(Blu-Ray/Roku/tubi) As one might suspect, I was a gigantic nerd in my youth, enough of one that I was part of a group in high-school that would pool our lunch money to order LaserDiscs of late 80s anime and we’d then, err, find ways to ‘happen upon’ ways to duplicate copies for all involved. Let me tell you: bootlegging works were far more difficult, but far more enthralling, back then.

Apart from the soundtrack occasionally popping up in my playlists over the years, I’d mostly forgotten about PROJECT A-KO (despite still having a proper VHS copy of it)! At least, until this post popped up in my feeds.

The immediate flashback this post induced was: “oh, now that I think about it, this anime wasn’t just fan-service, it was super gay.” And, yup:

“The basic plot of PROJECT A-KO is: one dumbass lesbian fighting another dumbass lesbian to win the heart of the dumbest lesbian in the lands.”

I forgot how funny, how comic, PROJECT A-KO was, even though I know I didn’t get the bulk of the in-jokes and parodies and references back-in-the-day, and probably still don’t. However, it features a ton of hilariously universal kinetic physical comedic moments, while still often feeling grounded despite, you know, someone using numerous missiles as stepping stones during combat. Additionally, while the characters do a lot of punching, there’s not much in the way of punching down. Everyone here is flawed and messy and definitely either queer or over-protective found family, and you’re meant to identify with their flaws, rather than scorn them.

I rarely recommend any YouTube film-centric commentary video that runs for over an hour because I often don’t have the patience for watching them, but I highly recommend the one linked in the MeFi post above. I learned a lot, and it brought back a lot of memories.

Lastly, the OST is well-worth your time. Spaceship in the Dark is still a banger with all of its orchestral hits.

NAKED CITY (1958-1963)

(Pluto/Roku/tubi/VOD) NAKED CITY was a long-running TV show adapted from the 1948 film THE NAKED CITY, bringing a more grounded police procedural to the small screen, ten years after the film, and seven years after DRAGNET made the leap from radio to TV. While show creator Stirling Silliphant (THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT writer, creator of the previously mentioned ROUTE 66 which was spurred into existence by an episode of NAKED CITY) had nothing to do with the original film, he took to heart the intent of putting NYC and its citizens on display.

The first season features John McIntire and James Franciscus inhabiting the same THE NAKED CITY roles as Lt. Detective Dan Muldoon and Detective Jimmy Halloran although John McIntire quickly grew tired of New York City and the show, so he was written out in a -jawdropping- way, then NAKED CITY was recast and turned from a half-hour show to an hour long, and recast again — this with Paul Burke as the lead detective — and with him it finally found some legs.

The show’s fumbling worked though, as the delay allowed NAKED CITY to capture a completely different New York City than the one portrayed in THE NAKED CITY, a NYC with counterculture, where the youths had started to distrust the police, as opposed to the fantasyland of 60s DRAGNET. (I’ve watched far too much DRAGNET:

Like its modern day companion LAW & ORDER, it made the most of the NYC theater scene and booked a number of extraordinarily talented guest actors who hadn’t been discovered yet, including Cicely Tyson, Peter Falk, Bruce Dern, Suzanne Pleshette, and many more. Even if you ignore the adept location shooting, brisk plotting and deft character work, the show’s worth a watch simply for the faces that pop up.

“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”