May 23, 2017

TV Retrospective: "Supergirl" - Season 2

Scene from Supergirl
When Supergirl first premiered, it seemed like a novelty show geared towards female comic book fans. Large portions of the first season even felt like the familiar sentimental and upbeat stories that balance action and angst in a way fitting for the modern superhero TV show. It's only shining light that it was usually fun. Cut to a season and network later, and Supergirl has done the unthinkable. It has managed to become one of the most relevant comic book properties on the small screen. Even with stunt casting in former Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter as the president, the show became socially conscious and borrowed a lot of its jargon and plots from current events. There's no denying that the arching plot line regarding the extermination of aliens wasn't in some ways pulled from events premiering alongside the episodes. Supergirl may remain a show full of heart and whimsy, but it has become so much more and in the process became one of the best shows on TV.

May 22, 2017

TV Retrospective: "The Simpsons" - Season 28

How much can really be said about The Simpsons after 28 years? Even in the familiar opening credits scene, Bart has no choice but to poke fun at the series by thanking another pop culture entity that was birthed in 1989: Taylor Swift. There's nothing that The Simpsons can do in 2017 that is necessarily cutting edge in relevance. It's because of this that the season felt like more of the same. It isn't a terrible thing to do, but considering that this season brought with it: 1. The 600th episode; 2. The first hour long episode; and 3. A sequel to the iconic episode "Kamp Krusty," it does feel like the show is continuing to try and find gimmicks that will make it stand out. Even when it takes on the Pokemon Go fad, it feels like it's behind the curve. While it is partly because of the length it takes to animate, it's also that the show has done everything before and made fun of itself for doing everything again. Still, season 28 had plenty of heart and innovation within it, just not enough to make it anything special.

My Issue with "Alien: Covenant" is Not Actually in the Movie (Spoilers)

Scene from Alien: Covenant "The Last Supper" Prologue
*NOTE: Spoilers for Alien: Covenant

It's quite possible that you saw director Ridley Scott's latest journey into space this past weekend. Alien: Covenant has already grossed $117 million internationally and is the top movie in the United States. It was a fun if lacking thrill ride in this return to a beloved franchise. However, there was one thing that seemed off about this entry. There wasn't much focus on empathetic characters. While it could be a nihilistic decision by Scott, it helps to make Covenant feel like it's lacking something greater. It was in research that I understood what exactly could've been put in the movie, but seemed to end up on the viral cutting room floor. As part of the marketing, 20th Century Fox released two prologues called "The Crossing" and "The Last Supper." While only roughly eight minutes combined, they feature elements that would've made the film better and enhance an appreciation for the characters. So, the question is now why weren't they in the movie? The film was barely over two hours to begin with. My issue here isn't with anything specifically in the film. It's what's not.

May 20, 2017

Review: "Alien: Covenant" is a Fine Popcorn Flick, But a Lousy Franchise Movie

Scene from Alien: Covenant
Anyone who has seen the marketing for Alien: Covenant will know a few things. The first is that the movie is going to be intense, and it's largely thanks to the drooling Xenomorph who crack open the windshield as Danny McBride looks on in terror. It's the kind of imagery that is welcomed, especially after the maligned and heady Prometheus failed to produce any iconic imagery until the literal last minute of the movie. With director Ridley Scott also admitting the flaws of his previous journey into space, it feels like a chance to start anew with some Hard R action that calls back to the glory days of 1979 when audiences first met the chest-burster. It's all there. The only issue is that what's missing, as was evident in the marketing, is any semblance of interesting characters.

May 18, 2017

Channel Surfing: Downward Dog - "Pilot"

Scene from Downward Dog
Welcome to a new column called Channel Surfing, in which I sporadically look at current TV shows and talk about them. These are not ones that I care to write weekly recaps for and are instead reflections either on the episode, the series, or particular moments. This will hopefully help to share personal opinions as well as discover entertainment on the outer pantheon that I feel is well worth checking out, or in some cases, shows that are weird enough to talk about, but should never be seen.