TV and Mini-Series Reviews (1-50)
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Biblical epic that try to go through the entire life and deeds of Jesus Christ. Robert Powell has a supernatural look over his performance as Jesus and Olivia Hussey is so beautiful that she could have been a stand-in model for an old oil-painting of the Madonna. I like that it tries to make the fantastic stories in the New Testament as realistic and believable as possible while putting them in a historic context. Christopher Plummer does an excellent Herod Antipas that drivel on his own daughter, Salome, but Michael York makes John the Baptist look like a laughable nut. A lot of the stars also do small cameos but are credited as if they have a major role making it a huge disappointment for fans - Claudia Cardinale has just a small performance for 30 seconds dammit! Jesus' disciples are also underwritten and should have had better developed personalities. I did like that they did the ending ambiguous making the series open for interpretation.
A western epic with a lot of great western action and memorable characters, especially Robert Duvall steals the show. Sadly, that it premiered on network TV makes the bordello visits so tame they become hilarious in their execution as they seem better suited for a family show and the glued-on white beard on Tommy Lee Jones seem better suited for a comedy performance.
I love this romantic fantasy for it's ambitious idea of saying that there is a portal to a fairytale universe where all the old stories come from and continue (clearly this miniseries were inspiration for the fantastic comic book series "Fables" and soapy "Once Upon a Time" later). There is a cute romantic leading duo that is impossible not to warm up to and Rutger Hauer has a good part as The Hunter. The series also has one of the best title sequences of all time and a certain, peculiar kind of charm. Trolls are annoyingly pigheaded. The effects have dated. Planned sequel was never made, especially sad now as there is clearly a big market for it.
The Ups: It is short. It is cute and has naive stories but are sometimes very inspired and have cute bugs interacting. Who can hate the ladybug?
Science fiction show with one of the best casts ever put together on TV. It's use of color and sounds make it trapped in it's own bubble and give it a timeless feeling even fifty years later. Smart stories (for the most part) with great plots and some great inventions. It has one of the most beautiful starships ever designed and the series is full of iconic moments and legendary dialogue. Words that has been created and now exist in everyday life. Several episodes have some pretty risky costumes on some highly attractive girls. The worst episodes (most of them during the series' last season) are so terrible they become Grade Z-fun and hilarious. Low budget make the puppets look like something made in kindergarten and there are several studio-sets of colored background that are terrible to look at and make the series look cheaper than it deserves to be. The moralizing can sometimes ruin an otherwise highly entertaining episode as well. Still, it is impossible to take away the importance of this show and most of the episodes are treasures to behold.
It is impressive that one can find so much depth and variation in a series about sand dunes, desert people and desolate places. Michael Palin gives his usual quirky and interesting comment and feel pretty natural on his journeys which is a plus.
Epic drama historic drama based upon Ken Follett's magnum opus has a lot of entertainment value with an interesting group of characters who have satisfying story arcs. Series looks good on screen probably since it was produced by Ridley Scott though a bigger budget would have helped a lot - especially in the battle sequences and in some aspects of the scenes with action. Only Natalia Wörner has a very thick German accent that is distracting and disappoint somewhat and the series ends with an unsurprising "villain falls down to his death" scene that disappoints.
A intriguing story about how the Catholic Church ruin the emotions that should be between two adult people, but I sat through the entire miniseries feeling that the older priest just was taking advantage of a minor girl that he could legally start to have "fun" with in old age. I never felt this was especially romantic. I felt there was no romantic tension between Chamberlain and Rachel either and it was a as if lot more were happening between Chamberlain and Christopher Plummer to be honest. Bryan Brown and Rachel on the other hand was a dazzling couple together stealing the show from what is meant to be the main romantic story. A disappointing romantic mini series classic that just didn't do it for me, but had it's moments.
We get to see the North and South Pole through the seasons in glorious HD and it is all narrated by Mr. Nature himself, David Attenborough. The footage is so impressive sometimes that one almost start to think it is computer generated imagery. Not strange maybe since a 30 second shot with polar bear babies was shot in the zoo which made some people question the rest of the documentary which is just bullshit from envious journalists really.
A stupid cancelled cop parody show starring Leslie Nielsen that was the inspiration for the rebooted "Naked Gun" series afterwards. It has some great visual gags and the guest stars that get killed even before the credit sequence is finished is a great gag (that "The Grand Tour" has in a way recycled). But some jokes get tired fast like when people take things too literal and the scripts all follow the same pattern with only small tweaks really so it was actually okay that it ended up with only 6 episodes.
Excellent epic soap set to the American Civil War that has everything: love, psychopathic villains, intrigue, war, social problems, surprises, family secrets and murder. Full of interesting actors that it is hard not be impressed by and they play some intriguing characters too. Glorious costumes. Unforgettable title music. It is something of the best things that were produced during the 1980s in this genre. Only minor complain is that it takes liberty with the source material, but since we then got to have Patrick Swayze through both books one and two I don't think any women complained THAT much.
With a even better pace, more action and deaths is "book II" goes pretty epic. Love is answered and lives are broken and the only major problem from this chapter to the next is that they had to replace some actors due to scheduling conflicts.
A decade later came a new chapter in the "North and South" saga. It continues the story and ends it closer to the books' intention so that fans get to finally see North and South rejoined in a kiss at the end. Sadly, it took too long before the new chapter was produced so this concluding mini-series lacks the big budget from the originals. It also is too dark, grimm and brutal compared to the first two books as the series kills off two of the most beloved fan favorites in shocking ways which will make most people hate it - especially those who never read the books in the first place. The lack of Patrick Swayze becomes a huge void to fill too. It is a major disappointment, but not so disappointing that it is a complete waste of time if one gets over the shocks and manage to take down one's expectations.
A smartly written western with a great ensemble (a usual thing for HBO!). Excellent eye to details and rich dialgue. The colorful language is fun for a short while, but also overkill's the flow of the series. Some characters were also criminally underused and it deserved a better ending.
Ambitious and daring drama with a historic flavor filled with great political manipulations. Hot sex scenes add spice to the story. Actors that treat the dialogue as if Shakespeare himself has written it. Surprising plot twists. Too much CGI blood cheapens what is pretty good choreographed action. Too much posing and over-the-top audience reactions during gladiator battles make it feel like a parody. Terrible premiere episode. Exploitation feel over the series that try to put as much gore and sex in the show as humanly possible (and sometimes this takes focus from the story line). The loss of the main actor by cancer is a sad thing indeed and it can be hard to adapt to a new actor taking over the mantle. Pretty much everyone in the show gets a glorious death (as in real life) but it can be pretty hard to see fan favorites and villains suddenly killed off. And the "Vengeance" season has a disappointing story line.
Prequel series that give a deeper understanding to the "Spartacus" universe by giving more background to several characters. It is still a lot of detailed blood and sex-scenes for all us sinners out there and some stuff shown here is so extreme that they would never have passed the ordinary cinema censors. The series has also toned down the use of CGI for this mini which is a good thing.
With a lot of patience and time we get some of the best pictures of plants and trees that have ever been shown to the public in a mainstream nature program. It is interesting to see especially how the wild trees and flowers grow in fast-forward time as this is practically impossible to see for the human eye.
Gritty science fiction and fun fast-paced cowboy stories blended with an excellent ensemble, Fun dialogue and surprising twists and turns at times. It is a series with the heart in the right place and I love the excellent effects. Sadly, Fox fucked up the episodic order and never gave it a chance on screen. Some characters doesn't have the chance to have a good back-story due to its short time on the air which is a shame. Deserves all the attention it has gotten.
Essential documentary for those who want to go into depth about the reasons for the split of Yugoslavia and the terrible slaughter that happened there. Extremely interesting as it contain interview with several people who later became targeted as war criminals and are now deceased. It only needs a sequel or one episode to sum up events for the last fifteen years to really be perfect.
Science fiction on TV grew up and became more adult and for the HBO-generation with the debut of this miniseries. It had a gritty feel, adult problems, sexual situations and some of the most excellent effects seen at that time. The excellent ensemble automatically make an impact. There is a scene that is meant to be shown as an act of mercy before the genocide on Caprica where a baby is killed. It is a hard scene to watch even if it is not particularly graphic. As an mini-series it is too open-ended and it would have been disappointing if it had not gone over to a full series. I take away one star due to the baby and the fact that it is impossible to see this one on it's own.
The ultimate science fiction war series. Unafraid of taking risks nor deleting characters that had run their course. Fantastic acted with thoughtful and riveting writing. Effects and action that kept one's attention. It really felt like it had a planned story to tell all the time with a definitive ending.
The Ups: The normal high quality BBC nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough where cold blooded lizards, turtles, snakes and crocodiles (to name a few!)show that they have been misunderstood and really have a warm side. Gorgeously shot and with a lot of interesting facts which is the norm for BBC.
British series that want to be more SCIENCE than FICTION and tell mysterious stories in a kind-of "X-Files" style. Patrick Stewart plays the lead convincingly, but the female "bodyguard" written in as this series' skeptic and possible love interest is not that interesting and it would have been more fun only to see Stewart leading the show alone with the guests. It only lasted one season never really getting the chance to show what it was made of.
A fun action spy show with a lot of great guest stars and it got huge help from it's supporting cast, especially Bruce Campbell and Sharon Gless. It really tries to have some intelligence in it's action and deliver often good explosions and car crashes. Sadly it also has too many filler episodes and it has a "MacGyver" quality over it where our heroes seem to get themselves out of every danger by making a weapon or a trap of things they find on their way. It's light touch disappeared during it's final seasons when it got pretty dark for the fans who fell in love with it so be warned. But the big question is.... What happened to Gabrielle Anwar's lips and face?
The watchable Bruce Campbell lead this spin-off movie from "Burn Notice" and show how the series would have been a lighter and funnier show with him as the important leading man. The main story is disappointing and lacks any surprises or twists that one can talk about. The action scenes also feel too weak at times and Kiele Sanchez is a weak actress.
Mix Tim Burton, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Frank Capra and old fashioned storytelling and this is pretty close to what you get here. It is beautifully shot, has great coloring and the cutest romantic couple that has ever been on screen (and they never ever exchange one moment of bodily fluids - like a kiss!). Great supporting cast too with Chi McBride and Kristin Chenoweth as stand outs! It love the homages to old movies - especially Hitchcock and Michael Powell - and a lot of fun twists and turns that are done out of pure joy and wackiness. As all good original and enjoyable shows on network TV it got cancelled long before it's time. This would have gotten an internet reboot had it been cancelled only a few years later. Luckily, it has a form of ending / new beginning that is suitable for the show without being a downright cliffhanger. I miss the piemaker and a girl named Chuck.
If one can see this as a story of Superman the teenage years in a parallel world this is not that bad, but be ready for a lot of liberties with the source material. It has some memorable cliffhangers where the stakes are high up in the air and a few good superhero moments. Excellent co-stars make up a lot for a bland hero in the title role and the sexy girls in skimpy outfits also keep things interesting. Any story with the villainous Luthor family seem to be the most memorable. While the show usually has one great idea and a lot of big potential the writers lack will to execute and make it really good. The series should also have ended a few seasons earlier as seeing Tom Welling play a teenager when he starts to get close to his 40s is laughable. There is also too many teenage angst shows where Clark Kent has to think and ponder over his many choices and boring love life. The entire "blur" explanation when Clark can't be Superman but still needs to be "super" are also extremely annoying. Some of the episodes end anti-climatic with a fight that is over in seconds.
The Ups: It was the perfect learning tool for all kids who wanted to learn basic language like english, french, spanish and german. It had colorful characters and an interesting simple story. The terrible pause segments with a boring man on a bicycle and the laughably weak and disappointing ending ruin everything though. It was also made only to learn language and a few words so after one have learned what is needed this show loses it's appeal. The crude drawings also don't help.
The Ups: One of the more unique science fiction shows that has been made - and one of the reasons for this was the use of Jim Henson's creature shop giving us some of the most unique looking aliens that has been on screen. The chemistry between Claudia Black and Ben Browder was also out of this world. "Farscape" managed to combine serious epic sci fi storyrtelling, romance, weirdness, alien sex and comedy into one big package. It was filled with some great gimmick episodes like the "Looney Tunes" one. Only the first half of the first season is lackluster and ordinary lacking the twists and surprises that would come later. Be prepared to see the miniseries too that followed this as the ending is especially cruel.
This finalize the great series called "Farscape" and doesn't end on a heartbreaking and open cliffhanger as the series did. The chemistry between the characters are still here. Bigger budget, greater space wars and even more soap operatic twists. So this is the finale. Really it is. No more this cast together as this is the end and some characters will not survive the ordeal together. There is no way this miniseries will not affect fans' hearts, but it is impossible for new ones to watch it.
Film that give more depth to fan favorites and long-dead characters. It has the usual good editing, directing, writing and acting that is the show spun off from and deliver a lot of action. A lot of continuity and plot points from several seasons of TV make this inaccessible to other than fans. The fate of the "new character of the show" is easy to predict.
Webepisodes made for fans waiting for new episodes between season 2 and 3. There are appearances by favorite faces. Too short running time makes it impossible to become involved in the plot as it is finished seconds after it is established. Web programming has become a lot better the decade after this mas made and this show has a low-budget feel over it the series never had. I can skip this and not lose any plot of consequence.
A fascinating background and prequel to the "Battlestar: Galactica" universe showing us glimpse of the first Man-Cyclon War. There is a lot of action (of course) and we see some primitive Cylons. The young actor playing Adama is actually pretty good and sounds almost like Edward James Olmos sometimes. The problem with this is that we all know what happens later in the story so while a fascinating prequel it would not have been interesting to follow it as a series for a long time.
A fantastic limited surreal series where creator/writer/producer and star Patrick McGoohan had almost full creative control of everything except the fact that he had to create some additional episodes in order to sell it to the States. This show is filled with iconic imagery, great intelligent writing and excellent direction. McGoohan is magnetic, charismatic and intense as Nr.6, his most famous role helped with several excellent guest actors as Nr. 2. Excellent location shot on a unique-looking holiday resort. One of the best credit sequences ever made too. A masterpiece.
There is impossible to envision anyone else than David Suchet as Poirot after seeing this show and especially after following him in the role for 25 years. He did it all: the novels, short stories and took everything from the written form and made it into his character. Excellent costumes, atmosphere and the title sequence from the first seasons was so good it is sad they dropped it for the films later. Every episode (especially in the later seasons) is a mini-film on it's own. The relationship between Poirot and his three friends, Hastings, Miss Lemon and Chief Inspector Japp is fun to behold. Some obvious changes from the stories where even the killer is different will anger the purists but I felt not that bad about it actually. I'm not a fan of the Adriane Oliver character that is introduced in some of the last films though as she is annoying and so full of herself (even if she is meant to be a self-parody of Agatha Christie). Still, this is the classic crime series that any other crime show has to be compared to. Absolutely fantastic.
Documentary that gives us a nice depth into the relationship between the actor Suchet and the character Poirot and we get some rewarding behind the scenes footage, but here is not enough depth to it. Most of the information is known fact for fans. Too much nostalgic footage from past episodes making it mostly for fans that has forgotten some of the older moments from the TV show.
With a huge ensemble and many engaging characters it tried to make superheroes look good on TV. It had many awe-inspiring cliffhangers and interesting appearances by cult actors from favorite sci-fi shows. Visually fantastic and strong dialogue was an asset in its first season. One of the best pilots to a show ever made. Sadly it drowned in it's own twists and some characters behave stupid and strange only to give a chock effect that not necessarily work. The creators seemed afraid to stop the story as it seems to have been written with no plan for a satisfying end and ongoing cliffhangers. Too much focus on killer Sylar who became too powerful and impossible to kill.
Since produced by History Channel the show has some realistic approach combining the stories with historic events and wars that happened at the same time. Warrior angels is a cool image trying to make things a little more grounded. I like some of the atmosphere they tried to accomplish with this production, but it probably should have gotten an episode order based upon what is needed to be told. The Old Testament is rushed through and a lot of personal motivations, emotions and important stories are removed making it hard to connect with any character. Even the prolonged look at the life and miracles of Jesus has a lot of things lost (especially about John the Baptist - where is the story about Salome?). It starts epic to begin with but when a series need an narrator repeatedly through the series to explain stuff on the screen than it becomes tiresome and it seems like a "best of" adaptation instead of something definitive. Maybe they should have thought about giving this miniseries a longer run or two seasons (one focusing on the old testament the other on the new?). Non-existing acting that consist of people posing also doesn't help. Unnecessary detailed in violent imagery while erotic imagery depicted in The Bible is left completely out.
With great production values and a cinematic feel this WW2 soap opera has a good authentic feel and seem solid researched. It dares to take it's time to build up the characters and their backgrounds. Sadly, both Ali McGraw and Jan Michael Vincent feel too old for their roles and lack passion together even if the romance story is an important part of their tale. The miniseries is also damn long and some characters get to do a lot more than some of the minor ones.
The Ups: The seeds from "Winds of War" pays off and we get to see the fates of several characters. Jane Seymour is a lot lovelier than Ali McGraw to look at. The behind-the-scenes actions between military leaders during WW2 are interesting and fact-filled. Some of the grimmest scenes ever put on national TV depicting mass murders and executions are shocking to see and surprising that it made it through censors. Steven Berkoff's wild-eye crazy portrait of Adolph Hitler - it doesn't help that he is Jewish which makes his portrait feel like propaganda. The series would have been a lot faster and better if episodes had been around an hour shorter. Shocked to learn that Barry Bostwick got an Golden Golbe win for his boring role doing nothing than sitting in an U-boat set while Jane Seymour who even stripped down and lost her hair for her role got none.
Documentary that try to show a broader audience some overlooked movies from world cinema and for that alone this documentary is necessary to watch as it deliver some titles even a movie fan may not have heard so much of. Interesting points about invention against money business. Some good movie directors and actors/actresses interviewed. Since it is all about personal favorites there is a lot of films that one would say is both inventive and successful that I miss and pretty much anything from fantasy, horror and exploitation is left out even though this is an important part of the story of film. The dark side of film: porn should also have been touched upon since it is just as much an integral part of film as the art-films, but I guess Mark Cousins didn't want to have his hands "dirty". It is superb for what it is, but it could easily have been even 10 episodes longer.
Thorough and deep detailed account on what happened historically during WW2. Produced while we still had a lot of people alive from the ordeals and with their memories of it still intact. Hugely fascinating archive footage from the war that were presented for the first time in this series Adding to the depth is one of film's biggest personalities giving his voice (Laurence Olivier) by narrating it. Only some newer "hidden secrets" from the war that has been revealed after 1973 is missing - and while gripping stuff it is impossible not take long breaks between episodes due to it's heavy and sad subject matter.
Spin-off series with a lot of potential as everything in the "Stargate" franchise as you can basically go as far as the imagination with it, which is sad that the series is filled with disappointing episodes that feel like rehashes of other shows and series and some of the fillers (especially in it's first year) stink. Too many episodes also relies on either a crew member getting kidnapped, getting a strange virus or being trapped with a big problem to solve (or all Three situations combined). The main villains Wraith were memorable who could suck the life energy out of humanoids but their looks was terrible as they looked like old Goth rockers who had been travelling a little too long on the tour bus. It also didn't help that they became more and more humanized after the series went on. My biggest problem with the series though was David Hewlett who were terribly annoying throughout the series and Joe Flanagan felt like a poor-man's Richard Dean Anderson. The season-enders and beginnings were usually the most interesting episodes filled with action and great effects. The series were also not afraid of killing off favorite (and not so favorite) characters permanently. The series usually got some great new additions to the cast too, especially Jewel Staite's addition was lovely. Sadly, the final episode is anti-climatic and the fate of the show has never been resolved.
As all "Star Trek" shows it looks and sounds gorgeous. Scott Bakula embodies that Wonder and Exploration look that a captain in the first years of Space exploration should have and Jolene Blalock manage to play both sexy and intelligent Vulcan even if the writers have no clue how to write her character. There is some fun and engaging storylines in the last two seasons when writers try to connect the old with the new and I love the on-going storylines in the third seasons and the three-parters of the fourth season. There is also bad stuff with this show. Anthony Montgomery is underused for most of the series, I can't remember anything important he gets to do with his role. Gruesome theme song. First two seasons have a lot of episodes that seem to go nowhere and it is not helped by some of the most boring opening scenes put on T.V. Series could also have one of the most pathetic final episode of a show ever put on screen that lacks any punch, memorable moments or finality even if returns two fan favorites from a different "Star Trek" series trying possibly to make a kind-of full circle while it had deserved one final real episode with this crew instead.
For me the show the changed American television from being juvenile and stupid. This was the first show that turned me into an adult, sophisticated man. It had one of the best ensembles every put together on the small screen. Huge gripping characters with a murder mystery that becomes darker, more absorbing and dreamlike before turning into a dark story about good and evil. The music and Julee Cruise's voice haunts me still 25 years later as does it's ending that is gruesome and perfect at the same time. Beautifully shot. David Lynch channeled my inner dreams for this eerie drama series that seem to become more relevant and logic for every new time I watch it. Even the slower soap opera parts of the show has it's charm and the stupid comedy too.
The Ups: It feels autentic and realistic. It features tons of Japanese actors and actresses talking in their real native tongue and it was filmed on location. It introduce to many people Japanese history and culture and opened the borders between U.S. and Japan. Richard Chamberlain makes a believable appearance.
The Downs: Overkills the impact of ritual suicide. Too many scenes drag on as we first get to see Japanese characters talk and then their dialogue is translated. It is understandable that the producers wanted us to be as much "fish out of water" as our hero, but it make the series drag some. The awaited epic battle that would make one of the characters Shogun, and the reason for the series' title, is mentioned only in an narration and is done off-screen.
Realistic autobiographical stories of parachute soldiers that served during WW2. Disturbing violent imagery that matters as a lot of needless wasted deaths and gruesomeness is necessarily depicted. Damian Lewis' break-through role as the natural leader of the pack sticks out the most. It also dare to show Americans in a bad light. Sometimes hard to see which actor is behind all the dirty faces and muddy helmets (which is a shame!) as there is a lot of good actors. It is also a show that is hard to see more than one episode at a time as it usually ends in a rather somber and unhappy note.
A deeper study of the books trilogy adding a lot of stuff that was skipped and edited away from the two films. Especially the childhood of Arn is better told and the politics of the kingdoms before Sweden was formed. It was the most expensive Nordic production at that time and in the miniseries every scene gets even more scope and detail worthy of the budget. Still the books manage to give a even deeper understanding of the characters and the history during that time, but this one comes close.
The TV-version of the Stieg Larsson novels and films about Lisbeth Salander is notable for several reasons: it combines all three "movies" (actually the latter two were always planned for TV and works better as it!) into one package. It adds a lot of plot and give supporting characters a more prominent role than the films did and make you actually feel the novels has been translated to the screen word for word. This is also a bad thing as there is no risk-taking and the pace goes into dead stop at times. Noomi Rapace is still a memorable Lisbeth Salander who is the unique star of the production (even if her looks is dangerously close to camp).
The show that put science fiction back on T.V. and made it serious again. A lot of excellent written concept shows that newer shows have recycled or done entire series of. Patrick Stewart became a superstar and is a big reason why the series work as he spits out dialogue and science babble as the Bard himself have written it. He got help from a very well-balanced ensemble and The Star Trek universe became bigger, deeper and even more interesting than before. Since the show consist of stand alone stories also make every single episode "hit-and-miss" depending on how lucky the writer was with his idea and how the production and director executed the story. The first two seasons also had a lot of stinkers and there was too much of Wil Wheaton's Wesley Crusher during that time who was written terrible on the show during his regular time on the show while his stories as a guest star later was excellent. Some cheesy moments also make this series a lot more dated than it should have been. My main problem though is that the series lack character continuity as most of the personalities comes through in dialogue and small moments and they are never much changed by events from episode to episode (most remarkable is when Geordi LaForge is brainwashed in one show but is just as good and normal the following episode). Still, this is a show that set the standard for science fiction for the next two decades and is full of entertainment value. If one only skips the worst written episodes that is.