Sense8 Television Review

Netflix_Sense8_promo_artWow, Netflix sure has a way of bringing unique, thought provoking stories to the small screen. So many shows have come out recently that have blown me away. First, Daredevil was epic, then Grace and Frankie was better than expected and now Sense8 has done it again…for the most part. The thought-child of the Wachowski’s and J. Michael Straczynski, Sense8 is a sci-fi drama that tells the tale of 8 people who can all sense and communicate with one another from across the world. Continue reading

Marco Polo (Episode Ten Review)

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Note: This review will be very short, both due to a large stream of reviews that are also in the process of being written and the fact that the final, season review will be coming out soon.

With Marco Polo coming to a close, they did not disappoint. The episode comes to an epic conclusion, practically tying up the big plots of the season while setting the stage for new ones next year. Relationships progress, friendships are built and new alliances are formed. In terms of finales, they couldn’t have done better.

The performances made the finale even better. All around, this episode had great performances and a gripping story. The action sequences were top-notch in this episode, making it an all around success. The finale gave the most complete look at what the series has to offer in the coming years, and that makes for exciting TV. A review of this season will be coming shortly, but for this episode I can only give it one score.

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Marco Polo (Episode Eight Review)

MarcoPoloBodies have begun to fall in Marco Polo. The series is now at the tail end of the first season and has done a remarkable job constantly improving from it’s few early weak episodes. The story lines are developing at a proper pace and characters are developing more and more. I think episode stands out as the first episode where Marco Polo has overtaken Kublai Khan as the most interesting character in the series. That’s not to say that Kublai has dwindled in quality, but it’s a testament of how well Lorenzo Richelmy has stewed into the role.

The scenery is once again breathtaking, but it’s been a common facet with the series. The palaces, the exterior shots and pretty much everything in between has been a breath of fresh air. It is nice to see a show with a steady amount of character development. I’m not sure where the show will go story wise in season 2, which there apparently will be, but I’m sure wherever it goes, I will happily follow.

I promise that the first season review will have more to it than just a rehashing of me talking about how amazing Kublai Khan is. It will be more in depth and long, I promise. The last few review will be shorter in preparation for the long series review, but I hope when it is released, hopefully at the start of the new year, it will be worth your time.

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Marco Polo (Episode Seven Short Review)

MarcoPoloI’m going to keep this review pretty short and sweet, mostly due to the full plate of reviews and articles lined up for today and the week as a whole.

Plot

Marco and Hundred Eyes sneak into the walled city in an attempt to rescue/capture Mei Lin’s daughter in hopes that Mei Lin will ally herself towards the Mongols and give them any information that they have. There are other minor plots involving the she-warrior and the Khan’s bastard son as well as other webs trailing back to the Chancellor and his evil doings.

Pros

Great performances from Kublai Khan, the Empress and Marco Polo. The Empress and Mei Lin are starting to get more interesting, proving that characters are more interesting when they’re onscreen more often with their clothes on than off. The tension in the Walled City is amazing. One of the more compelling episodes of the series, it further proves that the series is moving in the right direction.

Cons

The biggest problems are the same recurring problems that the series has run into. While it is showing potential to move past my gripes, it is still weighed down by them.

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Marco Polo (Episode Six Review)

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With the series past its halfway point, one would think that the intensity would pick up in preparation for the finale, especially in a series as limited as this. It’s never a guarantee, but with the distant screams and intense music at the start of the episodes, it seems clear that Netflix understands this. The beginning of the episode immediately informs you of an important question that had been left unanswered for the first five episodes. It does so swiftly and lets the title card appear before any further action commences.

What action occurs post opening is minuscule, but the series continues forth on plots established in prior episodes. The question still remains of who attempted to kill Kublai Khan and just how much Kublai trusts Marco. Two very important issues and one of the two seems to be partially answered in this episode. It’s nice to see the series is wrapping up a lot of major questions since I’m not sure if this will just be a limited series or if there are plans for a second season.

At this point in the show, I’ll mostly write about the performances of Marco Polo and Kublai Khan with more about the other characters saved for the finale review that I plan to be much longer than these short, episode centric reviews. But having mentioned Polo and Khan,both performances were solid in this episode. There were a lot of different story lines throughout the beginning of this episode, but these two characters intermingled in each of them or were involved a great deal in some.

I should run a tally on how many minutes per episodes there is a nude body on this show, it’s probably a lot. The nudity doesn’t effect my score, but their inability to have strong female characters does keep preventing it from having a perfect score of five. I do find some of the women in the show are becoming more than just exposed breasts, as more interesting story’s are being introduced. I have no problem with sex or nudity, but there needs to be a balance between strong characters and plots and the nudity that television loves to use. I feel the need to look up the cast lists at times because I’ve seen some characters breasts more than I’ve heard their names. Now I don’t know if I just haven’t noticed it before, or if the music is a new addition, but the music they used in this episode was fantastic.

Overall, it was another solid episode, with great plot advancement and fantastic character interaction. I can’t see this show as a binge-watching type since some of the plots and relationships are too intricate and can be too much to handle. That’s not a bad thing, just an observation. It is a great start to the second half of the show.

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Marco Polo (Episode Four & Five Review)

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This review contains spoilers for episodes four and five of the Netflix series, Marco Polo.

So I’m combining my review for these two episodes since the main plot of these two episodes flow into one another. The episodes finds Kublai questioning Marco’s allegiance and then giving him an ultimatum about what to do with his father and uncle, who had recently returned from their travels. The two committed crimes against the Khan, and for that they were to be punished, it was up to young Polo. Before Marco can give Kublai his opinion, the two are attacked by assassins, who successfully poison Kublai Khan. Polo then must determine where the assassins came from and goes on a journey to figure it out.

I’d say I liked both episodes equally. The acting was still great and the story following Marco Polo was probably the most interesting that he’s been involved in. The fifth episode in particular was placed almost solely on his shoulders and he did so to great effect. His story is finally reaching a point where it’s interesting without Kublai Khan. That being said, the series still needs him and the fifth episode sort of floundered without his presence in the majority of it. The side plots going on in the episode were interesting enough, but they were lacking the gravitas that Kublai Khan provides in the show. When he’s on screen, I can’t take my eyes off of it. That’s in no way a criticism of the show or the lead actor, the writers just did a great job making Kublai more interesting than I had previously thought.

Both episodes had their fair share of nudity, but the fifth episode might have had the strangest orgy in the history of TV. I can’t even explain it, it’s that weird. I do find it unfortunate that the series feels that it has to rely on gratuitous female nudity to succeed since the show contains great action and an interesting story without it. There’s no sign the nudity will cease, but at this point all the people who didn’t like that aspect of the show have probably quit watching it.

While both episodes had a lot of meat, and I don’t mean like that, they were probably the weakest of the show. They weren’t bottle episodes, nor were they boring in the slightest, but compared to earlier episodes, it left a lot to be desired.

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Marco Polo (Episode Three Review)

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Wow, there is a lot to be said about this episode, it was what I would describe as a hot and cold episode, with the hot portions being steamy. Both literally and figuratively. Now to start, I will say this episode provides a more interesting look at Marco Polo, the central character who was often overlooked in episode two. They found a great balance between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo and provided the viewer with two interesting stories involving both characters. Along with that, they continued to develop other characters with other, more minor, story lines.

I feel like every episode will need me to address this, but yes, this episode does have nudity. While this has the most nudity of the first three episodes, by this time I’ve grown desensitized by the show’s use of nudity. I now understand why it was compared to Game of Thrones. They did introduce a new, interesting character in the episode. She’s a fighter and a good one at that. She’s tied closely to Marco Polo and their interactions added both a sense of comedy and few nail-biting action sequences.

Kublai isn’t shown as much of a warrior in this episode, more sidelined by a bad case of dreaded gout. Despite this, he continues to be the most interesting character in the show. That’s not to say that Marco Polo isn’t great, he is especially great in the first and the third episode. Kublai Khan and Marco Polo’s interaction at the tail-end of the episode might just be one of the most intense scenes in recent memory. The scene was just wonderfully done in every aspect. It might not give the episode a perfect score, but it saves it from any sort of slump that might have befallen an early episode in a period show.

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Marco Polo (Episode Two Review)

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This review will have minor spoilers for episode two of Marco Polo

OK, I know I said not to expect a per episode review, but I couldn’t help it. The first episode was great, and the second episode built upon itself, in some good ways and other not so good ways. This review will probably be much short than the previous, but with the longest review probably being the final one. But anyways, let’s delve into the review.

The episode starts out strong and continues forth with the same momentum. No major characters are introduced, though a minor character is introduced that deals almost entirely with Marco. The relationship between the two characters gives the audience the ability to see Marco interact with a character who, while a higher status than Marco, isn’t in the same leadership position as Kublai Khan and his family. Speaking of Kublai Khan, this episodes centers mainly around him, and is incredibly strong because of it. At this point in the show, he might just be the most fun character to watch. He’s complex and just so well acted.

The story follows mostly Kublai Khan and his struggle against his brother, who wants control. The conflict is bloody and seemingly settled in this episode, but no one can ever be sure. The acting between Kublai Khan and his brother is the biggest strength of the episode, showing a love/hate relationship with great emphasis on both aspect. Another story line involved the Chinese consort and her relationship with young daughter as well as she has problems with her brother’s leadership. She has a very interesting fighting scene where she is completely nude and killing quite a few people. Did she need to be naked? Hell no. The only thing I can take from this is that it will be a common point in most of the series. While I don’t mind nudity, I’d like for there to be a solid reason for it to be there. While one could argue that she stripped her robe in this to make fighting easier, it’s a weak defense at that. Well, at least she did actually kick ass in this scene.

I’d say the weakest part of the episode was the lack of Marco in it. Sure, he’s still the main character in the episode, but there was a lack of interesting story involved with him. When he was onscreen, it was more exciting to watch Kublai Khan and his struggles.

Consensus: Overall, it was a slightly weaker episode, with lots of development for Kublai Khan and minor developments for many of the other characters. 2 hours in and the feeling of this being a movie has not worn off, it’s still particularly strong and has the makings of being one of Netflix’s best shows.

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Marco Polo (Episode One Review)

MarcoPoloFrom the beautiful opening shot it becomes plainly obvious that this isn’t like the other Netflix original series. The shots are wide, the set pieces grand. The Mongol costumes are extravagant and before the opening credits appear, you’ll likely be hooked.

The locations are just breath-taking, the grandiose rooms and beautiful nature shots are enough to amaze even the most casual of watchers. The cinematography easily capitalizes on this and takes full advantage of what nature, and man-made structures, provided them. The camera movement at times can be overly shaky, but many of the shots, especially the panning shots, are typically smooth like butter. Mmm, butter. The special effects are surprisingly great, but then again, it’s well known that this is a big budget TV show and they used their money well. Even the wide shots that are more computer generated than real look beautiful, which just goes to show how much effort was put in the visuals.

The tale of how Marco Polo came to end up where the Television series starts is far more interesting than one would have previously guessed. It involves a lot of travel, obviously, but the previously mentioned shots help as well as the performances given by the many different actors. One such performance is from the show’s lead, Lorenzo Richelmy. While an unknown in every sense of the word, he quickly proves his worth with a noteworthy performance. Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan is amazing. He transformed for the role, looking nothing like his more recent previous films and acts with such an effortless intensity that you can’t help but fear his power.

The biggest issue is that the only time you really hear a female character speak is in between moans as she is engaged in sexual activities. It would have been nice to have more female characters introduced, in a different fashion than that. But with this only being one episode in, there are enough opportunity for that to change. There is a lot of sex and nudity, take that as you will.

This review is a bit short, mostly because it’s only based on the first episode. Don’t expect a review for every episode, unless the series stays at this sort of level and requires a per episode review. The first episode is well done, one of the best I’ve seen since the House of Cards first episode. If the series can improve on itself, or even just stay on par, it will be one of the best shows in recent memory. I personally can’t wait to watch the other episodes.

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Pramface (Season 1 & 2 Review)

If any of you guys read my tweets (follow me if you don’t ;)), then you most likely know that these past few days, I have watched way too much of the short series Pramface. Having finished both season one and two, I’d like to review the two seasons. The show follows Jamie and Laura. Two strangers that meet at a party and have sex. Next thing they know, Laura is pregnant, forcing the two strangers to get to know each other. The relationship is made weirder as Jamie is a 16-year-old school student and Laura is 18 and spending her first year at University. Continue reading

House of Cards (TV Series Review) [Part 2 of 2]

541533_514953805194057_1580924708_nPlot

Italicized means it’s been mentioned in the Part 1 review.

After being passed up for Secretary of State, a congressman begin an intricate plan of revenge on the new President. His wife deals with the troubles of expanding her foundation and the congressman becomes allies with a young reporter, hungry for the next story. The second half also deals more with the congressman’s attempt take down the president, which somehow relates to getting a congressman elected to be the next governor of his state.

Pros

Kevin Spacey is amazing! His character is evil but you can’t help but love him. The supporting characters are also fantastic, the show is extremely well acted. I think Robin Wright and Kate Mara stand out alongside Spacey as giving A+ performances. David Fincher directed the first 2 episodes, which were really good. The story is great, and pretty unpredictable. I love what I’m seeing so far. Actually come to think of it, I forgot to mention Corey Stoll who does a great job playing a Congressman who can’t handle the tough side of the job. He too gives a human quality to what could have been just another supporting character. 

The second half also features great performances from Spacey and Stoll, as well as Mara. The acting is just top-notch on this show, I’m blown away. Now be warned, there is a lot of sex in the show. If that’s not your cup of tea, then you should at least give it a chance. While there is a lot of sex, there isn’t that much nudity, you pretty much just hear lots and lots and lots of sex.

Cons

Some might not appreciate Spacey’s breaking of the 4th wall. Episode 3 was a bit weak in my opinion. I really wish Fincher had directed more as his style and direction could have really been utilized with the last couple of episodes. There was one episode that just felt useless, it featured Spacey returning to his old school and spending a day living in the past with his old friends. It was a good episode, but didn’t tie in very well with anything else going on. It was useless, and they made it that way.

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House of Cards (TV Series Review) [Part 1 of 2]

This review is for the first five episodes.

HouseofCardsposterPlot

After being passed up for Secretary of State, a congressman begin an intricate plan of revenge on the new President. His wife deals with the troubles of expanding her foundation and the congressman becomes allies with a young reporter, hungry for the next story.

Pros

Kevin Spacey is amazing! His character is evil but you can’t help but love him. The supporting characters are also fantastic, the show is extremely well acted. I think Robin Wright and Kate Mara stand out alongside Spacey as giving A+ performances. David Fincher directed the first 2 episodes, which were really good. The story is great, and pretty unpredictable. I love what I’m seeing so far.

Actually come to think of it, I forgot to mention Corey Stoll who does a great job playing a Congressman who can’t handle the tough side of the job. He too gives a human quality to what could have been just another supporting character.

Cons

Some might not appreciate Spacey’s breaking of the 4th wall. Episode 3 was a bit weak in my opinion.

Score (to date): 5/5

Score Prediction: 5/5

NCIS (Review) [Part 2 of 3]

NCIS_titlePlot

The NCIS crew continues to solve cases involving murdered Navy men and women. Episodes also include cameos by ex-wives and other family drama.

Pros

The mystery, for the most part has been good. The action and acting is fairly the same, it’s nothing to write home about but it is good enough for you to understand why the series has been on the air for so long.

Cons

Nothings really happened so far. When so many other shows are having these big mid-season finales, NCIS was just sort of middle of the pack. They still need to find a over-arching storyline that keeps people hooked for the whole season. With this show, you can pretty much watch the first three episodes, the mid-season return and the last three episodes and you’d be fine, most-likely. This season has sort of been a disappointment, let’s see if the 2nd half can change that.

Score

Season (to date): 3.5 out of 5

Meeting Prediction? No

Revolution (TV Series Review) [Part 2 out of 3]

Revolution_Title_CardPlot

In a future where all the power is lost, a girl must travel with her uncle to save her brother from the dreaded Monroe army. Over the course of events, we discover that her uncle was once the Monroe armies second in command and that he was once best friend’s with the evil general. And other stuff happens, too.

Revolution_InfoboxPros

The action is pretty good for a TV show and the same goes for the chaotic setting that I’ve come to love so much from watching it. The main plot and back-story is also pretty interesting.

Cons

Sadly, everything else is just wasted potential. The acting is just decent and some of the episodes are very, very boring, to the point that I called it my “review time”, meaning I would put the finishing touches on my queued up review. I must say the last few episodes before the winter hiatus were pretty good, though.

Score

Season (to date): 3 out of 5

Meeting Prediction? No