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Lost in Space Season 2 Review

Netflix released season two of it’s version of Lost in Space and here is my review.

I won’t go into any details of the story line just in case there are people who haven’t seen it but I will dive into my good and bad points about this season.

The Good

  • More special effects.
  • More action sequences.
  • Characters developed a little more with clips into the past back on Earth.
  • More emotion in the characters.
  • Return of some beloved actors, who have been promoting the series a little.

The Bad

  • Too many other characters.
  • First they aren’t a cohesive family, then they are. Didn’t quite get that one.
  • The Maureen and Dr Smith characters are just too annoying
  • No, not more of those robots, please!
  • No time going into space exploring different planets and meeting different aliens/cultures.
  • All one long continuing story and no separate episodic scifi that I enjoyed in the 1960s.
  • Not a lot of humour with exception to the Don West character.
  • Get rid of the stupid chicken.

So, a third and final season has been approved. Will I watch it? I might do, I am curious with how they will end it and I would like to see the return of Bill Mumy in a bigger roll.

I am in the minority of Lost in Space fans who weren’t keen on the series and there are many who are extremely grateful Netflix made this series.

By |2020-03-21T05:04:29+00:00March 21st, 2020|Television|0 Comments

Mob Psycho 100 Review

Mob Psycho 100Mob Psycho 100 is a TV Tokyo and Netflix co-production from 2018 based on the Anime series of the same name.

The series is about a middle school boy named Kageyama Shigeo, nicknamed Mobu (or Mob), who is extremely shy and has very low self-esteem. Mob has extremely powerful psychic abilities which he doesn’t like to use due to hurting people with them in the past. He also thinks using these abilities will not win him a girlfriend. Mob isn’t the only person with these special abilities and he is manipulated by those who want to harness them for good and bad.

Cast

The main actor in this series is Hamada Tatsuomi who is known most recently for being Ultraman Geed and other Ultraman related movies. He is absolutely perfect for this part as he comes across as very sweet and innocent, just like the actual character itself.

Trailer

Review

It was a pretty good show, I enjoyed it a lot.

I checked out a couple of episodes of the original anime before reviewing the show. The anime was fast and busy for me, whereas the live-action was slower.

The show might be more suitable to a younger audience but definitely over 18 since some of the content wasn’t children appropriate. The story was pretty much secure but very cartoonish. Some of the humour in the show was very unique, especially from the Arataka Reigen and Takane Tsubomi characters whose performances I enjoyed very much. The structure of the show was unique too, quite a different feel to it and very cute in parts, I love the closing theme and how they had different versions of it. I was quite impressed by the dramatic scenes and acting from Mochizuki Ayumu who played Mob’s brother Ritsu.

The special effects were of a much higher standard than I expected but some were a little old school compared to what we see in the US, Canada and UK. The physical effects, where people were thrown around the room crashing into furniture I thought was of a very high standard, they much have been very highly trained stunt people.

I would recommend this show.

By |2020-03-05T22:17:59+00:00March 5th, 2020|Review, Television|0 Comments

Bromance

Bromance is a television series that was made in Taiwan, broadcast between 18th October 2015 and 21 February 2016. The series consists of 18 episodes with an additional 19th episode summarizing the story with some behind-the-scenes clips. It was made by TTV.

BromanceThe main stars of the show were:

    • Baron Chen
      Lead character Du Zi Feng
    • Megan Lai
      Lead character Pi Ya Nuo
    • Bii
      Lead Character Wei Qing Yang
    • Sean Lee
      Lead Character Chu Zhe Rui
    • Katie Chen
      Lead Character Yang Na Na

A soothsayer advised a family that a female must pretend to be a male until her 26th birthday. Everything seems to go well until she (Pi Ya Nuo) meets Du Zi Feng and falls in love with him. How will he react when she reveals that the man he loves is really a female?

Review

Bromance can be found on Netflix but unfortunately they broke it down into 30 minute episodes. I recommend the original non-edited Taiwanese version of 1 hour 15 minutes each episode. Often Netflix doesn’t get the translations right and will chop it up into chunks that aren’t helpful.

Every now and again there is a TV show that you know will leave a lasting impressions on you. The Taiwanese show Two Fathers was one of them, Bromance is another.

“So Beautiful Is My Life”, a line in the theme song, and the show reflects that statement. It is jolly, positive and bubbly. When there is a lot of negative things happening in the world this is the show to lift your spritis. There is something about the combination of talent they gathered for the show, behind the scenes clips I found on YouTube suggests the cast and crew had a lot of fun with all of them getting on so well.  This attitude spilled over into the program.

It is another Asian crossdressing type of show but addresses same sex relationships in a very positive light, this is typical of how I view Taiwan, very open minded and accepting of people.

There may have been some improvement in the storyline but if you just appreciate the show for what it is, a bubbly adventure on the road to accepting people, I’m sure everyone would enjoy it.

Summary 5/5!

By |2020-02-29T06:14:34+00:00February 29th, 2020|Taiwan, Television|0 Comments

Yolk Man

Yolk Man (蛋黄人) is a Chinese television serial that was produced by iQiyi and broadcast between 16 August 2019 through 30 August 2019. It consists of 12 x 20-minute episodes.

What is it about?

Note: Spoilers Ahead
Yolk Man center’s around the main character of Li Zhi Yuan, a dysfunctional college student who not only loses the love of his life but is then diagnosed with cancer and has 3 months to live. An alien life form then inhabits his body, suppresses the cancer and gives him super human abilities. However, while the good alien inhabits Li Zhi Yuan an evil alien takes over another body that is controlled by a hive.

Main Character

Austin Lin plays Li Zhi Yuan. Austin is a Taiwanese actor whose career started on the singing competition “One Million Star” from 2007 and has appeared a quite a few TV and Movie productions since then. You don’t have to look to far on YouTube to find many shows that Austin has appeared in.

Review

Out of the box iQiyi provide English translation for the show embedded on the video. The translation text was very clear. However, I notice that the network gave English names to all the characters. For example, the main character of Li Zhi Yuan is now Jim.

Each of the actors gave brilliant performances and each character had their own form of “kick ass” opportunities.

China has marked this series as age group 15+. I’m not sure if it would have received the same rating in Canada, UK or US. Maybe lower.

The show is absolutely brilliant scifi with very high production values and some comedy thrown in. The special effects are excellent especially of the good alien who looks like an egg yolk, hence it being named Yolk Man. There is a decent amount of action so each episode is exciting, you are not likely to fall asleep during the show. The show is structured like an episodic scifi from the west with a brief intro, the theme music, a cliffhanger and closing theme. The final 2-3 episodes were the best with a showdown of the alien entity.

Like numerous Chinese shows right now there is a hint of a gay relationship. I notice networks are pushing the limits and including themes like these which, to me, gives a lot of hope that China is joining the rest of world. I really respect the producers for including this content.

There isn’t a particularly happy ending but there was a surprise after the closing theme of the last episode. This made me curious about the potential of a 2nd season although I haven’t seen any hints of one online. I hope so.

Score: 9/10

Where can I see this show?

Easy, the full 12 episodes are on YouTube, thanks to the network for putting it there.

By |2020-01-25T06:30:50+00:00January 25th, 2020|Television|0 Comments

MSNBC vs CNN vs BBC vs SkyNews vs France24 vs CBC

We now live in a technical age where we all have access to many news channels from around the world. This should give us a better perspective of what is happening globally.

Much of these news sources are commercial and often their main aim is to sell advertising space in order to survive, and that might give them a certain political slant. My preference is for these channels to present the news, not opinion, so I can make my own decisions. Few channels actually meet that bill.

These reviews are based on my opinion alone.

Tabloids

Firstly, the US cable networks which I class as “tabloid” journalism, more sensational and gossipy in style.

MSNBC

Out of all the channels I have access to this is the worst:

  • Not much news, focuses on US politics, mainly Trump.
  • Liberal-leaning content, don’t really relay the news from both sides.
  • Sensationalises the “news”, mainly speculation and editorialisation
  • Presenters either shout or the decibels on the broadcast is set to very high
  • Very repetitive repeating the same “news” time and time again
  • “Breaking News” can last for days when I consider it to be an old story
  • As they focus on the worst-case scenario for the world it’s very grim to watch the channel in the morning but any other time
  • Many of the hosts or guests have a Trump book to sell. Love him or loathe him, they are making money from him.

CNN

I don’t watch this channel much as the remit is very similar to MSNBC:

  • Sensationalism, speculation, editorialisation
  • Like MSNBC coverage is politically one-sided.
  • When there is real “breaking news” in the US, non-political, they have better coverage than MSNBC. I would prefer to watch PBS for this but they don’t have a 24/7 format.
  • Too many dancing graphics on the screen.
  • CNN is available globally whereas MSNBC isn’t.

Broadsheets

The following channels I class as more “broadsheet” in style; more real news and analysis, therefore, better-respected organizations.

BBC

The station has come under a lot of criticism in the past few years due to politically slanted news when the expectation of taxpayers, who partially fund the channel, expect more analysis of how both sides of the political spectrum.

  • Good coverage of “breaking news” from a UK perspective. Didn’t really care for their election coverage. Their Brexit news isn’t too bad
  • Presenters are generally calm, don’t shout, and intelligent. This is with possible exception to Aaron Heslehurst who I find loud, confusing and obnoxious
  • Often I find they cover less news in a half an hour slot than some other broadsheet style TV news channels

CBC

Even though CBC is classified as a public broadcaster it’s not the same as the BBC. It is commercial and feels like other channels. However, I do like its news presentation on both radio and TV.

  • Good balance of news and analysis. The analysis comes in the form of its program called The National.
  • Doesn’t appear to sensationalise the news too much
  • Not too many flying graphics during the broadcast
  • CBC Radio 1 has no commercials and the analysis type programming is very good
  • The other news channels in Canada are a bit more American in style and CBC News feels like a cross between BBC and ITN news in the UK

SkyNews

A UK news channel that is owned by Comcast in the US and is currently the Royal Television Society’s News Channel of the Year, as I write this, the 12th time it has held this award.

  • Appear to compress more news into their broadcasts than the BBC
  • Available on YouTube so the world can tune in to watch it
  • Pretty good on UK related news but often BBC has the edge on this
  • Sometimes sways into tabloid format but generally good all-round news presentation
  • Been watching SkyNews more than I have BBC News recently.

France24

Broadcasting English language news internationally over YouTube.

  • Excellent for world news and analysis
  • Of course, best from France related news, but don’t have access to any other English language French news channels
  • Good coverage of Africa and the Middle East, better than the BBC
  • Calm presenters providing a different perspective on the news
  • Good selection of 20 and 30-minute analysis type programming
  • Their app isn’t that great but I do get a good balance of breaking news from around the world, and they often beat many other news service providers.

Other News Outlets

There are other news outlets available here in Canada from home and around the world but don’t really watch them enough to assess them in too much detail but will give a quick overview:

  • Good Morning Britain is available in Canada but the show is tabloid garbage.
  • Fox News is the same but even worse than MSNBC, from a right-wing perspective.
  • Local stations from the US for CBS, NBC and ABC are available but feel their news shows showing what is happening in Seattle is not at all relevant to me.
  • PBS from the US is available here, they have a 6 pm news show, Newshour, which is very good.
  • We will sometimes watch Global News early in the morning, due to lack of CBC at that time of day, however, there are so many adverts splashed all over the screen they make it impossible to watch for any length greater than 10 minutes.
By |2020-01-18T21:55:43+00:00January 18th, 2020|Television|0 Comments

Asian Shows Currently Watching

There are so many Asian shows we are watching at the moment, all of them fantastic, so I thought I would compile a list of my recommendations for everyone.

Yolk Man
China

A student is dying of Cancer but an alien arrives on Earth, forming a symbiotic relationship with him, which saves his life. However, an evil alien soon follows to cause damage. Show is so well put together, special effects are brilliant, 12 x 25 minute episodes

Bromance
Taiwan

Pi Ya Nuo is a female but has to disguise herself as a male until her 26th birthday due to a superstitious omen. Then she meets Du Zi Feng, he thinks he is entering a same sex relationship with her little knowing that he is really a she. Will he still love her when the truth is revealed? Very funny yet touching series.

The Thunder
China

A more action-orientated police series from China that is pretty good, 48 x 45 minute episodes that aired Monday to Sunday in China. It has some notable stars inc Johnny Huang who is in 6 TV series in 2020, not sure how he has the time for them all. iQiyi produce some great series and I will watch out for anything that comes out of this studio.

Ossan’s Love
Japan

This series is one of my favourite so far. Set in a real estate office everyone seems to be falling in love with Haruta, except they are all people of the same sex and he is “supposedely” straight. This is a well acted comedy and I can see why this was so popular in Japan. Tanaka Kei and Yoshida Kotaro are brilliant in this. A must see. Preview is the movie of the show, DVD to be released Spring 2020.

The Untamed
China

We have just started watching this and it’s unexpectedly very good, some fans have described this as a masterpiece. Don’t watch the Netflix version, they often get the subtitles wrong or timing they appear is not working properly. This drama is by Tencent Video who have produced other dramas we have enjoyed too, worth discovering what else they have on offer.

Let’s Eat
South Korea

We are currently on the 2nd Season of Let’s Eat, three seasons produced. Each season has a different story has the same main actor appearing in all them, the popular Yoon Doo Joon. Apart from the drama/comedy theme they also eat a lot, and I mean a lot.  I’m not sure if they are going to make a third season, Yoon is currently doing his military service due to be released April 2020.

This is just a sample of what we are watching, we have many favourites that we have watched and a ton more that the plan to watch in the future.

By |2020-01-21T00:18:03+00:00January 5th, 2020|Television|0 Comments

When A Snail Falls in Love

We have just finished watching a Chinese television series called “When A Snail Falls in Love” (如果蜗牛有爱情), which we thoroughly recommend. This is my review.

The Story

A Chinese Detective, Ji Bai, played by actor Wang Kai (王凯) has to train new recruit Xu Xu, played by Olivia Wang (王子文). However, she might be excellent at psychology and profiling but doesn’t have the skillset to work in the field. They both become respectful of each other’s abilities and work together to solve a high profile case which takes them to Myanmar.

Review

The story has everything; action, romance, drama and comedy. There are a number of reasons why I believe this series is really good. It tackles the emotional effects of working the police force. Maybe it’s a Chinese cultural thing but the boss always took the blame for any mistakes of the team. The romantic scenes are touching and the action sequences are gripping. The script is complex but it is explained slowly and fits in well with the overall show. The photography is brilliant whether it’s in old fashioned markets, the docks, the countryside, the train going through Myanmar and more romantic locations. The show tackles issues that I’ve never seen in other Asian shows. On the negative side, I believe there are some parts of the story that are “lost in translation”, we didn’t understand some parts of the show which may have been down to the subtitles we saw.  It is often quite difficult to get a direct translation from Mandarin into English.

Snail Cartoon

Where To See The Show

You can watch the show on Viki, but not available in some locations (ie Canada), or the network has uploaded the show to YouTube where you can view various versions there.

By |2019-11-10T05:51:36+00:00November 10th, 2019|Television|0 Comments

Ultraman from Netflix Review

Ultraman is one of the most significant brands in Japanese entertainment so I was very intrigued to see the Netflix version of the show, and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is my review.

Who is Ultraman?

I can’t describe Ultraman better than what the Ultraman Wiki has so nicely laid out for us, however, he defends the Earth against aliens and monsters who don’t appear to be in short supply. The Ultraman industry, which started in 1966, even though it is thought that the character is actually 20,000 years old, has generated significant income in the billions. This was the first episode that aired back then:

Ultraman 2019

The new series, commissioned by Netflix, appears to take on a slightly different slant. The “new” Ultraman is the son of the original but also we find there is, in fact, other Ultramen. The 2019 version is more elaborate than it’s originals, probably the most technically stunning that has been produced so far, not the usual format this time of genre from Japan.  This new series has 13 episodes in total.

My Review

Story: The series is really engaging not just from a technical perspective but the story is sound too. It actually reminded me of many super-hero comics rather than a classic Ultraman story with a child growing up to discovering he has super abilities. The part where the new Ultraman is facing tough decisions to destroy evil aliens as told to do against what humanity has taught him to bring people to justice rather than kill them is a good story arc.

Look & Feel: Visually the series is absolutely stunning, I was just amazed by the attention of detail to the artwork which was difficult to find fault with. It really puts all other Ultraman series to shame really, however, I am sure they don’t have the budget to produce this high quality work.

Overall: 13 episodes didn’t feel enough but I am pleased a season 2 has been ordered. I would give it an 8.5/10. I think this is higher than other people have given it.

This is the Netflix trailer:

Ultraman Taiga

Started this year is another Ultraman series called Ultraman Taiga. Not as visually stunning as the show on Netflix but might be worth watching if you are a fan.

By |2019-10-21T23:45:25+00:00October 21st, 2019|Television|0 Comments

Review of Debut

Debut is a Chinese TV Show that was broadcast, in China, between 7 February 2018 and 14 March 2018, I recently saw this show and here is my review.

The original name of the show is 二分之一美少年, which translated actually means, roughly, “One-Half Beauty Boy” or “One Half of the Beautiful Boy”. The show is produced by Horgos Graphical Media Co Ltd. and Beijing Fast-forward Culture & Art Co Ltd. The show is directed by Xin Juzhen.

As I see it there are two distinct story lines in this show:

  • A manufactured boy band is in training but preparing for their debut in front of the world
  • The lead in the band is in an accident, survives but gets split into two separate bodies sharing the same thoughts. Those two people cannot be awake at the same time, when one is awake the other is asleep. One body is slim and other is overweight.

I would say the genre of the TV show could fall into these categories: Youth, Comedy, Drama, Musical, SciFi, Fantasy. It really does have a mix of everything.

Here are my general thoughts on the show:

  • The script could have been tightened up, but I would say just sit back and enjoy it for what it is.
  • It is a very cute, non-stressful, bubbly show where you more or less like every character, even the ones who are possibly considered nasty.
  • There are some very talented actors and actresses in the cast, the support toles often give more amazing performances than the main ones.
  • Maybe fat shaming is prevalent in China so I do like how it handled those issues. However, the guy who was supposed to be overweight didn’t really seem that way to me. I wasn’t keen on how they kept calling him “fatty”, he has a name.
  • It handled some suggestion of gay relationships pretty well too, there was some hint of that in many episodes, maybe some that would never have made it onto US TV. There was one overly camp bisexual character which was badly done, maybe it was comic relief but it didn’t work.
  • The last two episodes were actually really well done, with some unexpected twists and turns. There was one part of the ending that I didn’t like, relating to the supposed overweight character, you may know what I mean when you watch it.
  • The closing song to every episode is very cute and jolly [YouTube Link], something I kept singing in my mind afterwards. The other songs in the show were good too.

You can watch the show on YouTube, just search for “Debut TV Show”, it’s on 3 separate office Chinese Television accounts, English subtitles provided.

If you want to watch something that is not too taxing on the brain, that is cute and bubbly, then this show is for you. I would give it 7/10.

By |2019-10-02T21:02:04+00:00October 2nd, 2019|Television|0 Comments

Review Being King Is Not Easy

King Not EasyWe have recently finished watching another Chinese TV show called “Being King Is Not Easy”, also known as “King Is Not Easy”, “Not Easy Being King” or by its native title “大王不容易”. The show is a historical costume drama which we enjoyed very much.

About the Show

The show is about a lady, Da Xi, who runs a popular food stand who falls in love with Shao Yong, a Royal Guard. In order to be closer to him, she becomes a maid at the Palace. Through some other uncontrollable events her soul is switched with Ji Man, the Emperor, which is when the hilarity begins.

The show had 20 episodes and was broadcast Wednesday through Saturday between 30 August to 28 September 2017 in China.

Review

Chinese humour isn’t that much different than the British variety and this show also tends to be quite slapstick.  I would say this is one of those shows that is quite a gay-friendly as we are seeing a lot of on Chinese TV right now.  Da Xi, whose soul is inside the Kings, is besotted with Shao Yong, so you see some touchy-feely encounters between the two.  In one of the episodes there is a discussion which goes along the lines of “there is nothing wrong with two men being together”, this I believe is the general Chinese view of homosexuality but the conflict is they are encouraged to have a more traditional family.

So 75% of the show is focused on the body switch situation but towards the end, it goes into another interesting direction to wrap the story up.  I won’t give anything away here.

I am also surprised by the extravagance of Chinese drama’s, for a 20 episode drama they seemed to have spent quite a bit of money on it, for example, the scale of the palace, interior palace sets, costumes and special effects.

Summary

Despite recommending the show to a number of people I think people in the west don’t want to give Chinese dramas a chance. Maybe people are put off by sub-titles or they have certain views about China, I don’t know.  I think the show would suit a younger adult type of audience and hope you give it a chance.

By |2019-05-23T17:04:27+00:00May 23rd, 2019|Television|0 Comments