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Carnival Row


WOW, the quality of this show will blow you away.



I watched the whole 10 episodes and its the worst show ever. Its not that its hard to understand, there just isn't anything too understand. The plot meandering from one mind delusion to the next in an 'everything and the kitchen sink' approach to pretending there is a plot.

I will now simulate the writing process for this series...

"Ok, let's write a series where we combine the movie Brazil, the movie Cloud Atlas, the movie The Matrix or Total Recall(take your pick on the virtual reality/mind delusion movie reference), the movie War Games, and several other movie and book references... to try to fool the audience into thinking we writers are smarts."

This is the conceptual problem... when you combine two primary paint colors, you get a third color, but if you keep combining paint colors you don't get more and more colors... you get brown... and then it just stays brown no matter what you add. This series is that brown mess of layer upon layer of references folded into an ugly nearly incoherent narrative palimpsest. But there is no enigma hidding underneath. Its a series of hollow russian dolls. Its moldy Wonder Bread.

I kept waiting for it to get better, to somehow cohere into something profound and wrap up into a fulfilled hero's journey, but it never does. The moment the guy tells the truth is the painfully obvious ending even at the beginning. There is no revelation. He hasn't grown. He still doesn't know what is real and even ends up in a mental institution in the last scene. The ending actually was right out of The Graduate. Ok, we made it out, we are free, now what do we do? I know, write another crappy season and get paid by the desparate and woefully out of touch Paramount studio. Cha Ching!

And cigarettes, lots of unneeded cigarette smoking. I hate this in shows. They should be ashamed of themselves. Just teaching kids to smoke and get cancer.

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

Killing Eve


Stunningly good first episode. Very exciting. Only giving it 4 stars but may bump it up if they keep up this level of cat and mouse. Both women are perfect for their parts. The assasin is breathtakingly beautiful. Let the bodies hit the floor!

UPDATE: After the second episode, I'm less jazzed about the show. The writer's timing is off and they have already launched into the psychological problems of the assasin, when they should still be showing what a bad ass she is killing and enjoying the kills. If episode 2 was episode 3 or 4 it would have been much better for the flow of the show. I'm a writer, its like trying to dance to a song that keeps changing the beat, you are getting into it ready to drop the bass and suddenly they are playing a lullaby and you are standing alone on the dance floor wondering why you are at this crappy club.

Maybe they can get back into the groove, but it was a plot mistake in my opinion.

UPDATE SEASON 2: Its rare for a show to have a better season 2 than season 1. The cat and mouse continues but in a profound manner where Eve character becomes more like Villanelle, Villanelle becomes more like Eve. Its delicious in its subtleties.

The Orville


Five minutes in and I know everything I need to know... Star Trek Next Generation meets Galaxy Quest... the Next Gen rip off is so replete that every single character on the bridge is a direct corollary to the Next Gen cast. Its basically Next Gen with some goofy adolescent comedy. It might be fun for a couple episodes, but its definitely going to be canceled.

As a bonus, its misogynistic, as the female co-lead is called a BITCH at least twice in the first episode.

Marvel's Inhumans


4 minutes in and I already dislike it. Poor writing and poor directing. Going to watch the first two before I make a decision but its going to have to get a LOT better for me to watch the series. I usually like Marvel a lot.

Edit: 15 minutes in and I AM DONE. Its horrible.

Locke & Key


Even though this show is made by Netflix... Imagine if Disney made horror films, this would be Locke & Key. Its categorically not scary. But they seem to think that its supposed to be, as there are horror references throughout. The acting is second rate, the writing is poor, the only cool thing in it is the old Addams Family-like house. Episode nine is not bad, some action finally happens. There is a weird timeline issue, at the start it looks like its the 1980s, Polaroid camera, old cars, but then they are all using big iphones. Whaaa!!?? And I'm not talking about the abundance of flashbacks. Sad thing is, the key concept could have been really cool if the whole show was rewritten and recast.

-Its amazingly SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW paced. I watched it at 1.5x speed and it was still boring most of the time.
-When a psychopath breaks in an holds you hostage at gun point and later is found dead in the house, the Police don't just leave, there would be a crime scene, and people in the town don't bring you casseroles to console you about it. That was weird.
-The slow/autistic kid, doesn't act like he is slow/autistic, he acts like a normal person reading the lines poorly written for a slow/autistic kid.
-When people fall off the wagon and drink alcohol, they don't wake up feeling bright and cheery. They wake up with a hang over, even if they start drinking in the morning, they still are hung over. Its like the writer never drank alcohol before.

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

The Umbrella Academy


I liked it from the start, its very 'left of center' weird... The Addams Family meets The Royal Tenenbaums meets Pulp Fiction.

Although some of the people have superpowers, two of the bunch really don't... one is just a weird guy that thinks he is Batman with knives, and the other apparantly didn't have anything special about him until he was injected with Chimp serum. They never explain the origin of the powers, or explore the many many more people in the world that were supposedly born on the same day who also have powers.

The show holds up fairly well over the course of season 1, I knocked it down to 3.5 stars due to lots of boring dialog and for being somewhat predictable. It was obvious that the Vanya character had powers and they were being repressed by the pills. Its an old trick from mystery novels, you ignore a character and in the end we find out they were the one who did it.

I'll watch season 2 and I suspect there will be a season 3 as well since there is a third graphic novel coming out soon. It does have a lot of gratuitous vilolence, and is no doubt teaching the youth to solve problems by killing people. People are constantly killed with no regard whatsoever.

I dislike Ellen Page taking a job from a hetero-sexual actress. You can't complain about straight people playing homosexuals and then allow a homosexual to play a straight person. What if it was a white person playing a black person? Just watch the news to see how well that works out. I know its gone the other way for a very long time with heteros playing homos on screen, but that doesn't make it right to go the other way. It isn't helping the homosexual cause to pretend to be straight for a tv role. And Ellen being so vocal about her sexual orentation and bias in hollywood kind of ruins the show a little when she doesn't play a homosexual. I don't want to know I'm watching Ellen Page, I want to be watching the character, but her real life persona is larger than her acting ability. She has never been more than a B level actor. I do like seeing her act, but that barely makes up for what I call The 'Look At Me, Look At Me' Effect.

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

Castle Rock


This is not strictly a Stephen King series, it is *based* on the works of Stephen King, but is written by two other people.

I liked Stephen King when I was 18 or 19 but his books are hopelessly unedited and tend, at least at that time, to ramble on and on trying to avoid the point. I grew out of horror and stopped reading King completely.

Of the movies that have been made, The Shawshank Redemption was my favorite, probably because it was not a horror story. It stands out, kind of like that Dragon's Eye book. Totally not horror.

In many ways, Castle Rock (named after the made-up town used in many King works, including Shawshank), is an attempt to make Shawshank into a horror story.

The first three episodes are ok, but 1) there is little to no horror, 2) the story is slow and kind of boring, and 3) the directing (Abbrams) is poorly done like most of his work and leads the viewer by the nose from predictable plot point to predictable plot point... completely ruining any suspence that might have been there with a better director.

I'll probably watch the rest of the series, but only because its the summer and there is nothing else on.

Prediction: The new corporate 'warden' kills herself in the end. {sigh}

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.

Strange Angel


I wasn't planning on watching this as I abhor anything related to the ridiculous occult and any notion of the supernatural. But the nascent rocketry aspects of the show are done well, and the periodness of the 1930s is captured nicely in places... right down to the man's complete disregard for his wife's orgasm - or lack there of as the case may be.

Its shaping up to be kind of a mind over matter theme with the already deluded man acheiving what would be impossible had he not had the insane belief in his head that he could accomplish it. Fortune favors the bold. And sometimes, Fortune favors the idiotic and brave. There is of course no such thing as "fortune".

The chienese rocket history / pulp comicbook is a nice thematic aspect as well. Very hero's journey.

Bring on the naked virgin sacrifices !!!!

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.



I'm reminded of the Meta-TV-Show within the Seinfeld show, and when the TV exec asks "Why would anyone watch this?" and George says "Because its on TV."

Reverie is not a bad show, but in the days of West World, Black Mirror, Kiss Me First and numerous other over the top sci-fi shows, Reverie is kind of a throw-back to the 80s or 90s at best. Even though its couched in the guise of a virtual reality show, there is zero technology involved. Its not really a sci-fi show at all.

There is a huge plot hole that can not be forgotten: if people were getting lost in virtual reality and dying, the company would go out of business in a day since no one would use the technology. Its based on a false premise and that ruins the entire show.

The woman's own rather screwed up psychology is a trend in shows these days, since apparantly normal people can't solve problems and you have to be F'd in the head in some way to have genius insights. This is nonsense and contrived and it comes through that way in so many shows including this one. Screwed up people remain screwed up and often only make situations worse for those around them. There is no redemtion. This is psuedo-christian crap psychology.

To further denigrate the show, it actually reminds me of the Love Boat from the 1970s and 80s, each week someone sets sail but has some life issue that only the Love Boat crew can solve and make right again...

The LOOOOVE BOOOAT soon will be making another run....

The LOOOOVE BOOOOAT promises something for everyone...

{jazzy music}

Set a cruise for adventure, your mind on a new romance.........

This review contains spoilers. Click the text to reveal.