Charmed Season 1

Charmed 01

Starring: Melodie Diaz, Madeleine Mantock, Sarah Jeffery, Rupert Evans, Ser’Darius Blain, Ellen Tamaki, Nick Hargrove et.al.
Rating: TV-PG
Network: CW
Grade: B

After the sudden death of their mother, sisters Mel and Maggie discover that they not only have a half-sister, Macy, they never knew about, but that their mother was powerful witch. Shortly afterward, they are approached by Harry Greenwood, a coworker of their mothers who claims to be a Whitelighter sent to help them learn to harness their powers and keep them safe, informing them that they and their new sister are a prophsied trio of witches known as the Charmed Ones. With this new information, the three attempt to adjust to their new reality and fight the evils that seem determined to rid the world of them.

This reboot of the popular 90s television show isn’t actually that bad. While some plot points are lifted from the original series, for the most part they try their best to make the show their own and try to respect the memory of their source material. They also seem to be angling for a more expanded universe with the introduction and recurrence of different types of magical creatures, both good and evil. The actors playing the sisters all have decent chemistry and look like they could be related, and Rupert Evans does a good job of toeing the line between close friend and authority figure.

The special effects are fairly well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable for the most part.

Die-hard fans of the original series may not enjoy the reboot, but those in the target audience (teens and YAs) should like it. I tuned in mostly out of a morbid curiosity and was pleasantly surprised by how much I didn’t hate it. The only real issue I had with it was the heavy-handed way they dealt with feminist and equality messages. I don’t mind having a feminist or equal rights moral to a story, but I do mind being whacked over the head with them in nearly every episode. It got a bit tiresome, and may turn some viewers off to an otherwise pleasantly not terrible show.

Charmed is currently available to stream on Netflix, and will be available to purchase at participating retailers as of October 1, 2019.

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Good Omens

GoodOmens

Starring: Michael Sheen, David Tennant, Frances McDormand, Sam Taylor Buck, Adria Arjona, Jon Hamm, Jack Whitehall, Michael McKean, Miranda Richardson, et.al.
Rating: TV-MA
Network: Amazon
Grade: A

At the beginning of time, both God and Lucifer sent representatives to Earth to monitor humanity and report back on how things were progressing. Over the course of history, these representatives kept running across each other, and eventually developed a friendship. When Crowley, Hell’s representative, is told that the apocalypse is coming in the near future, he informs Aziraphale, Heaven’s representative, and together the two of them attempt to stop the end of days from occurring.

Adapted from the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens is a hilarious, and oftentimes absurd telling of just what might happen if an angel and a demon developed a friendship and became overly-fond of the place and people they were sent here to keep an eye on. The cast is top-notch, and they all seem to be having fun, especially Sheen and Tennant, who shine as Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively, and having Frances McDormand as the voice of God is absolutely delightful. The story itself, while not overly complex, is fun to watch, and, while it does have its basis in religion and the bible, that theme isn’t something that hammer in to the point of taking away from the ultimately humorous story.

The special effects are all very well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

The cast alone is enough to garner the interest of nearly anyone who might be curious about it, though the premise might be a bit much for the hard-core religious and people who typically don’t enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, but I will note that my mother, who usually doesn’t enjoy the ‘weird’ stuff I tend towards loved this series, so I would definitely recommend at least giving it a try. The story is handled well enough that it shouldn’t get boring or tiresome on repeat viewings.

Good Omens is currently only available to stream on Amazon Prime, with no word as to whether or not they plan to make it available on video.

Russian Doll Season 1

RussianDollS1

Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee, Elizabeth Ashley, Rebecca Henderson, Jeremy Bobb, Ritesh Rajan
Rating: TV-MA
Network: Netflix
Grade: A

On the night of her 36th birthday, Nadia Vulvokov is hit by a car and dies, however she soon finds herself still alive and back at the party her friends have thrown in her honor. Disturbed by the memory of her death, Nadia again leaves the party, only to die again then find herself back in her friend’s bathroom. As she investigates the phenomenon, she meets Alan Zavari, who also claims that he is repeatedly dying and resetting to earlier in the evening when his girlfriend breaks up with him. Curious as to why they’re the only two people who seem to be reliving the same night, they try to retrace the steps they took before dying to try and figure out what caused the loop, and what is causing people they know to begin to vanish as the loops continue.

While I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this show when I started watching, it quickly pulled me in. The strange, dark humor is well-paced and never feels forced. Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett have decent chemistry, and as it starts to become clear why they’re the only ones affected by the loop, and while the basic plot is something of a cosmic Missed Connections, it’s still compellingly done. Nadia and Alan are well-rounded characters, and you come to genuinely care about them.

What few special effects there are were all well done, and the background filler isn’t noticeable.

Despite the science fiction-like aspect of a time loop, this show should appeal to just about anyone, and it almost comes off like a dark-humor version of Groundhog Day. Like with most streaming-service exclusives, there aren’t a lot of episodes, though they are planning a second season. You don’t need to pay strict attention to the plot in the first few episodes, however, by the end of the season, you may want to.

Russian Doll is currently only available to stream on Netflix, with no word as to whether or not they plan to make it available on video.