iCarly: iBuild A Team

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Very much a filler episode that brought back Josh in a desperate attempt to bait audiences with nostalgia.

What more do I need to say about this episode? The a plot is a rivalry between Josh Peck’s Paul and Freddie, played by Nathen Kress, and the b plot is about Harper, played by Laci Mosley, losing her mojo and Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, facing off against a food critic who is actually an art critic. My, my what delights.

The a plot has a few amusing quips from Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, but basically boils down to a cliché jealous love triangle, not in a romantic sense, and a vague excuse to bring back Cosgrove’s co-star from Drake and Josh which reeks of desperation; but hey at least it wasn’t the other one they brought back.

The b plot goes nowhere and does nothing interesting with Spencer or Harper, it basically just kills time until the end. Spencer’s silliness is again dialled up too high to try and make this subplot more interesting but it doesn’t move the needle.

Overall, a weak episode that is clearly filler.

Pros

Carly has a few amusing lines

It is fine to have on in the background whilst doing other things

Cons.

The gimmicky return of Josh Peck

The jealousy arc is cliched and dull

The b storyline feels like filler

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Star Trek Strange New Worlds: Strange New Worlds

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Star Trek finally starts being about exploration again.

I thought this first episode was miles better than anything coming out of either Discovery or Piccard however, it was not entirely perfect.

I thought Anson Mount made for a great lead and really sold the character. I enjoyed the cut aways to his character trying to process knowing his own death that was an interesting side plot that I think can be used to great effect over the course of the season. Moreover, I thought Pike’s relationship with Spock, played by Ethan Peck, was a lot of fun the two have great chemistry together.

The adventure of the episode was ultimately fun, even if the speech Pike gives does seem a little too referential to contemporary politics. I dislike how the other Star Trek shows of the newer generation feel the need to force in ideology at every turn they get as it takes me out of the show and forces me back to reality, hopefully this show can avoid that. One would hope this show could be different to the other new shows as it was made to go back to basics and avoid the criticisms and complaints of those shows.

Another thing that I thought was strange and didn’t notice until someone pointed it out to me, but the entire bridge crew bar Spock, Pike and one guy in the back is made up of women. Now on the surface this seems fairly like a non-issue however, it seems like in a quest for representation the show has over done it a little bit as it seems to be quite obvious. It is noticeable how few men there are on the show in general which again seems like it is being done for the purposes of agenda rather than good storytelling. Again hopefully later episodes can fix this.

Overall, a fine first episode lets hope it is only up from here.

Pros.

Mount

Peck

Romijn

Cons.

A creeping sense of identity politics

The speech took me out of the show and brought me back to reality

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Shining Vale: Courtney Cox’s Comeback

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A series about a struggling writer, played by Courtney Cox, who moves out to the country after cheating on her husband, played by Greg Kinnear, and shortly thereafter finds herself coming under the influence of a demon, maybe?

I thought this series had a lot of potential but was quite rough around the edges. Firstly, I thought the social commentary aspect of the show where it talked about struggles with addiction and mental illness, mainly from a female perspective, was for the most part pretty on point. However, there were times when I found the show to be really ramming its message home and operating without any subtlety at all, and a lot can be said for a point made well in a subtle manner being more thought provoking.

Moreover, I thought for the most part the cast was strong, however, I thought Cox played it a bit too straight and at times it came across as though she was just playing a version of her character from Scream. I think a case could be made that Cox was miscast for this show, especially because it is supposed to be a comedy.

For me the comedy didn’t really land either, there were a few moments that made me chuckle but by and large it left me cold.

Overall, a show with undeniable potential but one that needs to be refined and possibly recast.

Pros.

An interesting idea

A few strong points

A strong ending

Cons.

Cox

Sometimes a bit too in your face with its social commentary

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Moon Knight: Gods And Monsters

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Moon Knight must stop an undead Egyptian God from coming back to life.

By no means was this a perfect finale, however, I thought on the whole it was a lot better than most of the series and was a step in the right direction.

I liked that we finally got Jake Lockley, played by Oscar Issac, though I thought if they always intended to keep him until the post credits they should have teased him less in the wider series as it gave the impression that we might get him sooner than we actually did. Also I am not quite sure how I feel to the changes made to the character in terms of him speaking Spanish and not being much like the cabbie we remember from the comics, but hey maybe season 2 will address that.

I thought it was cool to see Layla, played by May Calamawy, get her own superpowered suit by becoming a different Gods avatar. I thought she paired nicely with Moon Knight and I liked their final battle action sequence together, even if Mr Knight suddenly just becomes great at fighting for no real reason after being terrible before that point.

One thing I will point to and say I didn’t like is that the defeat of Ethan Hawke’s character happened pretty much off screen, presumably during a Lockley episode, and that the episode as a whole was far shorter than what we got in the rest of the series. If it had such been 10 minutes longer it could have given them more time to properly do justice to everything they set up.

Overall, I think they did bring the series back with the last two episode but even in this final episode there were some noticeable issues that stopped it being perfect.

Pros.

Layla becoming her own superhero

The finale battle worked well and gave us some much needed action

Lockley

The return of Khonsu  

Cons.

It was too short

A few little issues with the plot

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iCarly: iCupid

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Feeling as though she has held back Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, from finding love Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, decides to try and set him up.

I will give this episode praise for calling out several things that needed to be. Firstly it points out how weirdly close Spencer and Carly are and then secondly it has Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, standing up to the women in his life and stop being a doormat who is easily pushed around by other people.

Within the a plot I liked that Spencer and Carly’s relationship was front and centre and that they developed it in a meaningful way, with Carly saying that Spencer was like a father to her. Rachel Bloom as Mckenna the matchmaker was okay, but bordered on the side of annoying, also I thought some of the ideas put forward by her character in the episode as to what constitutes a red flag were problematic and sent a bad message. Labelling being short as a red flag seems inherently discriminatory and is clearly example of heightism.

Within the b plot Freddie had to stand up to his mother, played by Mary Scheer, and his adoptive daughter, played by Jaidyn Triplett, and tell them they don’t get a say in his dating life. I found this to be a very cathartic character moment for Freddie as for a while he has done whatever those around him tell him to do and it is nice to see him asserting himself.

Overall, some good character, only made slightly worse by an annoying matchmaker and some questionable morals.

Pros.

Good character work

Carly acknowledging Spencer as a stand-in father

Freddie finally standing up for himself

Cons.

The heightism

Bloom’s whole character

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Moon Knight: The Asylum

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Steven, played by Oscar Isaac, uncovers his origins, and Marc’s past is revealed as the two battle their way out of the asylum.

I think that this was a strong episode of Moon Knight, not in the regard that we got any more action or at they finally revealed the Jake Lockley persona, but on the emotional character development side of things. I thought in terms of establishing Steven and Marc as characters this episode did a hell of a lot of good work, by highlighting their deeply depressing backstory the show gives us its best look yet at their fractured psyche.

Moreover, I enjoyed the boat set piece and though visually it was very distinct and interesting. When Marc and Steven started fighting off the forces of the undead things got very intriguing especially in a sense of where the supernatural side of the MCU is heading.

My main criticisms of this episode would be that yet again we get very little suited up Moon Knight action, and that despite perhaps the most blatant tease yet we still have not had the Jake Lockley reveal, a move which I now believe Marvel is deliberately doing to troll the fans.

Overall, a lot of great character work and worldbuilding, slightly undercut by a distinct lack of in costume Moon Knight action.

Pros.

The emotional backstory

The boat set piece

The ending

The promise of what is to come

Cons.

The lack of suited Moon Knight once again

Stop teasing Jake Lockley  

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iCarly: iHire A New Assistant

2.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Carly’s grandfather, played by Greg Mullavey, shows up for a visit and becomes Carly’s new assistant.

I think a lot of this new season of iCarly has the same issue, either a really good a story and a terrible b plot or a terrible a story and a good b plot, this episode was no different.

I disliked almost everything about the Grandad Shay character, I thought he was annoying and used to make the same lame predictable jokes you would expect from an old meets young storyline. Moreover, through this introduction Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, becomes even worse as a character- this season really hasn’t been kind. Throughout the a story of this episode Spencer debases himself to try and get his grandfather’s love and then begrudgingly gets it at the end, this could have worked on some level, however, the ending of the episode doesn’t feel earned and instead feels written for convenience.

The saving grace of this episode comes from the Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, and Harper, played by Laci Mosley, side story wherein it seems like Freddie and Harper might be soulmates based on their birth charts. I thought this b plot was genuinely quite funny and the characters worked well within it, I thought that Freddie and Harper made for a good pairing and I would like to see more of them having their own adventures in the coming episodes.

Overall, the b plot manages to stop the episode from being bad and does provide some shielding, however, the whole Grandad Shay narrative was trite and I hope the show does not bring him back again.

Pros.

Freddie and Harper

A few good jokes

Cons.

Grandad Shay

The old man jokes were super obvious and lame

They made Spencer even worse   

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The Fairly Oddparents Fairly Odder: Yikes On Multiple Levels

0.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Due to Paramount + lacking content the higher ups forced through a hybrid live action version of The Fairly OddParents, and rather unsurprisingly it crashed and burnt horribly.

On multiple levels this show is a mess, so much so that I can’t see how those making it didn’t foresee how it was going to turn out, in my mind since the ideas inception it was clear this was destined for the scrap head. I understand that Butch Hartman has become somewhat of an internet bogeyman and so needs to cling to this franchise to keep the lights on, but come on Butch you’re driving your cash cow over a cliff and to certain death.

I think the biggest issue with this show is that the hybrid approach doesn’t work, in my mind The Fairly OddParents is and always should be an animated show, the previous jumps to live action with the deviant staring films didn’t work so they really should have realised that this was not the way forward. It is not just that the hybrid approach doesn’t work, but whenever there is an animated character on screen the show seems to come apart at the seams and become a hodgepodge of issues.

Moreover, the idea to create a new lead is a bold idea, it doesn’t pay off at all and it ends up feeling like it was only done for the sake of appealing to a younger audience, whilst still being in some way tied into the older show. However, the real issue with this series is the fact that damn near every character is awful, either as a person or as an inferior carbon copy of the original series, some of the characters bare the same name as those from the original series but in no way hold a candle to them. In addition the way young characters are written in this show in terms of dialogue screams to me of a group of aging executives trying to remember buzz words they have heard from their grandkids and force them in. In reality I don’t think anyone ever talks like how they do on this show.

Pros.

Sometimes it is unintentionally funny

Cons.

The characters suck

The animation seems like it was done on the cheap

The hybrid approach doesn’t work

The decision to create a new lead has no effect and changes very little for the better

It defiles the reputation of the brand at every turn   

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Moon Knight: The Tomb

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Moon Knight, played by Oscar Isaac rushes to find Ammit’s tomb before Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke, in an effort to save the world.

I am quickly starting to lose interest in this show. The promise of really delivering a true depiction of this character is not coming to pass at all, very much like with Boba Fett in his show, the character has been toned down too much. The Steven persona is too silly and weak, and though he is supposed to be the more human side to the character he often just gets in the way.

I think there are so many better ways this show could have gone than the Indiana Jones knockoff it has become. I think tone is a big issue for this show because even in the final moments of the episode wherein the various Moon Knight personas meet another Egyptian God it is not treated with any pomp or seriousness but is instead served up as yet another joke, which hurts the show.

Another thing that is starting to irritate me is the constant baiting of the third persona Jake Lockley, the first tease was exciting, the second was okay we are almost there and then the third was like really are we still doing this. Bear in mind the character has been teased far more than 3 times on the show thus far.

The only redeemable aspects of this episode was the killing of the lead that felt gutsy, even if it did lead to the incredibly predictable mental institution sequence, and the continued greatness of Ethan Hawke and May Calamawy.

Overall, episode 5 needs to be pretty stellar to win me back, I’m fading off fast.

Pros.

Hawke

Calamawy

Cons.

The constant teasing of the third persona

The obvious mental institution twist

Steven’s weakness is starting to become annoying

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iCarly: i’M Wild And Crazy

3.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, realises she is the boring one of the friend group and so asks Harper, played by Laci Mosley, to take her on a wild night out.

This was a nice episode for the most part. I enjoyed seeing more of Harper and Carly’s friendship on screen and have them both get some much needed character development. I thought it was nice to see the series reference back to Harper’s breakup and her processing period rather than just move immediately past it and act like it never happened. I thought both Cosgrove and Mosley were on top form here as well.

However, the b-plot about Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, and Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, coming to blows over there business partnership was not only dull but it also brought out the worst in Spencer as a character. I have written before in other reviews about how I dislike that the show treats Spencer as a constant get out of jail free card, with his undetermined wealth allowing him to do practically anything, it feels like lazy writing and it is on perfect display in this episode. The conflict between Spencer and Freddie comes about as Spencer buys them an old smoothie bar as an office location for their business and then slowly loses interest in their start-up and instead wants to restore the old smoothie bar. Within this conflict not only do we get yet another lazy set up paid for by Spencer’s magical wealth, but also Spencer being his most childish and ridiculous. These last few episodes have really gone out of their way to show that as an adult Spencer is a failure, he can barely function in the adult world and just throws money at things to make them go away, and though I never thought he was the most efficient character ever, I did think he was more competent than this. It is sad to see the character reduced so much.

Overall, a better episode than the last but the show needs to decide what it want to do with Spencer as a character.

Pros.

Carly and Harper’s friendship explored in more depth

Cosgrove

Mosley

The references to Harper’s break-up and the character growth

Cons.

Spencer is being reduced to a poor cliché

The b-plot serves no purpose

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