TV Shows

V Wars

Ian Somerhalder as a human in a fight against vampires? Count me in were my initial thoughts. After seeing him as a vampire for 8 seasons of The Vampire Diaries, I was hoping for a decent show. I was proven wrong. This show is a muddled mess of different ideas put forth into a melting pot and hoping one of them sticks. Its first season is 10 episodes long and it premiered on December 5th on Netflix. It starts off incredibly rocky and just filled with mistakes. For example, Ian Somerhalder’s character, Luther Swann, is supposed to be a renowned scientist working on infectious diseases. Yet, when Luther goes to the Arctic to check what happened to his research team which were working on supposed long dead viruses contained underground, he doesn’t even wear any sorta quarantine materials. He and the other lead, Adrian Holmes, just waltz right on in and get exposed to an unknown biological sample.

From there the show slowly escalates demonstrating how the virus spreads and how the country reacts. It’s set in the United States. Several continuity errors arise. Such as, how are there serial murders while Adrian Holmes’ character is under quarantine, how does one character name the vampires as bloods and literally in the next scene, everyone is now calling them bloods? Did she magically telepathically tell everyone? Also said character is pretty much the reason that everything goes wrong for the vampires under the leadership of Adrian Holmes’ character, Michael. Due to her being jealous. Supposedly her character is 19 years old. And Michael thinks it’d be a great idea to make her his second in command. Then he thinks it’s an even better idea to let an old lover become his main girl. A blind man could smell the jealousy on the young girl.

The entire time I spent watching it, it felt like I was watching a half-baked idea. The effects look good but the story and plot is just flat and boring. You have random subplots that demonstrate very little other than “here’s a new character, he can shoot a gun and he’s FBI” and “she doesn’t like that she’s a vampire and won’t feed on a live human”. See how easily that was surmised? Well the show spends 5 or 4 episodes for each character respectively to establish that. It could have been done in one episode, and then we could have some juicier plot to help fill in the blandness. Oh and the sheer amount of times a character has racked an empty shotgun is hilarious. Has nobody been taught that racking a shotgun ejects the round, and if no round comes out then you’ve clearly got an empty gun.

I’d avoid watching this mess. Hard to believe the lead actor put “15 months of heart and hard work” into it. To the point that he even had to go to the ER for being overworked. It’s a dumpster fire of propaganda. Climate change melts the ice and releases a virus? No, an idiot scientist walks into a sterile lab without any quarantine and infects the world. Internment camp for potential vampires? Something something Nazis, something something US border camps, something something China. Free government handouts of medicine turn out to be poisoned? I won’t even go into that mess. It’s one thing to tell a story about vampires, but it’s another thing entirely to force world politics and problems and mold the vampire story around that. It’s just lazy propaganda with no substance.

So do yourself a favor, and never watch this. Let it die on Netflix and join the other mass of season one only shows.

TV Shows

Stranger Things (Season 3)

Earlier in one of my previous posts, The Silence (2019 – Netflix), I stated that I hope Netflix would finally have a good monster movie someday. Well, that day arrived with Stranger Things season 3 release. I know it’s not a movie but it feels like an 8 hour long movie with how each episode is paced. Each chapter tells a specific story that, when tied altogether, is a well-told tale of horror and things that go bump in the night. The ending segments of each episode led you into what would occur the next episode and thereby gave a sense of dangling the carrot or so to speak. You want to see what happens next, and this urge is not just brought on by the mystery but also the acting of everyone involved. I wanna see Steve do more, have more antics, and I wanna see more interactions with his character and others. The same goes with Hopper, I love seeing his character be on screen. I was most fond of Joyce, and she has quite changed from the overbearing, helicopter mother we met in season one.

Compared to season one, I find this season to be almost as good. It has the same level of dread, of intrigue, and of mystery. The action, when it happens, is brutal and gory and to the point. Only one scene I couldn’t watch due to the gore, and that’s from the end of episode 7 to the opening segment of episode 8. I feel most people might get queasy at the scene, but it did delivery effective horror. I enjoyed that they didn’t shy away from violence towards the kids/teens, to show that they are not invincible and can easily be hurt. And at the same time, I enjoyed that they had the kids be rather smart and capable. The interactions between the kids and “Bald Eagle” were very enjoyable and funny.

Spoilers Ahead

Now onto the bad news, the cons for me. Why are the Russians the bad guys? I understand it’s the 80’s and cold war and the Red Dawn references (even mentioned in show), but again, like with Santa Clarita Diet, that there’s a trend towards Slavs being portrayed as the bad guys. Why can’t the bad guys being localised to your own country? There was a particular character I was quite fond of and therefore knew what fate would have in store for him. I hated that they went that way. And it’s not just that character, but another character who had achieved joy and happiness in their life only to have it dashed away. I’ve also noticed that trend in shows, to have a character achieve true happiness and, so to bring horror or emotion to your viewers, you have that character killed off.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the monster – even though it reminded me of a monster I’ve read about in some nation’s legends that I cannot recall. The effects were solid and same with all the bodies that were transmogrified. It was a heartfelt tale of adventure between friends, family and lovers that conquered an ancient evil, and in the end giving us closure while teasing us with new possibilities. I recommend this show to all science fiction and monster movie aficionados for time well spent.

TV Shows

Santa Clarita Diet

The best moment in the entire series is the segment, during the first 10 mins or so, with the Serbian General. What’s actually said and, between, what is written in the subtitles is incredibly hilarious; the ending bit of that segment had me in tears. The rest of the show doesn’t ever compare since or prior to this. It’s a pervasive twist of rooting for the villain by humanising them. Before zombies, it was vampires or werewolves, or some other mythological nonsense.

Sure, Santa Clarita Diet has me laughing at lot at Timothy Olyphant’s character Joel’s antics or Skyler Gisondo’s character Eric. But, all that comedy masks the pretty twisted shenanigans going on. Some of which are, to be honest, quite messed up and I ain’t looking at the screen. Most of that action does not need to be normalised. I love the two aforementioned actors and therein lies the problem. These characters represent the normalcy of the real world and having them be accepting of cannibalism is not right.

I’m glad it got cancelled. Maybe some might enjoy having the bad guys be the protagonists but I do not; neither did I enjoy having the Slavic characters be bad guys. And not only bad guys, but generally incompetent ones at that. Oh well, can’t wait to see what other projects Timothy Olyphant will do next.

TV Shows

Ultraman (2019)

My first impressions of this show was that it was Ironman meets Power Rangers, with a dash of superhuman powers. I was correct in assuming that. What I didn’t account for was some of the most inconsistent writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Sorry, not pleasure. Suffering. That’s what it felt like to watch this show. Like I’m being punished for enjoying the super-powered genre of heroes in entertainment.

The writing feels like it was written by a teenage boy with no concept of how things actually work, or how people behave. Our “hero” and I say this very loosely, because what he really is, is a coward. He lacks confidence and conviction. He constantly cries and whines about what he has to do. Supposedly, he’s a 17 year old kid. When in honesty, he’s probably more like a child… I wouldn’t be surprised if he was mentally deficit. Sorry, that’s being too kind to him. Coward is the best description.

In the first episode, he takes on a being much more powerful than he is and he shows no fear. This is purposefully done to draw you into the show before you realize the protagonist is a scared child. They show to us that our coward can leap buildings in a single bound – with no hesitation, or fear! Yet! Yet, when he meets an alien that has murdered and eaten several human beings, he breaks down crying and can’t bring himself to kill it. And yet, he was more than willing in the first episode against an opponent who hasn’t been shown to even kill anyone. Piss poor writing is what that is.

Then, our coward is shown a town filled with aliens and he has the audacity to be surprised? Bro, you can jump over buildings and punch through concrete! The world itself fought aliens in the past using our title name, and you mean to tell me that this kid is surprised at aliens living among us?

The only redeeming character is an older agent called Mr. Moroboshi and he voices to our protagonist these same very thoughts – that he’s a coward and a naive child. Being a hero means doing what others cannot, even if it means to kill. If you cannot do this, you are a coward. Saving a murderers life is not being a hero. It is being a coward because you cannot defeat your own demons.

And in the final episode, our coward has to watch an ally get brutally beaten before he finally gets the balls to do something.

I definitely do not recommend watching Ultraman (2019) on Netflix. Your time would be better spent watching the equally atrocious Alien Warfare (and trust me that garbage doesn’t even deserve a review).

TV Shows

From Flame to Fizzle

When I started watching The Umbrella Academy, I was excited and intrigued by the vision unfolding before me. It felt like I was immersed immediately into the mind of the creator of this world. The colors of the scene, with the camera work invoking the panels of a comic book, to the characters themselves: everything felt unique. It felt original. And that originality is hard to find.

Alas, like all good things, its end came swiftly just as the show’s final few episodes. There was something fundamentally wrong with the writing. It relied far too much on the tired trope of “let’s hide information that would make us all better because I think I’m protecting you when in reality, I’m making everything worse”. This needs to end. This trope is extremely overdone in the last couple episodes and… Oh, what’s this? The creator of the upcoming Witcher tv show wrote them… Hmm, past credits include the trainwreck that was the Defenders… Which also suffered from this trope. Oh no, there’s a pattern. I digress.

The Umbrella Academy succeeds best in their character’s abilities, with some being rather refreshing in today’s overfilled superhero world. For example, one of the characters is named Number 5 and he is an old man in a child’s body with the ability to teleport through space, and later on, time. Klaus, played by one of my favorite actors – Robert Sheehan, has the ability to talk to the dead, and potentially more. He nulls himself with drugs and alcohol to avoid being able to do so (and who can blame him… To an extent at least). Luther is number one, and he’s a rather large man whose story I’d rather not spoil. The rest are a girl that can cause mind control by starting sentences with “I heard a rumor…” and a boy that can throw anything with accuracy but prefers knives, and Ben. Ben is cool. I don’t wanna spoil Ben.

The antagonist is twofold; following the usual pattern of a baddie in the middle of the show, only to reveal the real baddie towards the end. And speaking of the end. Disappointing. And, I’ll be honest, selfish. I don’t see any of the characters as heroes. Maybe that’s the point. And if so, that’s fine, I’m not gonna watch season 2.

Spoilers from here.

Again, I did warn. I have to talk about that ending.

Ok.

Allison (Rumor girl) shoots near her completely evil sister’s ear, rendering her unconscious, and blasting a beam into the moon and blowing it up. Instead of killing one, she damned humanity. Yea. That’s not a hero in the remotest sense of the word. This is a story about 7 assholes with power. And what do our “heroes” do? They get number 5 to teleport them back in time. It’s like my grade 4 stories, “and then I woke up… but my dreams were actually visions of the future”. It’s like did the story even happen, or will it have an effect on this next timeline? Speaking of, The Flash suffers from overusing the idea of let’s go back in time. Anyways, back to The Umbrella Academy.

Fun fact, the 6 assholes made the 7th an evil asshole by refusing to tell her a single thing. By isolating her, and forcing her to seek comfort in the arms of a stranger, and later lover, who proves to be a baddie.

Honestly, the whole story can be avoided if they acted rationally, and explained to their sister.

Also, why did the budget go to Pogo mostly? I mean, it was great idea and from the get-go, obvious to be the equivalent of the dog/cat/animal that you know is gonna die.

I can’t recommend this tv show. I can recommend reading the summary and you’ll get the same amount of satisfaction.