Brittany Runs a Marathon
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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Ballers leans more into the drama side (rather than the upbeat, comedic side) of the show in season four and it works sometimes and doesn't work at all at other times. Spencer slowly becomes a character that is frustrating to watch over the course of the season, but he's been on this trajectory since the first season so it's not super surprising. This is definitely the most inconsistent season yet. When it's good, it's pretty good, but when it's not it's just not very entertaining. Personally, I hope that they lean more towards the comedic side of the show for season five.
While season two of Ballers was a step up, season three is a slight step down. The majority of the season is focused on Spencer's desire to get the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, and honestly the storyline is pretty boring, and the rest of the storylines aren't as entertaining as the previous two seasons, either. The financials of this season are also a mystery for the most part and a lot of what ASM is involved with doesn't seem to make financial sense. There is still entertainment to be had, but it's not nearly as attention-grabbing as before.
The first season of Halt and Catch Fire is easily the best technology focused show I've ever seen. I was enthralled by their quest to copy the IBM BIOS and then create their own computer to compete with them, despite the fact that Cardiff Electric (which is loosely based on the real life company Compaq) wasn't even focused on the PC market before Joe walked through the door. The drama between the characters is entertaining while not overbearing, the dialogue is smartly written, the acting is great, and the show actually tackles the technical aspects of building a computer in a realistic way (they don't completely dumb it down). The story may not move at a blistering pace but it drew me in and kept my attention all the way until the season finale. If you liked Mad Men and you like technology, you'll probably like this show.
Season two of Ballers continues to build on the character relationships, business deals, and drama that was introduced in the first season, while also providing the viewer with some great humor. It is arguably better than its predecessor, which is rare in television.
Was a second season needed? Eh, not really. The first season left some loose ends but nothing we couldn't figure out on our own. But, I do think that the second season that they gave us was better than I expected. However, it's quite obvious that it's already starting to get drawn out longer than it needs to be. If they decide to try and do a third season, I feel like even hardcore fans of the show will start to dislike it. Overall, the season isn't bad television...it's just not entirely needed.
While season 1 of Broadchurch does follow the standard storyline of a detective show, excellent performances by everyone involved and a foreign (to me) setting makes it slightly more interesting than most others in the same genre.
Wow. I was aware of The Expanse's existence long before the whole cancellation ordeal that ended with Amazon picking it up for a fourth season. But, I had never watched it, and I really didn't plan on watching it for quite a while longer. The hype around the revival peaked my interest, though, so I decided to start it. And, boy, I'm glad that I did. While it took me a few episodes to finally become hooked, The Expanse is the sci-fi show I've been longing for for quite some time. I've always felt that sci-fi often fell short of its potential on the small screen (I'm looking at you Altered Carbon), but this one hits every note I want it to. There's mystery, space battles, plenty of futuristic tech, action, and a world that seems very deep. I do think there is potential for it to be better, but given that I still have two seasons to get through, I think that it will reach its true potential by the time I'm caught up.
Season 2 of Broadchurch struggled to capture my complete interest as most of the season is spent covering the trial in a slow and frankly boring way. There were some interesting moments with Hardy looking further into the old Sandbrook case and ultimately solving it, but it wasn't as interesting as the first season. I still quite like the duo of Hardy and Miller, which saved my individual episode ratings from slipping even further than they did, but if season 3 doesn't evolve in some way I can't see the show getting any better.
Season 3 of Broadchurch got back to what made the first season enjoyable: realistic detective work. This season's case isn't solved very easily, and Miller and Hardy have to slowly peel back layer after layer to get to the truth. I was satisfied with the conclusion. However, Danny's family is still woven into the story in what seems like a forced way, and I have some issues with how the show is paced at times (one enthralling episode will be followed by a boring episode). It's a solid detective show set in a location different from most in the same genre, but it's not a game changer by any means.
You don't necessarily have to be a huge fan of either of those genres to enjoy Westworld. The story is just that good. It may be a little up and down episode wise, which I feel like is inevitable with how many storylines it juggles, but it has some of the best writing I've seen in TV in quite a while. How they're able to have so many different storylines and timelines running at one time, and still wrap them all up and have some of them intertwine quite well at the end is a pretty big accomplishment, especially with how poorly a lot of shows handle just trying to have two separate storylines. The mystery of this show is also incredibly enthralling. Part of the fun of a show like this is throwing out theories with your friends after each episode, and then seeing who was right or wrong at the very end.
As for this season being "confusing". It's not. If you pay attention to each episode, it's not hard to figure out which timeline is which.
Now as for how the actual story played out this season, I was locked in for the entire season. I was completely sold on every story line and I couldn't wait to see how it'd all wrap up. The time jumps to the past and present, the exploration of Shogun World, a whole episode focusing on a Native American character, Dolores' quest for whatever the hell she wants, Bernard's struggles, it was all solid. A couple of the storylines (most notably the Man in Black's) didn't exactly pan out how I was hoping, but I was still satisfied with the way they went. The finale of season two sets up a radically different season three, as the setting is going to be completely different, which has got me quite excited for 2019...or whenever it comes out.
The second season of The Expanse expands on the mystery created in the first season, and provides some answers while also introducing new questions. The universe of the show continues to grow larger with each story arch and I have become fully invested in the overarching story now. I've also come to care quite deeply for most of the main cast. I will say that once again at the end of the season I wasn't left entirely satisfied, but looking forward to what has been set up for the next season. This is one of the most consistently good shows out there right now.
While The Flash is consistently more fun than the other CW show I watch (Arrow), it has become quite repetitive over the past two seasons. It's always the same: a villain is introduced, said villain gets more and more powerful, Team Flash is unable to beat said villain, and then they miraculously figure out how to beat said villain when the city is on the brink of destruction. Is that the general outline of most superhero shows/movies? Sure, but over a 23 episode season this premise gets pretty old. I think that this still has lots to like for teen audiences, but I'm kind of over it at this point.
Season 6 of Arrow marks a low point for the series as the over-dramatic split of Team Arrow coupled with a rather disappointing villain lead to what was once one of my favorite shows becoming something that I look at as a chore to watch. There is a good episode here and there, and I do have to give the team behind Arrow props for including as much action (even though a lot of the fight scenes are not choreographed very well), but this series just isn't what it once was. It focuses too much on inner-team drama, not enough on the bad guys, and way too much on why Oliver is hard to work with. Also, like The Flash, this show has fallen into a formulaic rut that it just can't seem to get out of. If it doesn't improve in Season 7, it may be time for the CW to hang up the hood and move onto another DC character.
The Staircase is a perfectly fine documentary series about a murder case that suffered from the prosecution's determination to get Michael convicted, regardless of what the evidence actually showed. There's nothing here many of us haven't seen before, but it's well done and shines a light on a key weakness in our justice system, as many other modern documentary series have done.
Succession is a terrific family drama. Yes, they are a very rich family. Yes, there is some business involved. But the real entertainment here comes from how the family interacts with each other, and how the concept of family only goes so far in business. It may be a bit over the top at times but that just adds to the entertainment value. The comedy is quite good as well. If you're a fan of family dramas with business being a bit of a background driver of the story, Succession is for you.
June continues to be a frustrating character, but the story continues to be enthralling.
The best comparison for Yellowstone is that it is the Western version of Succession. The focus is on a rich, not very likable, family who does a lot of bad things and has a lot of drama. We see how different each member of the family is and why they are all fairly hostile towards each other despite being a family. This is a slow burn family drama that has some action mixed in, and at times it almost steps into soap opera territory. It can be boring at times, and it can very well be unbelievable at times. Taylor Sheridan's need to kill someone off in nearly every episode becomes a little predictable and honestly a little disappointing. Someone doesn't have to die every episode for the audience to stay interested. I was expecting a project under Taylor's full control to focus heavily on character development and the emotional side of things, but he barely dips below surface level with many of his characters. The story of the show also starts to lose steam after the first four episodes, which were pretty good, as it starts to stretch storylines to fit the runtime. However, the selection of Western shows on TV is not very deep right now, and this does fill that void for me. It has lots of issues, but is still an entertaining show, and I plan on watching season 2.
Sharp Objects is based on Gillian Flynn's debut novel and follows Camille Preaker, who is a journalist that heads back to her hometown to cover a murder case. This is the definition of a slow burn TV show, and because of that this show is not for everyone. Some people will find it extremely boring, and some people will think a lot of the episodes are filler and not entirely focused on the actual "story", which is the murder case. However, I believe this is a masterful use of the slow burn style of story telling. The murder case is more of a backdrop. It is present in every episode and ultimately it is what keeps the story moving forward, but the main focus here is on Camille, the screwed up town that she grew up in, and the terrible people that live there. A lot of people may also find the random flash back cuts a bit jarring, as they are often without audio and only last a few seconds. I loved the editing style of this show, and found the flash back cuts to be a great story telling device. It gives us a little bit of background info every episode without having to have an entire flash back sequence. Now, the biggest question about a slow burn show is whether or not it paid off, and I think it did. The twist at the end, while not entirely unpredictable, is very satisfying and I think is the perfect end to the show. This is quite possibly one of HBO's best since the first season of True Detective, but Sharp Objects won't appeal to as many people. I'd recommend at least watching a couple of episodes to see if this one is for you.