• Television reviews

“Dead To Me”: A Balancing Act

Guest reviewer:  David A. Kennedy, horticulturalist and author of the thriller, RICOCHET Mortality, deceit, redemption – these are bread-and-butter themes for the storyteller. Add a little meat to them bones, and you might have something special. Netflix’s Dead To Me (two seasons with the third coming this fall.) attempts that balancing act, and as a comedy-drama, no less. And, for the most part, it succeeds quite well. In the pilot episode, Jen (Christine Applegate) meets Judy (Linda Cardellini) at a group bereavement meeting. Jen recently lost husband Ted in a hit-and-run...

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“The Gilded Age”—Greed and Betrayal

The Gilded Age (2022), created and produced by Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey fame)  opens in 1882 in a small town in Pennsylvania.   The penniless but “pedigreed” young Marian Brook (newcomer Louisa Jacobson  has little recourse but to move to New York to live  with her wealthy Aunt Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and her Aunt Ada (Cynthia Nixon). A young aspiring Black writer, Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), lends money to Marian for a train ticket to New York and their unlikely friendship begins. Across the street lives a spectacularly wealthier family,...

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Line of Duty—A Killer of a Murder Mystery

Line of Duty (2012-2021),  a multiple-award winning  BBC police procedural, is a gripping crime drama like no other, with a shocking death in episode one, series one (2012), the catalyst for all six seasons which build upon it. This is a killer of a murder mystery. Line of Duty is BBC’s most popular series outperforming both “Dr. Who” and “Downton Abbey.” Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) is transferred from the anti-terrorism unit to the internal affairs unit   charged with uncovering police corruption—AC(=Anti-Corruption)-12. ...

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“The Last Kingdom”—The Final Battle?

This Netlix-distributed  series (see my December 27, 2021 review of the first four seasons), ends with the fifth and final season,  just  released on  March 9, 2022. The series is based on Bernard Cornwell’s first ten novels of the thirteen novels in the Saxon Stories series , There is no question of its popularity. The Last Kingdom almost crashed the servers streaming the fifth season. The last season finds Uhtred prepared  to retake his homeland fortress and lands,  Bebbanburg, Uhtred has dedicated  twenty years of his life  to leading...

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“Yellowjackets”–“Lord of the Flies” meets Girls Club Soccer

Guest reviewer:  Karinne Gordon, writer and creative writing teacher Yellowjackets is a  complex and fascinating peek into the future, following a group of teen girls who are  survivors, flashing back and forth into their adult lives some 25 years later. The basic premise of Yellowjackets is that an elite girls soccer team, along with their handsome young coach and young assistants, is stranded in the Ontario woods, after their plane crashes on the way to a tournament. The series progresses with cuts between the past and the survivors’ present lives 25 years later....

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“The Last Kingdom”–“Game of Thrones” meets “Vikings”

Based on The Saxon Stories novels by Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom first premiered on BBC Two from 2015 to 2017, and on Netflix in 2018.  Four seasons (with a fifth in production) cover four of the twelve Cornwell books in the series, loosely based upon the history of tribal and internecine warfare between various factions of Saxons and Danes (=Vikings). In the year 866 we see the protagonist–a Saxon aristocratic boy named Osbert –taken after his father and older brother are slain by Danes. Only his ruthless uncle survives and robs...

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