Archive for the ‘TV series’ Category

Friends Season 1 – **(*)

Posted: February 6, 2018 in 1994, Comedy, TV series, USA, XX1/2

Several articles in online newspapers made me re-watch Friends. The show is apparently outdated, racist, sexist, homophobic.. .you name it. Well, not sure what this new generation of Friends watchers expect, but this show was made in the nineties and it’s as tame as can be. Sure, there are moments where you think the political correctness of today wouldn’t accept certain jokes that were made back then. But offensive? No! Maybe they are lame. And in the case of Ross and Rachel, they just show what kind of uninteresting people they are. Happy Endings was a more inclusive sitcom about six friends (with one gay and one black character), but it stopped after three seasons. Unfortunately.

For those who watched Friends when it aired in 1994 (me), it’s a fun nostalgic trip to better times, when you’re in college and sit together with your friends every week to watch another episode of those other friends from across the pond. Those were fun moments. “I’ll Be There For You” was a big sing-a-long hit in student bars and at parties. And almost everyone talked about the adventures of the silly six as if they were mutual acquaintances, imitating the some of their famous one-liners.

Season 1 was fun to re-watch. The characters you liked back then are still fun to watch. The characters you couldn’t stand back then are still annoying. Some episodes are classics, others are totally forgettable. But there’s enough humor to keep you watching.  You smile in the beginning, but by the end of the season you laugh. Out loud.

+: Chandler! This guy still cracks me up. Almost every single time. Monica: under-appreciated character. She’s a riot in almost all of her scenes. Janice: OMG!

+/- Joey: surprisingly funnier now than back then – Phoebe: surprisingly less funny now than back then. Susan should have gotten more airtime.

– : Ross is one conservative loser and Rachel is a high-maintenance bitch. All criticism should be focused on how they behave and talk. They deserve each other. Are they racist, sexist, and homophobic? Probably not. But I totally get why people don’t like their behavior. Marcel: totally redundant.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108778/

 

 

 

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The Night Of 24 October 2014: a business student isn’t getting a ride from his best friend to get to a party in Manhattan and decides to ‘loan’ the cab of his father. He doesn’t know how to switch off the ‘available sign’ and a girl gets in the car, expecting to get a ride. It’s a pretty girl and although he’s eager to go to the party, he decides to spend the evening with the girl. The unusual date ends up in her apartment with drugs and sex. But when he wakes up a few hours later, he finds her dead in her bed, stabbed 22 times. In panic, he decides to run, taking away evidence of drugs and the blood covered knife….

The pilot of this 8 episode series is an absolute masterpiece of story and character introduction. It’s so fascinating, you cannot but binge watch the rest. The pilot shows you exactly what the prosecutors will use against the suspect. Every single step is shown. In details. The only part that is a mystery is the time between the start of the sex and waking up finding the girl dead. The suspect can’t remember any details of that time frame and the viewers won’t know what happened either.

The other episodes are fascinating as well. The student gets arrested, goes to prison, needs to adapt to life behind bars while awaiting his trial. The prosecutors and detectives think they have a solid case, but still have doubts. The defendant’s lawyers try to do their own research and also have their doubts. The family of the student experiences the backlash to what their son’s actions… And it’s all filmed in a very detailed way, showing parts of an investigation that hardly ever get shown.

There are too many subplots and moments that don’t really help the main story line. Some are added for pure fun. The debate at the coroners for instance. Some are just annoying. The lawyer’s continuing search for remedies against his eczema outbursts for instance. Some don’t feel realistic. The drug smuggling scenes in prison.

But in general, this script is very strong and there are plenty more scenes that make you feel you’re living the nightmare yourself. Whether you empathize with the student, his parents, the detective, the prosecutor, the lawyers or the inmates… There’s a lot of empathy for these characters here and that alone is a great feat. Well written and well acted. Feature length movies can’t beat tv series when it comes to that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2401256/

 

This series is great !

Two awkward kids (check the trailer) hang out and go on a Bonny & Clyde like adventurous road trip! They are wild and just don’t give a sh*t. But they are still kids, yearning to be loved. By each other, but also by others.

It’s a fun series. The humor is dark. Pitch-dark. Marlon Wayans: watch this and cry. THIS is humor. Up until the last scene, the series keeps you intrigued. Not only by these two protagonists or their runaway story, but by all the other characters that you get to meet. It’s like each one of them can have a spin-off series. It’s quite a 2017 series. In a positive way. I hope there’s no sequel to it. It ends the way a series should end.

Watch it!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6257970

Nola Darling is a bitch. There you go. She’s terrible. The sort of neo-feminist, who wears sexy dresses and then gets upset when men react to it in a way that she doesn’t like. Bitch, please. Either be sexy and realize that some men can’t deal with independent strong women. Or try not to be sexy. She tries so hard to be that independent strong women who doesn’t give a shit, but she’s constantly bothered with how other people perceive her to be. She wants to be loved and adored, but hates being criticized. Well, sorry, but that’s not how it works. Compared to this character, Madonna is the ultimate feminist.

Nola Darling is entertaining though. She’s an artist living in Brooklyn, in the hip Fort Green area. She has three boyfriends. Just because she can.  One is a married business man, some kind of sugar daddy who ‘sponsors’ her art. The other is a nerdy bike delivery guy who’s not the smartest kid on the block, but who makes her laugh. And the third is a narcissistic photographer who puts her on a pedestal almost as high as his own. They all know that they are not exclusive in her life as she sets rules before she dates men. It’s a luxury life. Living cheap in Brooklyn (the landlord is her godmother who gives her a low rent), adored and loved by many (friends, family, neighbors), and talented on top of all that. The perfect life! Yet, having three boyfriends does take his toll at one point. And that rent still needs to be paid, especially when nobody seems to buy her art. Moreover, one event really freaks her out and messes up her mind. Walking back home, she gets harassed by a man, who doesn’t take no for an answer. He grabs her by the arm and insults her. It’s 2017, so that’s as bad as being raped. She needs to go to the shrink and confronts her boyfriends with macho behavior. In the mean time it inspires her to make anonymous street art that seems to be getting more credit than the pieces she exposes in galleries.

It’s an interesting series. Topic wise. It’s moralizing and political at times. Yawn. But it kind of summarizes what’s been on people’s minds the past couple of years. It’s directed by Spike Lee. So, it’s not strange that there are some ‘controversial’ parts to it. It’s based on his debut movie from back in 1986, but the main story is translated to our modern time. Some of the side stories are really cool. Some aren’t. Most don’t feel real.

The characters are intriguing to watch tough. The acting is good. The soundtrack is incredible. But most of all, the editing is cool. The characters talk directly into the character in certain scenes. There’s a nice selection of still pictures shown in between moving pictures, like you’re browsing through a Humans Of Brooklyn-book. But the coolest editing idea of all is the insertion of the album covers of the music that is played in the previous scene. That’s fucking awesome!

It’s a good series. The first episodes are great. Then it kind of becomes tedious and annoying (when the moralizing begins). But some scenes in the last episodes make it worth watching until the end. The Thanksgiving dance sequence is a classic!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3713588

Everything works in this sequel. All the great elements of the first season are still very present. The budget was better, so this leads to better special effects, better acting (more takes) and an even cooler soundtrack! 1984 is the year and the eighties references are legit (if that’s a word they already used back then). They even got original Goonie Sean Austin to play a new character, Winona Ryder’s love interest! Excellent. There are more new characters and they all are a great addition to the already amazing cast. It’s brilliant how the story writers were able to still have the diverse bunch of people from the first season work together again. And even though it’s a science fiction fantasy trip, you believe everything these characters do and say. Yep. The first season as just an introduction. This is perfection.

 

I’m finally contemplating getting Netflix. BUT it will ruin my life. Binge watching will lead to gaining dozens of extra pounds and sleepless nights. However, there’s stuff on Netflix that you can’t find anywhere else. Stranger Things for instance, which hasn’t been released on dvd (yet) in Europe. A series that everyone raves about and recommends.

Well. A visit to a friend with Netflix solved the problem. It led to a night of binge watching the eight episodes of this science fiction drama, focussing on the mysterious events taking place in a small midwestern town and affecting several high school kids. However, it’s not aimed at kids, but at those adults who were high school kids in the eighties and who grew up with Spielberg produced or directed movies and tv shows.

Sure, the eighties vibe is cool. But it’s just a gimmick which is consistent throughout the series. That alone wouldn’t make it a great series. But the story, acting and atmosphere do. Winona Ryder is back! And she’s really good as the mother of a missing kid, who disappeared without a trace, but somehow communicates via the electricity. His best friends (a bunch of nerdy kids who get bullied in school, but are quite adventurous) decide to go look for him. In the mean time the troubled police officer of the town is leading the investigation as well. And all clues lead to an electricity company nearby, which operates as a secret governmental research center (lead by Matthew Modine!). There are other subplots of course. But you don’t need to know about them. Let yourself emerge in the story. The first six episodes are great. There’s humor. There’s tension. There’s a bit of horror. There’s a bit of drama. The balance is perfect. The last two episodes feel different though. As if the production team ran out of money and the story needed to be told fast within two episodes with as little expenses as possible.

The second season is available on Netflix. So maybe I’ll just have to go subscribe.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334

Miranda – **(*)

Posted: December 22, 2017 in 2009, Comedy, TV series, UK, XX1/2

Why are BBC series always so short? Season one has only six episodes. By the time you get to know the characters and start liking them for their particular jokes and one-liners (typical for BBC comedies), it’s over. The introducing pilot isn’t so funny. but by episode six you just don’t want it to stop.

Miranda is one of the most clumsy tv characters ever. She’s quite adorable really. A tall, not so feminine, daft, scary, unhip, awkward woman with an interest in singing eighties songs (a +) and who hasn’t really grown up yet! The way she addresses the audience (you) into her life is great. It works really well. And the fact she often fantasizes and imagines stuff that aren’t really happening but are shown anyway, works well too. Yep. Great comedy.

The side characters are okay too. But they are clearly overshadowed by Miranda Hart excellent comedic performance.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1533435

No trailer available. But all episodes are on youtube. Episode 4 is excellent. However, you do need to see the first three episodes to get to know the characters.