Television

Fri
20
Nov

Westworld Meanders Aimlessly Through Third Season on Blu-ray

Westworld Season 3 Bluray

WESTWORLD releases its third season on Blu-ray, and once again it's a season where I have no idea what is happening from episode to episode, nor do I know how it all tied together. The intelligence of the hosts -- robots built to look and think like human beings -- flit back and forth from the real world to the cyber-built world to the robot-populated theme-park worlds that you never know which reality you're in -- or, indeed, if anywhere at all is real. One of the character even states that it would be the ultimate mind trip if somehow an artificial reality was built with an artificial reality inside it, so they only thought they were in the real world.

Thu
12
Nov

The Queen's Gambit an Engrossing Redemption Arc

The Queen's Gambit

Beth Harmon (The New Mutants' Anya Taylor-Joy) is raised in an orphanage until her younger teens. While there, she and the other girls are regularly given "vitamins" which include tranquilizers, to which 9 year old Beth develops an addiction. Because she is proficient in math and gets her work done early, she is rewarded with the job of cleaning erasers in the basement, where she meets the grumpy janitor, Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp), who teaches her how to play chess, a game for which she shows an amazing facility.

Thu
12
Nov

How Effective is the Psychic as a Plot Device?

Psychic as Plot Device

No matter the genre of film or TV show, some tropes remain universal. One of these is the fortune-teller or the psychic. Such readers are consulted when characters are stuck. Or indeed when the plot itself doesn’t seem to move forwards. But how effective is the fortune teller as a plot device?

Tue
10
Nov

Black Adder Meets Caligula in Hulu's The Great

The Great Season 1

THE GREAT is a comedic farce that loosely follows the biography of Catherine the Great. Equal parts BLACK ADDER and CALIGULA, the series goes out of its way to make the profane mundane, with palace life centered completely around copulation and killing.

Elle Fanning plays Catherine, the naive German woman brought to Russia to be a wife to Emperor Peter II (Nicholas Hoult), an overgrown infant with an inferiority complex instilled by his mother and father that he compensates for by doing whatever he pleases. As he is the emperor, who exercises capriciously the right of life over death of any and all of his subjects, nobody dares cross him. Indeed, most of the palace court are too daft to put up anything like an argument. Hoult plays the emperor much like Hugh Laurie's Prince Regent from BLACK ADDER, only with no filter, a leporine libido, and the attention span of a ferret on sugar cubes.

Sun
25
Oct

Lightning Strikes Twice: Warner Bros Simultaneously Releases Season 2 and 3 of Black Lightning on Blu-ray

Black Lightning Season 2 and 3

I can't recall the last time two seasons of an ongoing television show have been released back-to-back, but that's what Warner Brothers is doing with their CW superhero show, BLACK LIGHTNING, a series that began outside of the Arrowverse of their other DC Comics-inspired series that later became incorporated, loosely, through the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event -- an event that, while it didn't have an official crossover episode with BLACK LIGHTNING in the proper sense, still made its presence felt.

Sun
18
Oct

HBO's The Plot Against America Interesting Alt-History Despite Pretense at Prescience

The Plot Against America

HBO's six-part series THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA is an adaption of the Philip Roth novel of the same name, chronicling an alternate history of World War II in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt lost his third bid for the presidency to Republican candidate and aviation hero, Charles Lindbergh. In this reshuffling of events, the election of Lindbergh gave way to a populist upheaval in America, which led to a rise of antisemitism and fascism, particularly against Jewish citizens.

Fri
16
Oct

10 Most Favorite Students' Superhero Movies and TV Shows

Students Watching Television

Superhero movies are mostly seen as overly expensive special effects flicks that carry a fraction of artistic value. Nevertheless, even through their simplified narrative, superhero movies and tv shows point out the value of friendship, positive attitude, and persistence towards achieving a goal. All these messages are vital for college students because they can provide a guideline for overcoming the challenges of academic life.

We asked students for their opinion, and here is a list of 10 favorite superhero flix among college students.

Mon
12
Oct

Space Ghost and Dino Boy: The Complete Series on Blu-ray

Space Ghost and Dino Boy Complete Collection

It's Saturday morning all over again with this collection of the classic SPACE GHOST animated series. Featuring all twenty of the 1966-1968 SPACE GHOST episodes, these cartoon shorts have lost none of their appeal, due in large part to the timeless designs of Alex Toth.

Mon
05
Oct

Michael Sheen an Affable Serial Killer in PRODIGAL SON, Now on Blu-ray

Prodigal Son Season One

The premise behind PRODIGAL SON is intriguing: an professional profiler, Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne), is released from the FBI for taking dangerous risks. Upon his release, he's offered a position as a consultant for the NYPD Major Crimes division, under Gil Arroyo (Lou Diamond Phillips), a man whose been a father figure to him since Malcolm was ten years old. Gil took on that role after Gil arrested Malcolm's father -- Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), also known as the notorious serial killer, The Surgeon.

A serial killer hunter raised by a serial killer is just the kind of twisted base that could support a constant fount of intrigue and suspense. And to a large degree, it does. On top of the weekly serial killer of the week structure, PRODIGAL SON provides an ongoing mystery, a repressed memory of Malcolm's that could lead to the discovery of a yet-to-be-discovered victim of The Surgeon.

Tue
29
Sep

The Best Superhero TV Show Debuts Today on Blu-ray: DC's Stargirl, The Complete First Season

Stargirl Season 1 BD

The best thing to happen to CW superhero shows was obtaining the license to rebroadcast episodes of STARGIRL the day after premiering on the DC Universe streaming services. The show, shepherded by character creator Geoff Johns, became immediately recognized as one of the best translations of comic-to-tube in decades.

Sat
26
Sep

Legends of Tomorrow Fight Fate in Post-Crisis Fifth Season

Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 Bluray

While the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS crossover event was a mid-season interruption for most of the CW superhero shows, it was the season opening episode for LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, the action sitcom of the Arrowverse. LEGENDS began as a team of superheroes assembled to go on a time-travel mission to stop Vandal Savage, and selected because they would not be missed by history if they were killed. Since then, it has evolved into a sort of "anything goes" time-travel fix-it series, with very little super-heroing happening -- with John Constantine (Matt Ryan) thrown into the mix.

Thu
17
Sep

Supergirl's Greatest Battle is Fought in Cyberspace in Fifth Season (Now on Blu-ray)

Supergirl Season 5 Blu-ray

In the fifth season of the Maid of Might's adventures, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and her super friends find themselves going up against Leviathin, an organization bent on putting Earth through its next extinction event, ushered in at the hands of seemingly immortal gods like Rama Khan (Mitch Pileggi) and Gamemnae (Cara Buono).

But it's not as simple as that, as Supergirl's civilian life as Kara Danvers is complicated by new relationships. A new fellow reporter at CATCO, William Dey (Staz Nair), gets nosy about Kara's personal life, and has some pretty shady interactions that arouse Kara's suspicions. But his true motives become revealed later on, when Kara learns he's been undercover investigating a very bad person.

Sun
13
Sep

We Bare Bears Get Their Own CN Movie

We Bare Bears The Movie DVD

Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear move beyond the cartoon short form that has been their norm to headline their first Cartoon Network movie.

The bears' rush to the grand opening of food truck selling poutine leaves a trail of chaos in their wake -- and a slew of angry townspeople. Determined to make amends, the bears attempt to become popular by making the greatest viral video ever, by combining elements of every popular meme of the last twenty years. But when this ends in disastrous results, it grabs the attention of the no-nonsense Agent Trout from Fish and Wildlife. He's determined to bring the bears in and relocate them to a bear sanctuary.

And so begins the greatest road trip of all time, as the bears go on the lam in a police van, intent on crossing the border into Canada for freedom, love, and universal health care.

Tue
25
Aug

Crystal Hunt Bring Ensemble Sitcom to Pure Flix Streaming Service

Crystal Hunt, Mood Swings

Fans of the soaps GUIDING LIGHT and ONE LIFE TO LIVE are well acquainted with actress Crystal Hunt, who played Lizzie Spaulding and Stacy Morasco on each show, respectively.

But the actress has kept consistenly busy since her time on the daytime dramas, putting in work in films as well as other serial entertainment, suc as HILTON HEAD ISLAND for Pure Flix.

With MOOD SWINGS, Hunt gets to bring the full range of her experience to bear; not only is she acting in the Pure Flix situation comedy, she's also the creator, serving as writer and producer. With an ensemble cast featuring Robin Riker, Cristina DeRosa, Sophia Gasca, and Donna Mills, MOOD SWINGS draws its inspiration from THE GOLDEN GIRLS, and it's not hard to begin to draw the parallels between the characters once you see them.

Tue
25
Aug

History Channel's Washington a Personal Glimpse at American Founding Father

Washington DVD

Jeff Daniels narrates WASHINGTON, a three-part miniseries for The History Channel that mixes re-enactment with seated interview segments that do a deep-dive into the events in the life of George Washington, the first President of the United States.

Nicholas Rowe (YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES) plays the titular founding father in program that strips away the folk history to reveal the man beneath, complete with flaws and failures. From his first military command -- which resulted in an embarrassing attack on a French diplomatic party with Washington signing a confession branding him as an assassin -- to his tactical decisions as the Commander in Chief of his own army in the American Revolution, WASHINGTON is a story of growth and maturiing, of making mistakes and learning from them. Rowe presents a stoic Washington throughout, even when forced to make hard decisions such as hanging deserters or having mutineers execute their leaders in a firing squad.

Wed
19
Aug

The Flash Season Six: Success is Erased

Flash Season 6 Bluray

2020 was meant to be the biggest year ever for CW's THE FLASH. From the very first episode when viewers got teased with that headline from the future, we knew the series was building toward the legendary "Crisis on Infinite Earths" story -- a story which, in comics, rebuilt the entire DC Universe from scratch at the cost of the lives of The Flash and Supergirl. And while it seemed unlikely that the showrunners were going to sacrifice two of their titular characters for the sake of telling the story, expectations among fans were nonetheless high.

Wed
12
Aug

Batwoman Season One Blu-ray: A Study in How Social Messaging Defeats Story Success

Batwoman Season One Blu-ray

From its very preconception, BATWOMAN seemed to be a project destined for failure on the CW. From the inflammatory pre-show trailers to the shoe-horned identity-driven approach to storytelling, the series was determined to trip over itself to be something rather than letting an organically told story do the work for them, ultimately resulting in the lead actress, Ruby Rose, opting to leave the role of Kate Kane -- the titular hero -- after the freshman year.

Tue
11
Aug

Stargirl Wraps Too-Short First Season With Stellar Teases for 2021

The JSA: All Together Now

DC's STARGIRL has been nothing short of stellar throughout its 13-episode freshman season. The latest entry into the Arrowverse (the show was teased at the end of the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, so we're counting it), the show has been one of the most consistently fun, fresh, optimistic, adventuresome, straight-up superhero shows to have graced the CW network. There's a respect and an adherence to the source material -- not just to the STARGIRL comic book heroine herself but to much of the DC Universe in general. The costumes, the props (there's a green lantern seen more than once that I'm still waiting to see get fired up!) and the name-drops have all been enough to make a comic book fan giddy to his core.

Thu
06
Aug

The Journey to Mordor Went Faster and Clearer than Season One of His Dark Materials

HDM Season 1

The premise of Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS is one with a lot of promise. It's theological at its core, positing an alternate world much like our own, with an identical creation story of Adam, Eve, and Serpent. But beyond that, things diverge. The world is one of dirigible and balloon transport, and the architecture seems older and more industrial revolution era. But beyodn the trappings of technology, there is more: humans are born with a "daemon" -- a spirit animal that can change its form until the human host reaches puberty, at which point it settles on one specific animal. The connection between human and daemon is considered sacred, and indeed what effects one is felt on the other. When humans die, their daemons disintegrate.

Wed
05
Aug

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan Season 2: Forgettable Actions in Venezuela

Jack Ryan Season 2

I've greatly enjoyed the movies adapting Tom Clancy's novels. There was plenty of action and suspense, and you felt the character was always in a (wait for it) clear and present danger.

Now, I admittedly missed the first season of the JACK RYAN streaming series, and honestly I wasn't lost entering the second season without it. The storyline here was clearly a new beginning bringing back the titular character (played by John Krasinski) with James Greer (Wendell Pierce), and introducing Mike November (Michael Kelly). The setting is Venezuela, where the current corrupt leader, Nicolas Reyes (Jordi Mollà), is having his position challenged in the upcoming election by Gloria Bonalde (Cristina Umaña).

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