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This episode should be shown in every natural history classroom
This episode captures a rare glimpse into the reality of outdated science maturing real time into the understandings we now have. People forget the amazing progress of pure scientific research. As stated in summary, for decades every classroom was taught simply "no one knows what killed all of the dinosaurs". Today, even an educated eleven-year-old has a basic idea of what happened, and it is easy to take the historical struggles for granted. This NOVA episode made public to the everyday man woman and child for the first time what really killed all of the dinosaurs. But even more significantly, this episode brilliantly snapshots the moment in time when we started to move from ignorance to understanding about the dinosaurs in general (hint: first 90 seconds RE Brontosaurus) and the day that all the textbooks needed to be re-written about them.
The Rookie (2018)
Why I Give The Rookie Ten Stars
For those who say good major network drama is dead, ABC comes out swinging with "The Rookie". The show title indicates that it is about a middle-aged man's effort to become a cop, but it's actually so much more than that. The show presents a believable and generally positive backstage to those men and women who dedicate themselves to keeping the rest of us safe. I love the mixed character chemistry. To show my point, so far my favorite character isn't even Nathan Fillion who has the leading ticket. Mine is actually his T.O. ("Training Officer") played by Afton Williamson, attractive and smart. So let's run the list:
Positive social message: check.
Engaging, coherent and fun storyline: check.
High quality, smart and witty script: check.
Top notch cast and acting: check.
Likeable, relatable character ensemble: check.
Positive female and male multiracial roles presented: check.
Decent background research: check.
Good directing, sound and music: check.
Is it good entertainment? ABSOLUTELY
I can be a critical TV viewer, often saying to myself what I would do better, what I would change. The more I find myself having this kind of discussion with myself, the worse the show. What would I change about the Rookie? NOTHING AT ALL. Ten Stars.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
Cultural Bait-And-Switch, Wont Bother with Watching Season Two
I feel deeply insulted by this series. Yes I am probably your average Trekkie having enjoyed everything Star-Trek up to and including Voyager. My favorite ST films are ST 4, 6 and First Contact. I was really looking forward to watching this Netflix reboot.
So. For me the first few episodes were interesting but I soon realized that liberal screenwriters and directors were leveraging a beloved franchise to preach their beliefs about gay equality, feminist leadership, etc. Going into greater detail would mean spoilers. Suffice to say the show becomes a massive bait-and-switch to an obvious social-political polarity that not all viewers share.
I dislike being deceived or manipulated, and I feel that this show has attempted to do that. I will not be watching season two, thank you for nothing netflix.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
Excellent Game, Despite the Bugs
This single-player open world adventure is one game that totally lives up to the hype. Everything from storyline to combat, environment to NPC relationships, is executed to a level I have never experienced before in a game. Immerse yourself as hero or villain, thief or royal squire in your own otherworldly life story from the cold landscape of Skyrim. The accompanying music from Jeremy Soule is so good, I keep it just as a soundtrack.
This game is all about choices. As each decision is made, you begin to develop your own storyline within the game that is unique to you. You can choose to own land – or not. You can choose to save people – or not. It is really hard to get more into this aspect without spoilers, suffice to say the way you play will teach you something about yourself while experiencing interaction with many mythical cultures and races. There were emotional moments in this game that touched me deeply, to the point of practical tears.
A player's character is built on many different skillsets – some you may choose to develop – or not. Levelling a character opens new game options and opponents. But if you are content to play with a single style and combat method, the game will run for as long as you want to play it just like that. You can also adjust the difficulty. I played levels thirty through to eighty two as legendary (maximum), but you can tune it down as far down as novice. I would give this game a ten if they would officially fix the many remaining bugs, but the game is still certainly playable and enjoyable. Again - hard to go into specifics on bugs without spoilers - but the game plays well enough.
A very definite BUY and PLAY.
BR25 - Season One is How I Want to Remember This Show
I still enjoy watching this fantasy. Campy, yes. Cheesy, yes. I will be the first to concede that retro-TV isn't for everyone. But actually the artwork and special effects kind of hold their own in a classic way even after almost thirty years. Stories and script were kept interesting in season one. Script was cleverly coded for appeal to then-audiences of all ages ("I've got to go easy on re-entry..").
The cast couldn't have been better - classic Gil Gerard, Erin Gray (OMG), Pamela Hensley, Mel Blanc ("The Man of 1000 Voices"), what was probably the best supporting role of Tim O'Connor's career, and narrated by then-ubiquitous voice of William Conrad. Music was top notch for the time, none other than Stu Phillips of BSG fame. There was just so much talent put into this show.
In my opinion, watching BR25 is like watching Rocky Horror or reading pulp paper classics, where Buck Rogers ironically once again reminds us of a time when life was a bit simpler for some of us. Sadly, NBC took a good formula and screwed with it. Mel's voice and personality for "Twiki" was sadly changed (changed back later due to actual fan outrage). By season two the show seemed to loose its mojo. I did like Thom Christopher's later contribution as "Hawk".
BR25 will always have its place, next to Dukes of Hazzard, Airwolf and Tom Baker's Doctor Who - all of which were household icons for their day. PS - As a bonus - it has been brought to my attention that there was a limited theatrical release, which combined episodes one and two with a saucy intro and the only release to include the musical vocals from Kipp Lennon. Find this little gem on the web as "Awakening"..
How the Universe Works (2010)
Simply the Best Astrophysics Documentary in over 30 Years
Yes, 10/10 "How the Universe Works" is, in my opinion, simply the best astrophysics documentary in over 30 years (astro-documentary viewers will probably know what landmark series aired at that time). If you like science, gaze at the stars or have any curiosity about anything beyond your own sphere of day-to-day activity THIS SERIES WILL NOT DISSAPPOINT. For me, this is the real deal, and what many of us have been missing since Sagan's death.
The series started out as a small unknown for many, without the intense fanfare given to many similar series like Tyson's "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey". But this series is quite the quiet achiever. I LEARN something every episode. Interviews with leading experts like Michio Kaku and Andrea Ghez are HIGHEST QUALITY.
The season one original musical score from Richard Blair-Oliphant is INSANELY GOOD for material not otherwise sold on a CD label (but right now you can still get it on Last.FM). The visual effects are well done. Commentary is well researched. But a balance is still maintained of keeping this show informative yet hugely entertaining. I often watch a re-run before sleeping. I just love it.
Pilot: Does This Show Actually Hate Women?
This pilot episode has Daddy issues, casual boy-toy sex, bossy know-it-all female personalities putting all the broken men-characters in their place. I was going to put money on this being another one of Ann Donahue's misguided "wet dream" series. I was shocked to see it's actually created by a _guy_ - Joshua Safran. The sad thing is, there is actually the bones of a good story here, entrance academy at the FBI. The cast is good and acting is well done. But it's smothered in social evangelism for genderless America, "glass ceiling" expose and excessive personal story lines that leaves you believing that every applicant to the FBI is some kind of human dysfunctional.
So I did a bit of checking and discovered that Mr. Safran seems to be responsible for other kinds of over-sexed gutrot, like "Gossip Girl". So not only am I missing a real opportunity for an interesting story about Quantico but I am left with that empty feeling like I just spent and hour reading some nonsense from Woman's Day magazine, cloaked as a drama series, of all things.
If you want respct you need to show respect. Attempting to advance women by hating and objectifying men just backfires. If there is some motive to help women find "equality" in the workplace it's all shot to hell by this crap. For now, "Quantico" really needs to get off it's (poorly) misdirected social soapbox and stick to the story. One story. Please, _minimal_ flashbacks (not the constant back-and-forth). And I need an FBI portrayal that's far more credible than one that has days to waste stalling to pursue just one framed suspect of a national terrorist attack.
None of this is enjoyable, credible or recommendable. This show was my first encounter with material from Joshua Safran and I almost hope that it will be my last now :(
Weird Story But Excellently Executed
What were we to expect? I mean, what do you get when you take Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Matt Damon, the Nolan Brothers and Others to make a single movie? Well you have a lot of dependable names so we call them "The Dependables" for great acting, directing, etc. (Sorry no Stallone though) With so much talent you would kind of anticipate a movie in which everything technical - from directing and cinematography to acting and music to be well done. And that is definitely he case for Interstellar - simple as that. PS the Bluray version is excellent :)
This story brilliantly navigates plot holes like a NASA pilot. The story starts amidst some unexplained global apocalypse which causes a lot of sandstorms and other plagues that keep killing farm crops. The cause is never really made clear, but considering the movie lasts almost three hours I can hardly blame them for trying to keep it on point. This catastrophe's solution lies at the center of a black hole, to which at least two characters arrive to alive - again without great technical detail provided. Or why obscure Morse code on a watch was used instead of a simple analogue typewriter to pass back the quantum data via "gravity beams"? I mean - dunno 'bout you all but my Morse sucks. Hell why not just paint it on the side of corn silo for that matter. Spray cans cant' be that much of a challenge for gravity beams, cmon now..
But to debate all of the theoretical loopholes here is probably like arguing that lightsabers and "the Force" don't really exist, so again kudos for staying on point with the part of the story that most viewers will actually care about.
And that's the part that is done really well here. So if you are looking for Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 (which put me to sleep) then this might not be for you. But if you liked Star Trek or Titanic or any big movie where you are willing to ignore any and all inaccuracies, relax and be entertained then this is definitely something you might like. I mean after all, it did win and Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects so on that basis alone it's a good watch.
Best Penguin Ever!
I am actually surprised how much I like this. Its a bit of Goth and a bit of Noir and a bit of Comic-Con rolled in one.
I wasn't a fan of Smallville, so the idea of Gotham before Batman didn't really appeal either, at first. Normally it just tastes like barley before its brewed - the story just isn't ready. But thanks to interesting acting from Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue and especially Robin Taylor (Penguin), Gotham without Batman is still interesting. Bit like a glorified Gothic Law and Order or something..
Robin's Penguin reinvention is really what I like. Simply way more interesting than the camp clown cliché portrayed by Burgess Meredith or the pervert-raised-by-penguins(wtf...) played by Danny DeVito. Robin Taylor that is, not Robin Grayson LOL.
BTW seeing Sean Pertwee in a decent ongoing role is also interesting.
What I definitely don't like is "Fish" (Jada Smith). She tries to scare me but she doesn't. Sorry folks, no Heath Ledger here just us Spice Girls trying to act all baddie. I'm annoyed when her scenes start and relieved when they end.
Here in Australia we only have half of season one so far, and the story seemed to get off to its anticipated slow start. What kept me coming back was the developing storyline, good production effort and some of the acting.
I am keeping an eye on this one, because whatever it has planned I think it has only gotten started.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Best Animation Story of the Last Decade
I almost never gives tens. But the more I look back on this unassuming, fatefully named animation production and the aftereffect that it has had. Not only for Dreamworks, but for other animations to follow (Frozen being a good example) the idea of a "serious story with serious themes, but made for children" has been taken to a whole new level with this film - Dreamworks and otherwise.
Warning several clichés are used in this film, but its (almost) impossible to find a decent one that doesn't. Vikings speak Scottish, children don't, weaponry and terminology centuries ahead of its time, and well... dragons. None of it makes sense. It doesn't even follow the book it's based on. But it works. It really does.
As previously said by others, Dreamworks Animation should see this production as their new "true north". Credible characters, positive roll models, great music and, above all, dragons! Kids love it and so do I.
Ripper Street (2012)
Near-Perfect Period Production
Do you like period productions of crime and punishment? Then this is for you. Gritty, reasonably suspenseful with complex story lines and scripts that work well for the setting, albeit with a few anachronisms for the time.
Acting is top notch, positive role models are presented, sets are amazing and overall production is intriguing.
I am constantly amazed at how much work was invested in each scene of this show, how much thought was put into script and storyline.
That being said, English entertainment simply is not for everyone, but if that's a hurdle you can jump and you like a good period mystery series this is as good as almost any.
The Blacklist (2013)
James Spader Delivers in Spades
I am forced to concur somewhat with Eflatminor that Megan Boone's character is not my favourite. I don't really find it a problem with the acting as such, but the character Elizabeth Keen: immature, self-absorbed, and self-righteous. But the world we live in is full of people we don't (and do) like. I just accept her as much a villain as the rest of the Blacklist and move on LOL.
Fortunately this show is not "Megan Boone The Blacklist" it is "James Spader The Blacklist". I never thought I would see a better James Spader than in Boston Legal. I was way wrong. I cannot over-emphasize that the overall production and script and storytelling is superbly done. James Spader emerges as a truly bankable star in this series, entertaining to watch, witty and intelligent.
This series can sometimes seem as indifferent to what we really think about the characters as Raymond Reddington can be. This is a BIG PLUS in the mood and storytelling of the show in my opinion (see earlier comments about Keen). What I really admire is this strong focus on powerful morals in the overall storytelling, without the typical tangents when the music changes and we are force fed five minutes of subtle slapstick that is supposed to make us "care more" about the characters (NCIS cliché).
Perhaps the characters are more "likeable" in other serials (if you can actually like a fictitious person at all) but the storytelling is right here with this one.
Person of Interest (2011)
What can I say?
Reasonably intelligent? Check. Entertaining? Check. Top notch acting? Check. Suspenseful storyline? Check. Positive role models? Check. Good female roles? Check. Complex characters? Check. Humor that's actually funny? Check. Good music and sound? Check. Credible? Check. Etc etc etc Check Check Check..
I honestly can't find anything wrong with this show. This work is a masterpiece from almost every aspect and I only withhold my 10 because I haven't given anything a 10 yet -> but I just might change that for this show!
To Caviezel (wow), Emerson, Shahi, Acker, cast and especially to Jonathan Nolan: your "Batman meets AI" formula portrayal is excellently executed for general primetime audience. I tip my hat to all of you and the work that each and every one of you are doing for this series.
Update: From great to incredible. Recently saw "If-Then-Else" and neighboring episodes and I'm totally sold now. Congrats you guys get my very first 10/10 for a TV serial EVER. Keep it coming. Honestly!
Dumbest Show about Smart People - EVER
This show should be renamed "smart people for dummies". OMG so bad, and a real insult to actual smart people. The scripts suck, the plots suck, the overall treatment and story lines just suck.
First of all, very very few "smart" people seriously need waitresses to "interpret" the world for them (as expressed in the intro) - much less manage a whole team like Scorpion. Robert Patrick's acting is as good as ever, but my god please give the man a real script! Sometimes the show just seems to ramble and I wish they would just all shut up.
Technical solutions cited are often silly and re-invent technology on the fly ("shadow files" on IP routers for weeks LOL such BS) The irony here is: that the smarter a person is the more of a waste of time and possibly even insulting this whole production is for them to watch. Just sad and missed opportunity to actually develop some watch-worthy entertainment.
Season Two Update: Some episodes are starting to improve in technical background research. I'm still bored to tears, and detached for the most part. But some of it is bearable now at least. Rating upgraded 2 to 4 stars.
The Bridge (2013)
Gritty but Good. Not for the kids though..
In Australia this comes rated MA15+ and deservedly so. Sex scenes, blood and bad language. So put the kids to bed, sit back and enjoy the suspense and excellently developed storyline - if that's your kind of thing.
The characters are complex and convincing, acting is top notch. I think FX was sooo lucky to get Diane Kruger for the Cross role. There is a lot of discussion about her portrayal of female Asperger's syndrome and I can contribute to the discussion. Aspergers is never cookie cut the same from person to person, but I for one vouch that her rendition is believable and well thought out. I do however take issues with the several very ignorant reviews on this site who "don't know what ever quirk she has..." reveal just how utterly ignorant they are. Nuff said.
Sorry I really can't understand the ratings problem - very few dramas on broadcast TV are at this caliber. Gritty, suspenseful, consuming and intelligent. Had me watching every week and can't wait for more.
Highly recommended for adult audiences.
NCIS: New Orleans (2014)
Pilot fish made feel welcome by Louisiana Tourism, little else
Yawn. Someone ordered "Pilot of the pilot fish"? Pilot fish survive only by feeding from the leftovers of larger fish they follow.
When I saw the TV trailer I said to my wife "this will go one of two ways. It will be cool and creative and capture some original creole suspense - or - it will be cloaked Louisiana Tourism marketing wrapped in the same old NCIS cliché formulas." Sadly it proved to be the latter.
Scott Bakula managed to helm the only truly failed Star Trek series ever and Quantum Leap was sci fi for morons minus. Casting Scott as station chief is hard to take seriously by any standard, and when matched by equally superficial TV screenplay, fails to impress. The over-emphasis on what allegedly makes New Orleans so special combined with yet another "can see it coming" attempt to gel this newest cast of characters that audiences will love more than plot itself, turns the new series into little more than NCIS cliché creole style 101.
If you value your time and have anything worth doing in life, you will not be watching this series.