Category Archives: TV Review

Debris Pilot Review

From a writing perspective, one of the upshots of creating a science fiction and fantasy narrative is that the number of stories one can tell is nearly endless. However, that does not mean that the reader or viewer is entertained.

The pilot of the new NBC series, Debris, premiered last night. MI6 agent Finola Jones (Riann Steele) and CIA agent Brian Beneventi (Jonathan Tucker) have been tasked with answering questions about an alien space craft and its effects on human beings.

If I was generous, I would give this program an A for effort. The show tries to live up to the trailer and the genre. But it was nothing more than background noise. Whatever story hook the created is non-existent. Though I did finish watching the pilot, there was nothing that inspired me into continuing on with further episodes.

Do I recommend it? No.

Debris airs on NBC Monday nights at 10PM.

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Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy/Lincoln: Divided We Stand Review

We can learn a lot about a specific group of people and their culture by their food. Without stepping into a lecture hall, we receive a history lesson, learn about their traditions, and hopefully begin to see them beyond the stereotypes.

Last night, CNN continued to air first of two series. Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy follows the Italian-American actor and cookbook author as he travels around Italy and samples the food that is specific to each region.

The second series, Lincoln: Divided We Stand, is narrated by Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us). This program tells the story of the 16th President in a manner that humanizes him and his story. Instead of just relying on the facts found in a history book, the audience takes a deep dive into the world from his perspective.

So far, I enjoyed both programs. Tucci approach to his family’s native land is that of love, respect, and curiosity. Like many Americans whose family came from elsewhere, he uses food to introduce viewers to an Italy that only the locals know. Instead of lionizing Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln: Divided We Stand introduces the viewer to the man behind the myths.

Do I recommend both? Yes.

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Godless Review

When one thinks of the Western genre, the image of shootouts, cowboys, Indians, and a mass expanse of untamed wilderness. Most of the main characters are men. If there are any women, they are either the sweetheart/love interest of the hero, a prostitute wearing next to nothing, or an extra in the background.

The 2017 limited Netflix series, Godless, takes these tropes and fleshes them out. In the American West of the 1880’s, the town of La Belle, New Mexico has lost most of it’s men in a mining accident. The women are in charge, taking the places of their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery) is a widow living on the outskirts of town with her son and mother-in-law. In the middle of the night, she shoots an intruder. Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) is a former follower of Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels), a criminal with a very long rap sheet.

When Frank discovers that Roy is in La Belle, it will be up to the women to defend their home from Frank and his murderous gang.

After watching only a couple of episodes, I have been hooked. I love that instead of being limited in scope, the female characters have finally been given their due. Strengthened by their mutual loss, the women come together to take a stand. From a writing standpoint, I also very much appreciate the equality between the men and women in terms of the spotlight. Each is given a turn to shine without sacrificing who they are and what they believe.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Netflix, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday: Flipping Virgins (2006-2012)

It has been said that experience is the best teacher. It is only through doing and making mistakes that we become better at whatever we are trying to do.

From the outside, the process of flipping a house looks simple. You buy a rundown property, fix it up, and re-sell it for a profit. But just because it looks simple does not mean it is simple. Flipping Virgins aired on HGTV from 2006-2012. Hosted by Egypt Sherrod, each episode follows those who are new to business of house flipping. Guided by Sherrod, the subjects will choose the property, renovate it (with the expected complications along the way), and hope that it is sold.

I like this show. Though it is reality television, it is a nice change from the other shows in this genre in which the experts go through the same process.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Behind Her Eyes Review

I would love to say that every marriage is a perfect vision of happily ever after. But we all know that some marriages are complicated, to say the least.

The new Netflix mini-series, Behind Her Eyes, based on the book of the same name by Sarah Pinborough, premiered last week. Louise (Simona Brown) is a single, divorced mother who works at a psychiatry office three days a week. She was supposed to have a girls night out with a friend at a local bar. But when her friend does not show up, she starts up a conversation with David (Tom Bateman). What starts with a brief flirtation ends with a kiss. But before it can go any further, he makes his excuses and walks away.

The next day, David and Louise meet up again. The sizzling attraction from the night before has not dissipated. But he is her new boss, making any relationship other than a profession one impossible. He is also married to Adele (Eve Hewson), who has a complicated past. Then Louise and Adele bump into each other and become friends. Though David and Adele project the image of a picture perfect marriage, their relationship is not so perfect.

I’ve only seen the first two episodes. I also have yet to read the book. But so far, I am enjoying this not so simple love triangle with three characters, who each in their own way, are damaged.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Behind Her Eyes is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Flashback Friday: Building Off the Grid (2014-Present)

The process of building a home from scratch is difficult in itself. Add in Mother Nature and the process becomes twice as hard.

Building Off the Grid has been on the Discovery Channel/DIY Network schedule since 2014. The show follows homeowners who want to build new houses. But instead of building in new or existing neighborhoods, their homes are located in the middle of nature. On top of the challenges that come with creating a new home from the ground up, the owners and builders deal with roadblocks that come with their choice of location.

I find this show to program to be interesting. What keeps me watching is the heightened question of whether or not the final product will come to fruition as promised.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Top Five Restaurants (2015-2016)

Before the internet, asking for a recommendation for a new restaurant was commonplace.

Top Five Restaurants aired on Food Network from 2015-2016. Hosted by Sunny Anderson and and Geoffrey Zakarian, each episode focuses on an individual food. Several professional foodies and chefs are interviewed, proclaiming that their favorite restaurant makes the best version of that particular dish.

Watching this show makes me hungry. The way the food is described by the interviewees is enough of an impetus to at least hypothetically, get on a plane and visit some of the places.

Do I recommend it? Yes

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Filed under Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Young Rock and Kenan Reviews

A pilot of a new series is akin to the first chapter of a book. Whether or not a viewer keeps watching is often dependent on how they feel about this new world they have been introduced to.

Last night, two new shows premiered on NBC, Young Rock and Kenan.

The premise of Young Rock is that The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) is running for President in 2032. He sits down with an interviewer to tell his story.

On Kenan (Kenan Thompson) the title character is a television host and a recent widower living in Atlanta. Supported by his brother, Gary (Chris Redd) and his father-in-law Rick (Don Johnson), he is attempting to put his life together after his wife’s passing.

I told myself that I wanted to give both shows on a shot. Now that I have, I can move on. Young Rock is boring and Kenan is just a modern reboot of Full House.

Do I recommend them? No.

Kenan and Young Rock air consecutively at 8:00 and 8:30 on NBC on Tuesday.

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Filed under Life, Politics, Television, TV Review

The Bonfire of Destiny Review

Fire is an immortal element of nature. As much as we think we have control over it, the truth is that we will never have the upper hand.

The Bonfire of Destiny is a French television series. Originally airing in 2019, it is currently on Netflix. It is based on the true story of the Bazar de la Charité. In 1897 in Paris, a fire broke out during an annual charity event. 126 victims, mostly aristocratic women and their maids, died in the blaze. The series follows three women as they deal with the aftermath of the day’s events. Adrienne de Lenverpré (Audrey Fleurot) is anxious to leave her failing marriage. Rose Rivière (Julie De Bona) is almost ready to tell her mistress that she and her husband will be leaving for America. Alice de Jeansin (Camille Lou) is a young woman on the verge of marrying her sweetheart.

So far, I am three episodes in and enjoying it. I was immediately sucked in by the story and the choices that these characters have made so far. It is not easy to survive this kind of event and not come out with scars, both emotional and physical that will be with you during the rest of your life.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Bonfire of Destiny is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Throwback Thursday: Container Homes (2016-Present)

When solving a problem, a little creativity never hurts.

Trends are just that. Some come and go quickly, others last and create change in the process. For the last few years, homeowners have been getting around the issues of climate change and rising home prices in the United States. One of the ways they have been doing so is via container homes.

Naturally, the idea was picked up by television executives. Container Homes has been on HGTV’s schedule since 2016. The show is also available on Hulu. Every week, the audience is introduced to a new family as their new home is built by converting shipping containers into a livable space.

This show is interesting. What I find compelling is the process of creating a house using unorthodox materials and the surprise when it is all said and done.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Hulu, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review