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Netflix: Flicks? On the Internet? That's just crazy talk!

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
To Wist's point, I said elsewhere that the entire thing reeks of Marvel movies. The script THINKS it's super clever, and it loves to revel in how funny and smart in it is. Only problem is it's not; they have some truly awful dialogue, and everyone is a smarmy Marvel character cracking wise, too cool to deliver dialogue in their own show. It's a nightmare.

I was gonna watch more while I was exercising and I put the original on instead and lemme tell ya; I do not regret this decision
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
In other Netflix strange choices news, has anyone watched Arcane? I've seen the first two episodes, and even having actively played the game for a few years I feel like I can barely follow the story or intent of the series.
 
I said elsewhere that the entire thing reeks of Marvel movies. The script THINKS it's super clever, and it loves to revel in how funny and smart in it is. Only problem is it's not; they have some truly awful dialogue, and everyone is a smarmy Marvel character cracking wise, too cool to deliver dialogue in their own show. It's a nightmare.
The thing is, cracking wise and having seemingly irreverent conversations isn't necessarily out of character for Cowboy Bebop. It's very much something the original show partook in from time to time. The difference here is:

1) There's just a lot more of it since they're using it to pad out the plots.
2) The quality of the banter is markedly reduced due to the poor writing.

Those two things by themselves aren't enough to get me to condemn them. I chuckled a few times in the first four episodes at a couple of scenes. The problem/meaningful difference between the two shows then, is that:

3) The banter in the old show was always thematically resonant and plot significant. It always served a purpose and gave texture and context to what was going on.

Spike whining about bellpeppers and beef with no beef tells us very quickly about both the socioeconomic situation that the Bebop crew is in, as well as hints about the situation that the setting broadly is in. Jet talking about washing his feet in bidets does nothing for anything and is just stupid. Especially when Jet is 1) a generally very knowledgeable character and oversights of this kind for him is odd, and 2) it's just dumb/ironic that characters, from a Japanese property of all things, wouldn't know what a bidet is - especially a good 50+ years in the future when there's artificial gravity, subspace gateways, forcefields, and interplanetary travel. It would be like Jet being confused with how email works. It's just nonsensical.
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
Ask a kid today to read an analog clock. Heck in the next ten years ask one to write in Cursive.

Not to mention, when settling space conserving water will be #1 priority. Bidets will not be on the final frontier for some time.
 
it's just dumb/ironic that characters, from a Japanese property of all things, wouldn't know what a bidet is

Maybe it's simply a horrifying sign of the level of dystopia in Netboy Flixbop that the American fear of bidets has spread throughout the galaxy.

(I don't sincerely think this reading works either: The other characters in the same scene assumes it should be obvious, so it doesn't come across as a world building thing on any level...)
 

Ludendorkk

(he/him)
To Wist's point, I said elsewhere that the entire thing reeks of Marvel movies. The script THINKS it's super clever, and it loves to revel in how funny and smart in it is. Only problem is it's not; they have some truly awful dialogue, and everyone is a smarmy Marvel character cracking wise, too cool to deliver dialogue in their own show. It's a nightmare.

I was gonna watch more while I was exercising and I put the original on instead and lemme tell ya; I do not regret this decision

The Whedonization of Pop Culture must be stopped at all costs

There's a difference between occasionally cracking wise and the constant wisecracking and smarminess that pervades modern character dialogue.
 

Mr Bean

Chief Detective
In other Netflix strange choices news, has anyone watched Arcane? I've seen the first two episodes, and even having actively played the game for a few years I feel like I can barely follow the story or intent of the series.
I have. I’ve watched all 9 episodes now. I was planning on starting a separate thread when I get the chance. I thought the whole thing held together pretty well. It suffers from Netflix cliffhanger syndrome, and some of the League elements feel odd without any additional context, but as its own thing, I liked it.
 
(I don't sincerely think this reading works either: The other characters in the same scene assumes it should be obvious, so it doesn't come across as a world building thing on any level...)
Yep. All it does is make Jet look like a clueless rube. Which isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's weird and out of character. In the cartoon, usually the reverse is happening where Jet has to explain something basic to the other characters who for whatever reason (been in cryosleep and out of the loop like Faye, or just completely detached from the world and thus clueless like Spike).

Some of the changes to the characters personalities are fine and even kinda fun. Spike's hedonistic tendencies being amped up to the point where's drooling over prostitutes is amusing. Faye dropping the femme fatale pretense and just being even more of a blatant mess of a human being I think works too. But the changes to all the characters backstories are subtle and yet when you think about them, should fundamentally alter who these characters are to the point where no longer make any sense.

Jet being a divorced, absentee father just completely changes who Jet is as a person. The whole point of Jet before was that he completely lost his place in the world/reason for living. And being on the Bebop was allegorical for both being adrift in life, yet being able to more faithfully follow his own personal code of ethics. Leaving the police force was because they were so corrupt that they set him up to get murdered, and he can better service justice as a bounty hunter. Constantly putting himself in harms way doesn't phase him simply because he doesn't have anything going for him to need to stay alive for. Leaving Ganymede was because his girlfriend left him and he had no reason to stick around there anymore. Here in Netfboy Flixbop (love that estragon, imma steal that) however, he has a daughter that he ostensibly cares a LOT about if we're trusting what the show is showing us. That *should* change all of Jet's personal calculus, but it doesn't and his personality is basically unphased. Which has the result of turning Jet from a guy burned by society and left adrift because he's got nobody and nothing to tie him down, into someone who willfully puts distance between the people he loves for... what reason exactly? It can't be purely socioeconomic, otherwise he could just do a desk job at ICCP. It portrays him as a shitty dad, which sucks because Jet is a better guy than that.

Julia sticking with Vicious and being married to him the last three years also just completely changes Spike's character too. Spike's whole deal is that he's got a death wish, and is also just floating through life. And that the only thing that keeps him alive is the hope that someday he'll find Julia - who is on the run hiding from the Syndicate/Vicious. It's why he's a bounty hunter to begin with. It lets him travel around the solar system and keep an ear open to the criminal underworld for hints of Julia. So if Julia is alive and well and accounted for and easy to keep tabs on and happily married to Vicious... then what is Spike even doing? What is his motivations for anything? Why is he doing bounty hunting? It's just weird. I'm pretty sure the show is setting up for the same series of events, but it's just showing us the reason for why Julia went on the run and moving that even up to the present but it still leaves Spike with this like 3 year gap of him just floating as a Cowboy for no good reason.

Faye seems mostly the same, but Whitney Matsumoto is now a female, maternal figure and not a former lover. Which isn't as big of a change but still messes with her character. Faye's whole arc in Bebop is trying to find out who she was because she assumes her lost identity will provide her with a future and life that's better than what she's got going on. And part of her low estimation of her present is because she refuses to let herself get close to other people because she was so thoroughly betrayed, especially by someone she loved and put her whole trust into. That romantic damage had her keeping herself at arm's length from the rest of the Bebop crew - Spike especially. But if she didn't have that damage in her past... it's kinda not the same? At least for her romantic tensions/entanglements re: Spike. Which honestly isn't that big of a deal, but their sexual tension between the two was always fun in the show and now it's just not gonna be the same.
 
Which is fine. Neither man is shy about killing in the cartoon. They do what has to be done. But later on, when reflecting on the botched job, both settle their differences by... laughing about the people they murdered? Like, actually reveling in the look of horror on their victim's faces as they realized they were dying. It's played for laughs.

Absolutely and utterly appalling. I'm actually fine with a lot of the changes in the show to characters and events, even if most of the changes end up being actively worse than the original. At least it's trying to be its own thing and do a remix of sorts. But this revelry in violence just completely misses the point.

Also: Spike routinely making a point of killing wounded Syndicate people so they won't let Vicious and Co. know he's still alive — is there any corresponding moment of ruthlessness in the anime? I can't think of one.
 

Lokii

It's always time for burgers
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
He shoots a poor innocent child right between the eyes
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
I haven't seen this yet, but I have a feeling my dad is going to be all like "Hey! Remember that animated show you liked in college? There is a live action version of it on Netflix now!" over Thanksgiving, so I'll probably see some of it this weekend.
 
Episode 8 of the new Cowboy Bebop: Just an appalling experience. And I think the point where I've really begun to understand this adaptation.

The entirety of this show is just fan fiction. The kind of earnest and loving, yet short sighted, shallow, fan fiction that often misses the point and is less about designing a plausible story and more about wish fulfillment. The kind that birthed the 'Mary Sue' critique in the first place. Looking at the show in that guise, it's a lot easier to stomach and accept what's going on. And even find it endearing at times. But it's still a shallow imitator that can't really hope to even be a companion piece for the original, never mind a sufficient replacement.

Episode 8 adapts the "Pierrot Le Fou" storyline from Episode 20, with some Vicious/Julia shenanigans running parallel as always. The episode itself was mostly entertaining and fully embraced the weirdness and horror of Pierrot. But this was the moment where it really clicked with me that the writers of this show really don't understand the entire point or main themes of Cowboy Bebop, and are really just looking at the property from a surface level.

The first time we see the Bebop crew in this episode, they're playing bowling together. Already a striking departure from the original TV show. We never really see the Bebop crew spend their leisure time together, ever. Spike and Faye comically complain about being suckered into this boring/bad activity, but Jet is nothing but wide smiles as he happily explains to them that this is "family time" and that this is all about building teamwork and enjoying the company of friends. And despite their protestations, Spike and Faye smile and enjoy themselves thoroughly.

At which point, I was like holup.

This is not Cowboy Bebop anymore. The entire central premise of Cowboy Bebop is that these people don't like each other. They're not friends. They're barely even partners. They're wayward, starcrossed souls who only very briefly cross through in and out of each other's lives, and only through mutual convenience. Each of them might secretly *want* to be friends with each other, but there's always something standing in the way of it. Be it Jet's stubborn pride, or Faye's defensiveness, or Spike's inability to let go of the past and live in the present. Any time we might see the characters actually do something nice and altruistic to one another, they have to immediately sabotage any good will by throwing out an insult or reflexively, metaphorically curling up like a hedgehog. It is the entire point of the show. It is why it ended the way it did, and why the ending is so iconic. We, as viewers, might want these people to become real friends and to continue their escapades through the solar system indefinitely, but they have their own agency as characters that won't allow for it.

And that's when it clicked with me, this is all just wish fulfillment. This is a show made by someone who liked Cowboy Bebop, but never really thought that hard about the themes of the show. And instead of embracing the bitter ending and the core themes of the show, they're out to remake the show in their own image, where Spike and Faye and Jet are all true friends and have a merry ole time. Who say nice things about one another and share hearty laughs and go bowling together, versus being total assholes.

There's a really important scene at the end of Episode 5 where Spike hallucinates that Julia is nursing him back to health, when it's really Faye. Spike came an inch from death, while saving Faye's life. She helps return the favor by looking over him and tending to his wounds while he's passed out. Faye seems genuinely curious/concerned about Spike's health/fate, and is obviously drawn to him and seeking to pay him back in her own way. And the only thing Spike can do in that situation? He musters all of his remaining strength just to insult her and cause her to storm out of the room. It's a scene that's mirrored again in the beginning of the original "Pierrot Le Fou" - only Faye has her guard up, refuses to pamper Spike, and taunts him back. Jet and Faye both attempt to help Spike in their own ways as he runs off to his death, because both ostensibly care, but neither can muster up enough courage to actually just tell Spike how they feel and demonstrate that affection in any direct and unambiguous manner. The best Faye can do is throw sly insults his way in a very defensive and detached manner as she watches someone she might care about attempt to throw his life away.

And on Netflix? Spike and Jet are drinking booze together, having heart-to-hearts, and both Spike and Faye intervene and attempt to save Spike from himself to show how much they care about him. And in return, he goes off to face the clown alone because he doesn't want to put them in harms way. It's so incredibly sentimental. It would be sweet and endearing if it weren't also completely missing the point.

I don't begrudge this show for its sins. At one point in my life long ago, I might have been tempted to write fan fiction of Cowboy Bebop that's in spirit not too different from this either. Where everyone gets to be friends and we can end up with a less sad ending for these characters I'd grown to love. But the hubris and lack of insight/understanding of the source material really wounds this show and keeps it from coming close to achieving anywhere near its full potential.

Also, Ein is a robot-dog now so 🤮
 
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