Author Archives: Kyle

If We Controlled Your Remote… 6/25/20

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

Today the DC Universe original series Doom Patrol returns for its second season, and this year it also airs on HBO Max, which means a lot more folks will be able to see it! In the first season, over the course of several decades, wheelchair-bound scientist Niles Caulder (Timothy Dalton) welcomed various enhanced humans to live with him in his giant mansion, known as Doom Manor, where he tried to help them control their powers. It’s not unlike The X-Men, but these super-powered beings have a lot more personal and emotional baggage to deal with (which we found out about through flashbacks), plus they are a lot less heroic (at least initially).

The team includes 1950s Silver Screen starlet Rita Farr (April Bowlby), who, while shooting a film in 1955 in Africa, fell into the river and was transformed into Elasti-Girl. When her emotions run high, Rita loses control of her body and becomes a massive blob – a far cry from her normally-glamorous Hollywood self. In 1961, Air Force aviator test pilot Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer) was on a test flight in space and encountered cosmic radiation. A Negative Spirit entered his body, and his plane plummeted to Earth, bursting into flames, severely burning his body. Now Larry is constantly covered in bandages, looking like a mummy. The Negative Spirit inside of him can exit his body, but when it does so, it leaves Larry in a lifeless, immobile state – he has become dependent on this cohabitant to stay alive. In the 1970s, Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) found her way to Doom Manor. The troubled young woman has 64 personas, each with her own superpower. Jane cannot control which one of the personas controls her body – it could be anyone from the tough Hammerhead, to the teleporting Flit. Even Caulder hasn’t seen all of Jane’s personalities. In 1988, philandering race car driver Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser) was in a horrible accident, and only his brain survived. Caulder built Steele a brand-new robotic body, turning him into Robotman. And the latest addition to the team is high school football star Victor Stone (Joivan Wade). An explosion at STAR labs left his mother dead, but Silas Stone (Phil Morris) rebuilt the majority of his son’s body using nanites and other high-tech means, turning Victor into the crime-fighting superhero known as Cyborg.

In the first season, the team found itself up against a powerful supervillain known as Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), who had kidnapped The Chief (Niles). As they ventured out of Doom Manor and into the surrounding small town of Cloverton, Ohio for the first time in decades, things almost immediately went horribly wrong, as none of them really had control over their powers. The group soon found itself up against things like Apocalyptic cults and other inter-dimensional obstacles. At the same time, Mr. Nobody was playing mind games with them, trying to make them turn against one another, using their past emotional tragedies against them.

As the season came to a close, the metahumans learned that Niles Caulder had actually been involved in the accidents that caused each of them to obtain their powers. He had been using them as test subjects in his quest to unlock the secret to immortality, in hopes to prolong his own life long in order to protect his daughter, who has the ability to alter reality. Things got very odd and surreal as the team entered the painting of Danny the Street to take on Mr. Nobody and rescue Niles’s daughter, managing to escape just before a nuclear explosion collapsed the dimension inside the painting, trapping Mr. Nobody and the Bead Hunter in the White Space dimension. Afterwards, Niles introduced the team to his daughter, Dorothy Spinner.

The series has a very unique tone, which is largely comedic. The violence and language can be graphic and over-the-top at times, taking full advantage of the fact that this is not a broadcast network DC show. It has a very Deadpool sort of feel to it. The first season episodes were narrated by Mr. Nobody, who constantly made sarcastic remarks, often breaking the fourth wall, referring to the series itself. The world itself is also quite insane, from a flatulating donkey, to a sentient teleporting gender-queer street named Danny, to the talking Ezekiel the Cockroach (Curtis Armstrong) bent on world domination, to The Beard Hunter (Tommy Snider) a man with the power to learn everything about a person just by consuming their beard.

The show knows it’s crazy and embraces it and just has fun, while also exploring some really dark, dramatic moments. I’m curious to see where the series goes this season and what new characters will be introduced. Will the group still be bitter about Niles’s involvement in their conditions? How will Niles’s daughter fit in with the team? Is Mr. Nobody really gone, and if so, who will be the big bad this season and who will narrate the episodes? I am really happy that the series will be airing on HBO Max this year, as I don’t subscribe to DC Universe. Today the first 3 episodes (“Fun Size Patrol”, “Tyme Patrol” & “Pain Patrol”) will be made available, with a new episode launching each Thursday thereafter. Unfortunately, the second season is going to be short, with only 9 episodes, versus 15 in the first season.

I’ll also be watching/recording Holey Moley, Don’t, To Tell the Truth, Broke, and Celebrity Watch Party.
 
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If We Controlled Your Remote… 5/29/20

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

Today, Apple TV+ launched the new animated musical comedy Central Park, from Loren Bouchard, who also created Bob’s Burgers. Owen Tillerman (Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton) is the park manager for New York City’s Central Park. He loves flowers and nature in general and is devoted to his job. However, he finds that not everyone seems to care about the park as much as he does. He and his family live in Edendale Castle, a home adjacent to the park, though not actually a castle as the name implies. Owen’s wife Paige (Kathryn Hahn, I Know This Much Is True) works for a small weekly newspaper, What’s New New York?. She is eager to branch out into covering hard news and not just the puff pieces her editor usually assigns to her. The Tillermans have two children. Cole (Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) is a kind-hearted animal lover, while older sister Molly (Kristen Bell, Frozen, The Good Place) likes to draw comic books. The heroine of Molly’s comics is an idealized version of herself – Fista-Puffs can rewind time 5 seconds at a time, and her hair turns into giant fists to take down the bad guys. She often teams up with the handsome Kite Boy – who is based on a boy she often fantasizes about after exchanging just a few words in the park.

Living in the penthouse of a hotel overlooking Central Park is the evil Bitsy (Stanley Tucci, BoJack Horseman, Feud: Bette and Joan), a wealthy hotel heiress who only really loves her dog, Shampagne. Bitsy has come up with a secret scheme to buy Central Park and turn it into condos. Her loyal maid, Helen (Daveed Diggs, Hamilton, Snowpiercer), puts up with Bitsy’s poor treatment in hopes that one day she will inherit a fortune.

Leading the viewers through this story, and serving as narrator, is troubadour Birdie (Josh Gad, Frozen, Avenue 5). Birdie is a musician who hangs out in the park and often breaks the fourth wall to make puns and comment on what’s happening (or going to happen) in each episode.

It’s hard not to compare this series to Bob’s Burgers. The Tillermans have a very similar family dynamic as the Belchers – son Cole is a lot like Gene Belcher, with a love of food and making sarcastic comments, and while the Tillermans only have one daughter, Molly is an amalgam of the boy-crazy Tina Belcher and the wilder, scheming Louise. The series does a nice job of balancing a serialized storyline with fun adventures and story-of-the-week arcs. Like with Bob’s Burgers, there are both stories involving the entire family at home, as well as multiple side adventures involving various combinations of the kids and parents.

While episodes of Bob’s Burgers contain a musical number here and there (or in the credits), Central Park is much more of a proper musical, with the characters breaking into song at least 4-5 times per episode. The original songs run the gamut of musical styles but are always thoroughly entertaining and catchy, with smart, witty lyrics and amazing performances by the show’s talented cast, all of whom have musical theater backgrounds. I especially enjoyed an amazing contrasting duet in episode 4, where Paige is singing about setting rat traps while Cole is singing about deactivating them to save his potential furry friend. The musical numbers don’t feel like a quick afterthought – they feel fully produced and enhance each episode’s story lines.

Apple TV+ released the first two episodes today, and additional episodes will be released each Friday. This is such a delightful show, and I highly recommend checking it out – especially for those who are already fans of Bob’s Burgers. The first season will be 13 episodes, and a second season has already been ordered, so there’s plenty of musical goodness to come.

I’ll also be watching/recording Space Force and The Graham Norton Show.

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If We Controlled Your Remote… 5/26/20

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

Last week, The CW kicked off its latest superhero series, Stargirl. (Episodes also air a day earlier, on Mondays, on the DC Universe subscription service.) In the premiere, we learned that a decade earlier, a band of heroes known as the Justice Society of America was protecting the Earth from a similar band of villains, known as the Injustice Society. However, the heroes were nearly all killed in battle. Just before he died, Starman (Joel McHale) gave his Cosmic Staff to his sidekick, Pat Dugan aka Stripesy (Luke Wilson), telling him it would find a worthy successor. However, the staff would just sit in storage, gathering dust for the next decade. During that time, Pat met and married Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart), a single mother whose first husband mysteriously disappeared one Christmas, right around the time that the Justice Society of America was killed off (is there a connection?!).

In the present day, the newly-combined family – Pat, his son Mike (Trae Romano), Barbara, and her daughter Courtney (Brec Bassinger, School of Rock) – have moved across the country to their new home in Blue Valley, and Courtney’s first day at Blue Valley High School doesn’t go well. She’s picked on by the popular kids and forced to sit at the reject table for lunch (the future members of a new Justice Society of America?). After school, she stumbles upon the Cosmic Staff in the basement, which seems to come to life and flies her to the drive-in theater, where the cool kids are hanging out. Courtney is a bit of a gymnastics star, and her skills seem to blend well with that of the staff. However, the staff gets a mind of its own and blows up jock/bully Henry King Jr.’s (Jake Austin Walker, Rectify) car. It turns out that his father, Henry Sr. (Christopher James Baker, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) was a villain named Brainwave, and now, with this new turn of events, he’s decided to don his old costume and come out of retirement. Courtney eventually meets up with Brainwave and is about to lose their fight when she is saved by Pat, who is wearing a giant 15-foot robot Transformer-like armor.

I really enjoyed the premiere and can’t wait to see more of this series – it has the humor and lighter tone of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, so it should pair well with that on Tuesday nights. I am looking forward to seeing Courtney don the Stargirl uniform (I mean, despite Pat’s denial, Starman has to have been her father, right?), and form a new Justice Society of America to take on these bullies and actual villains.

On tonight’s episode, “S.T.R.I.P.E.,” after Courtney has an unexpected run-in with a member of the Injustice Society of America, Pat reveals the truth to her about their history; Barbara is elated when she sees Courtney making an attempt to get along with Pat.

To learn the truth about Pat and Courtney, tune in to The CW at 8/7c.

I’ll also be watching/recording DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

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If We Controlled Your Remote… 5/21/20

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

Tonight, NBC hosts its annual Red Nose Day fundraiser, and kicking off the events is Celebrity Escape Room. In this fun special, Jack Black plays an over-the-top, eccentric, pony-tailed billionaire version of himself. Jack has invited celebrity friends Ben Stiller, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Adam Scott to his mansion to partake in an escape room. They will have 60 minutes to solve puzzles and make their way through the various rooms and ultimately escape. For each puzzle they solve, they earn $15K for the Red Nose Day charity, and if they make it through to the end, they earn $150K. Should they get stuck and need help, all four of them must unanimously agree to put on their red noses and ask for a clue, but they must use these requests sparingly, as they are limited to three clues over the course of the game.

As the four celebrities step back in time and make their way through the totally tubular 1980s high school themed escape room, the viewer is regularly notified about the puzzles the participants are trying to figure out and what clues they should be looking for. The puzzles are also personalized for this group of celebrities, including elements from their own high school experiences (as well as their acting careers). Sometimes things seem so obvious, but it’s fun to see these actors struggle and get completely lost or make really stupid mistakes.

Throughout the game, Jack Black chimes in over the loudspeaker with funny quips and insults, and there are also cutaway interviews with the participants, who comment on their own performance during the escape room. There are some really fun cameos from many other celebrities, who also pop up before/after commercial breaks. I’ve been to a few escape rooms and always have fun trying to solve the difficult puzzles. However, this is less of a puzzle-solving task for the viewer and more of just a fun viewing experience. I really enjoyed this special and hope that we get to see more of these in the future.

To see how the celebs solve the puzzles, tune in to NBC at 8/7c.

I’ll also be watching/recording Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Holey Moley, To Tell the Truth, Broke, Celebrity Watch Party, and Vagrant Queen.

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If We Controlled Your Remote… 5/17/20

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

Tonight, TNT kicks off the new series Snowpiercer, which is based on the 2013 film of the same name. In the not-so-distant future, the Earth was overwhelmed by global warming. Scientists tried to reverse the process, but things went wrong, causing the Earth to become a frozen wasteland, with temperatures dropping to -199° Celsius. The only humans who managed to survive were the 4000 or so people who managed to board the great ark-like train known as Snowpiercer, which has been moving nonstop for nearly 7 years. If the train were to stop moving, those on board would quickly freeze to death.

The 1001-car train has its own delicate ecosystem, built upon a class system. Every aspect of the train’s functions are dictated by Snowpiercer’s mysterious but beloved creator, Mr. Wilford, head of Wilford Industries. Those in the first-class section at the front of the train enjoy spacious cabins, real food, and all the creature comforts and luxuries of home. Early into the journey, Mr. Wilford locked himself away in the engine room, and assigned Head of Hospitality Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind) to serve as his eyes, ears, and mouthpiece to the passengers and crew. She delivers his orders and proclamations over the train’s loudspeaker for all to hear. Helping Melanie keep the first-class passengers happy is Ruth Wardell (Alison Wright, The Americans), who has a deep respect and admiration for Mr. Wilford. The first-class passengers also have their own personal bodyguards and the protection of the military-like Jackboots, under the command of Commander Grey (Timothy V. Murphy, Quantico).

While the first-class passengers purchased their way onto the train, the third-class passengers have earned their spots. They are the lifeblood of the train and keep things running. They are the ones cleaning and servicing the train and maintaining the crops and livestock. They are the doctors and even the entertainment. The Night Train is a Switzerland-like neutral zone on the train, where passengers in first, second, and third class can all enjoy a drink or some burlesque entertainment. Helping to keep order in the middle of the train are Captain Roche (Mike O’Malley, The Good Place) and his Breakmen.

At the tail of the train are the passengers who sneaked onto the train just as it was taking off. These Tailies didn’t have tickets or jobs on the train – they were just desperate to survive. They are all crammed into one car at the back of the train, without any glimpse of sunlight for years, and are given the bare minimum of protein rations to survive. Occasionally a Tailie may have the opportunity to move up the train, but they are usually viewed as traitors by the others. Over the past 7 years, the Tailies have tried to rise up several times, but their attempts are always brutally crushed. With their rations growing increasingly smaller, they are once again plotting their attack, and leading the charge is Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs, Hamilton).

As the series opens, there is a serial killer aboard the train, who has dismembered another passenger. Melanie orders that Andre Layton, the only former police detective on the train, be brought in to investigate. He reluctantly agrees to help, seeing this as an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the train in order to plan the Tailie attack. However, he starts to uncover the much larger mystery of what is really happening on the train.

While this is a weekly show, after I checked out a screener of tonight’s premiere, I ended up binging through the entire 10-episode first season. This series takes viewers on a roller-coaster ride as the delicate order that has kept Snowpiercer running for seven years starts to crumble and fall apart, and the different classes aboard the train start to revolt and plot against one another. It is an action-packed thriller with some very interesting and complex characters. In general these characters are neither good nor evil but also both at the same time. While many of them have to make some pretty horrible decisions – beginning with boarding the train, and leaving loved ones behind to die when they boarded the train – they all seem to do so for the greater good (except for some of those greedy first-class passengers). The show does a great job of showing all aspects of life on the train and how the events are affecting each of the classes – each episode also opens with a narration from a different character with a different role/viewpoint on the train.

The cast is excellent, not just the leads but also the lesser-known supporting cast. Each of the actors does a great job of making you care about (or in some cases, loathe) their character. While I enjoyed the whole season, the tension and drama really start to kick in by the fourth episode, and the season finishes out really action-packed and strong. If I had one complaint, it’s that the CGI shots of outside the train look pretty bad – but I’m hoping that’s just a screener thing and that this has been improved for the final air version, but in either case, it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the show. That said, the series has already been picked up for a second season of 10 episodes, so you can board and start your Snowpiercer journey tonight without worrying that it will stop too soon.

The drama starts tonight on TNT at 9/8c.

I’ll also be watching/recording The Simpsons, Duncanville, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Killing Eve, Worst Cooks in America, Run, and Belgravia.

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