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: 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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TV Review: 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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TV Review: Loki (S1) | A Somewhat Complex Talkathon

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe Television Series that were announced Loki was the one that I was the most excited for. Not because I am a Loki or Tom Hiddleston mega stan – Hiddleston can get it I’ll admit that – but the look, the feel of the show and the time element sold me on it. The head writer Michael Waldron was not known to me but I’ve seen and enjoyed Ricky and Morty; same thing for the director Kate Herron (Daybreak, Sex Education). However, I had to admit that the rest of the cast was both known to me and surprised the heck out of me. I mean we have Owen Wilson (Marley & Me, Inherent Vice), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Come Away, Concussion, Belle, Miss Sloane), Sophia Di Martino (Yesterday, Into the Badlands), Richard E. Grant (Star Wars IX, The Nutcracker, Logan, GoT), and Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country, The End of the F***ing World, Philomena).

Premise: In Avengers: Endgame – where an alternate version of Loki created a new timeline when he stole the Tesseract – the TVA (Time Variance Authority), a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space who monitors the timeline. They give that alternate Loki a choice: face being erased from existence due to being a “time variant”, or help fix the timeline to stop a greater threat. Loki ends up trapped in his own crime thriller, traveling through time and altering human history.

Review: Not sure what I expected the series to be but this ain’t it, and I’m glad about it. The show is a bit more complex and smarter than I would have guessed. It’s designed for a specific type of fan, one that knows the MCU like the back of his hand, who loves to speculate about it, and would pick up on the many implications the series has.

By putting the 2014 Avengers’ Loki in this situations, being outside of the MCU we know and protecting it from anything that might disturb it. From a character’s perspective, it gets a bit fascinating because we know the growth Loki’s capable of, he can become a somewhat nice guy. However the one in the show is still angry and bitter, just like ours was back in 2014. So the process of getting him where we know he could be starts anew and that is, when I think about it, the redundant part of the show. As great as it was to see the old Loki back in the beginning of the season, it kind of gets old because regressions aren’t very fun to watch. I think it’s why Mobius is a lifeline at the start, and when he wasn’t there, he was missed.

Since this Loki has a different experience during the series, the road to get him where we know he can be wasn’t very exciting for me. For a good chunk of it the show seemed a bit slow, not much was happening, there was a lot of talking, but it was necessary. We needed the time to redefine the 2014 Loki. The quips, the memorable lines, and the visuals in the series were a good distraction but the show wasn’t as exciting as WandaVision or Falcon and The Winter Soldier got by the second half of the season.

Despite amazing action scenes, the story is cerebral throughout, like a chess game. The main vilain being a bit abstract, a vague entity that they’re up against and that we don’t really know, the action scenes have a different impact. To me Loki is best when he has a clear concrete foe, someone we know, which is why I think season two will be even better. We’ve met that vilain, a variant at least, and by the time next season rolls out we will have learn more about that enemy.

Pacing and story aside the cast does a great job, casting is key here. They are one of the reasons why I was so engaged. When the pace was a bit slow, the story not developing fast enough, they kept me entertained. The visuals were also amazing, hands down more impressive than all the shows so far. It helped getting immerse in the story but also with the scope. It very much felt like what was happening in this show will have repercussions not only on the main characters but on the cinematic universe at large.

So season 1 of Loki is visually striking, fun, very well acted and a great primer for the following MCU films and the upcoming season 2.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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