Tag Archives: Tv Review

Star Trek: Discovery, Season 1, Part 1 Review

By Luke Farnish

Star Trek, the optimistic space-western featuring Captain Kirk and co. aired more than fifty years ago and various iterations of the show have graced the silver screen ever since, with a hiatus in the 1970s and early 1980s. However, with the last episode of the adventure to the final frontier airing in 2005, an entire generation of fans have been devoid of new Trek. So, when in November 2015 CBS announced a new series, fans were understandably excited.

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Netflix Originals Reviews: A Series of Unfortunate Events

 

By Gabriela Williams

Following its massive success with Stranger Things, Netflix is adding to its collection of originals with a new TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events with a set of eight, hour long episodes ready to watch now.

The plot of each episode stays closely to the original plot of the books, unlike the film adaptation released in 2004. The episodes are all split into two parts and are titled The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill. In splitting the episodes into these equal parts Netflix has made it very easy to addictively binge watch the whole series in one go. This is perfect for a weekend Netflix binge. The theme tune of the TV series was originally scored by James Newton Howard, famous for the score of The Hunger Games and many others. It does get a bit repetitive and you may well want to skip it before you start singing along.

Neil Patrick Harris plays the villainous Count Olaf, who plots to gain the Baudelaire fortune throughout each episode.  In the process, he disguises himself, sometimes humorously as a scientific assistant, a Captain and a secretary. I thoroughly enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and certainly preferred him to Jim Carrey. If I have a favourite character in the series, it’s Count Olaf.

In the final episodes, Dr Orwell is introduced and is closely linked to George Orwell’s novel 1984 and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed the allusions to these books and was haunted by the timing of the references to 1984 and the similarities in modern society. The other episodes have quirky references to literature as well as many unanswered questions about strands of the plot. This in turn gets quite frustrating as you passionately watch every episode, with the hope of finding answers. Much like the hope for the Baudelaire’s future, you soon realise that this is not a fairy tale with a happy ending or any of the answers you may want.

I thought that this series was absolutely worth a watch, especially as you can tell that the writers and the directors have tried to appeal to the fans of the original book series. I thought that the series length was just about perfect and that the plots of each episode weren’t too complicated to follow. There’s no gaps in the TV series, so those who haven’t read the books will still be able to follow as well.

Overall, this series on Netflix has the potential to be as popular as Stranger Things but might appeal to the fans of the original books more than anyone else. This was a very entertaining series and I would highly recommend that you invest in the characters, but keep in mind the inevitable sad and gloomy ending. Its overly negative storyline might be too disheartening for some and its miserable theme may open a window into a pessimistic outlook on life, like it did when I watched it.

Image: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Claudia Gabriela Marques Vieira is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Netflix Originals Reviews: How to solve a problem like Luke Cage

By Warren Tutt

 The super strong, steel skinned ‘hero for hire’ of Harlem. This is Netflix’s title character for their newest offering for their Marvel serial slate, Luke Cage. However, after more than a century of super humans and demigods triumphing over alien attacks and evil scientists, do we really need another thirteen hours of it? Yes, as it would turn out.

 By focusing on the limitations of his powers rather the concrete smashing, bulletproof nature of Luke Cage’s abilities, creator Cheo Hodari Coker finally captures a believable hero. Ditching Cage’s traditional yellow shirt and golden ‘tiara’ allow him to blend into a modern Harlem, balancing protecting the vulnerable from criminals whilst still having to pay rent. Reality constantly being re-established by Luke’s annoyance at having to buy new clothes every time someone thinks shooting him will have any impact on him.

 With great effect a whole ensemble of supporting characters are given the time and imagination to develop as individuals. A family of corrupt business owners and politicians lead the onslaught to keep Harlem under a tight grip whilst detective Misty Knights deals with the consequences of an exploited police force. Perhaps learning a lesson from predecessor Jessica Jones, female characters in the drama are given more screen time than any Marvel product before. If there’s one think bullet-proof skin can’t protect you from, its the colliding of strong, un-alterable female characters who will do anything for what they believe in.

 After the success of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is another step before the next instalment Iron Fist, released early this year, sets the franchise up for The Defenders. Hoping to match the popularity of The Avengers, Netflix and Marvel will combine all the heroes of New York to form another super hero team up. Here’s hoping Cage keeps his individual flavour and style and isn’t wrestled into comic book spandex!

Image: “Luke Cage” by Miguel Angel Aranda is licensed under the Public Domain.

Books vs Movies: We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

By Tony Allen

“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one.”

The famous couplet from Michael Rosen’s classic children’s picture book is ingrained in the memories of scores of people, young and old. Unfortunately, the recent festive cartoon adaptation leaves much to be desired in comparison to the book, mainly because it tries to deal with far too much and fails at its fundamental purpose of providing entertainment.

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The Flash Review

By Alex J Lee

‘The Flash’ follows the story of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), an ordinary police forensic scientist who gets struck by lightning and gains super speed. Drawing on the long and rich Flash mythos from DC Comics the series follows Barry as he becomes the Flash and goes up against a variety of super villains. Whilst ‘The Flash’ is a spin off from the DC series ‘Arrow’ the connections between the two are light, essentially just serving to create a wider universe for the characters to exist in. It’s perfectly possible to enjoy one completely separate from the other.

One of the greatest strength of ‘The Flash’ is that the series is not afraid to fully embrace the “comic bookness” of its source material – for example one episode features the Flash going up against a giant telepathic gorilla. At the same time, however, it balances the ‘out there’ concepts with real emotional human drama – in many episodes the story of Barry’s interactions and realtionship with Iris West (Candice Patton) and Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) are just as important as his fight with the villain of the week.

I think in many ways a comic book story like ‘The Flash’ is best suited to being told on TV as opposed to being told on film. A storyline within a comic tends to run over many issues building up to an epic conclusion and a film can’t fully capture that. A TV Series like ‘The Flash’ can drop hints and allow a story to build up throughout its 23 episode run. ‘The Flash’ delights in the twists and turns that its storytelling format allows with each episode building towards Barry’s epic confrontation with the Reverse Flash in the season finale.

‘The Flash’ is a superhero show and it’s very good at what it does. If you like superhero stuff this show is definitely for you. If you want a jumping-on point into the world of superheroes then I’d say give ‘The Flash’ a try. If you don’t care for superheroes at all then this show definitely isn’t for you.

Image from The Flash Twitter

The Man in the High Castle Review

By Charlotte Gaines

Amazon proves it can compete with industry heavyweight Netflix in this gripping and slick political thriller.

The Man in the High Castle is set in a dystopian version of 1960s America, which has been partitioned into three areas after the defeat of the Allies in World War II. The 10 part series follows Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos), who finds herself in possession of an illegal film and must leave her boyfriend Frank (Rupert Evans) to deal with the ruthless authorities in Japanese controlled San Francisco. On her journey to the neutral zone with this film, Juliana encounters Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank), a member of the resistance against the Greater Nazi State in New York, who is transporting mysterious goods of his own. Meanwhile, top Nazi and Japanese officials each work to eliminate resistance to their regimes and take total control of the divided states for themselves.

The task of showcasing not only the 1962 novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, but one of the biggest ‘What-Ifs’ in history fell to executive producer Ridley Scott and showrunner Frank Spotnitz, who previously worked on The X-Files. Scott’s previous adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel came in 1982 with cult classic Blade Runner, with the atmosphere of both forays immersing the viewer in the worlds of the author.

The Man in the High Castle is Amazon’s most-watched show since their original series development program began, overtaking favourites such as Transparent and Bosch. It has already been commissioned for another series, which is due to air later this year. If you love shows like Mad Men and House of Cards, then you’ll find much to love in this series too! The speculative history is presented in a striking yet surprising way, using grand cinematography and perfect pacing to create an engrossing parallel world which keeps the viewer intrigued throughout.

Despite its setting, the show also has something to say about the world we live in today, asking questions about prejudices and exploring the disturbing allure of fascism and totalitarianism. However, The Man in the High Castle seems over-reliant on exposition at times and the complexity of the plot can sometimes overshadow character development. Nevertheless, a solid script, great acting and the captivating premise of the show more than makes up for these pitfalls.

If you find yourself with a few hours to spare this semester, then I’d highly recommend you sit down to watch The Man in the High Castle. With only 10 episodes, it’s ideal for binge watching too!

Amazon currently offers students free Amazon Student membership for 6 months so it’s more than worth your while to sign up! You’ll get access to hundreds of other TV series and films on Prime Video, plus Prime Music, Prime Photos and unlimited One-Day Delivery on millions of items!

Image from amazon.com