Original Run: October 4th, 2020 – current Created by: Scott M. Gimple, Matthew Negrete Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman Music by: The Newton Brothers Cast: Aliyah Royale, Alexa Mansour, Hal Cumpston, Nicolas Cantu, Nico Tortorella, Annet Mahendru, Julia Ormond
Man, there’s not much I can say about this show but it’s obvious that Walking Dead fatigue is beyond the exhaustion point, at least for me. But I’m also the last person that I know in the real world that is still watching any of it.
I tried to give this a shot but the show is insufferable.
Furthermore, it’s dreadfully boring and trying to get through the first episode was an absolute chore. I did it and then I started the second episode but after about fifteen minutes, I said, “Fuck this!” and turned it off.
The big takeaway from what I watched was that none of the key characters are interesting, they’re all boring as shit and either their performances are extremely understated or they just don’t have the ability to convey any real emotion. But I guess that’s kind of like most kids nowadays.
The problem that AMC doesn’t seem to understand as they suck The Walking Dead‘s teat completely dry, way too late, is that no one really needs the milk anymore. We’ve all got enough now to last the rest of our lives.
Plus, there are other, better things to drink out in the world.
If you want us to buy more milk, you need to provide us with the best milk… great milk. Otherwise, it’s just more of the same shit we’ve been drinking for over a decade and the fridge is overflowing.
Rating: 3/10 Pairs well with:The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.
Original Run: January 20th, 2008 – September 29th, 2013 Created by: Vince Gilligan Directed by: various Written by: various Music by: Dave Porter Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks, Laura Fraser, Jesse Plemons, Steven Michael Quezada, Charles Baker, Matt Jones, Krysten Ritter, Mark Margolis, Michael Bowen, Bill Burr, Raymond Cruz, Jere Burns, John de Lancie, Larry Hankin
High Bridge Entertainment, Gran Via Productions, Sony Pictures Television, AMC, 62 Episodes, 43-58 Minutes (per episode)
I came to the Breaking Bad party pretty late but after multiple seasons of people raving about it, I ended up binging through it all just before the last season premiered.
I also almost quit the show, as the beginning of the first season drags. But once I got to the end of Season One, everything just sort of clicked and I was hooked. But even then, I thought that it would be good but that it would slowly lose steam, as all shows do and eventually, I wouldn’t care about it.
Breaking Bad did something that almost no other show has been capable of doing, though. It continued to improve and get better as it rolled on.
Just when you thought the show reached its peak, it’d throw a curveball or shock you in a way that television shows before this were never able to do. And most importantly, it either gave you satisfying resolutions to plot threads or it subverted expectations and actually gave you something better and surprising.
Frankly, I hate the “subvert their expectations” bullshit that creatives in Hollywood seem to be clinging onto because 99 percent of the time, it’s just an indicator that they’re out of ideas and their only solution is to take a big shit and go, “Ha! You fans didn’t see that coming! I’m a genius! Adore me!”
No. Breaking Bad subverts expectations and gives the viewer something better. And it didn’t just do this once or twice, it did it quite often and it was consistently really fucking good at it. More than anything, that’s what made this show so great.
Additionally, very extreme things happen on the show but it never jumps the shark or takes you out of reality. Everything feels real and plausible and it does a superb job in staying grounded and not taking a turn for the ridiculous, as many shows have done that started out really strong.
I’d have to say that the best thing about this, though, is the cast. Everyone, top to bottom, is perfection.
Almost every character in the show starts at one end of the spectrum and finds a way to make it to the opposite side. All of this happens slowly and naturally. Characters you like become ones you despise and ones you might not have liked become lovable. There are secondary characters that stay the same throughout but many of them are there to be measuring sticks, to show you how every main character evolves in their own way over five seasons.
I know that there has been a ton of hype about this show for years but it is one of the few that lived up to it and actually, in my opinion, exceeded it. Breaking Bad is as close to a perfect show that you can get for a crime drama with neo-western and neo-noir flavors.
Rating: 10/10 Pairs well with: other modern crime dramas but this is the best of the lot.
Also known as: Killer Party (UK) Release Date: October 1st, 2018 (Beyond Fest) Directed by: Chris von Hoffman Written by: Chris von Hoffman Music by: Felix Erskine, Nao Sato Cast: Sam Strike, Erin Moriarty, Kian Lawley, Julian McMahon, Virginia Gardner, Brandon Michael Hall, Robin Tunney, Lance Reddick, Bill Engvall
RLJ Entertainment, AMC Networks, 89 Minutes
“Here I am, a functioning member of society.” – Roxanne Dawson
As a Shudder subscriber, I’ve been trying to work my way through the Shudder exclusives. This one is a pretty recent addition to the streaming service and it boasts a pretty capable cast with Julian McMahon, Robin Tunney and Lance Reddick. Hell, even “blue collar” comedian Bill Engvall shows up in this.
This also starts off fairly well with a good, engaging premise.
However, as the film rolls on, it all fell apart for me.
There were a lot of interesting angles that this film could have had but ultimately, it took a pretty pedestrian and derivative route, marking cliches off of the checklist and trying to throw a mix of craziness and gore at its audience without really providing anything new or fresh.
The acting was better than average for something like this but it gets lost in the mess of a movie, which tried really hard to be overly stylized and hip but felt more like a direct to video horror film from the ’90s that you never would’ve heard of if not seeing it taking up shelf space in Blockbuster by the register.
All that being said, the film isn’t a waste of time for fans of the slasher or psycho family sub genres of horror. I did like it for the most part but in the end, it was predictable, far from shocking and quite tiresome by the third act.
Rating: 5.25/10 Pairs well with: other recent slashery films but nothing good comes to mind.
Original Run: August 23rd, 2015 – current Created by: Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman Music by: Atticus Ross, Paul Haslinger, Danny Bessi, Saunder Jurriaans Cast: Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason, Lorenzo James Henrie, Rubén Blades, Colman Domingo, Michelle Ang, Danay García, Daniel Sharman, Sam Underwood, Dayton Callie, Lisandra Tena, Maggie Grace, Garret Dillahunt, Lennie James, Jenna Elfman
Square Head Pictures, Circle of Confusion, Skybound Entertainment, Valhalla Entertainment, AMC, 48 Episodes (so far), 43-65 Minutes (per episode)
The Walking Dead really didn’t need of a spinoff. But as these things go, when you’ve got a cash cow, you’ve got to milk it until the teets come off.
What made this spinoff intriguing, however, was that it started when the zombie outbreak started. In The Walking Dead, we follow Rick Grimes, as he wakes up from a coma and enters a zombie infested world, months after the outbreak. Fear the Walking Dead starts on any given normal day and then the shit hits the fan. The first season shows society crumbling and how the main characters respond to it.
That rookie season was good but a somewhat unsatisfying origin story for The Walking Dead world. But once the show moved beyond the initial chaos, it got more interesting.
The sophomore season was broken into two halves, like a typical season of The Walking Dead. This show would follow that formula going forward. And while that season was a bit rocky, it found it’s footing in the second half, once our characters got off of the boat they lived on for eight episodes.
Season three switched things up quite a bit and by this point, a lot of the main characters were already wiped out.
But season four, the current season, is where the show really reinvented itself in a bold way. By the time you get through the first half of the season, only one person from the pilot episode is still alive. Additionally, Morgan from The Walking Dead comes on the show, officially crossing over, connecting this show directly to the events of the more popular parent show.
The fourth season also brings in a bunch of new and interesting characters and to be honest, it’s a completely different animal than what Fear was when it started out.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this show, which I have also had with the regular Walking Dead series, but it’s moving in a really cool direction.
It’s hard to tell where this will end up but I find it to be the more enjoyable of the two shows, right now. But being that this is The Walking Dead, that could change at the drop of a hat.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with:The Walking Dead, Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy and Hell On Wheels.
Original Run: October 31st, 2010 – current Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman Music by: Bear McCreary Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, David Morrissey, Melissa McBride, Scott Wilson, Michael Cudlitz, Emily Kinney, Chad L. Coleman, Lennie James, Sonequa Martin-Green, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Robin Lord Taylor, Alexandra Breckenridge, Austin Amelio, Khary Payton, Tom Payne, Katelyn Nacon, Steven Ogg, Pollyanna McIntosh, Corey Hawkins, Audrey Marie Anderson, Denise Crosby, Samantha Morton, Cooper Andrews
Idiot Box Productions, Circle of Confusion, Skybound Entertainment, Valhalla Entertainment, AMC, 115 Episodes (so far), 42-67 Minutes (per episode)
Do I even need to review The Walking Dead, at this point? Everyone in the world has seen it by now, right? Everyone already has their own opinion of it, yes?
Well, there are a lot of people that quit years ago and it seems like the ratings have been going down the last couple of seasons. Granted, it is still AMC’s biggest show and rakes in higher numbers than nearly anything else on cable but it’s been on for eight friggin’ seasons, which is a whole hell of a lot in this day and age where decent shows get cancelled all the time.
It’s hard to review the show for the fact that it has been on for so long and that it hasn’t been very consistent from season to season. But at least the show mixes it up and tries new things, reinventing itself every 2-3 seasons. The gist of it is really the same but it’s done a decent job of evolving with the timeline in which the show is set.
However, it sort of ignores some of the real world threats that would be happening in a post-apocalyptic United States. Things that a simple comedy like The Last Man On Earth was smart enough to explore. Things like explosions at unattended nuclear power plants, spewing really bad shit into the air.
I have stuck with this show through thick and thin because as cheesy as it sounds, you grow to know these characters as if they were real people and you care about their story, especially if you’ve toughed it out through the good and bad points of the show.
There have been moments during this show’s run that I thought about giving it up but there isn’t much else to do on a Sunday night and their eight episode half seasons are pretty quick to get through. If this show had 23 episodes a year like most programs, I couldn’t stay committed to it. Plus, there was that part of me that was just waiting for the war with Negan to start. That war wasn’t what I had hoped it would be but I was satisfied with how it wrapped up and am interested in what’s to come in the upcoming season, as there are a lot of changes and a time jump happening.
For the most part, The Walking Dead has been a good show. Sometimes it feels as if it has already ran its course but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to walk away from it like some others have. But that could change with Rick, the main character, leaving the show soon.
In the end, The Walking Dead isn’t a show about zombies, it’s a show about exploring human nature and that’s more interesting than the undead.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with:Fear the Walking Dead, Deadwood and Hell On Wheels.
Original Run: July 19th, 2007-May 17th, 2015 Directed by: various Written by: various Music by: David Carbonara, RJD2 (opening theme) Cast: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Bryan Batt, Michael Gladis, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, Maggie Siff, John Slattery, Robert Morse, Jared Harris, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Paré, Christopher Stanley, Jay R. Ferguson, Kevin Rahm, Ben Feldman, Mason Vale Cotton, Alison Brie, Joel Murray, Peyton List, Harry Hamlin, Linda Cardellini, Rosemarie DeWitt, Randee Heller, Caity Lotz, Ray Wise, Stephanie Courtney, Patrick Fischler, Alexis Bledel, Anna Camp,
Last night saw the end of an era, as the series finale to Mad Men aired. The show was one of the best shows of the last ten years and frankly, one of the best television shows of all-time.
Sure, maybe I’m late in reviewing it because it is now over and it has been on television since the summer of 2007. I also didn’t have this blog back then and I like to wait and review television shows after they have had time to establish themselves.
Chances are, most of you reading this have already seen the show and formed your own opinions. Most of you probably loved it or at the very least, liked it. Sure, there is the minority that didn’t and that is fine. Regardless, it is what this show brought that makes it so iconic and important.
As viewers, we were thrown back into the 1960s. The time and the style of the show ignited nostalgia in a lot of folks and thus, had them engaged from the first scene: Don Draper sitting in a bar trying to solve the dilemma of marketing Lucky Strikes cigarettes.
The strongest element of the show was not its style however, it was its substance. With that opening scene, you knew that you were in the past, where things were quite different. A time where minorities and women were treated generally, pretty poorly. Also a time where cigarettes could be marketed and people were a lot less concerned about the health risks of smoking, drinking and sexually transmitted diseases. As the show traversed its way through the 1960s and into 1970 – in the final season, our characters were faced with a multitude of issues and many of them had to deal with the consequences.
There isn’t anything in this show that hasn’t been dealt with our addressed in entertainment before but what this show did, was take all of these issues and put them in one place. Mad Men was a brilliantly executed smorgasbord of the social, economic, political, health and safety issues of the time. It also doesn’t hurt that the show was just always stunning to look at and perfectly acted.
Whether it was the set designers, the creative directors or the wardrobe people on set, it all became a happy and perfect marriage and gave us something special and unique. It has also paved the way for other shows on non-premium cable television to take more risks and not be fearful of being too edgy.
Without Mad Men, AMC wouldn’t have become a television powerhouse. For those that forget, AMC used to just show old black and white movies and that was it. Mad Men opened a door at the network that led to shows like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead, Hell On Wheels, Halt and Catch Fire, TURИ: Washington’s Spies, The Killing and the soon to debut Preacher, Fear the Walking Dead, Humans and Into the Badlands. Mad Men also inspired a resurgence of period dramas on other networks – some successful and some, not so much.
With the last episode now having aired, I can say that Mad Men lived up to its continued hype and never disappointed. It was quality from day one and maintained its superior level of television storytelling all the way up to the very end. And ultimately, it had the balls to take everything it told you from the beginning and flip it on its head at the end.
The show had a unique ability to reinvent itself and its characters without the viewer realizing it in the moment. That being said, the characters on Mad Men could very well be the most human characters in television history.
Rating: 9.75/10 Pairs well with:Magic City, Halt and Catch Fire, The Astronaut Wives Club and Manhattan.
Since Robert Kirkman can do whatever the hell he wants at AMC, considering that The Walking Dead is such a giant money generator, he gave us this show.
I’m pretty happy with the result though because there really hasn’t been a lot of comic book documentaries in the mainstream. This show serves to tell some of the most important stories in the long history of that industry.
Kirkman isn’t on screen for this series and each episode seems to be made by different people but generally, it all has a cohesive style and each episode is pretty interesting.
So far, there is just a single season comprised of six episodes. These episodes cover the formation of Marvel and the relationship of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the creation of Wonder Woman, the legal battles of the rights to Superman, how comic books responded to 9/11, the history of Milestone Comics and lastly, the history of Image Comics.
Each episode is pretty solid and provides a lot of information that even I didn’t know about, even though I’ve known about the gist of all these stories. My favorite episode was the one about Milestone Comics because it is a story that is really important and hasn’t been told yet.
I hope that the first season did well enough to make a second season possible. I really enjoyed the show, loved the format and thought that it was marvelously produced and executed on screen.
Rating: 8/10 Pairs well with: Some of the more recent documentaries on comic books: The Image Revolution and Chris Claremont’s X-Men.
Original Run: November 6th, 2011 – July 23rd, 2016 Created by: Joe Gayton, Tony Gayton Directed by: various Written by: various Music by: Kevin Kiner Cast: Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common, Dominique McElligott, Tom Noonan, Eddie Spears, Ben Esler, Phil Burke, Christopher Heyerdahl, Robin McLeavy, Kasha Kropinski, Dohn Norwood, Jennifer Ferrin, MacKenzie Porter, Jake Weber, Tim Guinee, Byron Mann, Reg Rogers, Angela Zhou, Chelah Horsdal
I didn’t start watching Hell On Wheels until recently. I watched the pilot when it originally aired but it didn’t immediately capture me and I didn’t have a lot of time, back then, to keep up with the show on a weekly basis. Shows play much better for me when binge watched.
Having a strong desire for a good western television series and after years of friends touting this show, I figured that it was time to give it a real shot.
Well, AMC has kept their track record of stellar television alive with Hell On Wheels. It is the best western TV series since HBO’s Deadwood and it has actually surpassed it a bit, at least for me.
The cast of Hell On Wheels is marvelous. Anson Mount as lead character Cullen Bohannan is the perfect western protagonist. He is ex-military, has a vendetta against some evil men, is good with a gun, is no nonsense and just a good old badass. Colm Meaney, most famous for playing the lovable and nice Chief O’Brien on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, is better than fantastic as Thomas Durant – a mean and sometimes sinister railroad baron. Common has his best acting role to date, as Bohannan’s friend and badass partner, Elam Ferguson. The cast is rounded out with other great talents and every regular on this show is perfect. But the absolute cream of the crop has to be Christopher Heyerdahl as Thor Gunderson a.k.a. The Swede, who is quite possibly the best villain in television history. The guy is magnificent, his execution is absolute perfection and he seriously gives you the chills.
This show is a work of art. It feels meticulously crafted and the writing is superb. I have read where some people don’t like the direction of the show after the second season but I am fine with it. The show evolves, it changes from year-to-year after the first two seasons were very similar. There just isn’t a low point for me. Granted, there is still a half of a season left where it could go off the rails but I’m pretty confident that when the show returns in a few months, we won’t get an ending on par with the crappy final episodes of Sons of Anarchy or Dexter. And we hopefully won’t get a big unanswered cliffhanger like the similar Deadwood.
I love Hell On Wheels. I would have liked to see it go on for more than five seasons but many great shows don’t make it past a single year. Luckily for us, this solid show got half a decade to shine and develop. One thing is for certain, I will be paying close attention to the careers of Mount and Heyerdahl after this show ends.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pairs well with:Deadwood and Longmire, both shows with a western feel and a modern edge.
Original Run: April 3rd, 2011 – August 1st, 2014 Created by: Veena Sud Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:Forbrydelsen by Søren Sveistrup Music by: Frans Bak, We Fell to Earth (theme) Cast: Mireille Enos, Billy Campbell, Joel Kinnaman, Michelle Forbes, Elias Koteas, Peter Sarsgaard
The Killing is interesting as it started on AMC, got cancelled twice and renewed twice. The second renewal did not come from AMC however, it came from Netflix, who picked up the show for its final season.
As interesting as the story of the show’s turbulent history is, the show itself falls flat.
I really wanted to like The Killing. I gave it a real shot, as I stuck around for the duration, even though I wanted to shut it off after just a few episodes.
I thought it may improve or that it was building towards something fantastic. Well, it never really quite got there and the build up was so slow and dragged out that I often times found myself either daydreaming or huffing markers to pass the time. It is rare that I am this bored watching a show but I’d rather watch gnats procreate than see another episode of The Killing.
The acting isn’t good or bad, it is just there. It is about as exciting as the show itself and I felt like the actors were asleep half the time, bored off of their asses because it took two full seasons to solve one crime when Jeff Goldblum on one of those Law & Order shows solves a different crime each week. Maybe these cops are just shitty at being detectives and they should’ve consulted with Jeff Goldblum.
There’s nothing really more to say because frankly, I am even bored talking about the show.
But hey, great cinematography and and technical prowess from a visual standpoint, if I have to throw in something positive.
Original Run: May 22nd, 2016 – current Created by: Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:Preacher by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon Music by: Dave Porter Cast: Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, Ruth Negga, Lucy Griffiths, W. Earl Brown, Derek Wilson, Ian Colletti, Tom Brooke, Anatol Yusef, Graham McTavish, Pip Torrens, Noah Taylor, Julie Ann Emery, Jackie Earle Haley
Woodbridge Productions, Short Drive Entertainment, Point Grey, Original Film, Kickstart Productions, KFL Nightsky Productions, AMC Studios, Sony Pictures Television, 23 Episodes (so far), 42-65 Minutes (per episode)
Preacher was a comic book series a lot of my friends have talked about for years. I never read it, actually, but I have always wanted to. After seeing the show, now two seasons into its run, I definitely want to pick up the comic series much sooner than later, even if I am two decades too late.
The show stars the always perfect Dominic Cooper. It also stars Oscar nominated actress Ruth Negga and the super entertaining Joseph Gilgun, as an Irish vampire. The show actually reunites Negga and Gilgun, who both starred in the awesome British show Misfits. Well, maybe not a real reuniting, as they were on that show a season apart.
One of the most surprising things about Preacher, when I first heard about it, was that it was being developed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. AMC did feel like the perfect home for this show though, due to how well it has handled another little comic book property, The Walking Dead.
Preacher follows a preacher who has a special power. He is able to use his voice to force people to do his bidding. He is joined by his crazy ex-girlfriend (Negga) and his new vampire sidekick (Gilgun). Initially, the show takes place in a small Texas town and pits Jesse Custer, the preacher, against an evil and psychotic villain, played by Jackie Earle Haley. Jesse discovers that God is missing, his hometown is destroyed and season two sees our trio head to New Orleans in search of God.
While The Walking Dead pushed the envelope of what you can show on television to new levels, Preacher pushes it even further. This is a really dark show. Dark to the point where even regular viewers of The Walking Dead might feel uncomfortable with Preacher. In fact, I’m not sure how this can exist and not be something that has to be on HBO, Showtime or Starz.
Overall, the show is pretty damn good. Sometimes it feels a bit drawn out, which is its only real weakness. The thing is, Preacher is so unique and bizarre that you’re never really sure where each episode will end up. As of now, it looks as if each season will have its own unique theme and environment. From what I’ve seen thus far, it doesn’t seem like it will be a show that will get stale or trapped in redundancy.
Preacher boasts some of the best actors on television and each season brings in other veteran actors with talent to match. Negga truly is an Oscar caliber performer but Cooper and Gilgun are right there with her from scene to scene.
Preacher is a show with serious gravitas but it isn’t for everyone. I can’t imagine that it could have a large audience, which is why it is such a unique experience and its existence in its current format, a bit puzzling. But over the years, television seems to be getting better and smarter as motion pictures continue to be dumbed down to the point that most are unwatchable.
This is a show that feels fresh and new and brings something to the table that no one has seen before. It doesn’t hurt that it is also a top quality effort by everyone involved, at every level.