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It really is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to how much content Netflix has been putting out over the last few years. Even though not everything is a home run, I can see this streaming service going the way of only showcasing their own content in about five years from now. If one of their most recent shows in Living with Yourself is any indication of how their future is looking, then I would say it's looking incredibly bright. I'm a sucker for a good Paul Rudd project, so this review may be slightly biased in that regard, but this is just a great watch from start to finish. Here's why I believe this to be a highly commendable and recommendable new series.
In a rut and starting to lose contact with his wife and his job, Miles (Paul Rudd) decides to take a co-worker's offer and attend a very pricey spa session. This results in the cloning of himself, but the intention of the company is that only the clone remains alive, so the fact that two versions of Miles are now roaming around is a fluke on their part. This makes for a great story and the fact that Paul Rudd gets to play two different versions of this character and attempt to play off himself only adds to the wackiness this series delivers.
The first episode plays out linearly, but each consecutive episode has a very unique structure, as each one explores where the other version of Miles was during certain events, or how a specific situation occurred. Living with Yourself plays with time in a very unique way, telling the story slightly out of order, in terms of showing flashbacks and present parallels. Without getting into too many details, there are some very clever choices made to keep this a secret within the story that I really appreciated as a viewer. I was predicting certain things that ended up coming true, but I was equally being surprised as the series went along. It does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat.
For fans of Paul Rudd in general, you'll receive a few great laughs, but this series (although played as a fun ride) is more dramatic than anything. Yes, the whole concept is fun, but the overall idea makes for some great dramatic moments, especially in the final moments of this season. This season has a cliffhanger that both works as an open-end as well as a loose-end for further exploration. When a series can do that I find myself appreciating it more. This feels like a completed story, but it also feels like a lot more can happen.
In the end, Living with Yourself is a crazy concept and is quite frankly a far superior version of the recent film Gemini Man. Although it's played out as a fun concept, this movie has all the depth that films like that often miss. I loved watching this first season and I would gladly watch a second. There are a few flaws here and there and a couple of consistency errors that I noticed, which kept me from calling this a perfect first season, but those are pretty minor things. I highly recommend checking this one out.
At this point, it almost seems redundant to say that streaming services are taking over in terms of where audiences are finding their entertainment. Quite honestly, I love the ease of being able to watch something immediately upon its release, but I also don't want that to affect movie theatres either. Thankfully, television shows have always been available exclusively at home, so this review won't be diving into the politics of where films truly belong. Modern Love is Amazon's most recent original piece of programming on its Prime Video service and it just may be my favourite series I've watched in a while.
Modern Love is an eight-episode anthology that follows a different type of love in each episode. Whether it's a young woman having to cope with being a mother on her own, a gay couple wishing to adopt a child, or an elderly couple wishing to be together to fill an empty void in their old age, this is a series that covers a lot of ground in terms of what the title suggests. Without giving anything away, this is a season that only runs for about four hours in length, so if you have the time, it absolutely has a much bigger impact when watching it all at once.
The reason I was so quick to watch this series was the fact that John Carney was the main writer/director. Sing Street was my favourite film back in 2016 and between Once and Begin Again, he has been creating some of the very best feel-good pieces of entertainment lately, in my opinion. With that said, he's not the only person who deserves credit for this show. Written by 12 people throughout the course of the eight episodes, there is clearly more than one voice. The directors don't exceed more than four, but the writing, although fantastic for the most part, felt a little jumbled in certain episodes.
I'm ready to shout at the rooftops about how much I loved watching this show and how the feel-good aspect of it will make most people smile, but I'll also admit that it's not exactly perfect one hundred percent of the time. In particular, the third episode titled, Take Me as I Am, Whoever I Am, was a mixed bag for me. Starring Anne Hathaway, this episode follows a bipolar woman who can't seem to keep a relationship going. On its surface, the concept of the episode made for some great moments, but the whole feel of the episode felt out of place from the rest of the series and almost matched the main character's personality. Maybe that was a creative choice, but it didn't work for me.
Overall, the emotional threads that are precisely placed throughout the course of this show truly hit home when they need to. Episode one is my favourite episode, as it makes you feel good on the inside before diving into a few meaty romance tales. Modern Love has a lot of effort and care put into it by everyone involved and the final episode only accents that notion. Although I didn't quite love every episode, this is an extremely commendable piece of anthology storytelling that I absolutely recommend. If this was a four-hour film, I would be calling it one of my favourite films of 2019. This is a fantastic series so far and as far as how it plays out, I'd be happy if this is all there ended up being.
Film and television will forever be a medium where people share their stories involving addiction. Whether it's substance abuse, alcohol, or something more personal, addiction is an issue in for many individuals. Euphoria is one of the latest in a long line of projects that dives quite deep into this, which will definitely divide certain viewers. Shows/Movies like this are always a touchy subject to tackle because you want it to feel authentic without offending or influencing people. This is a very hard series to sit through and will absolutely lose viewers throughout the very first episode, but if you're willing to dive into what this show has to offer, you may find some great elements as I did.
To put it simply, this first season of Euphoria explores the lives of teenagers as they struggle with getting over drug addictions and sexual abuse. Most of the characters continuously make bad decisions and say the wrong things. This trend usually leads to some very uncomfortable scenarios, which is what makes this show a hard watch, pretty much from start to finish. This was the first show in a long time that I found myself invested in, but just couldn't binge it all in one day, due to the material being presented. If for nothing else, this shows truly goes for it at times and I was left unnerved.
Where Euphoria truly shines is within both its performances and overall look. This series is shot terrifically by four very talented cinematographers. Every shot meant something and specific frames felt adjusted for a good reason. This is only elevated by the engaging central performance by Zendaya and many other standouts like Nika King, Alexa Demie, and Eric Dane to name a few. They all played their age groups very well in the context of this show and made this overall world feel very grimy and raw.
From explicit nudity to multiple rape sequences, graphic drug scenes to straight-up murder, this is a show that requires you to not only be a mature viewer but also willing to let the show take you on a journey that will not be pleasant. There is so much of this that it did slightly begin to turn into a negative for me, but everything else surrounding these aspects was so well-done that I was at least admiring the visual appeal it delivers. The fact that this show revolves around someone who has already been through the worst years of her life and is now in recovery actually made some of these elements bearable because there was a nice balance.
Overall, Euphoria is a series that warrants the praise it has been receiving from people, and even though I would give it more than a solid recommendation, that also comes with a massive asterisk. It is a painful watch at times and the actions of many characters will probably make more than a couple of viewers sick to their stomach. It's very well-made and well-constructed, with great performances, fantastic camerawork, and a truly lived-in environment, and that alone has me wishing to talk highly about it, but I would absolutely stress caution before viewing. Euphoria, in the end, has a great first season.
From streaming services to buying movies and shows on digital platforms, the way of watching content will be forever shifting. With an endless slew of streaming services, there will eventually be too many to afford for most people, but while we have the ones we have, we should be able to bask in the fantastic content we are receiving from most of them. Amazon Prime has recently graced us with the first season of their highly anticipated The Boys, and all I can say is that it's worth all of your time to sit through it. It may be incredible gruesome and absolutely too violent for certain viewers, but I'm sure many viewers will call this one of the best new shows to be released in 2019.
In a world that feels like a rip-off of the DC Universe and has a very similar cast of characters to the Justice League, most of the "heroes" use their powers for evil but make themselves out to be heroes to the public. Throughout many vile and graphic sequences, the audience consistently gets a taste of what these people are truly capable of, but the protagonists are truly the characters who are on the hunt and believe the heroes to be what they truly are. This diverse collection of characters makes for a very enjoyable show.
All having their own reasons and backstories for where and why they are where they are, The Boys celebrates the Superhero genre, while also ripping it apart. This series, although bloody, will be a breath of fresh air for those who have grown tired of this medium in cinema and on the small screen. Personally, I don't find myself garnering any fatigue when it comes to superheroes in the live-action format, but I too felt this show was needed with the flood of content we're receiving at the moment.
Karl Urban as Billy Butcher steals every scene he's in and his back-and-forth with Jack Quaid as Hughie Campbell is worth watching alone. On top of these two great performances/characters, Erin Moriarty as Annie is really the catalyst that brings everyone together and her character evolves a great deal throughout the course of the season. The group of heroes known as The Seven are truly all twisted and likeable in their respective ways, but Homelander, played by Antony Starr made my skin crawl the most. This is a show about terrible people doing terrible things, and there are some truly jaw-dropping moments, but if you can find a way to get enjoyment out of that, I think you'll love it as I did.
In the end, this was a stellar first season for a show that wasn't even on my radar until recently. I can't wait to see what the future of this show has to offer. Amazon Prime has released one of the most refreshing shows of the year. From surprisingly great camerawork and direction that feels both inspired by generic superhero fare and horror alike, this group of directors gave it their best in bringing something special to the small screen. I can't recommend this show enough. At a mere, breezy eight episodes, The Boys is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Whether through television or feature films, the Horror genre has been on an upward trajectory for years recently and if The Haunting of Hill House is anything to say about the future of the genre as a whole, Id say the bar has been set even higher for the foreseeable future. Not being a huge Horror fan in general, I wasnt thrilled about visiting this new Netflix show, but Im definitely glad that I did, because its not only one of the best things that Ive seen from this genre in a long time, but easily one of the best television shows Ive seen in years. From its storytelling to every one of its well-rounded characters, heres why I believe even non-Horror fans may end up loving this series as well.
Taking place equally in the past and present, The Haunting of Hill House follows the Crain family as they deal with the fact that their childhood home has haunted them in the past, and may always haunt them for the rest of their lives. Still dealing with past events in the present, this is a show with a lot of potential and room for a lot of surprises. Thats really all I can say, due to the secrecy this show needs when recommending to others. Every episode has a shocking revelation that sent chills down my spine and left me yearning for more. I couldnt stop watching this series. There are very few shows out there that I find addictive, but the cliffhangers and story revelations of each episode kept me on the edge of my seat.
Not only is the way this story is presented unique, but the overall filmmaking of it blew me away at times. Particularly in the sixth episode, the camera is seemingly doing one continuous take throughout the majority of it, even when transitioning from past to present, and I just felt like rewinding and watching the entire sequence again (although the performances did feel like a stage play throughout this episode). The effort that went into this episode, along with every episode for that matter, deserves a standing ovation in my opinion. This isnt a show that will terrify people for years and years, but the way the story unfolds and twists occur may just leave people frozen with goosebumps. My jaw was on the floor on multiple occasions.
This cast is almost too great to really break each and every performer down, so Ill simply state that the acting was near perfect across the board. Yes, young Luke and Nell played by Julian Hilliard and Violet McGraw felt slightly off at times, but given their age, I found myself more impressed than put-off, so it wasnt much of a complaint. From the always great Carla Gugino to Elizabeth Reaser (who never gets enough credit), Henry Thomas to Michiel Huisman, and Kate Siegel to Oliver Jackson-Cohen, I very rarely found myself cringing when a line was delivered. This cast was very well-assembled.
I didnt brush past young KcKenna Grace or Lulu Wilson, because I feel they deserve their own conversation. Ive seen and been impressed by their performances in the past, but they truly have an insane amount of talent for their age and will have a very bright future if they stick to this craft, which they clearly have a knack for. I cant wait to see more of them. A cast is only as good as their director, so it should come as no surprise that Mike Flanagan knocked it out of the park.
For those who have seen his work in the past, you know he is one of the best in the business for this particular genre at the moment. Having worked on the very solid Ouija: Origin of Evil and the fan favourite Netflix movie Geralds Game, I was automatically going to check out his next project. The way he presents each and every scene was done with care and precision. Whether or not this was a passion project of his, it truly felt like one. The attention to detail behind and in front of the camera was astonishing to me.
In the end, The Haunting of Hill House tells an age-old story of a family being haunted, but it does so in a way that felt incredibly fresh. I was hooked from episode one and remained that way until the final frame of the show. I believe this season is the only season being made, which is great because it can be recommended to people as a lengthy ten-hour film. Aside from a few scenes feeling like a stage play in terms of performances, I loved every second of this show. Just when you think you may be starting to lost interest in a certain storyline, it hits you with a revelation that will have you asking more questions. I cant recommend this one enough. Incredible storytelling all around.
Admittedly, Im not someone who has seen every film based on the Jack Ryan novelizations, nor have I read any of the novels, which is really saying something when speaking of the about of media I do consume. Upon my viewing of the first trailer for this new series released by Amazon Studios, I felt the desire to hop on board. While many fans may love or hate this series for following or straying quite far away from its source material, I was able to watch with a fresh pair of eyes, so take my review with a grain of salt if that will make you judge my viewing experience. This will purely be my analysis of this first season of Jack Ryan, in which I wont be comparing to any of the previous materials. That being said, I had a great time watching this first season and I think many viewers may get the same experience that I did, depending on how you let source material affect you.
Starting his career as an analyst for the CIA, Jack Ryan (due to his sparse knowledge) is thrust into the battlefield and becomes the CIAs most sought-after asset in uncovering horrible truths of terrorism that could directly affect the life of the president and many more. With the exposure of Suleiman, played fiendishly by Ali Suliman, many layers are added to this show that almost feels unnerving at times. While I never used to think John Krasinski would take the roles he has been taking lately, I truly bought him as the title character here and the interrogation that he shares with Suliman towards the beginning of this season was heart-pounding. This specific moment is what sets everything in motion, but not quite everything is sunshine and rainbows throughout these first eight episodes.
Quite honestly, although its very well-done, I found this season to focus a little too heavily on the Suleiman family. A big portion of the show is the plot to ensure his family is safe, and while Dina Shihabi gives a fantastic performance as the wife of the aforementioned terrorist, I felt that the show was trying a little too hard to make you feel for these characters. Yes, one of the biggest plot points of the show is to make sure they get out unscathed, which should always be the top priority in a story like this (as well as the rest of the threatened population), but I didnt feel that enough time was given to the character of Jack Ryan himself. He sort of bookends (for lack of a better term) the first season. He is very prominent throughout the first and final episodes, but there are nearly entire episodes given to the family of the terrorist. This was slightly off-putting to me, as were rooting for someone with less screen time than the villain.
Thankfully, I thought the rest of the show was terrifically put together. Although a lot of time is given to the terrorist's family, it does make for a much more emotional story by this seasons conclusion. The action is great when it comes into play and John Krasinskis loose bromance with his boss throughout the course of the entire season (played by Wendell Pierce) was easily my favourite aspect. I cant wait to see where these two characters progress in future seasons. With a mere eight episodes, this show never feels like it drags on very much. Everyone and everything is given their due and I was ready to keep watching as soon as an episode concluded.
In the end, the first season of Jack Ryan, by a crew of multiple writers and directors, is extremely well-constructed from start to finish. Every character is thought out, and just when you think Jack isnt getting any screen time, hes either given an awesome action sequence, a nice character progression within his love life or uncovering secrets that will give much-needed answers in future episodes. Although I do have to state my bias towards not enjoying how unbalanced it was in terms of how much screen time is given to the villains storyline, I still found myself riveted from beginning to end. I can gladly give this first season of Amazon Studios Jack Ryan a recommendation to fans of the genre, but possibly leave your hopes at the door if youre a die-hard fan of the novels and are wishing it to stay in a certain line.
For so many reasons, I never felt that I was going to ever watch this series, let alone feel the need to review it, but did I ever eat my words when watching the first season of Cobra Kai. After the success of the original Karate Kid film, three lukewarm sequels were formed as a result of its success, and while they werent ever known as abominations, I never needed anything more from this franchise. When the original film was reimagined and cast Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in the lead roles, I really had no thoughts about ever seeing the original cast members again, but once again Ive been proven wrong. Heres why this first season of Cobra Kai is better than anything that has come out since the original film that had any relevance to The Karate Kid.
Decades later, Daniel LaRusso now owns a car company and lives a very wealthy and happy life with his wife and two children. Since his life has become that of a fairytale ending, the show is focussing far more on that of Johnny Lawrence. Fired from countless jobs and barely getting by, Lawrence finds himself reopening his old dojo in order to face his past demons. Gaining a new trainee in Miguel, this character fits the persona of Larusso from the original film pretty well, but there are definitely differences. Everyone has their share of arcs to go through from the time this show starts, until the very last shot of this season, but the most interesting character for myself was Robby Keene, played by Tanner Buchanan.
This is a character that you start off hating, but then realize you may have to rethink your thoughts on the entire show after just a couple episodes. Yes, Ralph Macchio gives his all here and William Zabka impressed the hell out of me every time a comedic or dramatic moment would arise for his character, but I found myself emotionally invested in Robby the most. There are many subplots and callbacks that relate to past events, but they never feel forced. They are either done in a playful way or used as a tool to further this new story. I never once found myself annoyed when portions of the classic story were referenced.
This brings me to my experience of this show in general. From the music choices to the call back with the very recognizable score, this is a show with a lot of energy when it needs to be exciting, while also being a show that displays no fear in slowing down for emotional or tender moments between characters. There were multiple occasions when it felt clear that the writers had kept a close eye on character details when weaving classic storylines into this television series. What also surprised me was the fact that footage is used from the original film every now and then in order to fill in the gaps for those who may not have seen the original movie from the 80s.
In the end, Cobra Kai is a worthy successor to The Karate Kid legacy and I cant wait to see where they go next. I hope this show is renewed because many possibilities are left wide open at the end of this season. To put it bluntly, I never expected to love a show that I thought looked absolutely atrocious from its trailers, but I honestly cant recommend checking this out enough. Great nostalgia for people who grew up watching the original movies and also features great life lessons for young viewers who wish to start fresh with this show instead of catching up with previous installments. For everything this show sets out to accomplish, it does so in spades and always keeps you guessing. Yes, there are some very cheesy moments, but thats also what make the original movies such a joy to watch. Aside from cringing at a few lines of dialogue, I absolutely loved watching Cobra Kai. I cant wait for more.
Now streaming on YouTube Red, this show is worth a subscription to their service alone. Definitely check this one out.
Whether or not you watch primetime television and take a chance on a show being good or terrible, or youre someone who waits to find out if a series is any good once its run has concluded, there are a few broadcasters who are known to have quality content more often than not. While I cant consider myself a huge television buff, as my love is directed at watching films over series, HBO has always offered a plethora of incredible content for me. What I admire about them is that theyre not afraid to take risks in the material that they allow to be put into their shows. Whether its insanely risqué content throughout Game of Thrones or controversial storylines throughout True Detective, theyre all about delivering masterpieces before worrying about backlash from certain viewers. Once again, one of their latest shows in Big Little Lies will definitely be disturbing to some viewers, but its also one of the best first seasons to a new series that Ive seen in quite some time.
Told linearly while also flashing forward to interviews in order to give clues about what make occur in the future, Big Little Lies follows a group of women and their children as they deal with lifes hardships. While many of them are privileged, the fact that they all have issues is what grounded their characters in reality for me. There is a murder on the horizon and many other secrets that are in dire need of answers. These elements are set up within the first couple of episodes and trust me, the payoff is more than worth it. For every slow moment, theres an inciting incident that makes them worthwhile. It may seem slow at times, but I believe every moment was necessary throughout this season.
From Reese Witherspoon to Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley to Laura Dern, and even Alexander Skarsgård to Zoë Kravitz, this is a cast that seems impossible to even ponder about upon first viewing. In all honesty, aside from Woodleys character in Jane Chapman, every other character has either an annoying or hatable trait. This can be quite tiring at times, due to the fact that it seems like the show wants you to dislike everyone youre following. That being said, there are redemption moments and a few of the characters will be on your good side by the conclusion of this first season. When youre building toward revelations, you need to keep your audience engaged, and thats where I find this show to be the strongest.
From the very first episode when Jane moves to this new town and has her son being accused of harassment at school, accusations spark rapidly and friendships are gained and fall apart constantly. This alone builds tension and the addition of sexual abuse, an eventual murder, cheating, counselling, and countless other aspects come into play, making this show an unmissable ride in terms of drama and surprises. The way it jumps forward in time allows you to predict certain things, but how they happened blew me away and I feel as though many viewers will share that same reaction.
In the end, as far as first seasons go, I honestly cant see where any improvements can be made. There are a few loose ends to explore in coming seasons, but this season feels very self-contained. Big Little Lies is a surprisingly incredible show that I cannot wait to continue watching. Its meant for mature audiences, but if youre a fan of good television and have yet to check this one out, I cannot recommend it enough. It can be very off-putting at times and certain storylines will slow the pace at times, but its more than worth your time. If you can get past some of the superficial characters, then I think you'll love this show as I do.
Streaming will be the way of the future because no matter how much quality content is put into theatres, each day is the further progression of those who just prefer to see a movie in the comfort of their own home. Yes, the joys of watching films in the theatre are still very much present, but when the majority of television shows are actually better than the majority of films these days, it's very difficult to argue that streaming won't eventually take over. The End of the F***ing World (although risqué and not for everyone) is one of the latest examples of a streaming service that allows creative and unique minds the freedom to create something original, solely based on it being original, rather than having to rely on it gaining attention from mass audiences. Although this show isn't for everyone or even half of the people that end up watching it for that matter, I personally found it to be one of the best new shows Netflix has released in quite some time.
This is going to sound like a messed up and twisted concept just by this simple description, but if you're willing to go along for the ride, then here it is. Following young James as his life has consisted of terrible parenting and the needs to murder animals, he has outgrown his past and sets out on an adventure with newfound "friend" Alyssa, who both have the idea of running away from home. Determined to make a life for herself, Alyssa begins to fall in love with James and they make the decision to become robbers in order to get by. What Alyssa doesn't know is that James has the dream of murdering someone and that she may just be the perfect victim for him. This makes for a very unsettling viewing experience, but don't worry, these characters do evolve and the show isn't quite as bleak as the premise itself.
Yes, this is an extremely dark show that many viewers will find more than offensive, but the unique premise of the show alone is something that I really have seen played out on-screen before. This eight-part first season was engaging from start to finish for me. Admittedly, I was turned off by certain story elements and despised the main characters for the majority of the season, but if you're a viewer who can leap over the boundaries of hatred and find a way to love to hate these characters, just to find enough curiosity as to how their stories will end, then I feel that you'll love this show as much as I did.
Charlie Covell, Jonathan Entwistle, and Charles S. Forsman all have their turn in penning these episodes, and while their body of work isn't all that large, I can't wait to see what they write next. These characters are wonderfully written, even when it comes to the secondary characters when they pass by a gas station (which was a huge highlight of the show for me), are walking through the woods, or just simply sitting and talking awkwardly, I believed these characters were real, which also felt creepy at times.
Alex Lawther is perfectly cast as James, a teenager who just may be a psychotic murder that you're supposed to care about. I was creeped out by this character from frame one of this series and I can't wait to see where this show takes him next. Jessica Barden plays an excellent companion to the character of James and watching the two of them interact is truly what made this show breeze by. At a mere eight episodes, there's so much room to expand.
In the end, the first season of The End of the F***ing World asks you to love despicable characters, go along with the fact that the central character wishes to eventually murder someone, and asks you to be okay with certain scenarios that would be all over the news in today's day and age. Personally, once I looked past all of these elements, I was able to conclude that this show is brilliant for what it tries to accomplish. I both hated and loved this show at the same time, which I feel is a testament to how effective it was upon first viewing. To those with a very, very open mind, I recommend checking out the first season of The End of the F***ing World, now streaming on Netflix.
The team-up show that everyone has been waiting the past few years for has finally arrived. Daredevil has been a show that is universally cherished for the most part, and most people seem to feel the same way about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, but Iron Fist being the lead-up to this team-up was quite the letdown. Myself included, everyone deserved to be nervous for this new series, due to the fact that the hype was starting to die off, but that's precisely why I think I loved it so much. If you're someone who's been worried about this being a disappointment, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. The Defenders may just be the best show that Marvel has released on Netflix for multiple reasons, and here's why.
Unlike the shows that preceded it, The Defenders is a breezy eight episodes, rather than the 13 that we've grown accustomed to. This definitely worked in its favour, making for far less extended stretches of dialogue and a much quicker pace. Picking up pretty soon after the conclusion of each one of these characters final episodes, as soon as a conspiracy is started in New York, Matthew Murdoch, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Danny Rand all find themselves pursuing the same clan. The Hand is a clan from the show Daredevil, and you'll find many of the plot elements from each of the respective shows flowing over. The show is solid throughout its first couple of episodes, but once the team finally begins to converse and work together, it became pure gold.
We've seen Luke Cage and Jessica Jones interact throughout their respective shows, but Danny Rand and Matt Murdoch have been pretty much on their own until now. The second they all share the screen together, you'll be sold from the start. From emotional ties, to comedy, to pure awesome action, this team is well worth your time. They are all so different and eventually grow on each other, making for a emotionally satisfying conclusion to the first season. To be quite honest, just like I felt at the end of the first Avengers film, I just wish they would continue working as a team instead of going back to their own shows, because it just works so much better this way.
While I don't look back on this first season and remember any glaring issues, it's not without its cliches and tropes that the Marvel brand has been known for lately. Sigourney Weaver began as a very solid villain and I was looking forward to seeing her arc grow, but she's not quite utilized enough to really make herself memorable in this universe, but that might just be me. As far as the climax goes, it's wonderfully constructed and a blast to watch, but the continuity is thrown out the window and there are quite a few clerical errors made that I just couldn't ignore. Aside from those gripes, this is a very well-constructed first season, showcasing loveable characters (yes, even in Danny Rand this time around).
In the end, this first season of The Defenders feels more like an elongated film, culminating the events of everything that has come before it. There are emotionally motivational moments, empowering and well-choreographed fight sequences, along with some extremely well-written episodes, and pacing that will have you clicking onto the next episode at a very rapid rate. This season can be watched in one sitting, easily. If you have enjoyed any of these characters in their shows and have made it through the franchise thus far, then I think this series will blow your socks off in terms of entertainment in comparison. It suffers from a few classic Marvel tropes, but that's not much of a complaint. The first season of The Defenders is fantastic from start to finish.
Television shows like this have been around forever. Whether you think back to shows like Cheers, Friends, or even recent ones like That 70's Show or The Big Bang Theory, friends and relationships have always been an easy sell for mainstream audiences. While Friends from College definitely doesn't break any new ground for the genre, there's definitely an audience for this new Netflix series. As far as sitcoms go, this is about as middle-of-the-road as you can possibly get, but it really all comes down to the characters and whether they are relatable enough to hold your interest. This is not a show I'll probably ever feel like revisiting, but the first season is only four hours long, so I can't see anyone complaining too much if they throw something like this on during their free time. It's not that Friends from College is a bad show, but here's why it's not very memorable.
A down-on-their luck couple returns to their hometown in order to live with some of their friends from college as they get back on their feet. Flings begin to circulate throughout some of the friendships and many hearts will likely be broken by the end of the season. That's the basic outline of this first season and it's just as predictable as that description is. The most disappointing aspect about this show is the fact that I enjoyed watching every single one of the actors/actresses converse on-screen together, but none of them felt like they were being given enough to truly showcase their talent. Most notably Keegan-Michael Key, who is one of the most talented of the entire cast, feels like he is overdoing some portions of his character, because the script was too under-written.
The standout portion of this first season was the interaction and believability of the friendship between Ethan (Keegan-Michael Key) and Max (Fred Savage), because it felt real. Their bond that grows even more throughout the duration of these first eight episodes is terrifically performed, enhancing the rest of the cast around them. Every time these two were on-screen together, it raised the enjoyability level for me. The rest of the cast plays off of them very well and that is easily the best aspect about this show. Sure, the scenarios are relatable, but it's the characters themselves that feel the most true to life.
This was a slightly frustrating first season to sit through, because the first episode felt very average, but I enjoyed the characters enough to continue onto the second. The second and third episodes seemed to have a much brisker pace to them and I found myself laughing quite a bit. Sadly, after the first few episodes is when the show becomes too predictable to fully enjoy. Each episode becomes more and more predictable than the last, making for a very disappointing conclusion that really has me on the fence about wanting to continue watching if this show ever gets renewed. This is about as mediocre as you can get.
In the end, it does seem like I'm bashing this show more than I'm praising it, which may be true, but only due to the fact that there's nothing fresh about it. The performances and scenarios are still all very enjoyable and those aspects held my interest the entire way through the first season. Friend from College definitely has its funny moments and some viewers may even come out of this season loving the comedic aspect, but other than these positives, it's just a predictable sitcom from start to finish. You can see the cliffhanger coming from a mile away and it's probably going to be difficult to hook you for season two, but I also can't say it's a bad show in any way. Friends from College is average at its best and equally average at its worst.
In a time where films and television shows have been placing females in the spotlight, whether it's big franchises like Star Wars or even action films like the upcoming Atomic Blonde, there seems to finally be a much deserved balance. Back in the day, where actually GLOW takes place, this was definitely not a thing. For this reason and many more, now seems to be the perfect time to release a show like this. Released exclusively on Netflix, this first season of GLOW is a very easy watch at a mere 10 episodes, all being roughly 30 minutes in length. While the outline of this story will seem familiar to some, there is also a sense of originality present throughout this entire season. Feeling fresh and worthy of being told, here is why I believe these first five hours of GLOW deserve your attention.
From the very first episode, this show provides insight into the film/television business and reminds viewers just how hard it is to crack into show business. That being said, it has been done before in films like La La Land or even classic films like Singin' in the Rain, so what truly makes this show standout among the rest? On one hand, it almost seems like second nature for writers to commentate about the business they're in, but that also makes for a much more believable show/movie in the end. The writers know exactly how to write these characters, because they themselves have either witnessed similar people or have been those people themselves. There wasn't a single moment where I found myself complaining about these character traits/actions.
A television show should be able to hook you on its characters alone. The very notion of having to follow these people for hours on end is a daunting thought, so it all comes down to the fact that the show creates compelling characters. GLOW does this in spades. Throughout each episode, there was a furthering of someones arc and I found myself emotionally engaged in nearly every character. Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin are definitely the driving force of this first season, but the supporting cast all have their time to shine on-screen. I was also pretty impressed by Marc Maron (the director of the show), as I became entranced with how real his character felt, whether good or bad. Where the first season hits a few snags, which is where most shows do, is in its progression of story.
Following a group of struggling actresses/drug addicts, GLOW is essentially (and loosely based on a true story) about the making of a women's wrestling show called Gorgeous Ladies of Wresting. Going through the motions as these ladies train and get to know each other, while also diving further into their characters, this is a much more character-driven show than I was expecting, which is precisely where I find my only large issue. I found that there was almost too much focus on the characters, because this first season could've easily been a feature film length if some of it was trimmed down. Although this is an easy watch, it seems as though it could've also benefitted from a solid two hour film, but that't just how I felt.
In the end, the first season of GLOW is a highly entertaining five hours of television that is currently available on Netflix, and it's something I believe should be high on your list, simply because it's a quality show that's breezy to view. The cast is terrific, the soundtrack fits very well, and there are many references to classic films that older viewers will get a kick out of. This is a mature show with some pretty serious themes that younger viewers will not understand, but the humour is very dark and very much present. The use of racial stereotypes is offensive, but in a mature way. It shouldn't offend people, because it pokes at everyone, not singling anyone out. Season one of GLOW is a riot from start to finish.
It's arguable that television shows have been trumping the film industry as of late. There is no question that a ten or twenty episode season/series has the freedom and time to explore characters that simply wouldn't have the pleasure in a two hour feature. Preacher is just another one of the shows that absolutely deserved the television treatment. Personally, this premise is so different that I feel audiences wouldn't have flocked to the theatres for a feature film of this nature. Personally, I'm up for anything, so I appreciate the bizarre content as much as the simplest of dramas. From religion to asking you to believe that some urban legends may even be true, this adaptation of the classic comic is not one to be missed, if you have an open mind. Here is why I believe the first season of Preacher is some of the best television I've seen in years.
Easing you into the completely bizarre, there are very subtle hints at what's to come throughout the first few episodes. Beginning small while asking you to broaden your mind, Preacher follows a bunch of characters living in a down. One is a vampire, one has a dark past, one survived an attempted suicide, and the other is a preacher who has the power to make anybody do as he commands. If you watch each and every moment carefully, this show does a great job in letting you know to be ready for anything. From literally presenting God on-screen, to litterally banishing someone to hell, this show isn't afraid to take the risks that may unnerve some viewers. Like I said, if you can't go into something as a forgiving viewer with an extremely open mind, Preacher isn't the show for you.
Although it's done wonderfully well, there are quite a few flashback sequences and changes of the colour palates to really have you focus on one thing at a time. Without giving too much away for those who have yet to watch the first season, this season is pretty much just a big set-up for the bigger storyline that will be present throughout the rest of the show going forward. The conclusion of this season pretty much states that the story could've been told throughout about six episodes instead of ten. You get to know a lot of characters throughout this season, but I really don't think that will matter much moving forward. The main negative about the first season can also be looked at as its riskiest positive, so that just says how surprisingly great of a series it really is.
The things that add up to a great series isn't just the hook, but the technical aspects and performances throughout the great storyline. From Dominic Cooper to Ruth Negga, this cast is terrific and I can't wait to see more of them moving forward. Preacher is a series with fantastic cinematography and a very unique look. Once this season ends, it leaves you needing more from these characters, so I can see this show focussing heavily on character interaction moving forward. These writers have a very large field to play in when cooking up scenarios for them. From its look to its editing/music, everything about Preacher is enthralling.
In the end, this is the type of show that will have you hooked immediately when the pilot ends, as long as you are forgiving and have an open mind. That is the biggest warning I can give when recommending this show to someone. From terrific writing, to fantastic characters, to a premise that is wacky and loveable at the same time, the first season of Preacher is near perfect for what it set out to accomplish. Sure, like any television show, there are always going to be filler scenes/episodes that are usually the weakest of the bunch, but at a mere ten episodes, the baggage for this season isn't quite as bad as most. After reviewing the first season of Preacher, I can honestly say that this show can only get better and more interesting from here. There are many unanswered questions and I can completely see this show getting much crazier. Who knows if the fan base of this show will grow or if it will be able to last for a lot of seasons, but we're just talking about where the show presently sits, and it's wonderfully brutal series.
Before I dive into my thoughts on this television show as a whole, I'd like to state that I'm going to be leaving the controversy out of it. There are many people who think this show is just going to help people do the wrong thing, but I believe this is an eye opener to everyone else on how little things people do on a daily basis can affect someone personally. 13 Reasons Why is a very difficult show to watch at times, but I believe it's extremely relevant and should be watched by everyone who is of age. It's a little too extreme to be shown in schools, but I believe it serves that same purpose while viewing. Even though it can be excessive at times, here is why I believe this show is superbly crafted.
Based on the novel of the same name (which I haven't had the chance to read), I believe adaptations will always be best served in the form of a television series, as less will be left out. My main concern going in, was the fact that it may be too dark throughout the majority, leaving audiences too disturbed to continue. While there are certainly a few episodes that fit that description, I am glad that this show flashes back and forth between the happy and sad times fairly evenly. Every time this season delves into an overly somber portion of its story, it doesn't linger too much. This show always gives its audience a sense of hope moving forward.
After committing suicide for unknown reasons, it is discovered by 13 of her schoolmates that she had recorded a tape for each of them, giving them an explanation as to why they had something to do with her horrible decision. Focussing mainly on Clay Jensen, who had the closest relations with her, the show slowly unravels the truth about why she did this terrible thing to herself. On the surface, this premise should turn most viewers off, but with the countless emotional twists at the end of every episode and a reveal that is one of the most eye-opening moments I have seen so far this year, this show is one that must be seen in my opinion.
There are a few moments in the latter half of this season that will make you want to turn away, but the payoff is worth it, in a messed up sort of way. There is no way that any of the viewers will be wanting to see certain things come to fruition, but when they do, sadness will take you over, in the best way possible. This entire season is a lesson for many people, and while some viewers may be offended by the very idea of it, it's not trying to exploit this horrible occurrence that happens far too often, but shine a light for people that may be a little more oblivious than others. Does this show become too dark by the end? Yes, but it's all a part of being effective. If you are a viewer that can be up for anything, I believe this show demands your attention.
In the end, '13 Reasons Why' is a show that fully explores the horror of suicide and how it can affect everyone in the process. It's an eye opener for multiple reasons and I truly feel that this is a show everyone should watch, sooner than later. I expertise an enormous amount of caution that a few episodes toward the end are extremely hard to digest, but the end result is emotionally riveting. Written incredibly well from beginning to end, having a terrific cast, and world class directors throughout each and every episode, '13 Reasons Why' is one of the best shows I've seen in a last few years. Again, it may be a little much for viewers that aren't exactly open for anything, but if you can have an open mind and see multiple sides to stories, then you may just end up loving this show just as much as I did. Highly recommended to a mature audience.
When you have to be the follow-up to fantastic shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, you know there is a chance you will fall short, but then again, that hadn't happened until this point. Marvel has been absolutely making a killing in terms of ratings on their Netflix programming, but ever since the first episode of this new series, I knew something was going to be off. I'm sure you've heard that most of the big critics who reviewed this show early online didn't actually watch the entire show, which is why the ratings are so terrible, but that gripe aside, it's not like those reviews are wrong. Easily the weakest of the television shows to come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, here are my thoughts on why Iron Fist isn't as bad as people have been saying.
Before I begin to defend this show, I'd like to dive into the story itself and explain why it doesn't work. The story of a man who was thought to be dead by everyone after a plane crash he went through as a child, Danny Rand returns home after being trained in a monastery for many years. While nobody believes he is who he says he is, Danny makes it his mission to reclaim what he lost all those years ago. The set-up is intriguing, but the rest of the show becomes extremely bogged down by legal side plots. Him wanting to gain his share of the company owned by his father is one thing, but having to sit in on every legal meeting instead of discovering more about himself was extremely off-putting, given that this is supposed to be a superhero show. For this reason and many more, I found myself enjoying this show just as much as I was disliking it, making for a very bland experience.
I'm not trying to convince you that there is a great show buried in here somewhere, but more to try and shine a light on the aspects that most people will probably ignore when making their criticisms. Whenever the character of Colleen Wing was on-screen, there was a large sense of relief. Her character goes through an even bigger arc than the titular hero, which is a huge mistake in itself, but let's not go there. Her, along with some great fight sequences toward the end of the show make it bearable as a whole. There were quite a few moments that would immediately take away from these elements, but when the show hits, it hits hard, and I appreciated that. This brings me to my biggest flaw. When you have a show called Iron Fist that is nearly 13 hours in length, only to showcase the actual Iron Fist maybe 15 minutes at most, there is something wrong with that.
As mentioned above, there is little to no action involving the Iron Fist, which wouldn't bother me as much if there was a huge payoff for each wait. Sadly, the biggest payoffs involve Danny punching through a wall as a cliffhanger for the following episode or taking out the floor of an apartment building, which lasts a matter of seconds. Most people will defend these shows for having a low budget and only being able to go so far with their special effects, but I happen to think these shows should be shorter in general. If a few episodes were shaven off this particular show in order to allow a bigger budget and a tighter story, there would have been much more exploration into his past and how he learned to be the Iron Fist. This show fails to impress on many levels.
In the end, the first season of Iron Fist suffers from solid writing that should have been included in a show like Suits. There are two different shows trying to become one. From beginning to end, I found myself loving certain aspects, hating others, and being bored by the majority of it whenever a side character was dealing with an un-interesting issue. Suffering from a weak and underdeveloped villain, a premise that explores the exact opposite of what it should, and not enough excitement to impress Marvel fans or anyone who has been a fan of these Netflix shows, Iron Fist can only be recommended to those who have seen the others shows and wish to watch The Defenders later this year. This is a disappointing show to say the least, but there are some very solid moments worth waiting for. It's not as terrible as the reviews are saying.
Psycho is one of the best horror films ever made. Some people may find it extremely dated and the scares that terrorized audiences back in the early 1960s may not be as effective anymore, but for its time, it's incredibly done. Alfred Hitchcock will forever be known for his work on this classic film, and would also be proud that such a solid show has been made that takes place beforehand. The fact that this show takes place in current day with cell phones and flat screen televisions is neither here nor there, but I truly believe this is a worthy successor to the classic film. As we come to the conclusion of this series on February 20th, may answers are still yet to be seen. Is this fourth season of the hit television series the best one so far? As we very patiently await the final season of the show that everyone has been talking about for the past four years, let's reflect on the penultimate season of Bates Motel.
Spoilers to follow.
Up until this point, there really hasn't been a real sense of happiness throughout this show, and while Norma and Norman have had their moments, their relationship has always been off-putting and creepy. Having Norman finally agree to go to an institution and having Norma fall for Sheriff Alex Romero was easily one of the best portions of this season. It showed that even when someone can be at their lowest, someone else can always bring you back up. This season definitely deals with the darkest themes thus far, but it also showcases some of the lightest moment this show has ever had. I teared up a few times throughout this season, and not due to a character death, surprisingly.
Assuming everyone who is reading this has seen this season in its entirety, seeing the transformation of Emma's character was truly remarkable. Dylan caring enough to give her $50,000.00 and move away with her was absolutely a wonderful transition for his character and these two continue to be my favourite characters this show has to offer. Yes, Norman, Norma, Alex, and Caleb are all fascinating to watch on-screen, but these two have always been the most relatable, as far as being around each other goes. These two have come a long way, and even though not many of these characters (if any) make an appearance in the classic film that this series will eventually tie into, I can't wait to see how their arcs come to a conclusion.
Look, if you have seen Psycho, you should be expecting this show to take a very dark turn. Now, I won't say that you should definitely be expecting it to fully tie-in to the film, due to the fact that it takes place in a different time period, but they may just end up remaking the plot points of the original. Normally I would be against something like that, but they have come this far in modern day that it wouldn't really make sense for the finale to be a tie-in to the original film. It seems as though they will have to periodically pepper in some of the elements and complete the series with an ending that takes place after the theatrically released film, due to the fact that the ending wouldn't be surprising otherwise.
Some may choose to disagree on this statement, but I truly feel that each season improves on their predecessors. The first season was a solid start, the second was great, the third was even better, and I found hardly anything to complain about here. This season has some of the best moments of the entire show, some of the character arcs come to a close, and Norman definitely earns the title of psychopath. Channels like HBO and AMC have proven themselves to have the best shows on television in terms of quality, but there are a few gems out there in the primetime slots as well. Bates Motel has become one of the best shows currently running on the air right now. The fourth season of Bates Motel is amazing and I can't wait to see how this show concludes. Are you as curious as I am? Tune in on February 20th to witness the beginning of the end.
When it comes to television shows making it past their first couple of seasons, it goes without saying that the quality of the show is either fantastic, or the fan base remains, regardless of the ratings. For Bates Motel, season three is yet another season that improves on its predecessors, solidifying that this is a show that gets better with age and much more mature as the seasons progress. Usually a show's third season is where things either begin to die out and become boring or just dives into deeper and more brutal material. The third season of Bates Motel is definitely the latter of that statement. Here is why the third season of Bates Motel continues the prequel series in an incredibly satisfying manor.
SPOILERS TO FOLLOW.
Throughout the first and second seasons, Bates Motel has been known to shock its audience with a twist every now and then, as well as creep them out in a big way. Season three ups the anti as far as the creepiness factor goes, having Norman wear Norma's clothes when she is not around and having visions of his mother in a much more sexual manor than ever before. For some viewers, this may be slightly more than what they bargained for when getting into this show, but if you have seen the film Psycho, you should know that the story is just going to become more messed up and twisted from here on out. If this show does one thing well, it's keeping the audience creeped out 24/7.
When characters are explored and shown in a new light, it brings much more suspense to the story at hand. Dylan and Emma are two of the best characters on the show when they are given their moments to shine. Having said that, they have never had that much screen time together until this season, and seeing Emma drift away from Norman, to become infatuated with his brother Dylan, all while Dylan is trying to come to terms with the fact that his father is his mother's brother, is even more of a shocking twist. Her shy personality gleams off the screen and his portrayal of the badass, good-hearted accident-child is more than worth your time. Their chemistry has become my favourite portion of the show throughout this season.
Although this season is trying to move the story forward at a very rapid rate, there are some very key episodes that return to past storylines, bringing in certain characters that have been absent for quite some time. Yes, there will be an eventual tie-in to the classic film when the show concludes, but that is still a couple of seasons away. There is quite a bit of room for exploring the past, having characters re-appear, and building up more secrecy, along with exciting twists. This is the darkest we have seen the character of Norman yet, and even though I know where his character will be in the future, I can't wait to see how he gets himself to that point. There are two seasons left. Let's see what they have in store.
Bates Motel is the type of show that should have worked as a mini-series, but has somehow made itself into a five season television show that everyone loves. It is very rare that a product from the past is revisited for this long and doesn't run out of steam. Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore continue to to be remarkable together on-screen as mother and son, but the inevitable future will come that will tear them apart. I love where this show is headed. In the past seasons, the side-plot about Dylan and the drug business bugged me, because it felt like filler, but they have somehow managed to build a relationship with his father and Emma around it, making it just as interesting as anything else this show has to offer. There are a few slow episodes, but I couldn't find much to complain about throughout this season. Fantastic primetime television.
When a television show is renewed for multiple seasons, it becomes a joy and a fear. Due to a lot of viewers, a show can be picked up for many seasons, but not have any ideas on how to do that, so it completely falls apart, loses viewers and gets cancelled. On the other hand, they could be absolutely praying for a specific number of seasons and have a story ready from beginning to end. Yes, in the case of Bates Motel, is is based off of pre-existing lore, making it much easier to tie up loose ends when asked to. Bates Motel comes to a close this year, most likely tying into Pyscho in the way that Rogue One: A Star Wars story did for Star Wars back in December. Let's have a look back on the very solid second season.
While it's a very small world to take from in terms of building off the film, Bates Motel continuously finds new ways of surprising its audience, even if it is in a morbid or grotesque way. Dealing with incest, drug wars, and desires of many kinds, the second season of Bates Motel does not hold back. There are moments throughout season one that felt as though it was trying to hold the audiences attention, by not going too far into morbidity, but that is precisely what makes this second season an improvement. While still sticking with the same characters and tones, we are able to see much deeper into every characters dark past. It can be disgusting to hear about, but it really just makes the show much more engaging.
Any great television series keeps the attention of its audience by making sure that not every answer has been fulfilled until the very end. What Bates Motel does so well in season two, is have its big reveals, only to be backed up by another secret being kept from someone. There is an ongoing secrecy with everyone throughout this season, and I loved that aspect. Having to explore the disgusting ramifications left over from the first season, many things are wrapped in a nice bow, while others are still yet to be answered by the tenth and final episode of this season. This is a show that gains momentum as it progresses, getting better with each season.
Throughout the first season, Freddie Highmore definitely displayed his acting chops in a big way, but this season is truly where he shines for me. Playing off of every situation as if he had actually experienced these events in his past life outside of this show, I believed every situation he got himself into. Exploring his loss of memory and black outs is the most fascinating thing about this show up until this point. Vera Farmiga is amazing in everything she does, but the interaction between her and Highmore is truly something to love and hate at the same time. Their relationship is extremely strange, but these two performers sell it unlike anything else.
While the first season admittedly took this story in a way that no one could have predicted, the second season of Bates Motel only seems to be furthering that. Staying in the same town as Psycho and keeping the story very close to home, it seems as though this premise would have to tie into the film sooner rather than later, but setting it in the present time, rather than back in the early 1960s seems to be working in its favour. Not only does this season improve on its predecessor, but it also makes the audience demand for more, even though the end of the show will be pretty predictable. For the current stories being explored, the sky is the limit. Reality will kick in once the show hits its final season this year, but this is a great show on its own. It becomes very bogged down by the side plot of the drug cartels in my opinion, but season two is great.
I have said this before, others have said it before, and everyone will continue to say it, because it's true. Television is on an extreme high at the moment. One day in the near future that could change, but the quality of television, whether it's on a primetime network, a streaming service, or premium, is definitely where most of the compelling stories lie today. That being said, reboots and remakes are coming at a more rapid rate than ever, even in television. From Lethal Weapon, to Rush Hour, to running out of ideas and rebooting older shows, Bates Motel seemed like it would just follow that trend. Four years after it's initial release back in 2013, the fifth and final season is on it's way. In light of that, let's look back on the surprisingly enjoyably first season of Bates Motel.
Riding on the coat tails of Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, it never really seemed as though it would have enough to explore, given the simplicity of the story, especially in prequel form. Psycho is known as a classic, so I don't expect anything about Bates Motel to top it, but that may actually be a good thing. This works as a singular story that will clearly have a sad conclusion. Aside from taking place with the same family, same location, and a few minor references to the classic film, it's very accessible to newcomers who have no prior knowledge of the cinema classic that made this show possible. On it's own, it's very well made and I think that's all that matters in the end.
While it does feel odd to build 50 episodes of backstory around a 90-minute film, it does seem to want to do it's own thing, only tying loosely into the classic film when necessary. Playing out as more of character study than anything else, it does provide some great insight into some of the actions that Norman Bates will continue to do in the future. This show progressively becomes more messed up and bizarre as it goes on, but this first season really does feel like a solid thriller, with not too much weight around it. Every episode of this season is solid, but some of the character arcs are completely butchered before they are explored enough, which leads me to my few faults.
From the very beginning of episode two, it does feel as though too many characters are being introduced, and while that can be very off-putting at the beginning, it does work very well for the main characters. Everyone serves a purpose here, but it does feel choppy at times. Character motivations seem to change depending on who is around them, which really bothered me throughout this season. On top of that, although I highly commend the writing for this show, there are a few scenes where I was left scratching my head in disappointment. Certain characters would make a decision, but never follow through with it, as if that previous conversation had never happened. It was almost as though the writers forgot to include a few elements. That being said, the rest of this season is an engaging blast to watch.
The first season of Bates Motel is very engaging for what it sets out to be. The characters presented are very enjoyable to watch on screen and it makes you feel the need to continue watching until the eventual tie-in to Psycho this coming April. The character of Norman Bates (played very well by Freddie Highmore) is fascinating, especially when he plays off the characters that he doesn't get along with. He seems like such an abused kid that has gotten ahold of his strength, but always seems to be weak around the people who threaten him. I can't wait to see how this series concludes. From start to finish, aside from some big hiccups, Bates Motel's first season is undeniably effective.
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand with properties like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel, things continue to heat up for them on the small screen as well. First Daredevil, then Jessica Jones, and now Luke Cage. With the looks of things, many more shows will be on the horizon shortly. From television to the big screen, Marvel has been making nothing but enjoyable hit after enjoyable hit, with no signs of slowing down. Once they included Netflix programming as part of their cannon, a much more gritty and raw tone was able to come to fruition. Luke Cage solidifies that this tone is here to stay, and I must say, that is completely fine by me. These Netflix series' have a new formula that works, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it I guess. Although I prefer Daredevil and Jessica Jones over the first season of Luke Cage, this is easily the most mature Netflix/Marvel series yet.
Ever since his appearance in the comics in 1972, the character of Luke Cage has always felt left by the wayside. Hardly talked about unless he is teamed up with the more popular Marvel characters, it seemed crazy to give an entire live-action show to him. That being said, if anything was an indication that this show would have promise, it was the result of Jessica Jones. Although the comics explore the character in a lighter sense, it is without question that he would have to be taken extremely seriously in order to fit into this Netflix/Marvel empire that is being built. In my opinion, this incarnation of the character is incredibly enjoyable. Not knowing too much about this character before going into this debut season, I did not know what to expect, but after making it through its first 13 episodes, he is definitely a character I look forward to seeing more of.
While most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are known for having weak villains, making the stakes of each film their weakest aspect, the Netflix shows have been able to flesh out the villains in such a way that you see where they are coming from and understand their every move. The character of Cottonmouth, played by Mahershala Ali, was absolutely fantastic in his role, and while there are many other players that stand out on his side throughout each episode, he reigns supreme (acting-wise). You would think that a man who is bullet-proof and has super strength would be invulnerable to pain, making the stakes fairly low for a show like this, but the second half of this season really heat up quickly and the stakes go through the roof. There is always something happening to keep viewers on the edge of their seat.
Mike Colter as the leading man could not have been cast any better. He brings a sense of calm to the character, while also being the menace he needs to be when the time comes. Having him play off Rosario Dawson as sort of the love interest was also a joy to watch. After seeing her in multiple episodes of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, it feels like a huge payoff to finally see her character evolve throughout the course of this season. I can't wait to see where their story takes them in the future. Mike Colter was born to play this role, emoting just the right amount when a scene requires him to, and also playing it completely strait and innocent when it needs him to. Colter is fantastic!
It may seem like I am giving this show an overwhelming amount of praise, so let me make this clear. Luke Cage is a show that is the epitome of a slow-burn. If you are not in the mood to watch a slow-moving, character-building, wait for the payoff type of story, then I suggest you find something else to watch until you are. This show requires a lot of your attention, but it is worth it in the end. There is not tons of action, but when it hits, it really hits. There are a few loose-ends that I wish had been tied up in the final few episodes that are left unfinished, but hopefully they are brought up again in future seasons. This is a great show that takes a lot out of you while watching it. The first 5-6 episodes feel like they are going on forever, even though the material in them is emotional and extremely effective. When the latter half of the season kick into high gear it is pretty much a non-stop ride to the finish. Luke Cage - Season 1 is a very fun ride that I recommend taking for any Marvel and non-Marvel fans alike. This is not your average superhero tale. Great television!