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TV Review: iZombie S3E3 Eat, Pray, Liv

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0Liv consumers the brain of a murdered lifestyle guru; Ravi’s former boss gets closer to uncovering the truth; Blaine and Peyton grow closer.

iZombie continues to stick to its formula in the third episode of the season which feels like a more cautious set-up than anything too groundbreaking.

The episode involves the murder of a guy that feels like an over the type yoga instructor and that aspect of the episode isn’t too exciting at all. It’s easy to figure out who the murderer is early on and nothing adds a whole lot to Liv or Clive. There’s a few funny moments, but overall, it’s fairly blah when it comes to the whodunnit stories we’ve seen in the past.

The bigger part of the episode involves Ravi and Blaine, really Blaine’s father. We see a new operation being set up by Blaine’s father and it’s the early moments of the story, but it feels rather familiar and what we’ve seen before, because it just feels like something Blaine has done. So nothing really new there.

The bigger story involves Ravi and Peyton and Ravi being an utter douche towards her. This season is adding some depth to him, but he’s being a dick so it’s kind of hard to like him. And as it stands if Peyton winds up with him, it looks poorly upon her too. That’s the biggest fireworks on the episode, it’s all pretty bland otherwise.

This third episode isn’t bad per se. We get to see Major act out a bit as a zumba instructor, but for the most part, the episode feels safe, almost too safe. With the first episode of the season being so different and the second adding a decent amount to Clive’s story, this third one just doesn’t quite work. An entertaining hour, but one that’s rather forgettable.

Overall Rating: 7.15


TV Review: Riverdale S1E10 Chapter Ten: The Lost Weekend

riverdaleArchie hides his true feelings about his parents’ divorce; Betty decides to throw Jughead a surprise birthday party; Veronica contemplates whether to participate in the deposition to help get her Dad released.

Riverdale brings the tension to a boil in a party that goes off the rails. It’s Jughead’s birthday and a party is thrown against his wishes and that eventually leads to confrontations as lots is brought out into the open as Chuck and Cheryl hijack it with a game of truth (without the dare).

But through all of that, the episode really focuses on Jughead and Betty and how not different they really are. The episode really comes to a head in a scene after the party between Jughead and Betty. The details here is what makes the series so solid. Jughead’s hat is off, which he specifically references earlier about never taking it off, and we see how Betty isn’t so perfect herself (you know beyond almost killing Chuck).

The series has built in how imperfect the parents of Riverdale are, but this episode really focuses on how imperfect the kids are too. Jughead. Betty. Archie. Veronica. Even Kevin and Ethel in a way. It all has slowly built in the series and here’s where we get to see the kids flaws on full display.

What’s also interesting is as all the kids’ flaws come out FP becomes a father in some ways giving Jughead some good advice and being the adult. It’s an interesting twist for the character and something we haven’t seen in full display but it’s been building to happen at some point.

And finally through all of the partying and flaws revealed, the episode is about relationships. Jughead and Betty, Veronica and Archie, Veronica and her parents, Jughead and his. Archie’s parents, Archie and Jughead, and Veronica and a budding friendship with Veronica. There’s heart on display here and situations that teenagers experienced in some ways.

The episode again shows that through all of the drama and soap opera elements, Riverdale delivers a series with a shocking amount of depth. It also makes its case as being one of the best comic adaptations on television.

Overall Rating: 9.55

TV Review: iZombie S3E2 Zombie Knows Best

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0Liv, Clive, and Ravi suspect foul play was involved in a fatal car crash; Clive reveals his connection to a murdered family; Peyton tries to make peace with Ravi.

iZombie returns more to its normal formula with two cases that feel much more like the previous two seasons, but also with a twist as one ties into the greater narrative that began in the previous episode.

The first case is about a father and daughter who are killed in a car crash and things seem a little fishy. That leads to Liv and Major eating their brains with Liv taking on the father and Major the teenage daughter. That brings the humor as we get to see the two acting each stereotypical personality and delivering things in a way that had me smiling throughout the episode. Yes, it plays a bit too much into stereotypes, but it’s still entertaining in a way mostly due to the actors themselves, especially Major talking about abs and selfies.

The second story plays off of what began last episode with Clive and the family he found out were zombies. We get the full history here as they are unfortunately killed. There’s someone out there who’s killing zombies, but why? That seems to be the big picture, who knows, who’s killing, and how do they find the killers without causing a panic. The concept is a bit too much like the Chaos Killer story which I hated and who knows if that’ll play in here. It should since it’s really similar. The best part is that it gives a lot more depth into Clive who hasn’t had a lot of focus in the series. To see him pushed in the spotlight more is more than overdue as he’s been a great anchor and playing the straight man to the crazy.

The series is closer to what we’ve previously seen and it’s a stronger second episode than first due to that. I can see the big picture coming into focus with this episode and it feels like a bit old and a bit new. Hopefully, we get something that’s a bit different than the previous two seasons, but so far it’s an interesting start.

Overall Rating: 7.85

TV Review: iZombie S3E1 Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0Liv finds there are more zombies in Seattle than she previously thought; though exonerated for the Chaos Killer crimes, Major remains a pariah; Blaine is accused of lying.

iZombie returns for its third season with an interesting first episode that picks up on the end of the previous season while also setting the series into a new direction with a big picture story.

When we last saw the series Max Rager is done and a zombie outbreak has been stopped and now for the cover up. That goes pretty high up as we find out there’s even more zombies and they have a goal of making Seattle a zombie paradise/sanctuary.

The concept is really interesting, especially when you think about it in the bigger debate over sanctuary cities, but how things are laid out within the story feels a bit out of left field really shifting the series away from the whodunnit type stories we’ve seen in the previous two seasons. That aspect is jettisoned instead the entire episode is focused on wrapping up the previous season while setting things up for what’s to come in this third season.

That shift is good, because things need to be shaken up for formula, but the abrupt way it’s done doesn’t quite work here. The show usually shines when it focus on the characters’ eating brains and acting out their new personalities, and that’s not really here. The humor is gone and while this is a first episode of a season it feels like it’s more of an addendum to the previous one.

We’ll see where this goes, but the big concept doesn’t feel like it quite works, but the series at least shakes things up and takes things in a different direction. We’ll see how far they’re willing to try out new things as the season progresses.

Overall Rating: 7.2

TV Review: Riverdale S1E9 Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion

riverdaleArchie gets an offer from the Blossoms, which could help his future; Veronica befriends a classmate who was hurt by her father’s illegal actions; Hermione is conflicted about telling Fred the truth; Alice seeks revenge on the Blossoms.

Riverdale shows off that the parents of Riverdale are the ones who are completely out of their minds in an episode that feels like it shifts the focus of the show a bit from Archie, Veronica, Jughead, and Betty, to their parents. And while you might expect teenage drama, the show has more than enough drama from the parents alone.

There’s two main stories for the episode with a third thread. One is Archie getting closer with Cheryl, the next being Veronica getting closer with Ethel, and Fred dealing with Hermione and the attacks on the project he’s working on.

Most of it has an air about it that feels like it’d be perfectly in place in the movie Cruel Intentions which this show more and more feels like it’s riffing from when it comes to the creepiness of family.

And that creep is turned up to 11 as the episode revolves around the ginger Blossom family. I mention the ginger part as red is a striking color used in various shades throughout their scenes. That red is often contrasted against a winter white as snow falls around them creating an almost Red Riding Hood motif to it all. The main story is who will take over the Blossom clan with Cheryl looking to be the heir, but she’s not exactly liked. Enter Archie, who is used by her parents in hopes of making her look stable. There’s also Polly and Archie wanting to see how she’s doing for Betty. It’s an interesting plot and shows we have yet to see an adult in Riverdale that’s sane and has their act together.

Then there’s Veronica and Ethel. Veronica wants to do some good, but she also realizes that her father has screwed over Ethel’s family. It’s an interesting twist to Veronica, and character in comics that isn’t exactly the most altruistic. It adds some depth to her here but as a viewer, I knew it wasn’t going to go well. I winced at every instance.

All of this ties into the ongoing storylines for the series and it’s one of the greatest strengths of the series in that it’s able to focus on different things like the Blossom clan but still tie it into the greater storyline. And, when doing so it seems to strengthen the characters adding depth every chance it can.

Again, Riverdale is able to give us solid stories that drive the ongoing plotline while focused on other aspects and add layers to the world, characters, and more. It’s impressive storytelling and super entertaining. Riverdale continues to be some of the most entertaining television on today.

Overall Rating: 9.45

TV Review: Riverdale S1E8: Chapter Eight: The Outsiders

riverdaleWhen Fred loses his crew just as they’re about to start construction, Archie and his friends try to help, making them targets for an attack; Jughead worries how his friends will react when his secret comes out.

Riverdale is interesting for this week’s episode as it goes a different route than focusing completely on the murder mystery. Instead of that plot we get a few different ones including the construction project of Fred Andrews and the Coopers’ family relationship.

Fred’s construction story runs into an issue in that someone decides to rough up the site in hopes he’d stop. It’s pretty clear as to who’s behind it all to viewers but Archie is convinced it’s the Serpents behind it which leads him to go to a bar they hang out at in hopes of trying to find the people behind the attack. It’s a decent plot in that it feels appropriate and something Archie would do, but primarily it’s a way for Archie to find out about Jughead’s father and get the fact he’s in the gang out into the open. That leads to all sorts of clashes and also opens up Betty and Jughead to talk to his dad about the death of Jason. That deepens the overall mystery, but is interesting too in that there’s the familial aspect of it all.

This plot highlights a strength of the show in that it’s able to drive the murder mystery narrative while also expanding other plots and stories too. Things tie together but not in a way that feels forced. Through all of the above it’s rather organic and flows really nicely.

Then there’s the Blossoms and Coopers and the pregnancy which leads to a baby shower. That too is a driver to set up a conflict and revelations on the Cooper end of things with Betty and Polly’s parents having a confrontation with some interesting twists and turns. It brings out some interesting history that puts things in perspective and sets up conflict there. It also allows their mother, Alice Cooper, to really vent and show off her acting chops. She’s played a rather constricted Stepford wife for the show, but to see her blow up against Hal is a new aspect and feels like it’s going to allow her to stretch as a character. As an actress she’s amazing in this episode and this absolutely expands her character on the series adding aspects that I wasn’t expecting and cracking the perfect exterior.

Again, Riverdale is able to give us two really solid stories that drive the ongoing plotline while focused on other aspects and add layers to the world, characters, and more. It’s impressive storytelling and super entertaining. Riverdale continues to be some of the most entertaining television on today.

Overall Rating: 9.65

TV Review: Arrow S5E18 Disbanded

arrowOliver’s decision to call the Bratva for help taking down Prometheus surprises Diggle and Felicity; Felicity makes a shocking discovery at Helix.

Arrow has been a bit mixed the last few episodes but this one really rights the ship as Oliver calls in reinforcements in the Bratva to take on Chase while his teammates both question his decision to do so and also figure out a way to deal with Chase.

There’s a lot here and the episode packs in so much, I’d usually expect this amount to be spread out into multiple episodes. Diggle dealing with Oliver and confronting him might be an episode or in tow. Team Arrow dealing with the Bravta might be one. Team Arrow dealing with Chase might be one. The Bravta dealing with Chase might be one. There’s just a lot going on for the episode and for that, it’s one of the better ones this season. No time is wasted and by doing so the pacing really picks up, an issue for some of the episodes this season where things feel like they’ve been decompressed.

What’s also solid is how it deals with Chase with an ending that feels like it almost doesn’t belong on this series and shows off some potential that doesn’t feel like it’s normally tapped. I think that five minutes or so is some of the best of the entire series. How it’s directed and shot really breaks from the normal visuals of the series. I couldn’t say what was different, but it felt like it was.

The episode also really brings in the Bravta plot into the main story and does so pretty well with future repercussions that I can see driving the next season. It’s some good plotting when it comes to the past and present story threads that feels like it sometimes is lacking in previous seasons.

This is a solid episode that brings a lot of pieces of the puzzle together and sets the rest of the season off into a good direction, but what’s interesting to me is that Chase scene which shows off the potential of the series.

Overall rating: 7.95

A First Look at Cress Williams as Black Lightning

The CW has released a teaser image of Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce aka Black Lightning, the next DC Comics superhero to get the live action treatment. The suit was designed by Costume Designers Guild Award nominee Laura Jean Shannon.

It’s unknown how the series will fit into the current DCTV universe, so we’ll have to wait and see though statements in the past have indicated this will be a standalone series.

TV Review: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow S2E16 Doomworld

legends-of-tomorrow-season-2The Legion of Doom rewrites reality, leaving the Legends altered; the reason the Spear of Destiny must be destroyed comes to light.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow rewrites the world as the Legion of Doom hold the spear of destiny after last episode and we get to see how they’ve remade the world. Alternate world stories tend to be rather entertaining and impressively this series doesn’t linger too long in this world getting us in and out in an action packed episode that’s tons of fun and tons of action.

The center of the episode revolves around Mick who is feeling a bit guilty about his betrayal so needs to get the band back together to fix everything. What’s interesting is that the show doesn’t make things easy and by the time the episode is over a member has fallen and things have gone horribly wrong.

And all of that is why I think this episode is one of my favorite of the year. The fact that it’s compressed in one episode and not dragged out, it gives us some high stakes, and then the end has some moments I wasn’t expecting at all, it impressively pulls off a surprising ending that absolutely caught me off guard, though the final solution to resolve the big picture is pretty obvious.

What’s also great is every character and actor got to have fun playing with their character and giving us the viewers something new and different that keeps us on our toes and feels fresh and new. It’s fun and has an energy and spin that’s been lacking at times this season.

This episode is the anything that can happen that I expect from this series and boy does it deliver.

Overall Rating: 8.85

TV Review: The Flash S3E18 Abra Kadabra

The Flash Season 2The Flash battles Earth-19 villain Abra Kadabra, who offers to tell him Savitar’s true identity if he lets him go; Gypsy tries to take Abra Kadabra for her own reasons, accidentally allowing him to escape.

The Flash has a bit of fun introducing the classic villain Abra Kadabra to the tv series. Played by David Dastmalchian who was also a Joker henchman in The Dark Knight, Jerome’s henchman in Gotham, and also in Ant-Man (Dastmalchian adds another comic property to his belt) Kadabra comes off more like a Joker in many aspects. Dastmalchian has spent so much time around crime’s crown prince, it feels like Kadabra is channeling him a little.

The story itself is pretty fun and involves Kadabra running around gathering items so that he can travel to the future, but that mission isn’t quite clear as to “why” other than his being on the run. Apparently, Kadabra murdered a bunch of people which has Gypsy on his trail too. What this entire episode is really about is the tease of what Kadabra knows.

Throughout the episode Kadabra teases Barry, and really everyone, with the knowledge he has about the future and specifically Savitar. That’s what the episode focuses on really, what will Team Flash do to find out what Kadabra knows and will they let him go to save Iris? For almost the entire episode we’re teased. That feels like the point of the episode, introduce a new villain and then continue to tease us about Savitar until Barry makes a decision as to what he’s going to do.

But, that’s not everything. Caitlin is injured leading to the turn we knew was coming, but who knows how long it’ll last and if she’s gone full-time villain. There’s some stumbles with this situation in that to save her life they need to remove her restraining necklace, but then why can’t they quickly put it back on once she’s in the clear? It’s a little odd. It’s not bad and I like Killer Frost as presented, so hopefully this will be the long term villain the series is lacking in some ways and a focus away from guest villain of the week can be moved away from.

The episode had a lot of potential but it feels like it doesn’t do enough with what it’s given. Cisco and Gypsy’s moments are too few. Barry continues to think about the future and comes up with a solution that was pretty clear for some time. A villain pops in and then goes away. It’s the show’s formula but something feels like it’s missing. Not a bad episode, but one that definitely stumbles when it attempts to run.

Overall Rating: 7.05

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