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

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I wasn't entirely sure it was 100% intentional, but with that character's otherwise notable absence I'll take it.
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
Finished Castlevania! Here's my opinion!

I feel like this was somehow simultaneously the best and worst take on Castlevania.

Somewhere on some iteration of these forums, I posted about how I would love to see a Marvel series that tackled the "minutia" of the Snap, and how it would impact other aspects of the Marvel Universe. Said it before, and I'll say it again: I would watch a 13-episode anthology series following people like Marvel Universe life insurance salesmen that have to deal with "Well, yes, Martha, we would love to give you your payout, but we have to wait five years, because, statistically, it has been proven that half the population can be dead for five years and return." This is something that interests me! There are some neat stories there! It is cool that we are getting stories about dealing with grief while punching terrorists, but I would also like to see incredibly mundane stories about living in a world where seemingly immutable laws of the universe do not apply. And it's not like this is completely out of the question from a storytelling perspective, either! There are ancient myths that deal with what exactly Hercules is doing today, and there are also myths that tell us thunder happens because Thor (not the Marvel one) is off thubbing trolls again, and we have to deal with the consequences. I want those stories, too! Give the robots and the super soldiers a break, I want to see how Doug from Accounting deals with working at a company that is owned by a dude who fights gods, and how that impacts Doug's life! More power to Doug!

But we're never going to see that series, because there's no way anyone at Disney is sending out a casting call for "Doug". You've got a superhero universe, you've got people that want to see superheroes fight other supercreatures, just go ahead and give the people what they want. Maybe Doug can be part of the program during Phase 32, but only after we get that Dennis Dunphy movie.

But, good news, I feel like we got that exact concept with Castlevania.

We got a noble Belmont and his allies fighting Dracula, so that box is well and truly checked. And I feel like, with that accomplished, someone sat down with the whole of Castlevania lore, and decided they were going to make a series about the things they found interesting in said lore. A barbarian with a whip fighting a vampire? That's been done. But a Devil Forgemaster? A person that takes human corpses and transforms them into monsters? Wow! Let's learn about those guys! What makes someone that does that tick? Why are they signing up for the genocide of their own race? Dracula has a giant castle filled with amazing technology and magic, so how does that contrast with the local villagers scampering about in the mud? And Dracula has been done, but a bevvy of vampire allies? How do they work? What do they get up to when Dracula isn't around? And speaking of Dracula not being around, who are the people that stop his resurrection? Why does that sound like a a literally eternal job? And there's a dude who is trying to travel through time and dimensions. What's his motivation? How does he fit into everything?

Does exploring every one of these questions work? No. (Easy example: Camilla is exhausting). But is it more interesting than Trevor spending six episodes just wrecking new configurations of skeletons? Yes.

And I want to say that, were this "just" like a blockbuster Netflix limited series or "Marvel Movie", it would be pretty much the plot of Castlevania 3 expanded to have some interesting character relationships. But we wound up with something that explored the more esoteric bits of a franchise that has been around for decades, and made itself something wholly separate and outside the "usual" of Castlevania. Does that make this a good Castlevania series? Probably not. But it is something that I feel is interesting on its own merits, even if I personally don't agree with every choice.

That said, I feel I have to circle back on the mysterious "they" that made any writing decisions here. It was probably Warren Ellis, right? Like, the only reason we got a franchise that gave whole episodes over to a secondary antagonist in a Castlevania PS2 spin-off is because Warren Ellis liked the guy, right? All the "weird" choices here could be explained by "Warren Ellis told Netflix he knew what he was doing, and was given carte blanche". And I hate that! I loved infamous graphic novel Transmetropolitan when I was in my early 20's, but to "learn" that the writer of that is a misogynist and misanthrope is about as surprising as learning that Kevin Smith finds dicks to be amusing. It's all right there in the text and the Frank Miller-esque need to make every third female character a literal prostitute. And it genuinely creeps me out that I am simultaneously saying "I very much enjoy the authorial vision of this series" and "the author of this content is a monster". But that's what happening! I just kind of hope that there were other voices that led to some of my favorite bits of that franchise (and I maintain that holy destruction Sypha must have been maintained by a different author... or at least someone on the animation team that took the script saying "Sypha fights the demons" to whole new levels). It bothers me that I feel this vision of Castlevania that I like literally never would have happened if Ellis wasn't tossing his weight around, and he only got that "weight" by being generally heinous. Not certain how I can reconcile that on a personal level.

Anywho, that said, a few spoiler-y bits:

I love Dracula's arc. There was a lot made of the difference in the various "ruling classes" in the early bits of Castlevania (how "the Church" is its own wealthy body, or how Trevor was essentially nobility before falling to his current state with peasantry), and a big chunk of Dracula's whole thing was that he not only had obvious wealth (see castle), but also knowledge far beyond humanity, and privileges like a castle that works essentially like modern day air travel. Drac has it all, and he's still not happy because the humans did a silly little thing like kill his wife. But his ultimate journey sees him happy only after he has dropped everything: his castle, his child, even his own name. He only has stolen clothes to his name! But he's content, because he's with his wife. I mean, he's still theoretically immortal, and has been granted a second chance mostly because Death liked his (old) style, but it's a cute little ending for "why" Drac might take a few generations off. Also: I would watch a series that is Dracula: Undying Wife Guy.

Additionally, any story with a critical number of vampires is eventually going to have "day walker" armor. I have grown very used to this meaning you are going to see a vampire in a goofy spacesuit looking thing, or a magical cloak/trinket that is just like "yeah this stops the sun, whatever". I was not prepared for how inordinately cool the "Nightmare" armor would appear in this series. It only is there for one scene, and the whole thing is pretty much just pointless violence (and that is arguably the point itself), but damn did that whole setup look cool.

And, as others have mentioned: Gergoth. Gergoth definitely supports my theory that someone looked at the whole of Castlevania, and decided to incorporate only the most interesting bits. Give me more Gergoth!

Oh, and I was genuinely surprised that Trevor survived. I was very prepared for a "bad end", complete with the obvious foreshadowing all over the place that Trevor was making a point to keep the Belmont line going before the final battle. Of course, given everything they established elsewhere in the series regarding "modern" sanitation, he probably should die of his wounds in like three days...

And the whole Greta/Grant thing? Further proof to that theory (I think I saw on the boards here) that this is the "real", complicated story of Trevor Belmont's time dealing with Dracula, and Castlevania 3 NES is the child story's version of it. Greta was totally a Grant that could crawl over walls and throw daggers. "He" was a pirate. Right. Now go to sleep.


Okay, that's it. Castlevania has a better authorial vision than most franchises I'm aware of, left alone one based on a videogame from the 80s. Just wish it was a different author...
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I reconciled my love of the show and my dislike of Ellis by telling myself that there were a lot of people involved and Ellis probably just had his name slapped all over it, like Tim Burton and Nightmare Before Christmas
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
That doesn't seem like a tenable read to me. I stopped watching after the first season because it embodied so much of the Ellis writing voice from the start, and I had no interest in seeing them flail around for something better that would never come. Nothing I've heard or seen since has suggested a significant creative shift tonally or stylistically; I am not hooked on its own by the knowledge that someone on staff played some of the games and retained impressions of some of their characters and concepts.
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
Slightly tenable! Regarding specifically the ending: Dracula's final fate in this series is a flip of exactly where he and Lisa started: Lisa initially comes to Dracula wishing to learn of his magical/techno world, and, after everything, now Dracula seems content to learn from Lisa how to be a "mundane" human living in the countryside. This strikes me as vaguely anti-Ellis, as I would expect the exclusively Ellis version of the ending to be... I don't know... Dracula and Lisa stuck in some kind of cynical eternally bickering limbo, not unlike what Death had planned. There is some genuine affection for these two and their fate that I have not seen in other Ellis works. Maybe it was what Ellis had planned from the beginning! But, in my own experience with his works, it seems unprecedented.

Also, Alucard's Season 3 ending seemed more like what Ellis would make the final ending for a side character. "Father Alucard" felt more earnestly considered and a legitimate way forward for the dhampir. Though I would have to rewatch it to see if it was legitimately earned, because I feel like the Alucard Shield got more screen time than any of these kids that are apparently changing Alucard's whole life outlook...

That said, the ultimate fate of Trevor is wholly what I would expect of Ellis (and generally pretty similar to the finale of Transmetroplitan), and super-duper same for what happened with Hector over in kiss the dawn land. "Man ultimately 'triumphs' over authoritarian woman who friggen commits suicide in response" is Ellis through and through (and also, ya know, hideous).


The Ellis tone is definitely there throughout, but there are deviations that lead me to believe there were other voices involved. But it is still very much Ellis.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Oh hey Netflix's upcoming He-Man show got one of them trailers!


It's weird that this show is being billed as a 'continuation' of the 80s series, right? I'm not the only one who thinks that's weird? Because that is absolutely nothing like the 80s show, outside of a fairly faithful take on the character designs (I appreciate buff Teela). It feels like like how people like to remember the cartoon being like, when we were all little babbies and He-Man was the mostest amazing thing we ever saw.

This isn't really a criticism, mind. I'd just be totally fine with them billing this as a new property inspired by the original. I guess they don't feel confident it could succeed without that hook? Because that fear is misplaced if you ask me, it looks pretty swell as-is.

Great voice cast thus far too. Still undecided on Skeletor though. On the one hand, it's nothing like Alan Oppenheimer's iconic performance and sounds a lot like Hamill is leaning on his Joker delivery for the role.

On the other hand, what's not to love about 'The Joker But A Skeleton Wizard'?
 

Poster

Just some poster
It's weird that this show is being billed as a 'continuation' of the 80s series, right? I'm not the only one who thinks that's weird? Because that is absolutely nothing like the 80s show, outside of a fairly faithful take on the character designs (I appreciate buff Teela). It feels like like how people like to remember the cartoon being like, when we were all little babbies and He-Man was the mostest amazing thing we ever saw.

Hmm, yeah, it's more reminiscent of the 2002 reboot to me.
 
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