Category Archives: Reviews

The Walking Dead S7E10 New Best Friends Review

walking-dead-5 photoWhile searching for a missing Alexandrian, Rick and his group encounter a mysterious collective, its inhabitants unlike any they have crome across.

The Walking Dead‘ Is building up and this episode really gets the ball rolling as we find out about the mysterious group that we were introduced to at the end of last episode. Much of the episode is the politicking and maneuvering for what will be the eventual conflict to come.

The new group is interesting in that it puts together a couple of different plot threads from earlier in the season and it’s a new type of group we haven’t seen before. They’re more of a collective and not very vocal which is unsettling for a few so many reasons. To me, this new group reminded me of something we’d see in a Mad Max film, and while different, it works. They are clearly the numbers that are needed for Rick to go unilateral, but adds some realism as to how Negan will eventually be defeated.

There’s also some movement in the Kingdom as Daryl bounces around talking to folks and finds there’s some allies, though they might not see eye to eye as to exactly how to go about things. But, the biggest thing of the episode is an eventual reunion between Daryl and Carol. The two are some of the cutest things on the show and there’s a bond there that puts a smile on my face every time we see them together.

The episode is a good on in that it sets things up for what’s to come and gives us something new, but it’s not the most exciting episode. The new group is interesting, we get a new walker, we get some plot lines answered, and Daryl and Carol are brought back together. There’s a lot, but it’s not all that great.

This episode is the set up episode building what’s to come. As a bridge, it does a solid job, but on its own, it doesn’t quite stand.

Overall rating: 7.85

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TV Review: Riverdale S1E4 Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show

riverdaleJughead fights to keep the local drive-in open after hearing an anonymous buyers’ plans to tear it down; Betty finds startling information about Miss Grundy’s past; Veronica confronts her mother; Alice finds an opportunity to destroy Archie’s image.

Riverdale answers so many questions in this episode full of so many plotlines it’s impressive. And the impressive part is that even with so much going on everything feels like it has more than enough time devoted to it.

As I said, there’s a lot packed into the episode and all of it’s quality. The revelation that Miss Grundy has a secret past is not only explored, but answered, and the situation between her and Archie goes through a hell of a lot. There’s also a secret with Veronica’s mother that’s explored and answered in one episode. Things not being dragged out? Mysteries being solved! Instead of dragging things out Riverdale is impressively delivering on mysteries instead of just building on them. It feels like a novel idea when it comes to television (when it really shouldn’t be).

But, the episode isn’t just about Betty, Veronica, and Archie. There’s some great moments involving Kevin Keller and Jughead. We get more info on Kevin’s world beyond just what we’ve seen as he hangs out with Betty. That includes an interaction with his father that’s really honest in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on television before. Then there’s Jughead, a character that’s been woefully underused in the series so far. When it comes to characters this episode delivers the most as far as him as his home life situation is fleshed out with some twists I didn’t see coming until the final scenes. The series has shown it can keep us on our toes while delivering at the same time.

Riverdale is absolutely my new guilty pleasure of the tv season and it has delivered with every episode so far and is making its case as the best comic adaptation on tv.

Overall Rating: 9.65

TV Review: Powerless S1E3 Sinking Day

powerlessbigAfter the ream loses a client due to Van’s incompetence, Emily tries to clinch a deal with Atlantis; Van’s father gives him a chance to redeem himself; Teddy and Ron are convinced that new employee Alex is a superhero.

The third episode of Powerless continues to show improvement as the series finds its footing and this third episode brings the funny with a twisted humor mostly at display in the beginning.

I panned the first episode of Powerless. I hated it, really really hated it. That was to a point I almost didn’t watch the second episode. But, like the second episode this third one continues to improve and it’s clear the writers are getting a better sense of their characters and vision for the show.

The core entertainment of the show isn’t Vanessa Hudgens’ Emily Locke, it’s the trio of Danny Pudi, Christina Kirk, and Ron Funches as Teddy, Jackie, and Ron. The trio are nailing it when it comes to the comedy of the show and the writers are giving them solid material to work with. This episode displays a bite with running jokes about race and nationality and does so in a way that’s actually funny. Hudgens does show improvement too as her enthusiasm is dialed back making her character fit in a bit more with the rest of the ensemble.

The episode itself is goofy workplace comedy that mixes the company’s need to get a big client after losing Ace Chemicals (yes the company that created the Joker, with clown joke included), with the new employee who might be a superhero, and jokes about Atlantis. It all comes together and works in a non-groundbreaking but still entertaining way. The show is generally safe, though shows it might not always play it as such in the future.

The third episode improves on the second which was a massive improvement on the first. I’m hoping we see more of this as the show mixes a workplace comedy with nerd cred. While it looks like the writers are getting that down they’re also allowing its actors to begin to shine and doing that by delivering entertainment material to work with.

Overall Rating: 6.95

TV Review: Arrow S5E13 Spectre of the Gun

arrowAn attack on City Hall brings back painful memories for Rene; flashbacks reveals Rene’s transformation from family man to a hero named Wild Dog; Oliver realizes the best way to find the attacker is to do so as Mayor Queen.

Arrow goes “very special episode” with this entry that focuses on gun violence and the debate over gun registration. The topic feels about a year too late to be relevant and the actual politics of the show is muddled and summed up with “it’s a complicated issue” and “we need to do something.” About the one thing that the show does get right is the need to enlist gun supporters to figure out what an actual solution might be and make it happen.

At its core, the episode is about Rene and why he became Watch Dog. He represents the pro-gun side of the argument, but the story presented is a pretty tragic one. We learn about his wife, his kid, and his origin in many ways. It’s a pretty average origin, but as presented it adds some depth to a character that was lacking one.

Most of the other characters are in the anti-gun crowd or are used to give information about weapons and throw out stats about the increased likelihood they get shot, the police perspective, the military information, or more. It touches on “Blue Lives Matter” as well as “Black Lives Matter” without really saying much. It’s all pretty by the numbers.

And that by the numbers makes the episode both a success and a failure. It presents the difficulties of the situation. The shooters in the episode are white men. Some of the dialogue though is stilted and feels like stats just being thrown out, exactly like an Afterschool Special. The fact this episode airs today as opposed to a year or two ago is puzzling.

I went in hoping the series would take an interesting stand, but by the time it was through, it really said very little. Even issues like “Black Lives Matter,” though touched upon, isn’t given much play. There’s a lack of depth and emotion that fits such an issue.

The episode goes through the motions but in the end says very little.

Overall rating: 7.05

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E14 The Man Behind the Shield

agents-of-shield-lmdCoulson and the team engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game as they work to rescue Director Mace, who is fighting for his life.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after what feels like forever we finally get the origin of the man who is obsessed with Coulson and the head of the Watchdogs. And after all of the waiting… it’s underwhelming. It’s underwhelming to an extent that Coulson even acknowledges it with a “cool origin bro.”

The episode focuses on a couple of things, two of which are trying to find individuals. There’s Director Mace who is being held by the Watchdogs and in usual bad guy fashion is toyed with for unknown reasons. Then there’s finding May.

There’s a lot to the episode that left me scratching my head. Quake fighting the non-powered Watchdog head in hand to hand combat when she could end it in two seconds by using her powers. Then there’s her leaving him after winning. And some of the other bad guys get away eventually!?

It’s all really choppy and weird with plot points that make little sense at all.

And then there’s those last ten minutes where a twist is revealed as to why things played out the way they did… which left me with… huh!?

For those who read comics, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels like it’s taking a lot of ideas from Marvel’s Secret Invasion storyline leaving viewers to question who’s real and who’s not. It’s fun, but the episode has also gone a bit over the top with it all giving us reveals at odd times leaving out the shock of it all.

While I generally like the concept of where this season has gone, it hasn’t quite played things the way I’d like, expect, or make sense. In the end, this episode left us with one too many decoys.

Overall Score: 7.85

The Walking Dead S7E9 Rock in the Road Review

walking-dead-5 photoRick and the others are led to a new community, where they meet the residents and their ruler; a familiar face resurfaces.

The Walking Dead‘ returns after its winter break with kind of a new direction for the second half of the season. We left off with Rick and crew being reunited on Hilltop with a renewed vigor in a way.

Rick has a vision and that’s to unite the three communities to take on Negan and the Saviors, but will they go along?

The politics of the world is now in full display as each community leader is asked if they are willing to put their people at risk to take on Negan. The answers vary and the reactions differ showing off how different leaders view the threat in front of them. It’s nice to see things not go smoothly, but I think more importantly it’s nice that each answer has its own logic to it.

But, this is the beginning. For those who have read the comics, you know war is up next and the question is, will that war happen here or will we have to wait until next season? This episode gives some hints that it might be sooner than later with a pacing that’s much faster than much of the season.

Many have complained this season has plodded along and it would see the writers are addressing that somewhat. There’s some great action sequences with one in particular getting me to take notice and cheer along. But, what’s great is the series is really moving along as it sets up the showdown we all know is coming. The series is building up to an explosion and it’s one that feels like it can’t be missed.

The end of the episode really gets interesting as things can’t go smooth and a mystery builds involving Gabrielle. What’s he up to? I have no idea, but I’m intrigued as to where the story goes. Hopefully it’s not a distraction, but feeds into the greater story in an organic way.

If all of that wasn’t enough, that ending is an interesting one, one I didn’t even see coming. Who are the mysterious people? We’ll find out, but even when I thought I knew where things were going, the series zags.

The Walking Dead is back and it’s showing off it still has it.

Overall rating: 8.45

TV Review: Riverdale S1E3 Chapter Three: Body Double

riverdaleCheryl is under a cloud of suspicion when new information about Jason’s death is revealed; Archie makes a decision that strains his relationship with Miss Grundy; Betty decides to revive the school newspaper.

Riverdale goes from a guilty pleasure of a show to one with one hell of a message. The third episode of this shockingly good series gives us girl power as the girls of Riverdale band together to take on the football team who are demeaning the girls with rumors about sex. The episode takes on harassment, much earlier than I thought it would and does it in a way that doesn’t come off as an Afterschool Special.

There’s more girl power packed into this episode than some entertainment has their entire season as Veronica really steps forward defending and going on the attack to correct wrongs. But, at the same time, through this plotline the show also explores Betty’s trauma involving her sister. We get strength, vulnerability, and depth, all in the same plot. To achieve so much is impressive and a hell a hat trick.

The big picture story of the death of Jason is still a major plotline. Archie reveals his hearing a gunshot with consequences from that revelation. Who fired a gun is revealed. There’s a lot packed in the episode in an entertaining hour that’s full of mystery, intrigue, and kick-ass women.

Riverdale is absolutely my new guilty pleasure of the tv season but with episodes like these it’s becoming must watch tv.

Overall Rating: 9.65

TV Review: Powerless S1E2 Wayne Dream Team

powerlessbigThe second episode of Powerless sees a superhero power up in a good way. When Emily tries to get the members of her team excited about a new product idea, she can’t get them to break their obsession with a Fantasy Super Hero League; Van makes plans to be included in the Wayne dream-team photo.

I panned the first episode of Powerless. I hated it, really really hated it. That was to a point I almost didn’t watch the second episode. But, I’m glad I did as the second episode is a vast improvement, quickly being the most improved show I’ve watched of the season.

The superhero battles are minimized instead focusing on workplace situations we can relate to and actual jokes! The first few minutes of the show display the weird humor I was expecting and the first episode lacked.

Danny Puddi’s Teddy and Ron Funches’ Ron are allowed to connect with wonder twin superpowers and a sly twisted humor. A dialed down Vanessa Hudgens as Emily plays the straight man to their comedy chops.

After seeing the first episode, to me it feels like it was worked over and over creating a muddled mess. This second episode is much more straightforward in its humor, writing, and situation.

This is a workplace comedy now that just so happens to have superheroes, as opposed to a comedy that’s trying to show its superhero chops. There’s a difference and a big one.

With such an improvement I’m hoping we see more over the coming episodes. We see glimpses of a potentially really funny show with some awesome nerd cred. The key is whether those behind the scenes recognize that as well.

Overall Rating: 6.85

TV Review: Arrow S5E12 Bratva

arrowA mission takes Oliver, Felicity and the team to Russia, where they meet up with Anatoly, Oliver’s old friend; fresh out of rehab, Lance returns to the mayor’s office ready to get back to work.

Arrow gets further into the Russians as the enemy theme that’s going on with comic television shows in this episode that ties together the present storyline with flashbacks of the season.

At the center of the story is the General who framed Diggle who may or may not be selling a nuclear weapon to Russian bad guys. If the idea of a nuclear weapon sounds familiar, it is because it returns things to Felicity and her decision that led to the death and destruction of an entire town.

The episode is definitely a return to “street” bad guys. There’s no metas or folks to fight with special powers, this is about as basic as it comes and that’s something that was teased after last season. This one would be a bit more focused at “realistic” enemies in a way. The idea of loose nukes is still rather over the top and doesn’t quite feel like the Green Arrow to me, a character that I associate more with taking on corrupt cops and trying to help his own town. This is a step too much for me when it comes to that.

The good for the episode is that it has Felicity dealing with her decision and it also puts Diggle and Walker on a crash course ending that story in some ways. The trio gets a bit more like a trio again.

The episode also sets the team upon some further task with this one complete. The season has jumped around in focus in this way with the flashbacks really driving the big picture story unlike some previous seasons where they were used to fill in the gaps of Oliver’s past.

The episode also has the return of Lance, back from rehab and having to answer some tough questions as to where he’s been and what he did. It brings a more human touch to things and returns him to the fold, but not enough is given to the plotline to really feel like it is a plotline as opposed to a strange way to announce he needs to grow some more as a character. There’s opportunity here, but it feels like it’s just not being used.

The episode opens up some further stories. One we’ve seen before, Oliver’s identity, and a new thing dealing with Ragman. Hopefully, these are better than what we’ve seen, but this episode itself is only so-so.

Overall rating: 7.95

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4E13 BOOM

agents-of-shield-lmdAn explosive Inhuman surfaces and the team are tasked with containing it. Elsewhere: Coulson and Mack encounter Radcliffe’s inspiration for Aida.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us a bang and brand new villain who is kind of like Nitro in a way. An Inhuman that expands in gass and creates an explosion.

The episode is interesting in that it kills off at least one character and gives some more depth for Radcliffe as a character. We now know why he wanted to create the LMDs and the world that Melinda now inhabits. It’s touching in some ways.

The issue I have with the episode is it’s pretty clear as to what’s being set up for the future. The agents will be forced to choose between saving Melinda and killing this person we’re introduced to. It’s pretty obvious this is where things are going. But, again, the segment adds a lot of depth.

The bigger thing of the episode is introducing us more in the folks that are pulling the strings of the Watchdogs and Senator Nadeer. I’m not quite sure where it’s all going, and it’s at least interesting because it’s not Hydra, so something new and it feels like we’re getting a good villain for Coulson to go up against.

The real bad of the episode is too many football references. It feels like the writers know that the Super Bowl was the past weekend so they specifically had this football sub-theme running through things. It was noticeable, and a little irritating due to cheese factor.

The episode is one of the better ones this season. There’s solid action and a good new villain. It adds some depth to some characters. It also moves the bigger picture story forward. Other than some eye-rolling dialogue, it’s actually one of the more solid episodes this season.

Overall Score: 7.85

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