TV Review: The Man Who Fell to Earth (Pilot) | Engaging but a little slow

Review:

For the past couple of months, I’ve been working toward something else. So books, Tv Shows and movie reviews have not been more of a priority to me. I read a little less, don’t have much time for series and films but I watched this pilot.

I wasn’t sure about reading the book that the show is based on but after watching this pilot I’m very intrigued. The intro to the series is starking, with Ejiofor’s voiceover paired with images of his character’s arrival on Earth was beautiful. It was also useful to see where he ends up since the show starts from where he started, because the episode does drag a little at time. Because it’s very anchored in the mundane – for a alien-on-earth TV series – so the anticipation I felt to see the extraordinary side of things made some of these mundane parts a bit…boring or maybe more acurately slow.

However the cast is excellent, they make give the slower moments some gravitas, they also make the plot so engaging. Overall this pilot grabbed so I’ll be watching.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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TV Review: Agent Hamilton (S1) | More Complicated than it Needs to Be

The Scandinavian spy thriller is loosely based on the Carl Hamilton novels book series by French-Swedish author and journalist Jan Guillou. Written for the screen by Petter S. Rosenlund, the show stars Jakob Oftebro (The Letter for the King) as the title character Carl Hamilton; Nina Zanjani as Kristin Ek aember of the SÄPO black ops division; Peter Andersson (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) as Christer Näslund, Head of SÄPO; Krister Henriksson as ‘DG’, the head of the most classified part of the Swedish Military Intelligence Agency, OP5; Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow, Dexter) as Sonja Widén, and Chris Austin as Sami al-Ahfiz.

Premise: Carl Hamilton has just returned to Stockholm as a series of cyberattacks and bombings are plaguing the city. An ex-member of the Swedish Military Intelligence, he is asked to work with the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) to identify the attack source. Hamilton soon finds himself on a life threatening mission against an invisible enemy with traces leading to the Russian, Swedish, and American intelligence services

Review: The premiere is light on action and that pretty much sets the tone for the whole series. It’s a lot of mystery and suspense with antagonists seeming to come from all sides. There’s of course some action but it’s far what most spy thrillers offer. The story is also a bit wonky and convoluted but it kind of works. There are no clear bad guys or good guys – maybe one -, which is why I said antagonists earlier, because everyone seems to be operating in a gray area. Their actions motivated by gains rather than believes.

The series explores many things, or at least tries to. At first it seemed like the show centered around loyalty and patriotism, the struggle between work related duties and one’s home country’s self interests – when these two don’t align. However, the focus sort of shifted from that, going into foreign and national intelligence agencies rivalries to the characters’ own self interests rather than their countries’. It’s also when the plot got a bit muddied, when the twists and turns got to be too many. Not that it’s too hard to follow but it’s not smooth or well written enough.

The acting is solid it’s the main reason why I wasn’t completely bored out of my mind at times. Although Oftebro is the title character, Zanjani is the most interesting and less polarizing one in the series.
In conclusion Agent Hamilton is slow to start, well acted, over-complicated, yet entertaining.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Agent Hamilton has been renewed for a second season that premieres on April, 18th, 2022

TV Review: Young Wallander (S2): Killer’s Shadow | I Still Like That Voice

Last season, I developed a fascination – some might call it weird – with our Title character’s (Adam Palsson) speaking voice. I had forgotten about that and rereading my review of S1 I realized that I also noted it this time around. But I digress, in the sophomore season of Young Wallander – inspired by Henning Mankell‘s best-selling novels – we have Sara Seyed, Yasen Atour (The Witcher, Strike Back), Ellise Chappell (Poldark), Leanne Best (Close to Me) and even Charles Mnene returning with Lewis Mackinnon (Victoria), Josef Davies (This Is Going to Hurt, The King), Tomiwa Edun (ADOW), and Kim Adis (Foundation) joinning the cast.

Last season we left Kurt Wallander, turning his back on his detective job after losing his mentor Hemberg during his first serious investigation. This time around Kurt is sucked back in with what first appeared as a simple hit-and-run case that inevitably turns into a bigger investigation.

The series was and remains an easy binge for a 45min episode mystery crime drama. The story flows quite well and keeps you entertain throughout, even if the most eagle-eyed or attentive of us might figure some things out sooner than they’re revealed or discovered but most of the time that delay makes sense within the frame of the investigation at play here.

The story behind the investigation this time might not be the most original, but the way it’s presented and portrayed by the actors does make a big difference. Josef Davies knocked it out of the parc because even when I thought he was a bit of a prick, I still felt for him before even knowing his story.

My man Rez got some justice this season, the way he was dealt with in the first didn’t exactly sit right with me, but the writers still played with my emotions when it came to him by putting him through some stuff. As for Kurt he’s clearly evolved since the last case, it’s more apparent with the “new” detective working with him, yet he still leads with his heart and still has some bad habits to shed.

The show is not afraid to tackle difficult topics. They always serve the story and the characters, it would have been strange if they were not brought up. More of an effort is made in terms of diversity – gender and race – but I admit that I was afraid that they’d demonize one of them – the new chief – instead they took his position and background into consideration regarding his behavior, which rings very true to me.

Young Wallander: Killer’s Shadow is an enjoyable show balancing complicated topics, flawed characters wrapped in an entertaining mystery.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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TV Review: This Is Going To Hurt (Pilot) | Quite Raw and Unfiltered

Adam Kay (Creator)

CAST
Ben Whishaw
Ambika Mod
Michele Justin
Alex Jennings
Tom Durant Pritchard

Review:

It’s surprising to me but this show was not on my radar despite starring Ben Whishaw who happens to be my first male celebrity crush. I don’t know how the series passed me by but withing the first fifteen minutes of the show I knew I like it.

It’s quite raw and unfiltered, with good production values, and good look at the stress people working in that environnement are under. The show focuses on Adam, the young doctor, but everyone working in the hospital is on display. Also having an honest look at how is personal life is affected adds to the commentary being made.

The show is set in 2006 and I guessed it when I saw his Nokia N95. I think setting it that far back allows some distance and a reflection opportunity on how things might have changed, if they even did. Whishaw is well cast has an overworked doctor who seem to love his job while at time not liking it very much. The comedic tone worked for me and reflects what I of hospital workers. Though it was used very sparingly I liked the forth wall breaking and hope we see more of it.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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Trailer Reaction | Moon Knight

  • Head Writer: Jeremy Slater
  • Directors: Justin Benson, Mohamed Diab, Aaron Moorhead, George Clooney
  • Stars: Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, Gaspard Ulliel, May Calamawy

Wow, the way his eyes light up, the suit and how it wraps around him is so cool, I love it. The show seems a bit darker, leaning into the horror aspect of the character, which I appreciate but we’ll see if that’s the case during the season. The story looks like it’ll follow one of Marc Spector’s personalities has they try to figure out what happened to them. Since Marc is a veteran who struggles with dissociative identity disorder it should be interesting to see him trying to figure out what’s happening as he’s being chased or hunted down by people he doesn’t know, also while one of his personalities protects him.

Moon Knight premiers on Disney+ on March 30th.

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TV Review: The Wheel of Time (S1) | Streamlined to Near Perfection

The Wheel of Time is a high fantasy series inspired by the bestselling book series by Robert Jordan, with three of the 15 novels written by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death. Writer producer Rafe Judkins (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Hemlock Grove) is at the helm of the show and in the cast we have familiar names and faces like Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Jack Reacher), Michael McElhatton (Game of Thrones, The Rook), Daniel Henney (Big Hero 6, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), and relative unknowns like Barney Harris (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Madeleine Madden (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Marcus Rutherfod (Bulletproof), Josha Stradowski (Just Friends), Zoë Robins (The Shannara Chronicles), Alexandre Willaume (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy).

Premise: Unlike the books, the focus of the series is on Moiraine, a member of the Aes Sedai, a powerful organization of women who can use magic. She takes a group of five young men and women on a journey around the world, believing one of them might be the reincarnation of the Dragon, a powerful individual prophesied to either save the world or destroy it.

Review: The three episode premiere was impressive, fast paced and engrossing. The rest of the season followed in that vein delivering surprises after surprises and great character moments for all involved. The story telling is expedient and very streamlined, there are little to no dull moments ; it might be frustrating for some book readers and longtime fans, all the melded of places and modified action pieces, but for me who’s read book one – so far – it was an enjoyable journey that kept the heart and spine of “The Eye of the World.

In an adaptation perspective, I’m impressed with how well the show covers hundreds of pages in a few minutes of screen time without the material getting lost in translation. Given the many surprises I got in the series, I suspect that they’ve also pulled relevant elements from later books and put them in season one.

I went into the series waiting to see how Perrin would turn out in live action but quickly become a Nynaeve fan. Perrin’s still my boy but Nynaeve storyline and love interest was sweet and made much more sense here than in the novel where it seemed to come out of nowhere. The same goes for Egwene and Perrin’s run-in with the white cloaks – who seem far more dangerous on the show – and how it was handled, allowing for subtle character development while giving them more agency. That’s kind of the way most characters are threated, with incremental and sometimes subtle character development, except maybe for Mat – who annoyed me to no end in book one – but they’ve done him dirty. Although interesting, the way they changed him, they’ve made him more of deadweight than he’s supposed to be. Isn’t he the one skilled with the bow and arrow? Here he’s almost useless.

They’ve also cleverly depicted the white cloak as the aggressors, the bad guys by depicting their disregard from people’s – women – personal space, their attack on the Tinkers. The way the main characters are handled is more interesting, it’s less obvious here who the Dragon Reborn is, and a better job is done to highlight the importance of the others. I appreciate the show for limiting the amount of cat fighting, because at one point it felt like most of the women had some sort of beef with each other.

The show falters in a few way but the most striking ones for me is how the Dragon Reborn reveal was handled, that was not it, and the Dragon’s battle against the Dark One, was a bit Wonder Woman 1984 – a bit anti-climatic.

The cinematography is great, the set and costume designs are amazing, and the VFX is good – I’m hopping for even better later on. As for the cast, they are excellent, from the main cast to the recurring one, they’ve picked them well. I still have my favorites though.

Season one of The Wheel of Time is captivating, visually arresting, and well worth the watch and re-watch. Season two can’t come fast enough.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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TV Review: Station Eleven (Premiere) | A Fascinating Start

Review: Following a group of seemingly unrelated people during the outbreak and years into a deadly pandemic, Station Eleven tells the story of those who crossed paths with actor Arthur Leander. The three episode premiere sets the stage for the saga of these individuals in a very enigmatic and suspenseful way.

Right off the bat I loved the glimpses to the future we had in the pilot. Some strong choices were made in adapting this story and I love how Jeevan and young Kirsten’s stories were intertwined because for one it gave the situation a sense of urgency and limited option, and two showed Jeevan’s character. He went the extra mile to help a total stranger during a crisis, maybe it was due to the fact he didn’t think the flu was that bad but I think he’s just a decent man who did what he could to help. Yet at the same time he also seemed a bit unhinged, which why the plane scene was so important because it validated Jeevan’s fear to the others.

It was interesting to me when and where they decided to go, when jumping to adult Kirsten’s life, I thought it set up the traveling symphony and the people living in this post Georgia flu world well. It gave us a sense of how things have settled after the mayhem of the first years of the pandemic.

For some reason, I began to think that we’d be spared the Hollywood part of the story, even though I knew that the dinner scene was important, so I’m glad it’s here because it was awesome, I loved every bit of it.

The show seems to be doing justice to the novel so far, with its somewhat confusing time jumps in depicting this beautiful and tragic story.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

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