Television

Wed
24
Feb

Up and Away: Superman and Lois Episode 101, "Pilot"

Superman and Lois 101

Superman and Lois finally gives Tyler Hoechlin a chance to fully flex his inner Superman. Sure, he's been okay in Supergirl and the other Arrowverse crossovers, but now he's got the whole show to himself -- shared, of course, with his family: wife Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) and twin 13-year-old sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alex Garfin).

Sun
21
Feb

Mountain Monsters: The Coyote Killing Massacre

Mountain Monsters - Coyote Killing Massacre (S5E6)

The AIMS Team is, quite apparently, spending the entire fifth season in Tygart County, West Virginia. What began as a simple hunt for the presence of wolves -- itself an unlikely event given that wolves were historically hunted to extinction in the state -- has turned into a quest for yet another cryptid.

Sun
14
Feb

Female Fury: Batwoman Episode 204, "Fair Skin, Blue Eyes"

Batwoman 204, Fair Skin Blue Eyes

I've wanted to like Batwoman. Wanted to from the very launch of the series. But the first season steadily tanked midway through, and this second season hasn't done much to right the ship.

The new Batwoman, Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) is personally moved by a missing boy when she sees the location from where he was taken. It turns out Ryan herself had been taken as a young girl at the exact same location -- a comic book shop -- by a woman who called herself The Candy Lady (Linda Kash). She would keep the children in her attic with a bowl of jellybeans, and then take a jellybean each day as a sort of countdown for two months to prove the child didn't matter to anyone -- as nobody would come looking for her.

And the Candy Lady isn't seen as a threat to her potential victims, because she's a nice white woman.

Sun
14
Feb

Snakes on a Train: Snowpiercer Collects Worst of Humanity as Planet's Last Survivors

Snowpiercer Season 1 Blu-ray

Snowpiercer is a television series based on the movie of the same name, starring Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, and an expanding cast of characters who, mostly, represent the less-than-respectable aspects of humanity.

The Snowpiercer itself is a train, 1000 cars long, that houses the last remaining humans on Earth. With the planet frozen over, one man's vision was to create a train that would keep traveling around the globe, generating heat and being a self-sustaining environment to support everyone until... well, until the world warmed up again, I suppose. As plans go, I'd have probably opted for a space station, or an underground bunker. But, hey, who doesn't love a train? And maybe we'll even get a toy line out of it.

Wed
10
Feb

Gina Carano Wins Award; LucasFilm Responds by Firing Her

Gina Carano Fired

On the same day Critical Blast announced that Gina Carano had been selected by our readers as the Best Series Actor for 2020 based on her work in the Disney Plus streaming series, The Mandalorian, came the shocking capitulation from Lucasfilm to social media outrage over postings by the actress. The postings addressed historical methods of the government dividing people by turning friends and neighbors on each other before moving in themselves to take over the process.

Wed
10
Feb

Critical Blast Readers Select Gina Carano as Best Series Actor of 2020

Gina Carano Best Series Actress 2020

Streaming services once again dominated the voting for the category of Best Series Actor of 2020, with not a single traditional broadcast medium making a statistical showing.

Hulu's The Great saw leads Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult both achieve 3% of all votes cast, in a three-way tie with DC Universe's Stargirl's Luke Wilson, while the superhero lead for the aforementioned Stargirl, Brec Bassinger, pulled in 4%.

DC Universe also saw Doom Patrol's April Bowlby stretch past the pack to nab 9% of the ballots, but Anya Taylor-Joy doubled that with 18% for her work on Netflix's The Queen's Gambit.

Tue
09
Feb

Looking for the Best Series of 2020? Disney Plus Says: This Is The Way.

Best Series of 2020: Star Wars The Mandalorian

When Critical Blast first published, we tried to create a category for every form of entertainment medium. A natural choice seemed to be television -- if you didn't see a movie in a theater or on home video, that seemed to be the default option.

Even when we began our annual reader-decided awards, "Best Television Show" seemed a natural category, even with streaming services firing up. But now it just seems strange to call it that -- anachronistic even, particularly in a year where not a single traditional broadcast network garnered enough votes for any series to make a sizeable showing in our results. Streaming has done to serial entertainment what crowdfunding has done to comic books -- it's widened the field of choices and the competition has gotten fierce.

Fri
29
Jan

Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 502, "The Preppy Murders"

Riverdale 502, The Preppy Murders

The fifth season of Riverdale has only aired its second episode, and it already feels like all the air has been let out of its tires. "The Preppy Murders" wraps up just about every mystery that was left -- some of them too quickly and too pat -- in what feels like a rushed job of writing. Granted, it could be that these first few episodes might have been meant to be the last few episodes of the previous season, cut short by COVID-19, and perhaps that's why this episode has such a "finale" feel about it. But there wasn't much left to springboard out of for the rest of the season, let alone the next episode.

Mon
25
Jan

Female Fury: Batwoman Episode 202, "Prior Criminal History"

Batwoman 202 Prior Criminal History

Alice (Rachel skarsten) takes the next step in her plan to bring terror to Gotham. As she leans over the dead body of her former cohort, Mouse, we get a flashback to a scene where bats invade her hiding spot so that we can be reminded that 'bats eat rats.' This is important to what Alice is doing now, which is catching a rat and duct-taping it to Mouse's dead chest so that it will attract bats to come take nibbles of Mouse as well.

Cut to two months ago, and a pre-Batwoman Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) being rescued from a Halloween night mugging by Batwoman (in shadow, so it's not a Ruby Rose cameo). We then see Ryan interview for a security job and being turned down for it because she pled guilty to 18 months in Blackgate. This is all to establish more of Ryan's backstory to provide motivations for why she would want to take over the role of Batwoman and what she might do with the title.

Thu
21
Jan

Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 501, "Climax"

Riverdale 501, Climax

Riverdale makes its fifth season debut, picking right up with the mysterious videotapes being left around the town where every house apparently still has a functioning VCR in the living room. The last tape was saw featured a group of teens wearing plastic masks resembling Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica all killing a masked version of Principal Honey, who was disgraced out of his office. And while there was a lot of high tension to capitalize on, so much of it was burned through so quickly it didn't feel like it had time to fully impact the storylines.

Sun
17
Jan

Female Fury: Batwoman Episode 201, "What Happened to Kate Kane?"

When Ruby Rose decided to leave the role of the lead character on the CW's BATWOMAN, it put the writers into a bit of a tailspin. The easy thing to do would have been to recast the character with a different actress. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that the proper thing to do would have been to recast the role, because now you have to invent a whole new reason for why Kate's gone, who takes over being Batwoman, and next thing you know there'll be more actresses in the suit than have flown a Tardis.

Mon
11
Jan

After Trapper's Passing, the AIMS Team Tracks the Wolves of West Virginia on Mountain Monsters

Mountain Monsters Wolves of West Virginia

The cryptid-chasing series Mountain Monsters returns to the Travel Channel, starting out on a somber note. The series went on a bit of a hiatus after the AIMS team leader, Trapper John Tice, passed away back in December 2019, and now the team prepares to move on without him. But though Trapper himself is gone, his leadership and guidance remain, as his daughters pass along to the team his journal, full of a lifetime's worth of information on cryptids and a special note for the hunters: if they want to continue, "Go to the blue marker and take it from there."

Fri
01
Jan

Netflix Drops Fourth Season of Sabrina in Time for New Year

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina returns to Netflix for a fourth -- and possibly fatal -- season. Following the events of the third season, where Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) faced the dilemma of either becoming Queen of Hell or remaining with her friends, the viewers get to bounce back and forth between two Sabrinas -- Sabrina Spellman and Sabrina Morningstar -- as the teenage witch solved the problem by splitting herself into two bodies. But this throws the cosmos into imbalance, and leads to the return of the Eldritch Terrors as the showrunners deliver up a love letter to Lovecraft.

Thu
31
Dec

Voting Open for Best of 2020

Best of 2021

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Actually, it was 2020, so scratch that first bit entirely. But as ugly as the past year has been, there were still a few moments that perked things up. So as loath as we may all be to actually look back at this year, we're asking our readers to do so for just one more month as we collect votes from you, our readers, to select the award winners in our BEST OF 2020.

The movie theaters were bereft most of the year, but production companies found ways around that, and many movies went straight to streaming services. Streaming options also presented us with several nominees for our Best Series.

But it was the crowdfunding renaissance in the comic book arena that really shook up the nomination processes this year, shouldering their way past the mainstream giants to stand side-by-side with them for Best Comic, Best Comics Writer and Best Comics Artist.

Tue
22
Dec

Yellowstone Achieves What Dallas Reboot Failed as Cowboys and Corporations Battle for Land

Yellowstone Season 3

When I sat to watch this third season of Yellowstone, it was without the benefit of having seen what had come before. I duly brought up the pilot on my Spectrum on-demand screen, and my initial impression was that this was going to be a show to fill the void for those few fans of Dallas that were left, wanting to see business men in cowboy hats and pretend it was a western.

Boy, howdy, was I ever wrong. While it may take a bit for this third season to warm up, the heat keeps getting turned up by degrees until you are simply riveted to this story of feuds, infighting, intrigue, and the pride that comes with land ownership. Especially the ownership of lots and lots of land, such as the Yellowstone Ranch owned by John Dutton (Kevin Costner) and his family -- Kayce (Luke Grimes), Jamie (Wes Bentley) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), scions of an empire that may be seeing its last hurrah.

Fri
11
Dec

Vikings: A New Take on Alternate History

Vikings TV Series

Vikings is one of the most beloved series, without a doubt. But there was definitely a period that shifted the fan base to their core, prompting many to abandon it for good. Naturally, we have to say SPOILER WARNING for this article, as we will be discussing quite a lot about the history it follows, or the history it creates.

In the beginning, Vikings always seemed like a series actually following real-world history through the eyes of Ragnar Lothbrok. But soon enough we found out that was not the case. In fact, we immediately found out that things were being dramatized from the very first episode.

Sun
29
Nov

Christmas Chronicles 2 Wonderfully Cast, Underwhelmingly Written

Christmas Chronicles 2

Kurt Russell is the most unique choices to cast in the role of Santa Claus. He's also one of the best choices, as this Santa is not just a kind and gentle spirit, he's also a man of action.

THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES 2 is a sequel to the original in the same vein as the sequels to THE SANTA CLAUSE -- slightly lesser, slightly sillier follow-ons that don't quite measure up to the original, despite all the original characters brought back (with new ones). This go-round Russell brings with him Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus (who made a surprise appearance at the end of the first movie), while Darby Camp and Judah Lewis return as Kate and Teddy Pierce, with Kimberly Williams-Paisley as their mom, Claire. New to the franchise is Tyrese Gibson as Bob, Claire's new boyfriend, and Jahzir Bruno as his son Jack.

Fri
20
Nov

Westworld Meanders Aimlessly Through Third Season on Blu-ray

Westworld Season 3 Bluray

WESTWORLD releases its third season on Blu-ray, and once again it's a season where I have no idea what is happening from episode to episode, nor do I know how it all tied together. The intelligence of the hosts -- robots built to look and think like human beings -- flit back and forth from the real world to the cyber-built world to the robot-populated theme-park worlds that you never know which reality you're in -- or, indeed, if anywhere at all is real. One of the character even states that it would be the ultimate mind trip if somehow an artificial reality was built with an artificial reality inside it, so they only thought they were in the real world.

Thu
12
Nov

The Queen's Gambit an Engrossing Redemption Arc

The Queen's Gambit

Beth Harmon (The New Mutants' Anya Taylor-Joy) is raised in an orphanage until her younger teens. While there, she and the other girls are regularly given "vitamins" which include tranquilizers, to which 9 year old Beth develops an addiction. Because she is proficient in math and gets her work done early, she is rewarded with the job of cleaning erasers in the basement, where she meets the grumpy janitor, Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp), who teaches her how to play chess, a game for which she shows an amazing facility.

Thu
12
Nov

How Effective is the Psychic as a Plot Device?

Psychic as Plot Device

No matter the genre of film or TV show, some tropes remain universal. One of these is the fortune-teller or the psychic. Such readers are consulted when characters are stuck. Or indeed when the plot itself doesn’t seem to move forwards. But how effective is the fortune teller as a plot device?

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