If We Controlled Your Remote… 8/30/19

Have you ever been at a loss as to what to watch? Too many shows to pick from? We’re here to give you our opinions on what we feel is worth watching. Check it out and then let us know in the comments below what you’re choosing for tonight!

Kyle’s Choice

Early this morning, Netflix dropped the first season of the new series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a 10-episode prequel to Jim Henson’s groundbreaking 1982 fantasy feature film. The series is set a thousand trine after the bird-like Skeksis arrived on the planet Thra and tricked Auhgra (Donna Kimball, The Happytime Murders), the guardian of the Crystal of Truth, into entrusting them with the crystal. The crystal is a source of life for Thra, connecting all of the beings on the planet. The Skeksis declared themselves the Lords of Thra and the sworn guardians of The Dark Crystal. They soon discovered a way to steal power from the crystal, allowing them to rejuvenate themselves and in effect become immortal. However, over the thrine, the Skeksis became overly gluttonous, constantly seeking more power from the crystal, until there was no more left for it to give. The Emperor skekSo (Jason Isaacs, The OA), fearing the loss of their immortality, tasks The Scientist skekTek (Mark Hamill, Child’s Play, Star Wars) with finding a new source of energy. The Chamberlain skekSil (Simon Pegg, Mission Impossible) overhears this and sees an opportunity to help further his own goals and starts plotting something nefarious.

Meanwhile, the seven clans of fairy-like Gelfling who live on the planet are much alive and well (as the film opens, there was only one surviving Gelfling left). The various clans each have their roles and purpose and all work together as a well-oiled machine to keep the planet in balance. The Gelfling are blissfully unaware of what the Skeksis have been up to. They see these creatures as their saviors and are happy and eager to participate in the annual tithing ceremony, where they give an offering to their Lords in thanks for all they have done. However, the Gelfling start to experience some unusual things that have them start to question the status quo.

Rian (Taron Egerton, Kingsman) and his girlfriend Mira (Alicia Vikander, Tomb Raider) work at the citadel, where they serve as guards for the Skeksis and their Podlings. Head of the guard is Rian’s father, Ordon (Mark Strong, Kingsman), who doesn’t take his son seriously. Rian wants to prove himself to his father, so when he and Mira see a giant spider-like creature called a Spitter roaming the castle, he decides to handle the matter himself, recruiting best friend Gurjin (Harris Dickinson, Maleficent 2) to assist. Meanwhile, in the city of Ha’rar, Gelfling queen All-Maudra (Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech) is preparing for the tithing ceremony. Her youngest daughter, princess Brea (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), is a bit of a rebellious free thinker. She has a thirst for knowledge and is eager to learn new things. She joins her mother and sisters for the ceremony, but what she witnesses doesn’t sit well with her. She is the first to suspect that the Skeksis are hiding something and may not be as benevolent as they appear to be. So she returns to the library to do some research, but the Librarian (Toby Jones, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) suggests she leave things be. And elsewhere, deep in the caves, Gelfling Deet (Nathalie Emmanuel, Game of Thrones, Four Weddings and a Funeral) is feeding the normally peaceful creatures that live off the land, when they suddenly turn on her and attack. These normally docile creatures are suddenly behaving quite unusually, which causes her much concern.

The Skekis’s misuse of the crystal has produced some unfortunate side effects. The crystal has become infected, and in turn Thra and its creatures are becoming consumed by The Darkening. The Gelfling are starting to notice that all is not as it seems, but if they don’t wake up and rise up soon to put a stop to the Skeksis, it could mean the end of the planet and life itself. The one thing they have going for them is that the Skeksis are so arrogant and look down upon the Gelfling. They have ruled for over 1000 thrine and believe that even if the Gelfling do manage to discover what they are up to, they are too weak and have no power to do anything about it. And this may be their undoing.

The series’ star-studded voice cast also includes Eddie Izzard (Ocean’s Thirteen), Caitriona Balfe (Outlander), Harris Dickinson, Shazad Latif (Star Trek: Discovery), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Cloverfield Paradox), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Hannah John-Kamen (Killjoys), Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), Theo James (The Divergent Series), Louise Gold, and Kemi-Bo Jacobs (McMafia) as the Gelfling, and Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians), Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange, Deadly Class), Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy), Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones), Alice Dinnean, Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), Neil Sterenberg, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (True Detective) as the Skeksis.

Before checking out the premiere of this series, I re-watched the original film, since I hadn’t seen it in decades. I must admit that I wasn’t really a fan. It felt a bit dated, the puppet performances were a bit wooden, and the characters (especially the Skeksis) had harsh, screechy voices. However, watching the premiere of the Netflix prequel series was a very different experience. The show does a great job of setting up a much vaster world as it explores in greater detail the backgrounds and motivations of the various beings and creatures that live on Thra. In the pilot, we follow three different Gelfling stories as well as that of the Skeksis. And this will further expand over the course of the season. The show feels fresh and modern while still maintaining the aesthetics of the original, making use of Jim Henson’s creature shop to once again bring the characters to life. However, the Gelfling and Skeksis feel much more alive in this incarnation and seem to express more emotion. While there are light moments of physical humor and puppet smooching (that is what they call it in the closed captions), the series does get pretty dark quite quickly and may not be for really young viewers (though the series is only rated TV-PG). By the end of the first episode, I was all-in. After a horrific event, one of the Skeksis gives this amazing speech that just shows how arrogant these creatures are, and I would love to see them get their comeuppance. I look forward to seeing how this story plays out and how the Gelfling will finally discover that they have been oppressed all these years and rise up to overthrow the Skeksis. However, I’m a little nervous about their chances of success, seeing where things are at in the film. So will all of their efforts be in vain? This looks like it will be a solid production with an all-star voice cast and certainly worth checking out.

Catch the entire first season now on Netflix.

I’ll also be watching Carnival Row.
 
Jump with us to see else we think you should watch.
 

Jenny’s Choice

Overnight last night, Amazon premiered the entire first season of Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne. Set in a Victorian fantasy world that is filled with mythological immigrant creatures, the show is centered around a human detective (Philo) and a faerie (Vignette) who were once in a relationship but got torn apart during the war. The city where Philo lives and works has an uneasy peace between the humans and the mythological creatures (there are horns and wings and hairy “people” and beasts), but that peace is becoming dangerously unstable because someone has been beating up and killing the fae creatures.

Philo is trying to solve the murders basically on his own, having to fight against fae creatures who don’t trust humans – especially human police – and humans who are against the fae being allowed to live among them. That’s when Vignette steals away to the city from her country, where a group called the Pact had taken over and forced the other humans out. The Pact are a vicious group of humans who hunt the fae creatures down, killing them by the dozens. It’s very reminiscent of slavery: once there, she is forced to work to pay for her trip over, so she goes to work as basically a lady’s maid for a wealthy-ish woman.

There’s two big sex scenes – rather graphic, I thought, until I remembered it was Amazon, not a regular TV network. Maybe not as graphic as some other shows, but still… The second one especially was kind of fun to watch, since it involves a faerie, and they sure do use those wings! LOL

And while I’m not normally a fan of historical TV/movies/books/etc, this premise drew me in and has me sticking around for at least one more episode. I liked the look of the show, the fae vs humans aspect, and the crime fighting with Philo. It’s certainly worth your time if you’re at all interested in mythological creatures or Victorian-era shows.

Check out the entire first season now on Amazon.
 

Phoebe’s Choice

OK, this blog is partially a guilty pleasures piece, ’cause tonight I’m tuning in for Ancient Aliens, and I don’t really believe in aliens. I mean I think other life in the universe probably exists. I just don’t think interstellar travel exists. The speed of light is a thing, and we’re 93 million miles from the sun. You don’t wanna know how far the closest star is – you don’t have enough gas or thousands of years to get there.

As all would expect, last week’s installation was frickin bonkers. It focused on Hawaii and the way that “ancient alien experts” (a phrase that unto itself deserves hours of cackling) believe Hawaii was a primary landing point for aliens. Like they land in Hawaii first before dipping to other paranormal points on the lay lines, like Bermuda or Easter Island or something even more X-Files. Look, I watch this show ’cause they show a lot of weird obscure real archaeological data and then they jump six sharks at once and connect “aliens” to every invention, from Polynesian culture to sliced bread. It’s kind of a black comedy to me. I can’t get enough.

I said this is “partially” a guilty pleasures piece. That’s true. I’m finished that part. I really wanted to talk about how I’m not watching Killjoys too. See, two years ago Syfy f’d up and cancelled Dark Matter, which was the most brilliantly written science fiction show on TV at the time. They opted to instead keep the other Friday night show, which kinda huffs egg farts, Killjoys. I would watch Killjoys just ’cause it was on. Not cause it was good.

And if it got good since they canceled Dark Matter, I wouldn’t know. Because I’ve refused to watch a single episode of Killjoys since. I missed the season three finale in protest, demanding Dark Matter be returned. And yeah, I watch other Syfy content, but FFS Vote with Your Viewership. When a network F’s up, do not support their decisions. That’s my two cents.

On tonight’s episode, “The Constellation Code,” throughout the ancient world, structures were built to mirror the constellations in the night sky and this is only apparent when they are viewed from high above; a look at the possibility that these structures were designed as messages.

Take a look from up high tonight on History Channel at 9/8c.

I’ll also be watching a classic episode of Dark Matter or two.

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