Category Archives: Reviews

TV Review: Preacher S2E1 On the Road

Preacher-PosterJesse, Tulip, and Cassidy begin the search to find God; the trio realize that a killer cowboy from Hell is following them.

Preacher kicks of the second season with our trio taking a roadtrip with a goal of finding God. Though it’s been months since we last saw the series, it feels like it has been no time at all with slick violence, solid humor, and a direction that feels like it adhears a bit closer to the comics.

Full of humor Tulip, Jesse, and Cassidy, are a fun group that has a quirky tension about them and an interaction that feels super natural. That’s one of the things that has always stood out about the series, the fact all of the actors, no matter how small a role, feel like their interactions are natural in a way that’s rare in entertainment. There’s also a mission for the three that gives the series a bit more of a focus and direction and that direction is more like the comic series.

That’s something that I had an issue with when it came to the first season, the series veered from the comis which caught me off guard, but I eventually came to love the series. This first episode though gives us two aspects that are straight from the comics, the search for God and also the Saint of Killers who is on the warpath for the three.

The Saint of Killers brings the action and gives us a bloody surprise as his bullets fly and provides a style that feels like a Tarrantino film when it comes to the over the top violence. Heads explode. Jaws are blow out. Intestines are used to siphon gas. It’s over the top and slick.

Most importantly, it’s entertaining. Preacher feels like it hasn’t missed a beat at all and with the clear focus I’m excited to see where the series goes and what it mines for the second season. This is a hell of a start that gives us the beginning of what feels like one hell of a ride.

Overall Rating: 8.35

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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S3E3 Teotwawki

Alicia and Nick fall in with new crowds; Madison discovers Otto’s past mimics her own.

Fear the Walking Dead slows things down after the exciting debut double episodes of this season and we learn more about the Otto ranch as an ominous cloud feels like it slightly rolls in.

The episode kicks off with a video featuring the Ottos that plays intot he show later as we get a more definitive take as to what their deal is. From the short 30 second opener it’s clear that the Ottos are survivalist of the stereotypical type and Jeremiah is looked up to for his “predicting” the fall. There’s an undercurrent of religion but it’s mostly anti-government focused.

What’s interesting though is that we see some outtakes from Otto’s video later and we learn more about him and his family and why he’s the way he is. It’s tragic in many ways and Madison is able to relate to him a little more over it. Jeremiah though comes off as a bit tragic, sad, and a monster over it all. We also get a better sense of the Ottos as a whole and why one son is good and the other, not so much.

Through the madness of it all, we get a better view of Madison and her family as well. Nick is out of it as usual, scheming and planning and just not all there. Alicia goes the other side assimilating well in a Carol sort of way.

Then there’s Strand who we get a better idea as to where he was going and what’s on his mind. The series would be stronger if they cut him from the episodes and their short bits, instead saving them for an entire episode and longer segment. The short bits aren’t enough, but it’s clear his story will eventually dovetail back.

The episode isn’t bad, it’s just not as strong as the previous one. While the first two episodes were the introduction and a lot of the set up, this episode begins to play out what’s been lined up. As part of the whole it’ll be fine and while there’s some interesting moments, the episode is ok to watch but not all that exciting or intriguing… until those final moments, when things are pulled out from under us and thought lost character returns.

Overall Rating: 7.07

TV Review: Gotham S3E21 Heroes Rise: Destiny Calling; Heroes Rise: Heavydirtysoul

season_3_posterWith the deadly virus spreading throughout the city, the search for the antidote continuesl Fish Mooney, The Riddler, and Penguin reveal plans of their own; Bruce meets Ra’s Al Ghul and completes his task; Gordon tries to win back Lee.

Gotham wraps up its third season with two episodes that are ADD with what feels like every major plotline being wrapped up with either lots of violence or just outright killing people.

The entire season has felt a little hapdash with just a lot of plotlines and their coming together towards the end. The Tetch virus is out and Gotham is burning which is a bit too much like Batman Begins.

 

From there, it’s a race to save the city by creating an antidote or gettin getting the one that Strange created, but we know that won’t be easy. Still, the episode leaves me shaking my head that an antidote can be wipped up that quickly and though everyone knows there’s this virus and threat out there, no one has done this preemptively.

But beyond the virus, there’s Bruce meeting Ra’s Al Ghul, predictable to an extent with Bruce committing an act that’s pretty brutal and a bit silly for the person he commits the act against to be so forgiving so quickly. We’ll see more of this in season four because this season was about fast tracking Bruce to be on his way to be Batman… as a 16 year old.

Then there’s Penguin and Riddlers battle and Barbara and everyone else. It’s a lot there and each story feels like it could be an episode unto themselves. But, things are wrapped up pretty well taking care of the major plot points and just getting rid of excess characters. But even for a Schumacher riffed season finale, this was a bit unfocused.

There’s some good, like a reveal about Butch that should be exciting but the entire season feels like it destroys Gotham just so we can get Bruce closer to being Batman. It’s a bit excessive and too much has been packed in giving us a lot but not much of it in a way where it feels satisfying.

The ending is predictable with visuals that play off of so much that has come before with its own twist that just doesn’t work as well, which sums up the season so well.

Overall Rating: 6.35

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead S3E1 Eye of the Beholder/The New Frontier

The Clark family find themselves in a terrible predicament; Strand faces resistance as he attempts to hold power.

Fear the Walking Dead kicks off its third season with two episodes that shakes things up. To say it shakes things up is an understatement. New characters are introduced, new locations are explored, more dynamics are set up, and a major character apparently dies. A lot of criticism has been levied towards the series and this first two episodes feels like it addresses some of them by upping the action and really shaking things up.

When the last season ended we saw individuals dressed in military uniforms either shooting or capturing some of the individuals we’ve come to know and this episode drops us into the horror as those same military individuals are murdering them to see how long before they turn. It’s twisted and weird but from that a lot of conflict arises and it’s best to not reveal everything.

There’s lots of good in the fact that we’re dropped in the action and there’s a hell of a lot of conflict. The bad is some of that conflict deescalates rather quickly. It does come off as using each other for convenience but the fact there’s not a bigger grudge on display is a bit of a headscratcher. There’s easy ways to explain this away but it’s a little odd and stands out as the biggest negative of the first two episodes.

The new locations and characters are what really stands out. We’re taken to a new community that feels like a ranch the Bundy’s might like while taking a stand against the government. They mention they’re putting together a new society and community, which adds a slight ominous tone to what otherwise would be Herschel’s Farm Part 2. And that all is part of the excitement of these first two episodes. Lots of new characters and locations and we have to figure out who is on the level and who will be an obstacle and threat.

The episode too also catches us up on Strand who everyone thinks is a doctor for that truth is revealed. The episode may have been stronger without that and more being devoted in another, but his short segment does answer some questions that have been left hanging last season.

But, the biggest thing is the death of a major character. The fact the season kicks off with a major character seemingly dying (and I’d be surprised if they survived) lets us viewers know that everything is on the table and anything can happen. It also greatly shifts the dynamic as to what this season may bring.

The third season kicks off in a way that I’m excited to see what happens the entire show is shaken up in a way that it feels like a whole new series. What might happen? We’ll find out and I’m excited to see. I wasn’t excited about the series returning but after this episode I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall Rating: 7.97

TV Review: Lucifer S2E18 The Good, the Bad and the Crispy

Lucifer TVAfter Charlotte accidentally charbroils a man to death in self-defense, Lucifer tries to hide it from Chloe; Maze goes looking for Charlotte and Amenadiel; Lucifer tries to find a permanent solution for the ticking time bomb he calls Mom.

Lucifer wraps up its shortened second season with an episode that excellently touches upon all of its plot threads really well and in a way that feels satisfying and at the same time ends things in a way that feels like it’ll be an interesting third season in quite a few ways.

I have no idea where to begin but the plot with heading back to Heaven, his mother, his mother being a lawyer, his mother burning someone, the sword, there’s just a hell of a lot packed in and it flows effortlessly. And, how things are resolved both makes sense and also leaves things open in a way for it all to come back in an epic way.

And what’s impressive is that it does all of that and still moves so many characters’ forward in each their own way. Maze and Amenadiel both stand out as these last couple of episodes feels like they have focused on the two of them and really moved them ahead in so many ways. Maze especially has advanced from just being the muscle of the team and instead she gets some depth.

Then there’s that ending… holy crap does that open up some questions and has me baffled as to where it’s going. While it feels similar to the beginning of this year, I’d imagine that’ll be addressed. Overall, a solid ending for the season that has me even more excited to see what happens next.

Overall Rating: 7.65

TV Review: Gotham S3E20 Heroes Rise: Pretty Hate Machine

season_3_posterGordon races against the clock to save the city from the Alice Tetch virus; Alfred sees a big change in Bruce Wayne after his work with The Shaman; Gotham’s most deranged villains band together.

Gotham takes even more steps back as it begins to wrap up its third season with just a few episodes left. Every storyline you can think is touched upon as the episode bounces around like it can’t keep focus and  changes tone and look at a drop of a hat.

That’s been my biggest issue with the season as it can’t quite figure out what it wants to be, the show with lots of crazy villains, the detective series focused on Gordon and Bullock as cops, Bruce growing into Batman, or all of the above. This episode is an all of the above as the war brews between Penguin’s crew and the Riddler’s. The Shaman confronts the Court of Owls before releasing the virus, and then we get Lee going all crazy and how that plays out with Gordon.

Every plotline feels worse than the last with Lee taking the Tetch virus and enacting her vengeance against Gordon being the worst of them. The resolution had me shaking my head as to where it all goes and what happens. That plotline is the worst of the bunch and that’s saying something as the plot with the Court of Owls is as uninspired as they come being a riff on Batman Begins (though that took inspiration from the comics) and even Ra’s Al Ghul is hinted at.

Then there’s Penguin and his battle with the Riddler with the actual plot feeling like it doesn’t really go anywhere, just the usual fake outs and confrontations that don’t result in anything really. It’s also so different in tone from the rest of the episode it’s almost as if there’s two different shows here.

And that’s the biggest issue of this season. Part of it wants to be the more serious Batman films and part of it wants to be the campier films. And those two things don’t work very well together, at least this show hasn’t successfully made it work.

With just two more episodes left in the season, what looked like a season that was going to end on a high note, actually feels like it’s giving us a finale that’s as much of a mess as the rest of the season.

 

 

Overall Rating: 6.15

TV Review: Arrow S5E23 Lian Yu

arrowOliver assembles a group of unlikely allies – Slade, Nyssa, Merlyn, and Digger Harkness – to engage in an epic battle against Chase and his army.

Arrow wraps up its fifth season with an episode that’s generally good though feels like it’s both stretched out and compacted at the same time.

The good is the episode wraps up Oliver’s Russian adventures and we get to see glimpses of his heading home, which is a new revelation and answers some questions. That all feels a bit packed in and could be an entire episode on its own.

Most of the episode is focused on taking on Chase and action scene moves to fight scene moves to action scene with fights that feel like they’re choreographed well or not at all. It’s an odd experience as things look tight are a bit sloppy. That’s apparent early on when Oliver takes a swing in a badly delivered punch.

In the few moments where there’s not fighting or running for safety, there’s reflections on what it means to be a father with Deathstroke and Merlyn sounding somewhat reasonable. The moments are a bit bizarre as they’re in danger, but there’s enough time to talk about fatherhood? The scenes are good, but the situation they’re in between they feel odd.

Then there’s the ending which I’m not about to ruin, but it doesn’t feel like an ending at all instead it’s an unresolved aspect of the episode. Yes, it’s a cliffhanger, but in this case it doesn’t feel like it’s a good payoff it feels like something that should be resolved within the season. It’s hard to describe, but something didn’t sit right.

It’s not a bad episode, but as a season finale, something feels like it’s missing.

Overall rating: 7.45

TV Review: iZombie S3E8 Eat a Knievel

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0Liv and her boyfriend become closer when she shares the brain of a former daredevil with him; Blaine is back to his old ways; Ravi makes progress in his new research; a discover puts Major in grave danger.

iZombie is an ok episode with one focused on the murder of a daredevil and an attempt to move the various stories forward. The issues lay in the fact the murder mystery isn’t all that interesting and while Rose McIver is her usual amazing self in the acting aspect, it’s not enough to distract from the rest of what’s going on.

There’s some focus on Liv and her boyfriend which is a rather blah storyline. The attraction is clear but the case hasn’t quite been made to me caring.

Then there’s Major being human now and cured. Why doesn’t he quit his job? I can’t figure this out. Why put himself in danger?

Then there’s Blaine, who’s back to his old self. While it’s interesting to see him get his revenge it has a been there done that aspect to it.

The good of the episode is a bit more of a focus on the anti-zombie folks as a decision is made to infiltrate them. It’s also a little odd that other avenues aren’t taken to take care of them, like turning them into zombies or outright killing them.

For as different as the season began, in these last few episodes it’s all gotten back to where it was seasons ago. The series looked like it was evolving in its formula this season and in some aspects it’s branching out, but in others it’s taking a bunch of steps back.

Hopefully this is just a bridge episode moving things along and getting us to the next phase of the season, but this is an episode that’s largely forgettable in so many ways.

Overall Rating: 7.05

TV Review: The Flash S3E23 Finish Line

The Flash Season 2With nothing left to lose; Barry takes on Savitar in an epic conclusion.

The Flash wraps up its third season with the team reeling from the shocking ending of the last episode. Though, things aren’t as they seem which also kicks off the episode in a way that’s unexpected and definitely kept me on my toes fore the rest of it.

Someone does die, and it’s not some cheap trick where the person is alive and survives. That’s not quite a spoiler and I think important because I was fully expecting the episode to undo the death and just wasn’t convinced of what I saw.

What follows is some of the best and most frustrating things about this series all wrapped up in an hour. The team both reaches out to and fights Savitar in what’s at times predictable and at other times out of left field. It’s good, it’s bad, but it wraps things up in something interesting ways.

What’s good is they bring everything together and there’s characters that play big roles that are unexpected and in that it’s good. The bad is of course there’s the moment where they want to try to help Savitar which you just know isn’t going to go well. It’s the superhero version of the villain monologue. As I said, it’s frustrating.

There’s also good in that the episode focuses on the paradox that would happen by stopping Savitar. It’s been something on my mind and here it’s addressed perfectly.

But, the episode gives us a lot packed in there and also delivers a lot to come setting up the next season, again something that’s somewhat frustrating in that there’s a pretty clear solution.

This is a good finale that wraps up a season that had its ups and downs and hopefully, we get a rejuvenated next season.

Overall Rating: 8.50

TV Review: Supergirl S2E22 “Nevertheless She Persisted” has Kick-Ass Action and Human Emotion

Supergirl‘s Season 2 finale “Nevertheless She Persisted” opens up a potent can of whup ass with a no holds barred throwdown between Supergirl and Superman, who is being controlled by Rhea with silver kryptonite that makes Kara look like General Zod, courtesy of veteran Arrow and Smallvile director Glen Winter. And it has a Battle of Pelennor Fields-esque second act with White Martians, a Superman and Martian Manhunter team-up, and even Mon-El busting out some kung fu to defeat the Daxamites. However, where this episode really shines is how writers Robert Rovner, Caitlin Parrish, Jessica Queller, and Andrew Kreisberg,  and actor Melissa Benoist show how far Kara Danvers has come along as a woman, reporter, and hero. She’s not afraid to make the hard choice and irradiating the atmosphere with lead to make the Daxamites go away but feels terrible about having to send her boyfriend Mon-El away before he dies. Her grief comes out in teary, silent close-ups of Benoist as she flies in the twilight and wishes there was some way she could be with Mon-El. Also, having a nice trial by combat between Supergirl and Rhea is an excellent main plot point.

And this is where Cat Grant is kind of perfect in a more dialed down performance from Calista Flockhart even though she makes some great, leaning on the fourth quips about never seeing Star Wars to Winn and Kara. She gives Kara the pep talk of all pep talks by praising her investigative reporting while giving her constructive criticism about her writing style. Then, Cat hits what is honestly the thematic core of Supergirl as a TV show: women can be emotionally vulnerable and still fight on. And this goes for all the women of Supergirl, including the bad guys. Rhea is a terrible, cowardly tyrant, but she still has love for Mon-El even as she collapses in lead dust. On the other hand, Lillian Luthor will do whatever it takes to protect the world from aliens, but she regrets being so negative towards Lena while she was growing up and straining their relationship.

Even more so than the MacGuffin/mind control/Myriad season 1 finale, Supergirl Season 2’s finale is a war story. Most of the shooting is done in the dark, but Winter occasionally shows shots of buildings, fountains, and windows being caught in the crossfire of powerful aliens from the Superman vs. Supergirl battle in the beginning to Supergirl vs. Rhea and finally the all out Martian/human/Kryptonian/Daxamite battle royale. But unlike its higher budget cousin, Man of Steel, “Nevertheless She Persisted” consciously shows the heroes helping every day people, like Martian Manhunter carrying civilians out of harm’s way or Superman protecting them with his freeze breath. Superman and Martian Manhunter have a truly epic moment when they say “Stronger together” in their native tongues before giving us one of the coolest superhero team-ups in TV history.

But they get emotional stories too with Superman playing a supporting role even though Tyler Hoechlin has leading man charisma, and you can tell why Cat Grant has a crush on Clark Kent. In a sparring session, she opens up to him about her fear of losing Mon-El if she activates Lillian Luthor’s fail safe, and he empathizes with his fear of losing Lois. Except for when he’s under the influence of silver kryptonite (Which I didn’t know was a thing), Superman is kind, compassionate, and a team player. And the writers of Supergirl use him in small doses so he doesn’t overshadow Kara and the main supporting players’ arcs.

They don’t spend a lot of time onscreen together thanks to the frantic flying and rushing to fight Rhea and the Daxamites, but “Nevertheless She Persisted’s” writers manage to get a few great scenes out of Kara and Alex’s interactions. Their bond as sisters has been this season’s bedrock and even enhanced the romantic relationship between Alex and Maggie, which gets a bit of an upgrade in this episode. Alex nurses her back to health in the Fortress of Solitude and then later on thanks her for helping her come out as lesbian earlier in the season although she was struggling to be herself. Kara is definitely thinking about Mon-El as she flies and broods above National City, but her last great interaction is with Alex, the woman who she inspires and is inspired by in turn.

Supergirl is a TV show about women of action who also have rich emotional lives, and when the writers strike that balance between those two things (Instead of following Mon-El down a douchy rabbit hole), it can be a great genre show as “Nevertheless She Persisted” (And a great Cat Grant speech.) demonstrates. Supergirl Season 2 has definitely been a rocky ride, but by doubling down on the relationships between female characters and villains, it stuck the landing while leaving some threads for next season like Lillian Luthor being free as a bird, yet another pod being sent from Krypton, and perhaps a romance between Kara and Lena Luthor.

Overall Rating: 8.50

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