Category Archives: Television

TV Review: Stargirl E113 Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two

Stargirl

The first season of Stargirl wraps up in “Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E.” part two that has the Justice Society taking on the Injustice Society in hopes of thwarting their plan. The opening of the episode is pretty solid with some nice sci-fi aspects as the plan is put into motion and we see its impact on the people around town. We also get some fun teasers for comic fans in the form of movie posters around the theater.

From there, the episode shifts into battle mode. It’s a knock out drag out fight that has the two teams battle. And it’s a hell of a battle with some solid action and the reveal of Solomon Grundy. There’s also some shocking twists that keeps viewers on their toes. There’s some truly unexpected moments which is impressive for a show like this.

And surprises, there’s a lot of them. There’s surprises including who lives and who dies and who does the killing. There’s some moral debate in the episode which makes certain moments quite shocking.

But the episode’s most interesting aspect is how it makes the villains somewhat sympathetic. Grundy is treated more like an animal unleashed. Icicle’s motives make sense and he there’s a case to be made about his actions and reasoning.

But what’s fascinating about the episode is… the body count of the series. Bad guys. Students. The series has quite a number of dead. But there’s always an explanation. And the finale kind of winks and nods at the silliness of such a major event just being explained away by the rest of the country.

It’s a cute finale with a final five minutes that’ll put a smile on your face in a Disney-ish sort of way. The finale also sets up a very intriguing second season.

And that kicker!

Stargirl’s first season finale is exactly what one would expect. It’s full of sacharine moments and a sweet innocence that has filled up and been a hallmark of the series. It’s one that, despite the body count, is full of positive energy and a demeanor that makes it a live action superhero series that can be enjoy by the whole family.

We’re already counting down for the second season of Stargirl and hopefully, it delivers the positive entertaining hour the first season pumped out with every episode. A fantastic finale for a hell of a debut season. A crown jewel in DC’s live-action offerings.

Overall Rating: 8.5

The Boys Season 2 Gets a Trailer

In a more intense, more desperate Season 2 of The Boys, Butcher, Hughie, and the team reel from their losses in Season 1. On the run from the law, they struggle to fight back against the Superheroes. As Vought, the company that manages the heroes, cashes in on the panic over the threat of Supervillains, and a new hero, Stormfront, shakes up the company and challenges an already unstable Homelander.

You can watch the first and upcoming second season Amazon Prime.

TV Review: Stargirl E112 Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One

Stargirl

Stargirl‘s first season begins to wrap up in the first of a two-part season finale. The Injustice Society is on the trail of Courtney, Pat and the team regroup to figure out their next steps. Meanwhile, Rick makes a breakthrough, and the team prepares for a showdown with the ISA.

The episode opens up with a bit more as to the plan of the ISA. It not only involves taking over the mind of a large chunk of the country but also build a country of their own. The picture is much clearer as the plan had been mentioned a lot but never what the real goal was. We knew the ISA wanted to make these folks see their views but for what purpose? It makes much more sense now until later in the episode.

The episode has the family scrambling as to what to do about the ISA hunting them and sort of addresses the fact that Pat’s son Mike doesn’t know what’s going on.

But, the action picks up quickly as Sportsmaster and Tigress are on the hunt to take out Pat, Courtney, and the family. It’s interesting and a bit mixed as far as a story goes. There’s some solid humor between Pat and Sportsmaster but why send only one villain to take them on? There’s a whole ISA to choose from and they don’t commit the resources they have. It’s a little frustrating but we get to see when the backup ISA is called in to help Tigress and Sportsmaster. Maybe that’s why they seem to go solo so often?

But, what the sequence really does is give a chance for Barbara to see Courtney in action and Mike to find out the truth about his father. It’s a nice natural way for both things to happen and gives that “wow” discovery aspect to both. It reminds us the viewer as to how special and awesome they are.

But all of that really is to get to that predictable moment of the story when both sides rally their sides and prepare for a final battle.

But, what’s really interesting is the last 5 or so minutes when exactly what the ISA wants to do with their nation is revealed. And… it might be good? Renewable energy. Universal healthcare. Eliminating racism and discrimination. But, there’s a catch, of course, there’s going to be a lot of dead bodies lying in the wake of the plan. It’s an interesting twist as to what the evil folks want and makes them not totally bad? The ISA wants to create paradise it sounds like but doing so in a beyond evil way.

Will they succeed? We’ll have to find out as Stargirl has just one more episode to go before the first season wraps up!

Overall Rating: 8.15

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E10 “The End of Something”

Umbrella Academy Season 2

The good news is the Academy averted the apocalypse, the bad news is they’re now tagged as terrorists (except for Five who the government thinks is being held as a hostage). Elliot’s loft is no longer a safe place since the Commission is clearly on the hunt for them and can find them anywhere and at any time. And, they still can’t stop arguing with each other from their individual insecurities long enough to figure something out we’re in for another bumpy ride with our favorite ragtag group of supernatural siblings.

The Vanya Connection: When calling to check in on Sissy, Vanya realizes her connection to Harlan and heads back to the farm to help her. After finally accepting her place in the family she asks her siblings for help and after some initial resistance, they all come along to help her save the kid.

Time Isn’t on Their Side: While Vanya is trying to save Harlan, the Handler and Lila show up to bring Five in for killing the board and she came with all of the available agents the Commission had on hand, so basically an army.

Say What? Remember last season when we were trying to find out what happened to the other kids? Well, it looks like the Handler found one and she’s basically Rogue. Also, Diego can control metal? That’s infinitely cooler than being able to hold his breath underwater for a long time. Vanya finally has control of her powers and Klaus can raise an army of the dead.  And, let’s not even talk about the WTF ending!

Side Note: Is it just me or does anyone else wonder why the Commission keeps coming for Five? He’s like a walking, talking, ass-kicking DMX lyric. Why do they keep coming for his level of smoke?

Final Thoughts: Because of the time period this season dealt with some pretty serious things and they did it in a brilliant and beautiful way. They had a realistic 1960s lesbian love story, tackled segregation, AND managed to have an ASD kid who didn’t get “cured” and have that be the ideal end result. All of these different types of people and different issues and they dealt with them respectfully and with integrity. Season One was amazing but, Season Two showed us something even better. The creative time kicked some serious ass, between the color palates and the beautiful shots,  the amazing acting and killer scripts, Season Two was an off the chain ride that is binge-worthy AF. This season dives deeper into the Academy member’s lives and origins leaving us to want to keep following their stories and lives.  Season Three has got some pretty big shoes to fill and some pretty big questions like do Vanya and Sissy ever meet up again? Does Dave go off to war and if he does, does he remember what Klaus told him and make it back alive? Does Ray become a civil rights icon? What’s up with Herb? Where in the (timeline) world is Lila Super Powered?  What’s the deal with the Sparrows? Is Five ever going to grow up?

The Comic Arts Workshop Goes Virtual

Instructor Ramon Gil
Instructor Ramon Gil

On March 3, The Comic Arts Workshop held it’s last live event in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. That night’s featured guest speaker was Valiant editor Lysa Hawkins. Since then the workshop has hosted David Saylor from Scholastic, Heidi MacDonald from the Beat, Alison Wilgus from Graphic Novel TK, and Jaydee Rosario from Unstoppable Comics. All on Zoom. That’s 4 months worth of events forced online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Though the reasons might be dark, the shift to virtual events has allowed The Comic Arts Workshop to get attendees from around the world since they no longer have to be held in person. This sudden move to virtual has also given the workshop the impetus and opportunity to beef up the format and content.

It has pivoted beyond moving to virtual events.

The Comic Arts Workshop now offers curated content, mini-coaching sessions, virtual bullpen sessions, an online community, and weekly lessons for folks who want to become confident and prolific comic and graphic novel creators.

Quarantining has been a boon to many businesses with online content delivery models. Netflix, TikTok, Udemy and Facebook are seeing tremendous surges in their user engagement. Ironically, now is a great time to have a web-based business.

The workshop can be found at http://www.comicartsworkshop.com. Enrollment for Fall 2020 closes on August 7.

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E9 “743″

Diego, Klaus, and Allison walk into the FBI. There isn’t a joke in there it’s how this episode of Umbrella Academy starts, right where we left off, trying to save Vanya from the FBI because their torture has caused her to go full White Violin. Diego and Allison can’t get through so it’s up to Klaus, we’ll actually it’s up to Ben because he’s the only one who can get close enough to turn off the rage in Vanya’s head.

On the Fives: Old Man Five doesn’t trust Teenage Five and they both seem to have a case of Paradox Psychosis so, neither one trusts the other one and they both want to kill each other. Poor Luther is stuck playing babysitter because he thinks that Old Man Five has a better plan.

UMBRELLA ACADEMY S2E9 “743"

Best Line(s) : “I will beat you…and NOT the way you like it.” – Diego to Klaus on the Vanya rescue mission

“You fought in Vietnam.  You survived a family of seven. You went to a fraternity party in a sarong and came home with a bunch of numbers. You can do this!” – Klaus to himself in the world’s greatest pep talk.

Episode MVP: Ben. Save the Vanya and save the world. Ben has spent most of the season being the voice of reason to Klaus and whether or not they know it, he has solid advice for his other siblings as well. His longing to reconnect with them and with life itself is emotional to watch on its own but, the lengths that he goes to in order to save his siblings with no regard for his existence in one of the more emotional scenes this season is beautiful AF and, earns him this episodes MVP status.

Double Trouble: I’ve been feeling all kinds of sorry for Luther this season but, it’s actually kind of fun to watch him have to ping pong between being the caretaker of the older version and the younger version of Number Five. The two of them trade barbs with each other and make all kinds of digs at Luther for his appearance and his intellect but, with the Paradox Paranoia setting in on both of them it’s kind of funny to watch it all play out. Watching the two Fives try and off each other adds a  whole three stooges level hilarity to the situation giving much-needed levity to an otherwise heavy episode.

Side Stories: Carl is mediocre cis toxic white male little d*** masculinity at its finest so, watching Sissy stand up to him,  take her son back and go off to live her best life was nice to see. The fact that he didn’t care that she wasn’t happy because since he did the bare minimum and felt that she should be happy with that. It was a real-life glimpse into how lesbians and women were treated in the time and it was well done and clever AF.

There’s also the matter of Lila finding out that Five was the trigger man on her parent’s murder and why she was an orphan and there may be more to her story than we know. But, now we’ve got to worry about Five because he doesn’t know she’s coming.

But, Why Tho: Watching the Handler snatch AJ out of his fishbowl and swallow (yeah, I said SWALLOW) the fishy chairman of the Commission’s board in one gulp, with a painful swallow after her meeting with Lila was gross AF but, on-brand for her character and the show.

The Final Countdown: Diego still wants to save Kennedy now that Vanya is no longer a bomb that starts the apocalypse. The season could have ended right here but, adding one more episode after Daddy Hargreeves “Told you so…” note to Diego as he tackled a decoy version of him on the grassy knoll, that whole secret Cabal murder meet cute and reveal and, the Handler’s call to war at the commission, I’ve got questions!

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E8 “The Seven Stages”

Diego gets kidnapped by Lila and misses the jump, she also makes him an offer to join the commission. Klaus shows up just in time to help Ray and Allison bury a body. Luther and Five are pissed the other siblings going MIA made them miss the jump. Vanya is being held by the FBI because she has a Russian name, speaks Russian, and seems to have some special power. Daddy Hargreeves comes across Grace finding out that he’s not who he appears to be and, all of this goes down in the first five minutes and those are the least intense moments of “The Seven Stages.

Mission Statement: While Diego slips into his role at the commission, Luther and Five head out to meet Old Number Five and convince him to give up his briefcase so that they can return home since he doesn’t need it because he can jump forward by himself.

UMBRELLA ACADEMY S2E8 “THE SEVEN STAGES”

Poor Vanya: Vanya is being tortured by the FBI and Diego learns that once again Vanya is the bomb that goes off. Kennedy lives but, the country goes to war with Russia.

Go, Diego, Go: Knowing that Vanya is the cause of the apocalypse again he used Commission agent Herb and a rogue briefcase to get Klaus and Allison to go stop Vanya. Because he went to those two instead of Luther and Five, I believe that he’s going to try and help her this time instead of killing her, which makes me happy because that poor girl has been through enough.

Episode MVP: Diego. Someone is finally making a good call and the usually hot-headed, guns ablaze, ask questions later Diego is taking his time and trying to do the right thing by his sister. The character finally has the nuances that his siblings have had the opportunity to take advantage of for almost two whole seasons. This is the episode where Diego gets his layers and it’s wonderful and exhilarating to watch.

Recap/Review: Umbrella Academy S2E7 “Olga for Oga”

At the end of the last episode of Umbrella Academy, Vanya had a heart to heart with Sissy and they decide to run but, Carl catches on, Daddy Hargreeves gives Five a theory as to how they can fix things right before he takes the Handler up on her offer to take out the board in exchange for her helping him get his family home and the remaining Swedes descend upon Elliot’s loft and torture him to death to find Diego. This time around Five goes toe to toe on an assassination mission to give the Handler full control, which we are sure is going to end up in a spectacular double-cross, Ben works on possessing Klaus and Vanya doesn’t want to leave without Harlan and Sissy.

That Fight Scene Though: Watching Five do a hatchet job and run through the board members while occasionally stopping to take drink is entertaining AF but, not as entertaining as watching the secretary try and come for him before he gets rid of the head of the board. It was quit, it was efficient and it reminded us what a little bad ass Five really is.

UMBRELLA ACADEMY S2E7 “OLGA FOR OGA”

Brotherly Love: Watching Klaus try to stay awake so Ben can’t ghost jack his body is hilarious but, watching them argue is even more awesome. I loved the sweetness of the, lamenting over Dave and Jill, their respective unrequited loves, and when Klaus finally agrees to let Ben use his body to talk to Jill because he knows how it feels to have someone you are in love with and not be able to talk to them. It seems like Klaus is getting some clarity and empathy and Ben is finally going to get some connection.

The Devil’s In the Details: Well, the OG Handler kept her bargain with Five, after he killed the whole Commission Board, she gave him a time suitcase to get his family out of Dallas and 1963 BUT, the suitcase is only active for 90 minutes and he’s got to get all of his siblings together even though they all have their own agendas and are scattered through the city. What could possibly go wrong?

Episode MVP: Emmy Raver-Lampman‘s portrayal of Allison is pure fire. Because of Klaus’s eccentricity, Ben’s levelheadedness, Diego’s temper, Luther’s smugness and, Vanya’s brokenness Allison gets overlooked. Every episode she brings pure fire, compassion, and badassery but, it gets lost in the pure awesomeness of all of the other characters. This episode gave Allison a time to shine and shine she did. Her trying to keep a hold of something real or fighting the Swedes she was all fire all episode and as far as Emmy’s performance goes in making us feel connected and believing everything she was going through? Her name says everything I feel about her portrayal of Allison.

Oga for Oga: It’s Swedish for an eye for an eye and it’s an appropriate title for all of the carnage that the Academy and their Nemesis cause. Watching all of the time tricks and timeline changes go through, this show is the Butterfly Effect of Crank and there is always going to be a thing that causes the wings to just snap off. I liked all of the tender moments, doubts, fears, and feelings that come to a get pulled out on to the rug just to watch that same rug pulled from under us. The creative team is amazing at sucking us in and managing to keep the momentum going as the episodes progress, not just because we are in love with the characters but because they’ve created a world that feels so real we’re invested in how things turn out. We’re heading towards the final 3 episodes and I’m wondering how this is going to all wrap-up but, I’m also glued to the TV waiting to enjoy every last twist and turn that awaits me.

Review/Recap: Umbrella Academy S2E6 “A Light Supper”

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 6

In episode six we see Allison land in the alley. She still can’t speak and she’s in a time where it wasn’t “good” to be a black person especially a woman. After seeing the “Whites only” sign she runs off disoriented and runs into a group of white men who hit on her, she attacks and ends up running from them, straight into a Black-owned salon. She still can’t talk but, she has a job and that’s where she meets Ray.

Team Zero: Diego and Luther fill Vanya in on the invite from dad and try as they try to figure out if it’s a trap. Ben confesses to Klaus in a roundabout way why he was itching to get back to San Francisco and they argue about how to best tell the cult what’s going on and he decides on telling them that he is a fraud but, it doesn’t go quite how he expects it to go. Allison gives Ray the rundown on her past and the future and he has lots of questions, starting with Barack Obama and the fact that there was a black man in the White House and be really wants her to prove it.

Dinner With Daddy: After all of the siblings receive the mysterious invitation from Daddy Hargreeves they find themselves accepting individually and showing up to meet him at the same time. The team reverts to their old roles in their dad’s presence and he is really mad that they keep calling him Dad because he doesn’t like kids.

Craziest Scene: Allison goes full revenge mode when she rumors the counter guy at the diner who threw hot coffee on her lap during the sit-in and called the cops, to keep pouring coffee while he burns his hand, scaring her husband and maybe giving him a better idea as to why she doesn’t use her power all the time and makes him question if she ever used it on him.

The Vibe: I know I’ve said this before but, I really enjoy watching Klaus and Ben’s interactions, it’s like he has a real-life conscience that can and will kick his ass. I also like watching Dave and Klaus reconnect when he shows up at the commune and they have a talk where Klaus tells him all the secrets he knows about him and tries again to talk him out of joining the army by showing him his dog tags, which Klaus has carried with him since his return to 2019. He finds out that him trying to stop him at the diner makes Dave sign up sooner and the heartbreak in Klaus’s eyes makes the scene cause full-on waterworks. If you thought that the last season of Umbrella Academy was trying to break your heart, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Recap/ Review: Umbrella Academy S2E5 “Valhalla”

Umbrella Academy Valhalla let’s loose a lot of surprises and explains a few of the academy’s feelings and actions that show themselves when Five first runs into them. We learn that in addition to not knowing if Allison survived he also had a rather gut-wrenching meet up when he sought out his dad upon arrival. The whole thing destroyed Luther’s already fragile existence. We also find out about the connection between Hargreeves, Pogo, and human Grace which is a bit heartbreak in its own right. Allison and Klaus bond over the good booze which Ben isn’t pleased about because he thought Allison would help sober him up. Vanya wakes up naked with her “gal pal” Sissy and nearly gets caught when her husband shows up home early and we find out that Harlan has some of Vanya’s power. While Five, Luther, and Diego have no idea how to deal with the big reveal that dad and his cabal are about to trigger doomsday and, this might call for a full family meeting, Lila has a family meeting of her own and her mom comes clean.

Umbrella Academy Season 2 Episode 5

The Gangs All Here: Five finally manages to gather all of his siblings in one place, Diego accepts Vanya’s apology and Allison is so happy to see Vanya, while still sans memory Vanya is just excited to have a sister and runs to her. They share the most love-filled, happy embrace before Klaus jumps in and after Luther sucker punches Five the three loved up siblings bolt for the salon to enjoy some family bonding time that ends in Vanya, Klaus and Allison twisting the night away. Since nobody knows he’s there but Klaus, Ben sits woefully alone in Elliot’s loft missing his siblings and happy to have seen their faces, even if they can’t see his.

Best Line: “He shanked you heart.” – Diego to Luther after hearing how his first meeting with Hargreeves went.

“My cult is gonna be so pissed. Ben! I told them we had until 2019.” – Klaus to his siblings upon learning that they brought the apocalypse with them to 1963

Heartbreak Hotel: Vanya confesses her feelings to Sissy because there are only six days left until the end of the world but, she refuses to leave with her. Klaus decides to confess to his followers while Allison tells Ray the truth about her and her family.

Those Triplets Though: The Swedes get a kill order from the commission for Diego and bury one of their brothers in a Viking funeral.

Overall: Another stellar episode that finishes out the first half of the season perfectly. One of the best things about it is that it was a full culmination of the first half of the season and was so well done that if they were to have left the season on the endnote they chose, it would have been one hell of a perfect cliffhanger that would have had us all clamoring for the next season. Luckily, we still have five episodes to go, and with the bar set so high, I hope it can do better than this episode when it comes time to bring us home in the end.

« Older Entries