Hawkeye (Pilot) | The Hero’s Apprentice

Review: Before I got a chance to watch this show for myself I was told to lower my expectations, which made sense because by nature Hawkeye is just human, not enhanced. Unlike WandaVision, Loki, or even Falcon and The Winter Soldier – that has one non-enhanced character out of the two title characters – this TV show is more grounded and realistic because it deals – so far – with regular street level antagonists.

Although it starts in a very cinematic fashion with a clever link to The Avengers (2012) in the opening scene. The show gradually gets scale down to a point that out of all the MCU TV series – so far – Hawkeye feels like a step down in quality but it’s not. The quality is fine, even great considering what the show tackles when it comes to Clint or even Kate, but the spectacle is for sure not as grand – at least not in the first two episodes – as one might expect. It’s not reality bending, multiverse breaking, or world-wide terror attacks in Hawkeye but low level street fights.

The series show focuses more on Kate, her family life, her skills, and then on Clint’s grief, regrets, and the toll avenging has had on him. It’s actually where the strength of the series lies, when it’s heavily focused on Kate or Clint it’s amazing. The two characters are interesting and they have great chemistry but as soon as that focus retracts from them, most of the secondary characters seem plucked out of a CW and/or Marvel Netflix show. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it adds to this feel of a downgrade I got at times. The story is average and lacks the complexity of previous MCU projects.

However this show has enough personality to make it fun and entertaining to watch.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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Dexter: New Blood (Pilot) | Welcome Back Dexter!

Clyde Phillips (Creator)

CAST
Michael C. Hall
Jack Alcott
Julia Jones
Jennifer Carpenter
Clancy Brown

Review: When this show was announced, I was excited about it, I watched the whole run when it aired. The show might have lost some steam as the seasons went on but I still have fond memories of it. And this latest season seams to have the same edge and quality that the first few seasons of Dexter did.

We pick up with Dexter in a rural town with some woods around, it reminds me of the last scene in the previous season, but if memory serve that was suppose to be in Canada wasn’t it? Anyway, now his named Jim Lindsay – which I guess is a play on the name of the author of the books, Jeff Lindsay – he lives a simple and regulated life. He has a routine and he’s sticking to it. He hasn’t killed for a decade but he seems to be prone to worse hallucinations than he previously did, seeing someone than his adoptive father – I’m pretty sure it’s common knowledge but just in case I won’t spoil. I was excited to see her, it’s a nice and clever way to keep her in the show and I can’t wait to see them argue as things starts to get dicey for Dex, I mean Jim.

There’s also someone who tracked him down, and I’m so curious to know how he managed that, maybe it’s trap or a cry for help? Whatever it is I want to see it. That particular storyline holds most of my interest but I also want to see a rusty Dexter get back into it, after holding out for ten years I think he might go on a killing spree.

Anyway this premiere is all that I wanted and more. I didn’t know how much I missed this show until the theme at the end gave me goose bumps.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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The Wheel of Time | Trailer 2

  • Writers: Robert Jordan (Novels), Rafe Judkins (Creator)
  • Directors: Uta Briesewitz, Wayne Yip, Salli Richardson-Whitefield, Sanaa Hamri
  • Stars: Rosamund Pike, Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford Zoë Robins, Barney Harris, Madeleine Madden, Daniel Henney, Sophie Okonedo.

The first trailer gave us a good taste for the visual identity of the show, which looks amazing by the way, but this one gives us more story and action. I’m a little over half way through the book, but the show is very close to what I was picturing. We got a few good looks at the Trollocs and The Children of the Light, who by the way look far more dangerous than what

The Wheel of Time premieres on November 19th on Amazing Prime Video.

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One of Us Is Lying (Season) | Boy They Really Dumb This Down Didn’t They?

This American young adult mystery drama television series developed by Erica Saleh (Instinct) with Darío Madrona (Elite) serving as showrunner. The series is based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Karen M. McManus and stars Mark McKenna (Sing Street) as Simon, the deceased student, and Annalisa Cochrane (Cobra Kai), Chibuikem Uche (The Tomorrow War), Marianly Tejada (OITNB), and Cooper van Grootel (Mystery Road) as the main suspects, with Barrett Carnahan (Cruel Summer), Jessica McLeod (You Me Her, Death Note), and Melissa Collazo (Freaky) in supporting roles.

Premise: At Bayview High, five students—Simon, Addy, Cooper, Bronwyn, and Nate – are given detention. Simon, known for starting an online gossip group with his friend Janae to snitch on his classmates, suffers a sudden and fatal allergic reaction. The other four students had individual motives and reasons to kill Simon, and after it is determined his death was not an accident, an investigation ensues.

Review: Some of the changes that I noticed in the pilot seemed promising, but as the episodes came they either didn’t work or were outright useless. My guess is these changes were done to keep the book readers guessing, yet part of me thinks that the writers just wanted to make the source material their own and were angling for a second season.

Why give Brodwyn a boyfriend and cut Addy’s sister, Ashton, who was far more important for Addy’s growth? Because the drama involving Brodwyn’s boyfriend was useless he added nothing to the story. And Addy, the character that went from one being someone I didn’t care about to one that I appreciated in the book, just got a haircut. She had no personal growth. The tiny hint of growth we saw for that character was completely erased in the end. The same goes for Cooper, I thought race bending him would’ve brought more commentaries but they did nothing with it. They’ve even cut the relevant commentaries surrounding him and the sport world.

However, the biggest mistake they made was fundamentally changing Simon. He’s a gullible idiot in the show. It almost seemed like none of the writers read the source material, they just took the footnotes and blurb and ran with that. There’s a missed opportunity to talk about mental health, not even a commentary on the rich white straight son of the mayor is exposing other peoples’ secrets because he’s tired of their hypocrisy and entitlement. Are the writers not seeing the problem with that? Or just don’t know how to address it?

The series got steadily worse, halfway through it even became a chore. I won’t even comment on the acting because in my eyes the writing is the biggest problem, it’s dated and a bit lazy compared to what’s done nowadays. Anyway, I’ll admit that they’ve done a decent enough job with Nate and Brodwyn, enough to fool those who won’t notice anything besides that.

In this case I’ll say put down the remote and pick up the book, which is not perfect but much better than this.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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You (S3) | Exploring The Lies We All Tell To The World

Netflix’s psychological drama with the adorkable serial killer Joe Goldberg played by Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) is back for a third season. The series see the return of Saffron Burrows (Agent of Shields) and Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor) from season two, joining newly cast Travis Van Winkle (Instinct, The Last Ship), Shalita Grant (NCIS: New Orleans, Special), Tati Gabrielle (CAOS) and Dylan Arnold (After We Collided, After).

Last seasons: After first meeting Joe Goldberg in New York, where he developed an extreme, toxic, and delusional obsession with Guinevere Beck, a customer from the bookstore where he worked. When the relationship with Beck sours – to put it mildly – and old demons comes back to haunt him, Joe moves to Los Angeles, changes his name to Will, and falls in Love with local heiress Love Quinn. His tumultuous time in L.A. came with a ton of surprises, pone of which the fact that Joe and Love have more in common than Joe first thought.

Premise: How do a couple of sociopaths like Joe and Love feel about being expectant parents and other conventional norms – especially when they have an exponentially messy series of murders to cover up ?

Review: The end of season two could have a happy ending for Joe, who now lives in the suburbs, he’s married to Love – who knows about his dark past and has one of her own – and they are also expecting their first child together. It could have been a series finale, if one is ok with Joe getting away with what he’s done but in the last seconds of the episodes it becomes apparent that Joe will never change. At first, I did not know how this move into suburbia was going to impact the show but F**k! it made it very interesting. It was nerve-racking, hot, sad and exciting at the same time.

Their new location brought a slew of new and interesting characters, like Joe and Love they have a darker side to them. They might not be as twisted as the Quinn-Goldberg couple but they all have their secrets and present a different persona to the rest of the world. I guess the tag line “Living their best lies” has more meaning than I first thought. Throughout the season, old and new characters have quite the interesting arc. The series focus on different types of relationships, how they work, and makes a good case for working on what you have t make it as good as you’d like it to be instead of constantly looking for better and more elsewhere.

For a moment things even looked like they were going to follow the same pattern with Joe’s newest obsession but they didn’t, it was worse. Having similar personalities didn’t seem to make Love and Joe the best dynamic duo that I thought they would be but a good team. Seeing a couple of sociopaths trying to act normal despite their dark impulses slipping through was fun. I also enjoyed seeing Joe explore new things and loved seeing him struggle through them. The moments with the therapist were gold, filled with dark humor like a lot of the season.

However when it comes to Love, the show kind of leaned toward a “Bitches be crazy” trend that I didn’t like, it was even highlighted by Joe’s – hypocritical – inner monologue when it came to Love and his relationship with her. She was the only one working the relationship while Joe was looking for a shiny new thing. Ultimately I don’t think that they were a great match even with their similar past and personalities because they wanted different things.

You S3 was thrilling but there is a formula to the series that is starting to get old. The writers have been good about managing Joe’s impulses, which probably won’t change, but within those parameters there’s still ways to switch it up.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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One of Us Is Lying (Premiere) | I hope they keep this up

Review: I had no idea this was in the works but when I found out I went ahead and read the book – that was sitting on a virtual shelf for four years. So going in I didn’t know anything about the casting or the production, so I’m not going to wine about actors not looking like fictional characters unless they’re sh!t at their job.

What I immediately liked in the first minutes of the show was the preview of Simon’s next four posts as we were first introduced to the main suspects, I mean characters. The “subtle” John Hughes reference was also appreciated, and the way they streamlined some storylines – I’m not going to go into specifics but it the makes show a little more exciting.

As for the cast they are pretty spot on with the stereotypes that their characters represent. I’m pleasantly surprised by the premiere and I hope the show will keep it up it’ll continue.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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What If…? (S1) | The Multiverse Saga in All Its Glory

Review: What If was an interesting ride with each episode posing their own question with surprising results. The pilot set the tone very well even if for the fans that re-watch The Infinity Saga on the regular it might have seem a bit repetitive. Just like the saga it’s mirror after some episodes held more interest and excitement for me than others, in fact each episode ended up being like the movies with the finale acting as the first Avengers (2012) movie, making this season of the show a Multiverse Saga.

Looking at each episode as a “movie” in the Multiverse Saga I do have my favorites, ones that I’d watch again. The Captain Carter episode, the T’Challa Star-Lord one, the Killmonger episode, and of course the finale are my favorites. However what’s interesting about all of them – more than the story, than the question that episode answered – is the display of powers and abilities. Throughout the season there were amazing action sequences, some more impressive – and of course easier to do in animation – than the movies. We’ve seen characters we know using their abilities and team up in a way we have yet to see in the movies, and that alone is exciting. It opens up some many possibilities for future action sequences in live action.

Another thing that What If smoothly does this season and more so in the Finale, is setting up future threat and heroes to join the live action timeline. I know a Black Widow, a Steve Rogers, or a Killmonger to name a few that would be interesting to bring into live action. In fact, if what I heard about Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is true that pocket dimension won’t be guarded for long.

What If is enjoyable and fun, visually exciting, sometimes emotionally rough and gives us a different look at the characters we know.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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