Drama

The Rookie (2018-?)

The Rookie

The Rookie (2018-?)

Network:

ABC

Creator:

Alexi Hawley

Starring:

Nathan Fillion

Titus Makin Jr.

Alyssa Diaz

Melissa O’Neil

Plot:

The series follows John Nolan, a forty-year-old man, who moves from his comfortable, small town life to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. He must navigate the dangerous, humorous and unpredictable world of a “young” cop, determined to make his second shot at life count.

Review:

I liked Nathan Fillion in Firefly and Castle so I figured I’d give this a shot. He plays a forty year old rookie cop that’s recently divorced and looking to find himself. He is of course wonderful at talking to people because apparently working as a construction worker gives you all kinds of people skills and the ability to read people like a shrink. He is also hooking up with the hot rookie, Melissa O’Neil, that trained with him.

The first episode was pretty cliché. It wasn’t as fun as Castle, but it wasn’t as serious as some other cop shows. It wasn’t as over the top as Hawaii Five 0 or closer to real life like a Law and Order show. It was very middle of the road, in all aspects.

Acting was good. People were attractive but not CW level of ridiculous. It was a cop show with Nathan Fillion. Not sure if I need to watch, though. I might give it one more episode, we’ll see.

3/5

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Manifest (2018-)

Manifest

Manifest (2018-)

Network:

ABC

Creator:

Jeff Rake

Matthew Fernandez

Starring:

Melissa Roxburgh

Josh Dallas

Athena Karkanis

Plot:

After a turbulent, but routine flight, the passengers and crew discover the world has aged five years, yet no time has passed for them, and soon a deeper mystery unfolds.

Review:

The premise for this show is really interesting. I also enjoy Josh Dallas, so I decided to give this a try.

The first episode is basically the plot synopsis. It asked a lot of questions and didn’t answer anything. Everyone who was on that plane has had their lives turned upside down and they don’t know the full extent of it yet. Some of them seem to be hearing voices telling them to do things. Lives have moved on and relationships will never be the same.

It’s all interesting and dramatic, but can they deliver on all these questions? No idea. Right now it’s interesting enough to keep me watching, but I am concerned about the religious allusions. Lots of references to a Bible verse and the fact that they’re hearing voices has some wondering if it’s God. Not something I care to watch so I’m really hoping they don’t go that route. If it looks like they are I will be dropping it.

3/5

Jack Ryan (2018-?)


Jack Ryan (2018-?)

Network:

Amazon

Creator:

Carlton Cuse

Graham Roland

Starring:

John Krasinski

Wendell Pierce

Abbie Cornish

Ali Suliman

Dina Shihabi

Plot:

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

Review:

When I was younger I really enjoyed the Jack Ryan books by Tom Clancy. It’s been a few years so I’m not sure how those feelings have aged, but I was curious to see this and binged it one weekend.

Jack Ryan, John Krasiniski, is a former marine that after a tragic accident was honorably discharged. He went from a stock broker to working for the CIA as an analyst. He has spotted suspicious financial activity and believes he’s discovered someone about to commit the next 9/11.

The number of times 9/11 was mentioned in the first episode was annoying and had the opposite of the intended effect. I almost stopped there because of it, thankfully, it wasn’t really mentioned again.

I wasn’t impressed with Krasinski’s portrayal of the role. The only time I could tell what he was feeling was when he was smiling, but a show about terrorism meant he was rarely smiling. Every other time I was just guessing, occasionally there would be verbal queues but they didn’t match up with what his face was saying. Mostly he just looked like he was there.

There was one whole plot line with a drone pilot that has caused some controversy because of the transphobic joke that was made. I actually missed the “joke” because I’d been fast forwarding through his sections. They honestly made no sense and could have been completely removed. Maybe his character comes into play later on if there’s another season, but for now it was just wtf.

Female representation was mostly disappointing. Cathy, Abbie Cornish, was the best female main character we had and she was mostly just Jack’s love interest. She did end up getting some of her doctor skills thrown in, but she kind of ruined that by getting mad at Jack for lying about his job. We had a French police captain that was killed. Hanin, Dina Shihabi, was good, but her story line revolved around her escaping her husband and being saved once by the drone operator and then ultimately by Jack. It was a bit disappointing.

James Greer, Wendell Pierce, was probably my favorite character. I loved that they made him a Muslim. He was so incredibly competent at his job and he didn’t automatically share shit with Jack because he was the boss, he didn’t have too. He reminded me of Holdo in The Last Jedi in that regard. He was interesting and a badass and if there’s a second season and they hold with what’s been established in the show and books he’ll be there.

Honestly, based on what I remember of the books, they took a fair amount of creative liberties. That was to be expected, though. Jack Ryan is more about connecting the dots and not action. Occasionally action, but normally it’s a lot of discovering information and sending someone else out into the field. To make a TV show watchable and not boring they had to add more, but it would have been cool if they’d added John Clark and Domingo Chavez.

I’ll probably watch a second season, but I hope they make some tweaks.

3/5

 

 

Victoria and Abdul (2017)


Victoria and Abdul (2017)

Director:

Stephen Frears

Starring:

Judi Dench

Ali Fazal

Plot:

Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.

Review:

I was unaware of Queen Victoria’s relationship and fascination with India before this movie. It was quiet eye opening, though, it’s very obvious that the movie paints things in a very positive light for the queen, though, not actually the country.

Queen Victoria, Judi Dench, is bored with life and basically waiting to die. She hates her children and honestly seems to hate everything about her life but food. Until, one day, Abdul, Ali Fazal, shows up to present a mujer (?) to her. It’s a gold coin.

Fascinated by him, she ends up seemingly becoming obsessed with India. She hires him to teach her everything and finds a new purpose in life. The people around her, especially her son and the heir, are not very thrilled about that, but she’s the queen so they have to get over it.

Judi Dench was amazing, of course, and the story was interesting, but the pacing was kind of off. At first it seemed like this was all happening within a matter of months, but it actually happened over a period of years, but I only know that because of Wikipedia. I feel like they could have done a better job of showing the passage of time instead of trying to make Queen Victoria look like a fat, doddering old person.

Victoria and Abdul was mildly entertaining and presented a new story about an interesting monarch, but it went out of its way to show the titular people in a flattering light.

3/5

The American President (1995)


The American President (1995)

Director:

Rob Reiner

Starring:

Michael Douglas

Annette Bening

Plot:

Comedy-drama about a widowed U.S. President and a lobbyist who fall in love. It’s all above-board, but “politics is perception”, and sparks fly anyway.

Review:

The world was a different place when this was written. Kind of. I mean, yeah, the environment and guns were still a huge issues, but we actually thought they could be solved. We were innocent.

In the past I’ve liked this movie. It’s from Aaron Sorkin, so it definitely idealizes the American government but it’s also much more believable than the movie Dave. Now, though, it’s depressing to watch. It’s really impossible to watch and ignore the politics of everything and just take it as a romance. He’s the president, she’s a lobbyist. The politics are enmeshed in everything.

Maybe in another time I’ll be able to watch this again and enjoy it. I really hope so, I used to love re-watching West Wing. My heart just can’t handle it right now.

4/5