Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Few people can tell a modern coming-of-age tale like Luca Guadagnino. Certainly not one set in the lush locales of Italy. And while We Are Who We Are spreads its creator's gifted sense of composition, music, and dialogue throughout a season of television, the characters (along with the pacing) fall terribly flat.
Ryan Murphy makes Ratched completely his own, giving this pseudo period drama a production design worthy of his reputation. Bold colours, lush locations and twisted images are the backdrop to Sarah Paulsson's distressed performance as the infamous nurse. The unfortunate consequence of Murphy's creative vision and Paulsson's attitude is that the show experiences tonal whiplash every five minutes or so. Worse still, this Mildred is the polar opposite of the cold, unflinching one present in Milos Forman's classic.
The Boys has a relentless three-episode opener that makes it crystal clear: this gleefully profane, thoroughly uncensored gem of a superhero satire is here to stay and the gory fun is only getting started.
Servant excels at atmosphere (with a capital 'A'), relying on a character-driven story that doesn't rely on cheap jump scares or dumb coincidences, rather uses imagery, music and dialogue to fuel its creepy narrative. And yes, that creepy is also with a capital 'C'.
Love, Victor keeps everything squarely within its franchise's wheelhouse, but that also means its big heart is in the right place too. It introduces new ideas and angles just about as many times as it conforms to playing it safe with its themes and uses way too many pop hits to undercut all its special moments, but its central message remains strong, as does its characters.
Space Force is a note-perfect Steve Carell comedy, made even better by it being given a sizeable budget and a showstopper of a cast. It's goofy and well-meaning most of the time, but it just doesn't have that storytelling hook to keep its momentum going. The back-half of the season is also quite jumbled, with a finale that ends things unnecessarily early.
The world may not be at a point where the full extent of Jeffrey Epstein's crimes can be unveiled, but for what it's worth, Netflix's Filthy Rich stands on firm, just ground as it deconstructs a vicious web of torment and abuse. It's timeline may be jumbled and its revelations thin, but everything else about it from confessions and recollections make it memorable and haunting.
It's unfortunate that Apple TV chose to release Defending Jacob as a weekly event rather than a one-night binge, because this family-crime drama has that potential. Despite this offset, this grim mini-series is loaded with powerful performances, a gripping story and some great production design.
There are moments of brilliant writing, acting and political subtext in The Night Manager. It's a tumultuous covert drama that fits as much as it can into a six-episode run. When all is said and done, however, none of it is particularly memorable and what essentially remains is Tom Hiddleston's bland James Bond audition. Yes, he also orders a vodka martini...
Hollywood rewrites history to speak to modern audiences about an era where life was very different. It takes a good few episodes to overcome its mixed moral messages and scandalous portrayals, but it hits a magic switch halfway through. A shift that you can't help but smile and cheer for.
The Last Kingdom just keeps one-upping itself four seasons in. A grander scope, shocking twists, and a breakneck pace lead to satisfying drama and thankfully there are plenty more stories to tell within the world of Saxons, Danes, and Mercians.
Sometimes it plays it too silly and sometimes it takes it too far, but then again, what did you expect from a show based on seventies Nazi hunters? In all seriousness, Hunters has something for everyone. It's a fresh, novel and thought-provoking premise executed with style. A strong one-two punch of satisfying vengeance and absorbing humility.
The Clone Wars opens with an eight-episode prelude that can easily be skipped over for the final four chapters chronicling the Siege of Mandalore, which boasts beautiful visuals, excellent action set-pieces and an ending endearingly, heartbreakingly tragic. It's a culmination that solidifies this show as a crown jewel of Star Wars, one that viewers of all ages could enjoy.
I'm Not Okay With This encases an honest, but unremarkable teenage drama in an equally tired comic book-ish wrapper, finding very little undiscovered ground in the process. It may prove a fascinating and encouraging show for the few who haven't been introduced to this genre, but n all honesty, Netflix, the directors, and the cast have done this same project before. The style, attitudes, characters and general messages mirror a myriad of other works (of varying quality) to a tee.
It's not a total subversion of the "behind the mind of the killer" documentary sub-genre, however, the multi-layered examination Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez undertakes demands attention and respect. It's a rarely inclusive and insightful venture with plenty of interesting sub-branches.
No easy experience, but certainly an insightful and contemplative piece of television, Unbelievable's raw storytelling and tense crime beats create an atmosphere, that, I repeat, is difficult to sit through sometimes, but it's an empathetic and wholly immersive show all the same.
Yes, the finale proves a jarring exercise, but with yet another stab at a Bram Stoker's mythical monster, Netflix and BBC have created what I would describe as a short, but sweet horror series drenched in darkness, blood, and twisted humor. Most of those qualities are courtesy of the magnetic, but menacing Claes Bang as the Prince of Darkness himself.
The Mandalorian merges a big budget with a humorously gritty Western-feel and transports that combo to the Star Wars universe. Its planet-hopping gimmick may not amount to a particularly strong story, but entertaining guest stars, action scenes and really, just that authentic feel help bring it all together. That, and of course one absolutely adorable little green puppet.
Netflix brings Lucifer back for another round of suave, mischievous drama that feels more energetic than it ever has. More so than ever, the season is also anchored by a meaningful conflict that concludes masterfully. Tom Ellis is typically outstanding as well, as always.