Citadel: Spies Appear In Night Time – TV Review

TL;DR – Not a bad episode, but it is worrying when you can already see some handwaving happening.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

Nadia stares down her attacker.

Citadel Review

There are many things a good story can do. One of the main functions is that you become so caught up in the narrative that you don’t see many of the contrivances that the filmmakers have to use to get us from start to finish. That suspension of disbelief is critical, especially as you move away from reality. However, if your narrative slips, so then does that shield.

So to set the scene, we saw in The Human Enigma the almost complete destruction of the Citadel spy agency in a targeted massacre worldwide. One of those places was a train driving through the Italian Alps. The Train exploded, and we found out what happened to Mason (Richard Madden) last week. This week we open with Nadia (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) dragging herself out of the lake and trying to warn everyone, but Bernard (Stanley Tucci) implements a backstop protocol instead. She escapes but collapses from her wounds, wakes up with the bullet out of her leg, and is handcuffed to a bed. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Citadel: The Human Enigma – TV Review

TL;DR – This opening gives you the explosive action and compelling characters you need, but the jury might still be out about the narrative.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this series.

A body floats in the water as flames lap above.

Citadel Review

There have been many, and I mean many, pretenders trying to take the James Bond throne. Some have come close, and some have stepped into the world but with their own take and vibe. Yet some still go straight for the juggler and try to unset the monolith. I was surprised to see the next contender come from the studio that just bought a sizable chunk of the James Bond franchise, but I am interested to see where they go with it.

So to set the scene, a train blasts through the countryside in the Italian Alps. When a mysterious lady Nadia (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), enamoured in a stunning red dress, walks into the viewing cart. But she is not there for the breathtaking views of mountain lakes. She is here for the Russian Gregor (Lev Gorn) with the enriched uranium in his bag about to sell to the highest bidder. It was all going well when Mason (Richard Madden) sat beside her. They were a team, but they are no longer a team. However, they are Citadel agents, and professionals, so they can get the job done. But all is not as it seems because uranium is not in the bag. It is a message, a warning, a declaration, and an extermination. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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The Diplomat: Season 1 – TV Review

TL;DR – This is a delightfully amusing show for one delving into such topical stories. Like if The West Wing met Utopia by way of The Crown.   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this series

A British funeral

The Diplomat Review

In a former life, I got very much down the rabbit hole of the world of international affairs. While that is now deep in the past, it is nice to dip your toes back into what could have been from time to time. I thought I would do this when I saw a new show about being the new Ambassador from the USA to the UK. I am not quite sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch, but I am not sure that a show that is equal parts drama and farce was one of them.

So to set the scene, after years of being the deputy chief of Mission for her husband Hal (Rufus Sewell), Ambassador Kate Wyler (Keri Russell) is getting ready to step up and be the next Ambassador to Afghanistan. However, there was no ambassador in London, which was a problem when an external actor attacked the Aircraft carrier HMS Courageous. So without warning, Kate is dropped into the thick of it as most people see this as an Iranian attack to avenge the Americans for taking an oil tanker earlier in the month. However, while Kate is trying to find her feet, what she is not aware of, but what White House Chief of Staff Billie Appiah (Nana Mensah) has given Stuart Heyford (Ato Essandoh), Deputy Chief of Mission, has given the heads up about is that Kate is on a shortlist to replace the Vice President who is about to get turfed in a scandal. Kate would be good for the job if not for the fact that her marriage is about to implode. Now from here, we will be looking at the series as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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How Ted Lasso Perfected the Nothing/Everything Episode with Sunflowers – Article

TL;DR – This article explores how a show can have an episode focused on nothing, yet still be everything.  

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this show.  

Van Gogh's Sunflowers.

How Ted Lasso Perfected the Nothing/Everything Episode with Sunflowers

One of the significant shifts in the Television landscape was the move from more episodic episodes to more serialised outings. It started taking steam in the 1990s with shows like Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine. But this would explode in the streaming era, with nearly every show you watch having some serialised component. Whether the show works with the serialised content does not matter. With the insertion of boilerplate narrative arcs becoming more of the norm, looking at you Wednesday. In this world, can you have a stand-alone, nothing episode anymore?

There was a time when shows like Seinfeld built themselves around being the show about nothing, where there was no character growth. However, today if you have an episode, let alone a series, where nothing happens, you will get a chorus of comments claiming condensation over there being filler. I have seen a claim championed time after time, whether the show was filler. But can you still have an engaging episode of TV that does not move the plot along in the current landscape? Well, you must trust your audience to come along with you if you want to attempt something like this. Trust which is something that is earned, not given.

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Ghosted – Movie Review

TL;DR – While there is potential in the idea we have here, nothing seems to stick, becoming quite frustrating in places.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Apple TV+ service that viewed this film.

Chris Evans with a shocked look on his face.

Ghosted Review

When I come into a film, I try to avoid bringing outside baggage, namely any other opinions, with me before I start watching. My own experiences and thoughts, you can’t help them, but with others, that is something you can work on. However, every now and again, there comes a film that you simply cannot avoid the conversation because it permeates everywhere. Today we look at just such a film, and unfortunately for Ghosted, they did not help themselves with some of the most baffling promotion I have seen in a while.  

So to set the scene, on the outskirts of Washington DC, Sadie (Ana de Armas) decided to ditch her therapy session and drive up to the mountains. In a small town, she comes across a farmers market where Cole (Chris Evans) is working, and it is love at first snark. When Cole would not sell Sadie a plant because she would probably kill it, they ended up having some fun together, a night together, and a big move. Followed by Sadie 100% ghosting her [insert title of film reference here]. But when Cole discovers Sadie is in London, he decides not to do the weird stalker thing, but the grand romantic gesture thing, travelling 5000 miles to say hello to the woman he has seen once, and he knows where they are because he accidentally put a tracker on her. But instead of that romantic moment, he is captured, knocked out by assailants, and then subjected to a little light torture.  

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Star Trek: Picard – The Last Generation and Season Three – TV Review

TL;DR – They stuck the landing.   

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this episode.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

The USS Enterprise-D

Star Trek: Picard Review

The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard has come to an end, and more like any season so far, this felt almost like Star Trek: The Next Generation season 8. There was a little concern coming into the start of the season as to whether they could make it more than just a nostalgia fest. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of nostalgia on offer here. But there is also a lot of heart. In today’s review, we will first look at whether they stuck the landing with the final episode and then at the season and maybe the series as a whole.

So to set the scene, in Võx, we discovered the terrible secret that Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) had been holding so tight that even he did not know, he is The Borg. Or at least he had inherited some of the DNA changes The Borg made to Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). This made him reach out to the voice in his head … The Borg Queen (Alice Krige/Jane Edwina Seymour) herself. Which sets in motion The Borg’s final plan to trigger the Borg DNA inserted in all the young officers and remotely assimilate them using Jack’s ability, and it works. The fleet is taken over, most of those not assimilated are killed, and only Spacedock stands between The Borg and the extermination of Earth. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode, and season, as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.     

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Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always – Movie Review

TL;DR – Well, this film shows that nostalgia is limited, even when wearing rose-tinted glasses.  

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

Running from an explosion.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always Review

I was at the perfect age when the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was first released. I watched through the first couple of seasons before losing interest sometime after the movie. It was enough to get to come back and watch the film reboot a couple of years ago, and I think I may have been the only one who liked it. Well, when they announced that there would be a 30th-anniversary movie bringing the old cast back together, I was happy to hear it. A little less so now that I have watched it.  

So to set the scene, back in 1993, the great sorcerer Rita Repulsa (Barbara Goodson) escaped. It was only through the powers of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, chosen by Zordon, were they were able to defeat her. 30 years later, Rita has returned as Robo Rita and strikes down the Yellow Ranger as Zach (Walter Emanuel Jones) and Billy (David Yost) look on in horror. A year later, Zach is trying to help raise Minh (Charlie Kersh) when Rita returns, and this time, she wants to take out all the Rangers.  

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The Mandalorian: Chapter 24 (The Return) & Season 3 – TV Review

TL;DR – While you could say they spared their best to last, it was still frustrating that this energy went missing a lot during this season.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this show.

Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and The Armorer (Emily Swallow) decend.

The Mandalorian Review

I am not sure we thought that at the start of the season, we would be feeling a bit odd now that we are drawing to an end. Indeed, I had to correct myself because I had inadvertently written this as the fourth season, though in hindsight, I don’t think that is far from the truth given how Book of Boba Fett turned out. However, as we come to the end of this season, and maybe even the series at the time of writing season 4 is not confirmed, I wonder what we got.   

So to set the scene, in The Spies, most of the disparate groups of the Mandalorians came together to help reclaim Mandalore after discovering that it was potentially inhabitable. However, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) realised their plan. He set a trap because neither of the Mandalorian groups knew is that Gideon always knew the planet was habitable and had made his base there. A realisation that happened after Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) was captured. Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) was leading the survivors off to escape and warn the armada above that they were about to come under attack. Still, only time would tell if they would get the warning before obliteration. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode, and season, as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

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Evil Dead Rise – Movie Review

TL;DR – A good case study of what happens if you go to max-intensity right from the start and stay there.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is something at the end of the credits but not something you need to stay back for.

Warning – This movie contains scenes that may cause distress.

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

A sinister smile.

Evil Dead Rise Review

At the start of this year, I set myself the challenge to explore cinema that is more outside of my comfort zone, and one area that I don’t have a lot of experience in was Horror. I have dabbled here and there, but I know that I have barely scratched the surface of the diverse genre. When I heard there was a new imagining of the classic series Evil Dead, it felt like an excellent place to jump in.

So to set the scene, Beth (Lily Sullivan) is a guitar technician constantly on the road until she makes another mistake. When this happens, she always goes to visit her sister Ellie (Alyssa Sutherland), who lives with her children Danny (Morgan Davies), Bridget (Gabrielle Echols), and Kassie (Nell Fisher) in a bank that was converted into units. After realising that Beth has been out of her family’s lives for too long, the kids go off to get some pizza so the grownups can chat. But when an earthquake hits, a chasm reveals the old bank vault under the car park. Danny takes it upon himself to explore and disturbs something he should have let lie.

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Shadow and Bone: Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – There are moments of absolute joy and action, but it does get bogged down in a story that does not reach the heights of the world’s potential.   

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this show.

Alina tries to collapse the The Fold

Shadow and Bone Review

A while back, I caught up on some of the Fantasy series I had missed and stumbled upon an exciting delight. It was a show that took queues from a more Slavic inspiration, creating a universe that felt like we were not just running over the same cultural touchstones. Well, the show’s second season has now dropped, and I didn’t wait to give it a watch this time.

So to set the scene, Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and Malyen “Mal” Oretsev (Archie Renaux) have escaped overseas after defeating General Aleksander Kirigan / The Darkling (Ben Barnes) but not having the power to stop the Fold. But they are still being hunted, this time by a charismatic pirate (Patrick Gibson) and the nation they just abandoned. Meanwhile, the Crows have returned to Ketterdam only to find that someone has bought their club out from underneath them, and some people are mighty upset that they did not bring back the prize they were hired for. Now from here, we will be looking at the series as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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