Television

Sat
01
Jan

Vote for the Best of 2021

Best of 2021

It's a brand new year, and no doubt there nothing anyone wants to do less than to look back at 2021, the year that looked at 2020 and said, "Hold my beer."

But in terms of entertainment options, 2021 had a better turnout than its predecessor, due in part to the reopening of movie theaters (although a good number of great stories were told through streaming services as well). Likewise, there was many good things in broadcast and streaming series to capture the attention, and a swell of wonderful stories in the comic book industry, largely bolstered by a rise in indepently produced products.

So we urge you to take a deep breath for one more last look at the year, and select the best among the nominees below to determine which ones deserve a Critical Blast Best of 2021 trophy.

This voting also includes the voting or our annual Bombshell of the Year, selecting among the twelve cosplayers who were each spotlighted in our monthly Bombshell of the Month feature.

Wed
15
Dec

Monsters in the Closet a Savvy Take on Horror Anthology Movie Genre

Monsters in the Closet

Variety, so the saying goes, is the spice of life. So, too, in cinema--particularly horror cinema, where triteness sometimes reigns--is diversity a welcome feature. The anthology format, so common in the grindhouse and VHS days of yore in films such as Black Sabbath, The House That Dripped Blood, Creepshow, and Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, has experienced a revival in the past decade through the V/H/S series, Trick r’ Treat and the recent (and excellent) Grave Intentions. As a narrative form, the anthology delivers a quick-jolt of instant terror gratification; there’s precious little time to establish Exorcist-level mood, suspense and characterization in a fifteen-minute segment. Its storytelling stripped to the barest of bones, and individual tales are often hit-or-miss.

Sun
28
Nov

Hawkeye: What to Expect from the Latest MCU TV Show

Hawkeye on Disney Plus

The latest Marvel TV show is one that many didn’t expect to see. After years in the MCU as the target of countless jokes, Hawkeye has finally been given his own solo series, just in time for Christmas. Yes, Clint Barton is shooting to be home for the holidays and he’s got a secret weapon in his quiver; new protege Kate Bishop. Hawkeye has often felt like a secondary character when compared to more flamboyant MCU alumni like Iron Man, Thor and the Scarlet Witch, so it came as a surprise for many fans when Disney made the announcement that the faithful SHIELD agent would be given his chance to be the main man.

Tue
09
Nov

Kung Fu Only Feels Like a CW Arrowverse Series

Kung Fu Season 1 BD

Billed as a reboot to the 1970s western series starring David Carradine, CW's Kung Fu bears little resemblance beyond the name. The tale is set in current year, and gets rolling when young Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) discovers the real reason her mother sent her from San Francisco to China was to introduce her to someone who was husband material. Ducking out and hiding in the back of a truck, Nicky finds herself hiding out at a Shaolin monastery overseen by Pei-Ling Zhang (Kheng Hua Tan). Something about the training Nicky sees speaks to her, and she stays with the monastery for three years, only returning to San Fransciso after the temple is attacked and destroyed by Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) who comes seeking a sword hidden there -- one of eight weapons of power that, when united, will make the bearer unstoppable.

Fri
05
Nov

Why 'Spartacus' is the Underrated TV Gem of the Decade

Spartacus

Across the annals of TV history, there are a few television shows that, despite showing such promise, were abruptly and cruelly taken away from us. Such is the case with Spartacus, the gladiator-themed TV show which ran on Starz from 2010 to 2013.

Despite the big-budget, gory, and gritty series fast becoming a critical darling, as well as the most-watched TV show on the Starz network by a very wide margin, it was abruptly announced after the second season that the show was being canceled and that season three would be the last, much to the chagrin of fans the world over.

Whether you have already binge-watched Spartacus or are considering dipping your toe in the waters, just know that you are going to be experiencing one of TV's hidden gems of the decade.

Fri
05
Nov

Yes, It's Been 25 Years Since Superman: The Animated Series

Superman Animated Series

Perhaps one is officially old when the best versions of their favorite things date back beyond twenty years. I was pleased to find that Superman: The Animated Series was getting a Blu-ray collection of all three seasons. But I did blink at the fact that it had been twenty-five years -- a whole quarter-century -- since the show had debuted on television. And while Superman hasn't really been away from the animated theater, this particular incarnation, a by-product of the success of Batman: The Animated Series, was a show that understood the character, what he was about, and was able to tell engrossing stories that challenged the hero.

Wed
27
Oct

Superman and Lois Turn Smallville into Riverdale (Season One Blu-Ray)

Superman and Lois S1 BD

Superhero fans have been largely accepting of the latest CW series, Superman and Lois. And while there have been those all-too-brief, bright and shining moments (that introduction scene of Superman in his Golden Age outfit is insurpassable!), I'm too much of a Superman fan to fully fall in love with this series. And I'll tell you why.

Mon
18
Oct

Running on Empty: The Flash Season 7 Released on Blu-ray

Flash Season 7 BD

COVID was not kind to the production of The Flash. Season 6 had to end abruptly with Iris (Candice Patton) trapped in the mirror universe by Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor). The lack of closure of the "big bad" story of the season gave the seventh season an awkward start as the first few episodes are really the end of the previous season. After that, we meander aimlessly into a season where Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris somehow give birth to an entire anthropomorphically personified "forces of the universe" family, including the reborn Speed Force (Michelle Harrison).

Fri
15
Oct

Death Cat's Grave Intentions Delightfully Dread-Inducing

Grave Intentions

It’s been said that anthologies are a tough creative sell to audiences. As movies they offer a quick-hit of variety that’s both the format’s most solid strength and its primary weakness, for while there may be several excellent proffered tales in any individual anthology film, there’s always (at least) one that a viewer may not find to their particular taste. Still, their premise, especially for horror cinema, holds potent storytelling allure. The descendent of the campfire fable of yore, inherited by the classic gothic- and pulp-era short story and sharpened to visceral perfection by EC Comics during the 1950’s, anthologies distill horror to its barest, essential elements: a grimly humorous host announcing a simple set-up, a twist, and (hopefully) a jolt of disquieting terror.

Mon
30
Aug

Second Season Prodigal Son Losing It's Allure -- But Prodigal Daughter Holds Promise

Prodigal Son SSN 2 BD

Warner Brothers police drama with a twist, Prodigal Son, gets the Blu-ray release for its second season. Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) continues in his role of consulting profiler for the police department, bringing his unique perspective to the solving of unique homicides. That perspective comes from the fact that his father, Dr. Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), is the infamous serial killer known as The Surgeon. From his special accommodations at the Claremont Psychiatric Hospital, Martin stands ready and eager to "help" his son get into the minds of the various psycopathies he must unravel, all while getting further into Malcom's head as he struggles with repressed memories.

Wed
11
Aug

Stellar Start to Stargirl Sophomore Season

Stargirl S2

After its premiere season, Stargirl had set a rather high bar for itself. But, at least with this initial episode of the second season, the show seems to be hitting on all cylinders, retaining the charm and nostalgia that fans fell in love with last year.

Wed
28
Jul

Pennyworth Season 2 Not Worth a Dime

Pennyworth SSN2

When I first heard that Gotham was going to be followed up by a series called

Pennyworth, I thought, "Okay, Gotham was a wee bit of a stretch, going back to a pre-Batman version of the setting, but going back to Alfred's younger days is probably beyond a capable grasp."

I believe I was correct in this assumption. Even with Bruno Heller attached, Pennyworth seems to very little connection to the Fox series.

In this second season, Alfred (Jack Bannon) is something of a war profiteer. He runs a night club catering to both sides of the war, and puts his former military skills to the test by taking on the odd mercenary job here and there. Some of these jobs are at the behest of CIA field agent Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), who enjoys a tenuous romantic relationship with resistance fighter, Martha Kane (Emma Paetz).

Fri
23
Jul

Heroic Nihilism -- The Eternian Apocalypse of Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Masters of the Universe - Revelation

Kevin Smith's Masters of the Universe: Revelation dropped on Netflix today -- or, at least, the first five episodes have. And while many fans are already commenting and commiserating that He-Man is largely absent from this tale that is all about a bitter Teela's quest to save Eternia, there's a mix of good moments in this, albeit blighted by the nihilistic plot points that come up later in the run.

Wed
21
Jul

Lazy Writing and Discounted Continuity Plague CW's Flash Season Finale

Flash Season 7 Finale

When The Flash series was first announced, nobody was more excited than I was. And in every episode of that first season, I was an excited little boy from opening scene to scrolling credits.

As with any series, the show has had it's peaks and valleys as it progressed from season to season, serving as the fulcrum of the classic CW show crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which saw the multiverse collapse into a singular universe when it was finished. But never has it reached such a prolonged low point as it has with -- well, pretty much the entirety of this seventh season.

Sat
17
Jul

Troma Now Streaming Service Comes to Roku App

Troma Now

Tired of looking thru Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ for movies such as THE TOXIC AVENGER, SGT. KABUKIMAN NYPD, and POULTRYGIEST, and coming up empty handed? Do you crave truly independent cinema and shorts that the mainstream conglomerates refuse to platform and fund?

Well look no more! Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma Studios and creator of THE TOXIC AVENGER have heard your cries for help. Earlier this year, Troma launched the new streaming service, Troma Now, to Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Google Play; and starting this month Troma Now is finally available as a channel on your favorite ROKU device.

Thu
15
Jul

Why Do We Enjoy a Good Game Show?

Game Show

Game shows are one of the biggest types of TV entertainment on the planet. Why do we love game shows so much? We took a look here.

Tue
01
Jun

Oh Devil, You God! Lucifer's Fifth Season Second Half Goes from Sublime to Ridiculous

Lucifer 5B

When Lucifer went on hiatus in the middle of its fifth season on Netflix, I had the distinct sense that I heard Fonzie revving up his motorcycle in the distance while a crew of marine biologists wheeled back the cover on a tank of sharks. And with the drop of the second half of the fifth season, I can't say I was wrong.

Fri
28
May

MacGyver's 4th Season Arrives on DVD; But Can He Save Himself from Cancellation?

MacGyver Season 4

With the Phoenix Foundation having been disbanded at the end of MacGyver Season 3, the team members find themselves forced to work in the private sector -- until newcomer Russ Taylor (Henry Ian Cusick) approaches Angus MacGyver (Lucas Till) with an offer to get the band back together. Taylor has a condition that gives him hyper-acute pattern recognition abilities, and what he has uncovered is a vast global conspiracy by an extremist group to Thanos-snap half the population of the world in the name of saving the world from global warming. Throughout the season, the concept of doing "the wrong thing for the right reason" gets used, becoming the mantra of this arc which sees Mac reunite tragically with his father (Tate Donovan), discover an aunt he never knew (Jeri Ryan) working for the bad guys, and a tenet of beliefs driving the terrorists that was authored by no less than Mac's own mother.

Wed
26
May

Thirteenth Season of Ancient Aliens Lands on DVD

Ancient Aliens SSN 13

When I was a kid, I gobbled up all my grandmother's discarded World Weekly News copies. The stories in them were so fantastic and inspiring, I was surprised they didn't make the nightly news. To be fair, this was around the time Close Encounters of the Third Kind was huge, and the Betty and Barney Hill story, and Project: Bluebook, glued me to my television set. I'd cut out all the articles and paste them in a scrapbook. I would later go get books by J. Allen Hynek and Erich von Däniken.

The aliens were here, and I was going to be prepared.

Sat
08
May

Long Form Storytelling a Positive for Millar, Netflix Jupiter's Legacy

Jupiter's Legacy

If you're a fan of superhero stories, but require a more intricate level of storytelling than the standard fare, Netflix delivers. Mark Millar's Jupiter's Legacy makes its first season drop this week, and gives the reader a world fully-populated with powerful beings, good guys and bad guys, with a traditional flavor of comic book morals juxtaposed against the reactions of a real world backdrop.

Taking a page from the first seasons of Arrow, the series jumps back and forth between where we are today and how we got here -- which entails a span of nearly 100 years.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Television