SENSE8 Season 1, Opening Your Mind

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

One thing Netflix has been really good at the last year or two, is the diversity of their original programming. I have not watched all of their shows, but I think I can safely say that the Wachowskis’ (The Matrix, Jupiter Ascending) and J. Michael Straczynski’s (Babylon 5) Sense8 might be one of their most, if not the most, diverse show currently in their line-up. I know I’m a little late considering the show debut on Netflix back in April, but hey better late than never!

The series follows eight people known as Sensates, they are from all around the world and discover they are mentally linked to each other. They must find a way to survive those who believe them to be a global threat, which includes “Mr. Whispers” and his organization, the Biologic Preservation Organization (BPO).

Sensates, can interact with each other within their cluster, either by “visiting” or “sharing” with each other. When “visiting,” they can talk and interact with what they are feeling, tasting, hearing, seeing, etc. When they “sharing,” they can lend the talents and ability that each has to another in the group. For example, the character Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith) is a police officer and he is able to “share” his training with the others when they are in need. The same goes for Sun Bak (Doona Bae), who is trained in martial arts. These skills are only temporary while the Sensates are connected.

We do spend a great deal getting to know each of these characters and what makes them tick. At the same time we see the growing threat to them become more and more clear, but not until the end does it really show itself. This is okay, but it would have been nice to see it happen a little sooner as it would have been more impactful in my eyes.

There are many familiar faces in the first season, they included: Naveen Andrews, Doona Bae, Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman and Daryl Hannah. It appears a few of them were also in this year’s Jupiter Ascending as well.

The Good: Interesting lo-tech sci-fi/evolution story with spirituality and global views. Gorgeous locations from around the world. It will get you thinking about how we are all connected in various ways.

The Bad: This is only bad if you are easily offended by sexuality, homosexuality, transgender or spirituality. If you are not an open-minded person, then this might not be for you.

Overall, Sense8 Season 1 was a little slow to start, but eventually it got underway and found itself being something I had hard time turning off and not watching the next episode. I suppose that is why this is a great example of why Netflix’s original programming is meant to be binge watched. If you are looking for something unique and mind opening, then definitely check it out. Netflix did announced that Sense8 would be getting a second season, but not when. Over on IMDb they have season 2 listed for 2017, whether this is just a guess remains to be seen.

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD Season 1, A Retrospective

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

This past Sunday night was the season finale for the Fear The Walking Dead (FTWD) Season 1. This was a short season as it only contained six episodes. Definitely not enough episodes to really get into the “meat” of the story for something like this show. We spent the first couple of episodes being introduced to some of the characters, with just teases of the zombie outbreak.

Then the next few episodes were spent learning more about these characters and what makes them tick. The fourth episode didn’t have one walker throughout the hour-long episode. By the fifth episode things started to ramp up as military was showing their true colors and abandoning the citizens they were once protecting.

And in the finale, chaos ensued. There was definitely some poor and questionable choices made the entire time. Some of which had their consequences.

The Fear The Walking Dead Season 1 definitely could have used more episodes. At least another two, to balance the storyline out and bring the audience deeper into the start of the outbreak. The same thing could have been said about The Walking Dead’s first season. Thankfully that was corrected with a longer second season, the same thing has been done for Fear The Walking Dead which will have a 15-episode second season.

So let’s break it down…

The Good: More zombies! It is a backstory to the world of The Walking Dead all while giving us new characters and stories.

The Bad: Too short a season for this kind of drama. They could have dropped a few more hints into the cause for the outbreak, maybe not revealing the exact cause, but just enough to get fans to bite.

Overall, Fear The Walking Dead isn’t bad. I think it just had a rough start is all. This is common with a lot of TV. It just needed to find its legs. Having a lead-in to The Walking Dead is pretty great too.

For those looking for more, AMC has posted the first part of their FTWD micro-series online, future chapters will air during commercial breaks of The Walking Dead. This is meant to be a tie-in between the two shows as there will be some events unfolding during it that will have some relation to the events of The Walking Dead. Also one of the characters in this series will survive and become a regular cast member of FTWD in Season 2.

SCREAM QUEENS, Is Brilliant Horror-Comedy

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

When I first saw the promos for FOX’s new series, Scream Queens, I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of it. It wasn’t really registering on my must watch list. Then I caught the replay of the premiere episode and now I’m hooked.

If you are a fan of the Scream series of horror films, or the first Scary Movie, then you will find enjoyment here. The show does a great job of capturing the spirit of those movies and others like them. I great balance of horror, with comedy thrown in. If you have ever seen the 1981 Student Bodies, I feel as though there is a little of that mixed in as well.

There is some definite commentary on how we as a society treat each other and the priorities many of us have in this false reality star filled world we are currently living in. With one scene with a sorority girl being murdered by the killer in the series and she goes to Twitter to ask for help. It is just brilliant.

The series was created by those behind Glee and American Horror Story, which you can get a definite sense of after watching the pilot episode (along with some of the casting as well). This certainly isn’t a bad thing, even if you weren’t a fan of those shows (I wasn’t a fan of Glee, but I do enjoy AHS), this one is a different animal.

The Good: It is hilarious. The commentary on society and especially how it behaves in the face of tragedy is genius. It feels like classic 80’s horror with a wash of the superficial of today’s society. It has Jamie Lee Curtis, and Niecy Nash!

The Bad: Right now, I don’t have anything bad to say, other than I want to watch more!

Overall, if you aren’t watching Scream Queens, you are missing out. This show is a lot of fun! New episodes premiere on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.

‘Longmire’ Returns Strong With Season 4, And Proves We Need More!

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Normally I would say — and I probably I have before — if you like Westerns, then check out Longmire. But I don’t think that is a fair assessment. I think saying if you like good drama stories, then check out Longmire. The “western” setting of the show just happens to be its backdrop. The show has been solid since the first season when it first aired on the A&E channel. For me it has been one of the few shows that has consistently gotten better over the run of the series.

The show is based on the Walt Longmire mystery novels written by author Craig Johnson. The story is set in the fictional County of Absaroka in the state of Wyoming (but is actually filmed in New Mexico) and focuses on Sheriff, Walt Longmire (played by Robert Taylor), and his Deputy Sheriffs: Victoria ‘Vic’ Moretti (Katee Sackhoff), Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) and “The Ferg” Ferguson (Adam Bartley). Some of the crimes that they deal with are some “small town, USA” type stuff, then there are the bigger crimes that usually are the smaller storyline, or larger arc of the season.

There are many other recognizable faces throughout the seasons. Some being regular cast members, such as Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear: a Cheyenne who is Walt’s best friend; A Martinez as Jacob Nighthorse: a constant thorn in Walt’s side and Cheyenne leader; Gerald McRaney as Barlow Connally: father to Deputy Sheriff Branch Connally and political adversary to Walt. These are just a few of the familiar faces, there are still many others you will recognize as well.

Longmire was met with critical claim after the first season. It was quickly renewed for a second, which was also expanded from 10 episodes to 13. Then it received a third season, but unfortunately only 10 episodes again.

When the third season ended on such a cliffhanger — the kind that makes you say out loud, “No way!” — you were glad you were watching something special in this reality dump-filled world of television. Then A&E did the unthinkable, they decided not to renew the show. This was the second original drama show I was watching on their network they dropped after a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, which was also the final straw between the network and me. They were going towards more reality garbage TV and were no longer interested in original dramas it seemed.

So Longmire ended on a crazy cliffhanger and was in limbo it seemed. Word began to spread that the producers of the show were searching for another network to pick it up, but it wasn’t looking too good. Then finally it was mentioned that Netflix was interested and late last year it was announced it was in fact heading there.

So now we have a fourth season, which premiered on September 10, all 10 episodes (along with the previous three seasons as well) for you to binge watch on Netflix.

And what a season it has been. It for the most part, wrapped up the Longmire Season 3 finale in the first three episodes of the season. And very nicely I might add. Then rest of the season was spent building up a new storyline, one that would eventually find its own cliffhanger. With scenes jumping back and forth between the main characters and the situations they find themselves in at the end of this fourth season, then a quote from Walt Longmire is spoken:

“Did you ever fear you’ve created more evil than you’ve stopped?”

This lead to a final scene that was almost impactful as the one at the end of the third season and definitely gave you goosebumps listening and watching the scene.

No official word has been given yet, with the season only been available for three weeks now, I can see why, but still wish at the same time I knew we were getting more.

So this isn’t really a review, I’m sure there are plenty of those across the Internet, this is more a plea to check out Longmire if you haven’t already. It is a plea to help spread the word so we can get more great television like this. Sure four seasons is a great run for many shows, but at the very least, I’d like to see one more. Even if it has to be one last ride with Walt Longmire off into the sunset.