Eddie Hinkle

tv-review

Story-telling and character perspectives in the show "The Affair"

I've been watching the TV show "The Affair" because it has one of my favorite actors and I have to say their story telling approach is so interesting in season one! Every episode is split into two parts, each part is from one of two people's narrative perspective.

The really interesting thing about this perspective shift is that sometimes it covers different events, but sometimes it overlaps the same events that happened in the other part, however in retelling the same event it will have inconsistencies between each person's perspective on how the event happened. Sometimes it's something small like one person or the other started the conversation, or they were chatting in a slightly different room. Other times it is huge inconsistencies like specific things literally never happen in one viewpoint or someone's personality is completely different. For example, the person whose perspective it is, is almost always more docile and the other person is more aggressive. It's really intriguing and makes me wonder if the "truth" of some of these things will ever be revealed or if it will always be a he-said she-said mystery.

So often stories are told in such standard and conventional ways, it really excites me to see stories told in different ways. This tv show is such a great rendition of the classic story-telling tactic of the unreliable narrator.

It's an interesting show and I'm wondering if they are going to change things up in the following seasons or keep the same story-telling approach. If it's the later, will they introduce new perspectives or continue to tell the entire show through these two characters. Only time will tell! Thankfully there are already 4 seasons out so I won't have to wait to find out.

Fall 2018 Premieres: A Million Little Things on ABC

A Million Little Things is a peculiar show. My first impression is that this is ABC’s attempt at answering NBC’s This Is Us.

Unlike This Is Us, which starts out very warm and fuzzy, A Million Little Things took the opposite approach and starts out very depressing. In fact 40 minutes into the 45 minute show Ashley and I were almost ready to give up on the show because it was very depressing and didn’t have a clear direction. In the final 5 minutes, it flips on its head with some touching moments and some startling revelations that sets this show up for a very interesting season ahead.

This show seems promising as long as they keep the story interesting and headed in a positive direction. I have good hopes for the show and Ashley and I are gonna be following this show pretty closely this year.

Fall 2018 Premieres: FBI on CBS

FBI on CBS is a pretty common crime drama. The case on the first episode was interesting, however it seems that they wrapped it up which means this series doesn't seem to be about one overarching case but instead it seems styled in the typical crime a week cop show.

They have some nice details and backstory that help flesh out the characters of the FBI agents to help them be relatable and to set up a little mystery for future character development.

If you're not really into cop shows, this probably isn't the show for you. If you can't get enough cop shows, this is a show that provides a different perspective as it's based on federal cases and not a local police department. For me, I'll probably watch it from time to time but won't be on my weekly first watch list.

Fall 2018 Premieres: New Amsterdam on NBC

New Amsterdam is a must watch show! From the beginning it's a captivating idea: A medical director completely turns a public hospital on it's head by changing policies all around the hospital to focus on helping patients above and beyond all other responsibilities. Adding in the person dynamics with his family and the care his doctors show for their patients turns this into a deeply moving show.

Even more interesting is that it's actually based on a true story, although how much of the truth shows up in these based on true story is always questionable.

The show did a great job of drawing me into the characters and stories and connecting with me. Even started bringing out some tears by the end of the show. I'll be following this show closely this year and hopefully if they balance things right, they can get renewed next year!

Fall 2018 Premieres: Magnum P.I. on CBS

Magnum P.I. seems like an interesting show. I know my dad always enjoyed the original version of the show when it was on and I lived in Hawai'i for 8 years so it's nice to see some scenes based on O'ahu.

However, when the pilot episode ended I thought "that was it?" because the 10 minute preview I watched in May when new shows were announced literally covered everything that this episode covered. So the jury is out. I don't really like the character's personality but I could see the show growing on me once things actually start to happen in the show.

It's another show that's on the fence and I'll just have to sit out another couple episodes and see where it goes.

Fall 2018 Premieres: Manifest on NBC

Manifest is an interesting show, but I'm not sure how it will hold up. It feels like a mixture of two previous tv shows: The 4400 and The Crossing.

In The 4400 people are abducted and sent to the future. In The Crossing people randomly appear from the future. The 4400 was on the SyFy channel and lasted for 3-4 seasons. The Crossing premiered last year and was cancelled after only one season.

The basic premise is this: a group of people on a plane take off and after flying through a storm land at their destination 3 hours later. However, in those three hours 5 years has passed. So obviously the government is suspicious and families are happily surprised (albeit also potentially conflicted as they have moved on with their lives). At the surface seems kind of intriguing. Then you have a couple characters starting to hear their own voice in their mind and realize that when they do what the voice tells them people are saved. The pilot episode ends with the entire group that was on the flight arriving where their plane is parked because they all felt they needed to and we are told in a voice over that this is "just the beginning".

TV Shows like this can do well and can be enjoyable, albeit sometimes just from a cult following. Unfortunately in this first episode none of the main characters connected with me, which I believe is an essential piece to a tv show being successful and enjoyable.

I'll probably watch episodes here and there or awhile to see if it connects with me but although the previews made me really excited for Manifest, the reality is a pretty disconnected show with weird things happening to it's characters. There's a little mystery about why they disappeared but oddly enough that's the least intriguing part of the show right now. The show seems to be setting up the premise that it has something to do with God or a higher power. However, it could also end up following The 4400 or The Crossing and involve time travel or another solid fallback is alternate realities. But one of the things that makes the "what did this?" angle less intriguing is that they haven't given us any reason to believe it's anything other than a higher power, time travel or alternate realities which feels very stock. I guess we'll see how it goes and if they can start to turn things around in a meaningful way over the next few episodes.

Spring 2018 Premieres: LA to Vegas on FOX

LA To Vegas is an odd comedy. It follows the passengers and crew of a routine flight route betwee. LA and Las Vegas. It isn’t realistic in any fashion and some of the jokes are a bit outrageous.

The first episode literally only takes place on the airplane just before and during the flights to Vegas and back to LA, as well as a couple scenes in the Airport before and after. My assumption is that is the plan, to have different things happens on the plane flights. They introduced some passengers that seem to take the flight often that the crew seemed to know well, so it is likely they will have some recurring passengers and some new ones every week.

While the jokes aren’t really up my alley, some people might enjoy them. I think my main concern is how many seasons can you continue the story if it ONLY takes place in the airplane? Seems like a show that will only get one or max two seasons.

I’m not really a fan, so I don’t know if I’ll continue watching it or not but at least it is a short comedy which is always helpful.

Spring 2018 Premieres: Grown-ish on Freeform

Well that was disappointing. I watched the premiere of Grown-ish and it lost all of the charm that it’s parent show Blackish had going for it. My wife Ashley and I have enjoyed watching Black-ish since it’s premiere a couple years ago. Going into it, my biggest hope for Grown-ish was that it would spread it’s wings and not feel bound to stay stuck within the confines of the established flow of Black-ish. Well, they accomplished that. But not in the way that I hoped. It lost everything that made Black-ish funny. The only thing that remains is the character Charlie. It was an awkward first episode and the second episode just made it worse. I’ll give it a couple more episodes but it has plummeted to the bottom of my watch list. Good luck picking yourself back out of the hole, Grown-ish.

Fall 2017 Premieres: SEAL Team on CBS

What more can you expect from a show with David Boreanaz as the headliner? SEAL Team is a blow away show. As one can expect from the previews the show is basically designed to tear at your heart, and it does.

I went into this show wanting to like it, because who doesn’t like Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Haha! But wow, this show did not disappoint! I expected the show to be a lot more focused on the actual combat, and maybe it was an illusion, because I didn’t have a timer going but the show felt to be MUCH more focused on the people and even more about the repercussions of coming home than being out to battle.

I have to say this show hit home, while none of these specific scenarios apply to me, having grown up in a military family watching the story of a military member that has to come back home after experiencing everything they experience struck a real cord with me. The scene that is forever stuck in my mind is the final scene of the premiere, as David Boreanaz sits in the chair, watching his daughter sing. She smiles, and he nervously rubs his palm against his pant leg that hours earlier had been stained with blood and then grips his hand tightly, revealing the emotions and everything that is going on beneath the surface as he smiles at his daughter, proud of her moment singing. That scene killed me and if you give it a chance it will tear you up as well.

I fully recommend SEAL Team and am gonna be following it weekly all season long!

Fall 2017 Premieres: The Mayor on ABC

The Mayor is a new half-hour comedy on ABC. I have to say, ABC is king of the comedies. Although there are some ABC comedies I don’t like, it is rare that they don’t get good comedies. I would give The Mayor a B. It’s not their best game but it’s a decent comedy.

The first episode begins with a young rapper trying to get his music out to a wider audience so he enlisted to run as mayor. It’s a stunt that he doesn’t expect to work, however it turns out his experience living in the city has given him a perspective that the voters liked and much to his surprise, he gets elected as mayor!

So now, he has to figure out how to be a good mayor. The chemistry between Brandon Micheal Hall and Lea Michele works well and keeps the show interesting and engaging, despite the odd premise. I don’t know if the show will last, but for now it’s good for some laughs.

I watched an early premiere, so you can still catch the first episode on October 3rd on ABC.

Fall 2017 Premieres: This Is Us Season 2 on NBC

What can you say about a show like This Is Us! This Is Us just had it’s season 2 premiere on NBC and it was amazing, as was the entire first season.

The entire first season was incredible and more often than not left either Ashley or I in tears before the end of the episode. Season 2 doesn’t disappoint, picking up where Season 1 left off, and yet in some ways with the revelations from season 1 it feels like they’ve upped the ante.

There isn’t much I can truly say about season 1 or season 2 without spoiling the show, so this will be a short review but if there is one show that you can watch, let it be This Is Us. The entire first season is available to stream on the NBC app or online, and season 2 has just started. Catch up before it’s too late!

Summer 2017 Retrospective: Teen Wolf on MTV

One of the saddest moments in television is when a long-running show comes to an end. There is something about following the story of a set of characters as they grow over the course of many years and then after 5, 6 or 7 years it comes to a close.

I’ve been following Teen Wolf from the initial premiere. It was an interesting and exciting show that was a nod to the old movie of the same name from the 1985. The story was about a teen boy who is bitten by a werewolf and has to learn how to balance being a high school boy and a werewolf. In this twist of the story, Scott has to evade being killed by werewolf hunters and eventually decide that he needs to use his abilities to keep his friends and his town safe from the supernatural forces that begin to find their focus on the town of Beacon Hills. Scott’s human best friend, Stiles, is played by Dylan O’Brien, one of my favorite actors right now.

Over the course of the 6 seasons, Scott becomes the Alpha of a mixed pack of humans and other supernatural beings that continually attempt to keep their town safe from the evil supernatural forces that always try to take it over.

The thing that I love is how they pulled the entire story full circle for the last half of the final sixth season. It was one of the best series finales I’ve ever seen, I’m really gonna miss this show but I’m happy that they ended it well.

This show can have a lot of scary and gruesome scenes, so if you have a weak stomach or don’t like scary suspenseful scenes, this might not be the show for you, but it sure was great for me!

Fall 2017 Premieres: The Brave on NBC

The Brave is a drama on NBC based around the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a team of Special Ops working in the field across the world. This is one of the shows I’ve been looking forward to since the premieres were announced this past may.

It’s an interesting premise, you watch an intelligence team based in DIA that feeds information to a field team of Special Ops that “when there’s no way out, they go in” as the show’s tagline says. This show could easily go either way but one of the things that really gets it right for me is their casting for the Special Ops team leader, Mike Vogel. He portrays his character, Adam, in the way that you want every hero to be: he makes his choices because they are right and he ignores order when need be. His depth of character is what really kept me engaged.

It’s tough to say, but I really wish they had chosen something besides Muslim Terrorism as the opening premiere. I know that is one of our primary modern threats to the U.S. and our military but for storytelling it just really feels overused recently. I pushed through the predictable circumstances in this episode because I cared about the team.

I’m interested enough to continue the show, but I hope they come up with some more interesting and innovative scenarios. However, regardless of if they improve the weekly challenges that the team faces, for me the big draw to this show is the main characters of the team and if they are able to keep their lives engaging I can probably suffer through whatever weekly scenario they end up in so that I can see where it takes them.

Fall 2017 Premieres: Me, Myself and I on CBS

Me, Myself and I is a new 30 minute comedy on CBS. I’ll be honest, I went into this watching it almost for the sole purpose of writing about it. I watched the previews and thought it seemed like one of dumbest shows in I’d seen in awhile. Turns out I was wrong.

Comedies can be very subjective, and I did not expect much from this show. The entire show is based around the concept that you see the character Alex in his past (at 14), in his present (at 40), and in his future (at 65). I thought it seemed like an odd concept and as I watched the first half of the episode I felt convinced that my original assertion was correct. Young Alex finds himself dragged into a step-family situation with a new bother, while Modern Day Alex finds himself walking in on his wife cheating on him. I’m not sure why it seems like men walking in on their wives cheating is the new go to scene. However, the small amount of solace was in watching Older Alex think through life after a near-death experience. He is the saving grace of the show, and while I doubted this show for almost the entire first episode, the final minutes brought the entire thing full circle seeming more like a drama than a comedy and almost brought me to tears as unexpected relationships took directions that I never expected.

So take this as my apology for discounting this show out of the gate and I’m gonna have Ashley watch the premiere with me so she can decide if it’s gonna be added to our list of shows that we watch together (which is a rare position indeed). Regardless of what Ashley decides she feels about it, I know that Me, Myself and I has won a spot on the list of shows I’ll be following this new tv season.

Maybe you should give it a shot and think about adding it to your list?

Fall 2017 Premieres: Young Sheldon on CBS

Young Sheldon is a spin-off show based on a main character from The Big-Bang Theory. It’s a cute, quirky show about a little boy that is too smart for his own good. I’m coming in to the show having never watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory and really just having a general cultural knowledge about the story and the characters.

The premise being that Sheldon, a young genius, is beginning his first day at High School in 1989 after skipping 4 grades. His eccentric traits cause his life both at home and at school to be difficult and challenging. The actor plays the boy well and his family members seem to lay off of him very well. The character appears to display some vague autistic, ocpd, and ocd behaviors. Interestingly enough the show’s creator claims this was not intentional. Typically I’m not a fan of how tv shows portray these, however in episode one it seems pretty natural and not overly done. This could change as the show continues.

It’s a funny show, but it doesn’t seem to have that indistinguishable quality for me that makes you just want to watch a show. It’s an interesting premise and I can see how for anyone who is a fan of The Big Bang Theory that this show would be an amazing add-on to the story. But as someone who hasn’t been extremely interested in the original show, this spin-off just isn’t really doing it for me.

It is vaguely interesting and at some point when I run out of shows, maybe when I resubscribe to CBS All Access near the end of the season to watch the rest of Star Trek: Discovery I would utilize my monthly payment to catch up on this show as well. But this show is going to go on my interesting, but not enough to follow it list.

Fall 2017 Premieres: Star Trek Discovery on CBS All Access

I grew up watching Star Wars but have never been a fan of Star Trek. I have some vague memories of a couple of Star Trek movies when I was young, but I didn’t pay a lot of attention to them. The first Star Trek film or show that I watched and enjoyed was the remake by J.J. Abrams’, but I haven’t followed it’s recent sequels.

Star Trek: Discovery is a show on CBS All Access, it’s CBS’ attempt to compete with Netflix and Hulu by having their own streaming service that includes their historical content as well as some original streaming content. The downfall means you have to subscribe to CBS All Access in order to watch Star Trek: Discovery.

For not being a huge Star Trek fan, they did a good job of making the story interesting. It seems to be in the future of the past Star Trek stories because they make some references like the traditional “beaming” technology was old fashioned and “used too much energy”. It is also established that Klingon’s haven’t been seen in over 100 years.

The first two episodes seem to work together to establish the storyline and the creation of a new war between the Federation and the Klingons. From the previews it appears that episode 3 will be a short time jump to the main storyline. I think it was interesting but it’s hard to know how to feel about the show since the first several episodes take place on a ship that isn’t even the show namesake Discovery. It seems like an interesting story but doesn’t seem worth the CBS All Access monthly cost. If you were paying for CBS All Access anyway, it seems to be an interesting concept and seems to be taking Star Trek into new directions. But if you aren’t subscribed to CBS All Access, this show is probably better left on its own and hopefully CBS won’t keep moving more shows to being locked behind a paywall.

I will probably follow suite with what Manton Reece is likely to do and that is subscribe to All Access for a month or two near the end of the season in order to catch up on the missed episodes.

Binge 2017 Retrospective: Santa Clarita Diet Season 1 on Netflix

Santa Clarita Diet is a 10-episode comedy series on Netflix that details the story of when a normal housewife becomes a zombie.

It’s an interesting idea, with Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as the lead actors. There are some really funny scenes, some oddly uncomfortable scenes (spoiler: apparently being a zombie increases your desire for intimacy with your spouse), and some really gross scenes. If you have a weak stomach, this show is likely not for you.

I wouldn’t classify this as one of the best shows I’ve watched, but it wasn’t the worst either. It was kind of funny with an intriguing premise. What would happen if a housewife became a zombie? The answer is it turns out you have to kill people so she can eat...better kill the bad guys, right? I like how they struggled to find out if there is a cure for being a Zombie and how the husband and wife struggle with how to keep their daughter out of the burden of the wife being a zombie and them having to kill people at night.

They left the show on a cliffhanger and I would be interested in watching a season 2 and see where they took it, but if there is never a season 2 I don’t think I would miss it.

Fall 2017 Premieres: Gotham Season 4 on FOX

Gotham is in it’s 4th season on FOX. As you know, I really enjoy my superhero shows and Gotham is definitely one of them. However, this is the only superhero show that my wife, Ashley, watches with me. Which is a good sign for you, because that means this isn’t your typical nerdy niche superhero show. It’s got a great cast and has a very real, gritty vibe. It is in it’s 4th season, but it’s a great time to jump in because after several years of having Bruce Wayne be a young boy whose parents had just died, he has finally started to become a teenager and a vigilante. In fact, each season has a subtitle and this season’s is “A Dark Knight”, which is Batman’s nickname!

If you are a comic book buff, you’ll have to prepare yourself what is likely nothing like any of the comics, but for the rest of us this is a great, very realistic feeling of a classic superhero and the villains in his world. One of my favorite parts of this series is that the well-known Batman police officer, Gordon, is played by Ben McKenzie (of The OC fame). I definitely recommend this show to anyone looking for a darker show. This is definitely not your light-hearted comedy!

If you’re a completionist like me, I would suggest watching the season premiere of Season 4 to make sure you like the show, and if you do then you can catch up on Seasons 1-3 on Netflix.

Binge 2017 Retrospective: The Defenders Season 1 on Netflix

I am such a huge fan of superhero shows, the only thing better than a great superhero show is a superhero team-up show!

The Defenders is a 8 episode series available on Netflix based on some Marvel superheroes and set within the same Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Marvel movies and ABC series.

To really get the full experience from The Defenders, you would want to go into it having watched the first 2 seasons of Daredevil, as well as the first seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist which are all available on Netflix.

The good news is you can still enjoy the story of The Defenders if you’ve never watched any other Marvel shows. It is an intriguing story that takes the strength and personalities of four very individualistic superheroes that have to join together in order to prevent New York City from being destroyed. The feeling of the show is interesting with the divergent personalities of the four heroes and even how in the beginning of the show each main characters scenes are colored specifically for them, really changing the feeling of the various scenes depending on what character you are watching.

One thing that is great about this show is that the heroes have such personal and relatable challenges that they feel a lot more human than the other superheroes in the Marvel universe like Iron Man or Captain America that are more like mythical figures.

I really enjoyed them pulling all the characters together for this team up and really hope they are working on The Defenders 2.

Fall 2017 Premieres: Marvel's Inhumans on ABC

My review on Marvel's Inhumans might not be fair, I watched the premiere sitting in an IMAX theater so when Gorgon stomped his foot on the ground the entire room shook. That was the best possible way to watch this 1 1/2 hour premiere, that said, this show is beautiful, exciting and has interesting characters. Marvel's Inhumans is a new show on ABC that is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Taking place both on Earth's Moon and on the island of O'ahu in Hawai'i, this show was perfect for me. Having lived on O'ahu for many years and being very interested in living on the moon, this show has two of the best locales for a show.

The characters were intriguing and definitely kept my interest. I am not a big comic book person but I am a big movie/tv superhero person. This meant that these characters are all new to me but I found them very interesting.

I think one of the biggest challenges for me is the two episode premiere did a great job establishing the characters and the crisis but it leaves you kind of wondering what week to week episodes are going to be like and if they are really going to have enough content to keep you engaged all season long (much less for multiple seasons). Also, the entire series feels very removed from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the only link to everything else is the admission that people on O'ahu have heard of Inhumans (which we saw happen on ABC's Agents of SHIELD in the last several seasons).

I am hoping the long story proves to be as intriguing as the premiere and that they can find ways to loop into the greater Marvel Universe even if it's just hints. They aren't on an island...even though they are kind of are.

I would encourage you to check out Marvel’s Inhumans. It’s an 8 episode series starting September 29 on ABC.

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