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We are the kids of the 80′s, we don’t go to school we’ve given up (The Millers, 2013-2014; Surviving Jack, 2014)

Now it’s official, 80′s are hip. Family life too. Good, because Parks & Recs/Modern Family are getting more and more boring every episode – if actors are fed up with their characters, how could we not be? So any new stuff is welcome, like The Goldbergs are already mentioned here, set in the 80′s.

You got The Millers too: set in current time (no Freaks & Geeks clothes and colorset so) jokes are a bit expectable but there are nonetheless good lines served by good comedians (Gob Bluth/Devon Banks for one, not to mention Leon Black). It’s definitely not heavy heavy like Parks & Recs or Modern Family were when they started since the characters are much more conventionals. But, right now, it’s much better than these two and maybe it’ll be like Happy Endings in the end, improving over time. They already got the comedians and the writers, that’s not too far a stretch.

There are some other family-stuff related series being aired that I really don’t want to mention here (The Fosters? Seriously? – no, I wont even comment the pitch), just because I’m polite.

And there is Surviving Jack: set in the 80′s, with a famous comedian, and worthy of being so, as main character (Chris Keller/Elliot Stabler) suddently in charge of his son looking like a copy of Barry Goldberg. So far (only three episode aired, and I watched only one), only the main character seems to have any depth. But that’s still more interesting than recent Parks & Recs/Modern Family (I know, that’s harsh). Come on boys let’s do a shot There’s nothing else for us to do.

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Inconsistency #4: Unsere Mütter, Unsere Vater/Generation War E03

Called Generation War in English (traduttore, traditore), this TV mini-series is a decent german historic fiction depicting the (mis)adventures of five germans during WWII. It’s in general quite satisfying, each of the five characters shows a different perception of the events, and none of them is either overly bad or good.

Coming from the ZDF, so german TV, that’s a welcome change from the usual documentaries about neo-nazis (it’s flabbergasting how much attention received, during these last 20 years, from german TV, a sad bunch of more or less 2000 morons listening to cheap metal, wearing sort of camo’ baggies with paraboots, doing gigs in communal ballroom of villages of 25 inhabitants). No, for once, that’s kind of a clever portray of a complicated past. And, as such, it’s bound to rise mixed feeling. Are these five germans representatives, those this show help to understand the big picture, etc, etc. Whatever, I found it satisfying.

Until episode 3.

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Episode 3 makes absolutely no sense. They found the one Soviet commissar enforcing a no-rape of polish or german girls policy. OK. They also found the one US Army Captain that was fine working knowingly with an ex-Gestapo high rank officer to recruit new personel, in Berlin, for the denazified new Germany, and as soon as may 1945. OK. That’s overly misleaded and misleading. I wonder how these fucked up notions came to the mind of the screenwriter Stefan Kolditz. He should explain himself. I can enjoy some artistic license but historic fictions must have some limits.

But really, the most dramatic and major inconsistency is that we are presented with Polish Armia Krajowa as anti-semitic and given the impression that Poles were focused on being overly anti-semitic during this timeframe. Portraying as such Poland is a terrible joke. They had more pressing matters, serious foes to focus on.

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Of all countries invaded/annexed/puppet by/of Germany, that’s the one that no only had no noticeable collaborators or State collaboration policy, a fact rare enough to be pointed out – unlike France (obviously), Albania, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Netherland, Norway, Serbia, Ukraine, etc.

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Not enough? Of all occupied Europe, that’s also the one that had by far the largest underground Resistance with the Armia Krajowa (Home Army, AK, 380 000 men including jews in 1944, loyal to Polish exiled government) but also the Armia Ludowa (People’s Army, AL, circa 30 000 in 1944, pro-soviet) and the Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (National Armed Forces, NSZ, 75 000 men at its maximum, recognizing Polish exiled government and anti-soviet). Not to mention that the Armia Krajowa had the Konrad Żegota Committee, unique in Europe: its own committee dedicated to the rescue of the Jews. Even if it’s possible to find accounts of anti-semitism in AK, portraying the AK as such as a whole is definitely grotesque.

Unsere Mütter, Unsere Vater is worth being watched. But only until episode 3 – you can skip this offending hoax.

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Pour nous refaire des combats, nous avions à nos repas des gourganes et du lard rance, du vinaigre au lieu du vin (Long John Silver, 2007-2013; Black Sails, 2014; Expeditions: Conquistador, 2013)

Ahoy! Long John Silver, does it ring a bell? It should, that’s a character from Stevenson’s Treasure Island. And such, that’s also the title of a french comics by Xavier Dorison and Mathieu Lauffray. He was quatermaster under Captain Flint and this comic is kind of a sequel -the authors wrote they’d humbly rather call this a tribute-, the story of this pirate going to South America to find hidden treasures. I haven’t read Robert Louis Stevenson since so many years. I nonetheless felt with odd nostalgy this same ambiance of mysteries, treasons and struggles with the sea or forest. That’s a must read.

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So I was slightly disappointed it came to an end at tome IV, released during the second half of 2013. As such, Black Sails came as a good news – not a sequel but a TV-series prequel to Treasure Island. While being focused on the hunt of a treasure galleon, John Silver is there too, along with Flint real live and not as hearsay/legend. The general picture is consistent, there’s always something going on, that’s definitely good stuff. That’s a must see at the moment, at least if you like a bit of violence, dialogs, treasons and sex (but who doesn’t?).

Finally, I got Expeditions: Conquistador while it was on steam sale and had the good surprise to find the same keys ingredients: treasure hunt in an hostile environment with a team of moronic and fun lads and gals to deal with. Even though the game does not seems entirely bug free, even though sometimes I’m confused about the consistency of the difficulty (during fights, I tend to either get perfect success to total failure, not much middle ground), so far I enjoy the opportunity to play the Flint/Long John Silver somehow. So that’s a good buy, at least when it’s only sale.

Si l’histoire du Grand coureur a pu vous toucher le coeur, Ayez donc belles manières et payez-nous largement, Du vin, du rack, de la bière, et nous serons tous contents.

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I fell in with a bad crowd and laughed and drank with them (Aperture Stainless Steel Pint, GSI Outdoors Nesting Wine Glass)

I tend to break glasses. I mean I don’t like to waste my time paying attention not to break glasses. And since I havent found any proper burl, I found two solutions.

For proper water/beer drinking or anything that is to be drunk by large amount, you want the Aperture double wall stainless steel pint. It keeps your drinks fresh and looks tremendously coolowy.

For wine drinking, you’ll be happy to find that you’re not stuck with christian/goth chalices. No, GSI Outdoors comes to the rescue with their stainless steel nesting wine goblet. That’s supposed to help you when you are trekking but that’ll work at home too. The form looks like INAO so even if it’s probably not the best depending on the wine you are serving right now (yes, right now), it’s generic enough so it could work decently with any wine. Unless you really want to have one type of glass per type of wine, that’s probably what you should be looking for.

This look like a cheap advertisement but that’s a friendly drinking advice. I’m not being paid to do this. But if anyone want to, he can pour me a pint/wine on the spot. Walk tall, walk straight and look the world right in the eye.

 

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Late yesterday night I saw a light shine from a window (The Goldbergs, 2013-2014)

I’ll be concise here: I’d just like to say that these days I’m having a laugh with The Goldbergs, even though it’s overly conventional in the genre, which would be something between Malcom in the middle and Just Married.

It’s about growing up in the 80′s is the USA (that’s probably something like France 85′s or Central Europe 90′s I guess), apparently based on Adam Goldberg real memories. It’s worth every penny so far. Come on, look at this face:


And if Jeff Garlin is not enough for you, there’s some George Segal for you, neither getting younger nor less malicious.


So meet me tonight, just where the light shines from our window.

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Maschinengewehr aus jeder galaxie, heilen wir allgemeine agonie (Insurgency, 2014)

I should stop writing about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, I’ve said too much already. But thinking about it makes me a bit concerned about so called survival* games being developed these days. Not only Counter-Strike, in my experience, from 1.3 to Global Offensive, was never riddled with cheaters but, over time, good ideas about players/community management we’re directly melt into the game user interface. For instance, someday /votekick was modded: now it is a just click away. Since internet is no longer a thingy for a chosen few, these players/community managements features are a must have, there is no way around. I do not even understand how anyone could think ever releasing a multiplayer game without these. That should be part of the user interface design, not an crappy thing added extra two days before the final first release. It was already nice in Left 4 Dead, it’s great in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive so they can focus on other things (before changing anything to Aztec, I’d suggest heavy fixes on Lake: the ability to run like mad on the roof of the house just like if it was solid ground, without it even making specific noise, is already way too gamey for my taste; but the running, not swimming, around in the Lake is really nonsense).

But Counter-Strike will always be Counter-Strike, otherwise it’ll have to be renamed, since any substantial change would make too much fuss among pro players. So even though the game qualifies as a tactical realistic experience, there are cool realism items they’ll probably never implement. I doubt they’ll ever add iron sights for instance.

So no iron sight, no blurry target and iron sights clear either, as it should be when you are actually aiming with a weapon with iron sights, focusing on the said sights. In depth: I admit not easy to implement, obviously, while he can be aiming down the sight since a few seconds, the player still have to decide when he’s actually about to fire and want to only focus on the sight instead of the whole environment. But, in FPS where you can aim down the sights, there is often a key to slow breathing : maybe it could fill that purpose too in the case of iron sights. Or another fine way to implement it could be to assume that when you aim down the sight, it’s for immediate fire so it would by default focus on the sight and slow breathing; and the extra key usually for slow breathing would be a general release trigger, releasing the breath and focus with the sights still aimed.

This leads me to Insurgency. It uses Source engine, so even though it’s not the best on the market in regards of aesthetics these days, it’s stable and quite nice to see nonetheless, especially since you can actually put all the settings to high and  expect at least 50/60 frames per second. And votekick, mute morons, etc, are already implemented.

Insurgency ambiance is quite similar to COD 4 Modern Warfare, with fights taking places in Iraq/Somalia/etc. Insurgency gameplay is a bit similar to Counter-Strike, with objectives that invites to a tactical playing style.

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And Insurgency is new, they don’t have to deal with history, they can implement things like this blurry target/iron sights clear thingy. They already seems to focus on realism, with a minimalist interface (for instance, it tells you how many magazines you have left but it does not tell you how many times you fired with your current one however), they could continue on this path.

I was also thinking it could be interesting not to consider ammunitions as a whole and magazine size as a limit of ammunitions that can be fired without reload, as it is in every FPS, but, as it is in reality, magazines as real containers: you fire three ammunitions and load another magazine then you have in your backpack a magazine with 3 ammunitions left. Gameplay wise, when reloading, as it is in every game I’ve played so far, provides you each time the full maximum of ammunitions, you should almost always reload after a firefight, as soon as you are in cover. That’s easy to remember and to apply. But that notion is not realistic. No magazine is automatically fed to the maximum each time you put it in the pocket. Unloading magazines and refeeding them on the battlefield could be possible but that’s not a fast reload. I don’t know whether a realistic take on this would make the game funnier, but it would definitely makes it more immersive, and even help players to perfect strategies about magazines management (is it better to change regularly magazines to keep them to a similar level, but ending will all of them almost empty at some point? or is it better to always empty them one by one so you never end up in the situation where you cannot fire an almost full one, except when you are completely out? or is it better to change regularly but to keep one full at all time just in case?).

Anyway, the game is on sale these days, if you want a similar experience (realism, tactical modes) to Red Orchestra 2/Rising Storm, but in another ambiance, you should go for it. Erhebe du dich!

(* if you can respawn in a sleeping bag a few meters from where you died, if you can actually easily manage multiples death without substantive loss, then it’s more a farming game than a survival experience)

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They said he came from the wrong side of town (The Musketeers, 2014)

Missing some modern-eraish ambiance, waiting for the Witcher 3 to go public? Maybe you ought to give a try to The Musketeers. There is not much to say about the content: de cape et d’épée 101. Ok, I’ve read some review about how the king could have been portrayed otherwise, wtf with the sexy leather clothes, and this and that, but I wonder whether this kind-of-fun-to-read-review is really supposed to make a point or just working hard to be fun to read. Because it’s fun to read, this review, clearly. But, really, I enjoyed watching the Musketeers nonetheless.

That’s neither The Wire smart, nor 30 Rock lunatic, nor Family Guy educative, but still. I enjoyed hearing Constance Bonacieux telling her name in no way it would sound even remotely just a little bit like in french and, then, having d’Artagnan reacting and calling her by her name with perfect spotless french accent. And I rarely seen any musket being fired in any musketeers related movie before, so there’s something new here. Anyway, big picture-wise, I do not expect de cape et d’épée to be much more than what it is. Even Cyrano de Bergerac, which I thought so clever when I was 13 y.o. is based on a rather primitive plot (how to mindfuck the pretty girl, with some theory about ugliness/beauty of body/mind, while no one dare to wonder whether she has anything but her nice ass to show for). So I’m not tremendously ashamed to rather look forward next episodes, Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!, it’s actually more refreshing than any Modern Family episode of this season (blatant that comedian/authors now despises their characters so make such annoying caricatures out of them).