TV Review – Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls and PM Modi

TL;DR – This was such a surreal experience even if it might have been the most uncritical political interview I have seen in a while.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls and PM Modi. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review


It has been a long time since I have been able to catch an episode of Man Vs. Wild. Back in the day it was this weird yet deeply compelling story of Bear Grylls dropping himself into the wild (or apparently wild) locations and trying to survive by consuming some of his own urine. Well if anything is going to get me back into a show it is Bear Grylls going on a trip with the Indian Prime Minister.

I was wondering how if at all the show had changed over the years and in the first five minutes of the show Bear picks up and examines some elephant dung. So the more things change the more they stay the same. Over the years, there have been some contentions as to how staged the show is if at all. Well here when you have a world leader in a place that he could get killed by a tiger so there is no chance they would be allowed to walk around by themselves and I liked that they acknowledged that the Secret Service is around.

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TV Review – Hyperdrive: Season 1

TL;DR – This is part Fast and the Furious, part Ninja Warrior, part tyre-screech aficionado love letter. What a fantastic idea, however, to make an idea work you need execution and here is where it falls down.  

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Hyperdrive. Image Credit: Netlfix.

Review

Rarely in my life have I heard an idea that clicked as much as I did today “Ninja Warrior but with cars?” I mean just think of that and your mind is racing through all the possibilities. Indeed, watching that first episode it all started to click and then as that episode went on I started to notice things not quite coming together and as the rest of the season went on it was only compounded by one odd moment after another. So today we are going to have a look at a show where there is this interesting divide between ambition and execution.

Hyperdrive is a show all about putting the cars and the experts that drive them to the extremes. The drivers come from America, Brazil, Japan, and Europe and are absolute experts in their fields. Now before we move on I do want to say none of the critiques I have are for the drivers who are clearly doing an amazing job with what they have been given and are clearly skilled technicians and experts in their fields. Each round they go through a set of challenges like doing a reverse 360° turn in-between tight penalty pylons or drifting your car back and forth along the sides chicane trying to hit targets with the back end of your vehicle. All while wanting to be the fastest because if you are too slow you are eliminated. As far as a concept goes you have a winner here and there are a lot of touches that help add to this, like putting the commentary booth over the top of the finish line, or having the targets full of balls that fly out when they are hit, or the industrial setting that really gels with the aesthetic of the race. However, while there are these small touches and some interesting challenges it is soon clear that there are some things that just have not translated as well as they wanted.

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TV Review – Cannon Busters: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a well-made animation, with an interesting story, world and characters. Full of interesting juxtapositions like magic and technology. 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Cannon Busters. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I was thinking the other day of my joy at the old Monkey Magic stories. It had me wonder that it has been a long time since I have seen a good travel story where a group of disparate people are brought together through fate and then discover all their flaws and joys in the face of shared adversity. Well as fate would have it just a couple of days later a little surprise dropped on Netflix which was everything I didn’t know I wanted.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a desert wasteland on an alien (maybe) planet with a disintegrating moon floating in orbit. Our first clue that this is an interesting place is the image of a giant bull trampling across the plains in search of a toilet. We cut to a town on the frontier full of dust, wood, and a casual disregard for life. There are humans and other creatures, and all sorts of robots, mechs, and mechanical augmentations. In the streets walks Sam (A Special Associate Model) (Kamali Minter) from the faraway kingdom of Botica. She does not seem to fit the tone of the local area, making friends in a land of gunfights and wanton murder. But she is on a mission to find a lost prince and the one person who can help her do that Philly the Kid (Kenn Michael). One issue is that he does not really want to help, also he is cursed and can’t die, also he had a large bounty on him that everyone is trying to collect. So Sam, Philly, and Casey (Kamali Minter) a maintenance droid head off on the mission in their pink coin-operated Mustang that can transform into a bull. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Les Norton: Wrongside

TL;DR – Continues one of the best Aussie pilots I have seen in a while by taking everything up a notch.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton: Wrongside. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

Last week I kind of stumbled upon a new gem in Australian TV with the show Les Norton that immediately stamped its presence in the media landscape. It was brash, it was funny, it also was a little absurd at times all while a friendly narrator (Angus Sampson) told us how bad poor old Les (Alexander Bertrand) was doing. However, getting out of the gate is one thing, but can you keep running the race, well that is a different question that we will try to find the answer today as we politely ignore why a horse racing metaphor is an apt description.

So to set the scene, in last week’s You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, Les inadvertently helped cover up the murder of a local brothel madam Doreen Bognor (Rebel Wilson) by filling up a foundation at a new handball court for his boss Price Galese (David Wenham). All well and good, well sorry no, just one small problem, local muscle and slightly off quilter bodyguard Eddie Salita (Justin Rosniak) accidentally dropped his boss’ keys, for his expensive car, in the concrete with all that incriminating evidence. Well at least nothing else can go wrong, but wait what is that strapped to the engine of Price’s car. From here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there may be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling

TL;DR – This is a very interesting reboot of a beloved cartoon from the 1990s but I am not sure that it hit its mark.  

Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I grew up in the 1990s, so for me when I think about those cartoons that situated my life for the weird and abstract toons of the peak-Nickelodeon. Shows like Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, and of course the weirdly absurd Rocko’s Modern Life were very much a part of that. Rocko’s Modern Life is/was a show that used its abstract art style and storytelling to shine a light on the world. Now, it has been years since I have watched an episode so when a new special was released, well I knew it was time to jump back in.  

So to set the scene, since the end of the last season of Rocko’s Modern Life, Rocko (Carlos Alazraqui), Heffer Wolfe (Tom Kenny), Spunky, and Filburt (Mr. Lawrence) have spent the last twenty years flying around space after a rocket took their house into space. After all that time, at least their mutual love of the Fat Heads brings them together. But tragedy strikes when the VCR of the show dies, the one thing keeping them sane. Thankfully, at that moment they find the remote for the rocket lodged in Heffer’s posterior. But when they arrive back to O-Town, a lot has changed.

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TV Review – Wu Assassins: Season 1

TL;DR – A good start to a season however it struggles to keep the momentum moving in the back half of the season.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Wu Assassins. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Sometimes in life, it is the simple things that really work. For me, that is a show with a well-crafted story, strong characters, clear action, and with the fundamentals of filmmaking down pact. Now, once you have that, if you want to spice it up with some deep lore, building upon some grand mythology, I am also here for it. Today we look at a series that has the characters, has the action, and the filmmaking, but does not quite nail that story component.   

So to set the scene, we open in on San Francisco and Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) who works as a chef at his friend Tommy’s (Lawrence Kao) place (well actually his friend’s sister Jenny’s (Li Jun Li) place but it is complicated). Tommy is throwing a party for his Triad friends and when something goes wrong Kai steps in to stop one of the cooks getting attacked. This means that the Triad has to respond, attacking Kai while he works in a food truck. As he is escaping he hits a woman, instead of finding someone injured on the street, he finds a woman (Celia Au) who gives him the power of 1000 monks to fight an oncoming storm. So let’s break the Wu Assassins down, using those four categories we mention in the introduction.  Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Wu Assassins: Drunken Watermelon

TL;DR – A good start to a season and a good promise for the things to come

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Wu Assassins: Drunken Watermelon. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been a long time since I have seen someone attempt a martial arts TV series in the west and it not be mostly a disappointment. With that in mind, I came into Wu Assassins with a little apprehension but after watching the first episode I have some hope.  

So to set the scene, we open in on San Francisco and Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) who works as a chef at his friend Tommy’s (Lawrence Kao) place (well actually his friend’s sister Jenny’s (Li Jun Li) place but it is complicated). Tommy is throwing a party for his Triad friends and when something goes wrong Kai steps in to stop one of the cooks getting attacked. This means that the Triad has to respond, attacking Kai while he works in a food truck. As he is escaping he hits a woman, instead of finding someone injured on the street, he finds a woman (Celia Au) who gives him the power of 1000 monks to fight an oncoming storm.     

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