Lovecraft Country is a television series developed by Misha Green based on the continuation of the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff. The series is produced by Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, and Warner Bros. Television Studios and is considered a horror drama. I love how this series educates folks about the Black plight; despite the “crazy” that’s going on, it never loses the original focus.
Lovecraft Country follows a Black man named Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), a Korean war veteran, as he joins up with his friend Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George Freeman (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across Jim Crow America in search of his missing father Montrose Freeman (Michael K. Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the discovery of dark secrets, which include terrifying monsters plaguing a town on which famous horror writer H. P. Lovecraft supposedly based the location of many of his fictional tales.
From the start of episode 1, rightfully called “Sundown”, you will agree Lovecraft Country is mind-blowing. I guarantee you won’t be able to press your remote buttons fast enough to start the 2nd episode. While in my heart of hearts, I cheered-on the end results of this episode, I felt relieved that justice appeared to be served. However, this is a fantasy, albeit applied to real historical situations. By episode 2, “Whitey’s on the Moon”, a cast of wildly misplaced characters are introduced into this crazy environment of 1950 rich Whites vs 1950 lower-income blacks. While you might think this is a typical racist situation it’s surprisingly the opposite. William (Jordan Patrick Smith) a master of many things along with others living in an oddly placed mansion called Ardham Lodge, explains the connection between the two families. Magic is released and the death of many ensues. Each episode reveals the integration of fantasy and realism that ends with a conclusion you won’t see coming. This has to be the most unusual series I’ve seen and that’s saying something after seeing The Umbrella Academy.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, this series holds an approval rating of 90% based on 108 reviews, with an average rating of 8.31/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “Anchored by Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Jonathan Majors’ heroic performances, Misha Green’s Lovecraft Country is a thrilling take on Lovecraftian lore that proves the Elder Gods aren’t the only thing that goes bump in the cosmos. There are 10 episodes in the first season and is streaming on HBO. The acting is brilliant which means this series is totally believable even though it’s mostly fantasy — Check it out if you dare!
Posted in Cable Series, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, STREAMING
Tagged (Abbey Lee) - Christina Braithwhite, (Aunjanue Ellis) - Hippolyta Freeman, (Courtney B. Vance) - George Freeman, (Darryl Stephens) - Billie Holiday, (Demetrius Grosse) - Marvin Baptiste, (Deron J. Powell) - Tree, (Erica Tazel) - Dora Freeman, (Jada Harris) - Diana Freeman, (James Kyson) - Byung-Ho, (Jamie Chung) - Ji-Ah, (Jamie Harris) - Eustice Hunt, (Jamie Neumann) - Dell / Hillary, (Jonathan Majors) - Atticus "Tic" Freeman, (Jordan Patrick Smith) - William, (Jurnee Smollett) - Letitia "Leti" Lewis, (Lucius Baston) - Phil Hodges, (Mac Brandt) - Seamus Lancaster, (Michael K. Williams) - Montrose Freeman, (Monét X Change) - Dinah Washington, (Monique Candelaria) - Yahima, (Shangela) - Lena Horne, (Tony Goldwyn) - Samuel Braithwhite, (Wunmi Mosaku) - Ruby Baptiste, LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
Humans is a science fiction television series. Written by the British team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley and is based on the Swedish science fiction drama Real Humans, the series explores the themes of artificial intelligence and robotics, focusing on the social, cultural, and psychological impact of the invention of anthropomorphic robots called “synths”. The series was produced as a joint effort by AMC in the United States as well as Channel 4 and Kudos in the United Kingdom.
Humans start out with a couple of men wheeling, what looks like mannequins, into a warehouse filled with row after row of synth, which is short for synthetic and is the name given to AI’s, which are sold as household maids. AI is an acronym for artificial intelligence. The mannequins are shown to be unlifelike, wearing nothing more than underpants (men and women alike). The next scene takes us to the Hawkins family, which consists of husband Joe Hawkins (Tom-Goodman-Hill), wife Laura Hawkins (Katherine Parkerson), oldest daughter Mattie Hawkins (Lucy Carless), son Toby Hawkins (Theo Stevenson), and youngest daughter Sophie Hawkins (Pixie Davies). Joe is trying to manage his home, children, and a wife who is overworked as a lawyer. Overwhelmed with his overflowing plate, Joe goes shopping and purchases a synth. When his wife returns home after five days away, they argue because Laura is opposed to having a synth because of past circumstances.
Five weeks earlier, five synths who are low on charge, are traveling as they look for a place to settle, charge-up, and regroup. A couple of synth poachers kidnap synth, Anita/Mia (Gemma Chan), and deliver her to a scientist named Hobb (Danny Web). Leo Elster (Colin Morgan) and synth Max Elster (Ivanno Jeremiah) conduct a fierce search for her, to no avail. synth Fred Elster (Sope Dirisu) and synth Niska (Emily Berrington) also befell to the same fate. So far, Anita is the only one who hasn’t been in touch with Leo and Max, causing Max to believe the two have been destroyed or reprogramed.
I really liked Humans, the subject was a lot like “Better Than Us” except the synths are motivated by different circumstances. George Millican (William Hurt) as a retired artificial intelligence researcher and widower who suffers memory loss and physical disabilities is a special and brilliant addition to the series. George forms a special bond with his malfunctioning and outdated caregiver, synth Odi (Will Tudor). The synth goes into hiding, some are reprogrammed, some are discovered, some take on proving they are more human than the world thinks, and some live to fight the good fight. The liaison between the synth and the life they are fighting to live is Humans. There are a host of characters introduced into the series with many plots and sub-plots. You’ll find Humans exciting and somewhat emotional. Eight episodes were produced for the first series which aired between 14 June and 2 August 2015. The second eight-episode series was broadcast in the UK between 30 October and 18 December 2016. A third series was commissioned in March 2017 and aired eight episodes between 17 May and 5 July 2018. In May 2019, Channel 4 announced that the series had been canceled. The series is now streaming on Prime Video. If you like fantasy and science fiction, you will probably love Humans. I recommend you binge-watch this one — Check It Out!
Posted in LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, STREAMING
Tagged Agnes, Akie Kotabe, Anatole, Anita/Mia, Astrid, Athena Morrow, Bella Dayne, Billy Jenkins, Carrie-Anne Moss, Colin Morgan, Danny Webb, David Elster, Dino Fetscher, Ed, Edwin Hobb, Ellen Thomas, Emily Berrington, flash, fred, gemma chan, George Millican, Harun Khan, Hester, Holly Earl, Ivanno Jeremiah, Jack Derges, Ji Dae-Sun, Jill Drummond, Jill Halfpenny, Joe Hawkins, Jonathan Aris, karen, Katherine Parkinson, Laura Hawkins, Leo Elster, letitia wright, Lindsey Kiwanuka, Lucy Carless, Manpreet Bachu, Mark Bonnar, Marshall Allman, Mattie Hawkins, Max, Milo Khoury, neil maskell, Neil Sommer, Niska, Odi/V, Pete Drummond, Phil Dunster, pixie davies, Rebecca Front, Renie, Ritu Arya, robert, Ruth Bradley, Sam Palladio, Seraph Sam, Simon, Sonya Cassidy, Sope Dirisu, Sophie Hawkins, Spencer Norways, stanley, Stephen Boxer, Theo Stevenson, Toby Hawkins, Tom Goodman-Hill, Tristan, Ukweli Roach, Ver, Will Tudor, william hurt, young Leo Elster
Better Than Us is a Russian science fiction television series created by Andrey Junkovsky. It was produced by Yellow, Black, and White in cooperation with Sputnik Vostok Production for the Russian state channel C1R. Netflix purchased the series under the English title “Better Than Us” and it is the first Russian series presented as a Netflix Original. On August 16, 2019, the first season was available to stream on Netflix markets outside of Russia and China. While the “stay at home” has been in effect, I’ve gotten to see many, many television and cable series — this was one of the better ones, even though it’s been voiced over from Russan to English. I hope there’s a second season.
Better Than Us opens in Russia, in the year 2029. Advanced androids are sold to help serve humans in various work positions. These AIs are also replacing humans in many menial jobs. China’s one-child policy has led to a critical shortage of marriageable women, so an engineer designed an advanced AI and named her Arisa (Paulina Andreeva). She is programmed to be a wife to a man and mother to adopted children. Arisa does not abide by Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, she is designed to protect her family, which includes herself. Since her creator died, Arisa is sold to the Russian robotics firm called CRONOS, in England. Her first day there, Arisa accidentally kills a man who tried to use her as a sex robot. Robots are not supposed to have the ability to kill, so she flees from CRONOS. Having gotten very far, she encounters a little girl named Sonia Safronov (Vita Kornienko) and automatically bonds with her and makes herself the child’s guardian. Later Arisa meets more of Sonia’s family, which includes her father Georgy Safronov (Kirill Käro) a pathologist as well as a former surgeon and Sonia’s brother Egor Safronov (Eldar Kalimulin).
The series follows three storylines: that of Arisa and the family whom she adopts; the family’s son Egor Safranov and his girlfriend Zhanna (Vera Panfilova) who is part of the anti-droid militant group called the “Liquidators”; and the secrets of Viktor Toropov (Aleksandr Ustyugov), the head director of CRONOS, as he tries to hide the fact that they cannot make another Arisa. The story also features the children’s mother and Georgy’s ex-wife Ella Safronov (Olga Lomonosova).
Better Than Us was a delightful thrill ride and a quality series. I was especially excited over the fact that Arisa was so human that no one would think to accuse her of all she was capable of doing. Arisa would not lie or hurt anyone who she reported to as her family. She is also quite the eye candy as she is very pretty. Things got so complicated as Arisa became more and more human and empathetic toward her family. This series takes us on an adventure that is hard to forget. Better Than Us is streaming on Netflix. There has been 1 season of 16 episodes aired. I can’t wait for season 2, Check It Out!
Posted in Action, Cable Series, Dramas, SciFi/Fantasy, STREAMING, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged Aleksandr Ustyugov, Better Than Us, CRONOS, Egor Safronov, Eldar Kalimulin, Ella Safronov, Georgy Safronov, Kirill Käro, Liquidators, Olga Lomonosova, sonia, Vera Panfilova, Viktor Toropov, Vita Kornienko, Zhanna
The acting is a little funky but Gotham turned out to be a very good series. The story starts with the killing of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wayne. Master Bruce Wayne is still a young child played by David Mazouz (known for the series Touch) who is way ahead of his years. His role is minimal right now but we all know that he becomes Batman with his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth played by Sean Pertwee who is raising him, at his side. Gotham is a complete mess. Crime and bribery everywhere, cheating, stealing, murder, you name it, Gotham has it. The police aren’t very effective because most of the cops are on the take along with most government officials. A new recruit and rookie detective named James Gordon played by Ben McKenzie seems to be one of the few straight cops left. He has vowed to find the Wayne’s murderer. Police Captain Sarah Essen, played by Zabryna Guevara seems to be on the straight and narrow but I’m not sure at this point. Jada Pinket-Smith stars as a corrupt night club owner named Fish Mooney, who favors women over men. There are 2 major crime families fighting for territory and James’ partner Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue is far from 100% legit. The show is very good and action packed. There’s one other character named Oswald Cobblepot, played by Robin Lord Taylor, who I’m sure is going to corrupt things even more in the future and probably the most dangerous of all. He’a work in progress. The acting is a little premature — it will most likely get better with age. Future villains include The penguin, the Riddler, Cat Woman, The Joker, Poison Ivy, Scare Crow, Hugo Strange, Havey Dent, Mr. Freeze and Victor Zsasz. Gotham airs on FOX and is a very good series, worth seeing.
Posted in Action, Dramas, Horror/monsters, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged alfred pennyworth, batman, ben mckenzie, bribery, bruce wayne, captain sarah essen, cat woman, corrupt, david mazouz, donal logue, fish mooney, fox, gotham, harvey bullock, harvey dent, hugo strange, jada pinket smith, james gordon, joker, martha wayne, mr freeze, murder, on the take, oswald cobblepot, penguin, poison ivy, riddler, robin lord taylor, scarecrow, sean pertwee, thomas wayne, victor zsasz, zabryna guevara
I really like this new series. I’ve watched 2 episodes so far and I find myself quite intrigued. The series opens with an explanation as to the condition of Dr. Henry Morgan played by Ioan Gruffudd. 200 years ago, Dr. Morgan was employed on an African slave trade ship where he was asked to execute a black man for being sick. Since the man was not really sick, he refused to execute him. The captain of the ship raised his sword to execute Dr. Morgan but something unexplainable happened and Dr. Morgan woke up in a near by river with no clothes on, alive and well. Unbeknownst to him, at that time, he would never die. In the meanwhile he meets a beautiful woman named Abigail, played by Mackenzie Mauzy, whom he wedded and told his secret to. It was during world war II when they found an orphaned baby in a German camp and raised him as their own. At present Dr. Morgan is still 35 years old and his wife Abigail has passed. It hasn’t been revealed how and why she died, but their child Abe, played by Judd Hirsch is now in his 60s and retrieves Dr. Morgan from the river every time he dies. Currently, Dr. Morgan is a NY Chief Medical Examiner and is sharper than anyone he works with. He has befriended a female detective named Jo Martinez, played by Alana De La Garza who he now helps with solving her police cases. She doesn’t know his secret but is impressed by his keen observation skills. Someone named Adam is claiming to be in the same dilemma as Dr. Morgan, but instead of 200 years, Adam is claiming 2,000 years and is calling Henry constantly with tidbits about his life. There’s a lot to this plot — I hope Forever sticks around for a while, as I find it very entertaining and quite the thrill ride. Forever airs on ABC.
[Despite fan and cast protest, FOREVER has been cancelled. I am truly sorry to see this series go.]
Posted in Dramas, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, RIP TV SERIES, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged 35 years old, abe, abigail, adam, alana de la garza, chief medical examiner, dr henry morgan, forever, german camp, ioan gruffudd, jo martinez, judd hirsch, mackenzie maurzy
The Strain is only 1 season down but is a pretty good one. It’s a little different as a horror/sci-fi series because it has a little of many horror characters rolled into one or two characters. I couldn’t decide if the main monster was a vampire, zombie or the devil himself. It all starts when a Boeing 767, on its way across the tarmac, stops at JFK then goes totally silent. The engines are shut down, the belly of the plane is cold and there are no communications from anyone inside the plane, including the pilot and co-pilot. Every organization known to the USA was brought in to investigate, including Corey Stoll who plays Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control ( CDC) Canary Team in New York City. After entering the plane, the team is able to determine, via ultra violet light, that some sort of bacteria was all over the plane and all but 4 passengers were dead. The plot thickens from here and the mystery begins to unfold. There is plenty of territorial fighting among the different agencies jockeying for position. There is also a warning from an unlikely source that gets ignored but later picked up as the plot developes. I’m trying not to give away too much of the story away because it is pretty good and the element of surprise puts the suspense where it belongs. The Strain airs of the FX channel and I think it is different enough to hold your attention. Check it out!
Posted in Action, Dramas, Horror/monsters, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged 767, cdc, corey stoll, devil, dr ephraim goodweath, fx, new york city, plane, the strain, vampire, zombies
Very slow getting out the starting gate. Astronaut, Molly Woods (Hallie Berry) is on a 13 month mission in out-of-space. She’s shown going about her daily routines, floating around, fixing anything broken and looking very Hallie. Suddenly, she begins to have illusions of an old boyfriend being right there on the ship with her, even though he’s been dead for a couple of years and this is a solo excursion. When she returns to Earth and her awaiting husband, John Woods played by Goran Visnjic (formerly, ER’s Dr. Luka Kovac) and their son, Ethan Woods (Pierce Gagnon) the illusions continue plus, she’s pregeant. The story really starts to heat up when we find out there is a conspiracy and the chase is on. John who is a robotics engineer created their son Ethan, a prototype android called a “humanich”. Since Hallie is barron, they decided to adopt their son, Ethan who has to be maintained every now and then by resetting his body. The story is pretty good and is a real thriller. It has fantastic potential and I expect Extant to be a break through series. I’m still trying to digest Hallie Berry starring on a TV series. Extant is airing on ABC. My rating of 7.5 may change as Extant growns on me or become more exciting, which ever comes first. I think it’s worth your time.
Posted in Action, Dramas, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged android, ethan, goran visnjic, hallie berry, humanich, illusions, john, maintained, molly, pierce gagnon, pregeant, prototype, solo
I really like this Sci-fi series, set 97 years after a nuclear war destroyed all humans on Earth. Fortunately, some humans escaped the annihilation on a spaceship that they now call home. Unfortunately, the spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors is running out of food, oxygen and a stable environment. Because of the radiation levels, they believe Earth will not be inhabitable for another 100 years but because of their dire needs, they send 100 juvenile delinquents to Earth ahead of time in hopes of re-populating the planet. In other words this faltering spaceship holds the last of mankind. Because of the limitations on the ship, there are many restrictions in place. If you are caught committing a crime which can be defined as having more than one baby or saving a life by giving the patient more than the regulated amount of blood or being in an area of the spaceship you’re not designated to be in, the penalty is death — no negotiations. Instead of a president, they have a chancellor played by Isaiah Washington.
My only problem with The 100 is it’s aired on The CW which is one big advertising frenzy. If you have a DVR, I would suggest you tape it first then bypass the commercials or you may lose your mind listening to the same ads over and over. Unfortunately, if you watch it On Demand, you’ll have no choice but to suffer through the ads. Aside from airing on the CW, The 100 is very good, interesting and well acted. I think you will enjoy it and if you’re a Science Fiction fan, you’ll love it. It certainly is better than The Leftovers. Too bad it’s not on a premium cable network.
After watching two episodes, I don’t really like The Leftovers. For so long, we were bombarded with trailers and hype about this series. Now that it’s a reality, I feel let down. The Leftovers may turn out to be really good but so far I’m not feeling it. It seems slow, and down right boring. 1.4 million people, world wide have disappeared alluding to the Rapture. One town is targeted in this series where 100 of all those who went missing were residents. Husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers are gone without explanation. There are a group of people who dress in white, smoke cigarettes, and don’t speak but recruit others who have lost love ones. They say (in writing) that they are there so that we don’t forget. Maybe the show is too new but I don’t get what this group is really all about. I always thought when the Rapture happened, everyone would believe in Christianity. I’m not sure The Leftovers is about the Rapture. This just might be a Science Fiction series. Right now, it’s pretty lack luster and weird. The Leftovers currently airs on HBO. I will update this critique to reflect what I think after a few more episodes have aired.
I have completed watching the entire 1st season and I still find this series weird. The drama has picked up but The Leftovers is not what I thought it would be from the trailers and hype advertised. I stand by my rating of 6.5 and that’s generous. I think the group in white is sort of spoiling the story. In my opinion, I think the series should follow a different plot.
Posted in Cable Series, Dramas, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, Religious shows, SciFi/Fantasy, Thriller/Mystery
Tagged cigarettes, don't speak, dress in white, Liv Tyler, rapture, recruit, the leftovers
As an adventure, Crossbones drags a little, making it somewhat hard to get into. I decided to watch this period piece because of John Malkovitch. He is such a brilliant actor, I couldn’t see myself missing out on a series that features him. Having said that, Crossbones is not as exciting or as entertaining as I expected. The story takes place in the 18th century (1712) in the Bahamian island of New Providence. It is said that who ever owns a device called the Longitude Chronometer, which can tell a sailor exactly where he is in the world, controls the seas. When this device is stolen, Tom Lowe, an undercover assassin played by Richard Coyle is commissioned by the British to seek out and kill the infamous pirate, Edward Teach better known as Blackbeard. Obviously, Blackbeard and his band of pirates are suspected of stealing the device. Upon finding Blackbeard, played by John Malkovich, Tom ends up joining forces with him to save England. This may sound a little confusing but believe me it’s well explained in the series. Just when Tom thinks he has completed his mission, something happens to keep him and his faithful assistant, Tim Fletch (Chris Perfetti), in the magical grip of Blackbeard’s charismatic character and irrefutable logic. As I said, Crossbones is a little slow captivating it’s audience, but it’s getting better as it is aging with time. Crossbones is definitely not the best of the Blackbeard stories. Crossbones is currently airing on the NBC network, Fridays and is not for everyone. Unfortunately, Crossbones has been cancelled!
Posted in Action, Dramas, LOCAL TV & CABLE CRITIQUES, RIP TV SERIES, SciFi/Fantasy
Tagged 1712, bahamian island, blackbeard, british, chris perfetti, crossbones, edward teach, england, john malkovitch, longitude chronometer, new providence, private, richard coyle, sailor, tim fletch, ton lowe