tv shows

A Tale of Three ‘Shada’s (Doctor Who – “Shada” review)

A Tale of Three ShadasShada. The long lost adventure from famed sci-fi writer Douglas Adams. Over the years since its aborted filming, the adventure has undergone no less than three separate adaptations. The question is: which Shada is the ultimate Shada? With the release of another version of the story, it’s becoming harder and harder to figure that out, so let’s break it down in a Tale of Three ‘Shada’s. Originally written by famed author – and one-time Doctor Who script editor – Douglas Adams, Shada follows the Doctor and Romana, his Time Lady companion, as they investigate a mysterious summons from an old friend of the Doctor, Cambridge Professor Chronotis, and work to thwart the plans of the evil Skagra – a man seeking the Professor, and a book he possesses, for his own evil ends. Their adventure will take them from 1970s Earth to a mysterious Time Lord prison planet that nobody can remember: Shada. Beware Skagra. Beware the Sphere. Beware Shada. For this review, we’re gonna be looking at three particular adaptations of Shada: the 2003 BBC-i/Big Finish Productions webcast/audio adaptation, the 2012 novelization (by Gareth Roberts), and the 2017 BBC animated reconstruction.  (more…)

“Rise” is flawed, but mostly good.

Rise - Season 1Rise is definitely a mixed bag. In some ways, it’s exactly the kind of show you’d expect from the creator of Parenthood. In other ways, it doesn’t hold a candle to the quality of that show. That being said, Rise is an enjoyable show with a pilot that does a poor job selling the show’s qualities. From Jason Katims, executive producer and showrunner of “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood,” and “Hamilton” producer Jeffrey Seller, comes a heartening new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places. When dedicated teacher Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) sheds his own self-doubt and takes over the school’s lackluster theater department, he galvanizes not only the faculty and students but the entire working-class town. The cast includes Josh Radnor, Rosie Perez, Auli’i Cravalho, Damon J. Gillespie, Marley Shelton, Rarmian Newton, Ted Sutherland, Amy Forsyth, Casey W. Johnson, Taylor Richardson, Joe Tippett, and Shirley Rumierk. This review contains very minor and vague spoilers for the show (no major spoilers will be revealed, but general elements from the entire season will be discussed)  (more…)

“Timeless” continues to be enjoyable, if a bit messy (Timeless S02E01 – “The War to End All Wars”)

Timeless - Season 2I love a good time travel based show – I mean, I’m in an eternal love affair with Doctor Who for Pete’s sake – and Timeless is a pretty good time travel show. It has its ups and downs, for sure, but at the end of the day, it’s a pretty enjoyable show. From Eric Kripke (“Revolution,” “Supernatural”) and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”), Season 2 of this thrilling action-adventure series will pick up right where we left off with our heroes in the explosive Season 1 finale. We continue to race throughout history with our beloved team: Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist; Wyatt (Matt Lanter), a soldier; and Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor, in an attempt to prevent the destruction of our world as we all know it.  This season they’ll find an unlikely ally in their quest to ruin Rittenhouse, a deadly organization with plans to change history and reshape reality — even though Lucy’s family has been a part of Rittenhouse for centuries.  Still making every effort not to affect the past themselves, they will visit 1692, 1917, 1941, 1981 and more.  We’ll be introduced to the likes of Marie Curie, Hedy Lamarr, William Randolph Hearst and a multitude of other influential people throughout history. (This review will contain spoilers for all of season 1 and the first episode of season 2)  (more…)

News Update: Jesse Alexander is the New Showrunner for “American Gods”.


Neil Gaiman and Jesse Alexander


The Hollywood Reporter is now reporting that Jesse Alexander (Hannibal, Star Trek Discovery) will be taking over showrunning duties from Bryan Fuller and Michael Green for the upcoming second season of American Gods. It’s nice that we finally have a new showrunner for the show, at least. That being said, there are some worrying aspects that have been revealed through this report. For starters, it seems that the departure of Fuller and Green was a lot more contentious than previously believed.  (more…)

“The Good Place” is the Best Show on TV. Period.

The Good Place - Season 2The thing I love the most about The Good Place is how it manages to constantly surprise me each and every week. Every time I think I know what the show is gonna do, it pulls the rug out from underneath me and goes in a completely different, narratively earned, direction. From executive producer Michael Schur comes a unique comedy about what makes a good person. The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife, and thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place (which is definitely where she belongs). While hiding in plain sight from Michael (Ted Danson), the wise architect of the Good Place (who doesn’t know he’s made a mistake), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and earn her spot. The first season featured surprise after surprise and twist after twist, all leading to a world-upending finale that throws everything up in the air for season two. Helping Eleanor navigate her surroundings is Chidi (William Jackson Harper), her kind, open-hearted “soul mate” who seeks a philosophical solution to every problem; her seemingly perfect neighbors Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu (Manny Jacinto); and Janet (D’Arcy Carden), the go-to source for any and all information in the Good Place.  

(This review will feature major spoilers for season one and most of season two – and minor spoilers for the end of season two (more…)

The X-Files Continues to be Extremely Inconsistent (“The X-Files” Season 11, Episodes 1-4 REVIEW)

the-x-files-season-11-posterIn a way, this latest season of The X-Files is a return to form for the show. From week to week, it goes from a really problematic episode to a really enjoyable one, to a mediocre one, and, finally, to a new classic for the show. Equally interesting is how the best episodes of the season so far have been the ones that weren’t written by Chris Carter. Picking up where 2016’s tenth season left off, Season 11 of The X-Files follow FBI Agents Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) as they work to stop an impending apocalypse, seemingly caused by the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis), and continue to investigate the titular X-Files, a collection of cases that defy conventional thinking and explanation, while searching for their missing son, William, a boy who may just be the key to averting the apocalypse. (Mild spoilers for the first four episodes of Season 11 follow)


Goodbye, Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who – “Twice Upon a Time” REVIEW)

6As must always happen, another Doctor’s time has come to a close. This time we must say goodbye to Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor. Not only is this Capaldi’s swan song, but it’s also showrunner Steven Moffat’s final episode. For Doctor Who fans, the regeneration episode is always a bag of mixed emotions. It’s sad to see a beloved Doctor leave, but it’s exciting to get a glimpse of the new one and all the surprises that await us in the episodes ahead. In Twice Upon a Time (written by Steven Moffat and directed by Rachel Talalay), the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) teams up with his former self, the First Doctor (David Bradley) and a returning Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), for one last adventure. Two Doctors stranded in an Arctic snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. Enchanted glass people, stealing their victims from frozen time. And a World War One captain destined to die on the battlefield, but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor s story. An uplifting new tale about the power of hope in humanity s darkest hours, Twice Upon A Time marks the end of an era. But as the Doctor must face his past to decide his future, his journey is only just beginning… The 60-minute special guest stars Mark Gatiss as The Captain and Nikki Amuka-Bird as the voice of the glass woman, and will see Peter Capaldi’s Doctor regenerate into the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker). (Mild spoilers ahead)  (more…)

Some Thoughts on “The Greatest Showman” Soundtrack, “A Christmas Story Live!”, and Pasek and Paul

pasekpaul7473rtsmallIt never truly feels like Christmas for me unless there’s some kind of musical event in either the television or film world. Whether it’s a new movie musical for Hollywood or another one of those live musicals on TV (via NBC or FOX), a big part of my Christmas tradition nowadays is a new musical to watch and enjoy right before the big holiday. This year was no exception, bringing two musicals to my eyeballs. FOX just aired A Christmas Story Live! this past weekend (with a book by Robert Cary and Jonathan Tolins and music and lyrics by the songwriting duo Pasek and Paul) and 20th Century Fox is releasing a new movie musical about P.T. Barnum (of Barnum and Bailey Circus fame) directed by Michael Gracey, with a screenplay by Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon and music and lyrics by Pasek and Paul. You might have noticed a theme there with both of this year’s big, new musical offerings: they both feature the music of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Fresh off their recent success with Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen, Pasek and Paul have written original lyrics and music for The Greatest Showman as well as composing a new song for the live telecast of their 2012 Broadway musical A Christmas Story. (Also of note: one of last year’s big musical offerings, La La Land, also featured the lyrics of Pasek and Paul.) So with Pasek and Paul taking over my screens in both of the big new filmed musical offerings, I thought it worthwhile to give my thoughts on the soundtrack for The Greatest Showman (I haven’t seen the movie yet), FOX’s telecast of A Christmas Story Live!, and my general thoughts on the music of Pasek and Paul.  (more…)

History is More Magical Than You Think (“Harry Potter: A History of Magic book/BBC Documentary REVIEW) 

Harry-Potter-A-History-of-Magic-CoverI’m only a month late in talking about this, but what’s a month or two between friends? Two books, a BBC Two documentary, and an entire museum exhibit. These are the latest developments in the Harry Potter universe (as of October 2017) as the British Library launches its look into the real-life history of magic and how it intercepts J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. As a fan of both the Wizarding World and really great museum exhibits, I have to say that this excited me. I haven’t been able to go to the actual museum exhibit (as it’s in London and I am not), but I have read the official book of the exhibit: Harry Potter: A History of Magic and see the accompanying BBC Two Documentary. And it’s fab. Harry Potter: A History of Magic explores the intersection of history and fantasy. It’s common knowledge that much of J.K. Rowling’s world-building in the Wizarding World series originates from real history and myth, but just how much of it was real? Harry Potter: A History of Magic seeks to answer that question, and answer it, it does – with lots of panache. (more…)

Someone Stop Ryan Murphy From Undermining His Own Stories (American Horror Story: Cult – REVIEW)

dohxigpumaexbpxHas nobody talked to Ryan Murphy about his unfortunate habit of completely undermining the great stories he frequently begins telling? It seems to be the case with every season of American Horror Story that by the time the finale comes around, the season has built itself up to be a pretty good story only for the finale to let it all down. Unfortunately, Ryan Murphy doesn’t break this trend with AHS: Cult. He comes awful close to succeeding, too, though. The finale was nearly a perfect cap to a truly great season – my favorite since Asylum, but then that final shot of the episode happened. In Great Again, written by Tim Minear and directed by Jennifer Lynch, the events of the season come to a breaking point as the mole in the cult is revealed and Kai’s (Evan Peters) kingdom comes crumbling down around him while Ally (Sarah Paulson) makes a bid for Michigan Senatorial race. (Major spoilers ahead!!!)  (more…)