REVIEW: ANDOR – Season One (2022)

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Series Created by Tony Gilroy — Available on Disney+ now.

Since Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, it has been somewhat of a bumpy ride. Their so-called sequel trilogy features a safe-but-satisfying opener (The Force Awakens), an excellent and thrilling second film that divided the fanbase and revealed toxicities (The Last Jedi), and a conclusion that, in trying too hard to satisfy toxic fans, went back on what the previous film had set up and ended the trilogy on a whimper (The Rise of Skywalker). Even the spin-off films have divided opinions due to them over-explaining things that needed no explanations. As live-action Star Wars has embraced streaming, it has been with similar ups and downs. The Mandalorian is a bonafide hit (but in its most memorable moments it has still clung to fan service). The Book of Boba Fett was good in glimpses but its best episodes are essentially episodes of The Mandalorian. Finally, though richly satisfying, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a safe and fan-service-laden limited series that was yet another reminder of how insular Star Wars storytelling can often feel. As a huge Star Wars fan, it pleases me greatly to be able to affirm that ANDOR, a prequel spin-off series of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is a breath of fresh air in that it is a mature, dark, and gritty series that makes the Empire and the Rebellion feel real again.

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REVIEW: Ms. Marvel – Season One (2022)

(L-R): Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan and Mohan Kapur as Yusuf Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Show Creator: Bisha K. Ali — Show Directors: Adil & Bilall, Meera Menon, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

It’s interesting to me that most of the Disney+ shows thus far have really been aimed at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s mainstream die-hard audience. I sort of expected Disney+ to get into more shows that focused on family fun. I think Hawkeye felt like a family show, but no show has been as close to feeling like a Disney Channel show as Ms. Marvel did. Don’t misunderstand me. That isn’t a diss or a criticism. I think it’s refreshing to see a true young adult family-oriented MCU show. I also think that is the right way to introduce this fan-favorite character to the mainstream audience. I’m glad they gave her a Spider-Man: Homecoming-esque Disney+ show.

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Did Showtime’s Revival Actually Fix the Controversial ‘Dexter’ Ending? | Review

Michael C. Hall and Jack Alcott in Showtime’s DEXTER: NEW BLOOD — Photo: Seacia Pavao / Showtime.

The following is a review of the mini-series ‘Dexter: New Blood,’ which was developed by Clyde Phillips.

Is it possible to salvage a once-iconic show that once ended terribly? The original run of Showtime’s Dexter (2006-2013), which was based on Jeff Lindsay novels, started great, picked up a massive fanbase in its first four fantastic seasons, and then, after a couple of underwhelming, but still at least watchable (and rewatchable), seasons of television, it ended in a way that has made the original show a textbook example of how not to end a show.

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Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Summer ’21: ‘Mare of Easttown,’ ‘Cruella,’ and More

Emma Stone as ‘Cruella’ in Disney’s live-action ‘CRUELLA’ — Photo: Disney / Disney+.

In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I reveal my mixed thoughts on the Emma Stone-vehicle Cruella, and then I recommend three television shows, one of which I’ve been meaning to review for several months. This edition of Additional Bite-Sized Reviews is jam-packed!

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REVIEW: BoJack Horseman – Season Six (2019-2020)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of the sixth and final season of BoJack Horseman (Parts I and II) — Available on Netflix.

In the final season of BoJack Horseman, the titular character goes to rehab as he decides it is time to grapple with his own trauma and the trauma that he has caused. But sometimes it isn’t good enough to exercise personal growth, and BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) may have to be put through the wringer by unrelenting gossip journalists that hope to ‘cancel,’ so to speak, our titular character.

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REVIEW: For All Mankind – Season Two (2021)

“For All Mankind,” now streaming on Apple TV+ — Photo: Apple TV+.

Series Created by Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert, and Ben Nedivi — Available Now on Apple TV+.

In Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Feb. ’21, Pt. II, I wrote about my experience of finally binge-watching the entire first season of Apple TV+’s For All Mankind, which was originally released back in 2019. The alternate-reality angle of the show was what had originally made me interested in the show, and, ultimately, the execution was what kept me hooked throughout the solid but somewhat bumpy first season. To reiterate, the show is, essentially, ‘what if the Soviet Union had reached the Moon first and, as a result, the United States continued and accelerated the space race.’

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REVIEW: Invincible – Season One (2021)

Omni-Man (left, voiced by J. K. Simmons) and Invincible (right, voiced by Steven Yeun) in “Invincible,” — Photo: Amazon Studios.

Series Created by Robert Kirkman — Available Now On Amazon Prime Video.

It’s always nice to see, when something you’ve loved for years is adapted successfully. Over five years ago, I read the first forty issues, or so, of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, a superhero comic book series from Image Comics. I loved the comic book series back then, I still do, and I was excited when it was announced to be adapted as both an animated series and a film. That interest reached a fever pitch when the voice cast was announced. Steven Yeun (voicing Mark Grayson, Invincible), J. K. Simmons (voicing Nolan Grayson, Omni-Man), Sandra Oh (voicing Debbie Grayson), and Gillian Jacobs (voicing Atom Eve) voice the most pivotal characters, but it doesn’t stop there. Other great actors such as Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali, and Walton Goggins all play important characters. Once you actually watch the show, you’ll see exactly why the cast is so star-studded. Because Invincible could be the ‘next big thing.’

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REVIEW: WandaVision – “Previously On”

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

The following is a recap and review of the eighth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers. 

In the eighth episode of WandaVision — titled Previously On — we learn more about who Agatha Harkness (played by Kathryn Hahn) really is, before she and Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olsen) take a trip down memory lane to rewatch and expand upon pivotal moments in Wanda’s life, which reveals why the Hex bubble universe was even created in the first place. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “Previously On””

REVIEW: The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020 – TV Series)

Photo: Eike Schroter / Netflix.

Series Created by Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House; Doctor Sleep) — Available on Netflix.

I’ve been a huge fan of Mike Flanagan for a couple of years now. He is a horror-focused filmmaker, who hasn’t yet made a huge misstep. Instead, he has actually made some of the previous decade’s very best horror films. Gerald’s Game was one of the best and biggest film surprises of 2017, and his sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, was phenomenal. On Netflix, he has also been given the chance to create, direct, and shepherd the outstanding horror series The Haunting of Hill House, which was such a runaway success that it became an anthology series. The Haunting of Bly Manor is the next chapter of that great horror anthology series, and, even though it is not as good or memorable as Hill House, Bly Manor is another great entry in Flanagan’s increasingly impressive horror oeuvre. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020 – TV Series)”

REVIEW: WandaVision – “We Interrupt This Program”

Teyonah Parris and Elizabeth Olsen in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION, exclusively on Disney+. — Photo: Chuck Zlotnick / Disney+ / Marvel Studios.

The following is a recap and review of the fourth episode of WandaVision, available exclusively on Disney+. Expect story spoilers and general Marvel Cinematic Universe spoilers. 

In the fourth episode of WandaVision — titled We Interrupt This Program — we are introduced to Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris), as the show switches perspective and shows us the events of the first three episodes from the perspective of the outside world. Monica Rambeau is ‘Geraldine,’ the neighbor who was thrown out of the bubble universe after having mentioned Ultron to Wanda. In this episode, when Monica disappears after having investigated a missing person’s case, FBI, S.W.O.R.D., and several scientists set up a base outside of Westview, New Jersey for the purpose of figuring out what exactly is going on. Continue reading “REVIEW: WandaVision – “We Interrupt This Program””