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TV Review: Sweet Tooth S1E2 Sorry About All the Dead People

Sweet Tooth Sorry About All the Dead People

The second episode of Sweet Tooth, “Sorry About All the Dead People“, focuses on Aimee, played by Dania Ramirez. It’s an interesting opening as it not only introduces a new character but gives us the world from another perspective. Much like the first episode, there’s a sadness and something magical about it all.

Aimee’s story, begins here.

Gus and Tommy’s adventure begins hitting some bumps and forcing them to find help introducing three new individuals who have been hiding out from the pandemic.

Yes, pandemic.

There’s something unerving and weird watching Sweet Tooth as we continue to experience one ourselves. Characters wear masks much like so many of us have done over the year. It’s a weird experience and in some ways Sweet Tooth feels like the first major film and show to feel like a response to our current life. Sweet Tooth was actually written in 2009.

The episode’s an interesting one as we see Gus interact with a kid his own age. It’s an interaction that feels like something so many of us will be experiencing over the next year as we reintegrate into society. The entire segment is one of fun and joy, a glimpse of hope in a world devestated.

The episode also adds a lot to the world and series. We get hints as to the villains that’ll be faced. And we get some depth to the characters as well. It’s just a fantastic follow-up full of action and emotion. “Sorry About All the Dead People” is a damn near-perfect second episode. It continues the emotional journey and adventure while expanding the world and danger.

Overall Rating: 10

TV Review: Sweet Tooth S1E1 Out of the Deep Woods

Sweet Tooth Out of the Deep Woods

Adapting the beloved and praised comic series from Jeff Lemire (along with letterer Pat Brosseau and colorist Jose Villarrubia), Sweet Tooth‘s debut, “Out of the Deep Woods“, takes us to a magical world and the beginning of a magical journey.

The world has been devestated by an unknown illness. In the destruction, a new race is being born, one that’s half human and half animal. These hybrids face hatred and racism from the survivors who blame them for what has happened.

Sweet Tooth tells the story of Gus, a half human and half deer. Gus is hidden away by his father, played by Will Forte, in an attempt to protect him from the chaos. After his father dies, Gus is forced to step into an unknown and dangerous world.

Played by Christian Convery in a star-making role, Gus has the bright-eyed wonder that makes interacting with kids so enjoyable. Convery delivers a performance that’ll have viewers going through a series of emotions in the debut. There’s a sweet innocence that feels natural and honest. It’s a believable delivery that’ll have you wanting to protect Gus from the dangers he faces.

The series knows at its core is heart. The interaction between Will Forte (as Gus’ father) and Convery is sweet. Forte’s delivery of a paranoid father attempting to protect his son shows a depth not often seen in his comedic offerings. It’s a father and son interaction that is both protective and somewhat scary as Gus’ father spirals in his fear.

Convery stands out but maybe more so is Nonso Anozie as Tommy Jepperd, his unexpected protector. Anozie delivers a tough but vulnerable character. He’s torn about his own survival and is the tough guy with the heart of gold. He could easily hurt Gus, aka Sweet Tooth, and help himself, but he has limits as he states. It’s a performance that will have viewers feeling for Jepperd’s clear sadness and wanting him as their protector and guide.

Sweet Tooth‘s debut is one that’ll have you returning to your childhood roots. “Out of the Deep Woods” feels like the heir to Jim Henson’s films and shows of the 1980s. There’s an adult nature to a story that so far is accessable for younger viewers. It’s a story of exploration and finding more about oneself. It’s a hell of a start and maybe one of the best comic adaptations ever.

Gus’ story, begins here.

Overall Rating: 10

Review/Recap: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow S6E1 – “Ground Control to Sara Lance”

The Recap: Last season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow ended with the Legends defeating the Fates, this season picks up with Sara MIA after a night of celebrating their victory. Long story short, Sara was kidnapped by Aliens who release her somewhere in the timeline after her attempts at escaping them is unsuccessful, the rest of the team uses their individual skills in small teams to find her and there’s an unexpected but, familiar bad guy behind Sara’s disappearance.

The Sweetest Thing: It is totally mushy but, adorable that Ava finds out about Sara deciding to finally propose to her thanks to a super 8 film from David Bowie. But, that’s not the only level-up relationship status going on aboard the Waverider, turns out Constantine and altered timeline Zari are getting all cozy and lovey-dovey and it’s about time.

Finding Sara: The team enlists the help of a former alien abducted named “Spooner” to aid in their current quest after she traps two team members and refuses to believe the team is not Alien in origin. There was a lot of wiggle room in her introduction and we find out that she’s quite savvy in a lot of ways that could come in handy with future missions leaving the door open for a possible new team member.

The Big Reveal: One of the coolest things about this episode is that we discover that the dear sweet, bunny rescuing, Gary is in fact an alien. He was sent to earth to capture Sara. But, finding out that one of the oddest, most fanboyish members of the Legends and Sorcerer’s apprentice Gary is an alien isn’t all that shocking, the biggest reveal of the episode is that Gary is/was engaged to the alien who wanted to collect Sara. Gary has a fiancé and a whole life outside of the team and I need to know more.

That’s So Ava: Ava has a whole check less and index of ways to find Sara. Her Type A neurosis is adorable in it’s completely organized way and her focus on the problem at hand as if it was another mission is completely in character for her.

Overall: There was a long wait to get back to one of my favorite shows on The CW and while the tone is different, the execution is still top-notch. Things have always been dark and deep with a perfect touch of camp thrown in and this episode keeps the traction and tradition going. It is well written, beautifully shot, expertly directed and the acting is superb. The team serves the writing and does the script justice in a way that makes even the most absurd storylines and phrases believable and interesting. The new baddies, Aliens, seem to make sense and don’t come off as far-fetched in the context of the show because the talented cast and showrunners sell the hell out of the current scenario. I thought this episode was a top-notch intro into the world of The Legends and the way that things played out to set up the rest of season six has me super hyped to see what comes next. The episode was a nice intro into the world they live in and the show itself, so even if this was a viewer’s first episode ever, you could still hop on board and be ready and interested in taking a ride on the Waverunner to see what the merry band of outcasts has come their way next. The writers are still amazing at creating characters that you can empathize and connect with and they tell a story that invites you into the world of The Legends in a way that makes you cheer for and feel for them.

Overall Rating: 8.7

TV Review: Jupiter’s Legacy S1E5 What’s the Use?

Jupiter's Legacy "What's the Use?"

What’s the Use?” feels like it’s getting Jupiter’s Legacy back on track in some ways. The episode circles back to the death of the fake Blackstar. You know, the rather important plot point from the first episode that’s been ignored up to this point. That includes Brandon who has been awol for the most part up to this point.

In the past, Sheldon is doing what he can do to gather the individuals he needs from his vision. It features some ok sequences and moments though overall the plotline feels very dragged out. There are some interesting moments where individuals question Sheldon’s sanity or outright don’t trust him. Who is chosen and what the pitch is all make for some interesting viewing but overall it could have been sped up and condensed.

As a whole, the series is dragging out the origin of the heroes. I can see what they’re doing, timing their gaining their powers with the end of the season, delivering a dual narrative. But, its a mystery that’s interesting and has some impact on the present. Getting to that point and then showing its impact would make for a more compelling season and also have the two narratives play in together with their themes.

In the present we finally get Blackstar’s death back in focus. The mystery deepens as hints as to who behind the attack is hinted at. There’s also Utopian wanting to speak to Skyfox and needing Hutch to do that. There’s also Chloe and her romance. It’s all the various threads dancing around each other and works in some ways but also feels a bit too tied together in ways as well. Not everyone has to be connected with each other and not every plot has to tie into each other. There’s a point it becomes too silly.

“What’s the Use?” isn’t a bad episode but it also creates a world that’s a bit too small in some ways. Characters have relationships that feel a bit random and other directions would be far better ways to handle things. Still, the series feels like it’s bringing things together and getting to the point.

Overall Rating: 7.5

TV Review: Jupiter’s Legacy S1E4 All the Devils Are Here

Jupiter's Legacy "All The Devils Are Here"

All The Devils Are Here” keeps it simple in the episode exploring Chloe’s world as well as Sheldon’s pursuit. Jupiter’s Legacy delivers a stronger episode with a character out of control and one that feels like he’s losing it.

“All The Devils Are Here” keeps things focused on these two storylines delivering one of the stronger episodes. It does some solid work tying in Chloe’s story with some other things. But, the main point is we get a better sense of her. She’s plagued by the shadow of her father. She also is ostracized by some for not being a part of the other superheroes. We also get a sense she’s struggling because she thinks her social life exists because of who she is and what powers she has. We understand her better.

Sheldon, back in the past, is on a mission to figure out his visions. That takes him on a journey where he discovers a little more about what he’s being driven to do. It’s a little deus ex machina and a series of events than discoveries but it moves things along nice.

Josh Duhamel stands out for his confusion attempting to piece everything together. Elena Kampouris as Chloe also stands out as she spirals.

“All The Devils Are Here” is another example that when the show keeps things simple and focused, there’s something there. When it attempts to deliver action filled superhero battles, the series stumbles. The characters, and their clashing, is where things are interesting. Here’s hoping the series figures that out.

Overall Rating: 7.5

TV Review: Jupiter’s Legacy S1E3 Painting the Clouds With Sunshine

Jupiter's Legacy "The Clouds With Sunshine"

Jupiter’s Legacy‘s third episode, “The Clouds With Sunshine“, is an intriguing one making a bit of a detour from the first two. The episode begins to focus on delivering some more solid villains and a larger meta-story and does so in a mix of ways.

A large chunk of the episode focuses on Sheldon’s breakdown and getting the “origin” of the heroes rolling. We’re introduced to George Hutchence, a wealthy friend who’s a bad take on Ozymandias from Watchmen. Matt Lanter plays the character with a playboy arrogance, part Bruce Wayne and part douche. Sheldon is getting messages from beyond the grave of a mission he must take to a mysterious island while George begins to put together some of what Sheldon claims he’s seeing.

It’s a slow origin and playing out the basics of the series. As a plotline it feels dragged out and plodding, a bit of a clash with the more modern time and sequences. With it and the more modern times, we have dual stories in what feels like dual series.

In modern times, we meet Hutch. Part of a crew, they’re on a mission to steal something for a powered individual. While Hutch himself doesn’t have powers, he does have a device that allows him to teleport. It’s maybe the one cool special effect on the show and looks the least cheesy.

Once again, it’s the special fx where the episode starts to fall apart. A battle between Chloe and our new villains has a look that feels like a cheap 90s superhero show on The CW. There’s a silliness to it all in both execution and the look. The series stumbles when it goes down that path creating a distraction from its more intriguing aspects.

One of those intriguing aspects is that theft and Hutch and what’s hinted at towards the end. The series continues to do best when it keeps things simple. Unfortunately it hasn’t found its balance between its super and grounded aspects. “The Clouds With Sunshine” is an ok episode, better than the debut, but it still has its eye-rolling moments.

Overall Rating: 7.5

TV Review: Jupiter’s Legacy S1E2 Paper and Stone

Jupiter's Legacy

With the death of the fake Blackstar, Utopian and the heroes are in the focus. The public’s support of Brandon’s action throws Utopian into a difficult spot to decide what to do. In the past, we learn more about the stock market crash and its impact on the Sampson’s delivering a deeper picture as to who Sheldon Sampson is as a person. “Paper and Stone” pulls things back for Jupiter’s Legacy focusing on the characters. It’s also a strong episode than the debut.

Bouncing between Sheldon’s past and present we learn more about the man, with both focused on his dealing with death and loss. It’s juxtaposed in a way with Brandon and his reaction to the death of his friends. It’s an interesting comparison and follow up from the debut’s focus on Brandon’s attempt to step in his father’s superhero shoes. In a way, Brandon surpasses his father delivering a speech that’s heartfelt and touching. It shows he really cares and feels responsible for his actions and inactions. You can feel the weight on his shoulders.

“Paper and Stone” is an interesting episode. We get to see Brandon and Sheldon and how they both feel responsibility for the actions of others. Sheldon in the past for the action of his father. Brandon for the death of his fellow heroes. The episode also continues to draw the line between Sheldon’s beliefs in not killing and Brandon crossing that line. The times are changing in both periods and everyone must deal with that.

The episode also kicks off the Indiana Jones like origin of its original heroes. Like the superhero moments of the present day, it’s a bit cheesy. But, it sets things up and gets that plot rolling.

“Paper and Stone” is a much better episode than the debut. It steps away from the tights and debates the morality of everything that has happened and what it means to be a hero. That’s where the comic was strongest (from what I remember) and it seems the show is too. It moves away from bad special-fx allow its actors to shine. Here’s hoping for more of that to come.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Jupiter’s Legacy S1E1 By Dawn’s Early Light

Jupiter's Legacy

The highly anticipated Netflix and Millarworld series Jupiter’s Legacy has arrived and the result is a bit of a mixed bag. The debut, “Dawn’s Early Light”, sets things up nicely but also delivers the cheese with special effects and action that feels a bit outdated and stale.

Bouncing between two eras, Jupiter’s Legacy tells the tale of the world’s superheroes through multiple generations. As the title hints, it’s about legacy, both that of the original heroes and their children. Based on the comic series from Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, the television series feels like it does a decent job of adapting the original material. It’s been a while since I read the comic but the show hits the themes I remember. It’s a show about old vs. new, legacy vs. modern times.

Josh Duhamel is the center of the show as Sheldon Sampson aka The Utopian. Having grown up in the early 1900s he’s a man out of time in a way. He holds traditional ideals, likes simpler things, and holds altruistic views. He has that “hero” sense that we think of in the simplest ways. And that makes things complicated for him. He attempts to hold those ideals and impart them to the next generation of heroes including his son Brandon, aka Paragon, and daughter Chloe.

Brandon, played by Andrew Horton, is a son who is in the shadow of his father. He’s focused on his legacy of stepping into his father’s boots and become the ideal that others look up to. Chloe, played by Elena Kampouris, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with it all, preferring to model.

The conflict and the root of the show is good. It sets things up well introducing us to the key players and the conflict to come. Where it stumbles are special effects that look a bit cheesy. Fights are against clear green screen with a weird transition from sets to clear soundstage. The movements of characters feel stiff and unnatural. The at times gruesome results looks like bad makeup and dummies. The costumes at times make the actors feel stiff like they’re literally restricted by their outfits. For as good as things are elsewhere, the superhero aspects fall short.

Duhamel steals the show in the debut. He plays a man out of time well and as the center of a dysfunctional family struggling with how to raise his children, he does well. This is a moment for him to really show we’ve missed out as him as a hero. And he pulls it off. “Dawn’s Early Light” overall though, feels like it still needs polish and to shift its focus from its clear weaknesses.

Overall Rating: 7.0

TV Review: Kung Fu S1E1 Pilot

Kung Fu The CW

Kung Fu “Pilot”

Director: Hanelle M. Culpepper
Writers: Christina M. Kim
Starring: Olivia Liang, Tzi Ma, Valencia Budijanto, Yvonne Chapman, Vincent Chang, Kheng Hua Tan, Tony Chung, Shannon Dang, Vanessa Kai, Sunghee Lapell, Link Baker, Eddie Liu, Rebecca Olson, Debbie Podowski, Nitin Prasad, Jon Prasida, Gavin Stenhouse

Summary

A quarter-life crisis causes a young Chinese-American woman, Nicky Chen, to drop out of college. She goes on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China. When she returns, she finds her hometown overrun with crime and corruption. Nicky uses her martial arts skills and Shaolin values to protect her community and bring criminals to justice. All the while she searches for the assassin who killed her Shaolin mentor and is now targeting her.

Positives

Kung Fu “Pilotintroduces us to a very likable protagonist, Nicky. The development that is present concerning the complexity of the character, proves Christina M. Kim’s storytelling abilities are superior to most. Within the first episode, she gets sent to China so that she can meet a husband. It gives us a new angle on the arranged marriage trope that only endears to her from the get-go. It adds layers to what some may view as an anachronistic cultural pillar.

The character of Pei-ling, played by the immensely talented Vanessa Kai, makes me wonder why she has not more juicy roles like this. The role showcases her talents. The show has two of my favorite actors. Tzi Ma, who coincidentally played Mulan’s father in the live-action remake, and Kheng Hua Tan, who played Constance Wu’s mother, in Crazy Rich Asians. Both of these actors are not only prolific but have long-deserved roles like these which have shown their range.

The family dynamics within the show have a unique voice. The main character’s relationship with her parents and her siblings is where the show really shines. The mythology that is introduced is probably the other thing I most liked about this show. It certainly makes the original show feel pedestrian. The sensitivity and research devoted to the world-building, makes this show already stand heads and shoulders above the rest of the shows at the CW. This show has so many people in the cast that are Asian. Much like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, it acknowledges the fact but doesn’t dwell on it. It envelops the audience into what eventually is a well-told story.

Negatives

Kung Fu is what the world needs now. The only things I can really gripe about is some of the story choices. The first being that her love interest is not really interesting, but only time will tell if he is fully rounded as a character. The second is the similarities to the story of Mulan, which I understand is a zeitgeist touchpoint for most viewers, but this story is gripping enough without evoking it.

Verdict

Kung Fu “Pilotis an excellent introductory episode that only shares a name with the original show.  This is a relevant show which infuses family dynamics and martial arts, something I have been missing since Into The Badlands.

TV Review: Snowpiercer S2E10 Into the White

Snowpiecer Season 2 "Into the White"

Snowpiercer delivers a tense second season finale with “Into the White“. With a season that has been filled with back-and-forth battles, this is an episode that will keep viewers guessing what will happen next.

Wilford has taken control of both trains but there’s a new revolution brewing. Layton and Ruth have received the message from Javier and with the help of Alex decide now’s the time to try to take back their train and rescue Melanie.

The plan is an interesting one. It shows that Layton is thinking beyond just taking back the train. They might be able to do that, waging another war for control and whoever is left standing wins. Instead, Layton is taking a psychological route. By rescuing Melanie, Layton’s forces put a dent into Wilford’s claims and create some hope on the train diminishing the need for his absolute control.

The episode also emphasizes what Layton has done. He’s brought together so many different aspects and groups of Snowpiercer. This is in contrast to Wilford who still rules as a one-man dictator. There is no dissent in his world, all he understands is brutal power and violence.

There’s an intelligence to the way Layton and his coalition goes about things in the episode. Wilford is a blunt intrument to Layton’s dance. There’s also a nice focus on the excess of Wilford and he truly is the “haves” versus the rest of the train and their have nots.

But what’s interesting is where the season ends.

Even with its down moment, “Into the White” delivers some hope. The episode doesn’t end the way that I expected and instead leaves so many questions as to where things might go to battle Wilford. The next steps are a difficult one and the next season should be a hell of a battle. We’ve seen how well Wilford adapts to what’s thrown at him but we’ve also seen how much Layton and his side stick to their beliefs.

“Into the White” delivers a tense hour of television. It’s an excellent finale for the season that captures what it’s been about. It also delivers so many moments that you have no idea what will happen next. Snowpiercer ends its second season on a high note. The third can’t come soon enough.

Overall Rating: 10

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