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Kassandra_P

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Wayward Pines

2
0

Started off strong, but the last 1-2 episodes were so incredibly awful they bordered on satire -- to the point that we hysterically laughed our way through most of the finale. Haven't seen such sloppy, ridiculous, illogical plotting (of the type where the hero has two seconds to save the earth yet stands around moronically chatting about it for a minute before springing into action, cause otherwise there would be no drama) on TV since the 90s. Which incidentally is where Matt Dillon should have left his career; what a strong contender for the Keanu Reeves Most Wooden Acting Award. At least the writers had the sense to **EDITED BECAUSE SPOILER** for next season. Afraid his character's son might be just as bad though. That bit where the **** fell on **** in the elevator shaft was pure unadultered comedy, thanks to the timing/camera angles. We wonder whether he, too, suffers from the one-facial-expression-only syndrome... time will tell. Positives: it was nice to see the lovely Shannyn Sossamon onscreen, and the concept is cool. Thank god they didn't keep us waiting forever for the mystery payoff à la Lost or Persons Unknown; it takes a few episodes, but worry not, all is indeed revealed. Still, would've thought that in this golden age of TV, audiences would've become too sophisticated for such poorly executed melodrama. I might pick up the book on which the series is based, but I won't be tuning in for Season 2.


This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

Young & Hungry

1
0

Watchable in a vaguely entertaining way if you're desperate for some switch-off-your-brain TV. But every character is a (bordering on offensive) stereotype, the same plot points are repeated over and over, and a lot of the emotional development rings false.

Amber

1
0

This series should come with a warning label: "will elevate blood pressure".

If I'd bothered to read the reviews of Amber before watching it, and if I'd known of the [SPOILER] that seems to throw everyone into a rage once it's over, I might still have watched it, just out of curiosity. And then I would have been really annoyed with myself for not listening to the reviewers. Instead, I went in all unknowing, and can direct my annoyance firmly at the people who wrote it.

Does it have any redeeming qualities? Sure, some. Let's see: Amber's hair/outfit is cute, which is good because you get to see it over and over again. Um. The actor who plays her dad is easy on the eyes... ?

OK, if I'm to be fair, he and the rest of the cast were perfectly decent-to-good, possibly great, actors. Unfortunately, it was hard to focus on the acting through the terrible plot, which had me alternately bored to tears and confused by a sloppily constructed nonlinear narrative which, despite its twists, turns, and fake-outs, failed to disguise some unforgivably large holes. I will grudgingly admit that the mother's emotional journey was quite well handled -- but the father's was so ludicrous that it overshadowed the nuances of her grief.

The writing does not even succeed in its main (purported) intent: to show the effect of Amber's disappearance on the town and community in which she lives. Yes, we do explore the effect it has on her parents; we also see (in brief bits and pieces) its effect on the parents' best friends. But events in the lives of the two Garda police investigators in charge of the case are dealt with perfunctorily (almost as though the writers were as bored by their one-dimensional characters as I was), a B-plot involving an illegal immigrant (which fails to tug at the heartstrings, though it should) is borderline unbelievable and largely isolated from the main storyline, and any further effects on the community at large are merely tantalizingly hinted at, then left dangling.

This is in fact the crux of what is wrong with Amber: it presents us with individual, isolated strands of plotline -- some, perhaps, even quite good. But unlike other shows of the genre (namely Broadchurch and The Killing) it makes no attempt (and I mean, NO attempt) to weave these strands together into the multilayered, complex, and compelling tapestry we've come to expect.

Never mind that one strand that will have you seeing red...



This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

0
0

I had such high hopes for this series as the concept is fascinating and I enjoyed the book on which it's (loosely) based, but unfortunately the first few episodes were so incredibly dull I couldn't get past them. Maybe it gets more interesting as the story develops, but everyone I know personally who watched it found it equally tedious going throughout, to the point where I wonder if its good reviews and high ratings are a case of the emperor having no clothes.
The boring nature of the show is not due to a lack of action but, on the contrary, too much action, too soon. For me, the most interesting aspect of the story would have been exploring the small everyday details of life in this parallel world (as, indeed, the book cleverly does). Instead, we are thrown headlong into a lengthy dramatic action sequence which has little to make it stand out from the ordinary, involving characters we haven't been introduced to and therefore couldn't care less about. Who are Juliana and Frank? Are they good people or bad? Should we care when their safety (or that of their family) is threatened? These are questions the series takes too long to answer, instead relying on clichéed imagery without substance to tug at our heartstrings.
To be fair, I generally find it hard to be interested in action for the sake of action -- it only becomes interesting when we worry about the safety and emotional well-being of the characters -- so if you are a pure action fan, I guess you won't be disappointed. However, if you enjoy intelligent, character-driven TV, you'll probably find this doesn't live up to your expectations.
A final small quibble: though the set and costume design were excellent, numerous early scenes relied on such dark lighting (regardless of TV picture setting) for atmosphere that it became difficult to make out what was happening. This was especially problematic since The Man in the High Castle introduces us to a large cast of characters in very few episodes; even having read the book, I had trouble keeping track of who was who. Or perhaps the poor writing was to blame for the confusion.
I realize this review makes me sound like I'm 80 with failing vision and a fondness for sleepy plot lines, but seriously, I'm not. Just a young person who appreciates quality TV, and was hoping this series would be on par with the brilliant character/world-driven writing of, say, Orphan Black, or early seasons of Homeland. It's not.

Suits

0
0

Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Once upon a time, I counted Suits among my favorite shows. It was smart, witty, energetic, laugh-out-loud funny, and had a brilliant soundtrack to boot. Now though... now, I can't even be bothered to watch the end of Season 5.
Season after season, they keep repeating the same old, tired plot lines: Harvey and Louis are fighting, it's up to Jessica to bring their egos in check (with Donna's help)! A bad lawyer is trying to challenge Jessica's rule of the firm, and Harvey and Mike have to stop him! Mike's secret endangers his relationship with Rachel and his position at the firm! Harvey and Donna - will anything ever happen between them (again)? (OK, so apparently something new does happen in the mid-season finale, which I haven't watched yet - and don't think I will - but I bet you anything it's not what it looks like and they find a way to "unwrite" it when the season picks up again.)
The writers can't even be bothered to explore the featured case of the week in any real depth - it feels like they've given up and are just going through the paces. And the actors - they've started delivering their lines with all the nuance and believability of soap opera stars. Not even the supremely funny and talented Sarah Rafferty (Donna) and Rick Hoffman (Louis) can save the wooden dialogue they're being asked to serve up.
At least for a while the soundtrack continued to be stellar (I've discovered so many new bands and artists through Suits through the years), but even that seems to have petered out towards the end of Season 5. Has their budget been slashed? Has all the talent been moved over to Mr. Robot? Who knows. Something has definitely happened though, and the only reason I'm giving them three stars instead of one is for the brilliance of Seasons 1 and 2.
Such a shame.

Welcome to Sweden

0
0

Why do decent comedies always get cancelled? Welcome to Sweden is still worth the watch. It's a quiet little show, but has real heart, and is laugh-out-loud funny for those who find humor in real life situations and human foibles rather than outlandish scenarios and slapstick.

Aquarius

0
0

Admittedly only made it through three episodes, but not even Duchovny can make this interesting. Same tired old tropes.... this might as well have been made in the 70s for all the freshness it brings.

Life on Mars

0
0

One of the most brilliant series I've ever watched, Life on Mars tackles weighty moral and metaphysical issues in the guise of a rock-n-rolling and thoroughly entertaining cop show. The bromance between time travelling (or comatose) modern cop Sam and his macho 70s boss Gene is just one of many highlights. The ensemble cast is fantastic, the writing doesn't miss a beat, and any fan of the 70s will thoroughly enjoy the score.

Though the series ends on an ambiguous note that many reviewers had trouble with, I think they're missing the bigger picture. For me, the show was an examination of human nature and (funnily enough, given its mostly retro setting) the modern world. Whatever their deeper intentions, the ending had me shedding copious amounts of tears -- of the hurts-so-good variety. (I'd almost rather the whole thing hadn't been explained in the follow-up series, Ashes to Ashes.)

Ashes To Ashes

0
0

Though it doesn't quite match the brilliance of Life on Mars (to which it is a sequel of sorts), and though the second season does drag a bit, Ashes to Ashes is still an enjoyable show, with some very fine acting, and well worth the watch. Plus -- without wanting to give too much away -- the finale wraps up the show's metaphysical themes in a much more satisfying way than Lost's finale did (funny that they aired within days of each other!).