Category Archives: Reviews

TV Review: Watchmen S1E2 Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship

Watchmen

Watchmen‘s second episode focuses on the fallout of the murder of the police captain Judd Crawford played by Don Johnson. The episode goes beyond that but also builds on its history of Tulsa as well as Angela Abar’s.

We learn about Angela’s history with Judd and her history with Judd. That history becomes closer due to the White Night, a coordinated attack by the 7th Cavalry murdering police officers. Through that we also find out about Abar’s children, who are the children of her former partner who was killed during the attack. It’s an interesting scene as it explains why an officer would be so close to her superior and also why the police now hide their identities.

The series continues to entwine itself into the history of the Tulsa Race Riot. It becomes clear as to why Judd was murdered as Angela discovers what looks like a KKK outfit in Crawford’s closet. We also discover Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Will Reeves is indeed the young boy from Tulsa as well as his connection to Angela.

What makes Reeves interesting is his talking in riddles which has the viewer parsing everything he has to say. It forces you to listen to the dialogue and question everything said. It puts the viewer in a similar position with Angela as she attempts to discover the truth.

We also learn more about Veidt and his servants. It’s now much clearer as to what’s going on and the oddness of them. It shows Veidt is up to his old tricks and has lost his mind even more than before. Is he still the villain?

The episode has a lot of revelations and adds depth to each of its characters in small moments and big ones as well. It also deepens the mystery as we, like Angela Abar, discover each new piece of information. For each answer, there’s so many more questions presented.

Watchmen is proving itself to be every bit the worthy successor of the original comic material delivering a layered story and fleshed out history. This is much watch television. One that deserves multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Batwoman S1E4 Who Are You?

Batwoman

Batwoman fourth episode has a bit of a different focus as it shifts into the bad guy of the week territory. That tends to be the formula for The CW DC-based shows and generally has become predictable and a tad bit repetitive.

Magpie is the new villain and she comes off as a second rate Catwoman. Her entire focus is stealing jewelry and it isn’t until the end that there’s any depth to the character.

The bigger focus of the episode is Kate attempting to balance her life as Batwoman and her personal goings on. She’s dating but has issues dealing with that and donning the cape.

There’s potential here as far as the show goes is the greatest. There’s some solid territory to mine and it’s something for Batman that no films have really dived into well.

There are some revelations about what Katherine has been hiding and she’s forced to admit things to Kate’s dad. It adds to the chance that Alice is telling the truth about her being Kate’s missing sister. It also adds some tension to her family.

The episode gets the small details right. It finally hints that Kate is Jewish. It’s something the series has ignored for the first three episodes. It also has Kate not being smooth in the Batsuit. She misses a Batarang and causes damage. She doesn’t slide right into the role which is a nice touch.

The show actually finally shows some standout ideas as the end has Kate making a declaration as to what she’s going to do. It feels like a response that Batman would do more to help Gotham as Bruce but doesn’t. It puts the concept Kate can do good in both her roles and out of everything, this is what can really make the series interesting. Hopefully, it’s more than just a line and the team does something with it.

Overall Rating: 7.2

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E3 Ghosts

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead focuses on the characters and psychology in the third episode “Ghosts.”

The threat of the Whisperers return leads to paranoia sweeping over Alexandria; in the meantime, Carol battles with the need for revenge.

The episode is a focus on the slog of it all and the impact on the survivors. It opens with hours after hours as waves after waves of walkers attack a town and need to be repelled. Something is driving them and it’s unclear if it’s the Whisperers or not.

How does that impact individuals?

Carol, Aaron, Michonne, and Negan are all spotlighted as they struggle to deal with the situation. That includes interactions with the Whisperers and facing the threat that looms. Carol and Daryl have their moments as Carol’s mindset is explored especially after the death of her “son.”

Negan and Aaron are key too as Negan is tasked with helping Aaron. Has Negan changed and what of his past crimes? The tension is there and their back and forth are interesting. Aaron has lots of resentment towards Negan. Negan does come off as wanting to reform and leave his past behind. But, at the same time he’s not sorry. His words indicate that he sees it all as what needed to be done. It’s clear Negan will have his redemption in this season, the question is how and when.

The episode is a tense one as danger looms and the focus is squarely on the pressure of it all. It’s a good episode that revolves around the characters as the series always does. The Walking Dead isn’t about scares. It’s about the survivors and their dealing with this new world. The episode is important hinting at what’s to come and reminds us where the characters currently are.

Overall Rating: 8.05

TV Review: Watchmen S1E1 It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice

Watchmen

Based on the classic graphic novel and comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘, HBO‘s Watchmen is the latest attempt to build off what is considered one of the greatest comics of all time.

Opening with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, the series is an interesting exploration of fascism on all fronts. Taking place after the events of the classic comic series, police now don masks and personas in a battle for justice using less than just means. A white supremacist group who seem to worship Rorschach has risen.

While it’s clear who the bad guys are (unless there’s some twist yet to come), it’s an interesting spin to deliver a series where we’re supposed to emphasize with the police. An attempt is made towards the beginning when one is gunned down but from there it’s a series focused on bad all around. Bad and weird.

It all feels a bit overkill in the middle America this takes place. The police force has a version of Nite Owl’s Owlship which while used for a rather exciting sequence all feels a bit over the top.

And maybe that’s part of the point?

Like our local police force having military grade hardware in real life, it all feels like it’s an exaggeration of the broken down rule of law and order that exists today. Police kill innocent individuals going for the gun when other methods may due. Here, the police ignore civil rights and revel in military assaults.

But, what stands out the most of this debut episode is how much it nods to the source material while not relying on it. It’s set in the world of, but is its own thing. A man with a sign is in a scene as a character walks back. The sign reads the opposite of Rorschach’s doom and gloom of the comics. The squids falling from the sky is a reminder of how the comic ended.

Watchmen‘s debut episode also delivers some depth to each of the main characters. Don Johnson‘s Judd Crawford and Regina King‘s Angela Abar feel like the two characters the series revolves around. Despite their fascist tendencies, there’s enough there to like them as people and empathize with them. King’s Abar especially seems to have nice depth to the character and her husband Cal Abar, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is one of the more fresh aspects of the show.

And then there’s that ending… So many questions. So much history playing out on the screen. Much like the comics, the story we witness is just one of a story that weaves in and out of other aspects.

While the title might be Watchmen, this show stands on its own delivering an intriguing adaptation of the source material. One that makes the viewer think and ponder right from wrong, good and evil.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Batwoman S1E3 Down Down Down

Batwoman

In the third episode of Batwoman, the city awaits for another visit from who they think is Batman; Alice continues to taunt Kate; Mary gets an unexpected new friend; as Batwoman faces a new enemy, Kate realizes she must make a decision.

The third episode of Batwoman picks things up a bit as the dance between Alice and her father and Kate continues. But the real focus is a former friend of Bruce and Kate who’s out for revenge.

That plotline is a bit mixed. It gives a distraction from the Alice storyline but the decision to act against Bruce due to “Batman’s return” feels a bit rushed and not fleshed out. We get a Riddler reference but overall it’s all a bit meh.

Ruby Rose continues to improve in her acting. While her delivery is still a bit cold, there’s at least some variant in her delivery of lines and scenes. Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox has his moments and shows off a lot of entertainment factor. He feels a bit like a few other actors and characters we’ve seen on CW shows but he brings some subtle humor to the episode. Nicole Kang still feels like the underused actor and while there’s glimpses of her Mary of being a bit more than a bratty socialite, she’s used here mostly to push Kate’s story and relationship with her ex Sophie.

Rachel Skarsten continues to be the standout of the show. There’s something about her delivery and every scene that’s entertaining. She runs circles around the others on the show and as a first season villain, she’s the highlight of the series.

Though Skarsten as Alice and the dynamic between her, Kate, and their father is interesting, the dance is a bit old. Not enough emphasis is delivered as to why Kate doesn’t just turn her in and let the truth come out that way. The show never quite makes the case as to why it’s doing what it is.

We do get a more proper Batwoman costume on this episode and it’s not a bad adaptation from the comic version. It beats what we’ve seen the last few episodes in the proto version that never quite worked and didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The episode is just ok continuing the series rather dull delivery of the material. It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is. The hour at times feels like a chore thought the last this episode and the previous less so than the debut. Batwoman underwhelms in what should be a much higher quality show and makes one wonder if the magic of The CW’s DCTV might be waning.

Overall Rating: 7.0

TV Review: Stumptown S1E4 Family Ties

Stumptown

Stumptown‘s fourth episode picks up on the third with Dex trying to protect her client and baby from an abusive and slimy real estate mogul. That also pits her against Artie Backs, her former mentor when it comes to private investigation.

The episode is a good one and interesting in that it explores a lot of the different characters.

First, there’s the main story featuring Dex and Artie. Cobie Smulders is fantastically pitted against Donal Logue. The two actors just work against each other so well and the playful competition is great. There’s a ratcheting up of actions against each other and it’s just an entertaining tête-à-tête. There’s also some depth added to Artie that while he’s scummy, there’s more than just being a stereotypical private investigator. Hopefully, we’ll get more of Logue in the series as he’s just amazing in everything he’s in.

There’s also a story having to deal with Detective Cosgrove. A prisoner escapes and we learn a connection to Cosgrove’s past but also to Grey and his friend that was murdered. The series gives the storyline a decent amount of the show’s time and in doing so again gets us away from the Dex show and being just another police detective show. Stumptown has been smart in its use of its secondary characters and teasing their history.

The episode wraps up all of the various plot threads in satisfying ways either concluding them or taking them to the next level. The episode is a key one taking the secondary characters and putting them front and center, a lot of the characters. It’s a show that really is about the full cast delivering an entertaining hour and one of the best new shows of the year.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E2 We Are the End of the World

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead takes things back in the second episode with a flashback episode that reveals the origins of Alpha and Beta. Alpha attempts to toughen up Lydia as they prepare to walk with the dead. The Whisperers also create their herds.

The second episode of The Walking Dead is interesting. You could also call it “When Alpha met Beta.” That initial meeting isn’t quite as interesting as expected but it’s what unfolds that becomes really interesting, that of Lydia.

Through various glimpses, we get a sense of the horrors the Whisperers have done to survive in this new world. Those horrors eventually cracks Lydia and we see her break down and the repercussions of that. It highlights the abusive road that some have gone down and the deep psychological scars inflicted.

While not touched upon, contrast all of this with how the children of the various towns have endured and lived.

There’s some impactful moments that as a father of a daughter just chilled me. Lydia’s struggles. Alpha’s rejection of being called mother. It creates a cold and chilling experience. Add in Alpha’s actions and what she says it’s an interesting episode.

But overall, the episode focuses on the loss of self in this new world. Names are eschewed. It’s a shedding of identity and connection and with it humanity. Again, compare this to the communities and what they’ve done, endured, and built.

But despite that, there’s still something understandable about it all. These are individuals who have chosen a different way to survive. They see the walkers as both protection and destiny. This is a new reality and with it, new rules and norms are needed. And, as presented there’s a quasi-religious aspect to it all. But, Alpha still has depth and that’s in the form of her feelings for her daughter.

The episode creates a complicated relationship between Alpha and Beta and Alpha’s outlook on the world. It’s all much more complicated than what’s expected and the episode adds depth to characters who otherwise could easily have none. The revelations toward the end, such as where some of their walker masks come from, create a group that has layers.

It’s a creepy episode that focuses on the big evil of the season giving them history that makes them both more understandable and scarier at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8.35

TV Review: Supergirl S5E2 Stranger Beside Me

Supergirl Season 5

Supergirl, Alex and Braniac thwart an alien attack while William investigates Kara; J’onn J’onzz and Kelly use Obsidian tech to solve a problem.

What does J’onn J’onzz brother want? Why can’t J’onn remember details? This second episode reveals all of that and more. It’s an episode that balances reveals and battles each with good and bad. But, again, the most interesting aspect of the show is Kara’s work life.

Much like the season’s debut, the episode feels like it lacks some of the fun of previous seasons. There’s just something that feels off-kilter as far as tone and pacing.

The search of J’onn’s brother brings the team in contact and a quick battle ensues but it all feels a bit unnecessary. The episode would have been stronger have the hidden Martian among the team. It would have created a more tense episode and kept the viewer wondering who could be trusted. Stringing that along would create a bit more tension for the series and a unique aspect.

The episode mixes in humor with a focus on relationships that run from intriguing to a bit over the top (on purpose). It adds some levity and is closer to the “happier” tone of previous seasons. Though some of those relationships are unhealthy in reality.

Still, the best aspect is Kara and her work. With a new boss and a coworker whose actions are dubious, there’s a lot there to mine. The show dances around all of it but in a world where journalism struggles an staff are dismissed at a whim, it has the most potential of the season. A small detail at the end makes it all even more interesting and puts things in a gray zone.

The series continues to build up Lena as a villain and where that’s taken could make or break the season. It’s a bit of a shame as a Luthor as a villain feels a bit been there done that but Kara/Supergirl needs a big bad that can play out over seasons and Lena can be that.

The episode continues to set things up for the season and show continued potential. There’s a lot the episode dances around and while the tone of the episode and season is a bit different, it’s still an enjoyable hour.

Overall Rating: 7.35

TV Review: Batwoman S1E2 The Rabbit Hole

Batwoman

In the second episode of Batwoman, Jacob Kane and the Crows up the stakes; Kate continues to look to Bruce Wayne’s legacy for guidance as Luke Fox inadvertently gets pulled into Batwoman’s vigilante heroics; Sophie and Kate are forced to team up.

The second episode of Batwoman is interesting if not a bit dragged out. Much like the first episode, there’s something morose about the tone of the second. It’s slow and somewhat predictable but builds on aspects of the debut and improves in many ways.

While still serious, Ruby Rose is a bit more entertaining in her acting. Things aren’t quite as flat and there’s some subtle things she does in her delivery and movements that’s intriguing. Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton, Kate’s stepsister, has a bigger role. Her character is playing an interesting aspect in the series as an exploration of the definition of family. Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox gets some acknowledgment as far as his family as well. Though it’s not dived into too much, it’s a nice touch. It plays into larger themes of the show and especially Kate’s relationship with her own father played by Dougray Scott. Rachel Skarsten‘s Alice is still the standout. The “reveal” that she’s Kate’s sister comes a bit too soon in the show and doesn’t deliver the emotional punch it should. The show does leave enough out there to create doubt of her identity.

Still, the show creates an interesting dynamic with Kate struggling with what to do with a villain who might her sister. That gets more complicated with the fact their father is also in pursuit and in denial that it’s his daughter.

Meagan Tandy‘s Sophie Moore is still the most interesting thing of the show though frustrating at the same time. Kate’s past relationship with her is present and the fact Sophie is now married to a man becomes more intriguing. The show acknowledging the bisexuality exists is nice, or there could be deeper denial at play as well with Kate being an out and confident gay woman and Sophie is still struggling. That’s the frustrating part but also potential further down the road in the show. But, as a whole, it’s nice to see the complicated reality of sexuality in real life.

There’s much improved in the second episode of Batwoman though some of the aspects such as Alice and Batwoman’s interaction is a bit predictable and frustrating. The show has touches of greatness and other moments not so much. Much like the debut, there’s potential there and it’s a show that has at least found a voice of its own, both for good and bad.

Overall Rating: 7.0

TV Review: Stumptown S1E3 Rip City Dicks

Stumptown

In hopes of becoming a certified private investigator, Dex seeks mentorship from veteran PI Artie Banks; Hoffman grows suspicious of Grey after evidence proves that he has a connection to a victim in his case.

Stumptown has been fun the first two episodes and the third gets more entertaining with the addition of actor Donal Logue as Dex’s mentor Artie.

Cobie Smulders as Dex delivers something really entertaining in her delivery. Logue goes toe to toe with her in the screw-up/sarcastic department and every scene has me wanting Logue to be a regular. There’s a great chemistry there that somehow has upped the game of the episode.

What’s great about Artie is that he pushes Dex in various ways but a specific scene that triggers Dex’s PTSD really brings it all home. There’s such depth to the character that’s teased out and part of her without it being on display at all times. Instead, scenes like this remind us Dex is more than just PI wannabe.

Grey’s storyline of his murdered friend moves along as well. It’s solid that the series has something strung out throughout the season instead of just delivering a standard weekly one and done storyline. It helps bring in other characters and give them something more to do than just being the background for Dex.

All of that is good and then things drop in the last ten minutes or so when everything comes together. That takes a really good and entertaining episode into great. There’s something so good about the twist. It all really adds to both characters in so many ways.

And that ending! I’ve got the power.

Overall Rating: 8.0

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