Category Archives: TV Reviews

TV Review: Jimmy Savile – A British Horror Story

A HORROR STORY

Once upon a time, there was a radio and television presenter in Britain back in the 1960s. He began to host BBC‘s Top Of The Pops and became a well-known celebrity. In the 1970s, he was known to fix any of children’s desires and wishes in the show, Jim’ll Fix It. On the show, he would receive thousands and thousands of letters, and he would attend a few of these and read it to the audience. The letters were full of children writing to him to grant their wishes. And he didn’t break their hearts; on the contrary, he won them.

Already establishing himself as the British messiah, the hospitals sought his help to raise money for good. And he listened to their calls and believe it or not, he raised around £40 million in charity. This is a massive number to raise in those times. His reputation was cemented to be a Godly man who is humble, the most respected, the dearest, and the kindest to everyone.

Wherever he went, people would gather around, wait for his glimpse for hours, take autographs, take pictures, and feel blessed that he kissed them. He befriended the former British premier Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family. He became some cult, some saint. He became their national hero who served the country once in the great war and then contributed to philanthropy throughout his life.

And then one day, he died. The British media was mourning, and the general public was mourning. His followers forwarded their prays, and goodbyes and many came to the memorial service to have a glimpse of the coffin where he lies. He was people’s servant. They all believed that Lord took his life, a soul departed to conclude an era of dedication to put the public in staunch grief or melancholy. But what they didn’t realize was that his death was actually Lord’s act of goodwill to put a halt to the horror he implanted in scores of British lives that they never realized or got to know about in more than fifty years.

Almost a year after his death, plenty of reports surfaced, and a thorough investigation that involved police and the media concluded to the nation’s utter shock that he had sexually abused/assaulted more than four hundred people, mostly underaged, as young as five. London’s Metropolitan Police (Met) began Operation Yewtree to investigate the allegations and concluded with a report that counted the victims to be more than five hundred. The Guardian claimed in 2014 that the number of his victims was more than one thousand. That man was Jimmy Savile.

A few years ago, when I came to know about who Jimmy Savile was, I was stunned to realize that he abused most of those children during his time at the BBC and the National Health Service (NHS); how come no one raised the concerns or doubts about his mysterious personal life. How come Jimmy Savile never got caught in fifty years?


English disc jockey Jimmy Savile (1926 – 2011) presenting the BBC music chart show ‘Top Of The Pops’, UK, circa 1973. He is wearing a personalised tracksuit. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

THE DOCUMENTARY

I had the curiosity to know the right and convincing answers to my years-old questions. Thankfully, Netflix decided to commission a two-part documentary about that sex predator, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story. And by watching this show, I got a lot of insiders about this psycho. The documentary has plenty of footage that depicts his charms and charisma that were hiding his heinous saga for decades.

The two parts are smartly divided. The first part gives the audience thought about Jimmy Savile as the ever-caring servant of children who appeals to granting their wishes and also gives an insider about how Jimmy Savile rose to prominence to a magnitude where he saw himself in the company of the most powerful politicians. In the second part, the filmmakers try to locate the signs where Jimmy Savile came close to being caught.

The documentary’s biggest success is convincing its audience that Jimmy Savile successfully manipulated and made a fool out of the entire nation. There is numerous footage in the show where Jimmy, in the interview, is asked about the personal, sexual, and emotional aspects of his private life. And Jimmy, in response, speaks a tone and uses such one-liners that the audience takes him lightly and believes to be his usual jokes. This documentary proves that Jimmy was the smartest not to be caught. He had all the answers, he was quick wit. And he had the propensity to tackle any given question and reply without wasting a second and that too shamelessly. He was so powerful that it never mattered if he will ever be caught. He knew he was the authority. If anyone complained, no one would believe a word against him.

My jaw kept dropping and dropping when I observed with rage that he was giving all the clues and referring to his listeners about the things he did horrible all these decades but the audience was laughing and assuming as if he was joking. Especially when he joked that his case comes up next Thursday.

Who would have believed him? He was the master of deception. He had influence, he was an inspiration to the British for what he did in philanthropy. No one would ever believe that he can stoop that low to possibly force the girls as young as eight to have sex with him, someone who was close friends with the Royal Family and Margaret Thatcher.

Although the documentary has tried its best to give its audience a feeling of deception from this disgusting pervert, I sense that this documentary unintentionally gave a lot of insider about his humanitarian efforts. The reason why I am saying this is because the most reckoning part of Jimmy Savile’s life in brutal crimes was when he died. The post-death revelation on Britain and the rest of the world is hardly half an hour in the show. And due to such an incredibly less number of minutes, the makers and researchers couldn’t do justice to the broader detailing of the investigation at length.

Yes, the documentary was successful in setting a tone in which the viewers, especially those who didn’t know who that pedophile was, developed a genuine feeling of hatred by the end of the first episode. But the makers focused on his social contribution pretty much. Through this documentary, I was eager to watch more about his post-death events when Met began to receive complaints that led to investigations. I was more interested to watch some of those kids in their adulthood narrating their horror incident with Jimmy Savile. I wanted the makers to adopt no holds barred just like Jimmy Savile did all his life.

In every capacity, this Netflix documentary has raised global awareness and addressed the threat. It was the technology that almost caught him. The doubts and allegations were bundling when he decided to depart. I feel Jimmy Savile was unluckily so lucky to escape from all the penalties and punishment. He would be laughing in his grave that he left the world unpunished after all the crimes he committed.


CLOSING REMARKS

So who is responsible for creating Jimmy Savile out of Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile? (Yes, he was knighted in 1990). I firmly believe that the Thatcher government and the BBC are to be fully blamed. They surely had some idea. I refuse to believe that no one in the BBC or in the Thatcher government ever built a doubt or raised eyebrows about his offenses. I have read on the internet that he assaulted and raped many children and adults in television dressing rooms, hospitals, schools, children’s homes, and his caravan.

Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story is a reminder of the disgraced that depicts one of Britain’s darkest chapters that inflicts an eternal regret about the irresponsibility of the higher commands who chose to stay silent, see no evil hear no evil, and also preferred not to address the elephant in the room.

TV Review: Mai (2022)

Sheel Chaudhary works as a nurse in an old-age home and belongs to a middle-class family. Her daughter Supriya is mute and performs stand-up comedy in her college. One day, Sheel senses that Supriya is hiding something about her. And when she tries to express herself, she gets hit by a speeding truck and dies on the spot. Post-funeral, Sheel gets to understand that Supriya didn’t die from an accident, she was murdered and then the mother’s quest for the hidden answers behind the mystery begins.

To be honest, I like Mai‘s story and how this is continued in six episodes. But there are a lot of points that make the outcome, the finished product, look no finesse. The crafting of the show doesn’t give that strong impact.

One major flaw of the show is zero expressions of Sakshi Tanwar in some critical scenes. She didn’t get lost when Supriya suddenly got hit by the truck, it was more surprising than the accident. She killed Jawahar which was a game-changer but she didn’t get mad about it. Sheel bravely confronting the underground crime is unimaginable. She is ridiculed and insulted by the goons through verbal solid abuse and she behaves as if this is normal to her. When she emotionally breaks in front of her husband, she doesn’t utilize shouting at full throttle. Maybe Sakshi’s voice is like that but I imagine a motherly role going fully paranoid at her applied scenario. She is, without a doubt, an impressive actress but in a given role, I expected more rage and craziness.

The foundation of this show, Supriya’s death, is the most senseless sequence. I have never understood the idea of a character getting killed by a vehicle suddenly crashing into him/her. How is that possible first of all even if used for horror-feel? How come the characters involved before the accident are unable to detect the sound of a running vehicle? This was a truck! Sheel and Supriya kept communicating and couldn’t hear a truck coming toward them? You got to be kidding us. And then Supriya’s injuries by a speeding truck were laughable.

After a long time, I watch Prashant Narayanan and give another impressive performance. And I fail to understand how come this actor still didn’t get the deserving recognition in this showbiz. This actor is on par with Nawazudding Siddiqui and can give him a tough time in any given role. He has been criminally underrated for around twenty years. I really hope to see him getting ranked somewhere in the age of streaming services where many underrated actors are making their names.

Wamiqa Gabbi, Ankur Ratan, and Raima Sen were all first-rate. Seema Pahwa had an extremely short character that needed a push. Mai has a strong hold on violence. And overall, manages to give a kind of thriller the audience wants to watch. I just feel that Mai could have tested Sheel’s central characterization.

TV Review: Seinfeld


“I’m A Great Quitter. It’s One Of The Few Things I Do Well.” – George Costanza


PREFACE

Sometimes, I begin to write a review and ask myself, how will I ever type the words I want to express my feelings about a television show or a film that I just watched and loved a lot. It becomes a mental challenge for me to find and complete words because there is a range of writing that is assigned for certain things.

I had watched a few episodes of Seinfeld in the past but never happened to complete them. Thanks to Netflix which gave me the chance to stream the episodes. And now I ask again, what am I going to write to justify my fondness for the show. I will try and hope Seinfeld lovers will accept this.


“The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends.” – George Costanza


NEW YORK

Picture this, the late 1980s. New York, the city of immigrants. People land here and imagine the American dream, they bring their ambitions with them. The smokey streets of New York make the sound day and night. People of humor struggle their life to write something that makes the audience laugh. New York is the heritage of cultures and trends, call it mafia, call it fashion, call it comics, call it music, call it a comedy. Call it anything, New York is a dream most of us wish for. If I speak of comedy, so many comedy clubs came into existence fifty years ago. Comic Strip Live is arguably the most prominent of all comedy showcases where many great comedians performed and made their name. Jerry Seinfeld was one of them.

So picture this New York story. Jerry fictionalizes his own life story with his friend, writing partner, and the show’s co. creator Larry David trying to break into showbiz by convincing NBC executives to give them a shot. A middle-class fellow living in an apartment has a neighbor and ex-girlfriend to circulate his life around. With only four central characters, they have a lot to talk about. A very limited content for story continuity, the city’s four bachelors roam around, complain, whine, shout, argue, and fail. They are some bunch of losers who are meeting no progress in life. But the show goes on like that because Seinfeld is the show about nothing.

The idea of this sitcom was not bought by anyone in the NBC office. They had to wait one year to expect a kick-off to get a season that happened by chance. The order of the first season was of mere five episodes and that is considered to be the smallest sitcom order in television history. The first season didn’t run in favorable numbers but attracted a young male audience. So the producers gave a green signal to continue and the rest is history.


“Serenity Now!” – Frank Costanza


WRITING

SEINFELD — “The Pilot: Part 1 & 2” Episode 23&24 — Pictured: (l-r) Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld as Himself (Photo by Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

There are a lot of things about the show that was admired and praised. For me, the biggest talking point about Seinfeld was the writing, it was phenomenal, and it was compulsive. The humor had the quality of making the simplest jokes lively and funny. Seinfeld had nothing much to do with the story but the writing was so sharp that Larry and Jerry developed tons of ideas out of nowhere to start at the restaurant’s table as conversational humor and play it rightly for the next twenty-three minutes. Just, for example, a comedy about a pen, shoes, a red dot, a marine biologist, etc. The writers had an entire episode in a parking garage about a missing car. All this shows, how talented were the writers.

I still want to emphasize the show’s writing by speaking about the importance of a story. There were many unforgettable sitcoms before Seinfeld and those shows were heavily constructed on the humor as well as the plotline. And this is where Seinfeld distinguishes itself from the others, it didn’t have a story at all. And if there was, it was ordinary. Four strugglers hanging around a restaurant talking about their minutiae of lives and coming up with the episode’s topic of the day. So it is between the lines spoken by these friends that brings a lot of responsibility to the heads of the writing staff mostly led by Larry. In one of the documentaries I watched on YouTube called ‘The Making of Seinfeld‘, the writing staff confirmed that Larry was the one who orchestrated the show’s quality of writing. He was the one to approve and finalize every single line of humor to be used in each episode. Picking every line for scrutiny is why Seinfeld, to this day, is fresh and full of life.


“No soup for you!” – Soup Nazi


CHARACTERS

In my opinion, two factors are heavily involved to make a sitcom successful. One is writing and the other is picking the most suitable actors to fit in that writing. Yes, the latter condition is applicable in all genres of television shows and films. But here, I am stressing about the role of producers and the casting directors auditioning and deciding the right actor to fit in a role to captivate the audience by being funny. Because making people laugh is one of the most difficult arts in showbiz. Seinfeld, in both the factors, was collectively blessed with. As Jerry played his own role, the show found three of the most perfect choices who fitted in the shoes of Elaine Benes, George Costanza, and Cosmo KramerJulia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Michael Richards.

Julia brought a lot of strength in her character that struggles to find work, meets plenty of boyfriends, and is stuck in bizarre situations. Jason Alexander as George gave his character physically the sorriest look of being a loser and a pervert who always fails, gets jealous, overthinks relations, and shouts and throws his anger. Speaking of the character’s superiority in being unlucky, I’ll be jocular to find Jason himself and inform the readers of his being the unluckiest actor to be nominated for a record seven times without winning ‘Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series‘ for the role.

Michael Richards was around 40 years old and the oldest of the four when he got the role of Kramer. This role will go into the history books of the American comedy shows when an audience of all ages and times will remember him as Kramer to be one of the most beloved characters. A physical comedian of that age and lanky height with the agility of a young man and rib-tickling slapsticks is a blessing for the audience and a luxury to the show. If the audience ever found any of the Seinfeld episodes boring and all the characters underperforming, they knew they can rely on Kramer to torch laughter in all his silliness. He was cordially acceptable even if there was a chance of his being offensive. He was the most beloved character of the show who many times saved the episode from falling flat.

With central characters came the recurring and minor characters who never looked to be just an extra effort of filling the space in the episode. Those were also well-written. Like Jerry Stiller as George’s hot-tempered war veteran Frank Costanza, John O’Hurley as Elaine’s boss Mr. Peterman with a peculiar speaking style of a radio jokey of the golden era, or Wayne Knight as Kramer’s overdramatic best friend Newman who loathes Jerry. Even in extremely short appearances, the show made us laugh watching the characters of African-American lawyer Jackie Chiles and a Pakistani restaurant owner Babu Bhatt. Although, the character of George Steinbrenner as George’s boss was never depicted from the front but his scenes were always shot from the back. I find it hilarious but the character became a question to me when his face was still not discovered in the finale. So what was the point of keeping his face away from the audience then?


“A Festivus for the rest of us” – Frank Costanza


SCENES

I am not sure how often this happened before the show’s creation but it was innovative to start and finish almost every episode of the first seven seasons with Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up comedy routines with his thoughtful and chucklesome observational jokes. That was also because Jerry played his own role so it made sense. However, the routine scenes were not mostly related to the episodes. It just tried to give importance to the character’s job. But in some episodes, Larry and Jerry wisely connected the routine scenes by depicting the life of a stand-up comedian who quests for moments that make him develop humor to use on the stage.

The finale of the fourth season “The Pilot” showed Jerry being recognized by one of the producers at the NBC that he cannot act because of his being a stand-up comedian. This covered the accuracy of the sitcom’s ugliest fact that Jerry Seinfeld really wasn’t a good actor at all. His writing and jokes protected his legacy and the other three characters also made his performance vulnerable.

As I talked about Elaine’s character above, on a few occasions, I felt Elaine’s character weight over her personal and economic life was given a sharp contrast as she was a lonely character like Kramer and the only female character in central. The backgrounds of Elaine and Kramer were not that much brought to attention as compared to Jerry and George who had their parents in the supporting roles and a lot of minutes and dozens of episodes were invested in them. If I am not wrong, the backgrounds of Kramer and Elaine were rarely touched. Once Kramer’s mother appeared in “The Switch” where we came to know that his first name was Cosmo. Elaine’s father appeared once in “The Jacket”.

So my point is that Elaine’s lone female character in the men’s world was challenging and several times gave attention to detailing woman’s struggles in personal and economic life. Like in ‘The Subway’ episode when she feels insecure stuck on the train and overthinks that someone will harass her. Or once in a restaurant, she is outraged witnessing all the hired big-breast waitresses that happened in the finale of the fourth season “The Pilot”. She was once in relation with a psycho in “The Opera” who attempted to be threatening to her and she pepper-sprayed him and ran away. In “The Pick“, she felt massively insecure when her nipple shows up on a Christmas card without her notice. There was certain awkwardness in her personality that made Jerry and George insecure. It was funny that they had no courage to admit to Elaine that they felt uncomfortable as she looked weird while dancing at the party as Elaine danced in “The Little Kicks”, only once in the entire show.

Babu Bhatt’s character of a Pakistani immigrant trying to do his restaurant business was quite a representation of those many thousands of South Asian low-scale/mid-scale workers who try to somehow settle outside their countries, especially in American and European regions but their visa/immigration situation becomes a problem. So comic story aside, I think it was interesting that the writers highlighted this issue.

From the seventh season, there was continuity in the comical incidents. The humor from the previous episodes of this season was mentioned in the coming episodes like the barking dog that disturbed Elaine and the pact between Jerry and George of changing their lives in “The Engagement” were mentioned later in that season. Maybe Larry and Jerry tried some new ideas for this season as this was the former’s final season as a producer and the writing head.


“Yada, Yada, Yada” – Elaine Benes


SEIN-VERSE?

There is room for a lot of ideas after we observe plenty of comebacks and returns from the original works in the shape of prequels, sequels, and spin-offs that become memorable on television and film formats. I don’t believe in the continuity of Seinfeld as it is a sin to even consider a one-season stretch for the sake of the audience missing it and regretting the consequences. Larry and Jerry have built their legacies around this show, with Jason, Michael, and Julia also.

But after watching this series and seeing the developments the other memorable programs are meeting ahead on different networks, I think of a few ideas that can get commissioned for max one limited series.

I think of a limited project about Kramer’s background story before he met Seinfeld. I think of Newman’s character post-Seinfeld. Or reflecting on Frank Costanza’s military life about his embarrassing series of mishaps and later as a traveling businessman. How about a funny courtroom drama about Jackie Chiles, no matter if pre- or post-Seinfeld. Seinfeld chronicles have a lot of potential to spare a thought and create a universe.


“Boy, these pretzels are makin’ me thirsty.” – Cosmo Kramer


GREATEST?

SEINFELD, from left: Barney Martin and Liz Sheridan addressing studio audience, 1990-98. photo: ©Castle Rock Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

This has been a decades-long debate if Seinfeld is the greatest television show of all time or at least in the United States. If I check Seinfeld’s rank amongst the greatest in the most popular magazines or the media companies of the United States, it will prove that the show has been almost every critic’s staunch favorite and has been stamped with great honors and regard.

One of the strongest American foundations for the writers, the Writers Guild of America, considers the show the second best-written television series after The Sopranos. Both Rolling Stones and Entertainer Weekly have ranked the show third amongst the all-time greatest.

Seinfeld tops on TV Guide and the most interesting part about this is that Seinfeld is NBC’s property and TV Guide is owned by CBS. This top 50 list was created by the TV Guide editors. They had 16 CBS shows on this list but crowned Seinfeld.

I have a lot to catch to understand if Seinfeld really is the greatest sitcom of all time if not overall genres. I have watched plenty of sitcoms from the 1990s and so far I believe, Seinfeld has to be the greatest sitcom of that decade. But I will not declare this because I am yet to watch Frasier.


“How long it takes to find a bra? What’s going on in there? You ask me to get a pair of underwear, I’m back in two seconds…you know about the cup sizes and all? They have different cups.” – Frank Costanza


CLOSING REMARKS

NBC
Seinfeld
(l-r) Jerry Stiller, Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander

Seinfeld is typically an authentic New Yorker sitcom that gives an honest portrayal and feel of the city. In my sitcom-watching experience, the only other sitcom that had attractive New York aesthetics before I watched Seinfeld was Taxi. Seinfeld is one of the most deadly combinations of comic writing and comic acting. This is one of those classic sitcoms that proves that you don’t need to use curse words or talk about sex in all your comic lines to captivate the interest of the audience to maintain ratings. Apart from the first season which was quite average, I think the third, fourth, eighth, and ninth seasons were the show’s peak.

Seinfeld’s finale was watched by over 76 million U.S. television viewers which put them third in the list of most-watched series finales in the U.S. behind M*A*S*H and Cheers. The respect that this show earned was so vast that when this episode was aired, TV Land decided not to run any program at that time and rather showed a closed office door with some handwritten notes that said “We’re TV Fans so… we’re watching the last episode of Seinfeld. Will return at 10pm et, 7pm pt.” Such incidents hardly surface.

When the show was closest to farewell, the second last episode ‘The Chronicle’ recapped most of the memorable scenes that happened throughout the show with impressive editing and played Green Day‘s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) in the background. The feeling was strong, my emotions were hurt, my heart was breaking, and I was in denial that the time is up and Seinfeld is wrapping up. I may watch it again but that impression of watching and completing the show in its entirety the first time is something else. That will never happen. If this is how I felt while watching this on Netflix, I wonder how the world reacted when the show was concluded in 1998.

When you immensely love a tv show, its characters, its continuity, you imagine that the show will never end. Seinfeld is one of those television shows that sentenced me to eternal grief that its life, that I thoroughly enjoyed and lived with, was finally expired.

SEINFELD — “The Finale: Part 1&2” Episode 23 & 24 — Pictured: (l-r) Jason Alexander as George Costanza, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine Benes, Michael Richards as Cosmo Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld as Jerry Seinfeld — Photo by: Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank

“George, we’ve had it with you. Understand? We love you like a son, but even parents have limits.” – Frank Costanza


FAVORITE SEINFELD EPISODES

S01 E01 – The Seinfeld Chronicles
S01 E04 – Male Unbonding
S02 E02 – The Pony Remark
S02 E03 – The Jacket
S02 E08 – The Heart Attack
S03 E01 – The Note
S03 E03 – The Pen
S03 E05 – The Library
S03 E06 – The Parking Garage
S03 E07 – The Cafe
S03 E12 – The Red Dot
S03 E13 – The Subway
S03 E14 – The Pez Dispenser
S04 E09 – The Opera
S04 E11 – The Contest
S04 E14 – The Movie
S04 E16 – The Shoes
S04 E17 – The Outing
S04 E23 – The Pilot (1)
S04 E24 – The Pilot (2)
S05 E03 – The Glasses
S05 E06 – The Lip Reader
S05 E10 – The Cigar Store Indian
S05 E11 – The Conversion
S05 E12 – The Stall
S05 E14 – The Marine Biologist
S06 E08 – The Mom & Pop Store
S06 E09 – The Secretary
S06 E13 – The Scofflaw
S06 E16 – The Beard
S06 E18 – The Doorman
S06 E21 – The Fusilli Jerry
S06 E22 – The Diplomat’s Club
S06 E23 – The Face Painter
S06 E24 – The Understudy
S07 E05 – The Hot Tub
S07 E06 – The Soup Nazi
S07 E12 – The Caddy
S07 E16 – The Shower Head
S08 E01 – The Foundation
S08 E03 – The Bizarro Jerry
S08 E04 – The Little Kicks
S08 E05 – The Package
S08 E06 – The Fatigues
S08 E09 – The Abstinence
S08 E10 – The Andrea Doria
S08 E11 – The Little Jerry
S08 E12 – The Money
S08 E13 – The Comeback
S08 E17 – The English Patient
S08 E19 – The Yada Yada
S08 E21 – The Muffin Tops
S09 E03 – The Serenity Now
S09 E06 – The Merv Griffin Show
S09 E08 – The Betrayal
S09 E10 – The Strike
S09 E11 – The Dealership
S09 E12 – The Reverse Peephole
S09 E17 – The Bookstore
S09 E18 – The Frogger
S09 E20 – The Puerto Rican Day
S09 E23 – The Finale (1)
S09 E24 – The Finale (2)


“It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous.” – Jackie Chiles


TV Review: Our Flag Means Death

In 1717, a wealthy landowner Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) withdraws from his rich life and family to become a pirate and find adventure. Stede hires an extremely unfit crew and sails his ship, Revenge. But things do not go as planned as the pirates get attacked by the British naval warships and other pirates. During this bizarre voyage, he meets Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) and soon they become more than good friends.

The first thing I want to break here about this HBO Max show is that Our Flag Means Death is neither a legend nor a fictional tale in the pages of literature. Stede Bonnet, Blackbeard, and a few other characters that showed up like Blackbeard’s second in command Izzy Hands (Con O’Neill) and Calico Jack (Will Arnett) were real people. The period this show is based on is called the Golden Age of Piracy. Whether Stede and Blackbeard developed a relationship or not, I have no knowledge of that.

But more than that, I must acknowledge that someone in 2022 attempted to develop a new idea about comedy. I don’t remember if there was any comedy program based on the centuries-old pirates in ages. Due to an innovative approach, the comical methods looked fresh. I felt as if I was watching something new in the name of comedy.

The continuity after the first couple of episodes goes a little flat and then the audience will surely assume in the middle of the show that due to the limited content that is the survival of the pirates, the show has stretched the story a bit too much. In my opinion, this show could have easily ended its run in six episodes.

Despite Rhys Darby fully centering around the continuity to run its parallels in a good-looking comedy, it is Taika Waititi’s Blackbeard that captivates the audience and holds us to enjoy the presentation. The show’s excellence lies in the technical aspects like make-up and hairstyling, costume, and production designs. A diverse crew of pirates looked pretty unnatural.

I find the conclusion of the first season pretty interesting. In one theory, I can say that there is no need for the second season as the final scenes can be put to a conclusion considering it as a technical and mature end. In another theory, that is also the show’s defense, the script progression has the growth and if the script for the second season is executed well, the audience may find the next chapter intriguing.

I am not sure if Our Flag Means Death has developed a cult or attracted a large audience. For me, it was quite a fresh idea for the comedy and I enjoyed it a lot, especially Taika Waititi as Blackbeard. If the viewers are seeking a comedy show based on a very different situation, try this.

TV Review: Bel-Air

When the news about the reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air broke out, I was not okay with it. Then the first trailer was released; and I felt that the show looks like reimagining the whole plot of the sitcom in a new direction, giving a dramatic approach with a better address. Switching a massive hit sitcom into a comedy-drama needs a lot of courage, commitment with the scriptwriting, and a solemn promise that the show will not disappoint the viewers. After watching the 10-episode first season, I can convincingly inform the readers that Bel-Air, the reboot, absolutely did not disappoint at all.

The reboot became possible after Morgan Cooper released a short fan film on Youtube and Will Smith happened to watch it. It was so compelling that Will personally met Morgan to discuss expanding the film’s vision into a reboot. Both of them became executive producers along with the original line of producers including Benny Medina (the real Will Smith), Quincy Jones (the man who gave birth to Will Smith’s acting career in this sitcom), and Borowitz couple (Andy and Susan, the show creators). Peacock won the bid in competition with Netflix and HBO Max and gave a two-season order.

The new show focuses on the serious elements of all the sub-plots, the characterization of the main characters, and the continuity of the original sitcom. The writers left no space to give a better understanding. One of the best aspects of the show is that the show brilliantly gives a broader detail about all the characters, a decent capacity of screen time to give the characters and story some breathing. The heavy issues get pressing and more push.

Bel-Air visually dramatized most of the lyrics of the sitcom’s popular theme song ‘Yo Home to Bel-Air‘ in the first episode. Uncle Phil (Adrian Holmes) has a stronger personality and is visibly an important figure as a husband, a father, and a lawyer. Will (Jabari Banks)’s daddy issue has been well-taken care of throughout the season. Carlton (Olly Sholotan)’s character without a doubt has the best characterizing, and the behavioral attitudes and personal traits an annoying Carlton should have is all smartly portrayed here. More than half of the season has Will on Carlton’s nerve with an excellent screenplay raising valid questions about the family being more concerned for Will than Carlton all of a sudden. British butler Geoffrey (Jimmy Akingbola) is a definite upgrade from the sitcom who not only manages the domestic affairs of the Bankses but also consults Philips for his DA campaign and holds strong connections with powerful people.

I am thoroughly impressed how Bel-Air does not falter in its continuity. There are so many scenes that address and make the audience spare a thought. There is a scene where Will is shocked and furious watching Carlton enjoying himself with his White friends despite saying the N-word. Then there are a few of Will’s sittings with any of the Banks that are touching. In the middle of the show, there is an entire episode about Will’s best friend Tray (SteVonté Hart) coming to meet with him in the mansion and overexcited with the belief that Will will return and resume his old life. Then sisters Ashley (Akira Akbar) and Hillary (Coco Jones) exchanging a conversation about the former’s love interest was supportive. Although Ashley at 12 having feelings for the same gender looked very forced and even if Bel-Air wanted to address their position about same-sex interests amongst the teenagers, the writers failed to develop the growth of Ashley’s character.

Then there is a surprise for all the sitcom fans when Vivian (Cassandra Freeman) goes for the interview in the Art Council where the interviewers are none other than Daphne Maxwell Reid and Vernee Watson-Johnson, the ladies who played the character of Vivian Banks in the original television show. This scene not only brought three Vivians together but also gives the audience a better vision of understanding the character. Vivian opened her heart while discussing with other Vivians about her life, her importance, and her career choices that looked visually more clever as Vivians of previous existence were all ears listening to the existing Vivian.

Bel-Air holds a strong commitment to the audience especially The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s loyalists as the first season progresses with extraordinary writing that develops a lot of faith that the continuity will have a lot of potential to run in the next season. The viewers who are expecting Bel-Air to be as funny as the predecessor will be upset because the vision of Bel-Air is different. The approach is smart and the execution is bold. I liked the sitcom and I appreciate how the makers of this show came up with the idea to reimagine the story with the very same characters with more realism. Try yourself.

TV Review: Malory Towers

Malory Towers is a children’s television show by CBBC and is set in the post-World War in Britain. The show is about Darrell Rivers who is sent to the all-girls boarding school, Malory Towers, where she befriends and struggles to learn life lessons with them. She gets into trouble and faces challenges in maintaining discipline but with a group of good company, she and her friends help out each other and grace their younghood.

As it is obvious by the title, Malory Towers is based on Enid Blyton‘s set of six novels with the same title. Each of the books is based on Darrel’s year of term she attended in the boarding school. Therefore, I assume that the first two seasons that are released are based on the first two books because each of the seasons is based on Darrel’s first and second terms. That also means that the show may progress to complete the remaining books in the next four seasons.

And the show has all the qualities to complete six seasons because of its details about the characters, lush camera work, and very thoughtful structure of episodes each focusing on something interesting about the life of the young girls in Malory Towers, the events that may have been traced from the books. The show is a feel-good coming-of-age light-heart period drama. The writing of the show convincingly depicts the problems the young girls face like anger issues, tolerance, manners, etc.

Programme Name: Malory Towers – TX: n/a – Episode: Malory Towers – ep 1 (No. 1) – Picture Shows: Darrell (ELLA BRIGHT), Sally (SIENNA ARIF-KNIGHTS), Gwen (DANYA GRIVER) – (C) WildBrain/Queen Bert Limited – Photographer: Steve Wilkie

The show covers a lot of thought that develops an interest in a coming-of-age children’s drama like the school’s financial crisis, the loyalty of veteran staff, girls being superstitious and getting afraid of scary expectations, silly pranks, care for the animals, girls trying to impress their parents and willing not to disappoint them at all, competing against other schools, bullying, entomophobia, reading private letters, and a few more. In short, the mood or the enthusiasm of the viewers will not get punctured.

Some episodes flourish well. I liked the episode ‘The Slap’ that was carefully written and very much thought was implied on both Gwendoline and Darrell. Darrell is the central character with temper issues, the reason she was dropped from the previous school. Gwen is the bad news, the troublemaker who is always on Darrell’s nerves. Darrell slaps Gwen and their chemistry gets intense. Gwendoline’s character has been well taken care of as compared to Darrel Rivers. As much as the viewer hates the character, her being jealous, rude, and playing politics makes more sense.

I liked how the girls are distinguished with their teenage traits, some are scared, some are superstitious, some are witty, clever, sweet and some are bad news. But being bad news also gives you a good insider about why such girls switched to this behavioral attitude. Where did this jealousy or hatred come from? The introduction of poor Ellen Wilson made a strong case where she was struggling to adjust with the other girls who belonged to financially better backgrounds. Even the girls had a difficult time understanding Ellen’s situation and were quite a scene when they gift Ellen some leftovers.

I must not forget to mention and praise such an impressive performance by Daniya Griver as Gwendoline Lacey. She convincingly made every single viewer hate the character and made us wish to see her expelled from the school once and for all. Her physical, mental, and emotional portrayal was an accurate definition of a jealous, selfish, and mean girl.

I haven’t read Malory Towers but I expect the show does justice to the original work. I binged the whole show in one go because the direction and the continuity were compelling. I felt that the show had the same vibes as the children’s shows like CBC‘s Anne With An E and I was right about it. Watching this show was a delightful experience and now I will wait for the next season.

For the audience that is willing to show their children a quality drama, I recommend them to show Malory Towers.

TV Review: The Tower

Sergeant Collins (Gemma Whelan) and constable Bradshaw (Jimmy Akingbola) are immediately called to reach the southeast of London where a veteran constable and a teenage girl have died by falling from a tower. When Collins reaches the roof of the building, she finds a young rookie officer Lizzie Adama (Tahirah Sharif), and a five-year-old boy alive. When the investigation begins, Lizzie disappears and the crime investigation gets intense when Collins discovers that Lizzie is a prime witness against a gangster.

The Tower is a limited series by ITV that presents just another British excellence in the portrayal of crime investigations. The show’s plot twists and the complexity of the characters are interesting but the suspense is flat. It is quite easy to guess what exactly would have happened on the roof.

What I liked the most about the show was how one crime case connects to the other. The show is too smart to make the audience understand that there are elements of racism in the police and sometimes, the deception jeopardizes their lives. The best case was PC Hadley who looked like a decent fellow for most of the time until there was proof that he did pass racist remarks. The audience is compelled to believe that Hadley could have never been at fault.

I think The Tower also accomplishes in stretching the matter of the witness being silent due to the trauma or the threat. The more the show expands Lizzie Adama’s character, the depth of silence becomes noisier with the flashbacks and her meetings with Shaw.

Gemma Whelan as DS Collins deserves praise for quite an impressive performance. I like how Collins is written in the show that looked like some sad cop running from some personal tragedy and also striving to solve a crime at the same time.

The way the show has ended, there is an indication that the show is just warming up. Because this show is based on the book ‘Post Mortem‘ which was the first in Kate London‘s trilogy book series. If that is so, I am eager to see how the screenwriting does justice in the continuity of an excellent police crime drama.

TV Review: The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age is a significant period in American history that began in the 1870s and lasted until the 1890s. This period is considered the golden age of industrialization and rapid growth in the American economy. This era witnessed the birth of many business giants, important inventions, and the rise of many wealthiest families. This was also the period of the shifting of wealthy generations where the old and new families were struggling to join the rank of elites and high societies. Julian Fellowes‘ latest creation is based on that struggle.

The HBO drama focuses on two rich families. The old money van Rhijn-Brook family and the new money Russell family. The latter is inspired by the real-life Vanderbilts who once were the-then wealthiest family in the United States. A sense of rivalry exists when the race of joining the elite ignites within the society and during all this hullabaloo, young Marian Brook became a lively figure between the two families when she moves from Pennsylvania to New York to live with her estranged aunts.

As true to the aristocratic nature and Julian Fellowes accurately admitting, The Gilded Age is the American Downton Abbey or shall I say, the American answer to Downton Abbey that was also created by Fellowes. Not sure if I must suggest that the dramas written by Fellowes are for rich people but there is no harm in developing an interest in dramas about the noble or upper-class lifestyle that proudly displays a fine exhibition of the aristocracy.

The show has taken good care of small accuracies and being a period drama, the costume and the production design are just marvelous. There is a scene, I think in the pilot or the second episode when the party host announces that she will organize a card game of Cinch. I found the name interesting so I googled it and I discovered that Cinch, which is also known as High Five, was the game that developed in Denver, Colorado in the same timeline where this drama is shot.

Downton Abbey fans are in for a treat as the music score, powerful dialogues and direction reminds you of the Downton Abbey show. Not only that, many characters of The Gilded Age will make the audience recall some Downton Abbey characters. The biggest one is Lady Agnes van Rhijn whose quick-witted one-liners will make you remember Lady Violet in Downton Abbey. Then there is Mr. Bannister, the butler who holds the same commands as Mr. Carson. The young chemistry of Jack and Bridget in the servant class is similar to Daisy and Alfred in Downton Abbey.

But one aspect where The Gilded Age edges over Downton Abbey is the representation of the Blacks. Downton Abbey have extremely shorter and limited roles but The Gilded Age has quite a take on the lives of African Americans. And their representation is the most different from most of the shows that are doing a favor to diversity. The show is giving its audience a sharp look at the certain existence of ‘elite’ African Americans which is quite disappearing from the script pages when we watch a historical drama where the Black Americans are mostly portrayed as slaves. One guarantee of trusting the Black representation is accurate is hiring Erica Armstrong Dunbar who is a Rutgers University history professor who specializes in Black American women of the 18th and 19th centuries, as a historical consultant.

The audience must also remember that this show is taking place in New York in 1882 which is around 17 years after Lincoln‘s historic Emancipation Proclamation, the ratification of the US constitution’s 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. So yes, the presentation is accurate, and more than that, the show still threw the shades of racial segregation and portrayed them as some second-grade citizens. Because this was still a fresh struggle for recognition.

Lady Agnes’ son Oscar is shown as bisexual and the flow of the characterization clearly proved that making him bisexual looked terribly forced. His being in relation to John has nothing to do with the story but just wanted the audience to recognize that LGBTQ+ existed in those times. And forced portrayals have this very problem in the films and tv shows that the writing and the direction of such chemistries do not come up with some genuine addressing.

Many of the cast have given fair performances but I will pick both the leading ladies Christine Baranski and Carrie Coon as Lady Agnes and Bertha Russell who gave top performances. Stage actress Louisa Jacobson, Meryl Streep‘s daughter, was first-rate and will take time to learn a lot since this is the beginning of her career. She made a television debut in such a bigger project.

Just like Downton Abbey, the show will be covering a lot of historical events and present portrayals of famous American people like the first season managed to do on a few occasions. For example, Linda Emond as Clara Barton who was the founder of the American Red Cross, and Ashlie Atkinson as Mamie Fish who was a lavish party-throwing socialite. There is a scene where Thomas Edison lights up the New York Times building, a historic moment in New York city’s history that is a real incident with few
changes for the dramatic effect. It was a mesmerizing shot to end one of the episodes and give the real incident its due respect to define the best moments of the Gilded Age.

The Gilded Age is a spectacular portrayal of elite American history. Those who are enthusiastic about period dramas will surely love watching this. I am believing that The Gilded Age is definitely increasing its fanbase, especially amongst the Downton Abbey loyalists. The story has a lot of potential to stretch the drama to at least five seasons.

TV Review: Pam & Tommy

Superstar couples Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) get married and tape very private recordings on their camera. After Tommy refuses to pay the money to the carpenter Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), he steals his case where he finds the tape that turns many fortunes and fates.

The experience of watching Pam & Tommy was like watching the American Crime Story. There is no surprise that the show was to attract a lot of audience due to a compelling story but more than that it is the makeup and hairstyling and powerful performances by Lily, Sebastian, and Seth that alarmed the enthusiasm. James Franco was supposed to play Tommy before Sebastian signed.

Lily James has to be a well-observed casting in recent times for a television show whose four-month high-tech gym sessions, incredible make-up, and hyper-realistic prosthetics for large breasts made her the most perfect choice to portray the Baywatch blonde girl.

One major issue this show is successful to address is the consequences of leaking private videos. In the era of the mid-1990s when the internet was a global sensation. Pamela Anderson’s leaked tape was one of the biggest headlines that brought incredible traffic on the internet. During the whole situation, Pamela is the one who went mentally disturbed because this was neither pornographic content nor was there consent from their side to put on the internet and make millions of dollars of business. None of Pam and Tommy signed a release to reach that far. And that difference is remarkably recognized.

Another significant factor that made the writing of the show critically on point was the gender value of the leaked tape. Tommy was less affected than Pam and Tommy couldn’t understand how it was different for her than him when both were in the video. Despite being the most iconic figure of sex-symbol of the 1990s, Pam had her feminine side to be concerned of and it was highly sensitive. After all, she was a model but not an actress from the adult film industry. And this is why the supporting role of Taylor Schilling as adult actress Erica carried a lot of weight.

The show also highlighted Pam’s association with both Playboy and Penthouse, and the business role Seth Warshavsky of Internet Entertainment Group played in all this saga.

Based on the 2014 Rolling Stone article “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape” by Amanda Chicago Lewis, the show holds a lot of accuracy about the details like Rand being on Tommy’s gunpoint, the heist, Tommy speaking to his own penis, Pam and Tommy’s first meeting with the lick and their wedding, Seth’s proposal to the couple, etc.

Pam & Tommy’s biggest win is giving the real feel of humiliation, the media adding insult to the emotional damage, and showing the audience how the introduction of the website took the internet users in those times by storm. Makeup, hairstyling, and costume design make this show even better. There must be an Emmy winner between Lily, Sebastian, and Seth.

TV Review: The Morning Show

(Before I commence passing my review, I would like to inform the readers of the future that the show is judged after watching the first two seasons. To date, the third season has been announced.)

After fifteen years of television dominance and winning eight Emmies, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) is fired by the UBA Network when the news breaks of his being responsible for multiple incidents in sexual misconduct. His on-air partner for fifteen years, Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) faces difficult challenges to maintain her professional stature as the show struggles to retain its domination on the American viewers. And during all this, the network hires a shocking replacement of Mitch in Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon), an outspoken field reporter whose creative ideas do not match with Alex. Thus, starts a very interesting phase of the news network.

Apple TV+‘s The Morning Show is the epitome of excellent writing about corporate corruption, abuse of power, sexual misconduct, and the struggle of women empowerment. This phenomenal piece of writing reminds me of Aaron Sorkin‘s, the audience is fully sold to watch the sensationalism of the making of news programs. The functioning of the news network is detailed with meticulous care.

One of the highlights where the show surpasses the quality of presentation is giving a proper dramatization of female employees working under the same roof after one major controversy bombs the reputation. TMS is picturized in the time period of America’s socially most critical period that is the rise of the MeToo wave in the first season followed by the global pandemic in the second season. Therefore, the show heavily focuses on the impact of the MeToo movement on this news network and the mental challenge the employees have to face after Mitch is fired.

In the same given period, TMS successfully decorates the professional rivalries in both upper and lower levels and daily political games between the network biggies. The parties, the glamour, the pride, the ego, the insecurities, etc. are all crafted with command. Employee love affairs, professional secrecies, work ethics, and heated arguments are credibly natural.

I think the recently concluded second season, despite superb writing and direction, is drier than the first season to some percentage due to lack of potential continuity. Mitch/Stella and Bradley/Laura takes a lot of minutes and are not even the core concerns of the main subject. The only plus about the writing of the second season is the build-up of the global horror that knocked the American life – the coronavirus. All the related content writing about the upcoming pandemic really breaks the buzz.

If the audience observes at dramatizing of employee relationships and scuffles, this will remind you of USA Network‘s Suits. Another excellence is handling the tragic events of the California Wildfire and the Global Pandemic magnificently. The productional dynamics and dramatic changes in the continuity are so compelling that the viewers can easily go into the heart of the show and grow in it.

The Green sisters of Friends, Rachel and Jill, reunited in The Morning Show.

And why not? The show is blessed with a potentially favorable cast of Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon in the lead, with the splendid support of Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, and Karen Pittman, giving powerful performances. The Green sisters of Friends, Jennifer and Reese, were not only reunited but also became the first actors to be paid $2 million per episode.

There are numerous intense and brilliant argument and speech scenes. And this is what the audience wants, make a show blended with a favorable cast, fabulous writing, hot topics, hard-hitting dialogues, all orchestrated under a supervision of a thoughtful team of directors.

TMS has an interesting plotline, an exciting setup of aesthetics, a wise application of dark comedy, a very sound direction to build our enthusiasm for the show. And holds a lot of promises for the next season; and like me, I am certain that all the TMS fans are wishing that the new season happens this year instead of another two-year gap.