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Why “Loki” is my New TV Series for Father and Son Streaming

If you’ve been looking forward to watching “Loki” on Disney+ with your kids, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s my review.

I always enjoyed watching Tom Hiddleston’s Loki throughout the Marvel movies. His god of mischief was especially interesting because of the flaws and tragic elements of his early story that made him who he was.

The end of his story in “Avengers: Endgame” was tough to watch, not only because it was so brutal, but because he would never get his chance to redeem himself.

At the end of the day, even though Loki always caused problems, we were still rooting for him…at least I was. All that pain and anger that was just under the surface and rarely revealed by the talented Hiddleston was plenty reason to forgive his naughtiness.

It was hard to say goodbye. And I’m really glad his departure was short-lived.

It’s All Part of the Plan
As I expect you already know, Disney+ has resurrected Loki and given him his own series. It picks up after that time-altering glitch during “Avengers: Endgame” when the Avengers go back in time to get the Tesseract as part of their Infinity Stone collection project. They mess up this part of their mission and Loki escapes his custody via the Tesseract, which isn’t what happened the first time around.

Beyond a momentary setback for the Avengers, it’s an amusing scene in the movie. And the consequences for Loki aren’t addressed. He’s still (spoiler alert) dead at the end of the story, but when you mess with time, there are always unexpected consequences.

It’s a fantastic bread crumb, and I applaud the architects of the larger MCU for dropping it in this way.

Loki Variant
I watched the series premiere of “Loki,” and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, Loki gets another chance to get it right, but this clever and snappy series is much more than that. It introduces so many new elements into the MCU that you’ve got to pay attention…Time Variance Authority/Multiverse/Time Keepers/Variant People/Sacred Timeline. You need a training film to keep it all straight. (Yep, they’ve got that!)

It’s fresh. It’s retro. It’s trippy.
It’s really fun.

The writers also quickly get to the heart of Loki’s flawed character and make him face his past and future choices. It’s essentially a breakthrough therapy session managed by Mobius (Owen Wilson’s TVA character). It feels quite cathartic.

I can’t wait for the next episodes where Loki and Mobius try to fix the timeline and confront the big threat. Plus, you’ve got the god of mischief being asked to follow the new rules and prevent multiverses. What could possibly go wrong?

Family Friendly?
Across the pandemic, my eleven-year-old son and I effectively consumed all the Marvel movies on Disney+. We also massively enjoyed “The Mandalorian” series.

Sure, the Marvel movies have some bad language and plenty of intense action, but it’s been okay for our kid at his particular stage of development.

My wife and I did watch the first episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” with our young Padawan. (Apologies for mixing universes.) We felt the increased level of bad language and violence was a step too far for our boy. (The whole series is pretty dark.)

So, I did not suggest that we watch the next episode, and my son didn’t complain. (Instead, we moved on to “Agents of Shield” on Netflix. That series also got too dark for him.)

I enjoyed “WandaVision,” and will eventually introduce that Disney+ series to my boy. I haven’t done that yet, because it moved so slowly in those first few episodes. Plus, you’ve really got to be a child of ‘60s and ‘70s television to appreciate them.

Granted, I’ve only seen the first episode of “Loki,” but I feel this series is perfect for my son. Like me, he’s especially enjoying the humor and mind-bending quirkiness.

Plus, there’s minimal bad language (so far) and the violence is relatively tame. That’s not to say there’s no action… there’s plenty!

Yes, I did prescreen the first episode, (after being burned by “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”) but now, I’m planning to watch the rest of the “Loki” series alongside my son.

Wednesday is the New Friday
I’m not sure why new episodes of “Loki” are dropping on Wednesdays as opposed to Fridays. Perhaps it’s a summer scheduling strategy. I’ll still plan on making it a Lester Friday night family event.

So please don’t give anything away while I time shift our viewing. We’ll be just a bit behind everyone else’s timeline.

Looking forward to a summer of Loki-goodness!

The Struggle Between Good and Good Enough on Zoom

Showing up properly for your next meeting requires a different set of tools and attitude in this Zoom-centric reality. Here’s why it matters.

Over the past year, the Zoom revolution has put the spotlight on home video production to handle content creation for any number of needs including work, web and broadcast.

If you want to create a quality video feed using something less than professional video gear, it’s been demonstrated that you can do that. It takes some cash, though not a boatload of money, compared to what professional gear costs.

You may need to invest in:

  • A good webcam
  • A desktop tripod
  • Lighting that’s soft on your face
  • A decent microphone

Then, make sure you’ve got a real background that’s interesting, but not cluttered. (I’m less excited these days about virtual backgrounds.) And now you’re probably ready to create some decent looking video content.

No, it’s not going to be the same quality as what thousands of dollars of gear can do for you, but it’s not terrible either.

Unnecessary Effort?
But to generate a video and audio feed that’s good, you’ve also got to put in some effort. It’s not only about the gear you’re using. And there’s the rub.

It takes time to set it all up and maximize your shot.

It’s clearly a different level of commitment than opening your laptop and clicking on Zoom (or other video conference apps).

A simple click is still going to get a video and audio signal out to your viewers. And I bet a lot of people would say that’s good enough.

Good enough.

If good enough works for you, why spend money and unnecessary time to make it better?

The Allure of a One-Click Solution
I think that everyone should always try to look their best, both in person and in a virtual environment. Presenting yourself to your world is a life-long task. But I think when using Zoom, that can be a difficult sell.

Sure, if you’re hosting a webinar or doing a live shot for a media company, you probably understand that your video and audio feed should be the best possible.

But I imagine there are countless Zoom moments when people feel it’s not particularly important to do anything more than the bare minimum. Why not just open your laptop and simply click and start your video stream?

It’s good enough.

Why Deal with the Mess?
Whether using your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, technology has given us the ability to do the impossible. Generating a live video feed once took lots of people and expensive production gear to accomplish the same feat through a TV station’s full resources.

Professional video production often looks like a mad scientist’s lab with cables and power cords running askew and bright lights dangling from the ceiling.

You can also create a mess if you’re trying to improve your Zoom game at home when adding in your extra gear. Simple isn’t exactly the way to describe the experience.

On the other hand, simplicity, speed and dare I say… elegance is what comes to mind when you just lift up your laptop screen without any additional video prep, and you’re instantly ready to activate your next Zoom.

That’s hard to beat and a great reason for good enough.

Zoom is Now a Part of Life
In most Zoom situations, why should anyone feel the need to do more? (Heck, even activating your video feed is an step that so many opt out of.)

I like to say you’ve got to show up for your close up. But it’s really more about simply showing up.

This is your life. Like it or not, Zoom is now a necessary part of it.

We are a social species. To be most effective when communicating, people really need to see you. And a terrible representation of your image that barely looks like you isn’t enough. It can say you’re dialing it in. Or worse… You don’t care.

That’s why good enough isn’t good enough.

It’s Time to Shine
Face it. Your life is being televised now.

So put on your Zoom shirt. Set up your Zoom shot. And do your best to fully inhabit your little Zoom box.

Then reach out and connect.

Good.

Why Zoom Meetings will be a Permanent Part of Home Life

It’s probably time to give your imperfect Zoom background another look, because you’re probably going to be using it… forever.

During one of my recent Zoom meetings, I received a comment about the old iMac in my home office. The white computer was sitting sidelined in the background on top of a short bookcase. I retired this 2004 iMac long ago.

But like some of my old tech, I never threw it away. Now, it sits like a museum piece, available for anyone to appreciate (or question) whose wandering eye might be checking out the details of my home office.

What’s That?
Don’t think for a moment that your Zoom-fatigued viewers aren’t looking around your Zoom box. They crave any opportunity to thaw their pandemic-frozen eyes, locked to their computer screen all day.

Anything of interest is an immediate target. And so was my ancient iMac.

It’s actually hard for people not to notice the details of the space you’re in. It’s natural.

Virtual isn’t Real
So, if you feel your room isn’t ready for prime time, should you simply activate a virtual background?

Easy, right?

That’s what many people have been doing during their Zoom meetings. But even though the functionality is there for that exact reason, I think it’s a bad trade-off.

The Value of Authenticity
Sure, it’s a one-click solution to hide your environment that could otherwise use a little more art direction. But it also erases any opportunity for your authentic living space to support your personal brand.

You can only work with what you’ve got. And I think your viewers will understand that. In fact, they’ll appreciate it.

Yes, you should remove any unnecessary clutter in your background. But if there’s an unusual object like an old Mac perched on a shelf, so be it. If you’re lucky, it may become a conversation piece during your next Zoom.

And that can really help to provide some context to your identity, especially when you’re meeting someone for the first time on a two-dimensional computer screen.

It’s Time to Build an Official Zoom Zone
Yes, thanks to Covid-19, our lives have become televised (well… streamed).

And when we eventually return to a post-pandemic existence, I think that new normal will still contain a healthy dose of Zoom meetings. Sorry to break it to you, but that’s not going away… ever.

Sure, you may be free to move about the cabin of life again, but video conferencing from home is an established norm that has taken off.

And this will bring up proactive decorating opportunities for spaces that you’ve designated as your Zoom zones. Perhaps you’ll consider a new framed print or painting on the wall behind you. A different piece of furniture? An arrangement of fresh flowers? A total redesign?

The same way that the family room became the next generation of the living room, I feel it’s inevitable that a Zoom zone or even a ‘Zoom Room’ will become a natural addition to our future homes.

Yes, people can always use a virtual background. But eventually, they’ll move out of their temporary Zoom mindset.

Sharing a more permanent reality is usually a much better long-term solution.

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