Category Archives: TV review

TV Round-Up: The Orville: Command Performance

While “Old Wounds” introduced us to the universe of The Orville and its characters, the episode really didn’t tell us much about the characters beyond a basic character tic or bio line.

And while “Command Performance” still suffers from many of the issues that played the pilot episode in terms of establishing a tone for the series, it at least tried to give us a bit more insight into a few of the characters.  Continue reading

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TV: Doctor Who: Revenge of the Cybermen

Revenge_of_the_Cybermen_1984_VHS_UKThere are a lot of things about “Revenge of the Cybermen” that don’t make sense.

But the biggest thing comes not from anything that takes place on-screen but the serial’s place in Doctor Who history.

Back in the 80’s as VCRs became more and more common in homes, the BBC decided to test the waters with a commercially released classic Doctor Who serial.  And for this honor, they decided to pick something from what many fans considered the pinnacle of Doctor Who – the Tom Baker starring, Robert Holmes script-editing, Phillip Hinchcliffe producing years.

Somehow classics like “The Ark in Space,” “The Pyramids of Mars” or “The Robots of Death” were passed by and instead the world got “Revenge of the Cybermen.”

Who-lore from the era tells us that the BBC polled fans at a convention and a mix-up between “Revenge of the Cybermen” and the then missing “Tomb of the Cybermen” occurred.  Seems fans wanted “Tomb.”  Instead we got “Revenge.” Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The Orville, “Old Wounds”

xzsw7urvcxqpskxv40ggBased on the promotional material and my expectations of what constitutes a Seth MacFarlane show, I expected The Orville to be a bit more Galaxy Quest than Star Trek.

Turns out FOX took all the “funny” and “zingy” one-liner parts of the premiere and edited those into a (much repeated) commercial for the show.

It’s almost as if Fox doesn’t quite know what kind of show Seth MacFarlane is giving them.

Which could be because The Orville doesn’t seem to know what kind of show it wants to be either. That’s my big takeaway from the first episode, “Old Wounds.” Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: 24 Legacy Noon to 4 p.m.

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The debut of 24: Legacy brings up a (semi)philosophical question.  Is the real-time format or Jack Bauer the star of the show?

Four episodes into the “worst day” of Eric Carter’s life and the answer still isn’t clear.  

It’s easy to forgive certain things Jack Bauer did or to accept them as simply part of the power of Baur because we’ve spent ten days together.  Seeing Carter act with a similar reckless abandon to what Jack used in order to get the job done and damn the consequences doesn’t necessarily feel earned yet.  In the first four hours, Carter has used a large concrete pipe as a shield to take on terrorists, got himself arrested in order to steal $2 million in cash from a police squad and, as hour four ends, is breaking out of CTU in order to try and get a list of potential terrorist cells back. Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The Magicians Season One

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For some reason, I missed season one of The Magicians when it aired on SyFy.

OK, I didn’t really miss it so much as tune into the first two episodes, set a season-pass and then had it stack up on the DVR.  And then I promptly deleted all the episodes halfway through the season because there are only so many hours in the day.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when the show showed up on Netflix and I decided to give it another try.

Boy, I’m glad I did.

Based on a trilogy of novels by Lev Grossman, The Magicians follows a group of friends who are studying to become magicians at Brakebill’s School for Magic.   The series is described as “Harry Potter for adults,” but I think that’s doing a great disservice to both series.  The Magicians owes more a debt to the C.S. Lewis Narnia series than it does to Harry Potter, if only because our main character, Quinten Coldwater grew up reading a series of Narnia-like books and has always dreamed of visiting the magical land described there.

Like a lot of shows today, the show has an arc and a seasonal big-bad.  In this case, it’s a threat called the Beast.  A six-fingered magician, the Beast shows up in episode one and is a looming threat over the entire season, bringing our team together to try and stop them in order to prevent their own deaths.

The series unfolds at Brakebill’s with Quinten and his friends studying magic and trying to up their game to take on the Beast.  Meanwhile, Quinten’s life-long friend Julia fails the entrance exam to Brakebill’s and is sent back to the real world.  Unfortunately, the memory wipe used on her doesn’t work and she spends much of season one trying to reconnect with magic and get back into the world that Quinten is exploring.

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Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks, Episode 1

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During my teenage years, I picked up a photonovel copy of “The Power of the Daleks” at a sci-fi convention.   The original script for the long-lost story was put together with the telesnaps (photos of the actual episodes) in an attempt to give fans a chance to see what the watching the serial back in 1966 might have been like.  At the time, I figured this would be a close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.”

When I first got on-line, I discovered the Doctor Who fan community and the practice of sharing the off-air audio from lost serials with each other.  Thank to the generosity of a fellow fan, I was able to acquire the audio from several lost serials that I eagerly listened to, imaging what it might have been like to see the story back during its original airing.  At the time, I figured this would be as close as I’d get to fully experiencing “The Power of the Daleks.” Continue reading

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The X-Files: My Struggle II

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After last week’s installment of The X-Files, I was concerned that Chris Carter wouldn’t be able to stick the landing for this six-episode event series.

And that concern, unfortunately, was realized with the muddled mess that was “My Struggle II.”

Beginning things with a voice-over monologue by Scully of things we learned just five weeks ago is not a good sign.   Pile on the typical mythology trope of separating our two heroes for much of the episode and then wrapping it all up with little or no closure and a cliffhanger ending and you’ve got — well, you’ve got a mess that was the final few seasons of this show.

Watching the episode on my DVR, I kept pausing things, thinking — oh great, it’s going to run over and I didn’t pad the recording time enough so that I’ll see how this all winds up.  Except that Carter wasn’t really interested in giving us resolution so much as he was about trying to keep us on the edge of our seats, not give us any answers and then leave us wanting more.    Continue reading

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