Friday, June 14, 2019

Quick Tv Reviews: The Orville, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, What We Do In The Shadows

With all of the streaming services available and tapping our fingers on apps to find exactly what we want, it's a little odd to talk about traditional shows - those old things we used to wait wait-to-week to for an entire series to unfold. The Orville, Survivor: Edge of Extinction, What We Do In The Shadows recently wrapped up their latest series, and were some of the traditional shows I enjoyed this past Spring. They may not be "on" or available right now, but still thought it'd be fun to share my thoughts on their latest seasons.

What are you watching right now? anything on streaming or traditional tv? Let me know in the comments.


The Orville (season 2)

Seth MacFarlane's shows are always a grab bag of entertainment, complete boredom, and high school antics. Inspired by Star Trek and other realms of sci-fi, The Orville follows a 'Starfleet'-like crew as they discover new worlds and face-off against different alien species. One week we'll have a cringe-worthy plot where the crew waits an entire episode for an annual urination ceremony that doesn't make any sense whatsoever....and then the next week we'll have an amazing episode where an all-male alien species called Moclans fight their female counterparts who've escaped genocide and created their own sanctuary. (Not only did it touch on gender bias and extermination with humor and deft, but I'll never forget that the women's bad-ass battle was set to Dolly Parton's 9 to 5). At its best, the show will dive into the complexity of race, gender, and class between humans/aliens/robots. Characters grow, the humor is genuine, the special effects are incredible, and the writing explores all different kinds of themes. Every time I lose hope in the show's quality, I'm proven wrong. An entire season isn't filled with poor execution, but when the writing is bad, it can kill the show's lighthearted and thrilling mood. I just hope that there's one season where all of the episodes are good and avoid the cringe-worthy jokes/plots.

Rating: ★★☆

Survivor: Edge of Extinction

YouTube leads me to the most random fandoms. One second I was watching Jeff Probst roast contestants on Survivor, and the next second I was counting down to the new season and making sure I was in front of the television every single week.

From the beginning, I was pretty much hooked on Survivor and watching strangers "outwit, outlast, and outplay" each other to win $1 million. Not only were the physical challenges a joy to watch as teams vie for the simplest luxuries like peanut butter sandwiches, but the mental games players used on each other to vote off who they wanted felt like a new lesson in psychology and survivalism every week. (I took a lot of notes for the zombie apocalypse). That said, this season wasn't all that exciting. Most of the elimination rounds were taken up by Team Kama who lost every single physical challenge and basically picked each other off. It wasn't until the final few episodes when the groups were mixed together that feuds became more interesting. Meanwhile, a new experiment of letting eliminated players basically toast in the sun on a separate island "waiting" to get back into the game was pointless. Considering that most of this season's players were fairly young (around my age or younger), it felt like a millennial strategy to not take risks and lazily remain in the competition.

The only player to make the entire season worth it was Rick. Thank God for Rick. Not only was he a physical and mental beast in challenges, but he worked hard to find immunity idols (and make fake ones) while everyone else was talking about how much they had to vote him off. Every time we thought he was done for, he had another life in his back pocket. Thankfully, he wasn't eliminated; he just lost a fire-making challenge. And, I can't even get into the finale, which was all kinds of bad mind-boggling decisions. As my first season to watch, it was addictive enough to make me want to watch older seasons, but average enough that it left me disappointed.
Rating: ★1⁄2

What We Do In The Shadows (season 1)

What We Do In The Shadows is only one of the best movies ever, but who would've thought as a cult classic, it would get its own show? Created by Jermaine Clement, the series follows a separate group of vampires Nandor the Relentless, Laszlo Cravensworth, and Nadja with Nando's familiar Guillermo and a human emotional vampire Colin Robertson on Staten Island as The Great Baron comes to visit them and wants them to overrule humanity.

Everything about the show is pretty much perfect, just like the movie. The cast is hilarious and their chemistry is just as good as Jermaine, Taiki, Jonathan, Cori, etc. The series isn't focused on some massive plot to keep you hooked; it's fun to just watch the vampires' shenanigans (though some episodes can drag a little). Just when you think there aren't any puns left, the writers and directors (which includes Jermaine, Taika, Jason Woliner and Jackie van Beek) come up with more. My only gripe is that the psychological vampire Colin pales in comparison to the nerd-turned-werewolf Stu from the original movie; the former was only funny for like an episode before his shtick wore out its welcome. The rest of the characters have such wonderful, quirky, and dysfunctional personalities,  Colin quite literally sucks the life out of every scene he's in. But honestly, this is like The Office with vampires, and I'm so happy that they were renewed for another season.
Rating: ★

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