Justified: City Primeval
How does anyone justify a revival? The original Justified gave viewers a conclusion in the first 30 minutes and an epilogue with the last 16. It gave Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) a fitting third act, living in Miami as a part-time dad to his daughter and finally enjoying freedom from the town he worked so hard to escape. So how does a creative team go from “we dug coal together?” to that nearly happy ending to a brand-new Givens tale? The simple answer is to head north. Continue Reading →
Hijack, like 24 before it, is billed as a thriller television series told in real-time. In execution, however, it feels similar to a carrier full of other TV actioners. While it may, in fact, be seven hours from Dubai to London, there’s nothing about this show that makes the real-time gimmick sing. Instead of intense immediacy, it feels like a run-of-the-mill suspense series stakes. Continue Reading →
The Crowded Room
Danny Sullivan (Tom Holland) sits in interrogation. He's been picked up for a seemingly random shooting on the busy streets of New York City. He insists that his friend Ariana (Sasha Lane) fired the gun, but the police can’t find her. Nor can they locate Danny’s Israeli landlord Yitzhak (Lior Raz). Worse, when they start digging, they find a pattern of people disappearing around the young man. NYPD Detective Matty Dunne (Thomas Sadoski) feels confident the department has accidentally brought in a serial killer. To prove his point—and find the victims—he brings in his ex, Professor and Psychologist Rya Goodwin (Amanda Seyfried), to conduct a series of interrogations. Continue Reading →
As Melissa (Cicely Strong) explicitly points out, the musicals that inspired the first season of Schmigadoon! were all of a relatively similar happy-go-lucky and “they all lived happily ever after” cloth. Her attempt to return to that mystical world with her now husband Josh (Keegan-Michael Key) in Schmigadoon! Season 2 takes them instead to Schmicago. It is another mythic town that mirrors musicals, but this time out, it’s the shows of the 60s and 70s. The Broadway shows of that era were darker, more complex, more violent, and far less likely to deliver a happy ending. That, paired with their motivation to flee the drudgery of day-to-day life and the heartbreak of infertility, means escaping will take something far more challenging to find than “love.” Continue Reading →
Star Trek: Prodigy
Can you have Starfleet without Starfleet? That’s the essential question Star Trek: Prodigy asks in the back half of its first season. As the villainous Diviner (John Noble) told his daughter last time, the advanced vessel ferrying the series’ young heroes contains a weapon that could decimate the Federation. If that weren’t enough, the flesh-and-blood Vice Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) has reason to think whoever’s piloting the Protostar stole the ship and marooned her dear friend, Chakotay. So despite how badly the show’s main characters want to join Starfleet, there’s a plethora of reasons to stay far, far away for the time being. Continue Reading →
Star Trek: Lower Decks
When Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) began this season, she harbored nothing but mistrust for Starfleet and resolved to rescue her mother all by herself, even as it turned out Mom didn’t need saving. Now, at season’s end, Mariner returns, ready to fight for both the people and the idea of Starfleet, and she enlists the help of her comrades and colleagues to rescue Captain Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) in a moment where she could really use the save. Continue Reading →
In 2015, documentarian Todd Schramke began following a group of anarchists led by Jeff Berwick, who soon became an online personality pushing non-traditional, to say the least, ideas. Berwick, an entrepreneur-turned-libertarian-turned-cryptoinvestor, fell in love with this idea of anarchy, the decentralization of banking, the unschooling movement, and most essentially, with Acapulco, Mexico. Schramke followed Berwick and his growing crowd of supporters for the following six years, and HBO’s The Anarchists resulted from that half-decade of time spent. With endless footage and dozens of big personalities, Schramke armed himself to weave a great story, only to end up telling one that feels oddly--and awfully--ordinary. Continue Reading →
Star Trek: Picard
Patrick Stewart is still carrying much of the weight as "Star Trek: Picard" continues to pile on the lore & find its footing.
“Maps and Legends” improves on Star Trek: Picard’s series premiere. It’s filled to the brim with new lore and exposition and features another extended bout of table-setting. But it also features plenty of Patrick Stewart acting in one-on-one scenes, his forte, and puts him opposite performers who can hold their own. Making those conversations and confrontations a bigger focus here helps balance out the wobbly plot mechanics and less-exciting new faces the series strains to introduce.
That catch is that the series still dumps a ton of lore on the audience here. "Maps and Legends" is full of implausible and contradictory nonsense that constantly tries to top or overcomplicate (or both) whatever’s come before.
It’s not enough for the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police, to be involved in this conspiracy. There has to be an extra-double-secret force that’s even more hidden and even more deadly! Apparently the Romulans just hate androids and A.I. and any complex computing whatsoever, for reasons we’ve never been privy to before but which will assuredly be retconned down the line! Despite that, they still have fancy molecular reconstruction tools and can perfectly scrub a crime scene at the molecular level, but somehow not so well that Picard’s former Tal Shiar buddy can’t figure out what happened! And this new secret agency has also apparently infiltrated the highest ranks of Starfleet, where the latest corrupt commodore turns out to be a sleeper agent whose two goons are going after Dahj’s twin sister! Phew! Continue Reading →