‘The Boys’ Season 1 deftly uses superpowered people in its military industry critique (TV review)

W

atchmen” popularized the idea of superheroes run amok, but that saga quickly moves beyond the question of “Who watches the Watchmen?” to its answer of “No one.” “The Boys” (July 2019, Amazon Prime) wallows in the question more, to its benefit. Based on a Wildstorm/Dynamite comic-book series that launched in 2006, the eight-episode first season introduces a corporation that sponsors and markets vigilante superheroes, but then it digs into the military-industrial complex. The Vought Corporation aims to have a relationship with the government similar to Lockheed-Martin, but with superheroes – not missiles — as the weapons they are peddling.

Continue reading “‘The Boys’ Season 1 deftly uses superpowered people in its military industry critique (TV review)”

It takes time, but the ‘High Fidelity’ remix eventually justifies its existence (TV review)

I

n the early going, “High Fidelity” (February, Hulu) so precisely re-creates several iconic scenes from the 2000 movie that it’s like watching a painful amateur stage production of a classic play. We might as well be rewatching the film or reading Nick Hornby’s 1995 book. But as the 10-episode Season 1 moves forward, it starts to repurpose the familiar scenes in new ways, and it ultimately justifies its existence.

Continue reading “It takes time, but the ‘High Fidelity’ remix eventually justifies its existence (TV review)”

‘Terminator’ flashback: ‘Salvation: The Machinima Series’ (2009) (DVD review)

E

ven fairly serious “Terminator” fans might not know about this oddity: There was a prequel movie to “Salvation” – sort of. “Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series” (2009) is a six-episode web series with video-game animation that functions as a 75-minute movie. Thankfully, it’s not like watching someone play a video game. It’s driven by Resistance pilot Blair Williams (voiced by Moon Bloodgood) and hacker Laz Howard, a.k.a. Ghost (voiced by Cam Clarke), who can disrupt communications signals with a secret code.

Continue reading “‘Terminator’ flashback: ‘Salvation: The Machinima Series’ (2009) (DVD review)”

Superhero Saturday: ‘Runaways’ Season 1 (2017-18) is kind of silly, but kind of good thanks to loaded cast (TV review)

W

ith an unusually long gap between new Marvel Cinematic Universe releases, I decided to finally check out “Marvel’s Runaways” Season 1 (2017-18, Hulu). Now through three seasons, it’s part of the young-adult wing of the MCU, and I appreciate that it’s more colorful, sunnier (it’s set in Los Angeles, the opposite side of the continent from most MCU goings-on) and more fathomable than the other YA series, Freeform’s recently canceled “Cloak & Dagger.” It also has an amazing cast, but Season 1 has one big problem at its core.

Continue reading “Superhero Saturday: ‘Runaways’ Season 1 (2017-18) is kind of silly, but kind of good thanks to loaded cast (TV review)”

First episode impressions: ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ Season 2 (TV review)

R

oswell, New Mexico” (Mondays, CW) returns with an excellent Season 2 premiere that smoothly reminds us of the threads from the long-ago Season 1 while also moving things forward. “Stay (I Missed You)” is written by showrunner Carina Adly MacKenzie, who continues to tap into the spirit of the original “Roswell” – the small-town haunts, the star-crossed romances, the alien mysteries, the ’90s tunes — while making a show that is often slicker and even better than its forbearer. Even though I love the original series more, I admire the way “RNM” is walking that fine line.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Roswell, New Mexico’ Season 2 (TV review)”

First episode impressions: ‘Westworld’ Season 3 (TV review)

I

love the fact that there are still some weekly shows on TV (as opposed to all-in-one seasonal drops), but “Westworld” (Sundays, HBO) is not the ideal show for this format. Then again, even when binged, it’s hard to keep all the characters and their goals straight. Still, after a Season 2 that I found tough to get through, I decided to give Season 3 a chance. And the season premiere, “Parce Domine,” is one of the best episodes of the series to date.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Westworld’ Season 3 (TV review)”

Lindelof’s ‘Watchmen’ sequel is an engrossing but incomplete study of American racism (TV review)

C

reator Damon Lindelof has taken the lessons learned on “Lost” – where time-jumping was a sometimes fun, sometimes hoary narrative device – and beautifully applied them to the nine-episode “Watchmen” (2019, HBO), a sequel to the comic/movie of the same name. Time is central to the “Watchmen” saga, the primary image of which is a clock counting down to the 1980s nuclear doomsday, especially with Dr. Manhattan existing outside of time as we mere mortals perceive it.

Continue reading “Lindelof’s ‘Watchmen’ sequel is an engrossing but incomplete study of American racism (TV review)”

‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Part 3 is a step backward for the series (TV review)

A

fter the first two parts showed a lot of potential and sometimes were quite fun, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 3 (January, Netflix) is more of a slog to get through, even though it’s eight episodes instead of the usual 10. Or maybe it’s because of the lower episode count but slightly longer episodes. The writers lean into the “Gilmore Girls” approach of telling as much story as they feel like in one sitting, but “Sabrina” should ideally use the “Buffy” approach with an act-based structure.

Continue reading “‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Part 3 is a step backward for the series (TV review)”

First episode impressions: ‘Katy Keene’ (TV review)

T

he “Riverdale” empire expands further with its second spinoff, “Kate Keene” (Thursdays, CW), about three gals and a gay dude trying to make it big in New York City in their various careers that just happen to be perfect for dramatic TV portrayals. In the pilot episode, Michael Grassi’s series – based on a title character who debuted in Archie Comics in 1945 – does some good things and some bad things. Your verdict will come down to whether or not “Katy” is your thing.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Katy Keene’ (TV review)”

First episode impressions: ‘Briarpatch’ (TV review)

B

riarpatch” (Thursdays, USA) is the latest prestige murder-mystery series to clog up modern TV screens, and whether you stick with it after the first two episodes – available for free on the USA app – will depend on your appetite for depressive lead investigators and small-town weirdness. Rosario Dawson, not once cracking a smile, plays Allegra “Pick” Dill, a federal agent on leave who is investigating the car-bomb murder of her younger sister in her hometown of San Bonifacio, Texas.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Briarpatch’ (TV review)”