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: 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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TV Review: Hawkeye (Premiere) | 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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TV Review: The Wheel of Time (Premiere) | Fast Paced and Engrossing

Rafe Judkins (Showrunner), Robert Jordan (Novels)

CAST
Rosamund Pike
Daniel Henney
Zoë Robins
Josha Stradowski
Madeleine Madden
Marcus Rutherford
Barney Harris
Michael McElhatton

Review: I think I became aware of “The Wheel of Time” book series at about the same time that I started to read Brandon Sanderson‘s “Steelheart – I was not even half-way through that book that I was trying to find out what else did Sanderson wrote, and found out that he penned the remaining three out of the 15 books of The Wheel of Time after Jordan’s death. Anyway, since I’ve read “The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1)” I was glad to see this world come to life because there are a few things that I was looking forward to and this show delivered, faster than I expected them to.

The first three episodes are good, not only they look great, the cinematography on some of those wide shots are stunning, but we’ve been presented with most of the main players in a digestible and quite comprehensive way.
In the pilot episode alone we’ve seen a few Aes Sedai from different Ajah – I think that’s the right word, though they haven’t said it yet, it’s the name for the different groups of Aes Sedai, each one having their own purpose and rules – The series has already given us an inkling as to what the red Ajah Aes Sedai stand for. We’ve then even seen a Dark friend, Whitecloaks, a special prisoner and of course a particular gleeman. The show is also…sexier than I would have guessed with some characters are already in a relationships – and I can already see the ensuing drama they’ll bring – others take baths together. Let’s hope the drama is used wisely.

The Two Rivers five also got a decent chunk of screen time enough to give us a sense of who they are, but the focus is on Moraine – and her Worder, Lan, who’s got a nice tush BTW. There are changes from the books but that’s no big deal. However I was surprised about Perrin’s situation, I figured something would change that but I did not expect it to go like that. Rand seemed brattier at some point and I did not miss that he’s got the bow and arrows as well as his sword while Mat was stripped of a lot. Egwene is fine but Nynaeve is really striking, mostly due to Robins who easily pulls focus. She also needs to drop that hair care routine because I’d be bald if it was my hair.
I get expediency but the way the group do easily followed Moraine and Lan didn’t make much sense particularly when they didn’t know they were in danger before the attack. It’s not like they felt watched or something. They were rounded up and convinced to go on that journey quickly. I wouldn’t have been convinced that the Trollocs were specifically after me given how the events unfolded.

There are clever little moments throughout the show, for one they’ve showcased the Whitecloaks’ hypocrisy, they hunt and kill Aes Sedai and yet they advise you to seek one if you’re wounded by Trolloc poison?

I like how Moraine is portrayed here – Pike is amazing in the role – whether through action or words she is more in the gray area, which makes for an interesting character. She’s as much of a badass as the others, in fact I also loved that the villagers weren’t helpless and too afraid to defend themselves. Moraine’s action scene in the pilot was just awesome, great VFX and an impressive display of her powers.

The Wheel of Time‘s pacing goes from 0 to a 100, which works extremely well in most areas, they’re nailing almost everything in this adaptation. The show’s captivating and what’s to come seems promising.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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TV Review: 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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