First episode impressions: ‘Stargirl’ (TV review)

S

targirl” (Mondays on DC Universe; Tuesdays on CW) – one of 14 current TV series executive-produced by Greg Berlanti – falls into the category of what my buddy Michael calls “product”: something that exists for commercial rather than artistic reasons. That doesn’t mean it can’t be good, but this latest addition to the DC TV universe is as stiff as the Cosmic Staff wielded by its title character, teen Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger, “47 Meters Down: Uncaged”).

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

Throwback Thursday: ‘The Bronx is Burning’ (2007) chronicles the clash of three incompatible personalities on 1977 Yankees (TV review)

T

he first episode of the eight-part “The Bronx is Burning” (2007, ESPN) opens with a dugout clash between Yankees manager Billy Martin (John Turturro) and superstar Reggie Jackson (Daniel Sunjata) and closes with a locker-room shouting match between Martin and owner George Steinbrenner (Oliver Platt). But as we learn over the course of this deep dive into the 1977 Yankees, what played out as a ridiculous circus to casual observers was really the clash of three strong-willed men in pursuit of the common goal of a world championship.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: ‘The Bronx is Burning’ (2007) chronicles the clash of three incompatible personalities on 1977 Yankees (TV review)”

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 10 is prettay, prettay good, and I really appreciate it (TV review)

I

t’s been three years since the previous season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO), so Larry David and his writers had plenty of absurdities from the real world to turn into absurdities on the show. Suffice it to say Larry gets into a lot of trouble in Season 10, which recently wrapped a 10-episode run that’s a nice mix of political correctness inanities and everyday annoyances that only “Curb” would latch onto.

Continue reading “‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 10 is prettay, prettay good, and I really appreciate it (TV review)”

‘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)”