Category Archives: T.V. Show

“The Defenders” T.V. Show Review

Talk about a one-off show that tries its most damn to be the best it can be. Some things worked and others didn’t. Let’s divulge it all. This highly anticipated crossover superhero T.V. show premiered all of its 8 episodes on Netflix on August 18th, 2017, receiving high viewership figures from the streaming services subscribers. But it was also followed by a historical drop in people watching it week-by-week. A culmination of the previous Marvel/Netflix collaborations, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, it’s believed that there won’t be a second season for it at least for a long time. And after watching the series, I can understand why. Following the events of each series, our titular protagonists are brought together by the secret organization known as The Hand. While dealing with their enigmatic leader, played by Sigourney Weaver, they must also investigate what their plan is for New York City. With the help of Stick and handful of side characters from the other shows, they must unite to stop evil from destroying their home. Daredevil season one, back in 2015, was, in my opinion, the best live-action superhero show ever made. And although I didn’t love season two as much, I still really enjoyed it for how it introduced The Punisher. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were equally amazing, giving us some relevant drama with intriguing action. And for those of you who hadn’t been Following my blog earlier this year, Iron Fist is one of the most disappointing T.V. shows I’ve ever seen in my life. A bland protagonist, underwhelming action sequences, a horribly unfocused story that went on for far too long, redeemed somewhat by good side characters. And after that trainwreck, I was actually really nervous about The Defenders series and if it would deliver. None of the advertisements really grabbed me like previous shows did and not enough compelling information was released in order for me to truly get invested in it. But alas, I’m a sucker for tempered expectations. Make no mistake, I have some legitimate issues with this series, but for the most part, it stuck the landing. Getting it out of the way, all four of the titular heroes work well together. I like how each one had their own motivation for joining the war on The Hand. Daredevil wants to quit his life of crime-fighting but feels compelled to help his old mentor. Luke Cage has an obligation to the people on the streets as their protector. Iron Fist believes it to be his destiny to take down The Hand. Jessica Jones only comes along because she’s on a case. Charlie Cox, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, and Kristen Ritter share convincing chemistry in their scenes together, especially the dramatic ones. Danny Rand still comes off as an annoying, whiny punk, but he’s given more to like about and is far less insufferable than he was before. Meanwhile, the inimitable Sigourney Weaver shines as the main antagonist of the series Alexandra. A mysterious, wealthy woman, she isn’t just some mean bitch or wants to destroy New York because she’s evil. She has a motivation, and you can see how desperate she is to keep her organization alive in the modern era. Her counterparts in the Hand are pretty uninteresting overall, but they were serviceable to keep the plot running. Action sequences have been a mixed bag for the Marvel/Netflix shows. Whereas Daredevil was lean and gritty, Luke Cage and Iron Fist were underwhelming. But for the most part, they keep it fair and balanced here, with the third and fifth episodes having great setpieces involving all four heroes. But it does fall into the trap of dark corridors with hyperactive editing to conceal obvious stunt doubles. That doesn’t happen often, though. Through the nice camerawork and some rousing music from John Paesano, we are thrown in and made to care for the people present. As far as the story goes, The Defenders is pretty inconsistent. It has the cliche of immediately trading off action sequences for extended scenes of exposition and backstory. Most of it is delivered through the character of Stick, played masterfully by Scott Glenn. As much of a badass as he is, I think he may have oversold the magnitude of their war against the Hand. Because in the last two episodes, when their true plan is revealed, it seems almost inconsequential to the rest of New York City. It felt as though the writers had bigger plans, but they had to find a way to condense it into 8 episodes in order to satisfy Marvel. Another thing of note: I understand that you want to bring over supporting players from the previous shows to have a big crossover effect. But that doesn’t change the fact that some of them were just flat-out useless here. Maybe they’re setting up for character arcs in later seasons of their respective shows, but for now, it felt distracting. Far from any television masterpiece but still entertaining enough to get you through to the end, The Defenders is a mostly satisfying blend of superheroes grounded in the urban streets. It still feels like a prelude to a bigger story, as each episode implies a bigger picture of what’s going on. But for now, it’s a bit of intriguing and fun entertainment. I cannot wait for The Punisher coming this Fall.

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“Lost” T.V. Show Review

*Mild spoilers spread throughout. Certain plot points are hard to discuss without getting in-depth.*

What’s the point of a slow movie week if you can’t use this time to review an epic series like Lost? I know going into this that I’m going to say everything I have to say. I have a LOT to say about this show. If I forgot, feel free to mention it in the Comments. On that note, here we go. This supernatural fantasy mystery drama series ran for six seasons on ABC between 2004 and 2010, gaining wide critical acclaim and high Nielsen ratings. A heavily serialized show, it begins as a commercial airplane, Oceanic Airline Flight 815, crashes on a mysterious deserted island in the South Pacific during a trip from Sydney to Los Angeles. 48 people survived the crash, and now have to figure out their next move, while discovering the mysteries of The Island. Created by Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof, and J.J. Abrams, each episode also features a flashback sequence that reveals more about a specific survivor’s life before the crash. In all honesty, Lost was a very important and groundbreaking T.V. show. It was one of the first times that an episodic medium could tell an overarching story over the course of several seasons. It also managed to keep audiences emotionally invested in the fates of the individual characters, despite its large ensemble cast. Each member of the group was almost always likable, but they all had an episode or two where it was just them. Unfortunately for  Ken Leung, Miles’ episodes were in the last couple of seasons, when things got REALLY confusing. I’ll talk more about that later. I still remember the first time watching this series. For many shows afterward, it was clearly evident that they had borrowed some elements from Lost. But Lost, at the time, was one of the most mind-blowing things I had ever seen on either television or film. A dark, gritty tone set against the beautiful backdrop of the Hawaiian Islands, where it was filmed, was unheard of for me. And just when you think you can pinpoint certain characters, a curve-ball is thrown to sway your opinion. John Locke and Sawyer were arguably the most complex among the ensemble. Both appear one-dimensional at first but their backstories unveil two men’s pasts full of tragedy and conflict that makes you root for them so hard. The worst character, for me, was Michael. He just came off as annoying, self-interested and disregarding to the rest of the group, not just in season 1 but throughout most of the run. But the show wasn’t perfect and began making mistakes as early as season 3. They introduced the couple Nikki and Paulo, who were almost completely useless to the plot. The fact that they had their own central episode just frustrated me. Thankfully, they’re written out of the show rather quickly, and aside from a few mentions, you don’t have to worry about them anymore. Every character introduced to the cast afterward is handled in a much smarter way. They work because they’re actually relevant to the overall story and character development. And it’s not as intrusive or forced. I’ll tell what exactly made Lost hard to follow in the later seasons. The thing that keeps this show so intriguing is that you don’t know all of The Island’s secrets, and it’s arguable that the writers had similar corners to get themselves out of. Not only in season 3 do they rearrange the flashback formula, but they also shoehorn a love triangle between Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. The chemistry between the three actors is fine, but the way it was written made their arc feel cheesy and sappy. And with every big revelation on or off The Island, it was difficult to keep track of everything that ties together. The final three seasons have a complete change in tone and setting, and the fact that they are shorter than previously doesn’t quite give us enough time to understand. The writers then introduce elements as absurd as time travel, CGI monsters, resurrections, and then boom that’s the end. You may think that I just spoiled everything in the show; trust me when I say that I REALLY did not. Speaking of the end… we have to touch on the finale. Never in my entire existence have I seen a series finale that was so polarizing that it somewhat overshadows the quality of the rest of the show. I’m trying to keep it vague, but at the beginning of the final season a storytelling format is changed. It sparked many fan theories about the true nature of The Island and how the series would come to a close. They kind of played on the biggest theory but also attempted to umbrella the whole story under this revelation. You see how hard it is for me to talk about the ending without actually spoiling anything? Ultimately, you’ll walk away from Lost with more questions than answers. We still don’t know why there were polar bears in the first episodes, we still don’t know how old The Island truly is, The Numbers are completely ambiguous and the origins of the Dharma Initiative are still very vague. Though honestly, it’s a bit more fun to interpret these mysteries at your own discretion, and maybe it was intended that way. I know it may sound like I hate this show; quite the opposite. I love Lost from the bottom of my heart. I just had to get out my gripes about the series’ ending. Spanning 6 seasons, 121 episodes, a myriad of diverse characters, and an intriguing overarching story, Lost will go down in history as one of the best T.V. shows of the Second Golden Age.

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“The Walking Dead” Season 7 Premiere Reaction

Yeah… so THAT happened. Before I begin, I’m going to start off by giving a major spoiler warning about what happened on Sunday night. If you think it’s okay to read this because you don’t get what the deal was over what happened on the Season 7 premiere, get catch up on the show. For the rest of you, let’s gather to try and cope with the rapture of the shit that went down a few nights ago. I wasn’t even going to do a post on this episode. I thought everyone online would be fine and anxiously await next week’s episode as always. But nope, they had to pull the rug from under us and reduce us viewers to sniffling little creature! *Sigh* Sorry about that. I’m just still reeling. Right after it aired, I figured I should do a reaction post. Okay, so what happened? At the very end of last Season, Rick, Sasha, Abraham, Eugene, Aaron, and Carl were all trying to get a sick Maggie over to the Hilltop Colony to get her pregnancy checked out. But on their way, they are abruptly stopped by a small army of survivors called the Saviors, who gather them and all of the other group members, with the exceptions of Morgan and Carol, in front of their leader, Negan. After giving a speech about the new world order, Negan plays a sadistic game of eeny, meany, miny, moe to randomly select a group member to viciously kill with Lucille, his baseball bat wrapped in barb-wire. And… that was it. Fans all theorized about who it could be over the summer, but now we know. However, the majority of this premiere was Rick and Negan riding around the woods, with Negan trying to get it to Rick that he owns him. It wasn’t until after the second commercial break that we discovered who won the game of eeny, meany, miny, moe… it was Abraham. It was a particularly gruesome affair, but stubborn as always, his last words were, “Suck my nuts.” And Negan bashed his little brain bits into the gravel even after his death. Right now, I will praise the makeup and design crew. Each week they impress me more, but this one particularly was standout. Now for a brief moment, we all believe that we’re safe. But then Daryl Dixon stands up and decks him in the jaw out of anger. Even though Dwight seems determined on killing him, I knew that Daryl dies, we riot. Negan reiterates that he will shut that shit down, no exceptions. And as camera tilts to the right you think you can tell who will get punished. He then turns right around and pummels Glenn with Lucille. He’s in terrible shape afterwards. Blood is trickling down from skull, his left eye is popped out. He tries saying something, but can only make out,  “Maggie, I’ll find you.” And with a few more blows, the would-be father is killed off like he’s nothing more than an insect to be crushed. That is the reason why I made this post. I jumped from my seat when this happened onscreen. In the comics, Glenn is the one who gets killed in the sadistic game, but the fact that both he and Abraham got killed shows me one thing: no one is safe. I know that sounds like a cliché but honestly there hasn’t been an original cast member killed off for a few seasons now. Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz will be fine and have good careers. It’s been a fun run with you guys, and it won’t be the same without you. This is looking like only the start of potentially the darkest season of The Walking Dead yet. Jeffrey Dean Morgan absolutely slays his role of Negan, and I can’t wait to see him more over the show. If you like what you see here, please leave a comment and be sure to Follow my blog for more awesome content.

 

“Luke Cage” T.V. Show Review

Knocking down a few doors in the projects doesn’t just make you Harlem’s Hero. It actually makes you a legend. This critically acclaimed superhero web television series released all 13 episodes of its first season on Netflix on September 30th, 2016. The third collaboration between Netflix and Marvel Entertainment for adapting street-level superhumans, there were many reports of it being so popular, that many Netflix servers crashed due to overcrowding. Set a few months after the events of Jessica Jones, the titular ex-convict relocates to the city of Harlem, New York with bulletproof skin and enhanced strength. Initially wanting to lay low, he soon finds himself thrust into taking action against notorious gangster Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes and Mariah Dillard, the latter’s scheming politician cousin. Cage must take the pair down while battling the police system, fronted by Mercedes “Misty” Knight. Even though it’s just come out, Luke Cage may be my favorite Marvel/Netflix show to date, at least since season one of Daredevil. There is not a single actor in the cast that gives a dull performance. Everyone brings their A-game to the table. Mike Colter is absolutely perfect as the title character. Charismatic and convincing to a fault, I hardly think that they could have picked a better actor to portray Luke Cage in this universe. Simone Missick as Misty Knight is a particular standout, arguably the breakout star of this entire show. Her sarcasm makes for some funny moments, while her analytical skills make the audience feel like they are a genius detective as well. Rosario Dawson returns for the fourth time in the universe as Claire Temple, a no-nonsense nurse for enhanced beings. She makes a great love interest for Luke Cage, amplified by their fiery chemistry. Let’s get into the villains. Previously, Head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb jokingly referred to both Cottonmouth and Dillard as “the other heroes of the story.” Netflix veteran Mahershala Ali does give us a violent, yet still human antagonist out of Cottonmouth. Similarly, Alfre Woodard channels her inner activist to depict a calculating, conflicted and despicable politician who will do anything to paint Harlem in her own black image. However, I did not find these two to be as menacing a presence as Kilgrave from Jessica Jones, or as physically imposing as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. The soundtrack is fantastic as well. The showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker, was originally a music journalist and was one of the last people to interview the Notorious B.I.G. before he died. He utilizes this old occupation to great effect, with a score by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad that is reminiscent of hip-hop songs from the 70’s and 90’s. The Wu-Tang-ification of the Marvel world, you yourself will come to love the hip-hop genre by the last episode. It’s also fascinating in its approach to race and other social issues. This is the first property under the Marvel name to use the “n” word. It is used casually by quite a few characters in normal conversations, although some, like Cage or Dillard, prefer not to use it often. And the way they handle certain situations, such as police brutality and wrongful imprisonment, is respectful to victims without being preachy to those unfamiliar with the subject matter. Let’s be honest; the world needs a bulletproof black man right now. He shields fellow Harlem residents from certain death (literally) and singlehandedly takes down a small army money-hungry thugs simply by flicking them on the forehead. And yet, Luke Cage still professes, “I’m no hero. I’m just trying to do right by Pop.” And that’s what makes him a complete hero, and the most emotionally sympathetic protagonist of the Netflix shows. In the end, Luke Cage is the smartest, most socially relevant show to come out of the Netflix/Marvel partnership. Much like listening to a hip-hop album, you can just take a good chunk out of your day to binge-watch as many episodes as you want. It gives me hope for future Marvel shows such as Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. Oh, and I guess people have asked me to hear what I think of how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is introducing Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider in its fourth season. The answer is no, I’m not going to review it. I couldn’t make it through the first season. It was just dull, repetitive, and too much “Freak of the Week” kind of stuff, even for a superhero show. But many friends have told me it really improves in the next two seasons, so we’ll see what happens.

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“Firefly” T.V. Show Review

What did I do? I watched Firefly. And if a show is able to make me content being that slothful and doing nothing else for an entire week, it was worth doing a post. This space western drama by nerd icon Joss Whedon originally aired for a brief 3-month stint on Fox before getting canceled; for all intents and purposes, it was dead upon arrival. I’ll dive further into detail about that, but let’s dissect the series as it was. Set 500 years in the future, the Solar System we currently live in has been used up, and all of the human population has migrated to a new one. Dozens of new planets and moons were terraformed to match the likeness of Earth. The “core” planets are very lush in technology, while the “outer” planets are quite forbidding and desolate- the primary setting of the series. Shortly after colonization, the United States and China formed a supergovernment known as the Alliance and began a war against outer planet colonies for total dominance. The rebels, widely called Browncoats, got stomped in the war, thus the Alliance now maintains control over the vast system. Six years later, the main character Malcolm Reynolds, who fought on the losing side, embarks on a series of quests onboard his Firefly-class smuggling ship, Serenity. He goes on adventures alongside one of the greatest ensemble casts in the history of television. The very first thing to address is that Firefly is more like a Western than it is a sci-fi. There are no alien species, most people in the galaxy use powder weapons rather than lasers, and most of the outer planets feel like deserts for people to run around on horseback. In that sense, it’s arguable that Firefly is the grounded and plausible depiction of the far future yet, no disrespect to Star Trek. Now let’s break down each crew member aboard Serenity. First of all, Malcolm Reynolds is one of the greatest characters Joss Whedon has ever written. He’s such a bitter, cynical space pirate after losing the Unification War. You really get the implication that not only did he lose the war, he lost his faith entirely. Actor Nathan Fillion was able to bring a likability and a sense of humor that made Mal feel like a complete person. He does put up a lot of walls on himself, but that’s because he absolutely has a heart of gold underneath. It just got ripped out a stomped. His second-in-command is Zoe Washbourne, a war buddy who is incredibly efficient with firefights. What makes both her and Mal complete badasses is that Greedo would never stand a chance; they shoot first. Her husband, Wash, is more or less the comic relief of the show. He never fought in a war, he never lost anything, so he’s not bitter. He pilots Serenity and manages to get the crew out of tricky scenarios. Then, there’s Derrial Book, a Shepherd or priest. Mal is initially reluctant about letting a preacher on board, but they mutually respect one another. Book is the voice of reason among a ship full of criminals and wackjobs. It’s implied that he has some high priority status with The Alliance in the past, but since the show was canceled, we’ll never know. (Unless you read a graphic novel) Jayne is the mercenary aboard the ship, meaning he will do anything you tell him as long as he’s paid. His personal love is Vera, a custom firearm of great power. Next, is Inara, the credible person aboard. She’s a Companion, which is more or less the Buddhist version of a prostitute. That’s right, prostitution has been made legal in the future, thus they are seen with high members of society. Another strong woman is Kaylee, the engineer that helps run the ship and figure out the kinks. Though a Firefly is  not prestigious, Kaylee is still highly optimistic and the only genuinely sweet crew member. Now fo the Tams. Simon is an extremely intelligent doctor from the Alliance, who brings a mysterious crate on board. You find out it’s his sister, River. He gave up his entire fortune to find her and get her to safety. River was experimented on and is quite confused throughout the show. Even with such a big ensemble, everyone on the show feels relevant at all times. Projected by the fact that everyone on the show loved each other as a family in real life. So why did Fox break up a family? Because they didn’t like it. They chose to air all of the episodes out of order, and ultimately cancel a show that was before its time. It’s almost a slap in the face. It’s an example of a drama that can still be funny due to good comedic timing. However, when the show wants to be creepy and uncomfortable, it’s definitely that. A few times, Serenity runs into the Reavers, a sub-populace of cannibalistic humans that will rape you to death and sew your skin onto their clothes. Scares me every time I see a ship of theirs. Despite the short run, Firefly still has relatable characters, a fantastic musical score, a unique style, and realistic dialogue. After finishing, you’ll be watching the movie Serenity. Joss Whedon did get a chance from Universal Pictures to wrap up his story in cinematic form. But that’s another review for another day soon.

“Daredevil” Season 2 T.V. Show Review

There’s really nothing better than a good show to binge watch. The second season for Marvel’s Daredevil premiered all of its episodes on Netflix on March 18th, 2016, continuing Marvel’s deal with Netflix on producing MCU properties on its service. I apologize for never reviewing Jessica Jones after the first season, but I really enjoyed it. And like that show and the first season of Daredevil, this season shows a really good and fresh dark tone that contrasts their cinematic counterparts. Some time after the events of Season 1, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen has watched over his city as its savior and protector. But a new player named Frank Castle, A.K.A. The Punisher, starts slaughtering the local gangs with brutal military precision in an effort to avenge his murdered family and replace Daredevil. Reflecting on his “normal life,” Matt Murdock encounters Elektra Natchios, an old flame who comes to him with a business proposition. He eventually gets tangled with his old mentor Stick in a plot regarding a secret organization called The Hand. First, let’s start with the negatives, which many fans seem to be either avoiding or erasing from their own reviews. Season 2 feels like a major step-down from the first season, which I generally view as near-flawless. I don’t mean to mislead you; it’s still great entertainment with many memorable moments. There’s just a large void left by Vondie Curtis-Hall and Vincent D’Onofrio as Ben Urich and Wilson Fisk, respectively. And while the first season was almost entirely story-driven, the pacing in the first few episodes feels a bit slow and underwhelming. Now on to the positives, and there are many. The whole cast is still stellar from last year with new additions. Let’s get right into it: Jon Berenthal as The Punisher. He completely (and quite literally) slays every single scene he’s in. Similar to Shane Walsh in The Walking Dead, he’s violent, sociopathic, unpredictable, determined, intelligent, fearful, yet also tortured. Once you get an idea of his motivations and backstory, he becomes far more tragic and relatable. The French actress Elodie Yung also did what I thought was impossible: she actually made Elektra interesting. To be honest, up to this point, Elektra has been one of the most truly boring and disposable characters in Marvel Comics. But now, she’s like a mysterious femme-fatale with unclear motives and feelings for our titular protagonists. Their relationship sparks great chemistry and sexual tension, allowing for some playful back-and-forth banter the two of them. The English actor Charlie Cox continues his convincing role as Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Despite his violent alternative persona, (and still-crappy costume) he’s really likable and funny around Foggy and Karen. And in the second half of the season, Vincent D’Onofrio makes a surprise appearance as Wilson Fisk, who has become the kingpin in prison. He’s still intimidating and powerful as ever, even in his current position. And the violence in this show, oh my God. This version of the Punisher is sadistic and R-Rated. A few times, I averted my eyes when either he or the Hand were getting busy with those in their way. So don’t watch your little kids. All in all, Season 2 of Daredevil isn’t the smooth and swift show it’s predecessor was. But it’s still smart, engaging, and surprisingly emotional, especially after the fourth episode. If you stick it out to the end, there’s even a 30-second teaser for Marvel’s Luke Cage that plays after the final episode. Because of that, I’m more excited for Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the Defenders miniseries.

“Daredevil” T.V. Show Review

I know it’s unusual for me to review a T.V. show, but I had to make an exception, as there was a lot of hype surrounding Daredevil. This critically acclaimed superhero show from a Marvel Studios and Netflix collaboration aired its episodes on April 10th, 2015, and almost instantly was renewed for a second season. After the lackluster and disappointing Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck, Marvel wanted to make sure they would never make a mistake like that ever again. And they achieved that goal with flying colors. About 20 years after losing his eyesight in a car accident, Mathew Murdock becomes an attorney at law in his adulthood. But, after confessing to his Catholic priest, Murdock becomes a masked vigilante in Hell’s Kitchen. He must contend with Wilson Fisk, an extremely wealthy and up-and-coming crime lord who wants to paint the city in his vision. We’re also presented with a wide cast of interesting and relatable characters. These include Murdock’s best friend, Foggy, their secretary, Paige, a reporter, Ben Urich, and a number of memorable villains. This show is unlike anything Marvel has ever done before. This is a dark, gritty, mature, and realistic superhero story I have been waiting for. It may not be fair to compare the show to the films, but it’s set in the same universe and the show makes several subtle references to the Avengers, so I’ll just run with it. Since this a Netflix show, I’m obviously going to binge-watch Daredevil;that is until I have to turn the T.V. off. No God forbid, you’d get up off you’re butt and leave the couch. And with that in mind, I would recommend watching a few episodes at a time as it can be a lot to handle. Without spoiling too much, at one point early in the season, Kingpin is able to decapitate a man with a freaking car door. And what I find fascinating is that, just like Game of Thrones, despite a pretty large cast, there’s not a single dull performance from any of the actors. And there’s never a throw-away character.(Bring it on Foggy Haters) Each and every person is presented as and developed into flawed, interesting characters worth investing in. There will be a few moments where you’ll despise the main villain, and then others that you want him to succeed. In fact, there were a handful of moments when I was frustrated with the writers’ decision on certain characters’ fates. Spanning 13 episodes and each one lasting me at least 50 minutes, I fell love with every moment. I’m so pumped for the second season, even if that means I have to wait for nearly a year for it to come.