Category Archives: TV Reviews

TV Review: Star Trek: Discovery

About Star Trek Discovery:
Star Trek, one of the most iconic and influential global television franchises, returns 50 years after it first premiered, with Star Trek: Discovery. The series will feature a new ship, new characters and new missions, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.

Star Trek: Discovery is available to watch on CBS All Access:
http://www.cbs.com/shows/star-trek-discovery/

Review:
CBS has kept details of the show secretive. After production and release delays, and the disappointment of the show only airing online via yet another paid service, I still remained optimistic. After all, the small glimpses, casting, and setting all looked great. And this is the first time that a Star Trek series will be serialized, rather than individual, one-hour storylines. Discovery is set 10 years prior to the Original series of Kirk, Spock, and Bones. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham – a human first officer who was raised on Vulcan by Spock’s father Sarek.

What stands out the most on first-watch is the amazing set designs and special effects. Especially with the Klingons, who have been revamped and look very different than the ones from the previous series. From costumes and prosthetics to the set details – it’s stunning and impressive. In fact, as I watched the first episode it felt like I was watching a big budget blockbuster, not a television show. The bridge design and uniforms are not unlike the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek films, yet they have their own spin. I especially liked the spacesuit design.

My biggest complaint has to do with the Klingons – and it’s the subtitles. I can’t stand reading subtitles for long periods of time, and it’s really not necessary unless it’s a foreign film. We know they’re speaking another language, so phasing to English should’ve happened at some point.

The casting and characters are fantastic as well. Michael Burnham is a tremendously complex young woman, brilliantly cast, and an intriguing main character. Doug Jones as Lt. Saru, of a new alien race, is already a fan favorite as he has a great rivalry with Burnham. And Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou of the Shenzhou is flawless as Burnham’s mentor and boss. Unfortunately, episodes 1 and 2 only show the Shenzhou, so we haven’t even met the crew of the Discovery yet. But with Jason Isaacs as the captain, I’m already excited.

Episode 1 ended in a major cliffhanger, making fans like me scramble to sign up for CBS All Access to watch the next episode. And I enjoyed the second installment even more. In fact, as I watched it I realized I immediately wanted to rewatch as soon as possible. The heart of what Star Trek about is here – optimism for the future. Though we do get to see the grittiness of having Klingons as definitive adversaries for the first time. There is plenty of suspense, adventure, drama, hi-tech gadgets, techno babble, and questions of morality. “The Vulcan Hello” itself is a wonderful example of a scenario that will make viewers think and question. It has been a long time since I found myself so giddy and geeked out about a new show. And I can’t wait for the next episode.

Will vs. The Future on Amazon

Writer and Producer Tim McKeon gave me a heads up about his latest pilot, now available on Amazon (no Prime needed!), called Will vs. The Future! He and Kevin Seccia created this fun and exciting middle-school, science fiction adventure that the whole family can enjoy.

You can watch it for free here: http://a.co/g2R8wRR

I’m hoping the pilot gets picked up by Amazon. The first episode is promising, with clever characters, an unpredictable plot, and plenty of humor. It’s reminiscent of Terminator – but for all ages. Go check it out, especially if you have a young scifi fan in your life.

Blu-Ray Review: The Shannara Chronicles Season 1

The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1 Blu-Ray

Synopsis:
Based on the 26-volume book series by Terry Brooks, The Shannara Chronicles tells the epic story of an Elvin princess, a bandit, and a half-Elf tasked with stopping the end of the world. Created and executive produced by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (‘Smallville’) and executive produced by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is shot against the epic landscapes of New Zealand.

Review:
The Shannara Chronicles is loosely based on novel The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. And I do mean “loosely.” While the first episode does feel very reminiscent of the book, it doesn’t take long before the story veers off with different characters and new story lines. And even some of the main characters meet different fates.

Hardcore fans of the novels may not be happy with the path this this series takes. But the story does still loosely follow, with many similar characters, stretching a book into 10 1-hour episodes. This series is on MTV, so not-surprisingly there is plenty of angst and it’s more sexualized compared to the book. To the point of ridiculousness at times. But overall, it’s an action-packed, dark, and dramatic series full of bold characters, grotesque creatures, and arcane magic. Some of the episodes drag a bit, but for the most part I did enjoy most this season. The end leaves off where the book did. So I’m guessing next season would be a fresh new story not found in the books, and that may be a good idea if they stray so far from the source material anyway.

The DVD set was released in June. And finally, the Blu-Ray set releases today! The quality is better and pretty noticeable. If fans have been holding out, this latest set is worth the wait. It even comes with a cooler cover design.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
– Behind-the-scenes
– Exploring New Zealand
– Terry Brooks interview
– Making of the Dagda Mor

Blu-Ray Review: The X-Files: The Event Series

The X-Files: The Event Series Blu-ray

About the Release:
Almost 14 years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of “The X-Files”™ is a thrilling, six-episode event series from creator/executive producer Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reinhabiting their roles as iconic FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mitch Pileggi also returns as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, Mulder and Scully’s boss, who walks a fine line between loyalty to these investigators and accountability to his superiors. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy®- and Golden Globe® Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

“The X-Files” – The Event Series Blu-ray & DVD Special Features:
➢ Deleted & Extended Scenes
➢ Gag Reel
➢ The Makings of a Struggle
➢ Season X: An In-Depth Behind-the-Scenes Look at “The Event Series”
➢ Monsters of the Week: A Recap from the Wildest and Scariest from the Original Series
➢ “The X-Files” – Green Production PSA
➢ Short Film – Grace by Karen Nielsen
➢ Commentary on “Founder’s Mutation” with Chris Carter and James Wong
➢ Commentary on “Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster” with David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Kumail Nanjiani and Darin Morgan
➢ Commentary on “My Struggle II” with Chris Carter and Gabe Rotter

Review:
Scully and Mulder are back and better than ever in this much-too-short season. From scary to funny, and everything in between – I thoroughly enjoyed this latest season with a bit of nostalgia but completely new stories. Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster was by far my favorite episode. Guest starring Rhys Darby, this surprising story was suspenseful and hilarious.

My only complaint is that there were only 6 episodes that build to a climactic finale with a huge cliffhanger. I hope to see a new (longer) season soon. Watching this Event made me excited to re-watch the series from the beginning.

DVD Review: iZombie Season 1

iZombie: Season 1

Summary:
From the executive producers of Veronica Mars, iZOMBIE stars Rose McIver (Masters of Sex, Once Upon a Time) as Olivia “Liv” Moore, a medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life … until she’s turned into a zombie. Now stuck between half-alive and undead, Liv transfers to the city morgue to reluctantly access the only thing that allows her to maintain her humanity – human brains. But there are side effects to Liv’s new diet. With each brain she consumes, she experiences flashes of the corpse’s memories – including, at times, clues as to how they were killed. Her boss, a brilliant but eccentric conspiracy theorist, encourages her to embrace this gift and to work with an eager, unproven homicide detective to help solve these murders … and quiet the voices in her head. iZOMBIE is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley and David Anders also star.

REVIEW:
iZombie was easily my favorite new show last year. From the creator of Veronica Mars, this show has just as much humor, mystery, and fantastic character development – plus zombies. The show is loosely based on the graphic novels of the same name (which I recently and quickly devoured). Liv is a reluctant brain-eating zombie who tries to help solve murders, while keeping her nature a secret from everyone save her too-smart boss. Meanwhile, another zombie starts make a name for himself in the underworld, creating other undead and establishing himself as boss.

Each episode Liv ingests the brains of someone recently deceased and takes over their personality and quirks, making for some very funny situations. There’s also plenty of mystery, suspense, heartache, and even romance. I’m not even a fan of the zombie subgenre, but love this show. I highly recommend it to anyone. And this the show I looked forward to most coming out on DVD. I was bummed it wasn’t released on Blu-ray. Hopefully, it will make it eventually.

Blu-Ray Review: The Flash Season1

The Flash: Season 1 Blu-ray

Summary:
CSI investigator Barry Allen is endearingly book-smart, somewhat awkward late and – as a result of a scientific experiment gone awry – the fastest man alive! He’s The Flash, zigzagging through the action-packed new series from the creative team behind Arrow and based on the supersonic DC Comics character. With his life shadowed by his mother’s murder and his father wrongly convicted of the crime, Barry finds that his newfound power of super speed grants him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Barry quickly discovers he’s not the only “metahuman” created by the explosive disaster, however – and not everyone is using their new power for good. Now, to protect the innocent, Barry and the close friends who know his secret race to combat evildoers in one astonishing adventure after another that come at you like lightning in this fantastic set.

Special Features Include:
· The Fastest Man Alive!
· Creating the Blur
· Audio Commentary
· “Behind The Story The Trickster Returns”
· The Chemistry of Emily and Grant Screen Test
· DC Comics Night at Comic-Con 2014 Presenting Gotham, The Flash, Constantine and Arrow
· The Flash Factor!
· Gag Reel
· Deleted Scenes

Review:
This first season of The Flash has some great characters and continuing mysteries. Tom Cavanagh steals the show as the villainous character who hides as a wheelchair-bound benefactor to Barry. As a fan of the original show, I love that John Wesley Shipp has an occasional part as Barry’s incarcerated father. Grant Gustin is an awkward, young Flash that reminds me of a teenage Peter Parker. I’d love to see Barry’s character develop and become more confident and self-assured. My only complaint is that the villains-of-the-week are often hokey and one dimensional. I’m hoping they either make the villains a little darker or believable going forward.

One of the best episodes was the crossovers with Arrow. I’ve been really impressed with The CW and it’s quality shows these past few years. The Syfy channel had better step up.

Blu-Ray Spotlight: Arrow Season 3

Arrow: Season 3 Blu-ray + Digital Copy is available now

Summary: The Arrow has become a hero to the citizens of Starling City – but that doesn’t mean that Oliver Queen can take his eye off the ball and lead a normal life in the spectacular third season of the hit series based on the DC Comics character. A new wave of diabolical masterminds – from homegrown terrors inflicted by the resurgent Vertigo, the deranged Cupid, boomerang-wielding Digger Harkness and bloodthirsty “Brick” Brickwell to the insidious and pervasive havoc wrought by Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Assassins – threatens all he holds dear. Team Arrow has grown into a powerful force, but the dangers and secrets that hold them together often put them at odds with each other, as the shadows cast by Malcolm Merlyn and the invincible Ra’s al Ghul trigger shifts in loyalties and alliances that test them to their core. For matchless heroism under fire, this action-packed Season Three can’t be beaten!

Special Features Include:
• Second Skins: Creating The Uniforms of Arrow
• Nanda Parbat: Constructing The Villain’s Lair
• Two Arrow Audio Commentaries
• Arrow at Comic-Con 2014
• The Man Beneath the Suit – Atom’s First Flight
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes

Blu-Ray Review: The Vampire Diaries Season 6

Vampire Diaries: Season 6 Blu-ray

Synopsis:
The Vampire Diaries continues its sixth season with more delicious drama to sink your teeth into. In season five, after a passionate summer with Damon, Elena headed to Whitmore College with Caroline, not knowing Bonnie sacrificed her life for Jeremy’s. Meanwhile, Stefan and Caroline’s friendship deepened as they stood up to the Travelers, a nomadic witch tribe driven to strip Mystic Falls of magic and cast out its supernatural residents. In the shocking season finale, Damon, fearing he would lose his loved ones on the crumbling Other Side, made a huge sacrifice to bring them all back — with catastrophic and heartbreaking results. Season six follows the characters’ journey back to each other as they explore the duality of good versus evil inside themselves. Matt Davis reprises his role as Alaric Saltzman, recently returned from The Other Side. Plus, the season will make you misty-eyed as the departure of a major character will turn lives upside down and leave us asking what happened to Mystic Falls.

Review:
Big changes happen in this sixth season. Bonnie and Damon are stuck in an (seemingly) empty world stuck decades in the past. The two that hate each other the most are forced together and begin forming a strange relationship. One that will have a big affect on the season finale. The Big Bad Guy this season changes up a bit as well. From a psychotic, power-hungry brother to a surprising return of an old family member, then back again.

No one stays the same for long in Mystic Falls. Even Caroline takes a walk on the Evil side after a heartbreak she can’t handle. This season is full of surprises, mystery, heartbreak, romance, and more heartbreak. Knowing that Nina Dobrev would be leaving, meant that there would be an end to Damon and Elana – my favorite couple. It was a bummer knowing it was coming, but there are so many other strong characters and so many other stories to tell – that I have no doubt the writers can keep the show going without their central character. Caroline and Stefan have great chemistry, and they’ve barely begun. Bonnie’s back, and she and Damon have something… so who knows. We lost Jeremy, but got Alaric back – which was fantastic. I can’t wait to see what the next season holds.


Own it on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD September 1, 2015