting than Booker is. The show made a really bad mistake right out of the gate.

Another problem is that I feel like Booker's psychic powers are inconsequential. Yeah, this goes back to making the show about Nia. He has them, yeah, but most of the time in season one, it doesn't feel like he has them at all or that they really mean anything. Booker will have a vision about the local concert going wrong, and then it goes wrong, and then he realizes that he was the problem, and then he'll say something like, "I think I'm the problem!" Also, whenever he has visions, a lot of the time, they just happen. He doesn't really do anything to stop it because they happen almost exactly as he imagined them. Plus, the visions he does have.....just aren't that interesting. In the original series, we were interested to see what would happen because Raven's visions would often move the story forward, or they wouldn't happen the way we think they would. There was always a hidden layer to the visions we didn't realize. With Booker, he'll have a vision that an ice cream truck will fall on his head. And then it falls on his head anyway despite him trying to stop it, and he'll learn some lesson about how you shouldn't be standing in the way of a falling ice cream truck. I'm pretty sure there's been at least one episode where his psychic powers don't come into play at all. If he didn't have them, the show would be almost exactly the same.

And lastly, the show's plots are just really childish. I get that these are kids, but when you have a plot about Nia being scared because she doesn't know how to dance, and in the same episode, you have a way more interesting subplot about Raven missing events in the lives of her children, I have to wonder what the hell is going on. It's called Raven's Home, not Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn. The kids aren't that interesting that they should be the least not yet. Raven should be the centerpiece for now and then when the kids get old enough that their range of stories increases, you can shift the focus to them. I really feel like Fuller House is the only show that has gotten this right. D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy are the stars and the main focus, as they should be. The writers recognize this. It just seems all over the place to have one episode about Raven, another about Nia, and then one about Tess, a character who no one ever wanted an episode centered around. 

I remember when Sean and/or Christian from GMWReviewed said that if Girl Meets World did not have the connection to Boy Meets World, but the style was exactly the same, they wouldn't watch it. I couldn't relate to that because I didn't grow up with Boy Meets World and I don't have the same relationship with it that they do, but now I'm walking a mile in their shoes. If Raven's Home had absolutely nothing to do with the original series, and Booker and Nia were just everyday Disney sitcom characters, I wouldn't watch it. Raven and Chelsea were the only reasons to watch from the beginning, and of course, they have Raven divorce her husband like Chelsea instead of adding a much-needed story element. Replace Tess with Devon, and change the dynamic so we see how his parenting style clashes with Raven's, and the show becomes a lot more interesting. It doesn't feel like there's enough of the original series injected into this spinoff. Whereas Girl Meets World suffered from not having enough of its own voice, Raven's Home suffers from hardly acknowledging the voice it came from. The characters kinda feel like a blank slate right now, and I can only hope there's some improvement with the storytelling when season two comes around. 

But there's a plus side to all of this: Now that K.C. Undercover's retired, Raven's Home officially has the best theme song on Disney Channel. Don't tell me that song doesn't make you want to dance.

Let's float this trial balloon out there to the writers of Andi Mack

So yeah I'm way behind on Andi Mack but...ok here me out on this...what if it turns out Iris is also a lesbian? Or is that too much?

Also, props to the actor who plays Cyrus, you can freakin' see the heartbreak in his face when he deals with Jonah before coming out.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

DuckTales Reviewed: The First 10 Episodes Wrap-Up

Grappling Hook!

What is it? Half-hour animated adventure comedy
Where did it air? Disney XD
Who stars in it? Probably by far the most recognizable and the one who's been stealing all the casting highlight headlines from this show is none other than David Tenant as Scrooge himself; a bunch of others I'm too lazy to look up now, but there've been some pretty recognizable names even just for bit roles (more on that later).
Why are we reviewing this? Woo-oo! (hah, the most obvious choice for quote gets put here!)

Spoiler alert: I friggin' love this show. Yes it lives up to the hype, maybe even thensome. But first.... far as I'm concerned, the big elephant in the room is WTF Disney XD what are you thinking? when it comes to how the episodes are even friggin' aired. As I mentioned before, it got so bad just from word-of-mouth (even the creators themselves) that I on principle just refused to even watch the show until I had all the episode recorded on my DVR so I can view them in the proper order - and indeed I did have to wait until all of them aired because the final of the 10 that did air so far was originally intended to be the third episode (if you count the first two episodes as just one). The creators have said that this was delayed until December mentions Christmas in passing and because it has snow in it (because they go off venturing into the mountains so of course it's going to have snow no matter what time of year the episode takes place). So yeah maybe *one* episode was out of order. Except the actual intended 10th episode was the sixth. But then again it did have a monster theme so it was saved for Monstober. ...except the mummy-themed episode aired in like September or November or something. My point is the airing order was all kinds of screwed up. They just about only got the first two right, it turns out.

So yeah, as far as I'm concerned I made the right call.

Does the viewing order make a difference? Based on feedback from other people and my own bet your sweet bippy it does. Yeah, Disney XD really screwed the pooch on this one. No wonder their viewership is about at the same level as, I dunno, that thing on ABC on Saturday mornings where Jack Hannah pretends to be Animal Ryan Seacrest and does his countdown of the top ten best moments of out-of-context/no-context animal encounters that last all of about 20 seconds per clip.

Anyway, it's hard to talk about this show without the context of the original 90s series or the comic strip that predates that way, way back (or even the animated Disney adaptation of A Christmas Carol which I thought was the whole origin story of Scrooge - Scrooge McDuck, Ebenezer Scrooge, you can see how I can make that connection right?) The original cartoon has always had a reputation for being more subdued and toned-down than the strip, but I think this new series takes the zany and edgy-ish-for-kids nature of the strip to a notch or two above that, even. Even that aside, the writing is very sharp, the pacing is on point, the characters are amazingly fluid and natural especially for animation period, let alone for being cartoon anthropomorphic ducks and...speaking of fluid, the animation comes off as absolutely top-notch. 

Actually, when they first announced this, I was expecting it to borrow the animation style of the Mickey Mouse shorts since at that point in my mind the success of those shorts was the whole impetus for relaunching DuckTales in the first place. And while the Mickey Mouse shorts clearly do borrow from and are inspired by sources like the original Walt Disney theater shorts and the Carl Barks DuckTales comics in the first place (with some heavy contemporary influences, natch), DuckTales takes even that a notch further. Really, everything they could throw at this production-wise, they threw, and then scrounged around some more for that "even then some." And it pays off, it's one of the most polished things either network's ever had.

And yeah, it heavily homages the original series, and even flat-out reinvents/remakes whole episodes, but it's not afraid to go heavy on that reinvention angle. And unlike a lot of other efforts, it works. It's a fresh take for old-ass Millennials who loved the original series, and just a really high-quality, super-enjoyable series for much younger fans (or even fans not so much younger) who've never seen a single second of the original series.

Of course, it also feels like DuckTales-themed Gravity Falls in a lot of ways (which isn't surprising because despite Alex Hirsh's uninvolvement with this one, a lot of the staff nonetheless carries over) but...given how much I loved Gravity Falls (and believe me I'm far from the only one) that's not necessarily a bad thing. You can definitely see character parallels - Weeby is Duck-Mabel (down to Grappling Hook!), the triplets are Duck-Dipper and two of his paper copier clones who I guess managed to stay unwet, Launchpad is Duck-Soos, Scrooge is Duck-Grunkle Stan, I could go on. Hell, Gyro is Duck-Old Man McGurkin and Glumgold is Duck-Gideon as a really old-ass Scottish billionaire (ok, that one might be stretching it). Yeah, the Gravity Falls influence is everywhere, but still, that's not a bad thing, and the Gravity Falls influence and parallels fit so seamlessly into the DuckTales mythos even if it all ends up being strictly coincidental. Really, I'm more convinced now that the success of Gravity Falls has more to do with inspiring Disney to reboot the series than the success of the Mickey Mouse shorts.

So, is this better than the original series? I honestly think...hell yeah it is! The original series...I think suffers from a lot of nostalgia boost. I've seen it not that long ago and my adult-ass eyes see it as...a very soft 90s cartoon appropriate for kids the age I was when I was first watching it. This new series really shows just how much the craft of storytelling has really improved over those 20-30 years (damn I'm old) and how much more credit networks and showrunners are giving to their audience, even younger ones.

Series So Far Grade: I think this is an incredibly easy call: an A+. Yes, this means on average every single episode is practically perfect, something I'm not even sure Gravity Falls could claim for this blog (unless I also gave that series an A+, which implies the same thing - I honestly don't remember and I'm too lazy to look up my own damn blog). Yes, in a lot of ways it's just DuckTales-themed Gravity Falls. But I think that's exactly why people were so hyped up for it in the first place. Hell, that's why I was so hyped up on it, whether I even realized it or not.  And again, if you're going to steal, steal from the finest. This might be one of the greatest things ever in the entire history of DXD, and across all the Disney-branded networks. I mean it when I say it lives up to the hype, an incredibly tall order that may be.
Series So Far MVP: I'm gonna give it to Margo Martindale just because she's exactly who I would've cast as Ma Beagle - and they did it! They actually friggin' did exactly that! Just the fact that they went out to get Margo Martindale as Ma Beagle, in my mind, shows how much they care and how much thought they put into this series, how well they know their audience (especially Millennials who grew up with the original show and likely have been exposed to at least some of Martindale's other well-known roles) and how much they care about not leaving out new viewers.

Extra Thoughts

 - Just to emphasize, yes, I really do feel watching these episodes in the "proper" order does help the series get to that A+ status, although I don't think the show over-focuses on the kids as much as some fans think, or at the very least I think these fans over-estimate how interesting Scrooge and especially Donald are, with Donald easily being my least favorite/who I find to be the least-interesting character. Donald never was a big part of the original cartoon, being absent for pretty much the entire run from what I can remember, and I think his inclusion into the series is a large influence from the Mickey Mouse shorts. That said, The Tower of Luck Whatever, I Forgot The Episode Name Already! made fantastic use out of him. But I definitely don't feel like his presence is missed in the episodes he's absent from (or even the episodes Scrooge was absent from, particularly The Terror of the Terra-Firmans!)

 - I was originally going to write every sentence with an exclamation mark, just like the episode titles! But clearly I forgot about that! Which is probably just as well anyway! Since that gimmick would get really old! Really fast!

 - If you're curious, and I bet you are! The correct airing order of the episodes can be found on Reddit! You can just Google search Reddit Ducktales to find the thread!

 - I bothered to go back and re-read the archive of my own blog after all! And yeah, it does turns out! That I did give Gravity Falls an overall series grade of A+! After all!

Nickelodeon's Superstar Slime Showdown at Super Bowl 2018 mini-reviewed

What is it? Hour-long unscripted...ish...Superb Owl special thingamajig
Where did it air? Nickelodeon
Who stars in it? Breanna Yde and that other dude from School of Rock, some football superstars like Drew Brees (yeah I'm too lazy to look up his name), Demarcus Ware, Deion (again too lazy to look it up) Sanders, yadda yadda

It's...this big pile of barely watchable whatever. You can really tell it's filler, and yeah I know they're making no effort to even disguise its filler nature. But still, in past years (including last friggin' year) they actually put some friggin' effort into it. I swear they just let it slip more and more. Back when they just had a bunch of local kids playing flag football, they actually put more effort into that and made it more something actually worth while to watch - you know, made it into a worthwhile sport

This is just a massive friggin' waste of time. And I don't mean that necessarily for the viewer (although that's still true), I mean for the network itself.

Special Event Grade: D-. It had one or two segments that were actually worth watching, which is what saves this from a friggin' F, for friggin'. But otherwise there were massive segments I just FF'd through because, again, waste of time.
Special Event MPV: The two local kids who were flag football champions that had maybe a total of 45 seconds of screen time combined, I guess. Also that Kate reporter woman from ESPN or something because why not.

Extra Thoughts:

 - watch the Puppy Bowl instead.

Why I'm not reviewing the KC Undercover finale (though I'm hoping maybe Mike will if he saw it)

The answer is very simple: I'm not terribly interested in watching it.

That said it's not like I hate KC Undercover, or was always that uninterested in it: I watched the first two or so seasons, back when it premiered just a very small tad over exactly three years ago (or not quite 37 months ago - wow, time flies). Those first two seasons were...ok. I'd probably give it anywhere from an actually respectable C+ to a pretty respectable B- (that's probably as close to a series-wide grade as you're going to get from me, so if that's all you're interested in you can stop reading now). In other words, it was a pretty average Disney Channel series, about on the same level as Dog With a Blog and I Didn't Do It which would spend that entire year finishing out their final seasons (remember those shows?) 

One of my biggest complaints about KCU, though, was that it didn't seem to make use of its spy premise all that much - it was the KC is an average school student, let's watch all her school problems, and oh yeah she's a spy in there show. They definitely changed that up in about the middle of the second season and doubled down on it in the third - but along the way something fundamental changed. Yeah, the show started off about this girl with her school and friends problems who maybe was a spy on weekends, but at least it was pretty relatable. I didn't realize just how relatable and enjoyable until it went full-tilt into the spy business.

When it started going full in on The Other Side business, it was pretty decently done at first but then KC put the kibosh on The Other Side waaaay too soon (no later than the end of the second season) and...I think that's when the series jumped the shark. Yeah Zane, Craig Cooper's arch nemesis, came back here and there and took over the organization, but that was confined to a few special episodes (with China McClain!) and from that moment since the series felt like it was struggling to one-up itself and find random evil spy organizations invented on-the-spot that could out The Other Side The Other Side. 

For me, it felt like the show was collapsing under its own weight.

The real jump the shark moment was the two-parter In Too Deep, where KC had to infiltrate the Volunteens, lead by an evil 15 year old girl who wanted to use her greenie-minded teen minions to take over the world. If you're wondering why that was such a jump the shark moment, well, go back and re-read what I just wrote about the first The Other Side temp replacement scrubs sent up to bat, the Volunteens, lead by an evil 15 year old girl who wanted to use her greenie-minded minions to take over the world.

Yeah. That's fucking stupid.

The big gimmick about the two-parter (that's another thing, from that moment on they insisted on just about having a "gimmick" for every. Single. Fucking. Episode) was that KC was so drawn into the Volunteens there was a real chance she could defect to them - a suspenseful moment completely and totally ruined if you stuck past the very end of the episode where you were treated to a preview of the next episode featuring KC fighting this evil 15 year old vegan girl (yeah, great job Disney Channel). 

So yeah, I decided, there wasn't a point in watching that episode anymore.

And that trend kinda stuck. Despite doubling-down on its spy premise the episodes just got more repetitive and formulaic, and I didn't feel like there was much of a need to watch. So I didn't.

As time went on, the plotlines got more and more outlandish as the show went through evil bad guy organizations staffed near-exclusively by teens like tissue paper - the Alternate, these Bishop guys leading up to the series finale, etc. Yet at the same time, they stuck by that same formula - are these really good guys or bad guys? moments completely and entirely ruined by either previews or, more often, the show itself, a complete lack of suspense and just a bunch of tedium. I saw some of The Alternate episodes when they were randomly rerun through the weekend hours and...yeah, it was just a big giant pile of blah.

And another thing - the schedule getting out of whack to near-final season of iCarly-levels certainly didn't help things. The Alternate story arch was, what, like seven episodes? And yet it seems like they stretched that thing out from late May (just in time for pool season and the end of school - you know, that thing the core demo would really be caring about) all the way to damn near Thanksgiving. This also meant that the prime rerun slots reserved for KCU was the same damn couple of episodes over and over and over again) which is probably the biggest reason why I even bothered to see those few episodes.

But yeah, I recorded the last few episodes (not the entire week) and then I watched a few minutes and I was like, "yeah, I'm lost, but I know what's going to happen, this show is repetitive despite the fact that I haven't watched an episode in months if not longer." So I deleted the series finale off my DVR after watching literally seven seconds in.

I don't find it fair to evaluate an entire series or at least the finale season when I haven't even seen most of it but...I think whatever grade would be clear at this point anyway. I think it's also pretty clear that most people were tuning in just for Zendaya but...I think it's just as clear that she's way outgrown her Disney Channel roots, especially given all the movie roles she's gotten. So good luck Zendaya in your future career. Disney Channel was a good launch pad, but it's also served its purpose.

Extra Thoughts

 - just one, at least on KCU itself (well, not even that): Zendaya was the *very* first person I ever saw in concert. This was before KC Undercover or for that matter Zapped! premiered and almost just fresh off Shake it Up, back in Summer '14 (they even talked about KC Undercover's premiere and Zapped! which was less than a month away at the time when they introduced her). Yeah. I don't know what was more awkward, being a grown-ass guy without any kids there, or the fact that I wasn't even the *only* grown-ass guy without any kids there. FFS we like had our own special section.

 - on the new Spider-Man show that I never bothered to watch save for these few seconds recorded off the beginning of DuckTales: I don't know if she's Mary Jane or not (who is now Zendaya in live-action I guess?) but I really like this redhead superheroine they have occasionally helping Spidey I guess. I dunno. I'm making this evaluation based off of literally seven seconds of footage.

 - oh, and I'd wish they'd just quit reinventing the cartoon series as often as they've reinvented the live-action movie franchise and just give freakin' Miles Morales his own freakin' cartoon series by now.

 - Oh and here's a surprise Regal Academy review! Remember this show? Probably not. It premiered during the graveyard hours over on Nickelodeon from September 2016 (coinciding with Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir which was vastly superior, needless to say) to late last April, and for whatever reason I actually bothered to watch every single episode except the very last one which didn't record due to weather issues (DirecTV sucks kids, just like literally every other "cable" TV service out there). After that point I thought the show was permanently done for on Nick, but lo and behold out from nowhere it comes back - on Nick Jr. I watched a random episode while writing this KCU essay and let me say the show's gotten a major revamp visual-wise - from "even worse than The Adventures of Kid Danger" to "at least it looks better than Kid Danger now." It's pretty clear this show exists to be as cheap as possible (especially in the first season) and while the CGI...actually looks like CGI and not premade assets downloaded for free off Steam and rearranged into whatever TV show they can,'s still pretty cheap. The end credits now feature some 2D animation cut-out style thingies and...I wish the show was that instead. At least it'd look more visually interesting.

Wow I can configure the title for "Featured Post"

Blurt Nickelodeon Original Movie "Review"

I'm gonna tell you upfront that this isn't so much a "review" as it is just venting in frustration. This also continues th...

Wow I can put a title here for "Popular Posts"