Browsing: Dana Leigh Brand

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FEUD Review: “More, or Less”
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feud excerpt Season 1, Episode 4 – Feud finally manages to strike the perfect balance between sexism, feminism, actual history, and campy trash in “More, or Less.” With defined narrative arcs for every character, the episode explores the challenges of mixing art and business in the entertainment industry while still incorporating the over-the-top melodramatic moments that the series was created to serve up.

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IRON FIST Review: Part 3
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iron fist excerpt Season 1, Episodes 9-13 – Just like its main character, Iron Fist ultimately fails to find its purpose. The series props itself up with pieces from previous Marvel Netflix shows and never tells a coherent story of its own. A few characters are enough to save the show from complete disaster by providing interesting growth as a counterpoint to Danny’s aimlessness.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “The Weeping Somnambulist”
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the expanseexcerpt Season 2, Episode 9 – The Expanse is full of science, spies, and political briefings in “The Weeping Somnambulist.” The Rocinante crew takes a back seat to Bobbie and Chrisjen investigating the battle on Ganymede station. The episode deftly connects all the disparate plotlines while giving everyone equal time to move their stories forward.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 7”
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legion excerptSeason 1, Episode 7 – Legion finally escapes its narrative loop in “Chapter 7” but still doesn’t follow through on the story it started telling. With just one episode left in the season, the series can’t seem to choose between cohesive plot and auteur stylistics.

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IRON FIST Review: Part 2
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iron fist excerpt Season 1, Episodes 5-8 – The second third of Iron Fist picks up a bit with the welcome inclusion of Claire Temple and the development of a few character arcs. Unfortunately, the series still lacks a coherent narrative even more than halfway through the season’s run. Iron Fist is watchable but too messy to be truly great.

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IRON FIST Review: Part 1
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iron fist excerpt Season 1, Episodes 1-4 – The first third of Iron Fist suffers from off-putting character introductions, a lack of motivation, and painfully slow pacing. While there are glimmers of what could be an interesting story, the first four episodes are largely devoid of plot and show no sign of narrative structure either within episodes or in the season overall.

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FEUD Review: “Mommie Dearest”
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feud excerpt Season 1, Episode 3 – Feud flails by trying to sanctify the nature of motherhood rather than delivering on the promise of titling an episode “Mommie Dearest.” The series wastes all the dramatic potential of Joan Crawford’s and Bette Davis’ notorious parenting in a half-hearted attempt to soften both women, ultimately further cementing itself as a sexist nightmare.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “Pyre”
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the expanseexcerpt Season 2, Episode 8 – The Expanse continues to delight with another well-executed, tightly written episode that moves forward its solar-system wide political plots while leaving plenty of room for the characters to process events and grow. “Pyre” touches on refugees, revolutionaries, and resistance while simultaneously being a mystery story about aliens.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 6”
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legion excerpt Season 1, Episode 6 – Legion spins its wheels in “Chapter 6” offering an interesting alternate universe without providing any new information, character growth, or anything else to move the story forward. While the unreliable nature of the narrative is intriguing and the aesthetics are always pleasing, the series needs to tighten up and actually tell a story.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 5”
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legion excerpt Season 1, Episode 5 – “Chapter 5” of Legion tries to undermine reality and just undermines itself. Showing a lack of both character development and the series’ usual style, the plot ties itself in knots that ultimately unravel by story’s end. Though the episode itself does not gel, it lays groundwork for the rest of the season to build on.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “The Seventh Man”
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the expanseexcerpt Season 2, Episode 7 – The Expanse shows off its political and social strengths in “The Seventh Man,” tying together threads of revolution, mutually assured destruction, and exploitation in a rich, evocative package. The episode sets the stage for the season’s second half story arc by both revisiting old beats and introducing some new ones.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 4”
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legion excerpt Season 1, Episode 4 – Legion opts for a more objective viewpoint than usual in “Chapter 4,” adhering more to linear time and less to trippy stylistic sequences. That objectivity plays to the episode’s benefit, utilizing a tight narrative structure and excelling at moving the story forward with the characters’ specific superpowers.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “Paradigm Shift”
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the expanseexcerpt Season 2, Episode 6 – The Expanse delivers a somewhat messy but ultimately satisfying episode with “Paradigm Shift,” featuring technology, social strife, and interplanetary warmongering. The episode generates plenty of conflict within the character groups allowing everyone to demonstrate where they stand on moral issues and international politics.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 3”
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legion excerpt Season 1, Episode 3 – “Chapter 3” of Legion spins its wheels a bit, opting more for atmosphere than plot. While we learn important information for the future, the lack of structure in the episode prevents any feeling of satisfaction or resolution.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “Home”
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the expanseexcerpt Season 2, Episode 5 – “Home” weaves together three sides of the same story, keeping the tension high and stakes higher all the way throughout. The episode provides the healthy doses of politics, pathos, and action that The Expanse is so good at delivering.

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AGENTS OF SHIELD Review: “Self Control”
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Agents of SHIELD Excerpt Season 4, Episode 15 – After three and a half years, Agents of SHIELD finally fulfills all of its immense potential in “Self Control.” Betrayal, uncertainty, and personal agency are at the forefront of the troubles the team must contend while also deeply examining issues of artificial intelligence, consciousness, and personhood. This is SHIELD at its best.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 2”
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legion excerpt Season 1, Episode 2 – “Chapter 2” of Legion continues all of the style, depth, and intrigue of the first episode but adds in more structured bits of plot and begins to anchor the series’ story arc. David has to deal with layers of trauma and mental illness while navigating his newfound superpowers and new situation in the mutant enclave.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “Godspeed”
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the expanseexcerptSeason 2, Episode 4 – The Expanse delivers a heavy dose of exposition and big picture plot in “Godspeed,” spending the majority of the episode on logistics. All of that leads up to such a tightly written final act that it largely justifies all of the setup and leads well into the next episode.

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LEGION Review: “Chapter 1”
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legion excerptSeason 1, Episode 1 – “Chapter 1” of Legion showcases its beautiful style, unconventional narrative structure, and superpowers to full effect. With a story that functions equally well on its own terms and as a launching point for the rest of the series, the episode is a cinematic masterpiece.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “Static”
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the expanseexcerptSeason 2, Episode 3 – The Expanse experiences “Static,” giving every character a chance to process their various actions and inactions while the plot moves on around them. With the usual mixture of politics, consequence, and exploration of identity, the episode provides clues to bigger puzzles even while everyone stays put.

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AGENTS OF SHIELD Review: “BOOM”
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Agents of SHIELD ExcerptSeason 4, Episode 13 – “BOOM” takes the usual Agents of SHIELD formula and gives it a spin to put Director Mace’s alienation at the center of the narrative. Balancing robots, magic, Inhumans, and scientific enhancement, the episode manages to touch every base and deliver a satisfying conclusion that moves multiple plotlines forward at the same time.

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CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND Review: “Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?”
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crazy ex girlfriend excerptSeason 2, Episode 13 – It’s the season finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and except for the fact that we don’t get any more of this charming show until next season “Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?” is all the delightful conclusion that you could want. Weddings, crazy exes, and crises of faith abound on all sides in a well-balanced conclusion that promises even more insanity in the future.

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THE EXPANSE Review: “Safe” / “Doors & Corners”
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the expanseexcerptSeason 2, Episode 1-2 – The double episode season premiere of The Expanse introduces us to the Martians, digs into the mystery from the previous season, and continues to portray system politics in an realistic and respectful manner. With plenty of brief pauses for reflection and conflict for character growth, both “Safe” and “Doors & Corners” exceeds the high expectations set by the series’ first season.

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AGENTS OF SHIELD Review: “Hot Potato Soup”
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Agents of SHIELD ExcerptSeason 4, Episode 12 – Agents of SHIELD tackles philosophy of mind, Russians, and romantic conundrums while Coulson and company race Radcliffe to the Darkhold in “Hot Potato Soup.” Drawing both from current real-life political quandaries and from the series’ expansive past, the episode balances humor and compassion in equal measure.

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CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND Review: “Is Josh Free In Two Weeks?”
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crazy ex girlfriend excerptSeason 2, Episode 12 – “Is Josh Free In Two Weeks?” is the closest Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has come to playing romantic comedy tropes straight. The episode lacks the series’ usual style, throwing in songs as an afterthought and sticking to objective reality while still delivering a fun story with a touching conclusion.

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AGENTS OF SHIELD Review: “Wake Up”
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Agents of SHIELD ExcerptSeason 4, Episode 11 – SHIELD continues to knock it out of the park in every respect with a beautiful mix of robots, politics, superpowers, and character-driven stories. In this week’s episode, Agent May and her copy both fight against their respective constraints, SHIELD’s three leaders clash over policy decisions, and science might not actually save us this time.

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AGENTS OF SHIELD Review: “The Patriot”
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Agents of SHIELD ExcerptSeason 4, Episode 10 – Agents of SHIELD strikes the perfect balance between action, political intrigue, and characterization in “The Patriot.” Pulling details from the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, this week’s episode mixes robot clones, Inhumans, science-y superpowers, and forgotten plot points from seasons past for a superb blend of plot, adventure, and character development.

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