Category Archives: Television Reviews

IR TV Review: STAR WARS – CLONE WARS – FINAL SEASON – EPISODE 4 (“Unfinished Business”) [Disney+]

The continual force of The Bad Batch is based within the idea of whether or not a certain member of the group can be trusted. The idea is sticking to orders but also thinking outside the box. In this 4th episode: “Unfinished Business”, the question becomes one of trust or betrayal, either internally or externally within certain characters. Having rescued Echo, there is a possibility for dealing a blow for The Republic because of the information within this detached trooper’s head. The idea of what dictates loyalty is one that comes to bear for more than one character. Anakin’s forward momentum, especially in how he sees his path within the Jedi, seems to waver a little in this episode. However, the tendency and what it is occurring at this specific time is another issue entirely. We are also seeing in a flip tendency much more of Mace Windu’s hubris in terms of how he is approaching his mission. Whereas in earlier seasons of Clone Wars, his actions might have been seen as tongue-in-cheek, there is almost a vindictiveness here which is interesting to behold. The resolution also speaks to a division of sorts, not necessarily in idealism but ideology which is separate. It closes the door to a point on one possibility but opens up possibilities of internal strife to another.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: PICARD – EPISODE 8 (“Broken Pieces”) [CBS All Access]

The intention of character is based within the ideal of who a person is destined to be, what they are willing to show the world and the intentioned basis of what they believe their overall goal to be. The essence within the 8th episode of “Star Trek: Picard” aptly titled “Broken Pieces” reflects this in the ideals of the people involved in this tome, specifically the ones specifically on a ship heading for a Starbase then another specific destination. The main one of course is Soji, as her life has been upended and she is still coming to terms whether her life is tangibly real or not. She is finding certain balance points which are interesting especially when it comes to the captain of her new ship. The show, in this episode, is focusing on the nature of duality. As it progresses at one point Picard is sitting across from Soji asking a very pertinent question, and Picard almost sidesteps it until she brings him to task instinctually but unknowingly. It is a very big character moment for Picard. But it reflects backs too in Raffi and the Captain’s interactions which also take on a very existential point which oddly enough brings to mind issues of tendency from The Doctor on “Voyager”. It is dynamic and unusual and perhaps the first time we have seen this kind of progression in quite this way on Star Trek (in a case where it didn’t involve a holodeck).

On the flip side there is a Seven Of Nine issue which plays into duality within a method of control or perhaps tendency. It is a hard reflexive moment which interestingly enough is not even her own and yet in the moments seen speak volumes. Alison Pill’s doctor character is the McGuffin here because she is intelligent enough to be believed but scared enough to do anything, especially with the crazed look in her eyes around Soji. The ideas of mental stability but also trangression are themes that are interestingly diametric here from scene to scene. And so the changing perspective within the series continues.

B+

By Tim Wassberg

IR TV Review: AMAZING STORIES – EPISODE 1 (“The Cellar”) [AppleTV+]

The re-emergence of a nostalgic and well defined brand is always very tricky. Very few reboots or sequels in any way, shape or form can pull it off. The only one that comes to mind in recent memory is “Blade Runner 2049” which tends to get better with each subsequent viewing. The newest addition to this pantheon (dependent if it can sustain) is the Apple TV+ restarting or restoration of the brand of “Amazing Stories”. With Steven Spielberg involved and some former X-Files exec producers, it could have gone many different ways depending how they launched. The first episode is a simple story but updated for modern times but it understands exactly what “Amazing Stories” is about: awe, heart and dreams. Though it takes a couple minutes to get going, once it grabs hold, it is phenomenal. It feels like the 80s series but with everything we have today. It is hard to describe at times but even the opening credits set to the same original music just thrills. “Twilight Zone” on CBS All Access tried but it didn’t catch on. Maybe it will soon. But something was missing from that iteration. That is not the case. At least for this first episode.

This first episode, entitled “The Cellar” is both heartbreaking and yet a genre piece. A love story yet an adventure. It doesn’t need to explain everything and yet it shows the viewer everything they need to see and know. “Modern Love” did this to a point with Amazon but it came and went with certain episodes. With this kind of beautiful and lingering piece out of the box, here’s hoping “Amazing Stories” in its new form knows how to maintain. This reviewer doesn’t want to give any of the story away lest it be ruined but everything seems to work effortlessly. Casting of the episode is exactly right at the beginning even if you don’t know it. The scenes, especially in a certain club or sorts, is perfectly balanced. It is not overdone with effects or camera tricks. It is simple story with flourishes at certain points but, in no way, overdone. And at an hour long, this reviewer was worried the story would drag. It did not. “The Cellar” points to the basis of the story but it revolves in a different circle. For a return to form, this new “Amazing Stories” is just what is needed.

A

By Tim Wassberg

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