Friday, May 13, 2011

A Bit of Nostalgia

Recently I've been holed up in my room watching entire series of shows on Netflix instant stream. It's been great for the most part, however things have been a bit confusing with some of the shows. Like sometimes, certain episodes wont be available, or they'll be out of order, or the audio won't sync just right. But I still watch and it's a great way to spend family time.
One thing I really enjoy Netflix for is reconnecting me with childhood television shows. I have loads of fun watching them, and I am often surprised at how well some of the shows translate decades later. One In particular that I've watched recently is Jackie Chan Adventures. For those who don't remember this show, it was an action adventure cartoon with a mix of sci-fi and fantasy. The story centers around Jackie Chan (yes the character is based on the action-star) an archeologist hired by a secret government organization to research ancient artifacts that are being targeted by a world-wide criminal organization called the Dark Hand. But it is discovered by Jackie's uncle a cranky old antiquities merchant and master in the art of chi magic, that these relics hold ancient magic. It also turns out that the Dark Hand is doing the bidding of a demon named Shen-do(doo) who is trapped in a statue form unless he can gain all of these powers. Things really get out of hand when Jackie is forced to care for his rambunctious niece, Jade.
It was a cleverly written show with many homages, nods, tips of the hat, and otherwise references to movies and pop culture (before it became cliché to do so. Many of these jokes I didn't catch until seeing the show again as an adult. They are too numerous for me to list them here, but just watch any episode and there is at least one.
While I would love to go on about the show itself, this particular entry is not about the show itself, but how it was presented to me on Netflix.
While most of the main story episodes were presented in order, there were a number of episodes out of place. For example, There were 2 episodes near the end of season 2 that obviously take place in the middle of season 1. There were other problems like this throughout every season. It makes it confusing to the watcher when something is amiss or there is a plot element that appears before it is introduced in a later episode. There will be a mass of filler episodes between the climax and the previous story episode. I can understand if the filler episodes are scattered more evenly, but this is ridiculous.
Some confusion is a fault of the show itself. Plot elements will be brought up and never seen again, or never explained. I cannot avoid spoilers on these examples. In season 2 they come across a magic suit of armor that grants the wearer more endurance, speed, strength, etc. But they only use it in that episode. Many situations arise in later seasons where it would have been a good idea to break out that armor, but it never comes back. I think the writers forgot it existed. Also in season 2, one of the characters is neither seen nor mentioned for like half of the season - as if they didn't exist. Near the end of season 4 an antagonist (who will become the main antagonist of season 5) shows up with no explanation, and no one questions his origins - he is never explained. Things like this detract from the overall experience, and a lot of it could have been fixed either in re-organizing the episodes and adding just a tidbit of info here and there. Overall though I really enjoy the show and watching shows and movies on Netflix. Now if only Netflix delivered games as well...

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