REVIEW: V-WARS – SEASON 1

Adrian Holmes and Ian Somerhalder in V-Wars (2019)

Starring

Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Jacky Lai (Shadowhunters)
Kyle Breitkopf (Wonder)
Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI)
Kimberly-Sue Murray (Crimson Peak)
Sydney Meyer (The Expance)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)

Ian Somerhalder in V-Wars (2019)

Recurring / Noable Guest Stars

Jessica Harmon (Izombie)
Michael Greyeyes (Passchendaele)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Nigel Bennett (Cypher)
Samantha Cole (The Dwelling)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Ted Atherton (Max Payne)
Bo Martyn (Molly’s Game)
Laura de Carteret (Mean Girls)

MV5BM2Q3NDk3YTItMmZjMi00NmJiLWI2MzEtZjBmMjJmNDllZWMzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTg3NjI1MTg@._V1_Vampire mythology is something that’s been a constant fascination for mankind. From Dracula and Salem’s Lot through to the genre-defining Buffy The Vampire Slayer, these blood-sucking fiends have been a mainstay on the big and small screen for as long as I can remember. With such an illustrious pool of talent to contend with, it’s always hard for newcomers to stake their own claim on this genre and stand out. Despite a promising start, V-Wars descends into all the usual tropes you’d expect from a network TV show released in the early 2000’s, complete with expository-heavy dialogue, cliches and plenty of plot twists designed for dramatic tension rather that plot cohesion.MV5BZTE0MGU3ODItZmVlYi00YTk3LTk5MTAtY2FjMWI2MTVmNjhhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjYwNDA2MDE@._V1_The story itself revolves around Dr Luther, a scientist who accidentally brings an ancient virus back with his best friend Michael after a trip to a polar research station. Unfortunately, this results in Michael being turned into a blood-sucking vampire. As the infection spreads, Luther is forced to team up with National Security to bring his friend back from his murderous rampage and stop the infection from spreading. As the story progresses, several different subplots crop up, involving a vampire hunter called Bobby and sisters Dani and Mila who find their world turned upside down thanks to the infection. There are other characters here as well, all of which intertwining into the messy and slightly convoluted main conflict revolving around the Bloods and humankind.MV5BZTI5YzM2ZjctZjJhOC00MWI2LTg3Y2EtODg3ZTYxMTM1ODcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTUxMzY0Njg@._V1_While the actual ideas are pretty good, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I said it earlier in the review but V-Wars feels very network-TV-like in it’s approach and continues this way throughout the 10 episodes. The opening hour-long slice of drama is surprisingly good though, introducing vampires through a credible and believably written origin story. Unfortunately, from here the world never expands or feels that big, confining its main conflict and uprisings to news snippets about the infection on TV and keeping things rooted to several different main areas throughout the opening ten episodes. I say opening because the series sets things up with an almighty cliffhanger at the end which lays the foundations for a second season to follow. In doing so, subsequently pushing the story forward four months without a satisfying conclusion to any of the plot threads opened during this timelinetmp_UqTETi_941eb592eb89e030_VW_103-104_Unit_01300_R.The dialogue continues to spout exposition throughout the series too and some of the subplots, involving a romance for Mila, feel contrived and oddly half-baked. At worst, some of the character decisions feel oddly out of sync with what we’ve learnt up until that point too, including Luther’s ex-wife Rachel. Even worse still, there’s several different subplots that are introduced throughout the ten episodes and dumped unceremoniously and in an unsatisfying manner. The vampire hunter angle is all but wrapped up midway through, replaced by a different character instead, while the conflict between the Bloods and humans never reaches a dramatic climax thanks to another conflict cropping up and muddying the waters late on.v-wars-3-e1572876496671Of course, fans of The Vampire Diaries and other shows of its kind will immediately be drawn to The V-Wars (thanks in part to lead man Ian Somerhalder sinking his vampiric teeth into this one after staring in the aforementioned heavy hitter). There is a moreish feel to a lot of the episodes too and the different cliffhangers will almost certainly see you binge through this one in a few nights. Unfortunately V-Wars also suffers from a heavy dose of deus ex machina too because of this. Numerous times Luther is held up at gunpoint or seemingly about to die when a conveniently placed character or plot mechanic crops up and saves the day. Once or twice is fine but this feels like a constant recurring theme for a lot of the other characters too.netflix-v-wars-vampire-horror-tv-show-trailer-fb-ll315w46miDespite all this, V-Wars will find its audience. I do like a good vampire flick but this is a difficult one to recommend given the wealth of other options in this field. I could list dozens of vampire shows worth indulging and sinking time into and unfortunately V-Wars is not one of them. The series has far too many issues with its storytelling and structure, devolving into cliches and nestling in all the usual network TV tropes you’d expect, but instead showcased on Netflix instead. With a second season already in the works, this may be enough for seasoned fans of the genre to jump into but for those looking for a big budget thrill-ride, V-Wars is unlikely to scratch that itch.

REVIEW: FULLER HOUSE – SEASON 5 – PART 1

MAIN CAST

Candace Cameron Blue (Puppy Love)
Jodie Sweetin (Farce of The Penguins)
Andrea Barber (Days of Our Lives)
Michael Campion (Finding Eden)
Elias Harper (Riviera)
Soni Bringas (Beautiful & Twisted)
Dashiel and Fox Messitt
Juan Pablo Di Pace (Mammia Mia)
John Brotherton (The Conjuring)
Scott Weinger (The Family Man)
Adam Hagenbuch (Switched at Birth)

Candace Cameron Bure, Bob Saget, Jodie Sweetin, and Juan Pablo Di Pace in Fuller House (2016)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Bob Saget (How I Met Your Mother)
Beth Crosby (Roomiess)
Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers)
Oliver Muirhead (The Social Network)
Richard Riehle (Casino)
Marla Sokoloff (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Kym Whitley (Rango)
Landry Bender (The Sitter)
Kimberley Drummond (Magic Mike XXL)
Lisa Loeb (House on Haunted Hill)
Kirk Cameron (Saving Christmas)
Noah Alexander Gerry (Family Reunion)
Dave Coulier (The Real Ghostbusters)
John Stamos (Scream Queens)

Hale's Kitchen (2019)After months of anticipation, Part A of ‘Fuller House’ Season 5 finally released on Netflix, and you better get your tissues ready. When Season 4 ended, the makers of the series revealed that they would be returning for Season 5. The final episode of Season 4 ended with a cliffhanger that left us with many questions: Will Steejay finally happen? Will Kimmy Gibbler and Fernando ever get married? What about Stephani Tanner and Jimmy Gibbler now that they have a baby? What will happen to Lori Loughlin? Will DJ stay with Steve or will she go back to Matt? Will Steve and DJ get their most deserved happy ending or not? These were just a few questions that were lurking in our minds when the series announced that season 5 will be the final one.Andrea Barber, Candace Cameron Bure, and Jodie Sweetin in Family Business (2019)But, worry not. It looks like the makers have found a way to address all our questions and more. The tissues will still be needed, not for sad moments but for happy ones—at least in Part A. Season 4 ended with Kimmy giving birth to Stephanie and Jimmy’s baby girl. Season 5 begins with Stephanie and Jimmy coming home with their newborn but they still don’t have a name for the little one. The first episode revolves entirely on Stephanie getting used to motherhood. Not wanting to ask help from DJ, she gets a doula who gets on everyone’s nerves. Stephanie finally reconciles with DJ and kicks the doula to the curb. Coming back to the name of her baby in season 2, when Uncle Jessy and Aunt Becky adopted a little girl, they named her after Danny’s wife and Jessy’s sister Pamela. Paying tribute to the family seemed to be a tradition as Stephanie follows the same ritual and honors her entire family while choosing the name for her baby.Candace Cameron Bure, Scott Weinger, and Elias Harger in Family Business (2019)She named her Danielle after her father Danny and the middle name Jo if anyone would like to call her DJ in the future. She even honored Kimmy by naming her the godmother. Ramona also seemed to have found her first decent boyfriend in Ethan after Popko and the Japanese boy band singer. Throughout the season, we also witnessed some unexpected moments and shocking ones when Matt returns from Las Vegas, married to Gia. That’s not the most shocking part, the one that will leave your jaw on the floor is Gia joining the She-Wolf pack. Matt tries to bond with Rocki and tries to be the step-father she never had. What we see throughout this season is a lot of bonding between the family members. DJ takes up gaming to get closer to Jackson and get him to open up to her. Meanwhile, we see Steve and Max bond when DJ isn’t at home by watching their favorite show ‘Real Housewives’. Yup, you read that right.Marla Sokoloff, Andrea Barber, Candace Cameron Bure, and Jodie Sweetin in Moms' Night Out (2019)That’s not the only part where we see the two bond, one might say we can see Steve and Max spend more time together than Steve and DJ themselves, and it literally is the cutest sight to see in the series. That’s not all, folks. We even witness two celebrity appearances this season. One by Lisa Loeb, which was already revealed in the teaser. She visits the vet with her cat, which DJ uses as an opportunity to introduce Stephanie and her music to Lisa. The second celebrity cameo is by Kirk Cameron. Kimmy tries to date again after getting confused about whether Fernando is the one for her. In the end, she goes on a date with Kirk Cameron but comes back to her one true love Fernando after.Candace Cameron Bure in Ready Player Fuller (2019)Overall, though the entire season was filled with happy moments which always seems to be the only thing that goes on in the Tanner-Fuller house, the last episode is the tear-jerker where DJ gets busy trying to prepare the best proposal for Kimmy. Yup, you read that right, Steve finally proposes to DJ, and we might be seeing a triple wedding when the season returns for Part B of the series finale.And for those of you worried about Joey and Uncle Jessy, sadly, we will not get to see them throughout the series except in the end when Steve proposes to DJ. Hopefully, we will get to see more of them in Part B of the season finale. As for Aunty Becky, the series didn’t address her at all, it was almost like she didn’t exist. And we needn’t be shocked about that. It was almost a known fact that Lori’s character will not be mentioned in the season. Overall, Part A of the series wasn’t disappointing. It seemed like the makers were trying to fill all the cliffhangers and give fans and viewers just what they wanted. We just have to wait and see if Part B will manage to tie up all the loose ends.

 

REVIEW: THE WITCHER – SEASON 1

Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, and Anya Chalotra in The Witcher (2019)

Main Cast

Henry Cavill (Man of Steel)
Anya Chalotra (Wanderlust)
Freya Allan (The Third Day)
Joey Batey (The White Queen)
MyAnna Buring (Ripper Street)
Royce Pierreson (Thor: The Dark World)
Eamon Farren (Chained)
Mimi Ndiweni (The Legend of Tarzan)
Wilson Radjou-Pujalte (Hunter Street)
Anna Shaffer (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
Mahesh Jadu (I, Frankenstein)

Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards)
Emma Appleton (Clique)
Jodhi May (Sister My Sister)
Adam Levy (Rome)
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Agnes Joy)
Therica Wilson-Read (Fox Trap)
Shaun Dooley (Eden Lake)
Julian Rhind-Tutt (Lucy)
Ben Wiggins (Anna and The Apocalypse)
Anna-Louise Plowman (Stargate SG.1)
Josette Simon (Wonder Woman)

Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)Piecing together what’s going on at any given time in “The Witcher” is both impossible and insignificant. Netflix’s big-budget fantasy adaptation looks like “Game of Thrones” and plays like “The OA” — an extravagant budget fueling a ludicrous premise. Frankly, it should be a catastrophe, and yet the batshit energy driving a slew of increasingly odd choices makes for a pretty entertaining spectacle.Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s books (which have already been adapted into a popular video game series), “The Witcher” tells the wild tales of Geralt of Rivia, the eponymous witcher played by “Witcher” enthusiast Henry Cavill, who travels from town to town accepting missions in exchange for “coin.” Usually his quests are focused on killing a monster. Sometimes they involve taking baths — which are, surprisingly, an extremely important act for anyone who loves the “Witcher” video games and books.Lars Mikkelsen and Anya Chalotra in The Witcher (2019)Whatever Geralt does, he does with a lovable bluntness, made even more appealing by Cavill’s growly performance — and the absolute mess that makes up the rest of the show. You see, Geralt’s storylines are pretty much episodic; each new episode brings a new mission, just like sections of a video game. It’s easy to track what he’s doing because the goals are explained to him by whatever weirdo hires ol’ Gerry. In the second entry, he’s helping shoo away a grain-stealing devil. In the third, he’s chasing a rare creature that likes eating people’s guts.But when not focused on Geralt, “The Witcher” gets very, very messy. There’s a mage-in-training named Yennefer (yes, Yennefer!), who just kind of hovers in the B-plot for the first four episodes. Played with startling conviction by Anya Chalotra, Yen-eh-fur’s plot holds together with a kind of dream logic, where you may not know exactly how things are happening, but you get the gist as to why. The same cannot be said for Princess Ciri (Freya Allan), a little girl who escapes a crumbling castle with only two words of advice: Find Geralt.Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)That it takes more than the five episodes provided to critics for her to do so — or even find people, places, or things connected to Geralt — disconnects Ciri from the core story in what feels like an irretrievable way. Maybe she’ll form a Baby Yoda-like partnership with her witcher-destiny by Season 2, learning the witcher tricks of the trade while being protected by her witcher at all costs. But for now, she’s just kind of weird, hard-to-connect-with baggage in a show that’s so freaking strange that anything extra risks turning everyone but the die-hard fans off.Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)And “strange” is an understatement. For newcomers, there’s a lot to absorb, starting with Geralt’s name. A witcher isn’t a witch, but a species that’s shunned aside by humanity and forced to fend for themselves by fighting monsters and performing other unwanted tasks. He’s got powers, but they’re not that powerful — Geralt will let off a burst of energy when in a close-quarters battle, but he doesn’t do it that often, and it’s unclear if the blast equates to more than a shove. Like the actor embodying him, Geralt’s most telling attribute is his towering physique and sword skills. He seems like a really good warrior, who can sometimes do magic when the story requires it.Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)Yennefer, meanwhile, goes through a physical and spiritual transformation that’s so bonkers I dare not spoil it here. I also can’t spoil it here, because even explaining it to my curious friends proved impossible. There are a lot of parts in “The Witcher” like that; scenes that feel too absurd to be spoken aloud, let alone taken as seriously as the “Witcher” team does, but it’s exactly that dedication to the series’ fantastical elements that make it work. Cavill has spoken at length about how badly he wanted this role, and his commitment not only makes the show that much better, but it’s clearly mirrored by everyone on set.Henry Cavill in The Witcher (2019)“The Witcher” isn’t for everyone, and it’s not trying to be. The soapy scheming that drove people to choose sides in “Game of Thrones” isn’t here. Neither is the tender romance of “Outlander,” the big-minded ambition of “The OA,” or the coherence of, I don’t know, “Vikings.” But that’s OK. “The Witcher” is “The Witcher,” and nothing else matters. Just go with it.

 

REVIEW: FAST & FURIOUS: SPY RACERS

Fast & Furious (2019)

Main Cast

Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf)
Camille Ramsey (American Vandal)
Luke Youngblood (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)
Charlet Chung (Cold Case)
Jorge Diaz (The 33)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Renée Elise Goldsberry (Sisters)
Manish Dayal (White Frog)
Jimmy Tatro (Grown Ups 2)
Carlos Alazraqui (Family Guy)
Eric Bauza (Ducktales)
Grey DeLisle (The Zeta Project)
Kevin Michael Richardson (THe Batman)
Vin Diesel (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Kimberly Brooks (Steven Universe)

MV5BZTE0MGU3ODItZmVlYi00YTk3LTk5MTAtY2FjMWI2MTVmNjhhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjYwNDA2MDE@._V1_Fast & Furious: Spy Racers takes the franchise to where it’s been heading for the past four installments. It’s finally become what the movies so desperately wish they could be but can’t. It’s the ultimate culmination of Dom hurtling from the top of one skyscraper to another, Roman shouting, “EJECTO SEAT-O, CUZ!” and Hobbs catching and redirecting a missile from a submarine. These movies have been operating on cartoon logic for years and that’s made them “love ‘em” or “can’t understand why people love them”. You either get what makes these movies fun or they’re not for you. There’s very little middle ground with the Fast & Furious franchise but Spy Racers may be able to bridge that gap thanks to its focus on the secret weapon of the films.MV5BZTI5YzM2ZjctZjJhOC00MWI2LTg3Y2EtODg3ZTYxMTM1ODcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTUxMzY0Njg@._V1_In between the outlandish action the Fast & Furious movies have a lot of heart. Fans love the action but it’s the characters they keep coming back for. “Fam-a-lee” may be a joke but it still resonates. That heart, the connection between the characters is what’s made the series worthy of both fan love and critical discussion. Spy Racers brilliantly brings that heart and focus on the characters to the forefront. It still has the bonkers action but it smartly realizes that doing a TV show means you can’t get away with giant set pieces one after the other. You need to love these characters. As you grow to love them over the course of the season it just makes you more and more invested in the action. It makes you accept how ludicrous it is and while you may be yelling, “that’s so dumb!” you’ll still be enjoying it all the way. The action in the show is a perfect combination of what we’ve seen in the movies and the wild car action of Speed Racer. Yeah it’s a little more goofy but come on, the movies would have a car with buzz saws coming out of it if they could.MV5BZWFhNTIxMGMtNDA4MS00MWEwLWIzMWEtNjJlNTAxNTY2ZTcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_The main story of the show focuses on Tony Toretto and his teenage friends being tasked by the government to infiltrate SH1FT3R, an elite racing league serving as a front for an organization with deeper plans. Tony wears his connection to the legendary Dom with pride, always going out of his way to make references that’ll have longtime F&F fans clapping. Frostee is the team’s young tech genius who may be a bit annoying but his excitement ends up infectious. Echo’s a master artist who sadly gets the least to do throughout the first season but her spunk makes her stand out in spite of it. Cisco is the muscle of the team but also a huge sweetheart. He falls into the typical “big guy” tropes but the writing affords him enough fun quips that he still works. Rounding out the main cast are Layla and Shashi, both working for SH1FT3R. Layla is a lone-wolf type who can’t seem to stop herself from falling into the orbit of Tony’s family. Shashi is SH1FT3R’s leader and he forms the backbone of both the main plot and ethical questions the series raises.runaways-morgan-le-fay-powerYes, Fast & Furious: Spy Racers gets deep. Deeper than even the movies have… but that isn’t to the series benefit. The way the series handles Shashi’s motivation and ultimate end goal painfully blow out the tires on a series that was racing toward a perfect score. The Fast & Furious franchise has never had a streamlined philosophy besides the focus on family but it’s always leaned more progressive. These characters came from nothing and fought for every victory they ever had. Even when committing crimes they’ve been portrayed in a positive light. Spy Racers brushes up against an incredibly radical progressive ideology but it’s sadly reduced to an “evil” plan that must be stopped by Tony and the others. This more than likely wasn’t intended by the writers but they made Shashi’s ultimate plan so sympathetic that by painting him as the bad guy they made it seem as if the base of his progressive ideology is wrong. Instead the show seems to enforce the status quo of “work with the government and don’t cause too much trouble” as the ultimate victor. Although much like the cartoonish action, this is where the franchise has ultimately been heading.short-treks-season-2-episode-4-5-easter-eggs-referencesWhile the films began with Brian slowly learning to sympathize and work with outlaws, the more recent entries in the series have had the family working with the government with little question. The franchise, as much as it has roots in backyard barbeques and stealing combination VCR/DVD players, has become less and less concerned with those who would benefit most from Shashi’s ultimate plan. Now this is only the series’ first eight episodes. Perhaps in future seasons we can get a deeper exploration of the ideas presented but as it stands Spy Racers bit off way more than it could chew. That doesn’t mean everything else around it is rendered moot though. Spy Racers continues the franchise’s tradition of having an extremely diverse cast, with only one main character being white. The rest are people of color and one of them even has two moms that appear multiple times! It’s great to have a series aimed at children with this level of diversity.Spy-Racers-750x422Fast & Furious: Spy Racers compliments its parent films well and will satisfy hardcore fans, casuals fans, and may even draw in a whole new audience. The characters are a delight, filled with humor and heart. It’s a shame that radically progressive ideas are painted as “evil” with no examination because Spy Racers came very close to tackling an extremely relevant idea in a way no other animated series ever has. As it stands, the show is still a fun ride but it couldn’t quite make it past the finish line.

 

REVIEW: LOST IN SPACE (2018) – SEASON 2

Maxwell Jenkins in Lost in Space (2018)

MAIN CAST

Molly Parker (Pure)
Toby Stephens (The Machine)
Taylor Russell (The Maze)
Ignacio Serricchio (Bones)
Maxwell Jenkins (A Family Man)
Mina Sundwall (#Horror)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Brian Steele (Terminator Salvation)
Sibongile Mlambo (Teen Wolf)

Parker Posey, Ignacio Serricchio, Maxwell Jenkins, Mina Sundwall, and Taylor Russell in Lost in Space (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Raza Jaffrey (Homeland)
Amelia Burstyn (Defiance)
Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards)
Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Shaun Parkes (The Mummy Returns)
Tattiawna Jones (Flashpoint)
Aaron Pearl (Man of Steel)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Bradley Stryker (Izombie)
Ajay Friese (Riverdale)
Angela Cartwright (The Sound of Music)

Molly Parker and Maxwell Jenkins in Lost in Space (2018)Cosmic crusaders The Robinsons (plus Don West, Dr. Smith, and Robot) are back for the holidays, and this time the calamity-magnet clan is banding together to battle against hostile alien droids, creepy and corrupt mission officials, and general galactic chaos.
Netflix’s Lost in Space reboot, once again, delivers a solid, satisfying run filled with dazzling effects and stunning heart. It tops Season 1 in terms of adventure and stakes, and, for a streaming series, it shows grand restraint by only being 10 episodes – with episode lengths actually varying (anywhere from 39 minutes to 54 minutes). That might sound like tacky praise, digging into the structure of the show, but it means that the story’s being told in the amount of time the creators felt it needed, and not filling up pre-ordained space – a welcome change from most streaming series.Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Ignacio Serricchio, and Maxwell Jenkins in Lost in Space (2018)The cast is phenomenal, from Toby Stephens and Molly Parker’s John and Maureen to their kids, played exceptionally by Maxwell Jenkins, Mina Sundwall, and Taylor Russell. It’s crucial that these roles land well because our belief in the family, in this particular brood, is the crux of the entire series. If you don’t buy into “The Robinsons vs The Universe,” the show doesn’t work. And though they might bicker and banter, this family is the driving force of the saga. If their dynamic drags things down, the entire narrative fizzles.Mina Sundwall in Lost in Space (2018)Fortunately, The Robinsons are sensational as a family, either united or divided, and their interplay always works. From John and Judy’s emotional bond (which plays out beautifully in Episode 5, “Run”) to Penny’s strained relationship with Maureen as the middle child with no discernible exceptional abilities, the cracks in the Robinson’s foundations, both big and small, make for great viewing. And Ignacio Serricchio’s gruff-but-genial Don West is there keep them all together while Parker Posey’s “Dr. Smith” is there to tug at the threads in an attempt to rip the seams.Toby Stephens, Maxwell Jenkins, and Taylor Russell in Lost in Space (2018)Posey’s Smith, as the show’s wild card, has an awesome showing this season as the Robinsons, who start the season marooned on a planet in the galaxy they were pushed into at the end of Season 1, eventually rejoin their Alpha Centauri-seeking society and the good (fake) doctor is forced to think on her feet in order to avoid being caught and punished for her many crimes. And all the while, she’s got a powerful push/pull relationship with the universe’s First Family where she’s both their foil and their adversary. The Robinsons can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to love and support so it’s nice to have a self-centered “survivor” in the mix, even if her heart occasionally softens towards others.Molly Parker, Toby Stephens, Maxwell Jenkins, Mina Sundwall, and Taylor Russell in Lost in Space (2018)Will and Robot’s relationship, the one that began in Season 1 and allowed Will to become more confident and driven, continues to grow and change this year, with more layers added to the mystery of Robot’s origins, species, and how it ties into humanity’s ability to traverse space. JJ Feild (Captain America: The First Avenger) arrives this season as Dr. Ben Adler, the mission’s head of artificial intelligence studies. At first, it seems like Ben’s an easy-to-predict character. He arrives just in time to, perhaps, woo Maureen, bond with Will, while also possibly being a stealth “big bad.” But his arc surprises, and, like most elements of this series, it defies the usual cliches.Brian Steele in Lost in Space (2018)Of course, Lost in Space also has a (non-fatal) flaw in its blueprint. Nothing can ever go right. It’s in the story’s DNA. What this means is that when dangers and threats aren’t being presented by other characters — like Dr. Smith, aliens, or Rolo Haynes’ (Black Mirror) Hastings — there has to be some type of unforeseen space peril. Whether it’s severe storms, poisonous algae, or (LOL) water that somehow disintegrates all metals, this series can be pretty unrelenting. Granted, the writing usually weaves everything nicely into the characters’ specific emotional journeys, but the non-stop menaces can be a grind often run the risk of feeling farcical.Maxwell Jenkins in Lost in Space (2018)Netflix’s short-lived (and not great) Another Life featured a very similar “let’s throw every disaster we can think of at our heroes” edict, but the show had no alternate identity to support that design – that’s all the plot was. Fortunately, Lost in Space – which features, over the course of only 10 episodes, four different situations of important characters being stuck/trapped somewhere that requires a “Hail Mary” solution – has larger themes to focus on and a core cast that’s worth spending time with.
Brian Steele in Lost in Space (2018)Lost in Space feels less land-locked in Season 2 as more crazy challenges continued to befall the formidable Robinson family and Robot’s eerie origins are explored further. The unrelenting disasters can drag but the performances are so good, and the family-first credo is so vital, that the drama never dips.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES

Kurt Russell in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

Starring

Kurt Russell (Fast & Furious 7)
Judah Lewis (The Babysitter)
Darby Camp (Big Little Lies)
Oliver Hudson (Scream Queens)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Two and a Half Men)
Tony Nappo (Saw II)
Lamorne Morris (New Girl)
Martin Roach (Cube Zero)
Vella Lovell (She-Ra and The Princesses of Power)
Lauren Collins (Impulse)
Goldie Hawn (Snatched)

Kurt Russell in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)In Lowell, Massachusetts, Christmas has been a cherished tradition in the Pierce household for many years until 2018, when the father Doug (Oliver Hudson), a firefighter, dies in the line of duty. The mother Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) struggles to hold the family together, especially the oldest child Teddy (Judah Lewis), who has started stealing cars. The youngest child Kate (Darby Camp) nevertheless hopes to keep the Christmas spirit alive.Darby Camp and Judah Lewis in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)On December 24, 2018, Claire is forced to fill in for a coworker, leaving Teddy to look after Kate. While watching old Christmas videos, Kate notices a strange arm appear out of the fireplace. Kate believes this is Santa Claus and asks Teddy to help her prove he exists. Teddy is skeptical and refuses to help, but Kate blackmails him with a video of him stealing a car earlier that day. The two set up a makeshift trip wire by the fireplace linking it to a Christmas bell and set up a camera behind a closet where they wait.Kurt Russell in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)Kate is woken up by the bell and sees Santa in their living room, but he leaves before Teddy can see him. However, they hear him moving on the roof and go outside. When they get on the street, they see Santa’s sleigh and reindeer floating above them. They also see Santa hopping from rooftop to rooftop at light speed. Kate decides to hide in the sleigh to get a close look at Santa, to which Teddy objects, though he reluctantly follows her. Santa eventually returns to the sleigh and rides off with the kids in tow. When Kate decides to make her presence known, Santa and the reindeer are startled and he loses control of the sleigh. After teleporting to Chicago, Illinois, the sleigh breaks down, causing the reindeer to scatter and the bag of presents to be lost.Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)When they crash, Santa (Kurt Russell) officially introduces himself to the kids, who are surprised at his different than expected appearance. Santa tells them that he has to get back to delivering presents as soon as possible or else Christmas Spirit will be gone, explaining that the last time it happened, the Dark Ages occurred. Without his hat, which was also lost in the crash, Santa can’t move quickly or through tight spaces like he does, so the kids are forced to help him. They stop at a bar where Santa tries to seek help from the patrons by remembering all of their previous Christmas wishes. When they get no assistance, they eventually resolve to steal a Dodge Challenger, which itself was already stolen by the bartender, an ex-convict on the “Naughty List Hall of Fame”.Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)On December 25, 2018, in the car, Santa makes a makeshift radio out of random objects to listen into the police frequency, to locate his reindeer and lookout for patrol vehicles. They locate the reindeer but encounter a police car driven by police officers Dave Poveda (Martin Roach) and Mikey Jameson (Lamorne Morris). Kate goes after the reindeer by herself while Santa and Teddy lure the police away in the car. They eventually crash and make a vain attempt to explain that Santa is the *real* Santa, so Santa lets Teddy escape when Kate comes back with the reindeer, telling them to find his bag where they can find help. The kids manage to fly away on the reindeer, which only Officer Jameson observes, leaving the other officers dumbstruck.Kurt Russell in The Christmas Chronicles (2018)When they land, Teddy confides to Kate that he wishes he could speak to their dad one more time. They find the bag in a park and Kate goes in the bag to find help. She ends up getting teleported to the North Pole. She finds a letter written to Santa by Teddy this year, where he asks Santa to allow him to speak to his dad. She then spots the elves, who have her tied up. When she explains what happened to Santa, they show her a book called “True Believers” and sees that her entire family is listed, except for Teddy. Seeing that Kate is a True Believer, the elves agree to help her. Meanwhile, Teddy is attacked by a group of thugs who take him and the bag to their hideout. When the leader finds the bag filled with presents with coal in them, he tries to dispose of the bag and Teddy until the elves come out and attack everyone. They think Teddy is one of the thugs and attack him as well until Kate stops them. The group then goes to repair Santa’s sleigh.At the police precinct, Santa tries to explain his situation to Officer Poveda, who is unconvinced. He even magically pulls out toys Poveda wanted as a child to try and convince him, but Poveda remains skeptical. When Santa reveals his wish this year is to speak to his ex-wife Lisa, who also shares that wish, Poveda is taken aback, but still refuses to believe him and has him locked in the holding cell, though he becomes suspicious when he sees a larger number of arrests than usual on Christmas Eve. Seeing that Christmas Spirit has gotten too low, Santa gathers all the inmates to perform a musical number of “Santa Claus Is Back in Town”, which works amongst all the officers except Poveda. Poveda is finally convinced when he receives a call from Lisa, who invites him out for coffee in the morning, and agrees to let Santa go. One of the elves arrives through the air vent to give Santa a spare hat. Santa goes outside to find his sleigh repaired.kurt-russel-christmasnSanta sees that he only has an hour until morning to complete delivering presents, so the kids agree to help him, with Teddy driving the sleigh and Kate tossing presents to Santa so he can move faster than usual. With additional help from the elves, Santa delivers the final present with milliseconds to spare. Santa drops the kids off back at their home before their mother returns. Santa gives Teddy his hat as a memento, showing that he didn’t really need it. When he leaves, he gives Kate a “Ho, Ho, Ho”, a saying he previously stated was an urban myth about him. Kate is ecstatic that she recorded the night’s events on camera, but finds that Santa had taken the tape, with Teddy remarking that Santa would never have allowed her to keep it.Kurt-Russell-The-Christmas-Chronicles-696x341When Claire returns, they go inside to find the living room decorated like their father used to. They start opening presents, including Their customary horrendous sweaters from their aunt. When they get to Santa’s gifts, Kate gets The skateboard she asked for, while Teddy gets a letter from Santa explaining that, while he was unable to grant his wish, he intended to do his best by giving Teddy an old ornament. When Teddy hangs it on the tree, he sees his dad appear In his reflection, and they both express pride in each other. Back in the North Pole, Santa is updating his book of True Believers, adding Teddy’s name to it, when Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) returns with firewood to tell him about hearing about his adventures. When she Suggest getting one of various Christmas movies to watch, Santa takes out the video recording of his adventure that night and suggests that they watch that.TheChristmasChronicles_teaserTo be honest , I’m not that much into this kind of movies, but ! …in my opinion is a great movie to watch with your family ! , specially if you have kids

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA – A MIDWINTERS TALE

Chilling-Adventures-of-Sabrina-A-Midwinters-Tale-Netflix-review

Starring

Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men)
Ross Lynch (Muppets Most Wanted)
Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman)
Chance Perdomo (Killed By Debt)
Michelle Gomez (Bad Education)
Jaz Sinclair (Slender Man)
Tati Gabrielle (The 100)
Adeline Rudolph
Richard Coyle (5 Day of War)
Miranda Otto (Lord of The Rings)
Lachlan Watson (The Ultimate Life)

Sabrina-1

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Abigail F. Cowen (Stranger Things)
Heather Doerksen (The Uninvited)
Mckenna Grace (Young Sheldon)
Adrian Hough (The Fog)
Brian Markinson (Sanctuary)
Christopher Rosamond (Siren)

sabrina-midwinter4Considering the first season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina delighted in toppling the patriarchy and undercutting nostalgia, in between proclamations of “Praise Satan,” it should come as no surprise that the Netflix holiday special takes a relatively unsentimental view of Christmas — or, rather, solstice. It’s a time for family, both living and dead, but it’s also a dangerous time, when mischievous spirits scurry down the chimney, demons kidnap children, and transgressions are forgiven, but not necessarily forgotten. In short, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Winter’s Tale is ideal viewing for fans who can’t stomach another saccharine Christmas episode that shovels on platitudes like so much December snow. There’s probably a moral to be gleaned here, but any excessive sweetness is tempered by sentiments like, “Satan bless us, every one!”sabrina-midwinter7However, “A Winter’s Tale” isn’t a standalone episode that can serve as a welcoming introduction to Sabrina. It’s directly connected to the events of the first season, and some of its threads will no doubt continue into the second. A platinum-haired Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) remains distant from her mortal friends, determined to give them time to come to terms with the revelation that she’s a witch. That won’t be easy for Harvey Kinkle (Ross Lynch), who admits he still sees his undead brother every time he looks her. Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) is trying to settle into her new life as a mother to Letitia, the infant she secreted away from Father Blackwood, while cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) slowly stretches his wings now that he’s no longer on house arrest. Then there’s the demonic Mary Wardwell (Michelle Gomez), who’s desperate to learn why Satan has seemingly forsaken, yet still up to her old tricks.sabrina-midwinter8aAppropriate to the season, “A Winter’s Tale” leans hard into the Yuletide folklore of Iceland and Central Europe, with key roles for the mischievous Yule Lads, a version of the giantess Gyra, and Krampus, or at least his not-too-distant cousin. They provide another layer to the developing mythos of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, while adding a nice holiday touch. But as fun as they are, they’re merely garland; the centerpiece is, of course, is Sabrina and her friends and family. The episode serves those characters well, carving out room for them to grow, even if they don’t always learn in each instance. Sabrina, for example, determines her friends’ new boundaries, only to promptly overstep them with her present to Harvey and her well-meaning attempt to help his hard-drinking father. Driven to reconnect with her dead mother, whom she encountered in Limbo, she enlists the Weird Sisters to help perform a seance, with predictably disastrous results. But while Sabrina appears doomed to repeat her mistakes, Harvey learns from his, and decides he can’t allow any witchcraft — even the beneficial kind — around him, which promises to further complicate their already fraught relationship.Sabrina-Christmas-EpisodeLikewise, Zelda’s heart-breaking conclusion about baby Letitia, which exposes an emotional depth to the frequently cold auntie previously only glimpsed, is certain to have a ripple effect across Season 2. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Winter’s Tale is, at turns, joyful, somber and spooky, but never, ever cloying, with an ending that’s immediately relatable to anyone (whether witch or mortal) who’s had to muster a semblance of holiday cheer for the benefit of loved ones. Because, really, isn’t that what solstice is about — family, friends … and home invasion?