REVIEW: THE SOCIETY – SEASON 1

The Society (2019)

Main Cast

Kathryn Newton (Pokémon Detective Pikachu)
Gideon Adlon (Blockers)
Sean Berdy (Switched at Birth)
Natasha Liu Bordizzo (The GReatest Showman)
Jacques Colimon (Endless Light)
Olivia DeJonge (Better Watch Out)
Alex Fitzalan (Slender Man)
Kristine Froseth (Apostle)
José Julián (Shameless)
Alex MacNicoll (The 5th Wave)
Toby Wallace (Romper Stomper TV)
Rachel Keller (Legion)

Kathryn Newton, José Julián, Sean Berdy, Gideon Adlon, Rachel Keller, and Salena Qureshi in The Society (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Emilio Garcia-Sanchez (The Boonies)
Grace Victoria Cox (Heathers TV)
Salena Qureshi (Madam Secretary)

Jack Mulhern, Kathryn Newton, José Julián, Sean Berdy, Gideon Adlon, Alex MacNicoll, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, and Kristine Froseth in The Society (2019)Netflix may have built its original series initially around adults, but these days, it really loves teens — especially teens who behave badly. That’s the cornerstone of “The Society,” a series constructed around the premise of what happens to 200 teenagers who think they’re going on a school field trip, and are instead deposited in a carbon copy version of their small town, except with no adults and no younger children around. Things aren’t too bad at first for the teens — the power is still on, and there’s a supermarket full of food — but the situation quickly takes on new urgency as they slowly realize that they’ve been completely cut off from the rest of the world. How, exactly, the teens ended up in this mirror universe is one question that only sort of haunts the series, as eventually the mystery behind its premise gets de-emphasized in favor of the kids discovering that their survival will require some heavy duty growing up, fast.the-society-2-1557328841This theoretically makes the show a microcosm for discussing philosophical issues surrounding the creation of a society like this, as well as an opportunity to explore the nature of power, as factions arise and battle is waged for control. And while the show drags a bit in its early episodes, as the teens keep getting distracted from the bigger issues by their interpersonal woes, the pacing improves dramatically in the back half of the season as the drama escalates. “Are we in an episode of ‘Riverdale’ or in Soviet Russia?” one teen asks, and the answer ends up being far more the latter. To “The Society’s” credit, its commitment to exploring the big questions raised by the premise, specifically in regards to how the kids might come to manage each other and their resources, is unquestionable — because while initially led by Cassandra (Rachel Keller), the ad-hoc society quickly develops life and death stakes.
https___blogs-images.forbes.com_merrillbarr_files_2019_05_SOCIETY_109_Unit_00415RThe show’s characters, despite being played by many not-exactly teenagers — Keller’s casting as a girl just out of high school feels particularly out of place after her breakout roles as older characters in “Fargo” and “Legion” — feel extremely teenager-y. And the vast nature of the cast, combined with a notable lack of diversity (the cast could be better served by a larger percentage of people of color) occasionally makes it hard to track individual characters — an issue not made easier by the fact that many of the characters lack much in the way of definition. (Like, how many jocks in letter jackets are there, exactly?) However, there are some standouts within the cast, including Kathryn Newton (most recently seen as Reese Witherspoon’s spirited daughter in “Big Little Lies”) as Allie, who finds herself having to step up in order to keep the town from descending into chaos.
TheSociety_101_Unit_00251RMeanwhile Toby Wallace, as resident sociopath Campbell, develops well into his role as a charmingly evil villain. Another strong supporting player who deserves a lot more screen time than she gets is Salena Qureshi as Bean, and Sean Berdy from “Switched at Birth” gets to play a character whose hearing impairment is not his sole defining quality. (The show’s casual embrace of the nuances of sign language is one of its best details.) Too gritty and dark to have much fun scratching the pleasant itch of teen soap tropes, “The Society’s” adult content keep it from feeling like a natural fit for a network like the CW (though it does stir up memories of that network’s “The 100”). From the pilot directed by Marc Webb (“The Amazing Spider-man,” “500 Days of Summer,” the latter film making a cameo appearance later in the season), it feels slightly better in its execution than really necessary — though, no spoilers for the end of the season, but there are plenty of questions left unresolved, to an almost unsatisfying degree.
untitledThat said, at a certain point the drama does get addictive, as the show eventually reveals what it’s really about: a grim reckoning with the fact that these teens have had to grow up too fast. And these days, with climate change and school shootings and a government that’s rotting from the inside, teens today might find “The Society” painfully relatable.

 

REVIEW: TUCA & BERTIE- SEASON 1

Tuca & Bertie (2019)

Starring

Tiffany Haddish (Night School)
Ali Wong (American Housewife)
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)
Nicole Byer (All About Nina)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
John Early (Late Night)
Reggie Watts (Pitch Perfect 2)
Tig Notaro (Star Trek: Discovery
Amber Ruffin (Drunk History)
Jermaine Fowler (Robot Chicken)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians)
Michelle Dockery (Downtown Abbey)

Bird Town is a strange place where the trains are slithering snakes, the neighbours are stoned plant-people and “sex bugs” get put on trial. Promising madcap adventures, this metropolis provides the setting for Tuca and Bertie, a new Netflix animation that feels like a natural successor to Broad City.Tuca & Bertie (2019)The show’s creator Lisa Hanawalt, known for her work on nihilistic cult favourite Bojack Horseman, has rendered this new universe with a lighter, fizzier touch. The result is a rare thing – an adult animation made by women about women (albeit women in bird form). And, in a particularly canny bit of casting, Tuca and Bertie has signed up two of the buzziest comics around.

Tuca & Bertie (2019)Tiffany Haddish, the breakout star of Girls Trip and the most extraordinarily candid celebrity ever, plays Tuca, a gobby, gumptious, hot-pant-wearing toucan who is in need of “constant positive reinfofo”. She gets it from Bertie the song thrush, her steadfast but neurotic BFF voiced by Ali Wong, the standup who soared to fame for her perineum-splitting comedy specials about pregnancy (Baby Cobra) and parenthood (Hard Knock Wife). Co-starring are Richard E Grant and Tig Notaro – and it’s clear they’re all having a clucking riot. Never have fowl been so foul-mouthed.Tuca & Bertie (2019)Bertie has always been there to buoy up Tuca with reminders that she won’t ever leave her – and that “most girls would kill to have such a curvy beak”. But Tuca is now moving out of their apartment to make way for Bertie’s boyfriend Speckle (played by Steven Yeun, AKA Glenn from The Walking Dead). By day, Bertie is trying to get a promotion in her office job at Conde Nest. By night, she’s desperate to keep the spark alive in her relationship (with help from Nests of Netherfield, her Downton Abbey-esque porn substitute) and fulfil her dream of being a pastry chef.  Tuca, never one to conform, ribs her incessantly for all this “normie lifeplan bullshit”. Eventually Tuca wanders into a neighbourhood called Adulthood, replete with shops called Matching Crockery and Furniture Already Put Together, but ends up committing instead to a new forever friend – a purple jaguar she names Jackie.Tuca & Bertie (2019)The whole show is a topical sendup of our age, tackling the cult of Facebeak, the #Metoo movement (via predatory rooster bros) and even Marie Kondo. But the writers have also put in the hours dreaming up every possible bird gag – from the local birdega to the musical Nest Side Story. So if bird-pun-spotting is likely to ruffle your feathers, you may be in the wrong place. In comedy terms it’s more rolling chuckle than laugh-out-loud, and there are sometimes slightly jarring shifts in animation to lo-fi claymation or even sock-puppet styles. Those aside, this is a chirpily realised world that stays true to its experimentalism – and its pleasures are consistent, if deliciously twisted, and very surreal indeed.At one point, Tuca and Bertie race past a woman on the street and the show morphs into a Mrs Dalloway-esque piece of metanarrative. For just a second, the action falls away as words ping up around the woman, sharing her story in a hilariously succinct way: “Sandy Q Piper. Rich interior life. Not part of this show. You will never see her again.” The series plays out like a feminist fairy tale, one “where Mother Goose is not defined by her ability to lay eggs.” At its core, Tuca and Bertie is about the many and complex joys of female friendship, about navigating the sometimes crushing world of adulting with your best bud by your side, about growing together, bolstering each other – and buying sex-bug ointment together.

 

 

 

REVIEW: EXTREMELY WICKED,SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE

John Malkovich, Haley Joel Osment, Joe Berlinger, Zac Efron, Jim Parsons, Angela Sarafyan, Kaya Scodelario, and Lily Collins in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Starring

Zac Efron (Baywatch)
Lily Collins (Mirror Mirror)
Kaya Scodelario (The King’s Daughter)
John Malkovich (Red)
Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice)
Angela Sarafyan (Westworld)
Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Brian Geraghty (Flight)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
Grace Victoria Cox (The Society)
Terry Kinney (Mile 22)

extremely-wicked-shockingly-evil-and-vile-zac-efron-ted-bundyIn Seattle 1969, handsome drifter Theodore “Ted” Bundy (Zac Efron) meets Elizabeth Kendall (Lily Collins), a college student and single mother. The two begin dating and Ted helps Liz raise her young daughter, Molly. By 1974, news reports announce the disappearance of multiple young women throughout Washington and Oregon, including two abductions that took place in broad daylight at Lake Sammamish State Park. A man, with a resemblance to Ted, is seen by several people asking women to help him load a sailboat onto a Volkswagen Bug. A composite sketch of the attacker is released and, following hundreds of phone calls, Ted is arrested in 1975.MV5BOTE5NTA5MTc1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTIwOTM2MjE@._V1_Carol Daronch picks Ted out of a police lineup, claiming he had kidnapped her and threatened to kill her before she managed to escape. Ted is released on bail, returning home to Liz who is upset after reading an article about him in the newspaper, but she stands by him after Ted exclaims that Carol was shown his picture by the police before the lineup took place, which is why he looked familiar to her. After a four-day bench trial, Judge Stewart Hanson Jr. finds Ted guilty of aggravated kidnapping, and he is later sentenced to serve a minimum of one to a maximum of 15 years in the Utah State Prison. A few weeks later, Colorado authorities charge Ted with the murder of Caryn Campbell and he is transferred to Aspen in 1977. Liz refuses to believe Ted is guilty but begins to “takes the edge off” by drinking daily.Extremely-Wicked-Shockingly-Evil-And-Vile-Daredevil-NetflixWhile at Pitkin County Courthouse, Ted elects to serve as his own attorney and, as such, is excused from wearing handcuffs or leg shackles. Ted contacts Liz and asks her to never give up hope. During a recess, Ted escapes from the courthouse by jumping out of a second story window and escapes to the mountains, but is recaptured after six days. A disillusioned Liz visits Ted and ends their relationship. Ted later escapes again after sawing a square in his cell’s ceiling. News reports announce the murders of two women at a sorority house in Florida, followed by vicious attacks on two more. After Ted is arrested, he tries to contact Liz but the latter hangs up on him, Ted even starts to receive a following of women who are fascinated by him, some even claiming they love him. Ted contacts an old friend, Carol Ann Boone (Kaya Scodelario), who believes he is innocent and moves to Florida to be closer to him.MV5BMzcyNjI0Nzc5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODI5ODM2MjE@._V1_A pre-trial plea bargain is negotiated in which Bundy would plead guilty to killing the two sorority girls, Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman, and twelve-year-old Kimberly Leach, in exchange for a 75-year prison sentence instead of the death penalty. Ted refuses the bargin. Ted and Carol Ann grow closer as she visits him regularly; the two begin a relationship but Ted continues to reach out to Liz, who is following his trials via television. The events are taking a toll on her and she carries the guilt of being the person who gave Ted’s name to the Seattle authorities in 1975. Ted later proposes to Carol Ann and they marry. Incriminating physical evidence is provided in court, including a match of a casting of Ted’s teeth to the impressions of bite wounds on Lisa Levy’s buttocks. In less than seven hours, the jury convict Ted of the murders of Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman, three counts of attempted first degree murder, and two counts of burglary. Trial judge Edward Cowart (John Malkovich) imposes death sentences for the murder convictions, confirming death by electrocution.MV5BOGJjNDcxZDQtYzFjMS00Y2UyLTljNzctNjE2OTFjNWIzYTEyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODU1MjE1MjU@._V1_Ten years later, Liz receives a letter from Ted and she later visits him, taking with her a photograph of one of Ted’s victims given to her over a decade ago by Detective Mike Fisher. Liz demands the truth but Ted continuously denies having anything to do with the murders and Liz tells Ted she has been living with his hand around her neck for years and needs to be released. Liz proceeds to show Ted the photograph, a crime scene image of a decapitated woman, and again demands the truth from him, asking “What happened to her head?”. Ted writes the word “HACKSAW” on the glass. After her final meeting with Ted, Liz leaves the prison in shock and relief, and is met outside by her teenage daughter and new boyfriend. As the film ends, footage and facts confirm that Ted was executed in January 1989 aged 42 years old. Ted had confessed to over 30 murders days before and his ashes were scattered in the Cascade Mountains where he had deposited the remains of numerous victims. A list of Ted’s victims are also shown.hero_wicked-imageGreat acting, great story, people are forgetting that this was not from the view of bundy but from the view of his fiancée, I think zac was the perfect person to play bundy also

REVIEW: DEAD TO ME – SEASON 1

Dead to Me (2019)

Starring

Christina Applegate (Bad Moms)
Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Endgame)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Max Jenkins (plus One)
Sam McCarthy (Condor)
Luke Roessler (Deadpool 2)
Edward Asner (Elf)

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Diana-Maria Riva (Sabrina: TTW)
Suzy Nakamura (Dr. Ken)
Keong Sim (GLee)
Telma Hopkins (The Love Guru)
Haley Sims (Flaked)
Gloria Calderon Kellett (One Day At a Time)

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)Laughter isn’t included in the five stages of grief of the Kübler-Ross model, but perhaps it should be given its own special role in the process. The argument for this can be found in the dark comedy “Dead to Me,” which mines profound loss for laughs, marrying humor and heartache often in a single moment. Created by Liz Feldman, this 10-episode Netflix series deals with the aftermath of the sudden death of a husband and father. You know, the standard premise for a half-hour comedy.Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)We meet Jen (Christina Applegate) following the hit-and-run that killed her husband, Ted, a few months ago. She struggles to sleep, parent her two sons (Sam McCarthy and Luke Roessler), and just get by between crying jags in her car while playing heavy metal. When she goes to a grief support group, she meets Judy (Linda Cardellini), who recently lost her fiancé. Though Jen’s sarcastic, hard shell shouldn’t gel with Judy’s carefree, boho spirit, the two women bond over Entenmann’s chocolate chip cookies, Ani DiFranco, and their similar tragic circumstances. They grow close quickly, and Jen invites Judy to live in the guest house at her Laguna home. But this isn’t just a story about female friendship and connecting after a loss; there’s twist after twist, often revealed through flashbacks to earlier moments in Jen and Judy’s lives.Linda Cardellini in Dead to Me (2019)“Dead to Me” unravels its mysteries slowly, with each episode ending on a new reveal or a cliffhanger that will keep Netflix subscribers glued to their screens. The show takes the opposite approach we might expect; as the season progresses and Jen moves farther from the death of her husband, the series actually gets darker and more serious. There’s still some of the sharp comedy that makes it so addictive in its earlier episodes, but there’s more emphasis on the mystery of who killed Ted. It’s an uneven, uneasy balance, and it makes the viewer long for the funnier first half of the show.Christina Applegate in Dead to Me (2019)But with the more dramatic leanings, we dive deeper into Jen and Judy as characters, and we get valuable insight into how grief, guilt, and secrets can both unite and divide people. These fast friends give viewers a profound picture of how we forgive each other and ourselves, especially after a tragedy. “Dead to Me” is dealing with the big questions of life, even beyond grief. The show and the people we meet on it are consumed with answering what makes someone a good or a bad person, and its clear affection for its flawed characters makes this all the more interesting.ab9ad7c401e2bcc1aad86e4a249fbc9776601d47Both Applegate and Cardellini move between the drama and the comedy with ease. After breaking out in “Freaks and Geeks,” Cardellini has had some dramatic roles, but this feels like a first for Applegate, whose career has been largely focused on comedy since “Married with Children.” These actresses display an impressive range in roles that require them to make us laugh and then minutes later, they’re sobbing. We also buy their closeness; their chemistry makes this friendship feels real, both despite and because of their opposite personalities. The supporting cast is strong as well; TV veteran Ed Asner has a small part as a resident at the retirement home where Judy works, and he’s brimming with enough warmth and empathy to make Lou Grant sneer. James Marsden has a pivotal role that I won’t spoil (and can’t, per Netflix), but it’s more proof that the talented actor should be getting more work and more lead roles and not just playing the runner-up in everything from “X-Men” to “Enchanted.”1The seesawing between grief and humor here won’t work for everyone, but that’s just more fuel for one of the ideas that “Dead to Me” is playing with: we all grieve differently. If you’re that person getting dirty looks for making jokes at a funeral, this show might be just your thing. And if you’re the person doling out those looks, “Dead to Me” may be a way to help better understand the way that other people cope with loss.

REVIEW: SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER – SEASON 2

she-ra-and-the-princesses-of-power-640x300

CAST (VOICES)

Aimee Carrero (The Last Witch Hunter)
Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad)
AJ Michalka (Super 8)
Marcus Scribner (The Good Dinosaur)
Reshma Shetty (Blindspot)
Lorraine Toussaint (The Night Before)
Keston John (The Good Place)
Lauren Ash (The Disaster Artist)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Genesis Rodriguez (Tusk)
Jordan Fisher (Teen Wolf)
Vella Lovell (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Sandra Oh (Sideways)
Krystal Joy Brown (Castle)
Grey DeLisle (Paradise PD)
Merit Leighton (Alexa & Katie)
Antony Del Rio (Avengers Assemble)

68ae2eef4f422e18267a21afcb648472ad672c0cThe DreamWorks Animation reboot of the 1985 cartoon burst onto the scene last fall when the first 13-episode run arrived on Netflix. Noelle Stevenson‘s contemporary take on the character pays homage to the original hero Adora and her title alter ego but also puts her own spin on things, not least of which includes giving both heroes and villains multi-dimensional storylines and plenty of time to shine. That trend continues in Season 2, but it’s overall positive effect a bit hampered by the shorter run of episodes.she-ra-netflix-adora-catraSeason 2 finds Adora firmly at the lead of the Princess Alliance, embarking on a quest of self-discovery to learn more about her past and her future as She-Ra. With Catra rising the ranks of the Horde, the Rebellion must fight to thwart her next attack. If that synopsis of the second season of She-Ra sounds rather generic, well, it is. This run of 7 episodes doesn’t have a strong thematic arc for our hero at all since the adventures are more like stepping stones along her ultimate path. However, some supporting characters get a chance to step up in big ways, either by pitching in to help their leader achieve their ends or by revealing more personal details about their own lives. The fun part here is that we get wonderfully developed characters on both sides of the battle.glimmer-she-ra-frosta-bow-perfuma-mermistaI honestly can’t think of many cartoons that give an equal share of screen time to both the heroes and the villains, but She-Ra and the Princesses of Power does this admirably well. This approach not only keeps the title team’s camaraderie and variety of adventures feeling fresh, it keeps the villains from being reduced to “evil for evil’s sake.” In fact, fans of the show might find they prefer the time spent with Catra, Scorpia, and Entrapta to that of Adora, Glimmer, and Bow. And that’s perfectly fine! It’s a testament to the strength of the writing, the attention to Character over Plot, and powerful performances from the cast that viewers can be equally invested in both sides of the divide.x1080Now, obviously, most people will want the Princesses to succeed in their quest to heal the land, prevent the spread of the Horde, and to discover the true depths of Adora’s powers as She-Ra. That core story is fun to behold because the Princesses, despite their differences, are learning how to get along and fight beside one another. Ice Princess Frosta is much more open and active than she was in the previous season, though she’s learning how to make friends; “Sea-Ra” Mermista is still playing some power games, but she’s a team player at heart; and Swift Wind is … doing his best, insufferably so. But the real meat of the side story goes to Bow this season in a surprising reveal that complicates his relationships with the Princesses; you’ll have to see it to believe it.She-ra-season-2-netflix-meowOn the villainous side of things, Catra’s in her own power struggle, having just usurped Shadow Weaver to become Hordak’s most trusted soldier … but another is threatening to take her place. Meanwhile, Scorpia tries to navigate her duties in the Horde with her own personal feelings, giving us a great supporting character turn. The best side story, however, likely goes to Shadow Weaver, who has a big part to play in the main story, past and present. And while there’s some really substantial character work going on here, we do get some more mythology and straight-up villainy from the leader himself, Hordak. There’s just enough teased here and there to make us want to know more about the world(s) and what’s waiting for us to discover in the future.sheBut it wouldn’t be She-Ra and the Princesses of Power without She-Ra herself. Though her main struggle throughout the series is to come to grips with her incredible powers and the responsibilities they’ve placed upon her, this short season sees her grappling with concern over the safety of her allies. She-Ra can fight for herself without fear, but it’s the thought of losing one of her friends and fellow warriors that often cripples her into indecision. (There’s a D&D-like episode that illuminates this inner struggle wonderfully well.) And while Adora’s story takes a bit of a backseat to some powerful moments between Catra, Shadow Weaver, and others, the final moment of the final episode of the season suggest that there’s much more to her tale than meets the eye.she-ra-season-2-New-1024x523She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is back in a big way in Season 2, with plenty of action, humor, vibrant animation, and a colorful array of characters of all sorts. It’s only shortcoming is in Netflix’s decision to cut the season down to a too-short 7 episodes.

REVIEW: SHE-RA AND THE PRINCESSES OF POWER – SEASON 1

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018)

CAST (VOICES)

Aimee Carrero (The Last Witch Hunter)
Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad)
AJ Michalka (Super 8)
Marcus Scribner (The Good Dinosaur)
Reshma Shetty (Blindspot)
Lorraine Toussaint (The Night Before)
Keston John (The Good Place)
Lauren Ash (The Disaster Artist)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Genesis Rodriguez (Tusk)
Jordan Fisher (Teen Wolf)
Vella Lovell (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Sandra Oh (Sideways)
Krystal Joy Brown (Castle)
Grey DeLisle (Paradise PD)
Merit Leighton (Alexa & Katie)
Antony Del Rio (Avengers Assemble)

65e75070b848312396faa28b8863a06424bed9a8I am both happy She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power exists and deeply jealous I didn’t have it as a kid.  What struck me most in watching the series is just how different it is from anything else on TV. The sheer amount of women on screen and how different they all are shouldn’t feel so unique but it is. It’s a breath of fresh air, especially watching so many action adventure series that might only have one or two women in a cast of mostly guys. Here though it’s switched, with the guys being the side characters and all the women taking charge.Catra_She_Ra.0It gives the series a fresh perspective and a different feel. It’s not that nothing like this has been done before (Sailor Moon and the original She-Ra before it set the standard for women being amazing in action animation) but it’s the way it’s done. You can feel the excitement of every person working on this show that they’re doing something special. That they’re getting the chance to create something that’s been all too rare in television.
1047659-dreamworks-showcase-she-ra-and-princesses-power-new-york-comic-conRight from the jump She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power sheds anything that held the original series back. It’s serialised. Its characters have a tonne of depth. The animation is gorgeous. It’s incredibly inclusive. It ditches any connection to He-Man and stands on its own (though there are enough easter eggs to send hardcore fans into a frenzy). She-Ra is a character that doesn’t need to be the twin sister of He-Man, she’s powerful in her own right. It’s the strength of Adora, the characters around her, and their relationships that make this series shine. The most important of these being the slowly fracturing friendship between Adora and Catra. The two start as best friends working for the Horde but when Adora discovers the horrors they’ve caused, she decides to join the rebellion.SHE_PD102_01010418_RGB_FIN.0This angers Catra and much of the arc of the first season is devoted to the back and forth between these two. Adora desperately tries to get Catra to come to her senses while Catra can’t understand why her best friend would leave her. It’s gripping stuff and forms the backbone of the season’s best episodes. The series puts an incredible emphasis on the powerful emotions that come with deep friendship. Where other series might default to love stories to mine these depths of feelings, She-Ra And The Princesses of Power is keenly aware the pain of losing your best friend can hurt even more than a breakup. It also celebrates friendship as well, with the main trio of Adora, Glimmer, and Bow a main focus of the season. How these three come together and learn to love each other is what gives them more power than any magic sword.She-Ra-header (1)The season’s main plot arc is our trio trying to rebuild the Princess Alliance, a once great group of magical women who kept Etheria safe. These journeys not only gives the series a chance to do some excellent world building but also introduce its colorful extended cast. Each of the characters you’ll meet throughout these episodes is incredibly diverse both in appearance and personality. You’ll love them all, I promise. The series does take a little time to get going and a few character introductions are done quicker than I would have liked, but by the second half of the season the story really starts to get gripping. The world of Etheria comes into sharp focus and you see just how wide and open the universe of She-Ra can be.she-ra-and-the-princesses-of-power-reviewShe-Ra And The Princesses of Power easily steps out of the pop culture shadow of not only the original She-Ra but He-Man as well. This isn’t a series that’s stuck in the past, trying to recapture that franchise’s old glory. It’s taking the building blocks of OG She-Ra and making it something fresh and new for the audiences of today. It’s an empowering and affirming series not just for girls but anyone who watches, young or old. It shows girls and women they can be and look like whatever they want and still be strong. It shows boys and men the amazing things women can be and that they can be along for the ride. It shows everyone you don’t have to fit into societal norms. You can dress how you want, act how you want, and be with whomever you want. For that alone, She-Ra And The Princesses of Power is going to change a lot of lives for the better.

REVIEW: BONDING – SEASON 1

Brendan Scannell, Rightor Doyle, Charles Gould, and Zoe Levin in Bonding (2019)

Starring

Zoe Levin (The Long Home)
Brendan Scannell (Heathers TV)
Micah Stock (Escape at Dannemora)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kevin Kane (Snatched)
Stephanie Styles (American Vandal)
Charles Gould (The Big Sick)
Alex Hurt (Cut Shoot Kill)
Theo Stockman (A Good Marriage)
D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place)
Gabrielle Ryan (Demons Never Die)

b0d5a1f7-6611-4ff7-8ece-b8fc85130b6b-bonding_s01e03_10m22s14929f_rIf you’re thinking of watching ‘Bonding’ because it seems like a play on the word “bondage”, and it only involves sex – get your mind out of the gutter. After being thrown into the deep-end in episode one, you’ll quickly learn that the series has much more heart and relatability than you think.MV5BYWY1MzZkNTktMmM5NC00ZGZkLTg1NDgtMTcyOTgwY2NhN2ZlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXRyYW5zY29kZS13b3JrZmxvdw@@._V1_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_Following the lives of best friends Tiff (Zoe Levin) and Pete (Brendan Scannell), we soon find out the rather interesting story of how they make ends meet in New York City. Tiff is a grad student by day, and dominatrix by night (as you do); Pete is broke, and has a fear of ever getting up on stage to become a stand-up comic. Tiff decides she needs a helping hand with her night-time work, and ropes in her gay best friend to be her assistant. The pair try to get to grips with being friends who are now working together, while also dealing with their non-existent real-life romantic relationships. While sometimes heavy on the whips, piss, and fetish, there’s a lot of hilarity, as well as heart, in ‘Bonding’ too. Loosely based on the real-life experiences of writer, director and showrunner Rightor Doyle, the series won ‘Best Episodic Series’ at the LA LGBT-oriented film festival, Outfest.maxresdefaultCo-starring in the series are some familiar faces: D’Arcy Carden (Janet from ‘The Good Place’) plays uptight wife Daphne while Kevin Kane (who’s made appearances in some Amy Schumer movies) plays Tiff’s Professor Charles. The one downfall with ‘Bonding’ actually has nothing to do with the show’s content. In fact, the brilliant storylines and hilarious scenarios are second-to-none. The only problem with the show is its criminally short running time. Just when you start to really begin to enjoy an episode, it’s over. The longest-running episode is 18 minutes, the shortest 12, meaning after an hour of watching, you’ve somehow polished off four episodes of the seven-episode season.68ae2eef4f422e18267a21afcb648472ad672c0cDevastatingly short, ‘Bonding’ deserves to be treated with a bit more respect. If a second season makes its way to Netflix, here’s hoping it will get a longer run. More episodes, or even just longer episodes, are definitely necessary. Our two main characters deserve that at least. If you’re looking for a quick, hilarious jaunt chock full of innuendo, funny life-experiences, or are just a little bit curious – ‘Bonding’ is for you.