Trashy TV, Part 3,752

I’ve been watching a lot of TV – perhaps too much. But for what it’s worth, if you’re after something mindless and fun, Penguins of Madagascar and Videogame High School (VGHS) might be for you.

Penguins of Madagascar is reasonably fluffy, but it has just enough by way of character and plot to hold together the animated equivalent of a series of explosions. Although the animated versions are more friendly – things don’t explode, they comically change shape. One other thing I found interesting was how the villain is constructed: rather than being a person who is intrinsically motivated to evil, there’s a clear backstory and resolution, something that makes the antagonist reasonably constructed.

Videogame High School is … an interesting piece. On the one hand I’m supportive of what looks like TV put together by a younger group of creators, perhaps with less funding than some of the major studios. As per the title, it tells the story of a group of students at a high school, who are studying video games.

It’s a fun concept to work with. Probably the main reason I watch it is for the battle scenes. The creators have done a commendable job of both refusing to use commercially available games, so they shoot actual real world footage, well interspersed with decent CGI. I think it works well.

There are backstories and plotlines for the key characters. In a good episode those serve to establish and motivate the battles; VGHS treats battles as something like tournaments in an Arthurian narrative; contestants meet and fight out their disagreements – they win prizes from each other, resolve conflicts (to some extent), and establish dominance. It’s … surprisingly reminiscent of the court of King Arthur in some ways.

So, if you’re after something fun that doesn’t take any brain power to watch, this could be a good option.

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