Simply put, Daybreak, Netflix’s post apocalyptic Red Dawn meets Ferris Bueller zombie teen comedy series, is a hot mess. Or, as we used to say in the golden heyday of Tumblr of yore, a problematic favorite.
I purposefully stuffed way too many descriptors into the first paragraph and tried way too hard to sound cool and am now being way too obvious about every single thing I’m doing and speaking in the first person while breaking the 4th wall, in order to give you a sense of what might have been charming in Daybreak but is really just tres, tres obnoxious.
Daybreak, the TV show, is based on the comic book of the same name by Brian Ralph and created by Brad Peyton and Aron Eli Coleite. Like the comic, the main character is a self insert first person narrator who just happens to be a North American straight white male. I haven’t read the comic yet, but from what I understand, it’s more contemplative than the series, described in one article as being more like the 2009 Viggo Mortenson film The Road than Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). Or, you could say more like the original, 1979 Mad Max film.
Prime Video’s new animated series for adults, Undone, is a unique show that explores mind-bending themes, mental health and family drama in 8 short, 22-24 minute long episodes, making the most of its stellar cast and experienced animation team in each episode. Creators Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy (BoJack Horseman) used the animation technique of rotoscoping to give the series a surreal quality that takes it a step beyond magical realism.
Rotoscoping involves filming the actors in live action, then tracing over the filmed images to create a polished animated product. Undone is the first serialized TV series to be fully animated using rotoscoping. Probably its most famous previous use was in the film A Scanner Darkly. The same team, Minnow Mountain, did the rotoscoping on both that film and Undone.
Undone is the story of Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar), a young woman who is struggling with her goals and identity, in addition to the lingering trauma from her father Jacob’s (Bob Odenkirk) death when she was a child. Outwardly, her life seems Happy and Fine. She lives with her nice boyfriend, Sam (Siddharth Dhananjay), and has a decent job at a daycare center, working with her good friend and boss, Tunde (Daveed Diggs). (Who wouldn’t want to work with the voice of Daveed Diggs?)
In the world of Carnival Row, Amazon Prime Video’s latest entry into the fantasy epic genre, the darkness is rising. You probably didn’t notice it before if you’re human, so it’s presence now feels new. But in actuality, the darkness has always been around, and has been pretty active for a long time. If you aren’t human, you’ve always known this, since for many years humans have been busy colonizing nonhuman lands, exterminating nonhuman sentient species, and exploiting whoever’s left alive.
We aren’t given much backstory on the whole extermination and exploitation thing, and since Carnival Row is an original story rather than being based on a more detailed original source, such as a book series, we’re left to fill in a lot of blanks. The metaphors are pretty on the nose, so on the surface that’s not hard to do.
When you stop to think about it, even by the end of the season, the entirely fictional geographical and political worlds of Carnival Row are left exceedingly vague for a show that’s supposedly about political issues which affect refugees. For example, we’re never shown a map, despite shipping routes and battle strategies being discussed repeatedly, providing ample opportunities for the characters to casually flash one.
And I never did figure out who the Pact were, the enemy who drive Vignette, our heroine, from her homeland. I just mentally inserted “Evil Empire” whenever I heard their name. In the long term, their sole purpose was to create refugees, so they didn’t matter enough for me to bother with learning anything more. After that, in a twist of fate, the Burgue, who were supposed to be the refugees’ friends, become the “Evil Empire”.
Bring on the apocalypse. In season 2 episode 8, Endings and Beginnings, it’s June 27, 2020. We spend the episode counting down to the fateful moment as the key players are moved around the board one more time, so as to be in the proper places when Adam’s plans come to fruition.
This is an episode about death and salvation. Personal salvation, the salvation of the world, and the fight to save Time as an entity. The death of individuals and the apocalyptic death which engulfs Winden, which bring about the death of hope and idealism. Not everyone who dies is really dead, and not everyone who’s saved realizes they’re being saved. The episode is a shell game, as frequently happens on Dark.
The entire season has been about beginnings and endings, and whether they really exist at all in Winden. This episode brings an end to the second cycle, but it brings up the question again of exactly what game is being played and if anyone can really win.
I’ve gotten some new followers lately, so, Hi and welcome! There’s something I need to say to everyone, before we go any further.
Currently, most of you are here to read Dark, a show we all love. But the character of Hannah is the target of so much misogyny it’s scary, on the show and in the real/online world. This pertains to other shows as well, with other characters who become the target for misogynists. On Altered Carbon season 1, it was Kristin Ortega. On Agents of SHIELD, it’s Daisy. Women who think and act for themselves, without regard to what the men around them want. Just like men do.
In the real world, women like Hannah, Kristin, Daisy and me (and you, if you are a woman) die every day because misogyny isn’t recognized, so, even though some of you would like me to, I won’t shut up about it. While racism is getting the attention it needs, the hatred and oppression of women, the other motivator for mass shootings, everyday killings and abuse, is largely being ignored, even though it was the motivator for the second shooting of the weekend of August 4, 2019, in Dayton, OH. Even though violence against women is on the increase, separate from mass shootings.
Racially motivated violence is described as being ideologically motivated, a label that gives it more weight and prompts calls to action to stop the white supremacists and white nationalists. Meanwhile, “experts” and law enforcement officials acknowledge the misogynist opinions and activities of violent criminals but refuse to acknowledge that misogyny is an ideologythat leads to living a violent, cult-like lifestyle just as religious and racial extremism do.
Yet we know that many of the most recent mass shootings have been perpetrated by misogynist extremists who identify as such, calling themselves by such names as Incels (involuntary celibates) or Red Pillers (anti-feminists). It’s time we started calling out extremist misogyny as the dangerous, cult-like IDEOLOGY that it is.
In the Age Old Choice for Female Characters Between Powerful or Good, Wh*re or Madonna, Modern Writers Frequently Land on a Third Choice: Insane or Suicidal, Then Dead
When Joss Whedon’s dream came true and Natalia Alianovna Romanoff willingly flung herself to her death, I felt nothing. I knew from the moment she and Clint went off for the Soul Stone that she would die, but, stupidly, I didn’t quite get to the realization that she would be the one to kill herself – one of the few decisions she’s made for herself in her time in the MCU.
There aren’t a lot of options for women and girls to look up to as role models in media – not female ones, anyway. Growing up, I was always looking for female role models in media, and I frequently ended up in love with the ones who had agency, above all else. The “powerful or good” dichotomy that I wrote about in a post in response to the Frozen musical details the struggle I’ve always found in female characters. You can be powerful or good, have agency or compassion, intelligence or charm, be sexy or moral – wh*re or madonna.
The season finale of The Rain season 2 pays off the concepts the show has played with all season, while also providing a satisfying mirror image to the season 1 finale. As of this writing, June 1st, 2019, the Rain isn’t renewed for season 3, so I hope it gets the chance to finish its story. The path forward is both obvious and wide open, which tells you the writers are doing something right.
This episode continues with the themes of family, responsibility, revenge, romantic love and death. Sarah and Rasmus play out their Romeo and Juliet scenario, while Fie tries to build a stable family for her baby. Simone and Martin struggle to balance their relationship with their responsibilities toward the rest of the group. Patrick takes a giant step forward in his maturity level, while Jean takes a step backward. He’s reacting to losing Lea, so his actions are understandable, but still uncalled for.
Kira joins the group after saving Martin and Patrick’s lives, but it’s not clear yet whether she’s a permanent or temporary member. She suffered so much trauma and betrayal that she’s forgotten how to trust and be trustworthy. She’d be an asset to the group, if she could be open to caring about them.
After episode 4 of this season of The Rain focused on relationships and doomed love, episode 5 goes full on scifi horror. We thought the survivors were living in a post-apocalyptic world in season 1, but it turns out that the initial plague was just a little prelude to the main event. This episode, Keep It Together, finally shows just how badly everything is falling apart.
The black goo is not only spreading to wider areas of the quarantine zone, it’s now bubbling and smoking on it’s own. It’s consuming everything in its path, including people, at a rapid pace. We’ve known that it’s sentient, but now it’s battling to control Rasmus’ mind.
By the time Simone, Fie, Rasmus and Sarah return from their trip to Bakken, the Apollon soldiers who infiltrated the base are dead. Due to over exerting herself, Sarah has developed a fever along with a flare up of her illness, so Fie takes to her bed. She suggests that Rasmus rest as well, since they don’t know what the cure will do to him. Simone is confident that it will make him better.
There are many ways to interpret the title of Roswell, New Mexico’s penultimate episode of its freshman (and perhaps only) season. “Creep” is most obviously meant to refer to Isobel’s wayward alien husband, Noah, who reveals some secrets in this episode, but holds others hostage, hoping to exchange them for his own life.
Then there’s our leading man, Maximo Evans. Always at least a bit of a violent creep, he outdoes himself with creepiness in this episode, from the way he dismisses Cam from his life by telling her she’s been a good “friend” after she’s just given up her job to save him and his loved ones, to the way he possessively fights with Noah for ownership of Liz and Isobel.
There’s the creepiness of Caulfield prison, a horror show worthy of the Nazis, where Michael finds and loses his mother and has his feelings about the nature of humanity confirmed. I’m not convinced that the explosion will kill the aliens inside the prison, but if that moment was all Michael has with his mother, I’ll support any and all killing sprees he embarks on. I can’t stand that they not only fridged an important female character (and the other aliens), and but they also used Michael and his mother as a plot device for Dramatic! Prefinale! Effect! What a waste of potential.
And now, by the way, we discover that Noah is, hilariously, an alien vampire who needs to feed on the life force of humans, and sometimes other aliens, to keep his body from deteriorating. That’s why I don’t think all of the aliens at Caulfield are dead. I think some will be rescued, and will be able to not just survive, but regain their lost youth, using the same method as Noah. You don’t introduce just one alien vampire, then kill him off and forget about the concept.
Especially not when you made your name in the Vampire Diaries franchise.
Bodyguard is a 6 episode BBC crime thriller that’s been released globally as a Netflix Original. Created by Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty) and starring Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) and Keeley Hawes (The Durrells in Corfu), Bodyguard has no connection to the 1992 Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie The Bodyguard. Last fall, Bodyguard became a ratings sensation in the UK, where it was shown as a weekly series and broke viewing records.
There is good reason for that. The show is gripping and intense from the first minute, when we meet main character David Budd, an Afghanistan veteran with untreated PTSD who is currently working for London’s Metropolitan Police Service as a Principal Protection Officer (PPO), or as we layman think of it, a bodyguard, for important members of the British government. He’s traveling on a train with his two children and discovers a suicide bomber, Nadia (Anjli Mohindra) hiding in the bathroom at the end of their car. In the powerful opening sequence, David takes it upon himself to talk Nadia down so that everyone comes out of the situation alive, disobeying orders from the bomb squad as he works with Nadia to ensure that she’s captured instead of killed.
After his heroic success on the train, David gets noticed by his superiors, and promoted to protecting the controversial, right-wing Home Secretary*, Julia Montague. Montague is pushing for legislation that would allow increased surveillance by law enforcement agencies, an idea that’s unpopular with many in the public and in the government. She’s also ambitious and widely believed to be considering an end run around the usual channels in order to become Prime Minister.