TV Review – Total Control: Episode 1

TL;DR – This is one of the strongest opening hours of TV I have seen in years, with the first few minutes affecting me in ways I was not ready for.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Total Control: Episode 1. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

A pilot episode of television has a lot it has to do. It has to set the tone, explain the setting, introduce you to the main characters, and find the drive for the whole season. I have seen a lot of TV show pilots in my time and even shows that are fantastic can fumble parts of this very important introduction. Well, today I look at a show that nails every single element in its 50 minutes run time.

So to set the scene, we open in on a tragedy where Alex Irving (Deborah Mailman) is thrust into the national spotlight after a video goes viral. Alex shuns all media request for interviews but she has caught the eye of someone important. Soon there is a knock at the door and Jonathan (Harry Richardson) who works for the Federal Government arrives at Alex and her mother Jan’s (Trisha Morton-Thomas) house in Winton in country Queensland. He is there with an offer for Alex to take over the seat of a Senator that has just died. She declines, saying that if Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) wants her to be a senator then she can come and ask herself, which is exactly what she does. For here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Continue reading

TV Review – Star Trek Short Treks: The Trouble with Edward

TL;DR –  A silly and somewhat absurdist episode that was a real delight

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Star Trek Short Treks: The Trouble with Edward. Image Credit: CBS Studios.

Review

Have you ever had a colleague that was so sure of themselves, even though they were maybe not quite as smart as they thought they were? Well as much as humanity has advanced in the future, it almost reassuring that this is one trait that we have not quite left behind.

So to set the scene, we open in on a day of celebration because Captain Pike (Anson Mount) gets to see an old crewman off to their new position. As science officer Lynne Lucero (Rosa Salazar) has just been made captain of the USS Cabot. Their first mission is to go to Pragine 63 on the edge of Klingon space to help clandestinely with a food crisis. Her crew all have several ideas, but Edward Larkin (H. Jon Benjamin) has the plan to mess with the DNA of a tribble and it all goes wrong from there.   

Continue reading

TV Review – The Good Place: Chillaxing

TL;DR – It is the moment when the loss and pain catch up with everyone.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Good Place: Chillaxing. Image Credit: NBC Studios.

Review

We continue our march to the final ever episode of The Good Place with a real threat looming over us. No one is improving and time is not infinite. It is in these moments of pressure in the past where the series has really excelled but will it work this time around.

So to set the scene, after our two-part season opener A Girl from Arizona, things had started to move into place. But every step forward was also a step back. They got rid of the demon in disguise, but then Chidi (William Jackson Harper) got brought more into the fold at the further expense of Eleanor’s (Kristen Bell) happiness. As well as this, after some struggles Janet (D’Arcy Carden) decided to break up with Jason (Manny Jacinto), leaving more of the group fractured. Just a reminder that we will be looking at the episode at the whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – Les Norton: Season One

TL;DR – Was one of the more interesting shows I have seen on Australian TV by being both a throwback to the past and also something a little new 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton. Image Credit: ABC.

Review

We took a look back at Les Norton’s first episode You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, back when it first came out. Well, the first season has just finished so I wanted to take a moment to look back at the show and how well it did as a whole. A show about the 1980s, finding yourself in over your head, and also just about the most aggressively Australian TV show I have seen in a very long while.

So to set the scene, Les Norton (Alexander Bertrand) is a country boy from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland. He’s had to skip town after an incident where a rival teammate was left fighting for his life with a head injury and he needed to disappear before there was a riot. He needed to find some work to get through his time in Sydney which is where he meets his guide and new friend Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard) working as a doorman at a local club in Kings Cross. The first 22 minutes of his shift is boring, but we come in at minute 23 and the fists start flying. The head of the club Price Galese (David Wenham) likes what he sees and brings him into the fold and Les discovers a world hidden out of sight, protected by the powerful, and who run on very different rules where discretion is key.

Continue reading

TV Review – The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona Part 2

TL;DR – A strong follow up at the start of the season with some really powerful moments.  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona Part 2. Image Credit: NBC.

Review

We continue our look at the final chance to save humankind and … well … it’s not been going well so far. With the clock both figuratively and literally running out for both the character and us the viewers it makes even the smallest set back feel larger and that is only the first few minutes.

So to set the scene, at the end of Part 1, we got a bit of a reset with The Bad Place’s mole being discovered. However, all the problems still remain, Simone (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) still thinks this is all the figment of her imagination and is acting accordingly with chaotic abandon. Also Brent (Ben Koldyke) is a mediocre white man from privilege, so of course he thinks the world revolved around him. It is a tough nut to crack but at least Eleanor (Kristen Bell) has the backing of the team … right … Just a reminder that we will be looking at the episode at the whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – The Expanse: Season 3

TL;DR – This is and continues to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Expanse. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

I mentioned back in my look at the New Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A. Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well, I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.

So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante the crew are dealing with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others make the tough calls?    

Continue reading

TV Review – Bard of Blood

TL;DR – This an interesting spy series which is unfortunately held back a bit with inconsistent pacing and the flow-on effects from that.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Bard of Blood. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of my goals this year has been to expand my global cinema intake from places away from the traditional English speaking countries that I am used to. I have not been as successful as I would have liked, but when a new Indian spy thriller drops on Netflix you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Now I have finished it, wow, is this series a lot, and I think it might also have lasting repercussions.

So to set the scene, in Balochistan, Pakistan, a group of Indian deep-cover spies are in a lude video internet café using it as a cover as they upload important information back to New Delhi. However, before they can finish, they are captured by the local Taliban. Before they can be executed the Pakistani Intelligence forces intercede and save then, not to keep them alive, but to kill them at the right time and place. Back in India, one of the chiefs in India’s Intelligence bureau Sadiq (Rajit Kapur) feels that something is odd so he seeks out Kabir Anand (Emraan Hashmi) code name Adonis but there is bad blood between them over what happened last time in Pakistan. He instead sends Isha (Sobhita Dhulipala) to retrieve him, however, Sadiq is murdered in his home and Adonis is framed, and only he might be able to save the agents because there is a mole in the Indian government and he does not know who they might be. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading