TV: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air S2 – (2.5/4)
Trekking along through this revisit. Not much more to say here so I’ll keep it short:
It’s still good but not as good as season one. The main goal of a sitcom is to be funny, “Fresh Prince” continues to have successful situational comedy throughout.
The consistency of this comedic-quality is what makes this show shine. You never turn on a re-run of “Fresh Prince” and say – “Oh, not this one…”
Where it loses half a star for me? I like a dash of sentiment in my sitcoms, but oh man it can be overbearing and exhausting here. Going forward the series starts to tackle more thematic situations with a less black-or-white edge, I look forward to that balance which occurs mid-series.
TV: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air S1 – (3/4)
My wife and I started revisiting this beloved series and we just completed the first season.
Will Smith can probably be considered one of the most charismatic actors of all time, and here he found a strong start with a show and supporting cast that mirrors his on-stage energy.
Typical of laugh-track sitcoms, a lot of the comedy comes from reaction. You have the common fish-out-of-water theme with Will coming into Bel-Air and the comedy comes from his adaptation to that culture/lifestyle.
Will (the character) may not be in the most unfamiliar territory. They write him as smart and compassionate despite his consistent wit and sarcastic nature. I found myself wondering why his mother thought he needed to be sent to Bel-Air in the first place if his grades had always been consistently good. Was “one little fight” really the last straw?
Anyway, just like many great sitcoms a lot is dependent on chemistry and the supporting cast. Phil, Carlton, Vivianne, Hilary, Ashley, Geoffrey all develop their own unique schticks. They’re so unique and bombastic in their personalities. This allows the interactions between each of them to become unique in the shadow of conflict.
“Fresh Prince” is such a fun and enjoyable show, and from my previous viewings I know it just gets better.
TV: The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story – (3.5/4)
This series is textbook “How to Properly create a biopic.” With multiple accounts to base its adaptation, this limited series excels at documenting and re-creating this gray period in history. It’s art imitates life at its finest.
It’s not just the authenticity to admire about this show though, it’s everything from the screenwriting, pacing, and all around tight filmmaking that makes it truly great.
Normally bipoics suffer from cliched filmmaking and they tend to idolize their real-life subjects. Not even Marsha is “idolized” here, creating depths and ambitions in all corners of the ensemble.
I look forward to more American Crime Stories as this series starts with some serious major fire power.
TV: Glow S1 – (3.5/4)
This was a pleasant surprise. “Glow,” a Netflix original series, may go down as one of their best shows yet.
Jenji Kohan is showrunning, known for her success with “Orange is the New Black.” She does something really special here with ensemble-storytelling. Alison Brie’s Ruth Wilder is in the role like Piper Chapman, a lead role that often falls supporting to flesh out the rest of the ensemble.
There are plot-driven shows and character-driven shows – “Glow” is the ladder. Everyone of these characters prove to be interesting in this season. Some aren’t as fleshed out as others, but their quirks still keep them intriguing.
Alison Brie nails this role. Knowing her work well from “Community,” I was nervous that her comedic style would be too bombastic for a show like this. She, like the rest of the cast, feels authentic and real in her performance.
Authenticity to it’s characters and it’s comedy lead me to really enjoy “Glow.” I binged it quickly and enjoyed almost everything about it. I also enjoyed the pace at which it moved as well as the history behind the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
There’s a lot to love here and I can’t wait for season 2.
TV: Friends from College S1 – (1.5/4)
This was a fun little show. With some pretty funny moments and few gut-splittling funny moments. However it’s about 30/70 when the comedy works.
“Friends from College” strives in situational and cringe comedy. We have a cast of truly despicable characters and the comedy blooms when they’re trapped and forced to address their despicable actions.
In the meantime though, we just have to sit and watch them be despicable with little to no comeuppance. “It’s Always Sunny” is a show that often works well with despicable characters, but they are often given the karma they deserve. We laugh because it feels like justice, and we assert ourselves over them.
Not enough justice came of our characters in this season and all of them, every single one, needs a dose of more karma for the show to work.
I don’t mind sticking with the show, because in those comedic moments – it really works. I laughed a lot. However it’s the rest of the show and it’s execution/pacing that meander.
The show would’ve fallen harder if not for the taleneted cast. Keegan Michael Key does some great “reactionary” comedy here.
It’s also hard to understand why any of these characters want to be around each other in the first place. It almost never goes well for them, and they all have little to no chemistry with one another. They’ll need to repair this motivation in the next season if Netflix isn’t so cancel trigger happy. It deserves another chance.
TV: Castlevania S1 – (No Rating)
I’m pulling a Roger Ebert-Human Centipede reiview here and refusing to give this first season of “Castlevania” a rating.
The four episode first season was too small a sample size to gauge the quality of the show entirely up to this point.
I normally review by season. I do this because there are many episodes of any given show that serve as nothing more than to build up something in a later episode. Does that episode work on its own? Often not, but it does a great job getting us to the next, big, episode.
Even reviewing seasons is rough because sometimes they are catalysts to something bigger in a following season. And here’s the category “Castlevania” falls into.
Does season one stand on its own? Not at all. It’s entirely first act material. We only begin to know our characters and plot by the end of the fourth episode.
I will go ahead and review the seasons first act capabilities. A lot of what we saw here, at least in episodes 1-3, was an attempt at establishing atmosphere. This show is ultra-violent and had some unfortunate moments of gratuity through this violence.
The violence serves to help establish the atmosphere, but there are sequences primarily in episode 2 where you just want to say – Okay, we get it.
It isn’t at all for children or the squeamish. Episode four laid back on the violence a bit to focus more on character and the next big plot point. It was easily my favorite episode of the four.
As a 4-episode first act, I can’t judge if any of this exposition is building to something or if it will all be lost in subtext later on. So I refuse to review this shortened season, and hope we can establish something fuller in the second season.
Emmys: Updated Predictions – July
No real surprises this year in nominations. It’ll be tough contest in drama with “Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Crown” going at it. “Atlanta” is all but locked for Comedy. “Feud” will probably sweep a lot of the Limited Series categories as well. Go to this page to get the most updated predictions.
Here are the predictions:
Outstanding Drama Series
The Handmaid’s Tale
This is Us
Better Call Saul
House of Cards
Continue reading Emmys: Updated Predictions – July