tv shows

HBO’s “Fahrenheit 451” is All Smoke, No Flame

mv5bzmm1zgjkzdgtnzblns00yjkyltk3ngetztixmgvkmtk2yjg1xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtmxodk2otu-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_Where there’s smoke, there is often flame. Unfortunately, HBO’s new adaptation of the classic novel, Fahrenheit 451, is all smoke and no flame. Adapted by Amir Nader and Ramin Bahrani, from the original novel by Ray Bradbury, and directed by Ramin Bahrani, Fahrenheit 451 is this weird mixture of being a modern adaptation and an original story featuring a few of the characters from the book.

Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon star in Fahrenheit 451. Directed by Ramin Bahrani and written by Bahrani and Amir Naderi, the film is a modern adaption of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel. It depicts a future where the media is an opiate, history is rewritten and “firemen” burn books. Jordan plays Montag, a young fireman who struggles with his role as law enforcer as he battles his mentor, fire captain Beatty, played by Shannon. Sofia Boutella also stars as Clarisse, an informant caught between the competing interests of Montag and Beatty. Other cast members include YouTube star Lilly Singh, who plays a tabloid reporter named Raven, tasked with spreading propaganda and broadcasting the firemens’ book-burning raids.

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Season 2 of “Timeless” Finds its Groove with “The Salem Witch Hunt” (S02E04 – REVIEW)

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TIMELESS — “The Salem Witch Hunt” Episode 204 — Pictured: (l-r) Michael Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Goran Visnjic as Garcia Flynn — (Photo by Patrick Wymore/NBC)

It only took four episodes, but season 2 of Timeless finally delivers an episode that lives up to the promise of its premise. Written by Kent Rotherham and directed by Guy Ferland, The Salem Witch Hunt follows the Time Team as they travel back to Salem Massachusetts, 1693. While Wyatt (Matt Lanter) sneaks away from the bunker to face an unbelievable truth, Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) and their former enemy-turned- teammate, Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic), chase the Mothership to the Salem Witch Trials. There they must prevent the execution of a headstrong young woman – Abiah (guest star Sofia Vassilieva), who, it turns out, is the mother of one of the most consequential Americans of all time – the yet to be born Benjamin Franklin. When Lucy is accused of being a witch, the team rallies together to save Abiah, Lucy, and all the other accused women. (This review features spoilers for this episode.)  (more…)

A Hollywood Caper That’s Not Quite as Exiting as It Should Be (Timeless – S02E03: “Hollywoodland” REVIEW)

Timeless - Season 2

TIMELESS — “Hollywoodland” Episode 203 — Pictured: (l-r) Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan — (Photo by Justin Lubin/NBC)

Timeless continues to be a bit of a mixed bag. On paper, I really like this episode. In execution, it’s better than the previous episode (The Darlington 500) but still not as good as it should be. Much of that is down to the fact that the stakes are never clearly defined and the motivations of key characters are underexplored – but more on that soon. Written by Matt Whitney and directed by John Showalter, Hollywoodland is the third episode of the second season of Timeless. When a Rittenhouse sleeper agent in 1941 Hollywood steals the only copy of Citizen Kane, Lucy (Abigail Spencer), Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) team up with Hedy Lamarr (guest star Alyssa Sutherland) to get it back. Hedy Lamarr turns out to be not only a glamorous movie star but also a scientific wizard whose discoveries led to the invention of Wi-Fi. (This review features spoilers for the episode.)  (more…)

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”.

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Neil Gaiman and Jesse Alexander

UPDATE: NEIL GAIMAN HAS SINCE SAID THAT, ASIDE FROM THE HIRING OF JESSE ALEXANDER AS THE NEW SHOWRUNNER, THE MAJORITY OF THE ARTICLE CITED IN THIS BLOG IS FICTIONAL. THIS BLOG IS PRESENTED IN ITS ORIGINAL UNEDITED FORM AS, EVEN WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT SOME OF THE INFORMATION MAY NOT BE TRUE, I STILL STAND BY MY CONCERNS.

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)

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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…)