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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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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TV Review: Hawkeye (Season) | References and Emotional Arcs

Since his shadowy appearance in Thor (2011) Jeremy Renner‘s (The Hurt Locker) Clint Barton aka Hawkeye, has become a sometimes mocked but key member of the first six avengers. For some reason that didn’t warrant a solo movie but a series introducing his replacement Kate Bishop, portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Dickinson). I’m not salty about, I like the character and the actrice but I feel the disrespect, am I alone in this? It was even more blatant after seeing the two episode premiere that were focused on Kate. That said the show has a solid cast; Alaqua Cox as Echo is phenomenal, Fra Fee (Les Misérables) as Kazi is striking, Tony Dalton (Better Call Saul) as fun and quirky Jack Duquesnes, and Mia Farmiga (Up In The Air) as Kate’s mother Eleanor. She is great casting but she reads shady to me so that doesn’t help the story, and there’s two more other phenomenal cast members but I won’t spoil it just in case.

Premise: The story is essentially how Clint Barton crossed paths with Kate Bishop while in New York City, and how they must work together to confront enemies from Clint’s past time as Ronin in order for him to get back to his family in time for Christmas.

Review: As I mentioned the show’s main focus is Kate and her introduction, although smart, is a bit slow going because quite a chunk of it is predictable. At the beginning I felt I was reading chapter two while the show was lagging behind. They’ve telegraphed so many plot points early on that waiting for them to come to fruition was a slight annoyance, more so if you became aware of rumors and leaks before hand. Thankfully by the half way mark everything starting rolling

The strength of the show is its casts, their characters and the relationships they have. The Christmas theming and the many references the show has from comics, previous MCU movies, and popular holiday movies is a nice touch – if you like Christmas movies – but the characters’ emotional arc is the meat in all that dressing. From a grief stricken Clint who’s trying to reconnect with his family while dealing with what he did during the blip ; Echo’s relentless fight for vengeance and how she opened her eyes to the bigger truth of her situation; the assassin who refused to believe the truth and how that was resolved, also their relationship with Kate is a delight. As for Kate, her eagerness to be a hero was great, it felt like she wasn’t just hoping to be one someday but worked hard to become one. And as skilled she’s shown to be, there’s still that rookie naiveté and a blind side that could have been annoying but it wasn’t.

In the first few episodes there were elements – LARPers *cough among others – I thought made the show feel a like downgrade and cheap, even for Clint who can kind of only be a street level hero when on his own. But I’ve come to like these elements because they add some levity to the show and sort of work with the theming.

Hawkeye works hard to be a holiday romp and succeeds but the cast elevated what could have been a meh overall story with a lot of action in the finale.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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