With the launch of the new streaming service HBO Max coming at such a perfect time, everyone seems ecstatic to have another silver tray of entertainment options delivered (contact-free, of course) right into their homes. Right off the bat, there are plenty of different TV shows and movies both old and new to be watched on this service, but perhaps most interesting are the new Max Originals that will be coming out both immediately and over time. Things like a Gossip Girl sequel/reboot, an Adventure Time revival miniseries, and a long-awaited Friends reunion special were immediate attention grabbers for fans of the originals, and those are only the pre-existing properties. It’ll be exciting to see what HBO Max does with its fully original creations, as they have all the space, creativity, and platform they could ask for to make and distribute whatever zany ideas that they come up with. So long as they let the imaginations of the creatives run free, they have a great opportunity to put roots in with brand new shows and movies that, if they get enough good buzz, can be a major factor in enticing people to try out their streaming service. Enter their newest romantic comedy series, Love Life. It’ll be premiering alongside the launching of the service, and already people seem intrigued. Since we were able to get a preview of the show from our friends over at HBO Max, let’s see if Love Life has the potential to draw in the digital crowds. Continue Reading
Tragedy is one of the oldest genres of stories, and throughout the centuries we’ve been given new and varied ideas for tragic tales. They are one of the fundamental storytelling setups because no matter what the year is or where in the world you are, everyone can relate to tragedy. Even with many people in low spirits as they are right now, many can find comfort in a well-executed tragedy, but that sort of balancing act is easier said than done. Enter HBO’s newest show, I Know This Much Is True. Based on the critically acclaimed 1998 book of the same name, this limited series comes to us from director Derek Cianfrance, known for his works like Blue Valentine and The Light Between Oceans. The themes of this series heavily focus on tragedy and loss, but can they pull off a dramatic and extremely tragic setup without stumbling? Let’s see what we were given. Continue Reading
While many beloved sci-fi properties feature comedic elements in them, it’s a bit more rare to see one emerge as a full-fledged comedy television show. They can exist, but most of them do so in the form of adult animated shows or, arguably, some of the Marvel movies. On the other hand, you have your popular sitcoms like Brooklyn 99 or The Office, which set the bar for the genre in that they’re hilariously funny, but never usually venture into odd settings, preferring to take place in regular workplaces. Avenue 5 is looking to do something different. By mixing genres that are traditionally kept separate, especially in a live action medium, they take a risk but chase the promise of something new that may draw audiences in. The series shows potential to be a smart satire, already beginning to poke fun at certain modern character stereotypes in a wacky setting. With a wise-cracking cast and morbidly funny worldview, Avenue 5 is not always perfect, but still a promising start to a unique series that could spread its wings if given time and space to grow. Continue Reading
For years, the novels of Philip Pullman have been dazzling readers young and old alike, and the series His Dark Materials was perhaps the most famed of all. Previously, it’s been adapted into both a theater production and a film which was met with mixed reviews. Pullman’s readers have been vying for a way to bring their beloved series and all of its magic to life in a new way, and with the release of HBO’s His Dark Materials television adaptation of 2019, it seems that they may get their way. A brand new fantasy epic saga that feels inspired by the likes of the later Harry Potter films and similar fantasy titles that hold equal intrigue for older children and adults has just awoken and holds definite promise. Our friends over at HBO were able to secure a preview containing the first four episodes for us to review before wide release, and it is so far a very engaging watch. I personally have never read the books that the series is based on and so cannot say much in the area of adaptational accuracy, but that does allow me to approach it with fresh eyes, able to give a less biased look at how the show stands on its own merit. But to be fair, if the rest of the season is this interesting, I may have to pick up the books after all. Continue Reading
If the performance at the Emmy’s is anything to go off of, it appears that Succession has enraptured both audiences and critics across the world as of late. While only in its second season, Succession has rapidly gained attention since its June 2018 premiere. Fans of the HBO series can’t seem to get enough of this dramatic look into the lives of a scheming family running a monopolistic media empire. There is a certain morbid fascination with this family that sees each other as little more than a means to an end, with all parties understanding that power will trump familial loyalty every time in this corporate world. The old patriarch of this establishment is Logan Roy (Brian Cox), a formidable tyrant who plays mind games and spins webs of deceit and blackmail to get what he wants and keep his huge company afloat.
With season two, we pick up less than two days after the end of season one, seeing how one of Logan’s sons, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), is getting along after his attempted business betrayal against his father and major drug relapse. From the get-go, Kendall seems much more timid and submissive after being unable to seize his own power and only digging himself into a deeper hole, and his speech and mannerisms clearly reflect his new role. The writing and acting for this season is top notch, absolutely no one is slacking in these respects. Logan, still deciding where to take his shaken company and who of his children and immediate family to trust with corporate power, gives an amazing performance, both in subdued moments and over-the-top blowouts. Continue Reading
No matter what you think of it, everyone can agree that Veronica Mars is a show that truly cannot be kept down. Following a fan-funded movie in 2014, Veronica Mars has found a revival in 2019 after jumping from the now-defunct UPN to The CW to its current home, Hulu. Marshmallows, as fans call themselves, have followed this show through thick and thin, and not without reason. When it first premiered in 2004, creator Rob Thomas captured audiences with a teen drama/mystery that didn’t rely on easy cliches and pandering character types to draw in watchers. Instead, it made itself stand out from the crowd of assembly-line young adult TV shows with its witty writing, relatable characters, and interesting stories surrounding the young private detective. But this fourth season is premiering in a different world than the one that the series left in 2007, and though it has a cult following, it also must remember that a whole new generation has grown into the target demographic range in these past 12 years. How do Rob Thomas and his beloved cast and crew deal with this? With much of the same style, grace, and intellect that fans have come to love, at least for the most part. Continue Reading
In the winter of 1961, a man by the name of Joseph Heller released his newest book, Catch-22, to immediate and overwhelming popularity with the general public. The satirical dark comedy was based on Heller’s own personal experiences as a bomber in World War II, and the anti-war messages throughout proved to be extremely appealing to young people during a time of increasing disillusionment with the Vietnam War. It was a book that critics still claim pulled off a staggering balancing act between the comedic and tragic elements, coming together to craft a story that left a profound impact for generations. Almost 60 years later, people everywhere are intrigued to learn that George Clooney and Grant Heslov have partnered together with various other talent to create a 6-episode mini-series that functions as an adaptation of the long-beloved Catch-22. It seemed an interesting prospect, no doubt, as Clooney and Heslov would be directing, acting, and producing, as well as bringing in a star-studded cast and crew to bring the story to life. Excitement built as the time drew closer and closer until we finally arrived at the anticipated release date on May 17, 2019. Ever since the release, everyone from diehard book fans to casual viewers have been wanting to know: is Hulu’s Catch-22 a series that warrants a watch? The answer: for the most part, yes, as long as you can be forgiving of its flaws. Continue Reading