TV Reviews

Riverdale Series 2 Episode 1 Review

Ever since the events of the first season’s dramatic finale, I’ve been super excited for the show to return. The show never seizes to shock the audience with unforeseen twists and mind blowing revelations and unsurprisingly, this episode was no different. Here’s my review of Riverdale Series 2 Episode 1:

NBEXPECT SPOILERS

Plot Summary

Archie takes his gravely wounded father to the hospital. Fred’s condition is precarious and it essentially becomes a waiting game to see whether he will pull through. Meanwhile, Jughead has a theory on the incident and uses his Southside Serpent contacts to test said theory with rather violent results. Lastly, Hiram Lodge is back in town and it’s clear that his reappearance is going to shake things up dramatically.

Good Points

One of the best things about Riverdale as a series is that it is never predictable. For example, even though I expected Fred to eventually pull through, I didn’t expect to see the return of Miss Grundy…. and her subsequent demise! By the same guy who shot Fred Andrews no less! This had me asking all kinds of questions such as:

  1. What do Miss Grundy and Fred Andrews have in common for them to be targeted by the same person?
  2. What is the murderer’s motive?
  3. Will he strike again?
  4. If he does, then who will be his next victim?

Furthermore, I’m really happy that Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) has finally arrived in Riverdale. He was such an important yet unseen part of series one, working in the shadows and wrecking havoc. I can’t wait to see what he will do now that he has a physical presence in the show. Will he still be as scary? Time will tell…

Additionally, I have to say that I love the direction that the character of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) is heading. Now I have always thought this character was crazy and a little bit terrifying but she’s a whole new level of batshit now. I cannot wait to see how her heightened crazy will effect the characters and the plot.

Bad Points

This was a pretty solid episode, and as a result, there aren’t many negative aspects to talk about. However, for the sake of balance I will say that I found Archie’s vigil at the end of the episode to be quite ridiculous. Does he feel like he’s going to actually confront the man who attacked his dad? And even if he did come back, MY MAN HAD A GUN?!! What does Archie think he is gonna do with his little baseball bat?

Overall Comments and Rating 

This was a really good start for Riverdale Series 2. It beautifully set up conflicts and dilemmas for all the characters whilst introducing new characters and removing others. Furthermore, it was well acted and well written and for that I will give a rating of 9/10.

So what did you think of Riverdale Series 2 Epsiode 1? Leave a comment down below ! Featured Image taken from the justjared website 

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TV Reviews

Greenhouse Academy Review

I am a sucker for a good teen drama series! So when I saw the trailer for Greenhouse Academy, my interest was piqued. The trailer was giving me some mad House of Anubis vibes, which was fine because I absolutely loved that show. I tuned in expecting a programme of a similar style and caliber and here is what I found:

Plot Summary

Months after their mother dies in a tragic spaceship accident, Alex and Hayley Woods become students at the prestigious Greenhouse Academy. The once-close siblings drift apart after being placed in competing houses at the school. However, the siblings have chosen the wrong time to drift apart as it quickly become obvious that there is something sinister going on around them and the Greenhouse is right at the centre.

Good Point

Well, one good thing about the show was the fact that there were so many twists. You never knew who was lying, who was telling the truth, who was good or who was bad. You were truly on the edge of your seat by the end of the series. Furthermore, the final scenes of the final episode had me gasping in shock. I am now genuinely interested in a second series of the show.

Bad Points 

Unfortunately, this series was not fantastic and there were a lot more negatives than there were positives (in my opinion.)

Firstly, at times, the acting had me cringing. Furthermore, the actors were not helped by the script which was also super cringy, corny and predictable. These factors combined made it difficult for me to engage with series or at least take it seriously.

In addition, I found the characterisation of most of the characters to be lazy. This is a pet peeve of my mine that I really cannot stand. I find it to be lazy and unimaginative when people form characters on the basis of overused and pre-existing stereotypes. Nearly all the characters in Greenhouse Academy conformed to one pre-existing stereotype and it was super annoying and unoriginal to the point were I could guess their backstory before they even said a single word.

Overall Comments & Rating

That being said, I did not completely hate the Greenhouse Academy. In fact, I might actually watch the second series, if only to see how everything turns out. However, there are some major problems with script that need to corrected for the next series. Rating wise, I will give it a 2/5.

So have you seen Greenhouse Academy? What did you think? Comment below 🙂

Featured Image taken from Netflix (google image search)

TV Reviews

The Expanse Season 2 Review

Although, it started off slowly, I really enjoyed the first season of The Expanse. The universe was so new and original to me that I could not help but get hooked. Imagine then, my delight at seeing the second series finally being released on Netflix. After a thrilling binge sesh of two days, here is my review:

Plot Summary

This season picks up soon after the devastating events of the season one finale that saw the inhabitants of Eros killed by a strange substance. Angered by what happened on Eros, the crew of the Rocinante go on a mission to get to the bottom of the debacle and uncover what exactly is this substance that killed so many. Meanwhile, on Earth Undersecretary Avarasala is also trying to understand what is happening around her as she feels, rightfully so, that she is missing some key information.

Good Points

Firstly, I have to commend the cast and characters for being absolutely excellent. Although, the series is set in such an amazing universe, it is still very much a character driven series. All the characters have important development that helps push the plot along or add to the emotional depth of the series. My favourite characters have to be Chrisjen Avasarala played by Shohreh Aghdashloo and Amos Burton played Wes Chatham. Chrisjen is an absolute BOSS! Nearly all my favourite scenes of the series involve her sassing some important character or using her keen intellect to figure things out. However, we also get to see a vulnerability to the character that makes her appear more ‘real’ by adding more dimensions to this fun yet morally grey character.

Furthermore, in this season we got to delve into the troubled mind of Amos and gain an understanding of how the character views and interacts with the world around him. For me, this was a definite highlight as it ended this perception that all Amos was to the crew was brawn. The character moved beyond that, evolving into a real person with depth and substance.

Another thing I really liked about this season was how the plot really came together and flowed despite taking place in several different locations. The first season was definitely slow to the mark, probably because it had to do more work setting the scene, introducing the characters etc. However, the plot for this season did not feel disjointed or slow, instead it moved at a good pace with everything feeling well put together. (If that makes any sense lol)

Additionally, another thing I liked about the season was the visuals. Everything looked so cool from the ship battles to the protomolecule to the different planets etc. The awesome visuals really helped me to fully engage with the universe and the series as a whole.

Bad Points

Truthfully, there were not any glaring problems with this season as a whole but in the interest of fairness(?) I will attempt to find something.

I wish that I got to spend more time with with Alex (Cas Anvar). Although, we did spend time with him as a character and got some welcome character development from him, I feel like the audience spent way more time with the other crew members of the Rocinante. I would like to see more about his background, his family, his roots on Mars etc. I feel like he, as a character, has more to give and I cannot wait to receive it.

Overall Comments and Ratings

Overall, I have to say that Season 2 of The Expanse was amazing! It was definite improvement upon the first season that started extremely slowly with many dull moments. In addition, the cast delivered brilliant performances that really propelled the show forward. Furthermore, the plot had many twists, turns and revelations that I never knew what to expect and I was always surprised. For these reasons, I will give The Expanse a rating of 4/5.

Have you seen The Expanse? What did you think? Leave a comment below 🙂

Featured Image taken from the Den of Geek website

TV Reviews

Death Note Review

Truthfully, I was not the least bit excited for this live action Hollywood adaptation of Death Note. I do not think my reservations were unwarranted seeing as most, if not all attempts by Hollywood, to adapt anime into Hollywood productions have not been great. Furthermore, the 2006 Death Note anime was simply amazing, flawless even. Yet, I wanted to give this film a chance and not jump on the hate bandwagon because it was what everybody else was doing. So that is exactly what I did, here is my review:

Plot Summary 

Light Turner played by Nat Wolff is a smart, social outcast who comes across a note book called the Death Note that grants him the ability to kill anyone whose name he writes in it. With the help of his girlfriend Mia (Margaret Qualley), he begins killing criminals and people he does not deem worthy. However, his murders do not go unnoticed. The renowned yet secretive detective L is on the case, vowing to catch Light, whose actions have earned him a devoted following under the pseudonym Kira.

Good Points

Firstly, the film was well acted by all those involved, my favourites being Shea Whigham as James Turner and Lakeith Stanfield as L. I really liked James Turner as you could see that he was an honourable man who just wanted to do what’s right, no matter the consequences. In my opinion, James Tuner is supposed to be the most relatable or ‘human’ character on the screen and Shea Whigham played him well in that regard. Furthermore, Lakeith Stanfield was an excellent L. In fact, he was the only character who reminded me somewhat of the original character from the anime/manga. Morevoer, Stanfield’s portrayal of L was made all the more memorable towards of the end of the film when he is shown to not simply be this clever, emotionless but a clever person who is ultimately human too.

In addition, I really liked the homecoming scene and those that followed it. From that point onwards, the film was actually pretty solid and interesting. Plot twists, if believable, always makes for good watching and this definitely applies to Death Note.

Bad Points

I honestly believe that it is time for the angsty teen stereotype to die. I understand that high school is hard, making friends is difficult and everybody has problems but I am honestly sick and tired of these types of characters. They no longer rally the audience to their side. In fact, they have become predictable, whiny, annoying and often, the worst part of their own films. Light Turner fell into this stereotype, which in turn made it difficult for me like or engage with the character.

Furthermore, I genuinely do not understand why the romance between Light and Mia was made a central part of the story. I do not think that people watched Death Note for the teen romance. I sure as hell didn’t! Instead of following their romance, the film should have concentrated more on the police case to catch Kira. If the film did that, it would have been way more interesting and original, especially since there are so many teen romance films out there right now. Quite frankly, Death Note should not have been one of them.

Overall Comments and Rating

If I judge the film as a film in its own right, I have to admit that it was not as awful as the reviews suggested. There are some excellent performances and entertaining scenes scattered throughout the film. With that in mind, the film is definitely watchable. That being said, it is nearly impossible for those who have seen the anime, like myself, to completely separate the two and view them as separate entities. The film changed most of the details that made Death Note great. Now this would not have been a problem if the film was brilliant but it wasn’t. And that is probably why there is such disappointment surrounding the film from those who fans who came from the anime and manga.

Rating wise, I will give the film a 3/5, which is arguably generous.

What did you think of Death Note? Tell me in the comments

Featured Image taken from Wikipedia

TV Reviews

Defenders Review

As someone who enjoyed and binge watched all the Marvel Netflix Series (yes, that includes Iron Fist), I was super excited for the release of the Defenders. I could not wait to see all of the characters come together and fight in what I suspected would be an Avengers-lite type collaboration. It took me a while to finally watch all of it, but I did and here is my review:

Plot Summary

Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Matt Murdock aka Daredevil and Danny Rand aka Iron Fist realise that the same shady organisation (The Hand) is terrorizing the people of their respective New York communities. In an attempt to take them down for good, the heroes team up and so begins the epic battle for New York.

Good Points

The thing I liked the most about this series was watching all the heroes come together, interact with one another and fight the Hand as a team. I feel like as a group, the characters all gelled. I liked watching the little brother and older siblings relationship between Danny Rand (Finn Jones) and the rest of the Defenders, for example the Chinese restaurant scene was one of my favourites of the series. Furthermore, I liked watching Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) trade quips back and forth. However, my favourite relationship within the team was Jessica Jones and Luke Cage because their chemistry was ridiculous. I really want to see how the clear chemistry between them will play out in the future, especially with Claire (Rosario Dawson) on the scene. In addition, the group fight scenes were fun to watch as you each character had their moment to shine, even though they were co-operating with the others.

Furthermore, Élodie Yung as Elektra was one of the best things about Daredevil Season 2, so I was expecting a lot from both the actress and the character in the Defenders. And neither the actress nor the character disappointed me. Elektra’s fight scenes were some of the most satisfying scenes of the show. They were always so well choreographed and performed! Furthermore, watching Elektra tackle both the good and bad inside of her made for good viewing as it meant that the character could (and did) always surprise you with her actions throughout the series.

Moreover, this series fleshed out the Hand as a powerful and insidious organisation. In other series, they have just seemed like this unseen evil force that provided countless fodder for the heroes to defeat per episode with the exception of some ‘big bads’. However, in this series, they are given a backstory, leaders and a motive that make them seem like more of a threat than they have been previously.

Bad Points

One of the things that I did not like about this series was that one scene where Luke Cage lectures Danny Rand on white privilege.

Bare with me guys, I will explain my reasons why in due course !!

As a Black British female and human on this Earth, I understand why white privilege needs to be called out and addressed more openly and more often. In fact, I have no problem with Luke Cage making a speech like that in the programme because it is important and needed to be said, especially given the current situation the US finds itself in now. However, in my opinion, I feel like the Luke Cage’s speech did not 100% apply to Danny Rand and as a result, seemed like it was added because for social points. Yet, this is not me saying that Danny Rand does not benefit from white privilege because he is still a young, rich, white man at the end of the day, who practically owns huge swathes of the city. But I do think it is necessary to look at his backstory.

So, yes, Danny Rand was born into a rich white family with a sizable inheritance. However, let’s not forget that he watched his family die in a plane crash and then was saved by monks who took him to a place that he could not actually leave for x amount of years. Whilst in K’un L’un, he was essentially abused through extremely tough training to become the Immortal Iron Fist whose sole purpose is to defeat the Hand.

Knowing this, I do not think that Luke Cage’s speech applies to the specifics of Danny’s case. Also, he did find these guys dissolving bodies, so there’s that…

What I think Luke Cage’s speech should have addressed more explicitly was Danny’s manchild like behaviour that could, at times, be a real problem for me and could be linked to his white privilege. For in my opinion, what makes Danny think that he could walk into Midland Circle, demand that they stop their evils deeds and actually have them do it? He’s been a businessman for all of 10 minutes!!

This brings me on to one of the things that bugged me the most about the series. Danny Rand’s ‘manchild-like’ tendencies. I do not see how Danny Rand would have gone through all this training to become the Iron Fist, yet behave like a manchild. Surely, his training would have meant that Danny Rand would have matured quickly in an environment like that? Like I understand that he lost his family at a young age and is looking for people to help fill that void within him but seriously, some of the things he did in the series were childish and made no sense whatsoever. Honestly, I believe that Finn Jones does his best with material that does not always work in his favour.

Furthermore, I do have some reservations over the Hand’s plan for New York as I cannot see how what they were doing would have completely destroyed New York. They built up the Hand’s final plan to be a cataclysmic event that would completely destroy the city. However, when the final episode came and the Hand got what they wanted I could not help but feel a little underwhelmed.

Lastly, I do not see how Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were able to keep up with Matt, Danny and their ninja enemies. True, their abilities are great and they are, without question, powerful people, however, I feel like the skill of their opponents should have counted for something, no?

Overall Comments & Rating

Overall, I really enjoyed the Defenders! It was fun to watch and a solid addition to the Marvel Netflix Universe.

Rating : 4/5 Stars

So what did you think of the Defenders? Tell me in the comments! 🙂

Featured image taken from deadline.com

Foreign Language Series · TV Reviews

Stranger/Forest of Secrets Review

I knew after watching the trailer for Stanger/Forest of Secrets that I would definitely be watching the entire series as soon as it became available for me to do so. The premise of the show was right up my alley, touching on topics such as crime, corruption, power, money etc. Therefore, I was hoping for extreme amounts of shock, intrigue, scandal and tension and the show did not let me down! Here is my review:

Plot Summary

A seemingly apathetic Public Prosecutor and a Police Detective team up to solve a murder which ends up uncovering various levels of corruption within the organisations that they work for.

Good Points

Firstly, the show had me on edge every episode as nothing was ever as it seemed. The writers skillfully dropped hints and red herrings at every corner to the point where nothing was certain. Each episode revealed something new to the audience that completely changed the direction of the program. As a result, I spent 95% of my viewing experience with my mouth wide open in shock. The suspense was real !!

In addition, the high level of suspense was further maintained by the cast and characters themselves, who were all brilliant by the way. All of the characters were so multi-faceted that they seemed like real people with real desires and by extension, a motive for the crime. In fact, with the exception of  Hwang Si-mok (Jo Seung-Woo) and Han Yeo-jin (Bae Doona), every character could have been the culprit and that was truly exciting to watch.

Furthermore, the show also looked at the psychology of the people involved in the case, suspects and investigators alike. It looked at questions like:

  1. Why do people witness bad things and say nothing?
  2. Why do people do bad things in the first place?
  3. Can you do bad things for good reasons?
  4. Are people inherently bad or inherently good?

I found this angle to be intriguing because it highlighted the grey area that many people live their lives within. Also, it makes the case more interesting and multi-dimensional in the sense that it was not necessarily good guys vs bad guys.

Bad Points

Honestly, the show was so good that what I have to add is extremely nitpicky but it has to be done.

The one and only negative I could say about the show would be its tendency to lengthen certain dramatic scenes with long and drawn out staring competitions between the characters. I found that sometimes these moments took some of the tension out of the scene rather than actually augment it.

Overall Comments & Rating

As a whole Forest of Secrets/Stranger was an amazing series that definitely brought the drama and intrigue. It had a solid acting from a solid cast who had amazing script to work with. Rating wise it was definitely 4/5 stars

So what did you think of the show? Are you a fan of kdrama? Leave a Comment below!

Also, I’ve changed the format of my review in attempt to make it more direct and less ‘rambly’. I’m not sure whether I’ll keep doing it like this but we’ll see 🙂

Featured Image taken from Wikipedia 

Film Reviews

Circle (2015) Film Review

I’m always down to watch a psychological thriller, so when I came across this film on Netflix, my interest was peaked. I put it on and prepared for an emotional rollarcoaster as one does when they watch these kind of films. This is what I thought:

Firstly, the plot itself was fairly simply albeit a bit dark and depressing. A large group of people from various social, ethnic and economic backgrounds find themselves trapped in a room with no memories of how they got there or any idea on how to escape. They quickly realise that they have to vote for somebody to die or they will be randomly killed by the machine in the middle. The group spends the majority of the film arguing about who should go next and why they deserve to live.

As soon as the film started, I could not stop watching. I was addicted. In my opinion, this was due to the fact that neither I nor the characters onscreen knew what was going on. We were all in the same boat which in turn made me feel like I, too, was in that room standing on a red circle with the rest of the cast. This feeling was strengthened by the fact that the audience did not learn all the character’s names. As a consequence, the audience felt part of this group nameless people. The tension was real and that was before all the arguments started.

Once the debate started, I found myself pulled in so many different directions. On one hand, I was appalled by the people who were shamelessly voting for this child to die and the criteria that some characters were basing their decisions on. Yet on the other hand, I could not help but wonder what I would do in that situation. I would like to think that I would not be savage and cruel like some of the people in that program, but, I’m not so sure. After all, I’d definitely want to live. But at what cost?

Although, the film had minimal movement, I managed to remain engaged for the duration as there were many twists and turns accompanied by some unexpected deaths. Though nothing was as surprising as the ending which had me in shock because I could not believe what I saw.

My one criticism of the film is that it felt unfinished. After all the stress of the previous hour and twenty minutes, the final seven left me somewhat unsatisfied. I still had questions that I feel should have bee addressed in a sequel.

Rating wise, I will give this film 4/5 stars as I was thoroughly entertained over the course of the film. I would definitely advise everybody to watch it, especially if you’re interested in how people think and act under extreme stress.

Featured Image taken from Wikipedia