REVIEW: TITANS – SEASON 2

Esai Morales, Minka Kelly, Alan Ritchson, Anna Diop, Conor Leslie, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, Chelsea Zhang, Joshua Orpin, Curran Walters, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

Starring

Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Anna Diop (Us)
Teagan Croft (Home and Away)
Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6)
Minka Kelly (Just Go With It)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Conor Leslie (Chained)
Curran Walters (Girl Meets World)
Esai Morales (Caprica)
Chelsea Zhang (Daybreak)
Joshua Orpin (The Blake Mysteries: Ghost Stories)

Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Seamus Dever (Hollywoodland)
Iain Glen (Game of Thrones)
Demore Barnes (The Flash)
Michael Mosley (Ozark)
Hanneke Talbot (Star Trek: Discovery)
Drew Van Acker (Pretty Little Liars)
Chella Man
Ann Magnuson (Panic Room)
Mayko Nguyen (Anon)
Raoul Bhaneja (Miss Sloane)
Genevieve Angelson (The Upside)
Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street)
Peter MacNeill (Open Range)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Evan Jones (The Book of Eli)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)

Chelsea Zhang in Titans (2018)When the first trailer for Titans dropped and we heard Dick Grayson utter the words “Fuck Batman”, we knew this was not going to be anything like the animated version of DC’s young crimefighters. Over the course of a decent first season, DC Universe’s first original series ended up feeling a lot like the CW Arrowverse shows just with more profanity. Now, with the premiere of the second season, we get to see if the series can break out into something a little more distinct in the wake of shows like Doom Patrol and the quickly cancelled Swamp Thing. The premiere episode of the second season serves as both a wrap to the first season storylines as well as a soft reboot of the show. So, if you were hoping for more of what you saw in the first season, you may be slightly disappointed.Picking up immediately after the first season finale, season two finds the Titans gathered together with Rachel/Raven and Gar/Beast Boy trapped in a nightmare realm by Trigon (Seamus Dever). With his master plan requiring that Rachel’s heart break so that he can garner a power to destroy Earth, the first episode primarily focuses on each of the Titans dealing with the darkness in their own souls. It is a familiar trope in television shows and goes all the way back to big screen comic book movies like SUPERMAN III when Supes fought Clark Kent in a junkyard. Here, the effect feels more like treading water for a good chunk of the episode.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)When the final battle finally takes place, it feels a bit underwhelming and almost like this episode should have been the first season finale rather than a premiere episode. Almost as if split in half, we get a wrap up to Rachel’s relationship with her father, Trigon, and comes into her abilities in full. We also get a substantial amount of screen time from the first season characters as well as Curran Walters as Jason Todd, aka Robin II. There is even a nice fight between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, something we have never seen before in live action. I have always enjoyed the multiple iterations of the Robin character and seeing two together like this is a highlight of this series.Esai Morales and Curran Walters in Titans (2018)The second half of the episode plays more like what I was expecting the season premiere to be: a focus on the next storyline. We get an introduction to Deathstroke, a very different version of the supervillain here played by Esai Morales, and one that seems to have a past with Dick Grayson and the Titans. We also get our first look at Iain Glen as the latest Bruce Wayne. While Batman was seen (played by Alain Moussi) in costume in the first season, this is the first actual dialogue spoken by Bruce Wayne in live action on the small screen. With the brief screen time in the first episode, it is not fair to judge how suited for the role that Glen may be, but it is certainly a different take on Bruce Wayne than we have seen before.Esai Morales and Curran Walters in Titans (2018)As the season continues, this season is very different than its predecessor. throughout this year the universe gets bigger with the introduction of some major DC characters debuting including Superboy and Aqualad on top of Deathstroke and Bruce Wayne. Each character gets his or her on showcase. The biggest highlight has to be Esai Morales as Deathstroke. this version gives Arrows version a run for his money. I absolutely love this show and with a third season green-lit, we have more Titan fun to come. Joshua Orpin in Titans (2018)Titans is not going to blow anyone away but it will still appeal to established fans and has some nice moments for fans of DC Comics history.

 

REVIEW: DAYBREAK – SEASON 1

Colin Ford in Daybreak (2019)

Starring

Colin Ford (Push)
Alyvia Alyn Lind (Revenge)
Sophie Simnett (The Lodge)
Austin Crute (Booksmart)
Cody Kearsley (Riverdale)
Jeanté Godlock (Sell Out)
Gregory Kasyan (War Dogs)
Krysta Rodriguez (Bakery in Brooklyn)
Matthew Broderick (Election)

Matthew Broderick and Sophie Simnett in Daybreak (2019)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Chelsea Zhang (Titans)
Andrew Fox (The Eight House)
Zoe Biggers (Prism)
Charlotte Benesch (Greanleaf)
Virginia Asbury (Cents)
Jade Payton (Izombie)
Natalie Alyn Lind (The Gifted)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe manganiello (Justice League
Mather Zickel (Bones)

Colin Ford, Austin Crute, and Alyvia Alyn Lind in Daybreak (2019)While so many producers and networks are preoccupied with creating the next Walking Dead or Stranger Things, Netflix has looked back further, specifically to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for its new series Daybreak. That’s not to say the post-apocalyptic comedy-drama is in any way a copycat — while there are “ghoulies,” you won’t find a single vampire — but it is a worthy successor to the cult favorite in terms of its wry self-awareness and exploration of the high school experience through a supernatural/sci-fi lens.Cody Kearsley and Jeanté Godlock in Daybreak (2019)Loosely based on the series of graphic novels by Brian Ralph, Daybreak is set in Glendale, California, in the months after a nuclear apocalypse reduced most adults to “goo,” and turned those that remained into mindless, zombie-like ghoulies, sentenced to endlessly repeat the last thing they said before the attack, no matter how banal (“There’s a sale at Lululemon”). That leaves the teens and children to fight for survival in a world that’s part Road Warrior, part Lord of the Flies, part Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with heaping helpings of irony and dark humor.Krysta Rodriguez in Daybreak (2019)Colin Ford (Supernatural, Under the Dome) stars as Josh Wheeler, a 17-year-old transfer student from Canada who finds that his outsider status serves him well in the End Times. He navigates the territories staked out by high-school cliques turned tribes (The Jocks, The 4-H Club, Disciples of Kardashia, and so on), while stockpiling supplies and searching for Sam Dean (Sophie Simnett), the love of his life who was separated him the night of the attack.Daybreak (2019)Like a post-apocalyptic Malcolm in the Middle, Josh routinely breaks the fourth wall in the first two episodes to serve as the audience’s guide to this bizarre, new world, in which two-headed crows scrounge for morsels, doomed contestants compete in “American Ninja Idol” for the entertainment of the leader of The Jocks, and the bogeyman-like Baron Triumph prowls the streets on a motorcycle, capturing kids to eat. Despite Josh’s determination to remain a loner, he falls in with Angelica (​Alyvia Alyn Lind​), a precocious girl with a flame-thrower and malleable morals, and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), a former jock turned pacifistic samurai seeking redemption. Together, they form a compelling central cast that is, luckily, more than mere archetypes of young-adult drama. (Likewise, Matthew Broderick as the “woke” Principal Burr and Krysta Rodriguez as the beleaguered Ms. Crumble prove to be more than cookie-cutter authority figures.)Jade Payton in Daybreak (2019)Although Ford is joined by other narrators in subsequent episodes, he bears the weight of the world-building, and carries it well, addressing viewers as if they’re participants in this offbeat adventure. If Ford weren’t so charming, and Josh weren’t such goofy, endearing everyman (everykid?) Daybreak would likely stumble out of the gate. However, the series’ success doesn’t owe all to him; when the narration, and the focus, shifts to other characters, Daybreak still works — and works well. While Daybreak doesn’t blaze any new trails, in either teen comedy-drama or post-apocalyptic fiction, it has a great deal of fun exploring the tropes of both. The wasteland of Glendale is high school writ large, with the adolescent pecking order weathering the nuclear attack (and even thriving in its aftermath), and teens seeking a place among the cliques, not merely for social acceptance but for their survival. It’s no coincidence that a shopping mall, kept pristine even as society crumbles, emerges as an oasis for the outcasts.47e9a30a87171a0193c6ca7ae9218bd5119bad1eWith the ghoulies, Daybreak introduces a zombie-like menace that wisely sidesteps the familiar threat of The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later and the like. Sure, they’re revenants, of sorts, but the repetition of their frequently silly final words (“How do you pronounce ‘La Croix’?”) goes a long way to diffuse any sense of dread. Angelica goes to great length to differentiate ghoulies from zombies, noting that while their bites may leave scars, they won’t transform their victims (a knowledge bomb that arrives a bit too late for Josh). But, as is so often the case in post-apocalyptic fiction, the real danger isn’t the monsters but the humans, whether they be The Jocks or the cannibalistic Baron Triumph.b1dc4-episode2bstill2b3Witty, self-aware and endlessly entertaining, Daybreak offers something for everyone: teen angst (and romance), samurai action, Mad Max-style car chases and, yes, metatextuality, all in one, enjoyable bundle. It’s a post-apocalyptic Buffy the Vampire Slayer for 2019, only, y’know, without vampires.