TV Show Reviews

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-?)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-?)

Network:

Amazon

Creator:

Amy Sherman-Palladino

Starring:

Rachel Brosnahan

Alex Borstein

Michael Zegen

Plot:

A housewife in the 1950s decides to become a stand-up comic.

Review:

Midge, Rachel Brosnahan, is your standard 1950s upper middle class housewife. Her world revolves around her husband, Michael Zegen, and she does everything in her power to make his life as easy as possible. He wants to be a stand up comedian so she makes sure he gets the best times at a club by making the manager brisket. She takes notes of things she thinks is funny, she notes down any time the audience laughs at one of his, she does all kinds of research. The woman waits until he’s asleep then takes off her makeup, does her hair up, and puts cold cream on her face. She then wakes up before the alarm goes off and gets herself all pretty so that he doesn’t ever see her not at her best. It’s ridiculous the lengths she goes, she freaking measures all of her body parts so that she remains skinny.

Naturally, he can’t handle her perfection and cheats on her with his ditzy secretary. After he bombs a stand up set her tells her because apparently he just can’t stop from being an asshole. I hated this man, I wanted him to suffer, I wanted him to die alone on the streets naked and unloved. Spoilers, that didn’t happen.

Midge grows a bit as a person, not huge leaps and bounds, but she starts to see that there is more to life than being a housewife. She uses her stand up to be introspective, though, often she uses it to just unleash all of her pent up emotions which is probably not the best thing. It bites her in the ass a few times, and by the end of the season she had yet to learn.

The relationship between Midge and her manager Susie, Alex Borstein, is almost as interesting as the relationship with her husband, though, a lot less dramatic. Watching the two women figure each other out and start to become friends was a nice contrast to the rest of Midge’s life.

I found Midge to be an incredibly interesting character. I honestly would have wound up in jail if I’d been in front of that judge. I’m really curious to see what comes next, maybe I’ll get my wish and her husband will wind up castrated in a ditch. I don’t think that’s how they’re leaning, though. I think they might try to have him grow as a person or he could double down on his asshole tendencies, we’ll see. Also, I borderline ship her and her manager Susie, but I’ll have to see how that plays out before I make my final decision.

Great show, if you have Amazon prime definitely check it out.

4/5

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White Collar (2009-2014)

White Collar (2009-2014)

Network:

USA

Starring:

Matt Bomer

Tim DeKay

Willie Garson

Tiffani Thiessan

Sharif Atkins

Marsha Thomason

Plot:

A white collar criminal agrees to help the FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter, and conman.

Review:

White Collar at its best is an elegant TV show, with beautiful people, and interesting friendships. The first four seasons are fun to watch and at the absolute least great background entertainment.

Neal, Matt Bomer, is a con artist that has been caught by FBI agent Peter Burke, Tim DeKay. A deal is struck and Neal is put on an anklet and proceeds to help the FBI catch crooks, normally bad ones.

The best episodes are when Neal is able to complete an intricate con seamlessly, while Peter is able to catch the bad guy. Often times Neal relies on Peter to save him and has complete faith in him to do that, which is kind of sweet.

The last two seasons are…not good at all and I would recommend you skip them. It’s sad, but everything that makes the first four good is gone from the last two. Neal and Peter lose their close relationship. They become almost mean to each other. What’s worse Elizabeth Burke, Tiffani Thiessan, changes into a completely new person. She loses the cool and acceptance of being a seasoned FBI wife and makes ultimatums and illogical demands that she never would have made previously.

The side characters on White Collar, specifically Mozzie, Willie Garson, Diana, Marsha Thomason, and Jones, Sharif Atkins, add a lot to the show. Mozzie is a key player in several episodes and has a few dedicated just to him. It would have been nice to see more development for Diana and Jones, especially Jones.

The series finale is pretty awful. It involves a heist with a bunch of thugs and is far from elegant. It also completely throws away the friendships that were made throughout the show. It’s best if you just stop watching at the end of season 4 because the decline in quality is drastic.

If you’re looking for something light and fun I highly recommend White Collar.

4/5

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Joel Kinnaman

James Purefoy

Martha Higareda

Chris Conner

Dichen Lachman

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Kristen Lehman

Plot:

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.

Review:

It’s been almost a week since I finished watching Altered Carbon and I’ve done a lot of talking about it, my original opinion was mostly neutral but it has become more negative the more I’ve thought about it. AC is visually remarkable, especially considering it’s a TV show. The world created was interesting and definitely something worth exploring. There have been lots of complaints about the acting, but I personally don’t have a problem with it considering it’s a Sci-Fi show and that’s honestly what I expect. My main problems with the show are the characters, story, and the treatment of women.

In AC bodies are called sleeves, if you’re wealthy you can slip in and out of different sleeves depending on your whim. If you are poor, not so much, but it is possible for you to earn enough in your lifetime so that you can feasibly not die. This makes the human body almost like a car and for some disposable, which is supposed to explain a lot of things, like why there is so much nudity in the show.

My problem with that is that the nudity is almost completely one sided. You see all but one main female cast member completely naked. You see one male lead and it’s so brief I missed it. There is a scene where Dichen Lachman’s character jumps into six different sleeves of herself, all completely naked, and fights on a ton of glass. There are multiple sex scenes were you see full frontal female nudity, but the most you get male wise is butt. There are discarded female sex bots all over one episode, but almost no male ones.

I counted 2.5 penises, though I’m told I missed maybe 2 more. I lost track of how much bush I saw. If this was a futuristic world in which women appeared to be able to do everything that men could, they were revolutionaries, capitalists, and police officers, why was there so little in the way of their sexual entertainment? Why were their bodies the only ones on display?

Even ignoring the nudity the female characters were treated and written horribly. It was a violent world, but they almost always ended up worse than the male characters. They made decisions that seemed to go against character, though, most of that seemed to be in situations involving them being naked which just adds to my frustration on that front. Clearly the reason for the female nudity had very little to do with story.

Kristen Ortega, Martha Higareda, stalked Kovacs, Joel Kinnaman, from the beginning because he was in the sleeve of her boyfriend. She hated him because of it and was constantly calling him a terrorist, but this did not stop her from sleeping with him and falling in love to the point where when her boyfriend is cleared and Kovacs is returning the sleeve she is visibly disappointed. She was tortured, her partner killed protecting her, and her entire family brutally murdered. She’s finally at least getting the man she’s supposed to have loved enough that it messed her up emotionally at the beginning of the story, but she’s bummed because…reasons.

Reileen Kawahara, Dichen Lachman, is Kovacs sister. She has miraculously survived these two hundred and fifty years because she has no morals or scruples. This was hinted at in flash backs to their original lives and not out of character at all. What does feel out of character is her sudden incestuous feelings toward Kovacs. While she’s taken over the body of Kristen, she comes on hard to him. He realizes it’s her and is grossed out, but her explanation is nothing is off limits when you’re rich and basically a god. She goes from a younger sister that idolizes her brother to a madam that does truly heinous things all in the pursuit of money and apparently wants to get in his pants. Her getting her brother free is basically a stretch goal and her real purpose was to cover her own ass. She ends up dying, which is much deserved, though who knows if it’s permanent.

Quellcrist Falconer, Renée Elise Goldsberry, is leading a revolution. She’s created a technology that she thought would be good, but of course turned out bad. She’s trying to correct things, she’s got a plan, too bad she falls in love with Kovacs. She ends up dying at the hands of his sister, or does she? She’s currently saved on a stack waiting to be rescued by Kovacs.

Miriam Bancroft, Kristen Lehman, is married to Laurens Bancroft, James Purefoy, and is basically stuck. She can’t do anything because he owns everything, but she’s got her kids. Her kids are everything to her apparently, though apart from a couple seemingly throw away comments you don’t really know this until the last episode. She has been with her husband forever and seems to exist for him. Her body is specifically engineered to be amazing at sex to the point it excretes some kind of pheromone or something. Naturally she has sex with Kovacs and then any time she’s around him is trying to get him to go to an island where all of her clones are so that he can have sex with lots of her. You discover that she killed a sleeve and an unborn baby because of her great love of her children and not wanting someone else to give birth to a child by her husband. She has charges read against her and she’s led away by the police.

I’m not going to list the rest of the female cast, but their histories are similar. They’re dedicated to getting ahead at whatever cost, they do everything for their children, and they’re sexually abused and left for dead.

Just so you can see the contrast here’s a breakdown of some of the male characters.

Kovacs is woken up after two hundred and fifty years in jail, he’s put in an enhanced body, sadly they missed an opportunity here. He went from being Asian to a white male, if bodies are as exchangeable as they keep trying to say in the show it would have been nice if they hadn’t been so tone deaf.

He’s told if he can solve Bancroft’s murder he will get a full pardon and a ton of money, in the meantime he’s allowed to roam free and has access to a ton of money. He indulges in lots of drugs, has sex with his boss’s wife and the cop tailing him and wins a lot of fights. At one point he’s tortured for quite a while, but he eventually breaks himself out and destroys the whole place. The show ends with him killing his sister (maybe), learning his true love is in a stack somewhere and just needs to be found and put in a body, and getting a ton of money and a full pardon.

Laurens Bancroft is RICH and thinks of himself as a benevolent god. He’s kept his children in arrested development and they hate him for it. He believes one of his sleeves was murdered and wants Kovacs to figure out who did it. All the evidence points to suicide, but he refuses to believe that’s what happened. Turns out that’s exactly what happened. His wife drugged him because she was being blackmailed after she killed his baby momma. He gets super violent while on these drugs and permanently kills one of his prostitutes. He can’t believe he’d do something like that and it breaks him, he felt there was a line he’d never cross. So that he will never have to remember what he’s done he kills his sleeve before his memories can be backed up. The show ends with him being arrested, though the charges are never read by the police. He reconciles with his son and leaves him in charge, but let’s be honest there’s no way he’s not getting free with his money and the confession of his wife drugging him.

Poe, Chris Conner, is the most interesting character in the whole show. He’s a hotel AI and takes care of his guest, Kovacs, every whim. He dies a heroes death.

Like I said Altered Carbon is visually amazing to watch, the world interesting, but the story and characters are seriously lacking. There’s a lot wrong with it and I don’t think I’d say I enjoyed watching most of it, but it’s got a lot of potential. If it is picked up for a second season I hope it’s able to live up to that potential and do a lot better. I’m honestly not sure if I would watch a second season though.

2/5

The Punisher (2017-?)

The Punisher (2017-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Jon Bernthal

Amber Rose Revah

Ebon Moss-Bachrach

Ben Barnes

Jaime Ray Newman

Daniel Webber

Deborah Ann Woll

Plot:

After the murder of his family, Marine veteran Frank Castle became a vigilante known as “The Punisher” with only one goal in mind, to avenge them.

Review:

The Punisher is an antihero that chooses to kill anyone he perceives as a bad guy. He starts off by going after the people that killed his family and it goes from there. He’s a ‘hero’ that when I was young I thought was super cool. Just bypass the system and take them out, but now that I’m older I just can’t get behind that method of justice, if the laws are broken then we need to fix them not just go around killing people. I guess I’m more Superman/Batman brand of justice and for whatever reason I can’t put that aside when I watch a Punisher that’s purposefully placed in a realistic environment.

I wasn’t planning on watching this series, after Iron Fist and Defenders I’ve almost given up on Marvel. Pair that with the fact that I just did not want to watch a show that tried to make me sympathize with a man like Frank Castle, Jon Bernthal, I had planned to sit it out. Next thing I know several friends are telling me I have to watch it, that it doesn’t try to make my empathize, that it does a great job of showing a different side of things, that it’s just the best thing ever and I broke.

One of the main complaints for the Marvel shows on Netflix is that thirteen episodes is too long. I personally didn’t feel that way with the first season of Daredevil or Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, because I really liked the characters and what was going on. I felt every minute of some of these episodes of The Punisher, though, and not in a good way. There was lots of dragging, lots of inactivity, and too much effort put into making The Punisher sympathetic.

The side story that followed Lewis Walcott, Daniel Webber, as he dealt with reintegrating into society was more interesting than The Punisher side for a while. I can see what they were trying to do, show a parallel between The Punisher and Lewis and how they reacted to trauma and coming home. However, they decided to push Lewis over the edge and then kept calling him a coward and trying to say that The Punisher was better. In the process they made Karen, Deborah Ann Woll, sound like an idiot because she refused to acknowledge the similarities.

David ‘Microchip’ Lieberman, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, was also another heavy handed parallel to The Punisher. He faked his own death and left his wife and two children alone to think he was dead. Naturally he spied on them with multiple cameras all over his old house. He was very willing to use The Punisher for a means to an end but acted like he was better than him. My main problem with Microchip, which has nothing to do with the story, is when he’s finally reunited with his wife, Jaime Ray Newman. After some time when she’s been understandably angry with him, they hook up in the bathroom. He finishes superfast, they laugh, he says he’s sorry, she says it’s okay, end scene. Why couldn’t they take two seconds to just show him slipping his hand down her panties? Why did he get to finish, but not her? Why couldn’t they have him saying he’d take care of her? Something? We’d already watched the whole awkward scene why did the wife get nothing?

Which brings me to my main complaint with the series, and something I already knew would be the case going in, but I was convinced it wouldn’t be this way by others. The Punisher is just male fantasy erotica, female fans of the Punisher get almost nothing from this series. Karen is made to be stupid. Dinah Madani, Amber Rose Revah, sleeps with a man she basically only originally talked to because he had connections to Castle and the criminal investigation she’s obsessed with, then of course develops some feelings for him, and is nearly killed by him. Microchip’s wife relies on her daughter for common household issues, then the Punisher as he comes along, and is just a damsel in distress. She at least protects her children as much as she can, but she allows her son to just walk all over her and kisses Castle because he’s of course the only man she’s come in close contact with since her husband has passed.

Tons of bullets flying, bad guys getting beat up, sex with hot women. I like action movies, but this was basically all my least favorite parts rolled up into one.

2/5

Side Note: I wasn’t able to pay 100% attention to this show, I just couldn’t, it would annoy me and I’d distract myself with something else while it played in the background.

Dynamite Review Best of 2017

Movies

1.      Thor: Ragnarok – I don’t get to watch new movies much as they come out, but I was so lucky to get to see this in theaters. It was AWESOME! I’ve already pre-ordered the steelbook from Best Buy, I got the theatrical poster off of Disney Movie Rewards and it’s framed and in my kids bathroom, and I can’t wait to watch it again and again.

2.     John Wick 2 – Great action movie and addition to the series. Awesome world, I’m interested in the Stars series that’s potentially coming out.

3.     Kingsman: The Golden Circle – In your face, over the top action.

4.     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – While not as good as the previous one I loved so many things about this movie. The colors, the characters, the relationships. I’m so glad that this is part of the Marvel Universe.

5.     Spider-Man: Homecoming – I really enjoyed this movie but what’s potentially more important, my daughter loves this movie.

6.     Moana – This is more an honorable mention since it came out in 2016 not 2017. Love the music and the story, reminds me of the Disney I grew up with.

Books

1.      White Hot by Ilona Andrews – The long awaited sequel to Burn for Me, so good.

2.     Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – Love this series so much, want more. Wasn’t too happy with the ending, but still love.

3.     Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan – Beautiful art, interesting story, need some answers though. The only comic I pre-order.

4.     The Rosetta Man by Claire McCague – Picked this up randomly and I ended up loving it. So happy when that happens.

5.     Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Not my favorite Patricia Briggs book, too many Doctor Who references, lots of other little things, but still a Patricia Briggs book so it’s going on the list!

6.     Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron – This series didn’t come out last year, though they did have a book release that I haven’t read yet, but I had to put it on the list because I enjoyed it so much.

7.     The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts – This is the kind of Nora Roberts series that I love. It didn’t come out in 2017, but after being wary of starting it because of her more recent books I got to it late.

TV Shows

1.      The Crown – I resisted watching this because I heard so much praise, but I’m glad I finally did. I destroyed the second season that recently aired and I honestly think it might be better than the first. Amazing show.

2.     Sense 8 – I love this idea so much and the second season wasn’t as slow as the first. The ending killed me and then when they canceled it, ugh, I never do TV show petitions but I signed them all. I canceled Netflix for the first time in years. I was furious. I’m hoping that the movie will be able to wrap things up but I seriously don’t see how that’s possible. I’ll probably never keep Netflix running continuously because of how they did this show.

3.     The Good Place – I had no desire to watch this last year, it just didn’t seem that funny to me. I ended up having the end of season one spoiled for me and that changed everything. I was able to binge the first season on Netflix and I’ve watched every episode of the second as it’s aired. So freaking funny.

4.     The Orville – Wow, I had no expectations for this show. I had hopes, but because of Seth MacFarlane I didn’t have many. I was certainly surprised and this has ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s like getting new episodes of Star Trek, only instead of the Enterprise team we’ve got the D tier crew. The jokes don’t always land and they’re reusing a lot of Star Trek plots, but I don’t care. I’m so glad that this has been picked up for a second season and I’m hoping that they continue to find their footing.

5.     Future Man – Loved this, it was so crude and hilarious and just came out of nowhere. Time travel, video games, the 80s, James Cameron’s AI, a terrible future, so many things that add up to funny. So glad we’re getting a second season.

6.     Legion – This is not my usual type of show. It’s wild and out there and very trippy. The only reason I watched it was because I needed something to keep me up during late night feedings and I ended up staying up just to finish episodes. Half the time I’m not sure what’s going on, but I honestly didn’t care. They gave just enough answers not to drive me crazy, but still left me needing to know more.

7.     Black-ish – I just discovered Black-ish this year and thank goodness Hulu has all of the episodes. Most episodes are nice, funny episodes, but the episodes that aren’t, the episodes where they “teach” you something are so good. This year there was one about postpartum depression that really resonated with me.

8.     Life in Pieces – I laugh in every single episode of this show. Love it.

9.     The Librarians – The third season was probably the weakest so far and I’m not overly thrilled with all that’s going on in the fourth season but I seriously can’t think of anything that would have me stop watching this.

 

Games

1.      Splatoon 2 (Switch) This was hands down my favorite game of the year. In an alternate universe I went pro, built a brand, and lived the life of the rich and famous.

2.     Stardew Valley (Switch) After putting in 160 hours on the PC version you’d think I’d be done with this game, but nope. As soon as it came out on the Switch I bought it and started all over again. Aided by the amazing guide my husband bought me for Christmas 2016 I’ve been chipping away at all the in game achievements.

3.     Lego City Undercover (Switch) I beat this once, then got halfway through beating it again before Splatoon 2 came out. I still plan on going back and working on unlocking everything, though, it’s not a priority because I certainly got my money out of this.

4.     Delicious Emily Home Sweet Home (PC) Really liked the story in this one, young married couple with a little kid get their dream house and fix it up. If I was crazy and didn’t mind construction around toddlers I could totally do this too.

5.     Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) I’m stretching things a bit including this to my list. I got it for Christmas after trying it out at Red Box and finding it interesting enough to try more. I didn’t start playing it until December 31st and at this point I’m only a couple hours in, however, I love the idea a lot. I love that she’s a real looking woman and she’s kicking ass. So far they haven’t put her in super revealing clothes which is nice too. The world is interesting, however, I wish I didn’t have to use a bow and arrow. If I ever beat it, or put a significant amount of time in I’ll write a review.