Titans probably had one of the worst advertising campaigns around, and I had no real interest in it, but then something strange started happening. People on the internet started saying that it was not that bad, and its RottenTomatoes.com score pulled out of a nose dive and pulled itself up to an 84%. Which for TV these days isn’t too far out of the norm because there is soooo much good TV, but considering the reviews started off negative, it is quite the feet, so when DC Universe had a sale on subscriptions I decided to give it a try. Titans was well worth the price of admission.
In Titans, Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) has given up being Robin. The violence is taking its toll on him, so instead he decides to put his detective training to use and join the Detroit Police Department. Just when he thinks he has given up the cape and the leggings for good, he gets mixed up with a young girl who has strange and dangerous powers named Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft/Raven). She is on the run from her father who wants to use her for her powers. As they run and try to figure out what is going on they will also meet up with Kory (Anna Diop/Starfire) and Gar Logan (Ryan Potter/Beast Boy). Not to mention a few other superheroes.
What is great about Titans is that it takes its time. There aren’t like two intro episodes then they move to Jump City and are now chillin’ in Titan Tower. After eleven episodes they are still nowhere near the superhero team comics lovers know they will be. Dick is trying understand what his life is supposed to be ‘post Robin’, Kory is trying to recover her past, Gar is just now exploring the outside world, and poor Rachel just wants to get a handle on the actual darkness inside her, so the whole first season is just these people trying to deal with their issues while also trying to deal with each other. Which are problems that you just can’t superpunch away.
What I also love about this first season of Titans is that it has taken on a horror vibe, and given Rachel’s powerset, it is a smart choice. There are so many weird and creepy moments in this show. It is not something a lot of other superhero shows, or movies for that matter, have tried, but Titans really goes for it. I will say that it starts off poorly. It doesn’t really get good until about episode three or so, but it is great once it gets going. I also don’t like that they ended the show on a cliffhanger. I like it better when shows have a complete arc for a season, and I guess that season one did, but once they got picked up for a second season they moved episode twelve to be episode one of season two.
Slow starts and cliffhangers are forgivable sins. Titans is not that first show to suffer from them and probably will not be the last. Thankfully everything else about the show works. From the creepy atmosphere to the talented young cast. If you are in the US and can spare eight bucks for a month of DC Universe to watch this show, you should. Outside the US it is even easier because it is on Netflix, so just queue it up. Then wonder with me what will happen when Titans returns this October.
The thing I remember thinking while watching A Very English Scandal was that this couldn’t be real. That the BBC and Amazon must have fudged things to make this show more insane, but in looking up the facts for myself, it turns out they even left a few other crazy things out. All of which makes for an interesting show to watch, and one carried by fantastic lead performances.
A Very English Scandal is about the Jeremy Thorpe Scandal. Where Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal Party, attempted to have a homosexual lover killed, so that he would not be exposed as gay. Which sounds dark, but this show ends up being more of a dramady. Mostly because of how crazy all the characters in the show are.
The writers did a great job on the script, but Hugh Grant as Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Thorpe’s former love interest Norman Scott really make this work. They manage to ride the line between playing their characters over the top while still being believable perfectly. It is no wonder Whishaw won a Golden Globe, and I am sure will be in the running for a BAFTA and an Emmy.
A Very English Scandal is not visually graphic, but it is verbally, so keep that in mind before watching it. Otherwise it is a fun three hours of British history, and one you probably will not soon forget. You can watch it now on Amazon Prime Video or the BBC iPlayer.
I have been hesitant to watch season eight of Voltron: Legendary Defender for a couple of reasons, someone spoiled the ending and I didn’t want it to be over. Voltron has been better than I ever could have imagined, and this final season was mostly great. I mean the original series exists in this Voltron as a fictional retelling of what happened. How cool is that?
If I have any qualms about season eight, it is that they didn’t really have time to explore everything that they brought to the table. Ideas would be brought up and then resolved almost instantly, but at least they resolved them.
While season seven was mostly just buildup and then a lot of explosions, season eight was about finishing character arcs. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of explosions, but all the moments with the biggest impacts were story beats, and that is the way it should be. The fact they were able to bring back so many characters from the earlier seasons and give them interesting conclusions was fantastic.
While the ending was spoiled, it was still satisfying, and it worked better than I thought it would, so if that is putting you off, I don’t think it should stop you the way it did for me. Voltron: Legendary Defender is how all reboots should work. With respect for its source material, but never shackled to it. Use the original as inspiration for something better. I love the Voltron from my childhood, but the Voltron from my 30’s is much, much better.
I have been singing Voltron‘s praises for a while now, so I was intrigued when Netflix and DreamWorks announced a reboot of She-Ra. I was skeptical after the trailer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the new look, but like I said, they had earned a little of my faith, and they largely came through. I wouldn’t say it is as amazing as Voltron, but it is much, much better than the She-Ra of the past.
The basic setups are the same between the old and new shows. Adora is an orphan kidnapped by the Horde, but then she finds a magic sword that lets her turn in to the super strong Princess of Power, She-Ra. A lot of the characters from the old show are in this one as well, but what is different is that you care about all these characters. They have stories and arcs. The entire backbone of this first season is how Catra’s and Adora’s relationship defines and makes them who they are. You know, a real theme and plot!
Not everything is perfect though. While I appreciate that the series is mostly hand drawn, it is not drawn with a lot of depth. You can tell that they did not have a massive budget, and while it is mostly smooth, it can still feel a little cheap. Some of the story beats that do not belong to Catra or Adora can feel rushed or muddled, and Swiftwind is super annoying.
The Michael Bay Transformers broke me, and I never wanted anyone to reboot anything ever again, but then it turns out I just don’t want people to reboot things poorly anymore. DreamWorks and Netflix can reboot whatever they want at this point. However, this shared universe Roald Dahl show sounds like a bad plan, but they have earned my eyes for at least a few episodes because She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is better than I could have hoped for.
If you haven’t been following Archie Comics lately than you wouldn’t know that they have gotten an update to their grocery store checkout sensibilities, and their reemergence has been so successful it has launched a new TV show on the CW, Riverdale. Riverdale has been a hit for the CW, so the CW went to Warner Bros. Television for another show to sit alongside it. What they came up with was a little too dark for network TV, but before Warner could go back and retool it, in swooped Netflix, and Netflix was more than happy to have The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina get as dark as it wanted to get.
The setup for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is very similar to the 90’s sitcom, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) on her 16th birthday will have to leave her human life behind and become a full witch, she is only half witch on her father’s side, but like any teenager she doesn’t want to do what she is told. This is where the changes start to appear. You see the Dark Lord really wants her on his side for some reason, and he sends in his team to sway her to the dark by any means necessary.
The word ‘Chilling’ from the title is best descriptor for the show. It isn’t outright scary, but it is darker and much gorier than anything the CW has ever put out. So much so I am wondering if they punched it up once the show moved to Netflix. However, most of the show’s storylines fit firmly in the teenage drama genre. It is still a CW show at its core. No amount of witchcraft can change that.
If you want a teenage drama with some gore and some spookiness, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is probably what you are looking for. It has a good cast doing crazy things, and it feels like Riverdale’s cousin, so those are all positives. Though all the talk about and interaction with the Dark Lord are big negatives for me. I guess how you feel about the show will depend on if you are looking for a dark gory teenage show where a girl has to rebel against the Devil or not.