Cuckoo

 

What we expected:

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Picture Courtesy of BBC Three and Netflix

What we got:

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Picture Courtesy of BBC Three and Netflix

While it may not be completely fair to review this show without even having finished the first season I assure you I did try.  I made it all the way to the end of episode two, which I think was a feat in and of itself.  I feel as if I am Frodo on such a journey but no reward in the end.  The first season only consists of 6 episodes which does not make it any more bearable which is even more disappointing since it is a Netflix Original series and they have done so well thus far.

A husband and wife (Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale) are preparing to welcome their daughter Rachel (Tamla Kari) home after her travels abroad.  She has finished school and is on track to complete a medical degree at university.  When the daughter returns with an unexpected surprise, the parents find that the daughter they knew has become a completely new person.  Long gone are the days of practicality, ambitions and cleanliness, welcome free loading and free love.  While traveling abroad, Rachel met Cuckoo (Andy Samberg), fell in love and married in some obscure native ceremony.  The family tries to adjust to the return of their body snatched daughter while trying to swallow the hard pill that is Cuckoo.

The comedy in the series surrounds the absolute absurdity that is the character of Cuckoo, a free loving, free loading and completely unaware individual in comparison to his new family and specifically new father-in-law who you know… showers and works for a living.  I am aware that the character is fictional and his actions and words were chosen for effect, except the most annoying thing is there are people exactly like Cuckoo in the real world.  Free love and individuality, peace and togetherness blah blah blah I get it, but do that on your own time and dime, not on others.

I would like to point out that the only reason I started watching the show was the false advertising on Netflix.  The show is on its fifth season, though I don’t know how it managed that, which creates the confusion for initial viewers.  For starters the poster ad for the show is of Greg Davies and Taylor Lautner.  “Rachel shocks her proper British parents when she marries an American hippie, but it’s just the first in a series of surprises for the family.”  One could only assume when seeing this that Taylor Lautner is Cuckoo.  Also, at the time, there was a description for the show of the father walking in on Cuckoo naked.  I thought to myself, Taylor Lautner, point, naked? point, point.  Sadly while there is some nudity it is of Andy Samberg, who is in fact Cuckoo, and Lautner does not actually make an appearance onto the show until season two.  The fact that I must endure a further four episodes just to reach season two makes it not even worth it.  I would almost consider skipping the first season entirely just to see season two and see if it was worth the journey just for Lautner.

Unless you can vouch for season two, three, four or five being any better, there is no way I am going to continue this dreadful series and put up with the cringeworthy antics of Andy Samberg.

Riverdale Season One

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Picture Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures, The CW and Netflix

Whether you were a fan of Archie comics or not, Riverdale is a new hit series released on Netflix guaranteed to please.  While the fan base for the show could be clearly geared towards the younger viewers, the show creates a dark twist to the lives of these wholesome comic book characters and feeds on the addiction of mystery, lies and secrets that we all so eagerly crave from a show.

Riverdale is the setting for our wholesome town with our wholesome characters and as with all things wholesome comes secrets and lies.  The town is turned upside down when Jason Blossom, the son one of the towns most prominent families, is found murdered.  His death has sent shockwaves throughout the small town, but the most shocking is the fact that almost everyone in town could potentially be the killer.

One of the main characters, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) has set fire to the ginger community by creating a new sexy face to what people imagine when they think of a ginger.  (I’ll just point out that KJ’s natural hair color is not actually red and his appearance is a severe contrast to an actual ginger such as Trevor Stines who plays Jason Blossom.)  Regardless of your tastes both male and females cannot deny that KJ makes one very sexy ginger and if you aren’t entirely convinced, he even has an accent from his native New Zealand which you can check out in some of his Instagram posts: kjapa (you’re welcome).  Our underdog and surprising entry is Cole Sprouse who plays Jughead Jones.  You may remember Sprouse better from such things as Big Daddy, Friends (Monica Bang) and the Suite Life of Zac and Cody.  As handsome as our Archie may be, Jughead adds some much needed depth to the story and the characters.  I wasn’t entirely convinced by his one liner angsty comments in the beginning, but I’ve come to like him as our dark narrator. His darkness is balanced by that of the sweet Elizabeth “Betty” Cooper and a dash of spice with Veronica Lodge.  While there are things that we love above each of these main characters I can’t help but have a soft spot for Cheryl Blossom.  She is one half of the Blossom family twins and is a fierce bombshell of a red head whose wealth creates a glamour in both her home decor and her killer outfits.

The show has made its attempts at sending messages through its episodes but I much prefer when it sticks to the secrets and lies.  Only three episodes in it had already tried to cram in slut shaming and the race card while also casually inserting the subliminal push for teens that Twitter is the new teendom and Facebook is for seniors.  This is also part of that strange thing that shows do when they portray Highschool students as older than they actually are by drinking coffee all the time and drinking alcohol at clubs while still clearly well below the legal age limit.  On the topic of young and old…As passing the torch from one teen show to the next, Luke Perry is cast as Archie Andrew’s father Fred Andrews.  As young and attractive are the new cast, Luke Perry portrays the obvious effects of drugs and alcohol that an actor can be exposed to looking more like grandpa Andrews rather than dad Andrews.

Riverdale has that addictive mystery thriller quality where every person on the show could be a suspect.  This can become tedious at times because you know that the first few sets of people pinned as the killer will be cleared in one way or another making way for our next suspect.  The murderer of Jason Blossom is the pinnacle of season one, and while we may know, or not know, who that may be after season one, Riverdale has planted a few seeds to help create some lasting power for the seasons to come.  There are many thrilling events and shocking secrets revealed in each episode of the season, but I must admit that there is a pretty obvious element of predictability when it comes to the show.  I’ve been able to predict many events and even been able to quote lines before they are spoken much to the chagrin of those around me.  Still, I am very much behind Riverdale and can’t wait to see which of my expected plot seeds will Blossom in season two.

 

Scream Queens Season One

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Picture Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

 

These days you can barely take a crap in your own home without someone finding out about it and taking offence to it.  Frankly, your offence and your easily offended nature are offensive to me and my butt hole.

Scream Queens is one of those shows that I am actually shocked that it was able to even air on TV/Netflix and that the cast of the show haven’t been hunted down on social meeting and barraged by a wall of complainers.  The show is an obvious horror comedy that basically takes every opportunity that it can to make an offensive comment about something, anything and anyone.  Sometimes while watching the show you have to do a double take and say, Did they really just say/do that?

Season one of Scream Queens centres around a fictional university in the U.S. where a serial killer dons the schools mascot uniform and begins killing the students.  The victims centre around the sorority of Kappa Kappa Tau, a well known sorority for having the prettiest and most popular girls every year.  It is actually the fact that they are so racist and elitist that makes them the sorority that every girl wants to be part of.  The sorority is lead by Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and her gaggle of minions dubbed The Chanels.  Each of the original Chanel’s are given a number ranging from 1 to 5. These include: Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd), Chanel #4 died prior to the pilot and Chanel#5 (Abigail Breslin).  The Chanels are an elite group of rich daddy’s girls that plague and torment the university.  They stand for everything that the Dean of the university is against and so Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) makes it her mission to shut down the sorority for good.  As part of her mission to push the girls of Kappa Kappa Tau, the Dean makes it mandatory for the house to allow any pledge to join the house.  This strips the house of its exclusivity and creates a group of misfits that are an extreme contrast to The Chanels.  When a serial killer sets its sights on Kappa Kappa Tau, The Chanels and their new recruits must band together to try to protect one another and to unmask their killer and the reason behind the killings.

With the show being set on a university and within a sorority we have the added benefit of many different character roles to follow, and also plenty of victims.  The Chanels may be known as their number, but each one has their own name and their own personality.  Something that each character also has are their own skeletons.  The secrets from the past mixed and those of the present along side the over the top personalities helps to create a stronger storyline instead of a straight forward serial killer slasher show.  It also doesn’t hurt to have so many familiar faces added to the cast to keep us coming back including:  Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Jonas and an appearance by Chad Michael Murray.

The show is full of over the top comedy, cheesy horror (and actual horror) with the tantalizing element of mystery.  The thing that all these shows have in common is the fact that there is a killer and us as the viewer wants nothing more than to find out who it is.  This is what keeps us coming back for more as we target one person with a full belief that they are the killer, only to find out that they aren’t, to set our sights on the next person for the same pattern to continue.  This game allows the show to continue longer than just one episode and also keeps the viewers coming back; however, it can also get a little annoying.

There are moments of humour throughout the season, but I must admit I was hoping for more laughs than I actually got.  I appreciated the mystery of trying to work out who the killer is but even that only went so far.  Scream Queens is one of those shows that you don’t love, but the shock factor seems to keep you hanging around.  I wasn’t that impressed by season one, but I must admit that if season two was on Netflix I would have continued with the series.  With even more familiar faces in the second season when it does come available on Netflix, I won’t be surprised to find myself watching.

13 Reasons Why Season One

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Picture Courtesy of Netflix

13 Reasons Why is the controversial series added to Netflix that set off a chain reaction through all of its subscribers.  Based on the novel of the same name by Jay Asher the story focuses on a handful of teenage issues but the focal point is suicide.  It is this subject that ignited so many strong opinions from viewers that they immediately set their fingers to the web to spread their opinions and their campaigns against the show.  People even threatened to cancel their subscriptions to Netflix over the release of the show while continuously pulling a Helen Lovejoy of “won’t somebody please think of the children” which frankly, good riddance to those types.

It has taken me a long time to begin this review as it took me just as long to try and formulate my feelings towards the show while watching it.  Let us all begin with the fact that the main character of the show commits suicide.  This is not a spoiler as it is thrown in our face during the first episode and every minute of each episode thereafter.  Perhaps most peoples first and normal reaction was to pity our main character Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford).  What caused a young girl so much pain that she was willing to end her life you may have asked?  Don’t worry, because Hannah Baker has set out 13 Reasons Why and has recorded them onto cassette tapes for her victims to hear.  I can only imagine the spark that that word just set off in your brain as you read this.  Victim.  Clearly the girl who has killed herself is the victim, how could you possibly say that these people who she singles out as being the cause of her suicide are not to blame?  Let us continue and find out, shall we?

Mental health is a very serious subject and something that should not be discussed lightly.  There are too few discussions on the subject that only add to the difficulty that so many people have when it comes to discussing the topic.  Or maybe the most difficult part is that we don’t know what it is that we are discussing?  Mental health differs for each person.  While you can create terms and categories that each person who suffers from mental illness can fall into, each person within those groups feels things differently.     This effectively creates even further subgroups branching out organically creating a complex road map that fades away into the unknown.  While one could applaud Asher for his efforts at trying to bring teenage issues, mental health issues and suicide to the lime light, one can’t help but think how much money follows the obvious reactions he knew he would achieve.  Whether you achieved good or bad, Asher, you know you made gold.

Hannah Baker may be our main character and narrator, but as we know, she has killed herself, so the solution to this hitch is to insert Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette).  The thing about Clay Jensen is that from what we can tell he is actually a really good guy.  He is not the captain of the football team, he is not the smartest person in the class and he is also not the bully, and yet maybe he is?  What do we really know about Clay?  What do we know about any of the students from the school?  What we do know is that a few of these students happen to spotlight in Hannah Bakers tapes and we also know that Clay happens to be one of them.  The rules of the game, though I choose the word game loosely,  you receive a mysterious box full of cassette tapes labeled 1 through 13 along with a map.  You listen to the tapes, follow the instructions and use the map.  Once done you pass the tapes on to the next person in line.  Whether each person was meant to listen to all the tapes or just their own isn’t necessarily clear; however, there is no way of knowing which tape is yours without listening to them all.  This also means that while you now know what role you played in Hannah Baker’s suicide, you now also know what role everyone else played.  You could easily just not listen to the tapes.  You could pass them on to someone else, not accept them, or simply just destroy them, but could you live  with yourself not knowing what it is that you did that trigger her death?  Could you live with the truth of what you did being shared with the entire world?  Let the mental abuse roll on.

13 Reasons Why is like the saying “watching a car crash.  It is so horrifying but you cannot stop yourself and you cannot look away.”  Have you ever taken the bus and passed a car accident?  Instead of being a “rubber necker” and jumping out of your seat to see what is going on, instead try looking at the people around you.  You’ll notice that every single person has immediately stopped what they are doing and are looking on in shock and awe.  The unknown is also a very terrifying concept.  You are given a giant red button that says push me and you are told not to push it.  How long could you last?  The same as each person on the tapes needed to know what they did, the viewers are forced to continue each episode from tapes 1 side A and Side B to tape 13.  The need to know who, what, where, when, why and how is just too hard for all of us to resist.

Normally I can formulate my opinion on something rather quickly, but what to say about 13 Reasons Why after episode 1 was no simpler after episode 13.  I’d like to go back to the  word victim.  Can you really say that anyone in the show is a victim?  Each person has their own blame to take responsibility for, but rather than allowing each person to do that Hannah Baker has devised a plan to shame each person and share it with the world. Had she not killed herself and still released a series of tapes, while the people on the tapes are at fault for their own actions, it would be easy to also call Hannah Baker a bully.  We live in a world where today everyone is a bully, everyone is at fault, everyone is a good person, and everyone is a bad person.  Your opinion matters, but it is also the wrong opinion and while you have certain freedoms to share your opinion, you should not be allowed to do so so freely.  You are damned if you do and you are damned if you don’t.

Clay Jensen may be on those tapes, but what Hannah did to Clay by putting him on the tapes was a severe case of mental abuse.  Clay loved Hannah and Clay thought he had been a good friend to Hannah.  I think it is safe to say that Clay Jensen is a good person, especially compared to most of us at his age, or any age.  There is always something you or I could do more for someone else, but is it fair to lay such a burden on someone like Clay?  There are people like Clay all over the world who could be summed up into the theme of The Giving Tree.  People will take and take from those trees until they are nothing and simply move on to the next tree while saying that now dead tree could have done more for all the takers.  Let us also point out the fact that this is High School, a cluster fuck full of horrible people all trying to find out who they are while being pitted against each other in the ultimate form of Hunger Games.

Clearly I could rambled on about this series for ages.  For those of you who were able to make it to the end of the series, congratulations on becoming the Victor in this endless Hunger Games called life.  Let us all now take some time to self reflect on the little things that we do each day, the little things that we could do in our lives to make a difference and the little things that we could do in other peoples lives to make a difference.  These are great themes and ideas, but while asking what everyone else and everything else can do for you, you should also be asking what it is you can do for yourself.  There are outlets for everyone and all you need to do is ask.  Easier said than done and something that may never be resolved, but I think we can all agree that killing ourselves and creating tapes, videos, mashups and other such terrorizing methods is not the answer, ever.

I had to laugh at the announcement that Netflix was forced to put out regarding 13 Reasons Why season 2.  This has never been done for any other show, but Netflix actually had to put out a formal announcement about how season two will play out in order to try to appease and release the building backlash from the show.  I couldn’t tell you for sure whether or not I would be watching season two.  It all comes back to the unknown, we all want to find out what happens right?  We need to make sure there is some sort of justice served in the end.  A life for a life will make everything right….right?

 

The Returned (2015)

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Picture Courtesy of A&E Studio

The Returned is an English remake of the 2012 French show of the same name (translated).  In a remote mountain community, the town is turned upside down when a select few of their dead return.  They have not changed since the day they died and for the dead no time has passed at all.  Even more confusing for the returned is the fact that they are unaware of their own passing.  Coming back to the ones they love they must try to understand what has happened to them while trying to assimilate back into their families and lives that they left behind.  There does not seem to be any pattern as to who returns as there are some who have been dead for decades and others mere moments before returning.  Things seem to hint towards the towns water supply and dam all going back to the towns tragic past where the dam burst and killed 28 of the towns people.

I had never heard of the original French version of The Returned, but when preparing do my review and coming across a preview for the French version it’s not hard to miss the similarities.  There are many scenes from the preview alone that mirror the 2015 English remake which may give hope to those who enjoyed this remake.  Going into the first season I was aware that there were only 10 episodes.  I was also aware that while the show had aired on A&E and is now available on Netflix, the show was cancelled with only the one season and without completing the season finale.  You read that correctly.  If you were to entertain any ideas of watching this show on Netflix, keep in mind that you will have to endure a wild cliff hanger right before things start to come to ahead.

The character interactions can become tedious at times, but The Returned has a way of creating a great deal of suspense and shocking revelations during their short time on air.  Even with the familiar faces of some actors/actresses, it wasn’t enough to build enough viewers for them to even finish the season finale, leaving the show at its highest peak.  Though I have never seen any of the French episodes, and to be honest have no intentions of looking into them, if you did watch the English series and cannot bare the unknown you may have a chance at finding out what happens to The Returned.  The original French version of The Returned is based on the film of the same name released in 2004.  The first season of The Returns (Les Revenants) was released in 2012 and dubbed the French zombie show around the height of The Walking Dead.  Oddly enough, the second season was not released until 2015.  Now that both the first and second season have been released and completed you may have your chance to finish the chilling tale, though the suspense may be hindered by the addition of subtitles.

It’s hard to suggest that you watch the series knowing that it doesn’t end and basically makes the whole experience pointless.  From what is available on Netflix, the show has just enough strange and thrilling moments to keep you guessing and hanging on, hanging on forever never knowing what happens, or jumping over to the original French version which may hold the secrets you can’t live without.  Unfortunately, I will not be Returning to this show and am leaving this experience dead in the water.

 

 

Shadow Hunters The Mortal Instruments: Season One and Two

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Picture Courtesy of Disney-ABC Domestic Television and Netflix

Based on the best selling novels written by Cassandra Clare, the Shadow Hunters TV series gives us an extended glimpse into characters and a world we have come to love.  While I was excited for the announcement for the TV series, there is something about being hooked on a week to week viewing along with season breaks that tends to steer me clear of initially watching these shows.  With the introduction of more and more shows being made in this way on Netflix and the convenience of Netflix on multiple devices I have become more open to the idea of starting series like these.  Of course, having the added benefit of almost two seasons finished before I started didn’t hurt.  The TV series has the interesting challenge of not only being compared to the books that is often a touchy subject with book to movie adaptations, but a film has already been done and must now compete with both the books and the film.  I think at this stage though we can all agree that while we loved watching the Mortal Instrument: City of Bones film adaptation, there were far too many things that went wrong to ever hope for additional films in the series.  That is where the TV series comes in.  It is able to continue the story on a smaller scale, with the freedom of time and seasons, as well as the ability to alter and expand on characters and scenarios.

Season One

For those unfamiliar with the series, it is about a girl named Clarissa (Clary) Fray who on her eighteen birthday discovers that her mother has been blocking an entire world from her, one that she is thrust into without the help of her mother.  Clary’s mother is kidnaped by a dark Shadow Hunter named Valentine and while Clary must try to deal with the kidnapping of her mother, she must also try to comprehend the existence of demons, vampires, werewolves, shadow hunters and angels.  The series written by Cassandra Clare is very expansive having a main series, a prequel series and other side series to build off this intriguing new world.

I think we can all agree that the show is already better than the movie after watching the first episode and finally getting a Jace we deserve.  While everyone has their own tastes, we all know the only thing going for the Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) from the film was the accent.  While our new Jace (Dominic Sherwood) may seem a bit rough around the edges at first, his character and his two toned eyes start to grow on us.

The main character of Clarissa (Clary) is played by Katherine McNamara who brings a better visual portrayal than that of Lilly Collins in the film version (more of what I had pictured), though the acting abilities are non-comparable.  Though we can sympathize with Clary’s plight, her acting is a hard pill to swallow complete with cringe worthy scenes and classic campy horror movie running.

I can’t really touch on the character of Clary’s mother Jocelyn Fray (Maxim Roy) for comparison purposes as I can’t even remember Clary’s mother in the film.  The TV series mother had a rocky start as well, though this seems to improve as the series progresses.

Clary’s best friend is Simon Lewis (Alberto Rosende), the awkward nerd who also has a hipster rock band is a favourite for many.  While Clary’s life is turned upside down with the knowledge of the Shadow World, it doesn’t take long for Simon to be dragged in and buried by the events. (Ha!)  As for Simon’s character, we will touch on him more in season two.

Alec Lightwood….oi… where to start.  Played by Matthew Daddario, as our struggling gay shadow hunter it took me quite some time to come to terms with his early 2000’s hip mom lesbian haircut.  Sure it is a very shallow thing to point out, but it truly overshadowed his entire character for the whole season.  While Alec’s character can be a bit of a pain in the ass in both versions, I have to say I prefer Daddario’s portrayal over Kevin Zegers.

Isabelle Lightwood (Emeraude Toubia), Alec’s sister, is on par with our main heroin Clary, but with the added benefit of not being the main heroin.  Isabelle is able to be all the things we want to be without the harsh spotlight.  Isabelle is a bad ass warrior who hooks up with all the good looking bad guys all while wearing revealing clothing, heels and looking hot.  While Jemima West was able to portray the good looking aspect of Isabelle, Toubia’s ethnicity adds a much needed spice to Isabelle’s character.

Luke Garroway, Jocelyn’s boyfriend and ex-shadow hunter turned werewolf had little change in the film version for Aidan Turner who portrayed a werewolf for three years on the show Being Human.  The show version turned things up with the very attractive Isaiah Mustafa who is a vast improvement.

Magnus Bane is a very enigmatic character and I was worried how they would portray him in the tv series compared to the film.  The film stars Godfrey Goa who played a great Magnus and I was very pleased to see that Harry Shum Jr. was able to keep up and not let us down.  While everyone is meant to watch the story of Jace and Clary, it is the story of Alec and Magnus that really steals the show (though struggling and awkward at first).

While Valentine Morgenstern is our villain we should not like him in any way shape or form.  The tv series cast Alan van Sprang who is a more likely depiction of Valentine, though we can’t help but miss the face of Jonathan Rhys Meyers from the film version.

While there are many more actors and actresses that could be touched on, these are the relative main characters of the show.  The first season for the TV series of Shadow Hunters can be summed up as amateur and low budget.  Despite these things the show is engaging in a way that we can’t help but enjoy the extended retelling of Clare’s best selling stories, along with the unknown for the embellishments that the tv series introduced.  There were many conflicting things with the first season with some actors and actresses needing much needed help compared to others, amazing scenes and props in some areas while issues in others.  The weapons weren’t something I already touched on, but the runes or “tattoos” have always been a confusion topic.  Some of the runes are so large that you have to wonder how the Shadow Hunter is able to continue adding more.  Could it be that the life expectancy of a Shadow Hunter is so short that they have never run into the situation? Or is there more that we are missing when it comes to these magic symbols?  The series took liberties when it came to the markings by having some in black, some in dark red, and some showing up as scarred flesh.  Some were most obvious outlines and coloured in, while others were more authentic.  These were just some of the issues that the first season ran into.

The first season was a rocky start, but enjoyable none the less.  It took no time at all to blast through the first season and well into the second season where you see many of the issues addressed.  The show follows the main points of the books, but as mentioned there are many allowances made for the TV series adaptation that usually occurs with TV series.

Season Two

The first few episodes it is hard to tell the differences, but there are many things that were addressed in the second season to try to clean up from the first.  The actors and actresses seem to have improved their acting abilities (or perhaps we have just become accustom to them after a full season), though there are still moments of cringe.  The Seraph blade weapons have gone from cheesy light sabers to full metal blades with glinting blue runes.  Still not quite what was envisioned in the books but perhaps more visually understandable and pleasing than the first attempt.  They also seem to have gotten the hang of the ruins settling on a full black rather than the shotty attempts and dabbling of the first season.  The show seems to struggle between the boundaries of film budget worthy visuals and made for tv stunts, but still worthy of a TV budget series.  The institute was turned into a more technology heavy headquarters than what was envisioned in the books but I loved the stained glass throughout the institute.

While the story is relatively known to us for the first season, there were many things that were not from the books and things that occurred in the books that are missing from the series.  Most of the time this is done to make things less confusing for the audience and allow those who have not read the books to be able to watch the show from start to finish with no issues.

Although season two is not quite finished with two episodes still to come, one in June 2017 and the other date unreleased at this time, we are left on a bit of a hanger and wondering what is to come next.  The season two finale/break leaves us with a mysterious new character though I imagine there are a few of us who have read the books that have a couple guesses.

I have to say I had my doubts about the first season and I was grateful that the full two seasons were available at the time I started to watch it.  I can’t say what the fate of the show would have held for me had I watched the first season on a weekly basis.  I imagine I would have dropped it for some time to be able to binge watch, but also fear that I may not have picked it up again.  With the convenience of Netflix and the Netflix and Go option for the series I blasted through both seasons and I have to admit I am hooked now (naturally now that I am hooked and have reached the end).

Fans of Cassandra Clare’s novels, as well as fans of all things Shadow World related should really give this show a chance.  As mentioned in all my comments about the first season it is best to at least make it a few episodes into the second season before you really decide your feelings on the show.  It will never live up to the visions we all had in our head but it is definitely better than nothing or having to sit through a second disaster continuing the film adaptations.

Being Human (UK) Season One

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Picture Courtesy of Touchpaper Televsion

Being Human is a British tv series starring supernatural characters.  The series seems to have inspired an American version of the show with a similar concept.  We are all familiar with different legends and supernatural beings, being human explores three different supernatural beings as they live together.  Each has their own struggles that they must battle, each while trying to fight their new abilities and instincts and just be human.

John Mitchell (Aidan Turner) is a vampire and while he is over a hundred years old, he remains frozen in time in his twenties.  John has been able to adapt to his new life and has learned to live among humans.  His quiet existence is threatened by the local vampire group who have other beliefs as to how vampires should be living with humans and who the superior being is.

George Sands (Russell Tovey) is a young werewolf struggling to accept his new circumstances.  With the help of John, the two rent a flat together as John teaches George how to join society as the two work the night shift at the local hospital.  George does not know any other werewolves and has had to learn to cope with his change on his own.  John has tried to help where he can, but there are things that a vampire simply can’t help a werewolf with.

While George and John have decided to move into a flat together to try to live a normal human live, they are joined by the recently deceased Annie Sawyer (Lenora Crichlow) who died in the house.  All Annie can remember is falling down the stairs of their home and all the dreams she had with her fiancé, Owen.  Owen still owing the property continues to come in for maintenance on the house giving Annie chances to see him again.

The three struggle with their own new circumstances with the support of each other.  As much as they try to fit in they must endure persecution making the struggle to try and be human all the more difficult when you cannot see who the real monster is.

John’s character had lived over a hundred years.  He has seen the world change over time but still managed to have little to no style adapting a sort of homeless grunge appearance. Though he had pale skin, he was a very hairy fellow which made it seem like he would have been more suitable for the role of the werewolf.  Having Turner and Tovey reverse roles would not have solved the problem though as Tovey has a softer less aggressive appearance that would not have been suited for the vampire role.

George has difficulties adapting to his role as a werewolf, even after having met one, it is clear he does not have the same aggressive traits, but more timid and gentle.  George is very reminiscent of Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with his high pitched squeaks like that of Ron and spiders.  Tovey as George is likeable and brings comic relief to the trio.  His transformations are silly and nostalgic having the appearance of something you might have seen on Are You Afraid of the Dark with a very fake, yet appealing, werewolf appearance.

Annie’s character is a lost and a little eccentric ghost as she tries to cope with her death and finding out what her purpose is. From the looks of the series, she outlasts both John and George and a main character in the series.

There is something about the brits that I just love.  Being Human has a strange mix of the supernatural flare with the backdrop of a very subdued British tv show.  Don’t let this fool you though as there were many a time while Netflix and Going that I had to jump scenes in order to block out the sex and nudity while in public.  With the sex, nudity, violence and supernatural the show was rather anti-climactic and had a way of carrying on without being overly engaging.  Without the convenience of the show I would not have made it as far as I did to complete the first season.  After discovering there were an additional 4 seasons for a total of 5 I decided to give up on the series.  It was clear when taking a glimpse at some of the other seasons that they increased the budget and visuals, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep me hooked on the series.