Saturday, July 22, 2017

WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2017

I am posting this a little later than I wanted to, but I am finally here with my recap of original content for the WWE Network for the first half of 2017. I want to kick off this installment picking up where two new series that premiered last year left off and see how they have since progressed.

Holy Foley - WWE released the final five episodes of their version of The Osbournes in January of this year. The first five episodes reminded me why I detest most reality TV shows with so many painfully telegraphed family issues being pushed to the forefront. Once again, the focus is on Dewey breaking in as a WWE storyline writer and Noelle trying to make it as a wrestler, or as she likes to painfully call it in corporate WWE speak several times every episode ‘Superstar.’ Mick is also up to some hijinx in each episode in his post-wrestling career, and most are unfortunately insufferable to endure. A lot of the primary plot lines in this second batch of episodes are a chore to get through with only a sprinkling of genuine entertaining scenes like Noelle getting five star tutelage in promos from Enzo. If you are looking for a reality show fix on the WWE Network stay away from this and stick with some of the original Tough Enough seasons instead.

205 Live - When I last talked about 205 Live, it was only several episodes into its run and Neville just debuted on the 205 scene. Since then Neville has stole the show and is one of the few legit high marks of 205 Live as he has been the main draw of the show and its champion since January of this year. His three-PPV feud with Austin Aries was the promotion’s runaway best rivalry for the first half of 2017. I was bummed to see Aries ask for and was granted his release shortly after his feud with Neville wrapped up since Austin could have been a great mentor to newer talent.

The other feuds on 205 Live have been more lighthearted in nature, and since they rarely get spotlighted on PPV, they kind of drag on for two-to-three times longer than they should, for better or worse. On the last WWE Network blog I mentioned how Alexander and Noam Dar were vying for Alicia Fox’s affection, and that whole angle played out until just a couple weeks ago when Dar finally dumped Alicia after several months of the two being constantly hot and cold in their relationship. Drew Gulak and Mustafa Ali had a lengthy feud over Gulak protesting Ali’s high-flying style and Gulak promoting his grounded/technical style more. Their feud finally wrapped up with a PPV quality, 2-out-of-3-falls match this past week. These are just two examples of feuds with wrestlers that probably would not have been promoted as highly on RAW and Smackdown. 205 Live is missing something keeping it from being destination programming and must-see like the Cruiserweight Classic tournament last year. Hopefully they can work in those missing pieces this year, or else I fear the writing may be on the wall for the cruiserweight division.

Talking Smack - Wrestling fans reading this likely heard the news last week that WWE has cancelled the Smackdown Live post-talk show, Talking Smack as a weekly show which is horrible news. WWE did say it will stay on following Smackdown-branded PPVs however. Renee Young and Daniel Bryan have great chemistry and shined as hosts on the show. I loved seeing them interview talent who were sticking to their characters but did not have all their verbiage scripted out for them like they do on television which allowed the wrestlers to be more like an amped up version of themselves and get great practice at finding their voice for their on-screen personas. Speculation as to why WWE cancelled the show is because they had to wait an extra hour for 205 Live to finish before starting Talking Smack, and Shane McMahon not being as plugged in and engaged as a backup co-host while Daniel Bryan was away on Paternity Leave.

I loved watching Kevin Owens, The Miz, The Usos and Baron Corbin the most on Talking Smack. All four of them are great natural heels, especially Owens as he went the extra mile to mess with the hosts. A recent Talking Smack will also mark the only time that Eric Rowan was legit entertaining in his sole appearance on the program that had me cracking up at how unpredictable he was and how he was throwing Renee off her game. I will also give mad props to the Usos doing fantastic work as heels this past year, while also having some of the best segments on Talking Smack when they team up with Bryan for the most endearing improv rap sessions in pro wrestling history (just check out how affable Daniel is with his rap hat in those videos and you will know what I mean). Rest in peace, Talking Smack, at least it will still be on once a month.

Legends with JBL - Speaking of cancelled WWE Network shows, JBL’s shoot-interview series got cancelled this past February after it aired its final two installments with interviews for Stan Hansen and Jimmy Hart. Of those two I would recommend the Hansen interview because he has rarely done interviews with WWE before and he has a ton of classic stories from his career that will likely be new to those hearing from this legend for the first time. Just like before, JBL does his research and asks tons of good questions and follow-ups, so make sure to binge through his entire archive if you have not before.

Bring it to the Table - This is a new show that debuted this year that WWE runs around once a month. Radio personality, Peter Rosenberg is joined by Corey Graves and JBL as they breakdown the latest main event storylines and behind-the-scenes news in a ESPN PTI/Around the Horn format of time limit debates. It makes for an interesting show, as everyone is trying to be quick on their feet with their two cents and sometimes will get called out on the following show for sometimes biting off a little more than they could chew like Corey Graves was called out for when he gave his thoughts on Shane McMahon. Nothing will beat Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith debating sports in my book, but I will give WWE credit for trying something new and I will keep tuning into this since they occasionally dive into some insider news that would surprise me they would touch on.

WWE UK - WWE has premiered its UK division at the beginning of this year capitalizing on the hot UK wrestling scene from the past couple of years. They signed a lot of top UK talent and placed them in a 16-person tournament for the new WWE UK Title in Blackpool, England and had it transpire as a two-part special on the WWE Network. The atmosphere was something special as the UK fans always bring a unique dynamic to a wrestling show. Their singing and other soccer-style chants had me distracted and cringing for a good chunk of the first part of the special, but after the first round matches when most of the competition and matches amped up, the crowd also got serious and put their shenanigans to the side and got more engaged and their unique chants seemed more organic than distracting and helped made the gritty, strong UK style really pop.

Nigel McGuinness made his WWE debut announcing for the UK Championship tournament, and him and Michael Cole had a natural chemistry together, which was kind of surprising on two levels because I always thought of him as an average announcer at best before from his RoH commentary, but something must have gelled right with the two here because Cole especially stepped up his game and delivered easily his best commentary ever. Most of the matches in the tournament delivered with a unique rough, ‘smash-mouth’ style that is not that common on WWE TV, but if you were a fan of William Regal’s work then you will really love what the UK competitors bring to the ring. WWE only did the two-part special in January, and a follow up UK special in May for their UK division shows so far. From what I understand WWE is planning a weekly UK show for the Network and already has locked down dates to record their first several weeks worth of programming in the near future so be on the lookout for that premiering soon.

Miscellaneous - There were four installments of WWE 24 so far this year. The one highlighting Kurt Angle stands out the most as it is nearly an hour and covers most of the key highs and lows throughout his career. They even track down former head of TNA/GFW, Dixie Carter for her thoughts on Kurt. There is also a nice piece on Finn Balor focusing on his recovery from his brutal injury last year, and two 24 specials focused on Wrestlemania 32 weekend from Dallas in 2016. I will continue to promote Ride Along and Table for Three as entertaining and low-cost programming for WWE since it only involves placing a couple cameras around a dinner table/rent-a-car while the wrestlers talk shop and reminisce about their past. WWE pumps out about one installment a month for those two shows, and my favorite ones of 2017 so far have featured Jericho and Owens in one of their last car rides before their on-screen breakup and Maryse and Miz celebrating their anniversary in their car ride. Table for 3 has had a lot of good installments this year with the newest edition featuring a Nation of Domination reunion having a lot of good stories between Mark Henry, Godfather and Ron Simmons. WWE dug up Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Maryse as the trio stood up for their work during the controversial ‘Diva Search’ era of the women’s division. Also make sure to watch two explosive personalities collide as Michael Hayes does his best to keep the peace between Eric Bishoff and Jim Cornette.

Thanks for sticking with me through this. For the second half of 2017 I am anticipating WWE debuting its weekly UK show, as well as the 32-person Mae Young Classic tournament starting next month. WWE gave a sneak peak introducing all the competitors last week and after how well WWE produced the cruiserweight and UK tournaments this past year I have only high expectations that the women will step up and deliver just as effectively. Huzzzah for the WWE getting me excited about tournaments again, for the longest time WWE treated them as throw-away filler, with even the last few King of the Ring tournaments lacking the pomp and circumstance that the tournaments on the WWE Network manage to pull off. Join me again in several months to see how well they pulled it off!

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
DDP: Positively Living
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Marine 5: Battlegrounds & The Interrogation

A couple years ago I enjoyed myself so much with a two-for-one review special of the latest DVDs from WWE Studios that I decided it was the proper time to bring that feature back. Today I am covering last year’s Interrogation (trailer). It is a crime thriller featuring Edge in the lead role as a FBI interrogator where he is involved in a cat and mouse game with a suspect dangling multiple bomb threats in front of him. Marine 5: Battlegrounds (trailer) hit earlier this year and features an ensemble cast of WWE stars with the Miz once again reprising his lead role as an ex-Marine trying to live a normal life, but finds himself mixed up in a gang war at a amusement park.

WWE has been pumping out what seems like several movies a year now. WWE is all in on the direct-to-video movie train because it appears they are content with their low budget films making a small enough profit due to filming them in Vancouver where they get considerable tax breaks. I use to rent their films from Netflix just to see what they would unleash upon movie fans next, but WWE put the kibosh on Netflix rentals from their last several films, so now I am forced to purchase their movies and thus they enter my backlog which means you all get to suffer/experience them with me in the form of my review.

Marine 5 captures the same raw, gritty feel of most WWE Studios’ action films that serve as a prime selection for Movies for Guys Who Like Movies night on TBS. The Miz is once again Jake Carter, after failing his last job as a personal security detail in Marine 4, Carter takes up the role of an innocent, everyday EMT. Things go horribly awry his first day on the job however when him and his partner Zoe (Anna Van Hooft) get mixed up in a gang war with biker gang, The Lost Legion. Miz must protect Lost Legion target Cole (Nathan Mitchell) from gangsters comprising of WWE stars Naomi, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas.

A bulk of Marine 5 is Jake, Zoe and Cole trying to stay one step ahead of the biker gang in a parking garage. After playing hide and seek from the gang in the garage for awhile, the final act takes place in a big final showdown at an amusement park. Once I got over the hoki-ness of the bulk of the WWE stars involved, I was surprised to find myself legit getting into Battlegrounds. I got into Carter and friends combining their wits to fend off the Lost Legion and the final act amps up in a big chase throughout the city until a big showdown between Miz and Bo’s characters. This is Miz’s third time in the lead role of this franchise and he actually developed some marginal acting chops by this point and manages to carry the lead role well enough for this type of low budget action film. Bo Dallas was also a pleasant surprise as the most prominent Lost Legion member throughout the film and proves to be a viable head villain by the end of the movie. As for Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Naomi…well they gave it a good effort for it being their first film!

The Interrogation is a little more complex and not your by-the-numbers action film. It reminded me a lot of Die Hard: With a Vengeance, just not as good. It starts off with the film’s antagonist, Vasti (Patrick Sabongui) bombing an office building and immediately turning himself in. He is questioned by pro-FBI interrogator Lucas Nolan (Edge). Oh yeah, WWE star Lana is in this film too in a minor role as part of the anti-terror team that assists Lucas throughout the film. I never got use to her in here because it is befuddling seeing Lana without her trademark Russian accent she is notorious for on WWE programming. Vasti wants to play mind games with Lucas though and quotes literature and uses other subtle tells to clue Lucas in on his next several targets that he has rigged up to explode. The film makes use of a “memory house” technique where Lucas goes into deep thought to piece together Vasti’s clues that is fun to play along with.

If you are into these sorts of mystery-thrillers that invite the audience to solve the mystery along with the hero, than The Interrogation may be up your alley (for the record, The Prestige is my favorite type of these films). I am awful at putting clues and hints together in these sorts of mind-benders, so I sat back and enjoyed the ride where Lucas and his anti-terror team were constantly on the move attempting to stop the next bomb to mixed results. I did not see the big twist coming as it took me by surprise, and I thought the filmmakers did a good job at justifying how it all played out. The Interrogation appears to have a little more of a production budget compared to the average WWE film as it implements more dynamic city-wide shots and far more intense action scenes than what I am use to from WWE Studios. Edge is OK as Lucas, and I think he gave this serious role his best shot, but I am so use to seeing him as a more lighthearted character in both his WWE and non-WWE roles.

Both Interrogation and Marine 5 follow the same blueprint for their meager sampling of extra features. Both BluRays have two short behind-the-scenes features around four-to-five minutes long each. I dug how Interrogation broke down how it pulled off its impressive explosions with their DIY approach. Marine 5’s extras were entertaining as it was mostly the WWE stars being thrilled and about making their acting debuts and loving the spooky amusement park setting. I would have loved for all six WWE stars to sit down with the director of Marine 5 for the ultimate commentary track, but alas it was not to be.

I know this is faint praise, but Marine 5: Battlegrounds is easily my favorite of the five. Set aside the fact it is The Miz with an ensemble cast of opening act WWE stars, and there is a fun tale of an EMT taking on an army of biker thugs to be had. It is a prime popcorn action movie to enjoy with your loved one! As for Interrogation, well I as I stated earlier it is a poor man’s Die Hard 3, and I just happened to have seen that Die Hard just a few months ago and The Interrogation simply does not measure up, but it does have a couple of good moments and shows a few glimpses of being an entertaining mind-bender throughout, but not enough to warrant a viewing. Stick with Die Hard 3 and/or The Prestige instead!

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3-5
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Star Trek XIII: Beyond

Longtime readers of this blog had to have figured this one was coming. For newer readers, in 2014 I reviewed one of the 12 Star Trek films each month and I somehow managed to stay on pace and review all 12 films by the end of 2014. 2016 saw the release of the third Star Trek film in the new ‘alternate’ universe, Beyond (trailer). I recall going into this movie at the theaters with a few different scenarios rummaging around in my mind.

One scenario had me trepid that this film saw the director of the most successful Fast & Furious films, Justin Lin at the director’s chair replacing JJ Abrams (who stayed on as a producer). Those films have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, but I was not sold that Lin would successfully transition from the blockbuster heist/racing/action beasts he was known for into the world of science fiction. Another part of me was a little hung up on the recent deaths of cast members Leonard Nimoy (original era Spock) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov) going into this film. Suffice it to say I did not go into this without reservations.

Beyond kicks off with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) failing miserably making a peace offering to a new race they encountered a few years into the Enterprise’s five year exploration mission. After Kirk makes yet another dramatic, last-second escape the crew of the Enterprise make a pit stop on the space station, Yorktown for some much needed shore leave. It is there Spock (Zachary Quinto) discovers the news about the passing of the elder Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Kirk is also in the midst of a personal crisis and is considering stepping down as Captain so both of the Enterprise’s top officers are at a crossroads in their careers.

Kirk and Spock’s personal dilemmas get set aside when the Enterprise answers a distress call on an uncharted planet. This ultimately leads up to the Enterprise crash landing on the mysterious planet and the crew getting split up. This made for a unique twist on the film as we saw the primary cast team up with the supporting cast members in teams that ordinarily would not have happened and provided some interesting dynamics. Beyond has Kirk & Chekov on one end of the planet, and Spock & Bones (Karl Urban) on another side while Uhura (Zoe Saldana) & Sulu (John Cho) are imprisoned with the rest of the crew at the base of this film’s villain, Krall (Idris Alba). Scotty (Simon Pegg) finds himself isolated until he meets another person stranded on the planet by the name of Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).

Jaylah is a fun addition to the cast, and by the end of the film it appears she is going to be a mainstay among Starfleet. Her unintended dry humor provides most of the levity for Beyond and it cracked me up more often than not. For better or worse, she is the one responsible for a scene set to Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Without spoiling the scene too much, they manage to kind of have a somewhat meaningful justification for their music, but the song overstays its welcome a smidge too long, especially when the Enterprise crew starts to nod along and mildly jam out to it….I am not kidding.

Naturally, there are a couple big action set pieces in the film’s final act. One is where the Enterprise crew reunites to make a retreat from Krall’s planet and a short while later while Kirk and friends are hot on the tail of Krall to stop his invasion of Yorktown. The CG and special effects do not disappoint in these showcase scenes, but it was the Krall himself who did not get me fully invested in these scenes as I would rank him among the weaker villains of the Trek films. Beyond tries to add some substance to Krall by diving into his origin toward the end of the film, but by that point it seemed too late for me to get invested in him and I was ready for Krall to meet his demise.

There are 17 behind-the-scenes extra features to indulge totaling a little less than two hours. If that is a bit much for you, than I would advise skipping around half of the features that go into the nuts and bolts of the CG, costumes, special effects and stage design. They are all well made, but those ones in particular I cannot help but feel are aimed directly at enthusiasts of those fields only. Divided & Conquered stuck out to me as the cast and crew talk about the challenges of having the Enterprise crew split up for a good portion of the film. Beyond the Darkness is another recommended extra as it is all about welcoming Lin to the director’s chair and introducing the new characters debuting in Beyond. For Leonard & Anton features countless testimonials from the cast and crew for what both actors meant to them and the franchise. Finally, I would recommend Live Long and Prosper because it is about celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary and defining its legacy.

I hate to give it this distinction, but I would have to rank Star Trek: Beyond as the least enjoyable of the current era of Star Trek films. As stated above it was Krall not being an antagonist worth buying into that knocked the film down a couple pegs for me. There are still a lot of great moments and killer special effects throughout, and I am on board with Jaylah being part of the Enterprise team and I feel like she can be a great movie exclusive addition to the team much like Savik was in Star Trek II-IV. I thought Paramount did an admirable job at how they handled writing Nimoy’s Spock out of the film and the tributes for Nimoy and Anton during the credits were simple, but effective, and all I needed. I will conclude here as I did with all my previous Star Trek blogs with my individual ratings for each film so you can see how they all measure up.

Star Trek Film Ratings

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 5/10
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - 10/10
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - 7.5/10
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - 9/10
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - 6/10
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - 7.5/10
Star Trek VII: Generations - 8/10
Star Trek VIII: First Contact - 9/10
Star Trek IX: Insurrection - 8/10
Star Trek X: Nemesis - 9.5/10
Star Trek (XI, 2009) - 10/10
Star Trek XII: Into Darkness - 9/10
Star Trek XIII: Beyond – 8/10

Additional Star Trek Blogs

Star Trek Evolutions and Captains Summit BluRay Bonus Discs

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

3
12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Creed
Dirty Work
Faster
Fast and Furious I-VIII
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Gravity
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hercules: Reborn
Hitman
Ink
Interstellar
Jobs
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XIII
Take Me Home Tonight
TMNT
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
UHF
Veronica Mars
The War
Wild
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Monday, June 26, 2017

Roseanne - Season 4

I continue to plug away at my Roseanne DVDs, and today I bestow upon you my review for season four of one of my favorite sitcoms (s4 excerpt). Click here for my previous reviews of the first three seasons for those who desire to catch up. Without further ado, here are my key takeaways from season four…

-I think I need to kick off these bulleted lists with a job status roll call for the season. As I alluded to at the end of season three, Dan (John Goodman) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) decide to take a second mortgage on the house so they can open up Dan’s dream bike shop. Dan hires Becky’s (Lecy Goranson) boyfriend Mark (Glenn Quinn) on as his mechanic. A lot more scenes this season transpire at Dan & Rosie’s workplaces than usual, and it served as a better variety of scenery after three seasons of scenes mostly happening at the Connor household. I loved the dynamic of the Connors in the bike shop as many times family life would carry over into the family business. Things do not look up for the business at the end of the season, which is odd because I want to say I remember the bike shop being more of a constant throughout Roseanne’s run.

Roseanne helps out at the shop, but still primarily works at the café in the mall with Bonnie (Bonnie Bramlett) and their boss Leon (Martin Mull). I love this trio’s chemistry on screen as they seem to have a mutual love/hate relationship by the end of the season and it was nice of the Connor family to have Leon over for one of Dan’s poker nights. Roseanne’s run in the café as the worst waitress ever constantly had me cracking up, with the highlight being where she was having back pain in one episode so she had the customers start doing her job for her, and the customers being all the willing made it stand out even more! It was a bittersweet moment to see the café close up at the end of the season, but this was probably the catalyst for what I remember being Roseanne, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and Leon working at a more traditional diner later on in the series. Becky lands her first gig as a supermarket cashier to save up for a car and finally, Jackie takes up a new career path as a trucker.

-One of my favorite episodes this season features Roseanne getting hooked on bingo after Krystal (Natlie West) takes the gang out on a Bingo night. I can kind of relate to this as I progress into my 30s that Bingo has been an entertaining outing to partake in every couple of months. That episode also saw Krystal announce having her second kid during the show’s run. Krystal is an awesome character and I feel awful for completely forgetting about her before starting to relive the DVD seasons several months ago.

-Old school videogame fans will like that the then newly launched Super Nintendo is prominent this season when it is DJ’s (Michael Fishman) sole demand for his birthday. It is in the background throughout the season thereafter to the point where Rosie warns DJ not to waste his life playing games…I wished I would have heeded her advice.

-Shortly before he started work on ER, George Clooney reprised his role as Booker and made his final appearance on the show’s history in this season’s annual Halloween episode. Roseanne explains in a commentary for the Halloween episode that she had to battle to bring back Clooney as the writers kept coming up with excuses not to have him on. Barr said she is a huge fan of his and she had to fight for three years to get him to come back for one episode and then Barr stated that Clooney appreciated it but said it was probably for the best to move on.

-In seasons three and four, Roseanne gets awesome neighbors that she does not hit it off with and it was a pleasure to see their rivalry escalate. It was another bittersweet moment this season when they wrote them off the show towards the end of the season and had them move, but at least they had a hilarious exit where the Connor family gives them the five-star shoulder treatment when she wishes them farewell.

-Finally, season four sees Darlene (Sara Gilbert) go through a metamorphosis as she embraces her slacker/emo character I remembered her the most for in the show’s run. The show kind of overkills it at the beginning of the season where Darlene dresses in all black and confines herself primarily to her room for most of the season. I think the writers realized they went a little too off the wagon in this direction and they gradually weed her back into the family’s everyday happenings by the end of the season, but she is now a complete 180 from her outgoing/tomboy character she was in the first two seasons. Season four also sees Darlene starting her relationship with David (Johnny Galecki). I did not realize until this season that David is Mark’s brother and I lost it at his debut this season when Becky was suppose to watch DJ but she wanted to run off with Mark so they brought over David, who was a stranger to everyone else in the Connor family until this point, to watch him instead.

-There are a handful of extra features in season four. There are two short interviews. One is a five minute interview with Barr about Roseanne hitting its stride that season and the other is with Fishman and Goranson having random backstage anecdotes about the show, with the highlight being about how Goranson overcame management’s objections to her wanting to a haircut. Finally, Barr provides video commentary for the Halloween and Thanksgiving episodes this season and there is a handy factoid ticker that helps elucidate on some of Barr’s commentary and questions she raises. I dug these commentary tracks and hope the remaining seasons has more of them with more cast members!

-Oh hey, I almost forgot, since I recapped season three a couple months ago ABC announced they are resurrecting Roseanne this coming January! Badass! I highly doubt it, but in my moment of glee I will take a modicum of responsibility for my season recaps being helpful with the frothing demand to bring that show back! As long as it is better than the return of Arrested, Development! See you all soon with my season five recap!

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
2016-17 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living

Earlier this year three-time WCW World Champion, master of the Diamond Cutter and yoga sensei, Diamond Dallas Page received his long overdue home video biography from WWE with the release of Diamond Dallas Page: Positively Living (trailer). The biography is only a little over an hour, but it surprisingly hits almost all the notable points of his life and career, and the collection receives the standard extra feature treatment with several hours of bonus matches spanning his entire career.

The brief time spent on Page’s childhood years growing up is an inspirational watch as he explains how he had to overcome hurdles such as ADD, Dyslexia and a car wreck at age 12 that wrecked his knee. Page explains how the car wreck left only sport left for him to play was basketball and stated how he was awful at it initially but over many years of practice made the high school’s starting squad. From personal life to professional life it goes to show the theme here is hard work pays off.

I recall reading how DDP was in the night club business, and Page goes into how he spent most of his 20s running night clubs and experimented with wrestling briefly before an injury in his second match got him to exit the business for the time and go back to the club scene. Even though they are now divorced, many fans remember DDP’s ex-wife Kimberly being a big part of his career as his on-TV manager, and WWE interviewed her for the video and she goes on to state how they met at one of Page’s bars and how their relationship evolved.

I read Page’s autobiography, Positively Page, that came out all the way back when he was still in WCW in 2000 so I am a little familiar with his early life and how he broke into the business, but that was 17 years ago so this BluRay is a handy refresher and I gleamed many new things throughout. If you are unfamiliar with Page’s journey you may be surprised to learn he broke into the wrestling scene late, and did not make a TV debut until some connections from the night club scene landed him a manager gig in the AWA in 1987 when he was 30. They have clips of his manager tryout video which are awesomely-cheesy, and they are included in their entirety in the extras. WWE interviewed Scott Hall, Eric Bishoff, Terry Taylor and Goldust about meeting DDP in the clubs and helping him land his first job in the AWA.

DDP spent his first five years in the business as a manager in AWA, FCW and WCW, and even had a Wrestlemania VI cameo that DDP reveals on how it came to be. Hearing Page’s story on why he took up wrestling at age 35 and making his proper in-ring debut at the end of 1991 is one of the highlights of the documentary. It seems like an impossible task to start training at that age, but over the years Page kept plugging away and kept putting in the time to get better and the results are easily apparent over the years on how he became a top player in WCW. The documentary spends a little time with him progressing over this time, but the extra features are where it is more noticeable where they include a couple matches from each year of Page’s career.

Page’s memories and respect for Dusty Rhodes are among my favorite parts of the bio. Page loves him, and I was all ears for the few big Dusty stories Page peppers out throughout the biography on how Dusty helped him out and motivated him throughout his career. A lot of time is spent on Page emerging as a breakout main event star in WCW in 1997 by feuding with the nWo and his intense rivalry with Randy Savage that lead to a classic series of matches with him. Hearing Page relive his success with Macho Man had me nostalgic for that era and that rivalry was one of the few things WCW did right among their ‘Monday Night War’ success. Ditto with Page recounting his super-successful run teaming with Karl Malone to take on Dennis Rodman and Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach ‘98. I had no idea until hearing Page state here that it was WCW’s highest grossing PPV of all time.

The documentary moves along to DDP winning his first WCW World Title at Spring Stampede ‘99 and Page has a good tale on how he met his goal to reach that milestone. I was not so surprised Positively Living skips the final two years of his WCW career since that was when WCW was in a downward spiral to its demise, but there were still a few interesting DDP moments from that era I would have liked to hear Page comment officially on such as his other celebrity team-ups with Jay Leno and David Arquette and DDP’s time teaming with his friends Bam Bam Bigelow and Chris Kanyon in the Jersey Triad faction. Additionally, the Ready to Rumble film is a guilty pleasure of mine and I would have loved to hear DDP’s memories of being the primary WCW wrestler used in the movie. This clip from a shoot video interview will have to suffice instead.

His final year in his full time career where he jumped to WWE following the WCW buyout is briefly touched on, and Page tongue-in-cheek admits he was not too big on how the whole ‘stalker’ character was handled but stated he tried his best to make it work. I am a big fan of his ‘positive’ character he introduced later on in 2001 and DDP said he was too and how it was an amped up version of himself. Kimberly has a nice memory of Page walking in and out as a champion at Wrestlemania X8 was a good bookend to his career.

Fans of DDP knows Page has had a ton of success post-wrestling with his yoga business. DDP & Kimberly go into detail about forming the yoga business after yoga helped DDP recover from injuries and after a couple rough early years their hard work turned DDP Yoga into a big success. I am glad they do not gloss over this part of DDP’s life as it has been tremendous for him and the countless others he has helped in the proceeding years. I vividly recall hearing how DDP was starting his yoga business and immediately scoffed at it and all the clichés that go with yoga. Then I heard and saw the success stories (DDP helping Jake Roberts in this Netflix doc is must-see!) of it with wrestlers like Scott Hall and Jake Roberts. Finally, after hearing Chris Jericho vouch for it on how it helped him recover from a back injury last year I took the plunge and ordered the DDP Yoga DVDs when I was dealing with some shoulder issues. After a few weeks I was surprised at how much better the shoulder and my general well being improved. Now, a year later I still routinely do DDP Yoga three times a week.

The documentary has a nice final chapter where DDP and his current wife Brenda are interviewed about how they met and how DDP is a proud stepfather. The WWE production crew also capture DDP’s genuine raw reaction to Triple H calling him and informing him that he would be inducted into the 2016 Hall of Fame class in a emotional scene that once again proves that DDP’s mantra of hard work does indeed pay off. I went into a lot of detail than I anticipated for an hour long documentary, but DDP was one of my ‘Monday Night War’ favorites and for the most part I like how this biography was handled.

There are 22 matches to indulge in the extras, or 27 if you go the BluRay route. Again, I really like how the first several matches feature Page in his early part of his career teaming with other before-they-were-stars talent such as Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Raven, Cactus Jack and Buff Bagwell in the early 90s. DDP is very green, but the matches just go to show for far he improved over the years. He has some breakout matches from 1997 in here that established him as a main event player with bouts against Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Curt Hennig.

His standout PPV headlining encounter with Bill Goldberg from Halloween Havoc ‘98 is here in all its glory, and to this day I still think DDP got the most out of Goldberg in the ring. Both of DDP’s celebrity tag matches from 1998 are in here where he tags with Malone and Jay Leno. The match with Malone actually has some surprisingly decent action, and Jay Leno is wisely only used for comedy spots (minus his armbar of doom). Not-so-surprisingly his tag match with David Arquette is not included. A couple of excellent US Title matches with Bret Hart are however, as well as both matches that saw him lose and regain the title from Sting on the same night (I will never forget being there live for those two matches and going nuts for that first match against Sting!). The extras close with DDP’s successful European title defense against Christian at Wrestlemania X8.

I give Positively Living the highest of recommendations. Minus a few nitpicks mentioned above, I was really happy with the biography since it covers almost all the major parts of his personal and professional life thoroughly and it has nearly most of his major matches included as well as a few hidden gems. Whether you were an avid fan of DDP or not, his unorthodox journey and inspiring message is one that should be witnessed by all fans.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Best of Monday Nitro Volume 3
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes Yes Yes
Dusty Rhodes WWE Network Specials
ECW Unreleased: Vol 1
ECW Unreleased: Vol 2
ECW Unreleased: Vol 3
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Its Good to Be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story
Memphis Heat
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
OMG Vol 3: Top 50 Incidents in ECW History
Owen: Hart of Gold
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
RoH Supercard of Honor VII
RoH Supercard of Honor VIII
RoH Supercard of Honor IX
RoH Supercard of Honor X
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Sting: Into the Light
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Top 50 Superstars of All Time
Tough Enough: Million Dollar Season
True Giants
Ultimate Fan Pack: Roman Reigns
Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe
Warrior Week on WWE Network
Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
Wrestlemania 28
Wrestlemania 29
Wrestlemania 30
Wrestlemania 31
Wrestlemania 32
The Wrestler (2008)
Wrestling Road Diaries Too
Wrestling Road Diaries Three: Funny Equals Money
Wrestlings Greatest Factions
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2015
WWE Network Original Specials First Half 2016
WWE Network Original Specials Second Half 2016

Saturday, June 10, 2017

2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part Three

Previous TV Season Recaps – (2013-14 | 2014-15 | 2015-16)

2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 1 (Gotham, Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow)
2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 2 (Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Legion, Riverdale)

24: Legacy – The anti-terrorist hit show 24 is back with a new lead star in Eric Carter (Corey Hawkins). Legacy follows the same abbreviated format of the last season a few years prior where it chops the season length in half, but still retains the same ‘real time’ format of the show where everything takes place within an actual hour of time each episode. This benefits the show greatly since it eliminates a ton of the filler episodes past seasons of the show had to suffer through with throwaway mini-arcs on inconsequential plots.

It is a hard task to ask anyone to fill in the shoes for 24’s previous lead star, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), but Hawkins does a commendable as Eric Carter. Like Bauer, Carter winds up having an unbelievable day with an insane amount of terrorist acts he attempts to stop. This show has always been a guilty pleasure filled with at least a few action scenes of high TV production quality. It also hits all the same beats that dominate past seasons of 24 such as a new director of CTU (the fictional Counter-Terrorist Unit where everyone works) being introduced midway through the season, an inept CTU employee having to overcome their emotional drawbacks in a big moment, CTU getting attacked by the terrorists and finally, discovery of a mole inside CTU! Who is this deceptive traitor!? I use to hate these same notes 24 repeated ad naseum, but after nearly 10 seasons of the show they grew on me and I became to appreciate and expect them much like one would do the same by the unmasking of a Scooby-Doo villain. Grade: B+

South Park – Last year South Park succeeded in having their first season-long spanning storyline so creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone attempted to repeat the formula but with mixed results this go around. The primary storyline for this season is an ultimate online troll being on the loose and messing with the students of South Park Elementary. It winds up being a funny mystery leading up to the reveal, and how the online society of the most vile online trolls track down the South Park troll and come together to stop the Netherlands from unleashing their troll tracker that would spell certain worldwide doom. That story arc is fun to follow along with and indulge how it all plays out. The backup story of Cartman finding his first girlfriend and renouncing his bullying ways in the name of true love is also a hoot to keep up with.

One wrench that got thrown in for this season however was the 2016 US election. The election was also part of the season-long spanning arc, but Stone & Parker admitted in an interview on the Bill Simmons podcast they did not anticipate the outcome and had to do last minute rewrites and make drastic changes to the remaining episodes of the season as a result. It is apparent some parts of the greater season-long arc fizzle out a little bit and lose their muster after the election where South Park’s version of Donald Trump (who else, but Mr. Garrison) becomes President. The episodes are not disasters by any means, but lack the punch of the usual unapologetically offensive episodes of the show. The creators stated in the same interview they learned their lesson and plan on going back to self-contained story arcs in single episodes next season. Grade: B

Horace and Pete – This show is Louis C.K.’s take on a dark, twisted version of Cheers. If that caught your interest, stop reading now and immediately binge watch all 10 episodes. For everyone else, Horace (Louis C.K.) and Pete (Steve Buscemi) run a dive bar with their uncle, Pete (Alan Alda) and sister, Sylvia (Edie Falco). There is a lot of family drama transparent throughout the series that rears its ugly head in each episode as Horace and Pete want to keep the bar running while Sylvia wants to sell it to pay for her cancer operation. It is honestly hard to watch, but in a good way if that makes sense because it touches on a lot of deep family issues that I rarely see other shows go into and I imagine there must be at least a couple of the issues that are apparent here that should resonate with most on some level.

Between all the family drama there are much needed moments of levity with the family dealing with a regular set of customers in everyday conversations that may or may not have a point to them but are a delight to take in because of how wonderfully the dialogue is written. The show is filmed like a stage play with limited camera angles and no special effects which is a perfect complement to the dive bar setting. Almost all of the scenes take place either in the bar or in the apartment Horace & Pete reside in directly on top of the bar. Again, there is at least one or two rough scenes to take in each episode because Horace & Pete tackles issues unlike most other shows and does not hold anything back, especially with its ending that left me speechless. Highest of recommendations! Grade: A+

Stranger Things – This was the original series that rocked Netflix last year. Imagine a TV series version of the hit sci-fi film, Super 8 from several years ago and that is almost exactly what is Stranger Things. I love how it nails the early 80s setting I hold so dear. Poor Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) gets kidnapped by a mysterious creature, and now his friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) team up with mysterious newcomer to town, Eleven (Millie Brown) to track down Will. Will’s older brother, Jonathon (Charlie Heaton) and his mom, Joyce (Winona Ryder) also go through their own unique journeys while tracking down Will. Ryder is in a word, awesome in her portrayal of gradually losing her mind while her home reveals clues to Jon’s whereabouts.

The actual sci-fi parts of the show dealing with the creature and alternate dimensions were a little bit on the weak side for me, and for whatever reason did not blow me away. I was more a fan of the family and Sheriff Hopper’s (David Harbour) journey piecing together the mystery and tracking down Will and taking in all the callbacks to the early 1980s setting and lifestyle. There is also a side story for Jon where he tries to win over love interest Nancy (Natalia Dyer) from the school jock that is a guilty pleasure trope of mine. I liked a lot of the characters and certain parts of the show, but I am not as infatuated with Stranger Things as most others. I am still happy to hear Netflix picked it up for a second season and plan to keep up with it like almost everyone else on Netflix. Grade: B

Summer Viewing Plans - TV viewing plans for the summer is to burn through the rest of Riverdale and catch up on a lot of HBO programs. The final season of Leftovers just wrapped up and I loved how season two ended so I am psyched to grind through that series. Of course I plan on eating up the latest season of Game of Thrones once that premieres within the next month. Finally, I hope to catch up on The Rock’s original HBO show Ballers I am a season and a half behind. If all goes according to plan, check back here for a summer TV recap blog!

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television

2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part Two

Previous TV Season Recaps – (2013-14 | 2014-15 | 2015-16
2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 1 (Gotham, Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow))

2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 1 (Gotham, Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow)
2016-17 TV Season Recap, Part 3 (24: Legacy, South Park, Horace & Pete, Stranger Things)

For part two of my annual year in review of TV I will be focusing on three Marvel TV properties, in addition to another show based off another comic book publisher.

Luke Cage – I am a big fan of the Luke Cage character portrayed by Mike Colter when he debuted in a supporting role in Jessica Jones last season. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled to see him get his own show. This is not a by-the-numbers, lighthearted villain-of-the-week superhero show. It is a darker take on the genre taking place in the gang-ruled streets of Harlem that has Cage trying to hide his powers and make an everyday living working multiple jobs. Life changes for Cage when a drive-by at his workplace barbershop spells the demise of his mentor. The rest of the season plays out more in a grand crime mystery caper than a superhero show. There are still plenty of enticing scuffles and brawls throughout the season, but the focus is on Cage tracking down several suspects while being on the run from an investigator hot on his tail in the form of Misty Knight (Simone Missick).

Watching the mystery unfold was fun to follow as I got to learn more facets about the cast such as Harlem’s lead gangster Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali) and his right hand man Shades (Theo Rossi). Those two villains in particular were the most captivating antagonists among a slew of bigger players introduced this season. My only drawback with the debut season of Luke Cage is that it felt a few episodes too long and were hitting a few predictable clichés throughout the season that would have made for a tighter season if a couple episodes were cut out altogether. Regardless, this was a breath of fresh air from the Marvel Netflix formula, and I hope it sticks with it for future seasons. Grade: B+

Iron Fist – I was surprised to hear so much negativity about Iron Fist shortly after it debuted. Up until this series, the Marvel Netflix shows had a strong batting average. There is so much wrong with Iron Fist. The first couple of episodes are a slog to get through as star Danny Rand (Finn Jones) escapes back home to New York after training with monks for over a decade in a monastery to become the legendary ‘Iron Fist.’ He tries to reconnect with his siblings Joy (Jessica Stroup) and Ward (Tom Pelphrey) but the show spends the first couple episodes with the family dismissing him and casting him off in a rehab facility that was just a slog to get through and made for near-unwatchable television.

Eventually Danny gets out of the mental hospital and the show kind of gets on track for a couple episodes. Danny tags along with local martial arts teacher Colleen (Jessica Henwick). Unfortunately, Colleen gives Wally West a run for his money as ‘dopiest character’ of the year because her arc is written so terrible. She starts off the show as trying to help kids stay off the streets by joining her dojo, but learn later that she has an uncontrollable rage she likes to unleash in underground MMA fights. However, that arc magically disappears for the second half of the season without reason. The worst part for both Danny and Colleen is they both commit one of the worst comic book tropes of getting irked and declaring they are going to kill off their enemies only when it comes time to deliver on their promise like all good heroes they get reluctant and preach about not committing a crime. I can maybe let that slide once, but the duo repeatedly commit this awful comic book stereotype multiple times in the last several episode to the point that it is beyond a joke, and just blasphemous.

Speaking of villains, I was pretty high on the second season of Daredevil until they introduced the mystical Japanese ninjas known as ‘The Hand’ into the mix. For the unaware, they are the equivalent of the TMNT’s foot clan soldiers and Daredevil treated them as meaningless cannon fodder. Apparently, Marvel loved them so much they decided to double down on The Hand as the primary villains for Iron Fist. The bulk of the season is spent contradicting Daredevil by making The Hand appear as the ultimate threat, because…ninjas, but it is impossible to take them serious at all, and eventually they again become worthless cannon fodder. Most characters are written poorly that it is impossible to get behind anyone. The only couple of saving graces from this show being a straight up failure are Jessica Stroup and Rosario Dawson’s performances as Joy and Claire, respectively. I was a big fan of Stroup in The Following and she and Dawson are the only two that shine in this mess of a show. Grade: D

Legion – This show is officially part of the X-Men universe, but I would not blame you if you did not make the connection because as only a casual X-Men fan myself I did not notice any of the popular mutants from the acclaimed Marvel series here. It only seemed the term ‘mutants’ was only referenced a handful of times throughout the first season’s eight episodes. Legion is incredibly hard to follow. Mix X-Men, Split and Inception together and that is essentially Legion. Dan Stevens (David Haller) is the star of the show who gets locked in a mental facility as he learns he has split personalities and the ability to jump into other character’s dreams, and like Inception those dreams have layers and you can jump into multiple dimensions of dreams.

It all got extremely difficult to follow, but like Gotham I eventually turned my mind off and accepted whatever they threw my way. Being a FX show, Legion pushes the envelope with its content and there are some extra graphic scenes with the powers doing some lethal damage. For better or worse, the show evolved into ‘shock TV’ so I could see whatever jaw-dropping moment would transpire next. I had a very loose idea of what was going on by the end of the series, and I would benefit greatly from rewatching the Legion, but I have so many other shows to grind through. I will give this an unorthodox recommendation if you are into seeing a bunch of weird and crazy scenes for shock value alone with a mildly cohesive plot on top of it. Grade: B

Riverdale - I am only two episodes into this and cannot give a conclusive grade to the show based off the hit light-hearted high school comedy line of Archie comics I grew up with. This show is so not that, they bring over nearly the entire cast from the comics, but with a hard TVMA rating. Once it took me an episode to get over the fact that the cast is in their sophomore year of high school and everyone looks AT LEAST 10 years older, I instantly got hooked on the show. Riverdale takes the approach of Twin Peaks and Veronica Mars with a murder happening at the beginning of the season and the show spending the season trying to discover what really happened. The show stays topical by having new twists on characters that were not the case in the comics like certain sophomores being homosexual, having ADD or engaging in flings with teachers. I imagine there will be a few more to come once I get further along into the series. There is still a lot of the teeny-bop high school drama in here, but the show easily masks that underneath the big murder mystery at play and a cast that is well over high school age. I am intrigued and look forward to seeing how the rest of the season plays out. Grade: n/a

Past TV/Web Series Blogs

2013-14 TV Season Recap
2014-15 TV Season Recap
2015-16 TV Season Recap
Adventures of Briscoe County Jr: The Complete Series
Angry Videogame Nerd Volumes 7-9
Mortal Kombat: Legacy - Season 1
OJ: Made in America: 30 for 30
RedvsBlue - Seasons 1-13
Roseanne – Seasons 1-9
Seinfeld Final Season
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
Superheroes: Pioneers of Television