Preacher 1×01 Review: A Bloody Good Time

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The Preacher comic series, notoriously difficult to adapt, has flummoxed screenwriters and directors for over a decade. AMC’s latest effort puts page to screen once again, this time in the hands of Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen. The results may not satisfy the most die-hard comics purists, but the rest of us are in for a bloody good time.

*This review contains spoilers for episode 1×01.*

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Penny Dreadful 3×01 Review: You Can’t Go Home Again

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After last season’s finale, our characters were scattered to the wind, most believing their work against the Devil to be done. This week, we see each one on course to reconnect with their past, willingly or otherwise. But Tennyson is dead, and London is in mourning for its “poetic link to ages gone.” From whence we have come, there is no return.

*This review contains spoilers*

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“Underground” 1×01 Review: Everything Wrong With “Django Unchained” Finally Set Right

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(Note: This review makes reference to some character and plot situations, but does not contain spoilers.)

America has a complex relationship with its own history, especially when it comes to slavery.  It is difficult to confront the realities of just how much suffering one human being is capable of inflicting on another. Slavery is a subject many Americans would rather not think about, or else, as Azie Mira Dungey’s Ask a Slave webseries demonstrates, are so badly misinformed about that it may as well have been forgotten.  And today, slavery is something many look back on with a mixture of horrified fascination and an unwillingness to accept just how bad things were. Films like Twelve Years a Slave take on the “acceptance” angle, painting a dark, heavy, brutal picture of the realities of the period, unwilling to let viewers escape the truth of what has been done. The “fascination” angle is represented as well in films like Django Unchained, wherein the filmmakers take a kind of dark glee in recapturing the mindset of the time, with some rather uncomfortable results.

Enter WGN America’s new series, Underground, which succeeds in nearly every way that Django Unchained failed.

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season One Review: Balance of Power

Netflix has made a thoroughly satisfying, emotionally resonant, action-packed series it’s hard not to love… despite Marvel’s best efforts.

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Some season one spoilers below.

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“Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” Review: Everything Old is New Again

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(Warning: This review contains spoilers.)

Fans of BBC’s Sherlock have been waiting an awfully long time for a new episode. In fact, with the cast and crew in such high demand, new installments of Sherlock are a rare commodity. This show has not always responded well to the pressure of success, and the difficulty in scheduling production has made this pressure higher than ever. Fortunately, the result is a clever and complex episode that almost succeeds at re-capturing the sense of fun and adventure missing from the most recent series, without getting lost in its own twists and turns.

I’ll admit, the idea of re-imagining the modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes to be set in Victorian London (would this qualify as re-re-imagining, or un-re-imagining?) struck me immediately as something of a self-indulgent stunt designed to stall for time as the show continued to figure out how to get unstuck from the mire of tangled arc story in which it’s been entrenching itself since the end of series two. However, upon viewing, the strengths of this approach were obvious, surprising, and thoroughly entertaining.

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London Spy Episode 5 Review: The Truth will Set You Free

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From its heartfelt beginning to its wrenching conclusion, London Spy deftly navigated its emotional twists and turns, and delivered us, as promised, to the inevitable revelation of its darkest truths.

(This review contains spoilers.)

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London Spy: Finally, a conspiracy drama with something to say

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When I first heard about London Spy, I was told it “started slow,” which I took to be a lukewarm review. Therefore, I selected it as my “taking a break” show on a busy day, to avoid getting into something that would eat my afternoon.

And that was the end of that day.

London Spy may take its time to hook you. It may keep you off-balance, as you search hard for the twists and hidden truths that you assume are just waiting to pounce, but when it takes off, it goes. This is a show that draws you in to a vast, unknowable world, and keeps you every bit as off-balance as it keeps its protagonist (the incomparable Ben Whishaw, in what I would call a “career-making role” if I hadn’t seen any of his other work), leaving you breathless and wondering who to trust. The way the story leaps between heart-wrenchingly sweet romance and helpless despair is both crushing and addictive. And on this show that is constantly pulling the rug out from under you, only one thing is certain: Love. The rest is probably tapping your phone.

But London Spy isn’t just a thriller. It’s a show with something to say.

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