The December Edition

December 6th.

Netflix‘s Best Film & guaranteed Academy Award Best Picture Nominee is a love story about a divorce.

Hacky comparison: A more positive take on something like Kramer Vs. Kramer. A good cast, and a great script it’s easily the top tier of anything Netflix has ever made. In that tier; The Haunting of Hill House, Okja, House of Cards: Season Two, & Orange is the New Black Season 1. It’s in good company.

A Michael Bay Film… obviosuly

Explosions, pretty girls, pretty guys, extreme close ups, guns, military, expensive stuff, more explosions, quips and the American Flag. Must be a Michael Bay film. A good time may be had. #Bayhem

December 13th

Series Finale December 22nd

Few shows have experienced such a big critical comeback as one-time zeitgeist owner Mr. Robot, a show that was everywhere and on everybody’s radar in 2015, but the labyrinth plotting of season two and a long gap between season three lost a lot of folks. Where it lost them, it found me. S2 is best binged and season 3 was such a strong bounce back to what the show did well, it is amazing how much better the show is able to balance the psycho-drama and hacker-hijinx in the final fourth season delivers. Lead Actor Rami Malek, now an Oscar and Emmy-winner since the show began delivers his best work yet in a well plotted and paced show confident enough to take huge chances, like staging a Christmas New York set heist episode without any dialogue then pivoting next week to a stage play format. Last week was road trip romance, yet the show doesn’t lose track of pleasing its audience this time around. It all ends December 22nd.

HBO’s Watchmen

Damon Lindelof – who was in over his head as the co-creator of Lost and redeemed himself with the surprisingly good The Leftovers, returns to HBO with a fresher Writing & Directing crew. Among them Nicole Wallace (AMC’s The Killing). Embodying comic-book creator Alan Moore’s Rockstar “F’You, Can-Do” attitude, with new designs from illustrator Dave Gibbons, this show has evolved every week to become the year’s breakout must see television event. The finale airs on December 15th.

The end is nigh for mainline Star Wars, so why aren’t we more excited? Basically we have no idea how this is gonna end, but we know there will already be 3 more beginning in 3 years time before even an idea is formed. We haven’t really gotten to know the new characters too much since The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi fell on the negative side of divisive for me. I knew what the film was trying to do but I don’t think the right direction was taken. I am welcome to being surprised on this one, and it helps that it is being directed by the best of the recent Star Wars helmers, although self-admittedly he is bad at endings. Christmas is a hopeful season.

December 20th

Based on a series of best-selling books, and propelled to fame by an internationally made and acclaimed video game series, the likes of which were so acclaimed they were gifted to then President Barack Obama by Poland (he couldn’t get into it). Former/ current(?) Superman Henry Cavill takes on the role of Geralt of Rivera, a social outcast. half-man half-beast that was created by magic to hunt down monsters. This is some deep fantasy, and I wonder if following their failed Marco Polo whether they have the skill and aplomb to pull this series off, at least critically.

December 20th

When all 3 of your movies written have been critically acclaimed box office hits (The Theory of Everything, The Darkest Hour, Bohemian Rhapsody) you would think more people would pay attention. Here we have Anthony Hopkins playing what many people regard as the Evil Emperor of Popes as he vets his replacement in the recent history tale of Two Popes. Strong critical reaction and interest among Catholics propels this film to worthy mainstream recognition.

Can Lost in Space step up to become a top-tier Netflix show?

Stranger Things is coming to an end, and House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black are long gone. Lost in Space, a re-imagining of the bad 1965 TV series, itself a re-imagining of the book Swiss Family Robinson follows a family of space explorers who become lost in the biggest frontier imagineable. A key ingredient to the show’s success is finding a big following despite a lack of critical acclaim, and Netflix would be unwise to let this opportunity go to allow the show to evolve into a wider space. The first season was watchable in the background. The second series drops on Christmas Eve.

An unsurprising commercial yet surprising critical success, Netflix picked up You from Lifetime last year and has enjoyed cultural relevance and endurance. The biggest surprise? The intelligence and storytelling risks the show takes along the way. Created by Greg Berlanti (Arrowverse, Prodigal Son, and Love, Simon) the show at first glance looks like a cheap knockoff of a teen soap, but the degree to which the show actually finds strong thematic resonance with it’s material took me by surprise. It helps the main character, a charismatic guy grown in the Dexter mold, is played by Gossip Girl‘s Penn Badgley. The highly anticipated 2nd Season hits the web on Boxing Day.

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