Category Archives: TV Recap

Rinzy Reviews ‘Stranger Things 3’ (2019)

Release Date: July 4

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, David Harbour, et al.

***

When Stranger Things first arrived in 2017, it rode high on people’s feelings of nostalgia for the ’80s, and quickly became one of the best original series of this generation, further catapulting Netflix higher among the big wigs in entertainment. These days, the show’s become its own entity, is currently the biggest young-adult series on air, and is now fully able to express itself and tell its perculiar breed of horror-SciFi stories without relying much on external nostalgia. Stranger Things 3 does reference some pop culture materials or the ’80s – Terminator, Back to the Future, Gremlins, Evil Dead 3, etc. But its greatest references comes from its earlier seasons, and that works fine too.

I enjoy watching kids grow up in movies – Arya and Sansa’s arcs were two of my favorites in Game of Thrones. For the Stranger Kids, adulthood beckons, and with it all the quirks that follow; a new kind of drama abounds – and that includes teenage love, with sub-themes of understanding, commitment, and how not to lose yourself while in a committed relationship. The show handles these mature topics well, even better than most movies centered around adults.

Millie Bobby Brown is a terrific actress for her age, and part of what makes Eleven’s naivety and bravery believable is thanks to her portrayal. It’s good to see her better hone her craft as well as her sense of style this season.

As the never-ending drama between the children’s club vs. the demons rages on, it’s become more incredulous seeing the Scooby-gang as Earth’s first defense against enemies of life and the United States. It’s even more unbelievable when you consider the lack of strong reason the show keeps revisiting the same plot over and over again. It was easier when all we we had to deal with watching Eleven battle Demogorgon beasts trying to usurp our world, but when you add a Russian spy plot (with a Terminator-looking agent at the forefront) believability gets thrown into a mix.

It’d be expected that since the show returns to the same central conflict of man vs. demon again and again it’d be boring already, but Stranger Things 3 works so well because it’s mostly character-driven, even the Mind-Flayer is given a rebranding push, becoming a gigantic goo.

Stranger Things 3 is great because it lets its characters (old and new) play and grow in ways the last season didn’t, making it a better and well-rounded one. It still isn’t half as good as the rollercoaster ride the first season was, but it’s far better than the mostly lacklustre sophomore outing. And even though the characters are mostly separated into factions for the better part of this season, they mostly play off into one another, making the story feel like different parts of the same body at the same time.

My verdict: Stranger Things 3 doesn’t disappoint. It’s an 8 hours of entertainment well spent, and I can’t wait for the next installment. If you wait around long enough, you’ll catch the mid-credit scene, and have an idea of what’s in store next season. More monsters and, hopefully, a resurrection for our fan favorite character.

Rinzy’s Rating: 4/5

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FX Legion: Time Travel Is Impressive

Dan Steven has been killing it as David Haller since Legion first premiered, and it’s a joyous thing to see he hasn’t lost his touch one bit. It’s even more pleasant when you realize the show is fully embracing time-travel in all its Glory. The season three premiere opens with it quickly establishing its own set of rules for one of the most popular topics in SciFi, and one of my personal favorite.

Its theory builds upon previously existing concepts of time travel we already know, like taking care to not array to close or far from event(s) intended to alter, but it’s the tease of a time demon that gets me really excited for all the many ways things could really go to shit for this season.

The season three premiere goes out of its way to give a little extra of everything this show’s come to be unanimously applauded for – mind altering cinematography, excellent performance from its cast, stunning visuals, even the impromptu musicals aren’t left out, making it more difficult to prepare to say goodbye.

Division 3 didn’t come to play – David’s got to die. It’d be fun if the bulk of the season will be about David manoeuvring a vindictive Sydney with equal amount of hate as she once loved him, as Farouk rightly pointed out, but I know that’s a bogus lead. The Shadow King is too good to keep playing ball for long, he’s definitely got a few sinister tricks up his sleeves especially since there’s a time-traveler on board. With Professor X slated to appear somewhere down the line, I’d like to see how all these pieces play out together.

Give me more Lenny, crazy David-Farouk moments, time-travel, and I’ll be your loyal bitch this season, Legion.

Rinzy Reviews ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3 (2019)

Release Date: June 14

Network: Netflix

Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, Carrie-Ann Moss, Jeremy Bobb, Benjamin Walker, et al.

***

The popular saying, with great power comes great responsibility is often used in comic book movies to describe a hero’s moral compass, and their trajectory towards the dark, whilst trying to find their way back to the light.

The third and final season of Jessica Jones bares its soul, holding almost nothing back. And though it drags at first, in the show’s usual form takes the titular character on another adventure of twists, turns, and shocking heartbreaks.

Unsurprisingly, and long overdue, this season really shines light on Trish Walker, taking her to really dark places as she further embraces her comic book persona, eventually picking up the alter-ego of Hellcat…

Of course Karl’s near-fatal experiment worked, Jess!

There’d always been darkness in Trish; she’d always loathed being the ordinary sister, missing out of the main action and having to hide behind Jessica’s shadow. And like she endlessly reiterated throughout the season, she wanted this, unlike Jessica. That impulsive need to mostly prove herself Jess coupled with grief drives her over the edge. She’s able to recognize this fact at the point of her incarceration when she blurts I’m the bad guy. Hopefully, this signals some sort of redemption in her future. We’ll never know now, would we?

Although Trish closes the show, the season starts with some other villain, one not up to par with Jessica in terms of physical strength, but full of charisma. Gregory Salinger (the Foolkiller) and his brutal fetish for peeking into his victims’ truth steer the season in a direction that’s both climaxing as it’s thrilling.

The Foolkiller isn’t the first serial killer to be on the show. Kilgrave and Jessica’s mom weren’t big fans of life either, but there was something different in the way Gregory Salinger determined who deserved to live and die. He’s merely human -highly intelligent- yet, still boringly human. But he presented a threat Jessica just couldn’t punch her way through. Through him, we see a side to Jessica that takes a more rational and procedural approach to solving her problems. Seems like there’s hope for New York’s unlikeliest hero after all!

Ruefully, this entry suffers from the same malformation as most of its predecessors in the Netflix corner of the MCU – over-bloated, unnecessarily dragged, and sometimes exhausting to follow. A shortened episode would’ve told a tighter, better paced story, but I guess we should be done regurgitating on this contractual obligations of the show. Multiple episodes reiterate issues already tackled from a new PoV, and even though they shed more light on plot issues, they sometimes become painstaking to follow.

Supporting characters like Malcom, Jeri, and newly introduced characters like Erik, Jess’s new assistant get arcs of their own, and get ample time to shine. Malcom, veers into dark places of his own, but manages to find his way back to the light fast enough to attain redemption. Jeri is still Jeri, scheming, manipulating, and would probably die alone as her lover prophesied.

I’ve been a hardcore fan of Jessica Jones’ series, more than I was for any of the other Defender shows. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I couldn’t be more prouder of how things ended. We’ve watched Jessica grow much over the years into the more mature she’s in now, and can rest easy knowing NYC is in great hands.

PS: Did you catch that surprise cameo from Harlem?

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘When They See Us’ (2019)

Network: Netflix

Release Date: May 31

Starring: Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Jharrel Jerome, Marquis Rodriguez, Vera Farmiga, Felicity Huffman, et al.

***

On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger, Trish Meili, gets brutally beaten and raped in Central Park. Five boys of color between the ages of 14-16 are coerced by the police department, spearheaded by over-ambitious Linda Fairstein, into accepting the charges and confessing on tape. This leads to all of them doing time for varying years.

If you ever think of police brutality in recent time, I want you to think of these five boys –Antron, Kevin, Yusef, Raymond, and Korey- and what they went through in the hands of the American justice system skewed to disfavor people of color. The boys were all convicted by juries of charges of rape, assault, and related crimes in two separate trials in 1990. They were sentenced to maximum terms and Korey, at 16, was sent to adult prison.

In four episodes, Ava DuVarnay told the gruesome story of how five boys were robbed off their childhood. It was at a time when innocence wasn’t cared about as much as solving a case irrespective of the gravity of its racial undertone. The series does a good job examining racism, discrimination, and its destabilizing effect. With beautiful, fast-paced, yet soulful writing and terrific acting, Ava and the actors show the effect of imprisonment on loved ones, and the uncertainty of the future for all of them. She does a great job tackling a topic many would ordinarily shy away from.

Social injustice is still a big issue today; although not as bold as in the case of Central Park Five, it still thrives, and must be fought at all cost until it’s eradicated. This miniseries has reopened interest in the case, and sparked numerous conversations over the many ways the case could’ve proceeded differently. I hear there’ve been calls to prosecute Linda Fairstein for malicious prosecution, and I support this call. She’s the sole reason those boys ever did time; if she’d done her job without prejudice, the real, sole perpetrator of the crime, Matias Reyes, would’ve been caught much earlier. And her rise in career and popularity might’ve still happened. For letting little boys suffer that way, in my eyes, she’s as guilty as Reyes, and I think she deserves a cell beside him.

Lest I forget, the police carried out a shabby investigation, but they didn’t act alone, the press were complicit too. If both of these institutions had done their jobs, five children wouldn’t have been forced to grow up without a childhood. No amount of monetary settlement can ever make up for this.

Favorite scene: When Korey begs refuses to answer the prosecutor questions in court. Touching.

Favorite actor: Jharrel Jerome’s Korey. He’s terrific.

***

Director: Ava DuVernay

Rinzy’s Rating: 4.5/5

‘Gotham’ Finally Unveils Its Batman

After five years spent watching Fox’s extra dark take on the origin of the dark knight and the most elite members of his infamous rogue gallery, we finally get to see Bruce Wayne unveiled as Batman.

Just like with Smallville, years back, we watched how Bruce went from young naive kid through various tests and trials into the caped crusader, protector of Gotham city.

Bruce Wayne (as played by David Mazouz) went from dorky, defenseless boy to mean-faced, unwilling disciple of Ras Al Ghul in season three of the show. Anyone familiar with Batman lore knows that the immortal Ras and his League of Assassins plays a pivotal role in modelling young Bruce into the guardian Gotham so desperately needs. This, coupled with the fact that at the end of the penultimate episode Bruce leaves the city for further training in an unspecified place, only to return 10 years later, fully formed as the Bats.

Though a different actor plays the character, we get to see Gotham’s take on the beloved dark knight, and I think it was decent.

Take a look and judge for yourself:

In the same vain that Bruce became Batman, his existing rogues, such as fan favorites – Ed, Nygma and Selina – became more accurate versions of their comic book counterparts as The Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman. Even the Joker wasn’t left out, as Jeremiah Valaske wholeheartedly took on the mantle.

One thing I liked about Gotham during its run was the consistency with its story telling; it might have been the most popular shows o air, but it knew what it was doing, and we’re it was going. And might be fondly remembered for ending right.

This Is Us: Beth and Randal Pearson Are Still Together!

This year, I don’t think I’ve been as happy as I was the moment I found out RnB (the internet name for Randal and Beth) never got divorced.

With the introduction of the flashforward timeline at the start of the just concluded third season, I’ve held my heart in my mouth this entire time thinking the worst has truly come for one of TV’s most perfect couple of all time. Luckily, for me (and many) it happened to be a case of the network baiting us all along… Another period in a married couple’s life, and that they were able to work out their differences.

This Is us isn’t a supernatural show, so I’m sure RnB’s future is set in stone; and there shall be no surprise, last minute changes to their marital status. They’re safe.

The season three finale did reveal a whole lot of interesting stuff about the rest of the Pearsons – like Rebecca living a very long life, enough to see her grandchildren, possible great-grandchildren, and even Kevin’s child (shocking! 🤣). The cliffhanger about the state of her health isn’t much of a cliffhanger to me; I believe she’s had a great time, more than most people would ever ask for.

Are you happy Beth and Randal were able to fix most of their problems at last? Do tell.

Fiona Gallagher Is No Longer Shameless

The 9th season finale of Shameless aired last night, and we had to say goodbye to Fiona Gallagher.

😦😧😲😢😥

Fiona’s been one of the strongest character on the show. If you’ve been a fan f the show from the very beginning, you’d know there’s no shortage of ill-luck afflicting the Gallagher’s; Fiona’s had her fair share, even going as far as venturing into entrepreneurship only to lose everything.

I liked the way the Emmy Rossum played character was written off; a wonderful send off to arguably the most important character since the start of the show. Her scene with Frank is easily the most emotional of the entire episode.

Shameless has been renewed for a 10th season. It’s left to be seen just how gravely Fiona’s absence will affect the rest of the characters – her siblings, Vee, Kelvin.

I’m not even sure how I’ll feel watching the show next season knowing fully well there’ll be no Fiona. The writers and producers will have to come up with a really engaging story so that Fiona’s absence won’t become the bane of the show’s existence.

Bonus though: Ian’s returning. Lip’s girlfriend is still pregnant, Liam’s becoming more independent, and Carl’s being dragged back to school. There’s no shortage of drama in the life of the Gallaghers. And that’s a good thing. 😁