Friday, July 03, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Modern Family, S10:
Most of the cast has been flanderized by this tenth season. There are just enough warm family moments or funny jokes to keep it afloat, but it's definitely showing its age.

Final Grade: C+

Knives Out (PG-13):
This is a great, traditional murder mystery that functions well as a 21st century version of Clue. The large cast of characters is expertly introduced in a way that the audience can keep up with who's who, and the clues to the murder of a famous author are placed in a way to allow both solving-at-home and red herrings.

Final Grade: B+

Frozen II (PG):
I gave Frozen a C five years ago although that might rise to a B- now that I watch parts of it regularly with Maia. Frozen II feels like a straight-to-video sequel with most of the songs being forgettable B sides. The story is more abstract and talky than the original, so kids might get bored more easily in the middle stretches. A few chuckles here and there, and way too much Olaf (which Maia loves and no adult does) make this passable entertainment. On the CGI side, though, the water and fabrics look great!

Final Grade: B-

Dark, Season Three:
The final season of this German show is simultaneously too slow and too rushed. The nature of the story and the new wrinkles introduced in Season Two sometimes make it feel like the story is treading water. By the end, I wished that some of that time had been spent filling in the growth and outcome of more supporting characters instead. (That's not to say there are any PLOT HOLES -- just gaps in the massive cast's stories that are never explicitly told because they're not on the main path).

That said, this season is a great testament to shows that plot out how they're going to end before they've begun (RIP Lost). The attention to detail in tying lines of dialogue, camera angles, and other facets back to previous seasons also reveals huge clues from old seasons about how the ending would work out. The first half of the eight-episode season is a little slow and muddy, but the last half is full of plot answers and tragic stories.

The finale manages to satisfy both people looking for science answers and people looking for resolution for the characters (RIP Lost). While it seems to break a few of the show's established "rules", post-show discussion on Reddit helped me appreciate how tightly-knit it actually was. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+ (I gave Season One and Two an A- and A respectively, and would give the series as a whole an A-).

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