Why it’s hard to watch Jessica Jones and Stranger Things

I figured out why it’s taking me so long to get through Jessica Jones and Stranger Things.  

It’s not just because Jessica Jones is such a  intense show,  dealing with heavy subject matter unflinchingly.

It’s not time:  I’ve wandered in and watched basically all of who knows how many episodes of the various shows Katherine has watched to unwind: Limitless,  Monarch of the Glenn,  and other generally lighter shows. 

I think it’s energy and tolerance for lack of closure. In a lot of shows, the problems are solved by the end of the episode.

I have my own problems,  and I don’t have a lot of space in my heart for shows that might have some resolution at the end of the season, but certainly won’t before then. 

They’re both great, like Babylon Five and Battlestar Galactica before them.  I’ll get through them eventually, but I may be past the point where I can dive into many more grueling indefinite-length dramas. 

That time would probably be better spent reading anyway. 

Beat Bugs Is My New Favorite Cartoon


What do you get when you take a colorful, beautifully animated cartoon with an endearing cast of genuinely sweet characters, completely appropriate for preschoolers … where each episode is built around a Beatles song?

Best. Cartoon. Ever.

Seriously, if you have a “littlie”, this is totally worth getting Netflix for. 

Oh,  did I mention that “All You Need Is Love” is the theme song?

Twelve-Word Tuesday: Voltron: Legendary Defender

Well crafted. Light-hearted. Hints of gender nonconformity. But still embraces redemptive violence.

I was an 80’s kid who always (skeptically) looks forward to modern updates and remakes of old childhood favorites … especially since the old cartoons often don’t hold up well (try watching old episodes of Transformers, GI Joe, or Thundercats without cringing).

A lot of the updates are quite good. But virtually all of them play into the myth of redemptive violence, with the exception of updates of “girl toy cartoons” (I hate myself for typing that sentence, but that’s how it was seen in the 1980’s) like the adorable My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which I love to watch with my daughter.

Voltron: Legendary Defender is especially well done. The animation, music, voice work, characterization, and even dialogue are top-notch, and appropriate for children (though not for a 3-year old). The plot is serialized, and each episode leaves the viewer in suspense for the next. I have been thoroughly enjoying watching it myself.

The heroes’ success turns on teamwork and on realizing the importance of putting aside their own personal needs in order to protect society at large, which are good things.

Of course, protecting society at large mostly involves blowing up massive numbers of enemy ships, robots, and mecha. It’s the myth of redemptive violence all the way down.

I know it takes a little more thought to come up with non-violent plots, especially in a show with a violent predecessor, but the excellent Transformers Rescue Bots (and the aforementioned My Little Pony) proves it is possible to design action-packed kids cartoons, and even to draw off Gen-X nostalgia, without glorifying violence.

I just wish more people would do it.

(Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 1 is available on Netflix now).