Posts Tagged ‘TV Series’

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Robert Kirkman’s latest foray into television comes in the form of the new Cinemax horror series Outcast. Based on Kirkman’s comic series of the same name, the show focuses on loner Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) as he tries to live his life out of sight from the rest of his small town community. The episode gives us glimpses of Kyle’s troubled relationship with his mother when he was younger, while at the same time introducing us to another young boy who has started to show some tremendously serious signs of violence and aggression. These mannerisms are quite similar to the ones that Kyle saw in his mother. The local clergyman, Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), sets out to help the young boy, which eventually draws Kyle’s attention. It isn’t long until some of the former details of Kyle and the Reverend’s relationship are revealed, as well as Kyle’s abilities to deal with the darkness around him.

The story starts out a little slow, but about midway through the episode, as certain pieces fall into place, it starts to become more and more interesting. As the relationships between the characters are revealed, we figure out that there is a long and sordid history to this story that I can only hope will be unwound as the series goes on. However, one element that is present right from the start is the fear factor. The first scene of this first episode (much like Kirkman’s other TV series, The Walking Dead) establishes that the creators will pull no punches. They’re not going to go easy on their viewers, and I can respect that. The overall tone of this episode remains creepy from that first moment on, with quick cuts, dark settings, and just a generally unnerving feel.

The actors here manage a solid performance. The story obviously focuses on Fugit as Kyle and, for the most part, he plays the downtrodden loner role pretty well. He makes it clear that he would rather be stuck in his home, even if it’s not the nicest of places, rather than out and interacting with the rest of the world. Glenister’s portrayal of the reverend with flaws also resonates here. We can see through those flaws to the man that just wants to do some good with his life before he dies. Even if that good is fighting demons. However, the real standout of this first episode is child actor Gabriel Bateman. His portrayal of the aforementioned violent and possessed child is downright chilling.

Overall, this was not a perfect pilot episode. It took a little while to get going, which I feel hindered it some, but once it got up and running the strong performances of its lead actors really kept it going.

The Verdict for Outcast, Episode 1:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Well, it’s finally here.  The long discussed companion series to The Walking Dead, oddly titled Fear The Walking Dead, has arrived, but was it worth the wait?

Fear the Walking Dead takes a slightly different look at the zombie apocalypse than its older sister series.  With this show, the creators have informed us that they’re going to go back to the beginning, before the beginning actually, to examine the very first days of the zombie apocalypse, and to see how society crumbles under the strain of a plague that it just doesn’t understand.  The Pilot episode begins with a drug addict, Nick (played by Frank Dillane), waking up in an abandoned church.  He looks for the girl he spent the night with, only to find several grisly scenes of people with various body parts ripped off.  When he finally finds her, he realizes she is the one that has been doing the ripping, not only that, but she also has a gigantic piece of wood protruding from her abdomen, which doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all.  Nick makes a run for it, only to be struck by a car outside the church.  While he’s in the hospital being treated for minor injuries, we meet his mother Madison (Kim Dickens), sister Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), and soon to be step-dad Travis (Cliff Curtis).  Madison and Travis both work at the same high school, she’s a guidance counselor, and he is a teacher.  Nick tells Travis what he saw that made him run, and of course, the story is so outrageous that no one really believes him… yet.

This first episode is a little… well… slow.  It might have only seemed that way because of the 90 minute run time, but I think it goes beyond that.  Right off the bat, we have a zombie encounter, and then we see practically nothing else for the rest of the episode.  Now, that’s not to say that it’s terrible.  There is a lot of character building that goes on in that time, which I’m sure will wrench our hearts out later when some of these people inevitably die horrible deaths.  However, if you go into this expecting the same kind of tense action sequences that you find peppered throughout the main series, you might be a little disappointed.  Also, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that based on this episode, we shouldn’t expect this fall of civilization to go quickly.  The creators seem to be taking their time with this, which could either work out really well, or not well at all.  Only time and more episodes will tell.

The other aspect of this series that I find interesting is how different and uptempo most things seem to be.  One thing that leapt out at me while watching was the music.  It almost seems to be paced more like an action story than a horror story.  The background music is quick, which invokes a sense of urgency and a need to get things done before it’s too late.  The only problem is that no one really knows exactly what to do yet.  Either way, it definitely seems like they are trying to differentiate themselves from the main series as much as possible.

All in all, the plot moved a little slow while developing it’s rich and interesting characters, and it’s definitely not what you’re used to in the main series.  It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it’s still something that I’ll continue watching just to see how it plays out, as it seems there are any number of ways this plot could go from here.

The Verdict for Fear the Walking Dead, Episode 1:
4/5 – I can dig it.

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Secret Wars Journal #4
Civil War #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Old Man Logan #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Where Monsters Dwell #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
X-Men ’92 #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 1: The Faust Act
The Martian (Novel)

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Well, it’s finally here.  Marvel’s first foray into a cable-like television show.  I realize I’m a little late with this one, but my schedule doesn’t really allow for much extended binge watching, so I had to experience this series 2-3 episodes at a time over several days.  That being said, I think most people know the basic story of Daredevil, so I won’t go too deep into a summary for this one.  Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, but his other senses are greatly heightened and he also possess a sort of “sonar sense” that he uses to fight crime as the titular Daredevil.

Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this series since the other major adaptation of the character didn’t fare so well, but I had hopes that a slower, serialized format might work a little better, and sure enough that turned out to be the case.  The episodic format really allowed the writers to dig deeper into these characters lives and craft an effective narrative that was able to give even the smaller roles a real weight and purpose.  There are very few throwaway roles here.  But that’s not to say the show has a small cast, quite the opposite actually, as we see several characters from regular Daredevil continuity show up, but everyone has a reason for being there.  I also really enjoyed the way the writers decided to tell the character’s origin story.  Rather than bogging down the first episode or two with how Matt lost his sight and became the vigilante, we’re shown flashbacks in conjunction with the events that are currently taking place.  I felt that it really helped to keep the narrative rolling along, while still showing how things came to be.  The only minor issue I have with this storytelling method is that certain episodes did become a little confusing when they started in the middle of the action, with very little explanation of how things got that way, only to go back and try to craft an explanation that sort of made sense but also seemed kind of unlikely.

The other really bright spot in this series is the casting.  Charlie Cox makes a terrific and believable character out of Murdock.  Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson play great roles as immediate supporting cast members Karen Page and Foggy Nelson.  Vincent D’Onofrio brings his trademark quirks to the role of Wilson Fisk, and truly makes the Kingpin a terrifying character again.  Between the way the characters are written, and how well they are portrayed by the actors involved, I really can’t find much flaw here.  It’s rare to find an instance where those two aspects of storytelling combine to create people that the audience can really care about.

Moving on to the next best part; the action!  This series seems to have had the intention of showing the darker underbelly of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The setting is darker, the characters are darker, and the fight scenes are intense.  There is a very gritty realism to the punches thrown here.  We have to remember, these characters are not super powered, they’re all on the lower end of the strength spectrum for heroes/villains, so they get hurt, they get bloody, and perhaps most realistic of all, they get tired.  I felt more than anything else in the fights, that aspect of fatigue showed through.  There’s a point at the end of a fantastic extended fight scene in episode two that really brought that aspect home for me, where Daredevil is trading blows with 6 or 7 guys in a narrow hallway for several minutes.  As it keeps going on, the characters start to stagger around and Matt is leaning heavily against a wall.  As he senses another person moving in on him, he doesn’t immediately jump into a defensive position, he slowly arches his back and pushes himself off the wall to stumble toward the attacker.  I genuinely feel that that scene alone made this character so much more believable.  My one and only minor complaint with regard to the fight scenes is that I feel some of them lasted a little longer than they should have, but that’s probably just me being nit-picky.

Other notable high points in the series, the Easter Eggs.  There are plenty of them here, and for me they make the show more fun to watch.  Character names, references, tying into other pieces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It’s pretty impressive to see Marvel creating such a wide and cohesive universe with their characters.  I can only hope that as they introduce more characters and the universe continues to expand, they’re able to keep everything straight and coherent.

I have one major complaint, and unfortunately it’s a pretty big one.  The suit.  Once Matt finally puts on the traditional Daredevil costume, it’s… sub-par.  I just really feel like a little more thought could have gone into it, because it comes off looking a little silly.  I think it was mostly the mask, it just wasn’t working for me, but like I said, that’s my one major complaint with the entire series.

The Verdict for Daredevil:
I can dig it

Upcoming Reviews:
East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One TPB
Halo: Broken Circle (Novel)
Squarriors #2