Category Archives: TV

Blu-Ray Review: Counterpart Season 1

Counterpart: Season 1 [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Howard Silk (JK Simmons) is a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machinery of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. When Howard discovers that his organization safeguards the secret of a crossing into a parallel dimension, he is thrust into a shadow world of intrigue, danger, and double cross… where the only man he can trust is his near-identical counterpart from this parallel world. The show explores themes of identity, fate, and lost love, posing the eternal question, “what if our lives could have been different?”

Review:
Howard Silk is in a dead-end job and lives a seemingly sad, dull existence. But when his double from an alternate world arrives, Howard’s life is turned upside down. The company he’s been working for has been hiding a huge secret since the Cold War. And Howard’s counterpart is nothing like him.

Counterpart is a STARZ original that I had never heard of until I received the promo. Blending science fiction and a spy thriller, this was a surprising series that I binge-watched in one weekend. I was completely hooked. It’s Fringe meets The Americans. Since it’s on a premium network, they (of course) had to throw in unnecessary nudity that otherwise would have made it a show I’d recommend to friends. It’s a pulse-pounding, suspenseful series with plenty of intrigue and drama.

JK Simmons does an amazing job of playing the same man as two distinctly different characters. They look exactly the same, but it’s obvious who’s who. It’s a slow build at times, but completely unpredictable. There are a lot of questions still lingering. And a bit of a cliffhanger ending, left me wanting more. I look forward to seeing the story unfold in future seasons.

PBS Digital Studios: The Origin of Science Fiction

Check out: It’s Lit!, the new PBS YouTube series that aims to help people of all ages explore books in a new way.

The Origin of Science Fiction
It’s the literary manifestation of our anxieties and excitement surrounding technology. While science fiction is associated with Mars, robots, and cyberpunk, its origin story is shaped throughout several centuries. This includes The Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and…Frankenstein? Check out the origin of science fiction in a brand new episode of It’s Lit!

TV Spotlight: Cloak and Dagger

Teenagers Tyrone and Tandy are awakened to newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. New Marvel show premieres Thursday, June 7!

Cloak and Dagger

I was able to watch screeners of the first few episodes. The series takes a while to push these two central characters together. But as they slowly are introduced to their abilities, and each other – they also discover their unique connection. So far, there is plenty of drama and suspense. I’m not crazy about Tandy’s bad choices so far, but I look forward to seeing these teens explore their potential and hopefully grow for the better.

Book Review: Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector’s Edition

Star Trek Discovery: Official Collector’s Edition

This is an official behind-the-scenes look at the new show. With 96 full-color pages, it has the feel of a large, hardback magazine. It covers range of topics including: how the show came about, profiles on the characters and actors, the Federation, the Klingons, a timeline of Star Trek, technology, uniforms, and some stunning artwork. As a fan of the show, I loved looking through this book. For those who have been watching After Trek, there isn’t much new information here. But it’s something tangible. And I’m a sucker for Star Trek books of any kind. Plus, the book helps to tide me over until the second half of the season airs on January 7th.

Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector's Edition Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector's Edition Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector's Edition Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector's Edition Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector's Edition Star Trek Discovery: The Official Collector's Edition

Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 Mid Season Finale Thoughts and Fan Theories

So, the mid-season finale of Star Trek: Discovery (lovingly referred to as DISCO now, thanks to some awesome crew shirts) has aired. And fans have to wait almost 2 months for the next episode. Time to ponder, rehash, and theorize on possible plot twists. If you haven’t seen episode 9 yet, don’t read any further. And I highly recommend watching CBS All Access’ After Trek as well.

I have absolutely loved this season so far. The characters have depth and are completely unpredictable. They seem more human and fallible. The actors are incredible. The sets and special effects are summer blockbuster-worthy. It seems bigger and better than just a TV show. And the writing has been exceptional, as each episode seems to get better. Each episode begs to be discussed and dissected.

This isn’t Roddenberry’s bright utopia… yet. The crew of the Discovery NCC-1031 (hint to Section 31?) is led by Captain Lorca, a mysterious man with a past that begs to be told. And the ship holds an unique, new technology for travel.

There are so many shocking plot twists and mysteries, that fan theories are inevitable. And a whole lot of fun. One that sticks out the most to me is Lorca’s obsession with Michael and her safety. My guess is that he knew her parents or had something to do with what happened to them on that station decimated by Klingons.

I love reading other fan’s theories as well. I suspected Ash Tyler was more than just a Klingon prisoner with PTSD as soon as he was introduced. But the best and most talked about theory right now is best explained here and here. Tyler is most likely Voq in disguise. Voq’s absence from the show lines up when Tyler showed up. He’s most likely a sleeper spy with plans to steal the Discovery technology. And I can’t wait to see what happens with Lorca’s tribble when Tyler enter’s his ready room.

The last episode also left us with a major cliffhanger, as the Discovery arrives in an unknown destination after Lorca messes with the jump coordinates just as the spore drive initiates. Did you catch this detail? I didn’t, as so much was already going on. I plan on a re-watch of the season soon, to catch more details. After all, the series has been full of easter eggs, especially in the Captain’s “museum.”

Did the ship arrive in a different quadrant? A different time? A different (Mirror?) universe? January can’t come soon enough.

I love reading fan theories. Star Trek certainly has the most intelligent fan base. The comments in some of the articles I’ve read are better than the articles in reference to science, canon, and minute details.

TNT’s The Alienist Premieres Jan 22

From press release:
Turner’s TNT will take viewers into the darkest corners of New York City during the Gilded Age with the eagerly anticipated series The Alienist based on the Anthony Award-winning international bestseller by Caleb Carr. Set in 1896 amidst a backdrop of vast wealth, extreme poverty and technological innovation, this psychological thriller stars Daniel Brühl (Rush), Luke Evans (The Girl on The Train), Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) and Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker). The Alienist is slated to premiere on Monday, Jan. 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT across TNT platforms.

The Alienist opens when a series of haunting, gruesome murders of boy prostitutes grips New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Geraghty) calls upon criminal psychologist (aka alienist) Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Brühl) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. They are joined by Sara Howard (Fanning), a headstrong secretary determined to become the city’s first female police detective. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and early forensic investigation techniques, this band of social outsiders set out to find and apprehend one of New York City’s first serial killers.

The Alienist also stars Douglas Smith (Miss Sloane) and Matthew Shear (Mistress America) as Marcus and Lucius Isaacson, twin brothers who help unravel the disturbing mystery; Matt Lintz (Pixels) as Stevie, a tough, young boy employed by Dr. Kreizler as a driver and errand boy; Robert Ray Wisdom (The Wire) as Cyrus, Kreizler’s valet, a man with a dark past who has been reformed by Kreizler; and Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World) as Mary, Kreizler’s mute maid with whom he shares a special unspoken connection.

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.