February 2018 was another busy month for catching up on TV shows and movies on Netflix.
Rick & Morty (Season 3) [9/10]
Supernatural (Seasons 3+4+5+6+7) [8/10, 9/10, 8/10, 7/10, 6/10]
There was a time in my life when I used to avoid long-running TV shows after having been rather disappointed with The X-Files and growing tired of story lines that are always left out for filler episodes in 20+ seasons. Still you want to know what’s next, right? This happened with Supernatural, the first season being an absolute blast and the second one, despite receiving an 18+ rating, relying too much on possessed people and mostly lacking in monsters and witty writing, as I already discussed in the Netflix watchlist: January 2018. Fortunately the third season kicks things up a notch with the overall story arc revolving around the gates of hell being opened and one of the brother’s soul time running out. It also offers some very fun episodes with a Christmas special, a Groundhog Day version, fairy tales coming alive, and introducing the Ghostfacers, a group of nerdy ghosthunters with a shaky camera. There’s simply much more interesting going on here with a great finale.
Season 4 goes in a completely different direction than the typical demon and ghost hunting, starting a battle between angels and demons, which obviously borrows from the The Prophecy horror movie franchise, only with less spectacular effects. Despite having less monster make-up, the whole story line is very engaging with many surprises along the way. Of course there are also other episodes that are pretty original, like a black-and-white take on classic monsters, but in the modern world, or an alternative reality episode, a Halloween special, and finally a meta-fiction episode in which the brothers’ lives are found in books. Definitely one of the strongest seasons.
Season 5 continues to be quite entertaining with the devil vs. angels and the Winchester brothers idea, even if the story line isn’t quite as strong and starts to suffer from the people in trench coats or business suits possession familiarity. However, there are some unrelated episodes that are pretty cool, too, one including American idols who start killing people, which also has the real Paris Hilton make an entrance. It gets even weirder when the brothers are put into various TV show formats, again showcasing that Supernatural can be extremely entertaining and inventive at times. The self-awareness aspect also shows in one episode when the brothers are at a fan event for the Supernatural books, which is simply a lot of fun to watch.
As is so often the case with long-running TV shows, a bit of routine sets in, and what begins as fast-paced action ends up with too much talk. These cracks in continuity and originality are already felt in Season 6 which doesn’t have the greatest beginning, while some episodes are simply uninspired and boring. It’s interesting to devote a complete episode to one of the Winchester friends, and making fun of the Twilight vampires is also okay, but it’s nothing to get too excited about. Having a whole new gang of hunters who back up Sam Winchester who himself has become quite emotionless also feels rather rushed, as if the screenwriters didn’t have any better idea to start the season. Fortunately it gets a bit better, but if episodes about UFOs are the funniest and most original ones, then something has to be wrong. Still, one episode that puts the brothers into an alternative universe where Supernatural is a TV show, makes up for most of the boring stuff one has to go through.
Unfortunately, the quality of the series drops again in Season 7 in which the antagonists, the Leviathans, who want to rule the world and make humanity their slaves (and turning them into food), aren’t very convincing again in their business suits. The whole religion thing has become tiresome after watching so many episodes, and there’s a weird discrepancy between bloody violence and immature humor that especially shows in the independent episodes. A small highlight is a fight against a spirit that can only be seen when being drunk, an episode that introduces the character Garth (played by DJ Qualls who’s better known for his nerdy roles in comedy movies like Road Trip, and The New Guy). A much-needed distraction from the less engaging Leviathan story, which also sets the stage for hacker Charlie, a young woman that isn’t very self-confident, but at least makes the whole finale more bearable.
With so many episodes to watch, it’s quite relaxing to sit through a shorter TV show that finally made its long-awaited return: Rick and Morty. The third season might not be as perfect as the preceding one I discussed in the Netflix watchlist: April to May 2017, but this is only because of the high standard it set. Anarchy humor and some very original ideas, with the only downside that the alien TV station switching episode wasn’t present, but having Morty relive all the horrible things Rick tried to delete from his subconscious is a pretty good substitute. It’s just too bad that we have to wait for another year before the next season is available. One of the very few animated shows one can really binge watch without feeling any fatigue setting in.
Ip Man 3 [7/10]
Ip Man: The Final Fight [6/10]
The Legend Is Born: Ip Man [6/10]
Even if Supernatural consumed a lot of time, I still managed to watch three movies, mainly because I wanted to know what happened to Ip Man after having covered the first two movies in January.
Ip Man 3 might not have the greatest story or the best fights in the genre, and seeing Donnie Yen go against Mike Tyson sounds epic, but this isn’t memorable stuff. If it weren’t for a very emotional and tear-inducing ending that elevates it from the rest of the fist-fighting, it wouldn’t have been worth the time.
Ip Man: The Final Fight fares much worse, which isn’t necessarily because of a new actor who does a good job. It’s just that the political/social injustice touch feels so forced that the rest of the characters or story become unimportant. With not much suspense and only a few good fights, this again proves that too much story can ruin an action movie.
Unfortunately one can say the same about the origin story The Legend Is Born: Ip Man which has such a boring storyline in which only something dramatic happens at the end that this could very well be TV material.
Come to think of it, there is an Ip Man TV show on Amazon Prime, which means that it’s high time to give this streaming service another go. I recently renewed my subscription, so expect more diverse coverage on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and maybe even others!
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