Annie H.



X-Men '97

Both a love letter and a proper continuation of the 90s show, made by people who obviously love the original cartoon, but also the X-Men characters and storylines. The intro theme is back, the characters are back, most of the original cast is back, the campy dialogue and storytelling format are back too. At the same time both the animation and the way themes of prejudice are presented have been updated in a way that feels more relatable to modern audiences.

It's clear that a lot of effort and heart were put into this, and despite hitting some heavily nostalgic notes, it definitely doesn't piggyback on nostalgia alone. Bringing back old, beloved shows and franchises is always risky, and it's not going to meet everyone's expectations, but if it has to happen then the best way to go about it is with care for the original material and understanding of what made it special to those who love it.

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X-Men '97: 1x10 Tolerance Is Extinction (3)
Doctor Who: 1x04 73 Yards

'73 Yards' was a properly eerie and creepy episode, with some actual horror elements and gorgeous cinematography too. Really strong performance by Millie Gibson as well. Doctor Who inevitably faces some limits when tackling with horror themes, given the show's PG rating, but they definitely found the perfect balance here, delivering a legitimately haunting and at times quite unsettling story.

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Doctor Who: 1x03 Boom

'Boom' had a significant change of tone compared to the first two episodes. Tackling some pretty heavy, warfare-related themes, and making some definitely-not-subtle commentary on the illogicality and inhumanity of war. With some legitimately touching moments, but also some cleverly balanced humour too, that actually adds to the story.

Ncuti Gatwa gives an exceptionally emotional performance, and their chemistry with Millie Gibson continues being amazing. The dynamic between the Doctor and Ruby remains one of the highlights of the new series. The episode wraps up maybe a little bit too neatly, considering the storyline it deals with, but this is Doctor Who, after all, and it's in the heart of the show to give a little glimmer of optimism in the end. All in all, by a mile the strongest episode of the season so far.

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Fallout: Season 1

Went into the Fallout TV show trying not to expect much, but it was such a pleasant surprise. The attention to detail is impressive, the cast is amazing, Walton Goggins in particular manages to give a significantly emotional performance even under tons of prosthetics, and the way music is implemented as part of the storytelling works perfectly. Looking forward to season 2.

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The Bear: 2x06 Fishes

One of the most brilliantly-acted, brutal, raw, uncomfortably stressful and heartbreaking pieces of television I have ever watched. Touches upon themes of familial trauma in a very real, very unsettling way, without ever becoming exploitative for a second. Also giving a new perspective on all main characters, adding extra context that makes you look back at everything that has happened from the first season on from a different angle. Not an easy watch, but an exceptional episode.

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The Fall Guy

'The Fall Guy' was a ton of fun. Great action with the right amount of comedy, the romantic plot feels believable and sweet, and Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt sell it excellently. At points it gets a bit over the top but it's very self aware about it, and it never tries to be anything more than it is. Plus what it does, it does it really well, and it's got a blasting soundtrack too.

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The Little Mermaid

Actually quite enjoyed 'The Little Mermaid'. Some nitpicks aside, it's one of the better Disney remakes. Not all of the changes were necessary, but some really helped improve on the story. Giving Ariel more agency in certain scenes and making the romance more believable by having them bond and get excited and nerdy over their specific common interests definitely worked in giving a reason, beyond infatuation, why these two people like each other. Overall it was fun and boy Halle Bailey can SING.

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The Bear: 2x07 Forks

Just as brilliant as 'Fishes', for totally different reasons. Focusing on hope, finding purpose from a low point, and the overall theme of "never too late to start over". Strangely, it really felt like a fitting followup to episode 6, both as a palate cleanser, and a shift towards a more optimistic tone. The writing of this show remains legitimately impressive. The way character development feels so organic and the people in it feel so flawed, and human, and real, is something very rarely seen in any form of media.

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My Adventures with Superman

'My Adventures with Superman' is such a comfort watch. It's so sincere, funny, optimistic, and full of heart, and just peak Superman. With some more serious turns in the story as well, keeping things interesting.

One of the deviations from the classic comics that more modern stories have taken is having Lois actually be attracted to the kind, dorky, and awkward Clark right away when she first meets him, instead of her fascination being primarily focused on Superman. That's something I'm a big fan of and it's really well executed here. Their romance is really sweet and believable, and the whole dynamic and humour between Clark, Lois, and Jimmy as friends and young interns on the Daily Planet works excellently too.

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You Don't Know Me

Interesting show that went under the radar. The story of how Hero met Kyra is sweet and believable. The way he is allowed to tell the series of events in court, though, does require some suspension of disbelief, but taking liberties not based on real procedures is very common in films and shows involving trials and legal matters. Being just 4 episodes long, it doesn't drag more than it should and the story wraps up pretty nicely.

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Amazing cast, great soundtrack choices, but boy does this show jump the shark on season 2.

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The amount of effort that Halle Berry put into this role is definitely impressive, and getting Valentina Shevchenko to be part of the film was also pretty cool.

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Nimona was such a delight! Beautiful animation and an endearing and deep story, that manages to blend lighthearted humour with positive and nuanced queer representation, and themes that include the harms of indoctrination and demonizing those who are different, along with the seclusion and the longing for acceptance and connection by those who feel like they don't belong.

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Barbie is funny, campy, extravagant, sincere and emotional. Even in its comedic moments it doesn't hold back on the commentary. Sometimes subtle, sometimes in-your-face, pointing on how the world regards and frames femininity and masculinity, trying to put them in a box, but also on the urge to break out of those boxes and discover yourself beyond how you were told you should be. America Ferrera's monologue stands out among the many genuinely deep parts of the film.

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