REVIEW: OCTOBER FACTION – SEASON 1

J.C. MacKenzie, Tamara Taylor, Gabriel Darku, and Aurora Burghart in October Faction (2019)

Starring

Tamara Taylor (Bones)
J. C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Aurora Burghart (The Stranger)
Gabriel Darku (Impulse)
Wendy Crewson (The Covenant)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Stephen McHattie (300)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Maxim Roy (Shadowhunters)
Nicola Correia-Damude (Coroner)
Sara Waisglass (Holly Hobbie)
Anwen O’Driscoll (Burden of Truth)
Sima Fisher (Lost Girl)
Praneet Akilla (Still/Born)
Dayo Ade (Heartland)
Joris Jarsky (Saw V)
Lyla Porter-Follows (Reign)
Kristen Kurnik (XXX 3)
Michelle Nolden (Red)
Emilia McCarthy (Zapped)
Amanda Zhou (Rabid)
Dale Whibley (The Christmas Cure)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Robin Dunne (Sanctuary)
Kate Ross (Reign)
Taveeta Szymanowicz (Dare Me)
Nicola Correia-Damude (Nurses)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)

october-faction-review-netflixArriving today, with little fanfare and only a day ahead of the much-anticipated third season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, October Faction Season 1 looks to scratch the itch for family-centric supernatural adaptations left behind by the Big N’s own The Umbrella Academy. Based on the same-named comic series created by writer Steve Niles and artist Damien Worm, which ran for 18 issues as IDW Publishing and enjoyed two follow-up miniseries’ in October Faction: Deadly Season and October Faction: Supernatural Dreams, this latest adaptation boasts enough geek-savvy casting and essential genre elements to entice a sizeable crowd, even if it might be subsequently overshadowed by Netflix’s algorithm and the release of one of its heavy-hitters.1579779112There’s always the chance of enduring cult popularity here, since those trademark components — dysfunctional family, small-town secrets, supernaturalism, established fanbase, and so on — are plentiful and reliable. Double-life-living Fred (J.C. MacKenzie) and Deloris (Tamara Taylor) are monster hunters and parents to twins Viv (Aurora Burghart) and Geoff (Gabriel Darku), and the parallels between horrors of both the supernatural and high-school varieties are not subtle. Their relocation to a mysterious town in upstate New York following the death of Fred’s father is an excuse for this all to come together across ten episodes.OCTOBERFACTION_107_DAY5_SS_072.DNGExpect the usual beats: An aging man grappling with an old life and its old enemies, and burgeoning powers being a metaphor for growing up and into adulthood. Expect, also, to feel that the show goes on for slightly too long; despite the abundance of the source material, ten episodes is heavy-going for this kind of thing and can lead to the reiteration of dynamics and the delaying of plot points that always amounts to frustration in a binge-watch.october-factionOne has to wonder about Netflix’s strategy here — search for October Faction Season 1 now, and you’ll find it heavily-marketed, but tomorrow, in the wake of a quite similar show with a much more enthusiastic following, that almost certainly won’t be the case. In the meantime, though, if you need to feel better about your own family keeping secrets, there are worse ways.

 

REVIEW: DEAD AWAKE

CAST

Stephen Baldwin (The Young Riders)
Macha Grenon (Familia)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Edward Yankie (Ials)
Janet Kidder (Arrow)
Claudia Ferri (The Killing)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Maxim Roy (October Faction)

egygyilkosagya22An insomniac wanders the streets at night and ends up at a local deli where life’s losers appear to end up, including a nice, although slightly lost young woman and a slightly deranged, apparently homeless man, and a untalkative, dysfunctional cop hangout. On one of the late night forays, the insomniac witnesses a murder. When he tries to report, there is no sign of the murder, but the cops become convinced he is the killer. But wait, that is not the weird part. It seems that the insomniac has a girl friend, who doesn’t have a clue that he gets up at night and wanders the city, and a personal assistant, who knows all about his exploits. But it only gets weirder from there as the cops uncover that the murdered man is connected to the man’s girl friend. getImageI had no expectations for this straight to dvd release starring Stephen Baldwin, but the movie was a pleasant surprise Dead Awake isn’t great, but considering that most straight to video thrillers are dreadful, lifeless and dull you have to appreciate it when you find one that’s pretty entertaining from beginning to end.

REVIEW: ZOYA

CAST

Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Melissa Gilbert (Little House on The Prairie)
Denise Alexander (Days of Our Lifes)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones)
Julie Cox (Children of Dune)
Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Samuel West (Van Helsing)
Cameron Bancroft (Cedar Cove)
Maxim Roy (October Faction)

165770_fullAs the cousin to Czar Nicholas II, Zoya Konstantinovna Ossupov (Melissa Gilbert) has had not only a sheltered life but one of privilege. But it is a life which is taken from her when along with her grandmother Evgenia (Diana Rigg) they flee Russia for Paris, France due to the Russian revolution. With no money Zoya against her grandmother’s wished finds work as a ballet dancer where again against her grandmother’s wishes meets and falls for American GI Clayton Andrews (Bruce Boxleitner). Following WWI they marry and head to America where Zoya’s journey through life is dealt many blows as she has to deal with the Great Depression and a Second World War as well as meeting a wealthy business magnate. It may not have the detail and camera work of a big budget, big screen movie but it does have a semi-impressive look. As to how accurate that is I have no idea as I am no historian although going on gut instincts I would say the authenticity is minimal with Steel using the back drop of the Russian Revolution as the vehicle for one of her familiar romantic fairytales.1458804971

Both Diana Rigg and Don Henderson are good in supporting roles but the star of Zoya is Melissa Gilbert who whilst delivering a good performance works more because she is so likeable. In fairness in the early scenes Gilbert brings to the screen the carefree abandon of a young woman born in to privilege but as the drama really starts the script lets her down with it frequently being a case of looking a certain way at a specific moment of drama. There is also the fact that at the time Melissa Gilbert and Bruce Boxleitner were a couple in real life which means the scenes they share together have believable chemistry.UntitledWhat this all boils down to is that Zoya is a typical Danielle Steel TV Movie/ mini-series with its impressive production, romantic rollercoaster and plenty of melodrama. It isn’t for everyone and in truth you either need to love Danielle Steel movies or be a big fan of Melissa Gilbert to really enjoy it.