Friday, December 30, 2016

The 2016 End Of The Year Report!

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I'm putting a cork in 2016 a day early. Following the death of Carrie Fisher, after a long string of deaths in 2016 that were just miserable, I've lost the will to churn out some late reviews to finish the year strong. Despite that, December was a huge month for readers and we're finishing 2016 strong. We had a lower-than-average productivity over 2016, but we had amazing readership, which means that the year ended on a high note for us!

We have been continuing to adapt our prior reviews so they have functional links and our new reviews are being released with good new links, so products being reviewed generally have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring, which continues to be ongoing!

This month, we picked up three new followers on Twitter, but no new subscribers! We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're slowly growing our readership, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In December, we updated the index pages every few days, keeping them quite useful to our readers. The primary Index Page, is usually updated daily and lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out and feel free to use that as it is a much more useful and organized index to the reviews I've written, compared to what Blogspot offers!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews (at least the ones that render properly!) and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As the new years starts, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of December 2016, I have reviewed the following:
572 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Fiction
Star Trek Books
Nonfiction
Graphic Novels
Magazines
946 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3114 - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews In Order)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
231 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
892 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
969 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Drinks
Candy
Cereal
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
259 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
114 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
201 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
204 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
106 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
60 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Review For The Month of December is my review of: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story!
Check them out!


The month of December was mostly filled with new, highly-read reviews and a few huge legacy reviews, most notably of the Rogue One trailer review, which broke into our Top Ten Of All Time! For December, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. "The Laws Of Inferno Dynamics" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9. Stephen's Gourmet Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa
8. "Invasion!"- Legends Of Tomorrow
7. "Invasion!"- Arrow
6. "A Christmas Special" - Sense8
5. Travelers - Season 1
4. Spectral
3. Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
2. The OA - Season 1
1. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

This has been a very exciting year for us and the most of our most popular review of the year were from 2016, but we had a couple of holdovers from other years! The Top Ten Reviews for the entire year were:
10. Spectral
9. True Memoirs Of An International Assassin
8. The Whole Truth
7. ARQ
6. Stranger Things - Season 1
5. The Top Ten Episodes Of Star Trek: Voyager
4. Star Trek Into Darkness
3. The OA - Season 1
2. Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
1. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 323 reviews
9s - 500 reviews
8s - 967 reviews
7s - 1078 reviews
6s - 1000 reviews
5s - 1271 reviews
4s - 943 reviews
3s - 736 reviews
2s - 356 reviews
1s - 235 reviews
0s - 114 reviews
No rating - 128 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, including a new addition to the all time Top Ten Reviews! At the end of December 2016, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Safe Haven
9. Oz The Great And Powerful
8. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
7. Warm Bodies
6. Iron Man 3
5. Now You See Me
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word! Thanks for a great year and we look forward to an awesome 2017!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

R.I.P. Carrie Fisher: Postcards From The Edge Had So Much Potential!


The Good: Good performances, Some wonderful lines (both funny and dramatic), Good direction
The Bad: Glosses over much of the complexity of recovery and narcissism
The Basics: The moments of insight and wit make Postcards From The Edge a worthwhile film to watch, even if it is not nearly as complex in its resolution as the set-up indicates it might be.


When news broke that actress Carrie Fisher had suffered a heart attack on December 23, my heart sunk. 2016 has been a brutal year for deaths of beloved celebrities, writers, musical artists, and actors and while I joined my voice to wish for the best for Carrie Fisher and her speedy recovery, I had no reason to believe that 2016 would alter its momentum and Fisher would recover from her good health. So, when I awoke yesterday to the news that Fisher had died, I was very sad, but not surprised. The days between the two major news stories gave me time to consider what I would write as a tribute to Carrie Fisher.

Like most people, my first and enduring encounter with Carrie Fisher came from her iconic portrayal of the strong-willed Princess Leia Organa in the Star Wars Saga (reviewed here!). Fisher also delivers brilliantly the lines that help create my favorite moment in When Harry Met Sally . . . (reviewed here!) and that got me thinking about how much I came to enjoy watching interviews with Fisher over the years for her candid nature and wry wit. So, when Fisher was hospitalized, it occurred to me that the greatest tribute to Carrie Fisher I could provide would be in reviewing something new (to me) that illustrated Fisher's humor, honesty, and creative skill. For that, I decided it was time to watch Postcards From The Edge.

Postcards From The Edge was released cinematically when I was a teenager, shortly after I had discovered and become obsessed with Star Trek and was fully immersed in that culture. Ironically, a film that addressed in a straightforward manner mental illness probably would have served me better at that time in my life, but Carrie Fisher's cinematic adaptation of her own novel on the subject of substance abuse and living in the shadow of parental pressures is worthwhile and smart. This review is of Postcards From The Edge, which Fisher loosely based upon some of her own life experiences; while some might belabor making the connections between the art and the reality, I am opting for a pure review of the film as it stands on its own.

Actress Suzanne Vale is working on the set of a film, where she is having a rough time of getting through her lines because she is high and the director she is working with tries to avoid cuts in his shots. Shortly thereafter, Vale is unresponsive in bed with Jack Faulkner, who rushes her to the hospital. After her stomach is pumped and she regains consciousness, Vale has to confront her drug abuse. Her celebrity mother comes to visit her in rehab, whose narcissistic tendencies make it difficult for Suzanne to confront her issues. Coming out of rehab, Vale discovers that it is hard for her to get work again because of her history with drugs.

Vale is given the chance to act again if she stays with "a responsible party" during the shoot. Drug tested on the set, Vale is forced to live under her mother's roof where she is subjected to her mother's expectations and pressures. Doris (Vale's mother), puts Suzanne on display and pressures her to perform publicly at a party she throws for her daughter and it becomes clear that Doris is trying to remain relevant and active through Suzanne. Returning to the set the next day, Vale gets a lot of notes on her performance and overhears people talking about her physique, which make it tough for her to give a good performance. After her second day of work, she runs into Faulkner, who starts to pursue her. When Faulkner visits Vale's home, Doris hits on him, but Vale willingly gets into a relationship with him. But, when she learns that Faulkner is sleeping around and she tires of her mother's drinking around her, Vale begins to fight for her own identity and stand up for her own hopes and dreams.

Postcards From The Edge is tough to discuss without some references to Carrie Fisher because Meryl Streep's portrayal of Suzanne Vale so perfectly captures some of the cadences of Carrie Fisher as to make it painfully obvious that the character, or Streep's performance, is based upon her. Streep adapts a speech pattern virtually identical to Carrie Fisher's in many of Vale's most potent deliveries of irony and exasperation. Streep makes Vale accessible and interesting, even as viewers become more and more frustrated with the environment she is in and the people who surround her.

When Vale starts to realize that Doris is her "x-factor" that brings her the stress that begins to make her tempted to use drugs and alcohol, Streep is able to break out and make Vale seem vital in a way that the first half of the movie does not. When Vale asserts herself, Postcards From The Edge starts to take on a richness and level of intrigue that turns the uncomfortable comedy into a potent drama. Streep succeeds more as Vale when she can be heard - there are a number of scenes where she and Shirley MacLaine talk over one another - and Postcards From The Edge works best when it is focused on her.

It is not long into Postcards From The Edge that it becomes obvious that Suzanne Vale is struggling under the yolk of pressure and expectations from her narcissistic mother, Doris. Doris hijacks the party thrown in Suzanne's honor and flirts with Faulkner in a troubling way. Postcards From The Edge does an excellent job of creating a narcissistic character in the form of Doris Mann, but glosses over the complexity of confronting and surviving toxic people in order to deliver a "feel good" ending.

Postcards From The Edge does a rare thing in confronting familial alcoholism and substance abuse and creates a vivid portrait of a horrible narcissist . . . but to get the film into a hundred minute run time and be easily classifiable, the movie creates a situation that is complex and realistic, but then resolves it remarkably simplistically. That makes Postcards From The Edge a bit less satisfying than it ought to be, especially given how good all of the performances are and how decent the characters are when they are allowed to breathe and develop.

Perhaps that is the most fitting epitaph for Carrie Fisher, who railed against having to look a specific way in order to appear in the newest Star Wars films; she worked in an industry that values style over substance and Fisher had a mind for complexity and realism where consumers buy into flash and simplicity. The sad truth is that Carrie Fisher might well have been better as a writer and human being than she was ever allowed to be as a performer and she (and her audience) deserved better.

For other 2016 tribute reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Blackstar - David Bowie
Mother's Day - Garry Marshall
Strangers - Merle Haggard
Firefly Soundtrack - Ron Glass

6/10

For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One Of The Best Cocoas Yet! Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Lives Up!


The Good: Amazing flavor, Not the worst on the nutrition front, Decent ingredients, Environmental impact of packaging
The Bad: Comparatively expensive, Requires milk to properly make
The Basics: Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Chocolate is an incredible balance of chocolate and peanut butter flavors, making for an ideal peanut butter flavored hot cocoa!


The recent trend in the grocery market that leaves me most baffled is the licensing of restaurant names to retail products. At home Taco Bell products bear no real resemblance to the in-restaurant products, for example. The obsession with brand name association is not a selling point for me and I'm of the mind that if a product is great, it does not need the name of a famous restaurant to sell it. Despite that, every now and then, I find something that intrigues me. My wife and I were out at the store recently when we saw the little cartons of new Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa. We do not live close to a Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Parlor (reviewed here!) any more, but I have been delighted in the past by some of their ice cream treats.

That made me willing to try the Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa. And it was worth it! Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa might well be the best blend of chocolate and peanut butter flavors in a hot beverage I have yet found!

Basics

The Peanut Butter Cup Perfection hot cocoa mix is part of the Cold Stone Creamery premium hot cocoa line. The mix comes in a 10 ounce canister, which mimics an ice cream pint. The containers are cute and contain the hot cocoa powder inside and the wide-mouth top makes it very easy to access and properly measure the cocoa.

Ease Of Preparation

The Peanut Butter Cup Perfection hot cocoa mix is fairly easy to make, though it does require measuring to properly prepare it. The Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa has a decent shelf life - the canister we bought four days ago had an expiration date of November 11, 2017! Because it is resealable and has some preservatives in is, this is likely to last virtually forever unopened. A single serving is two rounded Tablespoons and 1 cup of hot milk. One needs to measure out the cocoa to reconstitute it properly.

As a result, preparation is not difficult, but requires some measuring that packets do not. The canister must be opened, the safety seal removed, the powder measured out into a mug that is at least eight ounces large. Then, simply pour hot (near-boiling) milk over the powder and stir. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of cocoa powder visible in the milk or giving resistance from the bottom. The beverage will have a dark brown color to it and will be very much a fluid.

Taste

Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection hot cocoa smells surprisingly strongly of peanuts. The impressive thing is that the aroma is not that of peanut butter, but of actual peanuts (though, I suppose that makes it smell like all-natural peanut butter!). The peanut scent from the Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa is so potent that it made me concerned that the flavor would be dominated by the peanut butter flavor.

Fortunately, that is not the case at all. Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Cocoa has a very true, rich chocolate flavor to it that blends perfectly with the flavor of the peanut butter that the aroma hinted at. The chocolate flavoring is rendered as a dark chocolate flavor, perhaps because the peanut butter component to the flavor palate is similarly dry. The resulting flavor is true to both the chocolate and peanut butter flavors in a way that is both delightful and uncommon. This truly is the best blend of chocolate and peanut butter in a beverage that I have ever had. Interestingly, the Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa does not taste sweet in a generic or obvious way; the chocolate flavor is more true to cocoa, than it is to the overly-sweetened form of chocolate many people are accustomed to.

Perhaps what is most intriguing on the flavor front is that the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Chocolate has no real aftertaste to it. Given how dry the primary flavor is, I would have expected the Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa to bear a very dry aftertaste, but it does not. The rich chocolate flavor resonates in the mouth for several minutes after the beverage is consumed, but it is not oppressive or overly dry!

Nutrition

Cold Stone Creamery's hot cocoa mix is a sugary beverage and not intended to be excessively nutritious, though the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection flavor could be far less nutritious than it is. While I am used to reviewing things like all natural teas where the ingredients are all easily pronounceable and recognizable, the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection hot cocoa has very few ingredients that cannot be easily identified. The primary ingredients are sugar, cocoa and coconut oil. It is not vegan compliant as a result of the whey and dry milk in the mix. It is not considered gluten-free because it was manufactured on equipment that also processes wheat.

In each serving of Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Chocolate, there are 110 calories, fifteen of which are from fat. There are one and a half grams of saturated fat, so this is not the most fatty cocoa mix by a decent margin! There is no cholesterol, but a noticeable 7% of one's recommended daily allowance of sodium out of a single serving of this beverage! There is a tiny bit of protein in the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Ccoa. The only other notable nutrients in the Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection Hot Cocoa is 4% of the RDA of Iron. In other words, this product is not a nutritious food product, though it tastes amazing.

Storage/Cleanup

So long as one leaves the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection powder in its carton, it ought to stay usable. One assumes it will last quite a while and dissolve appropriately when one attempts to use it. The canister, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, are much more environmentally friendly and affordable than packets would be.

Cleanup is very easy. If the product spills while dispensing the powder into the mug, simply wipe it up or brush it up with a dry or damp cloth. If it has already been reconstituted with water into hot cocoa, simply wipe it up. Light fabrics are likely to stain if this gets on them, in which case consult your fabric care guide to clean it up. This is a very dark colored hot cocoa, so avoiding stains might be difficult on lighter fabrics.

Overall

Cold Stone Creamery Peanut Butter Cup Perfection hot cocoa is the perfect balance between chocolate and peanut butter flavors . . . if only it was a little less expensive, that would be ideal!

For other hot cocoa reviews, please check out:
Stephen's Gourmet Peppermint Candycane Hot Cocoa
Land O’ Lakes S'mores Hot Cocoa
Pernigotti Hot Chocolate

9/10

For other beverage reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, December 26, 2016

Underworld: Blood Wars Is As Stylish And Dull As Its Predecessors!


The Good: Looks good, Moments of character
The Bad: Predictable reversals, Light on substantive character development, Astonishingly few decent performances, Mixed quality of the special effects
The Basics: For those who still give a damn, Underworld: Blood Wars presents a new chapter in the war between vampires and lycans where death dealer Selene is caught between the warring factions.


There are so many franchises out there that fans of science fiction, fantasy, and the overlaps with horror that are not just gross and dumb have to actually be discriminating about what franchises they emotionally and materially invest in. After all, collectors only have so much space and the truth is, the more material there is in any genre, the harder it is to not be derivative of works that already exist. While I am a big fan of science fiction and fantasy, I got out of the Underworld franchise pretty fast. Underworld (reviewed here!) did not impress me (less so now that the film spawned a franchise and the creative team could have eroded the mythos created at the beginning of the film over the course of several movies!) and I only ended up watching the prequel, Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans (reviewed here!) because I had access to it early through a screening. While I actually enjoyed Rise Of The Lycans, it was not enough to make me return to the franchise.

The whole "vampire vs. werewolf" genre has been (mostly) played out and the Underworld interpretation of it has largely prioritized style over substance. So, when I sat down to Underworld: Blood Wars, I had understandably low expectations. I did not expect the film to "wow" me and make me fall in love with the genre again. Sadly, even in the hands of director Anna Foerster, the Underworld franchise does not become anything original, compelling, or substantive in a way that might make it indispensable. In other words, Underworld: Blood Wars merely continues the trend of beautiful looking actors fighting in slow motion against computer-generated werewolves in a predictable story that is essentially a pointless war story blended with palace intrigue. Underworld: Blood Wars is a particularly unimaginative cinematic outing that is fairly accessible to those who have not been fans, but is unlikely to make anyone who does not love the Underworld franchise into a convert.

After a brief recap of who Selene is and how the war between the vampires and werewolves has changed in recent years, Selene admits that she is now an outcast, hunted by both sides while her vampire/human hybrid daughter, Eve, is kept effectively hidden. After Selene learns of the new lycan leader, Marius, who is sending his minions to find Eve and is amassing an army to take out the Eastern Coven of vampires. The vampire leader Thomas meets with council member Semira, who wants Selene to be dispatched to kill Marius. Semira tries to convince Thomas to convince the council to invite Selene to give her the mission. At the werewolf headquarters, Marius tells his lieutenants that he wants Eve's blood in order to make the lycans invincible against the vampires.

But when Selene rescues David, the lycans who attacked him put a tracker on him and when the vampire council makes its offer to Selene for amnesty for her past crimes, the lycans move in on Selene's safe house. Forced to accept their invitation, Selene and David arrive at the headquarters of the Eastern Coven where she is asked to train the potential death dealers into an anti-lycan army. But, during a training exercise, Varga (Semira's lover) springs his trap and incapacitates Selene and slays the potential death dealers. Varga and Semira begin exsanguinating Selene, but the death dealer is rescued by Thomas and David, the former of whom pays with his life. While the Eastern Coven mobilizes under Semira's leadership to begin hunting Selene so her blood might give the vampires a fighting chance against the lycans, Alexia is dispatched to spy on Marius's horde. Alexia, however, is in love with Marius and Marius is unwilling to fight Semira without Selene's blood to make the lycans powerful enough to definitively win against the vampires. Selene and David take refuge in the frozen north, at a coven protected by Lena, where David learns the truth of his own lineage. When the frozen coven is breached, David must step up to protect the Eastern Coven from both the power-hungry Semira and the invading horde led by Marius.

To its credit, having not seen at least two of the Underworld films that preceded Underworld: Blood Wars, I found the newest installment incredibly accessible. Underworld: Blood Wars goes out of its way to repeat information in order to make it possible to step into the film and know exactly what is going on, in addition to how the protagonists got to where they are. That, alas, does not make it much better, save that viewers will instantly understand the relationship between Selene and David, the war between the vampires and lycans and that in this franchise, blood stores memories.

But beyond the accessibility, Underworld: Blood Wars has shockingly little of substance to it. Marius is a very thinly-drawn antagonist and the palace intrigue aspect of Underworld: Blood Wars is presented in an incredibly soap operatic way. The characters are not as compellingly fleshed out as to make the reversals bear any real emotional significance, so they seem merely to be acts of plot convenience. The betrayals by Semira and Alexia (is there something misogynistic going on with the untrustworthy women of the Underworld franchise>?!) are more predictable than audacious and they continue a trend of enemies who are presented as hardly smart, capable, or strong enough to have gotten to the positions they have.

Selene in Underworld: Blood Wars is presented as a very generic heroine and given how everyone seems after her (or Eve's) blood, she lacks a sense of being unique and powerful in a complicated world filled with supernatural entities. While Selene is used at plot-convenient moments, David is given more fleshing out as a character in Underworld: Blood Wars. Unfortunately, David is not inherently interesting to watch and most of his characterization in Underworld: Blood Wars that makes him at all special is given as straightforward exposition as opposed to on-screen examples of his abilities or quality of character. Ironically, given that Underworld: Blood Wars bears an R-rating, the film takes few narrative risks that would make it compelling to an adult audience.

On the performance front, the best acting in Underworld: Blood Wars comes from performers acting seamlessly with the computer-generated elements. The actors all seem to get the eyelines right and they look credible while combating the unreal elements. Unfortunately, Underworld: Blood Wars continues to prioritize style over substance. Daisy Head, who plays Alexia, is not given a lot of passion to play or substance to her character; her part is to open her round eyes wide and look cute or gorgeous when she is not engaged in action scenes. Head does fine with the comparatively minor role, but most of her time on screen is window dressing. Clementine Nicholson has a similar role, though her Lena is at least more substantive in her shading (not literally!) than Lara Pulver's Semira.

Underworld: Blood Wars looks good and it moves fast, but it is surprisingly boring. The characters are shoved around the good-looking settings, betraying one another in a war that has lost any sense of meaning or relevance and is being carried out by rote. Underworld: Blood Wars is fast-paced and good-looking, but hardly entertaining.

For other movies currently in theaters, please check out my reviews of:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Arrival
Doctor Strange
Cardboard Boxer

3/10

For other movie reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Olaf Talks Back, But The 2016 Olaf Peekbuster Ornament Is A Tough Sell!


The Good: Decent sculpted details, Fun vocals, Glitter
The Bad: Expensive, Sloppy paint job, Slightly off-balance
The Basics: The 2016 Olaf Peekbuster Hallmark ornament is a fun concept ornament from Frozen that is just a little off to keep it from being truly worthwhile.


Today is the first day of the big Hallmark ornament clearance event and now that I am back from my annual outing to the local Hallmark Gold Crown stores, I'm back to review another ornament! Usually, I try to pick an ornament that is a good investment for collectors and investors to pick up as ornaments hit 50% off and despite the flaws in the 2016 Olaf Peekbuster ornament, it might well fit into that category. The flaws in the Olaf Peekbuster ornament are minor enough that it is generally in the average range for ornaments, but the price made me consider it as just a little below average.

For those unfamiliar with Frozen (reviewed here!), Olaf was the magically-created sentient snowman who accompanied Anna and Kristoff on their quest to find Elsa. Olaf provided comic relief and the snowman on his own is the subject of a new peekbuster style talking ornament in 2016.

Basics

The "Olaf Peekbuster" ornament recreates Olaf as he appeared in Frozen, though not from a specific scene or iconic moment. The ornament, released in 2016, is an entirely accurate sculpt of Olaf the snowman, albeit in a larger scale than normal, in a seated position attached to a base of snow. The subject of the ornament was a computer-generated snowman who sang and danced and the sculptor did an exceptional job of capturing the curved, animated look of Olaf with a realistic looking snow base!

Measuring four and one-quarter inches tall and two and a half inches wide and deep, the "Olaf Peekbuster" ornament is a larger scale ornament than most of the other Disney character ornaments and many of the other peekbuster-style ornaments. As such, it was one of the more expensive Disney themed Hallmark ornaments at $19.95.

The Hallmark "Olaf Peekbuster" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Olaf, twig arms lowered as he touches his toes. The Olaf Peekbuster ornament has the appropriately goofy, open smile on his mouth. The ornament is sculpted accurately and gets the look of Olaf perfectly right! This ornament is augmented by glitter that some of the other ornaments of Disney characters who appeared in snowy environments possessed! For accuracy, Olaf is made pretty awesome by the fact that non-snow elements, like his coal buttons, eyes, mouth, carrot nose, and twig arms and hair do not have any glitter on them! I checked out four copies of the Olaf Peekbuster ornament and all of them had sloppy paintjobs around the eyes and many had orange from the carrot painted well off the seam where it connects to the head.

The snowy base that the Olaf Peekbuster ornament is on looks generally good and matches the quality of the Olaf figure that sits upon the mound of snow.

Features

As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "Olaf Peekbuster" has a sound function that is the key selling point of this ornament. The Olaf Peekbuster has vocal clips that sound just like Josh Gad (who voiced Olaf in Frozen) admonishing people about keeping the surprise of the gifts the ornament is guarding. The bottom of the snow mound has a little button that when slid into the "on" position activates the peekbuster ornament. When the ornament is on, movement made within a few feet of the sensor on the front of the Olaf Peekbuster activates the sound function. Olaf delivers one of (at least) seven sound clips related to loving surprises and not trying to peek at the presents. The ornament certainly sounds like Olaf in both vocals and in the tone/character of the sound clips.

Balance

As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Olaf Peekbuster" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "Olaf Peekbuster" ornament is essential! The ornament has the standard steel hook loop embedded into the top center of the back of Olaf’s head. From that position, the Olaf ornament hangs with a slight left bias, as if the hardware for the sound function is off-center and slightly heavier than the rest of the ornament. The balance for this ornament is slightly off, which is made noticeable by the base Olaf is on, which does not hang level. The balance issue is not excessive, but it is recognizably off.

Collectibility

Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Within a few years, every major franchise from Star Wars to A Nightmare Before Christmas to Indiana Jones started making Hallmark ornaments. The "Olaf Peekbuster" is the latest Frozen ornament and one of two from Hallmark released in 2016. The Olaf Peekbuster sold out a many Hallmarks I visited long before they could ever be clearanced. At the original $19.95 issue price, the Olaf Peekbuster seemed expensive. Despite the paint job issue and the slight bias in the balance, if one can find it on clearance now, it might be worth it. But it seems unlikely it would appreciate in value above its original issue price, so getting it discounted seems like the most probable way to make one's money back as an investment piece.

Overview

Fans of Frozen, Disney, Olaf, and Hallmark ornaments might love the concept of the Olaf Peekbuster ornament, but the execution is not flawless and the ornament is a bit expensive comparatively. That said, Olaf has been over-merchandised and even with the minor quirks, the Olaf Peekbuster ornament is a little tougher sell than it might have been had it been released a few years ago.

For other Frozen Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2015 Let It Go
2015 Princess Anna
2015 Olaf In Summer
2014 Queen Elsa
2014 Olaf

4/10

For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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It's The Doctor Who We Get For The Year: "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" Is Worth It!


The Good: Fun, Decent performances, Engaging plot development, Hints of character development
The Bad: Light on character development
The Basics: "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" brings The Doctor back to Earth where he essentially acts as a sidekick to New York City's mysterious masked superhero . . . The Ghost!


When it comes to Doctor Who, the last few years have been pretty rough on the franchise. Peter Capaldi has stepped into the role of The Doctor and there have been few moments of brilliance in the writing equal to his talents. While there has been some restructuring on the creative end of Doctor Who, the show has been on hiatus, having taken the year since "The Husbands Of River Song" (reviewed here!) off. But now, Doctor Who is giving us a new Christmas special with "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio."

"The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" follows the events of "The Husbands Of River Song" as closely as it conceivably could, though this Christmas episode bookends the events of "The Husbands Of River Song" in a way that makes one want to go back and watch last Christmas's episode. Despite the connections to "The Husbands Of River Song," "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" stands alone as its own entity with a mostly-new cast of characters. In many ways, "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" is the superhero episode of Doctor Who and perhaps what is most surprising about the episode is how effectively it blends genres and makes a distinctive episode of Doctor Who!

Opening in New York City with The Doctor hanging from the rooftop of an apartment, dangling before young Grant's window, The Doctor asks the boy if he can come in. The Doctor is allowed in and he and Grant go back up to the roof where the Doctor is working on a device that would stop some of the temporal anomalies in New York. When The Doctor notices the boy is coughing, he offers him help and a glass of water and Grant mistakenly thinks the artifact The Doctor has given him is a pill and swallows it. The artifact bonds with Grant and gives him super powers and does not pass from him.

The Doctor returns to Earth with Nardole, whom he has taken as a Companion following his adventures with River Song coming to an end. In New York, the company Harmony Shoal is being investigated by reporter Lucy Fletcher, when she decides to sneak into the building one night. The CEO of Harmony Shoal has his brain replaced by an alien when Fletcher, The Doctor and Nardole sneak in. They are confronted by the aliens and are in dire peril when they are rescued by a new superhero, The Ghost. The Doctor quickly realizes that The Ghost is Grant and Grant is working as Lucy's nanny. When Lucy scores an interview with The Ghost, the aliens use that as an opportunity to lure The Ghost into a trap. While Grant works to keep his identity safe and not confess his love to Lucy, The Doctor and Nardole have to stop the aliens from destroying New York City and entrapping world leaders in their fiendish plan to conquer Earth!

The Doctor is initially presented as fun and kind when he first encounters Grant. The set-up with Grant very clearly establishes the tone and concept of "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" as this is very much the Doctor Who adaptation and commentary on the current U.S. obsession with super hero films based on comic book heroes. "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" is Doctor Who payback for Marvel/Disney hiring so many BBC actors for their new blockbusters. As such, "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" utilizes a number of conceits and catch phrases from key comic books like Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman.

The villainous aliens are just practical enough to have a decent diabolical plan with a pretty awesome fail-safe in the form of an orbiting ship that is prepared to wipe out New York City. The aliens are absurd enough to feel a lot like a comic book villain and a Doctor Who enemy that makes things creepy. The brains are a pretty decent special effect.

Nardole returns to Doctor Who in "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" as comic relief, which frees Peter Capaldi up to play The Doctor as very wry. "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" allows The Doctor to have a very distinctive voice, separate from the character interacting with holdover Companions from prior incarnations of The Doctor and it works quite well.

In fact, all that does not work exceptionally well is the initial mood for The Doctor in "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio." The Doctor's twenty-four year night with River Song has come to an end and he is supposed to be experiencing loss and that is not immediately evident as The Doctor pops up eating sushi while sneaking around Harmony Shoal. Capaldi manages to never make The Doctor sound or feel as ridiculous as Matt Smith's goofy portrayal of the character, but "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" misses some real opportunities to make The Doctor moody as a result of his loss. After all, he had Clara as a Companion for only two years (with an additional couple months for her as Matt Smith's Companion) and he became so determined as to fight his way through Gallifrey's security system with the loss he felt for her! River Song is a much more significant relation to The Doctor and the fact that he arrives in the narrative without it appearing very clear that he is wrestling with something important - or that his time with River changed him in any demonstrable way - is troubling.

That said, "The Return Of Doctor Mysterio" is a lot of fun and allows Doctor Who to return to being something fun, smart, and engaging!

For other Doctor Who Christmas episodes, please visit my reviews of:
"The Christmas Invasion"
"Voyage Of The Damned"
"Last Christmas"

8.5/10

For other Doctor Who episode and movie reviews, please visit my Doctor Who Review Index Page!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Not The Treat We Might Hope For, The 2016 Season's Treatings Hallmark Ornament!


The Good: Cute, Affordable, Decent balance
The Bad: Not as distinctly sculpted and colored as it ought to be, Coloring contrast
The Basics: Partially cute, partially simplistic, the 2016 "Season's Treatings" ornament is not nearly as consistent as fans of Hallmark ornaments might hope!


Last year, my wife discovered a delightful little Hallmark ornament in the Season's Treatings ornament (reviewed here!) and this year, I discovered that it was part of a series. The 2016 Season's Treatings ornament is a similar ornament to the 2015 ornament, but not nearly as distinctive. In fact, the contrast between the elements makes for a very unsatisfying and slightly unsettling ornament, especially in contrast to the very cute ornament from last year!

The 2016 Season's Treatings ornament is a food-based ornament that is vaguely amusing, but features elements that contrast - some look realistic and cool, others that look cartoonish and plastic.

Basics

The Season's Treatings ornament is an ornament that features a baking sheet with cinnamon rolls on it that have the vague form of a reindeer head. In addition to the realistic-looking cinnamon rolls, the ornament features a very plastic-looking rolling pin, icing cup and cake knife. The ornament, released in 2016, is a standard-release ornament that came out during Ornament Preview Weekend and it did not sell out at any of the Hallmark Gold Crown stores I went to.

Hallmark made a fair attempt to make a cute ornament with the Season's Treatings ornament, but the ornament is very simple and does not have the contrast needed to sell the reindeer head that the cinnamon rolls form. Measuring three and a half inches tall, three and one-quarter inches wide and three-quarters of an inch thick, the "Season's Treatings" ornament is a small Hallmark ornament. This is also one of the least expensive Hallmark ornaments. It originally retailed at $12.95, which makes it one of the most affordable Hallmark Keepsake ornaments released this year. It is, it turns out, the 8th ornament in the Season's Treating ornament line.

The Hallmark "Season's Treatings" ornament is made of plastic and metal (for the pan and the ring that attaches the ornament to an ornament hook). The cinnamon rolls look very plasticy and the accoutrements for baking look very much like plastic as well. The fundamental problem with the 2016 Season's Treatings ornament is that the coloring of the cinnamon buns is realistic, in contrast to the baking tools. Furthermore, the seams between the cinnamon buns on the baking tray are virtually non-existent. The result is that the baking sheet looks like it has a reindeer head upon it, as opposed to a collection of cinnamon rolls that have been arranged to look more like a reindeer head.

Features

As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Season's Treatings" could have a sound effect, but it does not. Instead, this is a less-expensive option that tries to make food look adorable!

Balance

As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Season's Treatings" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas tree. And the "Season's Treatings" ornament is a mediocre option for anyone who likes sugary treats. The ornament has the steel hook ring in the top of the cookie sheet. When one puts a hook loop through the ring, the Season's Treatings ornament hangs perfectly level such that the reindeer face hands like it is cocked with a curious look to it.

Collectibility

Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Within a few years, every major franchise from Star Wars to A Nightmare Before Christmas to Indiana Jones started making Hallmark ornaments. "Season's Treatings" is a non-genre ornament that is part of an annual series. This is the eighth ornament in the Season's Treatings series and none of the numbered-release ornaments from the set have significantly appreciated (the repaints and limited edition versions have) in value. That makes me suspect that the 2016 Season's Treatings ornament will not be an exceptional investment piece.

Overview

Fans of cute food, Christmas baking, Hallmark ornaments, and generic Christmas ornaments are likely to find the Season's Treatings ornament too inconsistently-rendered to be worth shelling out for, at least at full price.

For other non-genre 2016 Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
Paratrooper Snoopy ornament
Ballet Wishes Barbie
2016 Winter Wonder ornament

5.5/10

For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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The Rare Misfire From Netflix Television: Why Travelers Season 1 Fails To Satisfy


The Good: Moments of performance, One or two conceptual moments
The Bad: Highly flawed initial concept, Characters who are virtually impossible to empathize with, Predictable moments, Inconsistent direction/writing
The Basics: Travelers is a conceptual mess with a middling execution that makes for one of Netflix's rare shows not worth bothering with.


Netflix clearly hates critics like me. Netflix probably does not know I exist, but at the end of the year, Netflix is dumping a whole lot of original content. The same day Netflix dropped the first season of Troll Hunters, they released the first season of Travelers, which came on the heels of the return of Sense8 and another mysterious, bingeworthy season of television just a week prior. I have no idea what next week will bring from Netflix, but today it's Travelers Season 1! Sadly, it was a complete waste of time.

Travelers Season 1 is a twelve episode science fiction/crime drama with an ambitious premise; five people's consciousnesses are sent back in time to override the bodies of individuals moments before they originally died. The five Travelers are utilizing the technology in order to change the bleak future that resulted in humanity being almost wiped out. Complications, however, ensue when their missions lead to unexpected results or the lives of the host bodies force the operatives from the future to interact with people off-mission.

Opening with Marcy (a mentally-challenged woman), Carly (an abuse victim), Trevor (a high school student who is in a fight club), and Philip (an intravenous drug user) having their bodies possessed in the second before they were about to die, the new personas inhabiting their bodies adapt to life in the past. They communicate with one another using the deep web and, in the process, raise red flags at the F.B.I. F.B.I. agent Grant MacLaren, who is monitoring a would-be shooter, is given the case of finding out what is going on with the deep web communications. In getting to the abandoned building bought by Philip for the Travelers to use, MacLaren is told the truth about the travelers moments before his body is possessed, during a blackout when his host body was set to die.

The new team is given subcutaneous communicators and sent to stop an antimatter explosion. But when the team successfully acquires the antimatter before the Traveler assigned to properly dispose of it dies from causes other than what was recorded, the team has to create a new plan to save the world. Philip, guilt-ridden over the death of a person who died during the same incident that led to his possession and drug-addled, starts to feel intensely guilty and starts to make changes outside the mission protocols. Philip's actions endanger the mission for all the right reasons, but force the Travelers to accept that they are not supposed to save or take lives that are not part of a mission. When MacLaren's team encounters a messenger who tells them to aid another team, they learn that there are other factions; Travelers who have "gone native" in the past and side projects of their own. But after MacLaren's team is abducted by an unknown faction, the Travelers come together to stop the major calamity of the era; using the antimatter to power a laser to reroute an asteroid that would otherwise begin an environmental disaster that creates the bleak future. But when the primary mission appears to be a success, MacLaren and his team are left in play in the world and receive news that the future has not gotten better, which keeps them active trying to fight the future!

The basic plot of Travelers is inherently problematic. The idea of multiple Traveler teams working in the past independent of one another makes it ridiculous that they would not alter the timeline such that their origin point in the future would no longer exist. In other words, changing historic events like defusing a massive antimatter bomb would have massive repercussions in the timeline; several such incidents would reasonably accumulate such that the future from which the consciousnesses came would no longer exist. Even Jeff Jr. being raised by his mother instead of Jeff or being a ward of the state would have a ripple effect that would reasonably resonate up into the future. The most basic temporal mechanics would indicate that in order for Travelers to work, the future operatives must be sent by an organization working within a pocket universe that would remain unaltered by the changes operatives made; the show makes no such note. Instead, operatives even after the primary mission is achieved seem to know about Helios and suggest that the work of the Travelers has made the future even worse!

The Travelers are all sent by The Director and it does not take long into the first season before viewers begin to reasonably suspect that The Director is not necessarily a good guy. The show utilizes a number of reversals to attempt to remain interesting, but most of the reveals are more predictable than truly shocking.

Beyond that, the tone never quite works in the first season of Travelers; the sense of hopelessness makes it hard to root for the protagonists and the oblique references to the horrible future are a poor substitute for actually seeing it.

But more than that, Travelers fails to work because it is both imprecise and it has failsafes built into the narrative. First, Philip is saved from injecting himself with a lethal dose of heroin at the precisely right moment, which works for the concept of Travelers, but not for any sense of realism. Coroners who create a time of death for drug overdoses are unlikely to be able to come up with such an exact time of death as they do for Philip (especially given that he and his friend are basically most likely to be found after days of being dead given how they have no one active in their lives). Second, Marcy the team's medical specialist; how could she not have known that using Marcy as a host would likely have severe medical liabilities given how severely disabled the host body was?! Finally, none of the new personalities are so different that the personas are not able to pass in the lives of their hosts?! While that could indicate that the operatives were trained exceptionally well, details like Grant not knowing the name his host calls his wife around the house seem to indicate the contrary.

The failsafes in Travelers make the entire narrative appear utterly ridiculous. Travelers are able to get messages from the future at any time in the form of temporarily-controlled hosts. These temporary hosts have no memory of their actions and basically experience blackouts while they deliver messages to the Travelers. Instead of using a whole network of would-be dead people to create devices and be in specific places at specific times to accomplish tasks, temporarily using a massive network of people who are in the right place at the right time would have eliminated all of the human error that plagues the first season of Travelers. The Director isn't a brilliant savior bent on saving the world or a mad dictator who wants to control time; he's an idiot who uses the tools at his disposal incredibly poorly and without any true understanding of human nature.

In the first season of Travelers, the essential characters are:

Grant MacLaren - The team leader and last to arrive, he suddenly finds himself with a wife of eleven years in his new present. He has a relationship with Carly and has trouble juggling his mission from the future with his suspicious and efficient FBI partner, Forbes. He begins to develop actual feelings for his wife, even though he was passionately in love with Carly (whomever she actually was!) in the future. To that end, he becomes willing to even sacrifice his own life for Kat's,

Carly Shannon - MacLaren's right hand and the security expert of the Traveler cell, she has assumed the body of a woman with a baby at home and an abusive police officer who keeps coming back home. Having survived the beating that would have killed her, she completes her first mission only to return home to find her son, Jeffrey Jr. abducted by Jeff. Her son soon becomes a liability to her as she develops feelings for him. After completing the primary mission, she becomes mired in retaining custody over her baby,

Marcy - Instantly makes David, her case worker, suspicious when she is able to speak like a normal adult when her host body was developmentally disabled her entire life. She turns to David for help during her transition to the past and shows her former caseworker a level of affection he is not comfortable with. She is a doctor who is able to diagnose the problems of her host body and to win David's trust, she shares some of her knowledge of historical events. As soon as the primary mission is over, she attempts to distance herself from her cell and she works hard to save David's job, arguably because she needs him to help manage her medical care. She turns to Philip when David pushes her away,

Trevor - A high schooler now, he is able to pass off the memory loss from his possession as the result of a concussion he suffered while fighting in his would-be death. He is much nicer than his host's persona; his girlfriend, Rene, is a bully. He has experience with being tortured and tries to keep his teammates safe and collected when they are captured. He is the philosophical core of the Traveler team, but his life is complicated by trying to squeeze his missions in around his high school experience and combating the lowered expectations people have for his host with his own impressive abilities,

Philip - Suffers from severe withdrawal given that his body was formerly occupied by an intravenous drug user. He gets out of his first jam by giving his compulsive gambler public defender information on some surprising wins. He plays the lottery in order to get the money needed to buy a base of operations for the group to meet. He has extensive knowledge of the potential Traveler candidates. He is a brilliant strategic thinker, but in getting his host body off drugs, he starts to become addicted. He is quickly manipulated by Ray, the public defender, for money,

and David - A determined and caring social worker, he tries very hard to maintain a professional boundary with Marcy when her i.q. suddenly doubles. His job is threatened when his boss learns Marcy has been staying with him, but he is bailed out by her. He is unable to live platonically with Marcy when she suddenly evolves. He is highly ethical and a devoted social worker.

The characters do not truly pop, though, and Travelers Season 1 is plagued by characters who are virtually impossible to empathize with. Who lives? Who dies? Who cares?! Such is the plague of Travelers; it is tough to actually care because there is no emotional root with the primary characters. By the time Trevor takes a stand to save someone off-book (already done long before that in the narrative with Philip!), the viewer doesn't actually care what happens to his character (or the others).

Travelers features some interesting details about the future, but they are very inconsistently executed. MacLaren is shocked by cow's milk, implying that - like Eobard Thawne's future on The Flash - cows have died out in the future. The future does not have underwear and the people who have survived are vegans. The Travelers have a hierarchy under The Director and there are protocols in place preventing Travelers from contacting other cells and MacLaren slips and references "caffeine rations" when talking about getting coffee, but none of the characters ever slip and refer to each other by the names of their pre-Traveling, future, characters. What is an even better technical detail is that Travelers have their own vernacular that slips out from time to time, though that is incredibly inconsistent as well.

By the fifth episode, Travelers works to make the characters and the future relevant when the protagonists (save MacLaren) are captured. The capture episode is beautifully-filmed, but lacks emotional resonance because the viewer does not care about the characters.

On the performance front, Travelers is presented as an Eric McCormack vehicle, but the truth is, he plays very much one note the whole season and it is an unsurprising one based on his role from the second season of Dead Like Me (reviewed here!). The two superlative performances in the first season of Travelers come from Patrick Gilmore and Reilly Dolman. I recently saw Gilmore in No Men Beyond This Point (reviewed here!) and more than just him growing a beard, his performance as David sells the viewer on his raw ability. There is not a hint of his milquetoast character from the other film in his portrayal of David, despite having some similar character traits!

Reilly Dolman was completely new to me. Dolman plays Philip and his performance is exceptional. Dolman plays drug-addled amazingly well. More than that, though, he transitions incredibly into the genius his character is supposed to be and his ability to change his entire body language makes Philip the character to watch!

But even Dolman's performance is not enough to land Travelers a recommendation. The show is sloppy and ill-conceived and it is just enough to make viewers believe that Netflix is performing an "end of the year dump" of material it could not successfully sell at other times.

For other works from the 2016 – 2017 television season, please check out my reviews of:
"A Christmas Special" - Sense8
The OA - Season 1
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
"Invasion!" - Arrow
"The Laws Of Inferno Dynamics" - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"Flashpoint" - The Flash
"The Chicago Way" - Legends Of Tomorrow
"The Adventures Of Supergirl" - Supergirl
Luke Cage - Season 1
Stranger Things - Season 1

3/10

For other movie and television reviews, please check out my Film Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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