Tag: Small Screen Reviews

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Small Screen Reviews: ‘Titans’ from DC Universe

 
Pictured: Not the beloved Titans

I went and subscribed to DC Universe, the DC multi-media service which includes comics and streaming. So far, a few months out the former is nowhere near as extensive as Marvel’s Marvel Unlimited service, but it seems DC is going in a different direction with their app. As for Streaming, there’s a small helping of shows. Most of them are older films and classic television programming such as the original Wonder Woman show and black and white Superman or even Superfriends episodes which demonstrate the truth that the Jason Mamoa film tries to hide: Aquaman has always been lame.

DC Universe is creating original content as well; their first is Titans. So far, my feeling is that it’s not too bad, but not great. It’s a solid three on a scale of 1 to 5. Mostly it suffers from being a superhero program in a glut of superhero programs. By now we’ve had about ten years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on big and small screen, and several Batman, Superman films as well, and plenty of DC television programs that are separate from the DC cinema. Titans is a latecomer and has to stick out in a market that’s glutted so bad, even I don’t feel pains missing a superhero film or tv show. However, it’s several leagues better than my least favorite series and favorite punching bag, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (last season was also terrible, btw).

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Small Screen Reviews: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

 
With special guest star: The Lord of Lies!

One well that TV execs like to go to frequently is the “gritty reboot.” They’ve dipped into that well so much in the past decades it’s running dry, but until they get nothing from it, they’re going to keep lowering the bucket to get all they can. In this case, we take an Archie Comics title, Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, which given from its publisher it would be noted this title would typically be lighthearted fun much like most incarnations of it on television of which are a surprising amount. A couple of cartoons and a live-action show that involve wacky adventures of a talented half-witch half-normal girl raised by kooky witch aunts. Netflix takes this and, building off The CW’s Riverdale (the gritty Archie and Friends reboot) and gives us The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

The background of the show actually takes a lot of material from the original source material. Some of the side characterizations are very similar to the comics. Sabrina’s parentage is explained and it’s a major factor of the original material and this show. Much of the background material remains true to source. It just adds a very large dose of Satan in the mix. I’m not even kidding about that last part. Not even a smidgeon. It’s the major conflict of the show.

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Small Screen Reviews: Death Note (A Contrast Between Two)

 

If you were single and male about fifteen years ago, there’s a good chance you were watching Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” shows. One of the things they offered during that block was different anime, and a particularly interesting one was Death Note. Death Note followed the story of Light Yagami, and brilliant young man of […]

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Small Screen Reviews: All the Myriad Flashes

 

One of my favorite short story authors is Larry Niven. I’ve discussed some of his work before, but one of my favorite books by him, entitled All the Myriad Ways has several short stories and essays. The titular short story of this book and its accompanying essay discuss Niven’s problem with the implications of the […]

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Small Screen / Small Print Reviews: The Magicians

 

Today I’m not just reviewing one thing, I’m reviewing Two Things! You get a bonus thing for the price of one thing! Aren’t you excited? Okay, confession time, they are closely related because today I wanted to discuss Lev Grossman’s book, The Magicians and the recent ScyFy show of the same name based on that […]

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Small Screen Reviews — “Black Mirror”

 

By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, Link If you listen to Andrew Klavan’s podcast, you’ll know he has recommend this several times and for good reason: this show is nothing short of brilliant. I’ve heard many comparisons to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror is indeed in that vein – short stories that ask questions that are frequently […]

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Small Screen Reviews – “Shut Eye” on Hulu+

 

In the winter months, there tends to be a lull in most of my favorite shows. Except for Shark Tank. You tell ‘em, Mr. Wonderful! Haha! Anyways, while this lull was going on, I ran across a few streaming options. One of them, Chance, I reviewed earlier, but the other I haven’t gotten to yet, […]

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Small Screen Reviews: Luke Cage

 
Punching crime with the might of the Seventies!
Luke Cage: Punching crime with the might of the Seventies!

So let me say this up front: Marvel and Netflix are a match made in Heaven. They should stick together and have many superhero drama-children as long as they both shall live until death do they part. Okay, now my review is getting confusing, and it’s not even the end of the first paragraph. But I think that’s a decent summary already. It’s just one service I provide. Okay, it’s the only one. This time.

Luke Cage is the latest Marvel-Netflix offering along with Daredevil and my so far personal favorite, Jessica Jones. The title character was introduced in the latter of these two series, a super-strong, nigh-invulnerable man with a lost love and a past he’s reluctant to discuss. After being compelled to battle to the death with Jones, Cage leaves to get his own tv-streaming series. Good deal.

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Small Screen Reviews: Limitless

 

So after my disastrous experience with the Minority Report television series and my spotty impressions of Agents of SHIELD, I’ve been a bit cautious approaching television series based off of movies I happened to like. But hey, it’s still summer, the new seasons are not quite out yet, and I have a lot of time […]

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Small Screen Reviews: Stranger Things

 

I make no secret of the fact that I was a child of the eighties, mostly because once one’s birthday is public – well people can generally put two and two together. In any case as much as other generations like to look down at that time (I’m not sure which do, just some I’m […]

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Small Screen Reviews: The Do-Over

 
awful
This isn’t a promotion. That’s Adam Sandler taking aim at Netflix audiences so foolish as to watch this movie.

A couple years back, Adam Sandler signed a deal with Netflix to produce four movies. The first of these, The Ridiculous 6, got a big ol’ goose egg on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s right: It got a zero rating. On the bright side, that means Sandler can only go up, right? Enter this year’s offering, The Do-Over, starring Sandler and David Spade. How does this movie fare? Well … let’s just say that, occasionally, your television and streaming reviewer here watches things so that you don’t have to watch them. In this case, you owe me. Owe you me big time.

The concept sounds like something that should make a decent (though maybe not great) action comedy. Fellow SNL alumnus David Spade stars as Charlie, a beta male so beta that he gets beaten up by other beta males. He’s a gamma male. He works as bank manager in a grocery store bank, his hot wife is having a blatantly open affair with her ex-husband while Charlie financially supports said couple’s twin sons, who have less respect for Charlie than Democrats do for the Constitution. I am inserting politics in this discussion because anything is better than this movie.

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Small Screen Reviews: Daredevil Season 2

 

ddI used to joke that I have no more than one or two readers to my running series of TV reviews. Well imagine my surprise when I get multiple messages asking me, “Hey, when are you going to review Daredevil?” I suspect they don’t read my work or they’d not be asking so much. Maybe they just like seeing that I’m keeping busy. Anyways, as my lovely wife Amanda doesn’t care as much for some the violence in this series – and oooh, boy is there violence – I stuck to watching it after she’d gone to sleep; hence, the delay. Sounds simple, save when I’m so tired from work and fatherhood that I sleep through half the episode. But rejoice, Ricochetti! Here it is!

With any successful series, the question always remains after the first season: Can they be as good or better? That’s no trivial matter. I remember watching the original season of Heroes and being thrilled there would be more, only to watch as the creators admitted they didn’t have the slightest clue as to where to go next. I’d also be more than willing to excise most of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s sixth season (save for the wonderful musical episode “Once More, With Feeling”) if given the opportunity. But have no fear: Daredevil’s second outing is strong.

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Small Screen Reviews: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

 
Also-rans in a Lague of their Own
These guys are legen — wait for it … … — dary. Sorta.

If you’re as nerdy like me – and I know I am – you’ll have been watching DC’s offerings on the television. Though DC’s big screen offerings have been mixed, their small screen shows have remained strong. I’m including Constantine in this mix because I think it was a great show, but its premise was fresher back when it was released and, nowadays, it’s nothing new. So with Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and yes I’m including Gotham, things have remained strong. Well, until now.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is a direct spin-off of the CW’s two hits Arrow and The Flash. In this story, Time Lord Master Rip Hunter, in an attempt to save the world from the immortal Vandal Savage, recruits people from Green Arrow’s and Flash’s present day. So Atom, Firestorm, Sarah Lance, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and new heroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl are convinced to join him as companions fellow heroes and save the future from a man from the past. And you should be worried for the future because the show just isn’t working.

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Small Screen Reviews: Lucifer

 

luciTake an unusual person with social traits and mannerisms which would normally make him/her someone you’d never want near a police investigation. Then, finagle it so that person is partnered-up with a detective and accompanies the latter on regular homicide investigations. What do get? About half the shows on television at the moment. Apparently, kooky lead and detective sidekick/love interest are all the rage these days. The latest, as you probably figured out from my title and illustration, is Fox’s Lucifer.

Yes, that Lucifer. Unlike most supernatural shows where the super tries to hide its true nature from the rest of the world, Lucifer — played by Tom Ellis — wants everyone he meets to know exactly who he is. In fact his one thorn in his side is the fact his detective partner just never seems to believe him entirely. The story is that Lucifer, who rebelled against God and was banished from Heaven is now … rebelling and hanging out in Los Angeles. Better to run a nightclub than serve in Heaven. In your face, Milton!

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Small Screen Reviews: Master of None

 

monSo maybe someone here can help me. Aziz Ansari is an up-and-coming comedian. Even if you don’t know his name, you might have seen him on Parks & Recreation as the young go-getter saddled with layabout ne’er-do-well best friend and girlfriend (of sorts). He’s had a stand-up performance on Netflix, and most recently has a Netflix series called “Master of None“.

For the life of me I just don’t find him funny.

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Small Screen Review: “Jessica Jones”

 

jjIn a comparison between the two giants of comic book entertainment, I’ve seen it stated that DC presents stories of gods and demigods – myths for modern time – while Marvel presents stories of human beings who happen to have powers. If any recent storyline presents that latter concept well it has to be the Netflix series, “Jessica Jones.”

In fact, “Jessica Jones” is a very human story. Super-powered beings are integral to the tale, but initially the powers seem to be incidental to the characters. It takes some time for any powers to be used in earnest and in all honesty I think it does the series well. By using a slow burn, we get time to learn about the players in this tale. The powers don’t distract us from who these people are and what’s going on at the first.

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Small Screen Reviews: Minority Report

 

minorityYou might recall a little Tom Cruise film from 2002 entitled Minority Report. The movie, based on a Philip K. Dick story, posited a world where three “precognitive” children — i.e., teenagers who lay in a bath of goo and have a limited ability to see into the future — are used to predict murders so that the police can stop them before they happened. This being a Philip K. Dick story, things of course go overboard and the police arrest and imprison people for future murders. The tale gets complicated when the protagonist is accused of future murder. Since this is a Cruise film, this involves serious chase scenes and action sequences before he’s finally caught. In the finale, we see how he was set up and it’s revealed that he’s been falsely accused. He’s released, the precogs are set free and they all live happily ever after on a secluded island without murder or chase sequences. But this being a Philip K. Dick story, the ending suggests that the finale isn’t real and that our protagonist is dreaming an all-too perfect end to his predicament while imprisoned in forced hibernation.

It was a solid movie, one of the earlier science fiction films that Cruise has made that I’ve enjoyed. But that’s another topic because, hey, Hollywood has decided to take that overly happy ending that could actually be a sucker punch and turn it into the basis for an uninspired television series of the same name. I’m being harsh: the show isn’t bad so much as uninspired. Thus, it tends to lessen the effect of the source material. As I’m fond of the source material, my judgment on the present tends to be a bit more pointed.

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Small Screen Review: Supergirl

 

supergirlI frequently admit that I’m a sucker for superheroes. I love comic books, I love superhero movies, cartoons, and television shows. In fact, I consider myself fortunate as we seem to be in something of a golden age of superheroes on screen. Marvel has pretty much owned the big screen so far, coming up with at least one or two hits a year (though every year there are a couple of sour notes for them as well it seems). DC Comics, however, has quickly overtaken the small screen with good to great offerings like Arrow, Flash, Gotham, Constantine (now cancelled, cuss mah luck), and now, Supergirl.

If you’re going to do a comic book pilot right, I believe from now on I’m going to point people to Supergirl. Though it stumbles a bit like many pilots seem to, it never falters at all and even gets a couple great notes that if you’re a particular enthusiastic viewer will make you stand up and cheer.

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