This week marks the return of all the shows (ALL OF THE SHOWS *in my Rihanna voice*). 2018 began at a gradual pace of a show here (Star Trek Discovery) and there (This Is Us). But midway through January, new and returning shows are stampeding on my evenings. Let the games begin.
Monday – Tomorrow is the 2-hour season one finale of Fox’s surprise hit The Gifted. The battle between mutant and human intensifies as the Hellfire Club gains the Underground’s trust. Meanwhile Dr. Campbell convinced Jace in using his next stage in mutant manipulation – a machine that replicates the Strucker siblings’ powers.
Tuesday – This Is Us is in mid swing of its second season, but a new challenger at 9 p.m. will require my live viewing instead. The CW’s highly-anticipated Black Lightning series premieres. The first African American hero of the CW’s D.C. family features Cress Williams as the retired metahuman. When a violent gang threatens the livelihood of his family and neighborhood, he places the cape back on. And may received help from his two daughters as well. Black. Female. Heroines. On. TV. Sign me up.
Wednesday – Wednesday evening is a triple threat of entertainment. At 8 p.m. I play soap drama with the kids of Riverdale. Next I return to Filory as SyFy’s The Magicians entered its third season. Magic is no more for Quincy, Julia and friends. But a gallant quest may be the key – or seven – to restoring the magic in the world and beyond. Finally FX delivers Ryan Murphy’s second installment of American Crime Story. This time we revisit the murder of Gianni Versace, a crime I remember but definitely do not know the full story.
Thursday – TGIT returns with Liv and Annalise on their shows respectively. And as recently promised, their two worlds will collide when Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder crossover. Who wants more wine!?
Friday – Fridays are dedicated to ABC’s excellent fifth season of Agents of SHIELD. The team has been transported 80-some years into the future, where the Earth is nothing but a crater – remnants of a catastrophic Inhuman event. Coulson and the team are fighting Kree as well as other forces of the galaxy.
Saturday – This still remains my catch up day – between apps and Hulu anything I miss will be devoured within these 24 hours.
Sunday – CBS is screwing the populace hiding the superb Star Trek: Discovery behind its $6 pay wall. The show is great for Trekkies and newbies alike, with an African American female lead in Sonequa Martin Green (The Walking Dead). In addition to Trek, Showtime via Hulu boasts The Chi. From Lena Waithe and Common is the multi-narrative portrait of Chicago lives.
This is the schedule as of now. Subject to change of course.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD | When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, no one imagined how far its reach would stretch. Before the animated series and the Netflix sagas, ABC presented a little show that could with SHIELD. Anchored by Greg Kelly’s Agent Coulson, the weekly serial of the more mortal heroes told how everyday folk coped with aliens, superheroes and HYDRA. While it definitely crawled before it could walk, the series now runs as one of the best comic shows on TV.
Hollywood Shuffle | Robert Townsend’s satirical film on being a black actor in Hollywood opened in 1987. Thirty years later #OscarsSoWhite and other rallying cries for inclusion still ring like trumpets at the Battle of Jericho. The hilarious commentary on the industry’s color problem went virtually unnoticed then. They won’t ignore us today or tomorrow.
Return of 4Eva | Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. rattled the cage with his introductory debut KRIT Wuz Here. He followed up with the superior Return of 4Eva. Atop mostly self-produced beats, he flexed his skills as a lyricist on the glorious “R4 Theme Song.” Boasted on the trunk-banging “My Sub,” and touched hearts with the sentimental “The Vent.” One of my favorite projects of the last decade, K.R.I.T. remains one of the most underappreciated in the game. If you’re late, catch up on Oct. 27th as he drops his double album 4Eva is a Mighty Long Time.
Ugly Betty | This hysterical American take on a Spanish telenovela packed as much heart as it did laughs. America Ferrera delivered as the spunky and determined Betty, who battled posh naysayers at Meade Publications. Before the devil wore Prada, she probably worked for Vanessa Williams’ Wilhemina Slater, the icy nemesis at Mode Magazine. Ugly Betty was a bright light of fun, inclusion and drama that lit my college years.
Heroes | Another gem during my college tenure. NBC’s venture into superheroes without the capes and spandex was an ambitious leap for network TV. And the first season was absolutely perfect. Enough mystery and grit with each character. And then there was the penultimate season finale, which paved the way for the rest of the series. Midway through season two, it lost its footing and struggled for three more seasons. Even its’ reboot a year or so ago was abysmal. But we’ll always have that extraordinary first season: save the cheerleader. save the world.
Collateral | It’s rare I enjoy an action film that doesn’t involve comic characters, but this film peaked my interest. The same year Jamie Foxx dazzled the Academy with Ray, he and Tom Cruise irked out a gritty tale of true heroism. Cruise’s take as a cold-blooded hitman who enters Foxx’s cab during an evening of work is a sleek examination of human behavior. Pure good versus evil, and how the two are never that far apart.
Get Out | Yes, this movie just dropped this year. Yes, it may have had flaws. It wasn’t even an actual horror film, in the traditional sense. But Jordan Peele’s social examination of America’s living nightmare stuck a chord with everyone. Not only is it the highest-grossing film from a black director with an original screenplay, it has been an accelerant for the discussion of race in America.
Broke With Expensive Taste | How does one explain a problem like Azealia Banks. The NYC native is an insanely talented lyricist, singer and potentially actress. She’s bold artistically and has hits that stick like grits. But that boldness erodes any chance she ascends as hip-hop royalty. Instead her mouth is known more for feuding with the public than it is for spitting rhymes. Despite this her debut album is one of the best rap albums of the decade. Hands down.
B’Day | I was a casual fan of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter in 2006. I enjoyed “Crazy in Love” and mimicked the routine in “Baby Boy.” But I didn’t understand the direction of her sophomore LP. Not on first listen. Everything felt forced. It was loud and overbearing. Plus her eccentric performance of “Deja Vu” at the BET Awards that year had me Ray Charles to this era – until she dropped those videos. And one by one my defenses fell. I succumbed to the honey in her hive, hypnotized by “Upgrade U,” “Freakum Dress” and “Green Light.” While I still dodge “Irreplaceable” I no longer deny the moment Beyoncé leveled up before our eyes. Nothing was ever the same.
Here at LorinHates “Entertainment Last Night” is my daily roundup of television. Instead of trying to piece together separate reviews for each show, I’ll summarize highs and lows of each evening.
Sunday saw the premiere of Fox’s supernatural comedy Ghosted, HBO’s fourth entry of The Deuce and ABC’s Kyra Sedgwick-led Ten Days in the Valley. Unfortunately I’m an episdoe behind on The Deuce so that will have to wait until later this week.
I finally took the time to view the highly-anticipated, critically-panned premiere of Marvel’s Inhumans, a new comic series on ABC. The show compliments the MCU’s already established TV narrative about a race of beings with extraordinary abilities. Viewed as abnormal they reside on the moon under the reign of a king and queen. But when a coup ruptures their kingdom, the royal family is forced to flee to Earth.
Expectations were high for the series, as Marvel aimed to capitalize off their wildly popular cinematic and television universes. However their latest ventures – last year’s Iron Fist and this summer’s The Defenders – both failed to deliver on the same level as their predecessors. And unfortunately, Inhumans has followed this downward trend.
Frankly it’s failure to launch after the success of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD was puzzling. Of course SHIELD had it’s own issues early on, but it seemed to fair much better even with the blemishes. And it has since become one of the better superhero shows on TV.
What’s wrong with Inhumans? A lot. But let me start with what I did enjoy. I love that they’re in Hawaii. The destination is vast and gorgeous; and, it specifically highlights a multitude of Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders actors. Something we don’t see everyday on TV or in film. I also enjoyed some of the fight scenes – specifically with Maximus’ diabolical right hand.
Speaking of Maximus he is pretty good in all his scenes, given he is the axis of the plot. I also enjoyed Karnak. These two along with Medusa delivered some of my favorite moments.
Now the bad:
The pacing for two episodes was not good.
There was no time to establish these new characters strong enough to care about them. A 10-minute stop-animation prologue to describe their history would have been great. And then we could have seen the familial bond among them and their people. Instead of rushing the coup at the end of episode one, they could have saved the betrayal as the cliffhanger in the second episdoe, making Maximus’ eventual turn more dramatic, unexpected.
Some scenes were so horribly acted/dramatized they became hilarious.
The opening scene with Triton was horrendous. The dialogue was elementary and his demise so early carried no emotional weight
The actress playing the princess is the weakest link in ALL her scenes. She’s giving high school theater and it’s uncomfortable
Gorgon’s encounter with the surfers felt incredibly tone deaf (thematically and racially) and added nothing to the story
Medusa’s scalping was unintentionally hilarious; where did Maximus find clippers?
The dynamic between the cop from Barbershop and Felicity Smoak’s doppelganger is incredibly basic and keenly sexist. Maybe it was suppose to be sexist but why? And how could he not believe in her theory when he lives in a world with Iron Man?
The Inhumans’ inconsistent knowledge of Earth made for some vast plot holes. Black Bolt doesn’t know what handcuffs are, but Medusa knows what a bus is. How have they examined Earth from a far and not know anything about its culture and/or customs?
There isn’t a single black woman or girl in Hawaii or in Attila. Why come we never can give a sister some play?
Those were my main gripes. I may give the third episode a chance (SHIELD did get it together) but I can’t promise anything. From initial thoughts, to the trailer, IMAX reviews and now the actual premiere, bad has been the constant synopsis. If this misfires, hopefully it fades as quietly as Black Bolt appears in all his scenes. If not we do have Netflix’s The Punisher, Hulu’s Runaways and Fox’s The Gifted to drown it out.
Last week’s two-hour finale of Scandal felt like the beginning of the end. And that’s because it was. After six seasons Shonda Rhimes’ birther of live-tweeting prime time will air its final season in the fall. What better send-off than the show’s hero living long enough to transition to a villain. Olivia Pope forever relinquished her White Hat when she summoned newly-appointed Vice President Luna Vargas to take her own life. That’s right. The former #Gladiator-in-chief pressured the second-highest powerful individual in the land to commit suicide. A somber tribute to her husband – the late president-elect – whom she had assassinated. Because you’re nobody ’til somebody kills you.
Granted Olivia’s track record isn’t clean. We’ve witnessed her the past five seasons fix an election, carry on an affair with the president and murder a man with a metal chair. But in fairness, he had it coming – and these other acts were for the greater good. Regardless of her methods, Olivia always retreated back to her haven of light whenever her gut tip-toed too close to the darkness. But this time Olivia didn’t retreat. She dove in head first, swimming, treading, inviting the darkness to dwell within. The White Hat is dead. Long live Command.
I believe Olivia was destined for diabolical greatness – it’s hereditary. Both Rowan and Maya are evil personified. Cold, calculating parents who taught their only offspring to want nothing but the best. Liv’s thirst for power had always been evident. She possessed the Force, stemming her Jedi mind tricks with Pope and Associates. But the closer she was to the White House, the stronger the dark side begged her to loose her defenses.
Her aligning with the Empire was first evident when she and Fitz went “public.” She never really loved the man; she loved the access he possessed and worked her black girl magic on him like white on rice. The lust surfaced again in the attempt to cast Mellie as the first female president. She could taste the blood in the water. Now that the mantle is finally hers, nothing and no one wills stand in her way.
I adore this newly, self-aware Olivia. She’s embracing the monster within. She sees the blood on her hands and isn’t washing them off. She’d rather licks her hands clean, enough for her next target.