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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ADOW S3 | Trailer

  • Writer: Deborah Harkness (Novels), Lachlan Mackinnon
  • Director: Jamie Donoughue
  • Stars: Teresa Palmer, Matthew Goode, Alex Kingston, Edward Bluemel, Lindsay Duncan; Owen Teale, and Aiysha Hart

If you look at this frame by frame, you’ll see quite a few eaters eggs and great moments from the books so I’m very eager to see these episodes and to finally share The Book of Life review that I’ve been sitting on for years at this point. I might even dip back into the book.

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TV Review: A Discovery of Witches (S2) | Improving On A Solid Base

The hit TV series staring Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode is back for a second season that covers the second book in the All Souls trilogy, Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness. This season sees the introduction of new characters Gallowglass, Philippe de Clermont, Phoebe Taylor, Kit Marlowe, Father Hubbard and Goody Alsop portrayed respectively by Steven Cree (Outlander), James Purefoy (Pennyworth, John Carter), Adelle Leonce (Flack, C.B. Strike), Tom Hughes (Victoria, Red Joan), Paul Rhys (Da Vinci’s Demons) and Sheila Hancock (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas). They are joining the already established cast in this ten hour journey into the world of witches, demon and vampires.

Last season: Diana Bishop, a historian and non-practicing witch, unknowingly accesses a coveted long-lost book, Ashmole 782. This draws the attention of all creatures in existence, who want it for themselves. She must solve its mysteries and understand why this book is so sought-after. She is offered help by the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, but he’s a vampire and witches should never trust vampire.

Season premise: As Diana and Matthew grew closer, they had to face prejudice and animosity from witches, vampires, and demons alike. Wanted by the congregation, the governing body of all creatures, who is also after the book, Asmole 782, Diana and Matthew have to flee. In the hopes of finding the book, hide from the congregation, and find a teacher for Diana’s magic; the pair goes to the late 16th century to last known location of Asmole 782 and a time when witches were plenty and powerful.

Review: In season one this creative team made the story in A Discovery of Witchesbook and made it leaner, effective, and exciting. So I dove into the second season with a lot of trust in their creative vision. The season premiere did not disappoint, it was engrossing and beautiful.

Going in I was ecstatic to see how amazing the 1590s scenes look. The production design on those scenes, and the rest of the show, is great. They’ve done a fabulous job in transporting us to the late 16th century, the backgrounds and costumes are just incredible. The scenes in the past also seamlessly blend with the present time. The past and the present work in tandem, it’s not jarring when an episode switches between the two, in fact they complement each other.

The story unfolds faster but it doesn’t feel rushed. They’ve cut some of the drama and a lot of the padding that plagued the source material and replaced it with juicy entertaining scenes that give so much more meat to the characters and the situation they are in. The plot is not weighted down, it gives the show a nice pace, and it made character development a lot richer. Some changes were made but they were smart, they raised the stakes, added the right amount of tension, and sometimes added an interesting side to a character. With our eyes also on the present, they’ve cleverly put some pieces in place for series 3, not the obvious one – Jack – but some that only appeared in The Book of Life.

Like I mentioned earlier, this season we’re introduced to important characters, some of these introductions were so sleek I almost didn’t catch them. We got to meet Philippe, who was more intense than I expected him to be, he is cunning and it shows right away. He’s the right amount of scary and caring; James Purefoy nailed it. Speaking about another great performance, Tom Hughes as Kit Marlowe is just impressive. I also enjoyed the chemistry between Edward Bluemel and Adelle Leonce is on point. I love their rapport and Phoebe’s inquisitive mind really shines through Leonce’s performance. That said, there is difference between being inquisitive and snooping.

I love Diana being strong, I love when she shows some teeth, and I love seeing her rowing in 1590 garb. She had many great moments this season, among them there’s a “we’re still talking” moment that I’m living for! Teresa Palmer‘s Diana is the best, she made me like the character since day one and has amazing chemistry with Matthew Goode who’s also been killing it this season.

Season 2 of A Discovery of Witches beautifully builds one the first, improving on what was already great. it’s bingeable, rewatchable, totally engaging.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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TV Review: A Discovery of Witches (S2 Premiere) | Engrossing and Beautiful

Review: The series picks up right where we left off in season one, and let me tell you they’re moving things along and I love it. The story unfolds faster than in “Shadow of Night,” like season one it’s leaner and to the point. The show has always had a clean crisp look but this season it looks amazing, from the costumes to the set, the cinematography, and special effects. The trailers and pictures did not mislead this is movie level production, they’ve spend some serious coin. The score is beautiful, noticeable in all the right ways.

We get to meet some new characters, one of which is exactly the little shit I remember from the book. Tom Hughes is doing a great job, I am loving his portrayal, but they’ve cut some of the drama. There’s still a lot of tension brewing, you can already feel it simmering.

The season starts with a bang, it’s exciting, entertaining to watch and re-watch, I can’t wait to see more.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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TV Review: A Discovery of Witches (S1) | Leaner, Effective, and Exciting

When the show first aired, I watched it intent on reviewing the season. Out of the eight episodes, I only wrote few thoughts on episode one and three, about how slick and polished the series looks, and how I still didn’t know what was going on by the third episode. The series got on my radar because of its leads, Teresa Palmer (I Am Number 4, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, Watchmen) two actors that I greatly appreciate. The cast also includes other very familiar faces such as Edward Bleumel (Killing Eve, Brave New World), Louise Brealey (Sherlock), Owen Teale (Game of Thrones, Tolkien), Alex Kingston (Doctor Who, Arrow, ER), Valarie Pettiford (The Blacklist), Gregg Chillin (Da Vinci’s Demons), Malin Buska (Advokaten, Easy Money III), Aiysha Hart (Line of Duty), Trevor Eve (Strike Back), Greg McHugh (Bad Education), Daniel Ezra (All American), and Elarica Johnson (C.B. Strike).

Later on, I learned that the show is based on a trilogy of books, the first of which shares a name with the series: “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness. It is a book that passed me by. It was never on my radar before the TV series. So when I first experienced season one I hadn’t read the book, now I have. What is it about?

Premise: Diana Bishop, a historian and non-practicing witch, unknowingly accesses a coveted long-lost book, Ashmole 782. This draws the attention of all creatures in existence, who want it for themselves. She must solve its mysteries and understand why this book is so sought-after. She is offered help by the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, but he’s a vampire and witches should never trust vampires.

Review: After reading and reviewing All Souls #1, I have a deeper appreciation for the series. The show really is slick and polished, like I first thought. It doesn’t look cheap, there’s money put into it and it shows. The locations, costumes, cinematography, and visual effects are gorgeous, everything looks great. The esthetic is right for this story.

The story unfolds slowly, like a mystery, and it’s captivating. The first time around I thought the pace was a bit slow, now I appreciate it. The episodes set up this magical realism world of witches, demon, and vampire beautifully. Their history is laid out just as their present unfolds. For a book and thus a show with mythical/fantastical creatures, science and evolution is a big part of it. It helps ground the show and gives it substance. Like the story the supernatural, paranormal elements come in bit by bit. It creeps on the edges of the show before they are revealed.

“Magic is desire made real.”

Having read the book, I enjoyed – or more aptly rejoiced – at the changes made for the screen. The creatures all feeling the book reappearing rather than it being a rumor, is one of them. It makes more sense. The decline of the creatures felt more tangible, they showed the creature were getting weaker with a failed vampire siring, and the obvious difference of power levels among the witches.
Matthew Goode is a much better Matthew than the one described in the book. He looks and feels more dangerous – he made the growls work. Thanks to Palmer – and the writing – Diana is not as annoying or wimpy. She appears more untrained than willfully unwilling to use her power. Yes she has refused to be trained but after she realizes she has greater abilities than she suspected, she’s not as blind to them as she persist on being in the book. The way Matthew and Diana got to become closer is also more organic. Teresa Palmer and Goode‘s chemistry is amazing, they are very well cast. I love that Satu is not a dumb henchwoman, she’s not blindly following Knox and has her own motivations.

It did not take long for me to be convinced that the show is much better than the book. It’s leaner, effective, and exciting. All the little details that they changed served the story well, but it didn’t prevent the confusion I had watching the show the first time without having read the book. The show is also more exciting once you’ve read the book. As for the Twilight comparison, the only ressemblance to Catherine Hardwicke‘s Twilight in the show is the voice over at the very beginning and the some of the score.

A Discovery of Witches S1 is engaging with a believable fantasy element, great acting, and a great production value.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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