It's finally here, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it so far. Oddly I don’t think this will hit home with everyone. I could be wrong but I don’t see a mass appeal like Game of Thrones. However, for anyone who gives this a try early, I think it will suck you in. It's shot to absolute perfection, stunning cinematography for the small screen and so far it's been intense and gripping in every episode. I wont reveal too much on plot, but for those interested, Westworld is a holiday park where people pay to visit a western scenario, filled with robots who act out their wild west fantasies. The robots cannot harm the humans but the humans can do pretty much whatever they like with their animatronic counterparts before being reset for another day. Yet in true Michael Crichton storytelling style, the robots are starting to behave mysteriously. If you haven't got involved with this yet, get going on it early, as this is just starting to build up its pace now and I think from here, until the end of the series , it is going to be outstanding.
Another new series with a very intriguing storyline and scarily a little too believable. Keifer Sutherland plays Tom Kirkman, a member of US government who is nominated to skip Congress. Why? Incase of disaster, there could be one survivor to take over as President should all others be eliminated. It's cleverly written and really does feel all a little too realistic as you see the trouble that comes of being a man forced into a very awkward position. Major props to Sutherland as he nails the role. It's early doors for this series yet and especially now we are past the early drama it will be interesting to see how this develops further down the road, can it keep that gripping feel after such a big and bold beginning? I certainly hope so.
SON OF ZORN
OK so after two fairly serious suggestions I thought it would be nice to balance us out with a quick 20 minute slice of ridiculous humour. Jason Sudekis voices Zorn, a cartoon He-Man style warrior who, for some reason, is living in the real world and has a real life son, a real life ex wife and she has a real life new husband. It is silly but it is also pretty funny. The mix of cartoon to real is fantastic and means that this program can do anything to get its laughs, which it does a lot. Zorn intent on spending more time with his son, leaves his own universe where he a strong warrior defending his realm and gets a job in an office. Clearly these changes in his life are hard to make and hilarity ensues. If you want something to give you a quick giggle this is definitely the one to watch.
Early doors for Sarah Jessica Parker’s new series. Anyone expecting this to be Sex & the City mark II will probably be disappointed. I have a feeling this show could grow if it's given the chance but the first episode wasn't making me scramble for the next one by any means. It had good moments, but I don’t think the humour was enough to keep interest. I think this is dangerously lying between not knowing whether it's a drama or if it's a comedy and that usually is a recipe for disaster, as you end up with neither done too well. Perhaps this is the type of show where if your own marriage or relationship is suffering, you could resonate with it a little more. I’m not too sure but for me, it just felt a little flat.
JB also weighs in this week:
I haven't really watched any of these since the first, porky episode famously graced our screens all those years ago. I think I was so blown away by it that I chickened out. I didn't want it to try and best that episode and I wasn't going to let it try. More fool me. Finally after some years, I return to this fantastic 'Twilight Zone-esque' show after hearing Charlie Brooker talking about it on the radio. It's now on Netflix and has a bigger budget than ever to make tell some messed up, dystopian and scarily realistic stories. I've only watched a couple and I got chills. This isn't for the faint hearted. If you like trashy, reality TV, this might be too real for you. If you like soap opera drama, then this will be too tense and gripping for you. I am wholeheartedly looking forward to watching the rest of these as I think this is the most honest and intelligent show on the box at the moment.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Holy shit!! This show has come leaps and bounds. After almost writing itself into a corner with the Inhumans and Hydra, this show needed a breath of fresh air yet on the other hand, needed to go back to its roots. The writers have found that middle ground with this Ghost Rider storyline. Coulson is an Agent again, no longer a director, so we get to have our charming hero back in the field with all the gang. Except Daisy, who is back on the run and committing acts of vigilantism. Add on top of this a political power movement against the Inhumans, Ghost Rider and some absolutely amazing choreographed and shot fight scenes, and you have a superhero show that, if it gets its feet, could take on the Netflix contenders themselves.
Seeing as Gaz had gone off to New York, I decided to spend a majority of my weekend in Harlem with the Powerman. Let's be honest, did we ever doubt this? Not only has Netflix succeeded so far with its Daredevil run and it Jessica Jones series, Luke was one of the interesting parts of the latter. Just like the 2 aforementioned series, this is a darker look at the underbelly of the Marvel universe. No men with flying hammers here. 6 episodes in and I can say that what I love most about this show is its tone. It reminds me of older action shows/movies. Tough and gritty with a cheesey smile. The music is stellar as well. Mixing soul, rhythm and blues and a hint of 70's synth. The show lulls you into a false sense of security in the first two episodes before turning it up to 10 on the drama/action. Luke is as cool as ever, as is his origin story (nice nod to the comics as well) and Cottonmouth is believably over the top. Sometimes shows like this build their characters up and then hold them back to elongate episodes or stories. These 2 characters play their ace cards as soon as they can meaning the story moves along at a fast pace. I can't wait to carry this on.
Marvel's AGENTS OF SHIELD
This show has always been a mixed bag for me. I watch, I get involved, I get into it, I miss a week, I miss a few weeks, I eventually return. It's great viewing but it's never quite been at a level of consistency to keep me hooked...until now. As usual with every season, they've mixed up the formula and I really like it. I like everyone's place in this universe and the paths they are taking. The remnants of the previous series are finally rested and the team can move on to new adventures, and what an adventure to head into with the introduction of THE GHOST RIDER! No, it is not Nicolas Cage playing Johnny Blaze but Gabriel Luna playing Robbie Reyes! The car riding, demon possessed, vengeful reaper and boy, was I gripped from the opening scene. To top the amazing Ghost Rider, appears to be actual ghosts haunting the team...or at least that's what they 'seem' to be. I have so many questions already and we're only 2 episodes in. Roll on next week.
The BBC have a lot to answer for. I still find it amazing that we have to pay for TV licenses because of a channel that churns out so high quality shows as 'Watch people whose faces who recognise, dance' and 'Mary Berrys sagging tits and cakes show'. However, every so often, it reminds me that it does have classics. One of these is The Apprentice. This to me is one of the best reality TV shows around. Because no matter how they edit it, no matter what crazy people they pick, the situations and decisions are real and you all of sudden develop your own business acumen. I think everyone should watch this show to better themselves. Stop watching Katie Hopkins eat a kangaroo's bollock and come over here and give me your opinion on what was the better managerial decision. Who made the better investment? I literally sit there either praising someone or shouting at the TV at the stupidity at the handling of a business decision. I don't have a favourite yet (maybe the guy who runs his own sausage market...or the guy who sounds like an egotistical, Indian Sean Connery) but who cares? Better yourselves and watch it.
Morgana Robinsons The Agency
Impressionists shows don't often do well. Normally they spend too much time writing the scenes to show how well they can do the impression that they forget to make the scene funny or entertaining. Kevin Bishops show (which you can find on 4OD) is a fantastic example of just wanting to write funny sketches with the added bonus that he can do an impression. So to have a show based entirely around a set of celebrities and their personal lives had my eyebrow raised. Morgana is a great impressionist. Probably one of the best at the moment and you know what? I laughed a lot at this. It's not perfect by far, a couple of jokes here and there fall flat but there is so much potential here and I think she knows it. Her Natalie Cassidy is bang on and actually has a (dare I say) heartwarming story in her sketches, Mel and Sue are hilarious (and impressive seeing as she's playing BOTH) and her Miranda is more entertaining than Miranda. Well worth a look in, especially as it's on iPlayer.
I'm a massive Sherlock fan and this take on the classic story has been fantastic to watch develop and grow. Last season really turned up the heat and this season is off to an explosive start. It was great just to watch it be a murder mystery show again, without any foreboding side stories, although I have a feeling Joan is definitely going to be dealing with something pretty big with the introduction of a new character appearing in her life. John Lee Miller is definitely happy to be tied and bound into his suit again as he burst with energy and accusation in every scene. If you like SHERLOCK and haven't gotten onto this yet, don't start here. Run back to Season 1 and get on the best mystery mobile since the Scooby Doo Mysteries.