Posted in Review, Television

The Umbrella Academy Season 2

The Umbrella Academy Season 2 dropped for us on Friday just gone (July 31). As one of the more anticipated seasons to come out this year, this season lives up to the expectation and hype.

Reflecting back on season 1 I really enjoyed it as an alternative comic book/hero take. It brought a freshness mixed with maturity and story telling to carve it’s own little space in the over saturated market.

It ended with the team (known as the Umbrella Academy once upon a time) being cast back in time to avoid an apocalypse.

Season 2 picks up immediately where season 1 finished. In fact its one of the best scenes within the season (don’t worry we don’t peak early like a Lindsay Lohan career). It sees the gang back together all super’d up to prevent World War 3 in 1963. This is quickly ended when Nukes across the world go off and end the world, again and everyone is dead.

At the centre seems to be Five (Aidan Gallagher). Five seems to be mixed with time travel and at war with The Commission (like the Doctor Who’s of the world) that seems to end in catastrophe every time.

To try and prevent the next apocalypse Five travels back 10 days prior the end of the world to find his family and prevent the events, all over again. Problem is, his family didn’t land in the 1960’s together.

Throughout the seasons early episodes we see how each member landed at different points in time and adjusted to their new lives. Klaus (Robert Sheehan) had become a leader of a peace cult, Diego (David Castaneda) was convinced he needed to save Kennedy from being assassinated and locked up for it, Vanya (Ellen Paige) was on a farm after being hit by a car, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) was married and a political activist for Black Lives and Luther (Tom Hopper) was an underground boxer working for a crime lord.

Their new lives provided us with much better characters than we saw in season 1. They worked off others to give us more of their development and a look inside their thoughts more. This only adds to the shows world building and our attachment to the characters.

We begin to learn about their vulnerabilities and their motivations. It’s here that the conflict of saving the world and returning from the 60’s isn’t in everyone’s best interests. Many of the family are happy, much to Five’s unhappiness. Five hadn’t considered that some had been in the 60’s for years compared to his days.

Saving the world isn’t so easy for Five. We learn that the assassination of Kennedy and their father seem to be involved in starting World War 3, so he and Diego (and a few others) begin to track down a younger version of their dad to find out what the fuck is going on.

Reginald (Colm Feore) is still a dick, seems he always has been and will be. However we see what he was like before being a mentor (more than a father) to the children. We see he’s shady, mysterious, powerful and how even now he has control over the kids through his years or mental manipulation.

The bar certainly seems to have been raised and met.

As the season moves on we’re treated to some excellent plots and sub plots. We see how each characters lives are bigger than they seem. As the apocalypse draws nearer the events get worse, for everybody. The bar certainly seems to have been raised for this season and it has been met. The series writer Steve Blackman has done an exceptional job.

The story moves at a pace you enjoy, the set pieces of action and violence are well handled and the sombre moments are given the attention they need. The chemistry between the cast is great and shines through. The humour works and feels natural with Tom Hopper leading the way, mostly.

One of the best introductions however is Ritu Arya. She plays a character called Lila that we meet when Diego is in a mental treatment facility. Seemingly a throwaway character she attaches herself to Diego and some of the family to help them prevent the apocalypse. As we begin to learn more about her we see how much of the plot is built around her.

She has great energy and brings a sassy style of humour, something that’s been missing. She also balances out the gender power as most of the male characters feel powerful next to the females.

All in all season 2 is well written, acted, paced, scored and it is refreshing. It builds a lot on what season 1 set in place but for the most part it only adds to it. As a comic book TV series its up there with the best of them, but don’t think it’s like the rest.

Posted in Television

The One About The Sitcoms

I’ve only ever really watched 3 sitcom series end to end, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and Brooklyn99. The American ones are way better than the crappy British ones (looking at the overrated Inbetweeners).

Naturally Brooklyn99 is the most recent and in so many ways it has made me realise how poorly written the likes of Friends and How I Met Your Mother are. I have watched other sitcoms but none as chronologically as these.

They raised the bar, but maybe got away with it a little bit.

Now Friends needs no introduction and is probably the most iconic sitcom ever made. Whether its the best will be a matter of opinion. It certainly for me was the best until last year.

How I Met Your Mother is probably on the other end of the spectrum since its series finale. Going down as possibly one of the worst conclusions to such a good show after 9 series.

I probably stand out a lot of the time as I don’t always agree with where these shows end up.

Ross was bad for Rachel. He never supported her and was always obsessive over her, like a possession. They never really seemed like a happy couple. However Joey and Rachel seemed well matched. He was everything Ross neglected to be, but is cast aside by the writers as a sexist womanizer than can’t find happiness.

The same can be said for my opinion for How I Met Your Mother. Robin and Ted? No thanks. She was always better with Barney. They seemed to be everything Ted whined on about. I mean How I Met Your Mother has a much bigger problem than my opinion of Ted and Robin.

How I Met the Worst Ending.

How I Met Your Mother leads with its plot, it is the title. We are guided by the story of how Ted meets the Mother. We’re led to believe for the 9 years that this story would end in a tale of destiny, fate and a meant to be love story that would hold true for years.

Is it cool if I bang a stranger?

What we were served was a ‘is it cool if I go bang a stranger to you?’ story.

What really gets me about this is not just that the story doesn’t end with the ‘mother’ but that its a bit of a slap in the face.

By the time we ‘meet’ the mother (if we really do) she is killed off. Killed? Are you fucking kidding me?

But what about the Yellow Umbrella? The chance encounters that never happened at the parties and the class? All these things painting this character that we already love and can’t wait to see how it Is .

Thing is, her death isn’t that impactful. Sure there’s a moody score but who is she? She has some one liners here and there and comes across that she’s a great addition to the show. She gets less than Mikes 20 episodes in Friends but are expected to like her more.

Anyway, lets me move on from that (everyone else did).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

So Friends is the Good, How I Met Your Mother is the bad. Does that make Brooklyn99 the Ugly?

Oh contraire, Brooklyn99 has shown these shows up completely.

We all know about Friends. Based in the 90’s and Rachel gets of the plane to her obsessive, bad for her partner, Ross. Everyone gets a happy ending. But what did we watch for 10 seasons?

Rachel was the only character to show growth. She enters the show naive, immature and dependent. When we finish she is the opposite. She is a role model for females to beleive in yourself and have confidence to rise in your career, love can wait.

Joey is the same throughout (bar a couple of relationships). Ross is the same throughout. Chandler and Monica, well, you guessed it the same throughout. There’s no growth. There’s actually very little story for 10 seasons.

How I Met Your Mother is the same. Barney, Lily, Marshall, Robin and Ted all remain the same character throughout. Moreover they parallel their Friends counterparts. Joey and Barney, Lily and Monica etc.

How I Met Your Mother parallels Friends counterparts.

How I Met Your Mother would get credit if the series finale was a whole series. Barney a dad? Ted losing the supposedly love of his life. Lily and Marshall with a new start in the suburbs. These are moments of growth for these characters that was chosen to be wrapped up in 20 minutes.

Why is Brooklyn99 different?

So all this leads me to why is Brooklyn99 the exception to this rule.

Well we’ve had 7 seasons and we’ve seen more character growth for 6 characters than the other 10 mentioned (Rachel not included).

What we’ve seen in Brooklyn99 is the stupidest, most silly character in Jake Peralta mature to become a role model for those watching. We’ve seen Santiago face a power struggle in a male dominated industry. We’ve seen Rosa struggle with her sexual identity.

Furthermore the stories told make sense, mostly. Boyle maybe a little on the elaborate side. But in any sense this show is written to actually show us the development of these characters as we move through years of their lives.

The show tackles serious issues such as racism…

Brooklyn 99 really deserves credit for it’s approach to serious issues.

The show tackles important issues such as racism, sexual harassment, parenthood and discrimination. Not only does it tackle them, it becomes part of these characters in a way only a sitcom could be.

All in all Brooklyn99 shows a quality that is actually lacking from its predecessors. Sure maybe those before it we’re just there to give us 20 minutes of escapism but they’re also shows we probably relate to the most. Yet it’s so easy to out grow them.

What am I trying to say then? Be like Brooklyn 99. Have silliness that belongs on a children’s show. But at the same time, let the characters grow with its audience. Show them to face the issues not only in a funny way that life gives, but in a serious nature that life hits us with.

Just as a side note. I have watch The Big Bang Theory and its like a bridge. Half of it suffers from the same symptoms of Friends and How I Met Your Mother and some of it is like Brooklyn 99. It ran so Brooklyn 99 could fly.

Posted in Review, Television

Le Casa de Papel (Money Heist) Review

The Spanish Crime Drama has been an international success and for good reason. This captivating telling of multiple bank heists is TV done right.

An iconic look known all over the world from this show.

First off, if you haven’t watch La Casa de Papel it advertises itself in parts. This is actually seasons. I was told initially it was 2 parts and was like, great a few hours and I’m sorted. Then I realise part 1 is 13 episodes…

Mind you, finding out there was like 21 episodes to watch at the time was great, as I was already hooked.

There’s something about this show that draws you in. Whether its the characters, the back stories, the planning or the actual heist, something keeps you.

That’s how this show is told, everything at the same time. We see the heist of the Royal Mint at the same time we see the planning. It runs in a parallel. Amongst all of this we’re learning about these characters that we initially only know as cities they have chosen as their names.

The exception is the Professor (Alvaro Morte). He orchestrates the whole thing, together with Berlin (Mint Heist) and Palermo (Royal Bank Heist). With each heist they use the same cast of misfits.

The first we meet is Tokio (Ursula Corbero). My favourite character of them all. She is the narrator of the whole thing, keeping you in check with what is going on. She’s feirce, vulnerable, a badass and generally a leader throughout it all. In many ways the whole show is her story, or at least from her perspective.

Tokio .

She forms a relationship with the Professor who she calls her guardian angel. Together they work with Rio, Denver, Moscu, Nairobi, Helsinki and some others here and there. Each with a distinctly different role but the same aim.

As the seasons play out so do the heists. These are expertly clever and almost believable. The immersion for this show is brilliant. It’s only when we get to part 2 that things seem to get a bit dramatic but that’s also the charm.

The relationships during the heist are brilliant. It’s stressful, tense and exciting all at the same time. While they’re in the heist the idea is to become heroes of Spain.

This is where the show is clever in it’s telling of the story. The police are naturally never in charge during the heist, however it may seem. Raquel (Itziar Ituno), the head of the police lets call her, and the Professor seemingly play a chess match the whole time, but it’s like the Professor has seen the match already.

All the while you’re rooting for the guys in the masks all while they’re committing the biggest crime Spain has seen. The masks have become a symbol that is iconic within the show as much as it is outside of the show. Moreover during the heist you’re rooting for the smaller stories. Those relationships and events that are happening throughout the season between these characters.

It’s stressful, tense and exciting all at the same time.

One rule of the heist is to not talk about the heist, okay its not, it’s actually not to form any personal relationships, hence the nicknames. That was always an unlikely rule to be kept and it’s for the better.

Seasons 3 and 4 really build on this and provide heart warming and heart breaking moments as the events play out. I’m still not sure I’m over a certain event.

Neither season is packing loads of action or missing any details. They’re both well balanced in terms of characters and story.

The show isn’t without its draw backs. Each heist is over 2 parts that can feel a bit drawn out, especially the second heist as it’s yet to be concluded. There’s naturally some characters we wish weren’t in it but it wouldn’t be a good show without them.

When the action does get a little bit out of hand it does break the immersion a little bit and you remember this isn’t actually real life.

Overall, I believe this is a must watch. I know some people may not like foreign TV but this is worth getting used to. Either dubbing or subtitles are worth using. The dubbing is well voice acted.

It’s easily a top 5 Netflix show for me. Maybe I’ll do that list soon? Check out my Instagram to see that!

Stole my attention / 10