Recommendations, TV Show Reviews

8 Animated Shows For Adults That Are Well Worth Your Time

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Cartoons, more often than not, get a bad rap as just being for children. Back in the 90’s that was largely—but not exclusively—true. 

Since then, the number of cartoons aimed at adults has increased at an explosive rate, and I could not be happier about that. I love most animated shows anyway. I mean, my tastes have gotten a little more discerning in recent years, but not by much. 

So, as a connoisseur of all things animated, I just wanted to offer up some cartoons that are specifically aimed at adults. The following list is but the tip of a much larger iceberg, but hopefully this will give anyone uninitiated an idea of what the world of adult animation has to offer.  

Corner Gas Animated

The original Corner Gas is a Canadian sitcom that aired on CTV from 2004 to 2009. It was basically the most quintessentially Canadian television show ever made, and it was awesome. It was about a small gas station in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan and the eccentric townsfolk who frequented the establishment. 

Well, back in 2018 CTV Comedy Network continued the show in the form of Corner Gas Animated. Which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s Corner Gas, but animated.

This is great for a couple of reasons. The first is that the cast has aged quite a bit since then, so having them animated allows for their ages to remain the same. The second is that they got most of the cast to reprise their roles, so it feels like nothing really changed, except that they can do more extreme cutaway gags with less effort. 


Archer is ostensibly an animated show about the worst spy agency in the world. It’s run by a narcissistic alcoholic, their best agent is a man-child who never learned what consequences are, and the office staff doesn’t seem capable of doing even the most basic tasks.

Needless to say, it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. 

This show has perfected the running gag. There are jokes that were in the first episode that they continue to use throughout the series. These jokes just seem to get funnier every time, and there is nothing sadder than when they retire one of them.

Of course, there is also nothing funnier than when they bring them back from time to time just to make you chuckle. 

It’s also a show that decided to go completely off the rails starting with season 5 (aka Archer Vice). In this season they flipped the script in a number of intriguing ways. Then they decided, with season seven, to completely abandon the spy thriller aesthetic, put the show in Los Angeles, and turn their organization into a detective agency. Season eight saw the cast as old school noir characters. Nine had them as Indiana Jones-style adventurers, and ten had them in space.

So, what I’m trying to say is that they are willing to take risks. 

Star Trek: The Lower Decks

For me, Star Trek: The Lower Decks is something I didn’t know I wanted, but that I desperately needed. In fact we said as much in our review of it, which you can find here.

Usually, a Star Trek show follows the bridge crew. You know, the captain, first mate, pilots, chief science and engineering officers… those guys.

The Lower Decks instead opts to follow the nobodies who work in the bowels of the ship, and the misadventures that they have while the bridge crew is trying to save the universe.

There are a few of reasons The Lower Decks is worth your time. The first being that the show has a surprising amount of heart for a joke-version of an existing franchise. The second is that the characters are actually interesting and manage to grow over the course of the series. The third would be that while it has all the trappings of a Star Trek show, it manages to stand apart from its source material and do it’s own thing. 

Final Space

Final Space really came out of left field for me. I didn’t even hear about it until the second season was about to come out. Then, when I finally sat down and watched it, I was… underwhelmed.

The first couple of episodes were only so-so. The story was a bit “Meh” and the sophomoric humor, while funny, wasn’t really impressive in any way. 

Well, it turns out if you keep watching, Final Space will surprise you. By the end of the first season it became something worth watching. The story becomes both massive in scale and importance. It manages to find its stride with humor, and its characters go from being two-dimensional cutouts to people you actually care about. 

All that being said, the humor is still pretty sophomoric, but, sometimes, it makes you think. 

The Venture Brothers

The Venture Brothers ran on tv for almost fifteen years, even though there were only seven seasons. It was a master class in what adult animation could be. It took a simple premise (which was, admittedly, a little lackluster in its first season) and grew it into something else entirely. 

It starts off as a satire of the Hanna Barbera cartoons of the mid-to-late sixties, such as Jonny Quest, and slowly builds upon itself. By the time you get to the third and fourth seasons, The Venture Brothers has managed to—without punching you in the face with exposition—created an entire world with a rich and storied mythology. You start to see how the events of the past ripple into the present, and how that influences each character’s motivations. 

Of course, on top of all of the meticulously crafted worldbuilding is a ton of irreverent and sometimes off-the-wall comedy, which makes this bizarre show worth every second.

I will throw in a disclaimer here. Some of the early jokes haven’t aged well over the last seventeen years. So, be aware of that. 

Samurai Jack – Season 5

Samurai Jack aired on Cartoon Network from 2001-2004, and was about a samurai warrior on a quest to slay a shapeshifting demon. 

During its original run, it did some things that a lot of cartoons would have never dared. For example, there are several episodes with little-to-no dialogue. What’s more is that those are some of the show’s best episodes.

Samurai Jack also won several awards, including 8 Emmy’s.

Needless to say, it has long been one of my favorite shows. However, it always had one glaring flaw; It was incomplete. It ended after four seasons, and the final episode resolved exactly nothing. 

It was something I was bitter about for roughly twelve years. 

Then, in 2017, something glorious happened. Somehow, Samurai Jack was renewed for a fifth and final season. What’s better is that the final season wasn’t for children. The overall tone of the show was much more serious, they exchanged robotic enemies for ones with blood and guts…

It had become a show for adults.

Honestly, I can only recommend this show if you’d be willing to watch the first four seasons, but if you do (or if you were already a fan and didn’t know that they’d created a fifth season) then I strongly recommend that you do yourself a favor and watch this miraculous fifth season.

Rick and Morty

If you haven’t heard about Rick and Morty, that’s very impressive. It’s consistently praised as one of the best animated series on television, and honestly has some of the most mind-bending episodes of any show I’ve ever seen. 

The show is about the smartest man in the multi-verse and the insane—and often disturbing—adventures he goes on with his grandson.

The show is mostly overt toilet humor with a sprinkle of violence and just a dash existential dread. That might not sound like the greatest set of things for a show to offer, but Rick and Morty does a couple of things so well that it’s hard not to love it. 

The first is how mind-blowing the show can be. The way they conceptualize the universe and how things could operate within it is often disorienting, but in the best way. There are episodes where multiple timelines are shown on the screen at the same time, with different versions of the main characters trying to kill one another from across the timestream, and other episodes where there are universes contained within universes, which are all contained in a car battery. 

The second reason to love Rick and Morty is the heavy hitting morals… or lack thereof. Sometimes you feel like you walked away learning a deep and valuable lesson from the episode you just watched. Other times you walk away with the knowledge that the universe is merely chaos and you are but a speck of dust within the cosmos.

If none of that is your thing, it still has an amazing amount of toilet humor, which is just the best. 

Oh, and if it turns out that you like Rick and Morty, or you already know that you do, you should check out Solar Opposites on Hulu. 


Invincible—based on a series of comics by the same name—is currently still airing its first season. Usually, I would reserve my judgement until after I’ve seen the whole thing, but currently I’m only a few episodes in and I don’t think I could recommend this show enough. 

It takes place in a world a lot like the DC-comics universe, and follows a kid who is basically the son of the in-world Superman. The story begins just as this kid’s powers are starting to develop, so it’s a bit of an origin story. However, what sets this apart from something you might find on Cartoon Network is how seriously the show takes itself. 

It does not pull any punches. It shows what really happens when a supervillain shoots a death ray into a crowd, or when a superhuman who can break the sound barrier punches someone in the face. This can get a little gruesome, but it sure does make for some powerful scenes. 

Because it plays everything straight, it shows the psychological side of what it would be like to become a hero. The main character does not start off saving everyone, and unlike children’s cartoons—or even the Marvel movies—the stakes are, more often than not, deadly for everyone. 

There is also an incredible/terrible scene at the end of the first episode that is so compelling that you don’t really have any choice but to continue watching the show to see where it’s going.

It’s also worth mentioning that when the first part of the credits starts rolling, the episode is not over. 

So make sure you keep watching.

TV Show Reviews

Sweet Home: Home is where the Monsters Are

I’m not sure what’s up with Netflix recently. They’ve gone way off into left field making several live action versions of different manga, manhwa, and webtoons. 

This is, of course, the most correct thing they could have done.

Good for you, Netflix.

Sweet Home was originally a manhwa webtoon by Hwang Young-chan and Kim Kan-bi, and was recently brought to the small screen by Netflix. It follows the residents of Green Home—a large apartment building—during a monster apocalypse.

If you’re not sure what I mean by “Monster Apocalypse” it basically means that a percentage of the population is randomly turning into monsters and killing any people they come across.

The main character is Cha Hyun-Su (or just Hyun-Su). He is a suicidal shut-in who moves into Green Home after his parents and sister are killed in a car accident. At first, he’s a bit of a downer. Don’t worry though: His backstory (even beyond the whole family dying thing) is tragic enough that you can see exactly why he behaves the way he does. 

When his neighbors start turning into monsters and killing each other, he originally opts to stay in his room and hope for the best. However, when he witnesses two children in peril, he ultimately ignores his own problems and, with a knife taped to a mop handle, sets off to save them.

While there are a lot of manga/manhwa that focus on a monster apocalypse, Sweet Home was a novel first outing for this specific subgenre for a few reasons. 

What Do You Desire?

What’s interesting about this particular monster apocalypse is that it isn’t a virus, or external force, that turns people into monsters (at least not at the time of this writing). No, what turns people into monsters in this story is their own intense desires.

If someone wanted to be stronger, they might turn into a large hulking monster. If they wanted to be faster, a speed demon, and so forth and so on. This leads to some bizarre monsters with some interesting abilities. While you don’t get a backstory for every monster, the ones that you do get range from anecdotal to tragic.

Sometimes both at the same time.

What I really like about this idea is that it’s not about being bitten by a monster. You could fight one all day and never turn into one. It does, however, mean that anyone, at any time, might suddenly start showing symptoms of the change. This is especially true during the apocalypse where the desire to live could suddenly change you into a freak of nature. 

The Real Monster

Of course, with every apocalypse story, you undoubtedly learn that the true monster of the story is… wait for it… 

Turns out it’s man.

This is also true with Sweet Home

The bulk of the story focuses on the residents of the apartment building learning to survive and live with one another. There is infighting and mistrust throughout the series, even once everyone seems to be getting along. 

This is mostly due to limited resources, but also because at any point someone could spontaneously transform into a giant mouth with snakes for eyeballs or something.

There are, of course, symptoms that precede the transformation (like an intense nose-bleed and auditory hallucinations), but if someone were to hide it, things could go from bad to worse pretty quickly. So, the residents are always on high alert, and ready to turn on one another. 

The flip side to this trope is also on full display in Sweet Home. That is to say that the very best traits of humanity are displayed. Whether that is an old man befriending the only remaining children in the building, or the unscrupulous sycophant taking time to help someone besides himself, the show takes the time to show these moments and relish in them. 

Monstrous Sound

I don’t know if this needed a whole section with a heading and everything, but I really enjoyed the soundtrack to this show. I mean, the sound design was also pretty impressive, but it was the music that really got me. 

There is one song in particular (“Warriors” by Imagine Dragons) that plays in almost every episode, and I love it every time it comes on. It’s always in the climatic moments, and it punctuates them perfectly. 

I can honestly say that my enjoyment of the show is probably 80% all of the other stuff, 20% that song at the correct moment.

A Conundrum 

One of the most frustrating things about Sweet Home is the visual effects. Conversely, it’s one of my favorite parts. You see, there is a strange disparity between different scenes and the special effects—or lack thereof. 

Sometimes, a scene is framed perfectly and the effects are amazing, if somewhat stylized. Other times it’s kind of a hot mess. The effects become janky and the framing is off. This can lead to certain parts of the show feeling a little cheesy in a story that seems, for the most part, to be trying to take itself pretty seriously.

This can also affect the impact of some of the monsters. Sometimes they are absolutely terrifying, and at other times, well this…

Hopefully the effects are slightly more consistent in the second season.

Home Sweet…

Overall, Sweet Home is a pretty solid show. They made the characters a little more grounded and serious than the comic—and also diverged wildly from the comic’s story about halfway through the show—but for the subject matter, it fits. There are some issues—I’m looking at you, Song Kang and your one note face—but they never diminished the enjoyment I received from watching people fight monsters with little more than grit.

I’m giving Sweet Home a monstrous 7.5/10 for… 

…Did you hear that… I think… 

Ah crap my nose is bleeding.

Got to go. 

TV Show Reviews

NOS4A2: Inscape From Reality

NOS4A2 (pronounced Nosferatu) is a supernatural drama that airs on AMC and is available to stream on Hulu. It is based on the novel of the same name written by Joe Hill, son of authors Steven and Tabitha King (and author of Horns, which we reviewed previously).

NOS4A2 follows Victoria “Vic” McQueen, a young artist who struggles with her place in the world. She wants to go to art school, but her mother wants her to work for the family business. Her father, on the other hand, supports her in all things, but the bruises on her mother’s face lead her to suspect he’s not the man she idolizes.

When her usual escape from a tumultuous homelife brings forth a surprising supernatural ability, it puts her on the radar of Charlie Manx; a vampire of a different color. He lures children into his Rolls Royce Wraith (license plate NOS4A2) and uses it to drain them of their souls. Once the child has been drained completely, he leaves the creature that remains in Christmasland; a twisted village where it’s Christmas everyday and only “nice” children may enter.

Naughty children need not apply

I wish that I’d gotten that description of the show when I first saw it on Hulu, but I looked at the jumble of a title and the brief description that was far too vague and made a hard pass. I’m a little disappointed in myself, because now that I’ve seen the show, I was actually impressed with how it turned out. 

There Is No Inscape

Vic and Manx are “Strong Creatives.” These individuals are able to create and use Inscapes, which are basically parts of their imagination that manifest in the real world. In order to effectively use these Inscapes, a strong creative has to use a “Knife,” which is generally an object of importance to the Creative.

I don’t know what my inscape would be, but this is definitely my “knife.”

Vic’s inscape is an old covered bridge called “The Shorter Way” that allows her to find lost things.

It sounds a lot more convenient than it actually is.

The bridge only takes her to the general vicinity of the thing she wants to find, and actually traversing it causes several negative side effects. Fluid and pressure build up in her left eye, and she gets a whopping fever that can leave her incapacitated for days. 

What I like about this system of Knives, Inscapes, and Creatives, is how it frames the characters. It makes each character’s power an extension of themselves that’s more than your generic “they’re angry all the time so their power is fire.” 

At one point, Manx is looking for Vic, and the only thing he knows about her is what her inscape is. From that one piece of information, he is able to divine a great deal about her.

Building Character

While the story is ostensibly about a psychic teenager fighting a vampire chauffeur, the interpersonal relationships are where NOS4A2 is at its strongest. Watching Vic deal with her train-wreck of a family while fighting with an immortal, soul-sucking Christmas elf is what makes the show worthwhile. Without the intermingling of these two elements, we’re left with either a depressing family drama, or another season of October Faction… and no one wants that.

The rest of the cast is just as broken, and therefore just as interesting, as the main character. There is:

  • Maggie, a strong creative and recovering drug addict who is trying to find one of the children that Manx kidnapped
  • Bing, a neuro-atypical custodial worker who ends up working for Manx, and…
  • Jolene, septuagenarian and Strong Creative who failed to stop Manx several decades before the show began.

Charlie Manx, the series antagonist, is a great bad guy. He’s well spoken, generally friendly, and completely insane. He’s one of those bad guys that absolutely thinks he’s in the right. He believes that he is “Saving” all of the children he’s abducted from their “terrible” parents.

The level of intensity Manx brings into his delusion allows him to steal the show in any given scene. I attribute this to the excellent acting of Zachary Quintos, but I’ll also own the fact that Manx stands out because he is one of those characters you love to hate. Every time he came on screen, I was both glad to see him and actively hoping that someone would shoot him in the face. 

So yeah… the characters are pretty great. 


While there are elements of the show that are somewhat awkward, and the pacing is sometimes broken up in weird ways, NOS4A2 is pretty solid. It might not be the greatest drama to come out of AMC, but it stands firm on its own and shows a willingness to try something different. 

I’m giving NOS4A2 a 7/10 for putting a different spin on vampires.

I will, however, leave you with my main gripe about the show. 

Charlie Manx has fashioned his entire life around “Saving” children. He absolutely believes that he is doing the right thing, and that he is the good guy in the story…but if that’s true, why is his license plate NOS4A2? He never refers to himself as a vampire, or acknowledges that what he’s doing is vampiric. So why would he have a license plate that acknowledges what he is? It should say something about Christmas or something since that’s what his whole persona is built upon.

Instead it clearly shows that he knows what he is, and what he’s doing, or at least has enough self awareness to request that specific vanity plate from the DMV. Is it a joke?… Does he get a chuckle out of it?

Whatever the reason, it does make for an interesting title to the show. I just wish it had been something else, because this stupid vanity plate is keeping me up at night.

the Kids Menu, TV Show Reviews

DuckTales 2017: Tales of Daring Do…

Even before Vuk and I brought our little Squishface into the world, we enjoyed the occasional cartoon. But now that we have a two-year-old, TV shows aimed at kids have taken up a large swathe of our viewing time. Most of what we watch with our toddler is along the lines of Blippi or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse–the sort of drivel that has parents yelling at their television screens in frustration to our toddler’s chagrin. 

Turn around! The bridge is behind you!
How has he lived this long?

But every once in a while, a show will come along that we’ll enjoy just as much as (or more than) our 2-year-old. Disney’s DuckTales revival is one such show. And while it helps that this show is aimed more at older kids than at toddlers, Disney has done so many things right with this television show that I would urge you to watch it even if you have no kids in your life at all. 

Telling the Triplets Apart (and Other Key Characters)

Let’s get real for a minute: Huey, Dewey, and Lewey have always been used as a set in Disney shows and movies. They had different colored t-shirts, but their personalities were so matchy-matchy that they may as well have been one character, not three. 

They may as well be the Delightful Children from Down the Lane

With DuckTales 2017, this is no longer the case. Disney has infused each boy with such a unique personality that you can’t help but learn to tell them apart. Not only do they have personalities, but they also participate in different story arcs. One episode may focus exclusively on one of Lewey’s get-rich-quick schemes, while another episode hones in on an adventure Dewey is taking with Webby. The triplets are no longer treated as a single unit, but have finally been given permission to individualize, and it is amazing

But they’re not the only characters to shine in the new DuckTales series. In fact, just about every character, from the main characters to the recurring antagonists, has a personality that feels more real than you may expect from your traditional cartoon. 

More Than a Monster a Day: the Plot

Too often, cartoons lean into the monster-a-day format, with no overarching plot holding things together. That works for some cartoons–Phineas and Ferb leans heavily into its formulaic episodes, and marketers love being able to offer disjointed 5-episode DVDs so they can charge parents out the nose to entertain their kids–but some cartoons go above and beyond, creating comprehensive stories that actually track from one episode to the next. 

One of the OG plot-driven cartoons… Man, I miss this show.

DuckTales is of the second variety. While most episodes can stand on their own, they definitely lead one after the other. 

Every once in a while, the pacing gets a little weird. They’ll introduce a major, catastrophic event, and then there will be a few filler episodes before they get back around to resolving that event. But for the most part, the DuckTales plot holds the show together without being so robust that it confuses its younger audience members. 

Adults Will Enjoy…

If you grew up watching original Disney-channel cartoons, you’ll love all the call-backs in the new DuckTales. From Darkwing Duck to the Care Bears, DuckTales 2017 has made everything you loved about 90s Disney channel canon. Heck, they even sing the Power Line song from A Goofy Movie.

Between that, the solid characters and plots, and the occasional laugh-out-loud jokes, there’s plenty for adults to enjoy about this show. 

Though I AM still waiting for Gargoyles to make an appearance.

Kids Will Enjoy…

Our toddler’s favorite part of this show is the theme song–which is great, since they’re using an elongated version of the original DuckTales theme song. 

After the theme song, her favorite parts include the moments of slapstick humor, the adventures, and any time Donald Duck goes off on a rant. 

Age Considerations

As I’ve already said, we let our 2-year-old watch this show. But since your mileage may vary, here’s what you need to know when deciding if DuckTales 2017 is something you want your kids to watch: 

  • Not Directly Educational: Though there are occasional life-lessons included in the show, the characters aren’t directly trying to teach your kids their colors or numbers, and they’re not smacking you over the head with the morale of the episode, either. 
  • Cartoon Violence: In this adventure show, you’ll see lasers zap, punches thrown, and the occasional Donald Duck rage rampage. There’s no blood or death (unless you count disintegrating clones), but if you don’t like your kids to see any violence at all, this maybe isn’t the right show for your family. 
  • Strong Family Relationships: One of the things I tend to hate about TV shows is the way they make families seem continually contentious. Siblings fight, teenagers roll their eyes at their parents, parents complain about their kids… I haven’t noticed that concern at all with DuckTales. There are occasional disputes in the family, but it’s clear that, on the whole, they love each other, care about each other, and respect one another. I also love that their family isn’t exactly traditional, and they make a point of including family members who aren’t blood related in their family. 

Overall Rating

Other than a few pacing issues, the new DuckTales is a nearly-perfect cartoon show. It’s one of the rare instances where the reboot actually surpasses the original, and Vuk and I have been thoroughly enjoying the ride. 

I give this show a heartfelt 8.5/10 as I try to convince my toddler to let me sing along with the theme song.

TV Show Reviews

Alice in Borderland – Down the Rabbit Hole

I will preface everything I’m about to say with the fact that I read, like, way too much manga… like, more than I really should given all the responsibilities I have. One of my favorite genres of manga to read is… well, I don’t actually know what to call it specifically. It involves one or more people being pulled into a series of deadly challenges. Basically, they need to survive by following a set of rules set forth by some unknown and mysterious force.

Or, you know, a cancer patient with too much time on his hands…

I usually find these manga by searching for Psychological Horror, so I guess that’s what I’ll go with. 

Imawa no Kuni no Alice is just such a manga. It’s about a group of friends who find themselves in another version of reality where overcomplicated, but absolutely deadly, games are played. 

Alice in Borderland is the live-action adaptation of that manga.

Now, after watching the live-action adaptations of Bleach, Attack on Titan, and FullMetal Alchemist, which ranged from “okay” to “please take my eyes .I don’t need them anymore” I was skeptical, to say the least. 

That being said, I basically watched the entirety of the show in two sittings, so that probably gives you an idea of how it went. But just in case, I’ll lay out some of the more pertinent information so you can make an informed decision. 

A Very Important Date

Ryouhei Arisu, or just Arisu (which sounds similar to Alice if you were to say Alice with a Japanese accent) is a nobody. He doesn’t really do anything or go anywhere, and is basically just a lay-about who plays video games all day. He has two close friends, Chouta Segawa and Daikichi Karube, who are only slightly more productive members of society than he is. The three of them have been friends forever, and are bonded by a mutual commiseration of how terrible their lives are. 

They’re planning to grow up to be these guys

One day, while celebrating Arisu’s independence (he was kicked out of his house), he and his friends cause a minor car accident and draw the attention of some nearby police officers. While they are hiding from the fuzz in a restroom stall, the power suddenly goes out. When they emerge from the stall, they find that everyone in the city has vanished. 

At first the trio are ecstatic: they no longer have to follow any rules and there is no one left to disappoint.  However, as night falls things, take a sharp turn toward crazy town.

A jumbotron-sized screen in the middle of Shibuya comes to life and informs them that they need to head to the nearest game area. Not really knowing what else to do, they follow the sign. Upon arriving at the designated location, they meet a woman who gives them a couple of warnings. 

  1. If they try to leave the game area they will die
  2. If they fail the game they will die.

This, of course, causes the trio to freak the fuck out. But stories being what they are, they end up participating in the games anyway. 

Fifty-Two Pick Up

The games in Alice in Borderland are broken up into four categories: Club, Diamond, Spade, and Heart. Each category represents a different type of challenge. Club games require teamwork (or at least cooperation); Spade games are physical in nature; Diamond games are more logic based; and Heart games… well, they’re games of betrayal. 

Seen here: the original game of betrayal. AKA – why I don’t trust my parents any more.

Adding to this already oddly-specific system of challenges is the number based difficulty. It’s very self explanatory: a three of clubs challenge is going to be far easier than a ten of clubs challenge. If you manage to survive the game, you are awarded a playing card based on the number and suite of the designated challenge.

Within the world of the show, it is posited that one could leave the mysterious borderland if they can gather at least one of every card. With that goal in mind, each player–or group of players–is trying to survive long enough to make a full deck. 

Papers Please

Now, you might be wondering, “why would anyone willingly play these games if losing means death?” Sure, if you get enough cards you could eventually go home, but why risk death for that? Well oddly enough, everyone plays the games specifically to extend their stay in the borderlands. 

You see, you only have a limited amount of time to live in the borderland before a laser from space kills you.

Time’s up

The only way to extend your lifespan (or “visa” as it’s called) is to play the games. Most of the characters in the show are only playing to stay alive. Of course, there are the odd ducks who just want to watch people die, and even those who play the games for funzies.

 Through the Looking Glass

Overall, Alice in Borderland is an extremely competent adaptation of the source material. They may have changed some of the details, but I would submit that the changes are an improvement on the manga. Now, that doesn’t mean all the changes are good–a couple actually made things a little less clear–but all in all good decisions were made. 

While it might not be for everyone (there’s a fair amount of blood and death), this live action adaptation is smart, thrilling, and always leaves you wanting more. 

I’m giving Alice in Borderland an 8 of clubs / 10 of Diamonds, mostly because I need those cards to finish my deck.

Seriously… I need them.

TV Show Reviews

The Great: A (*Mostly Coherent) Review

The Great was recommended to me by my father-in-law. 

He described it as “a funny take on Catherine the Great’s life.”

I can say without reservation that it is indeed about Catherine the Great’s life, but I’m currently having a full blown existential crisis about whether it’s funny or not. I did laugh–quite a lot actually–but at the same time it left me feeling somehow both hollow inside and filled with gleeful anticipation. It’s a combination of emotions that is honestly unnerving.

The first season is over, and I’ll have to wait an inordinately long time to see more. I figured what better way to pass the time than to write a review for people who might still be on the fence about Hulu’s “*occasionally true” dramedy. 

So, sit down, grab something to drink, and let me regale you with each morsel of this delectable treat. 

A Humorous start

The show starts with Catherine, a young girl without a single article or adjective proceeding her name, telling her friend (who might as well be an extra who wandered onto the set that day) that she is going to be married to Peter, Emperor of Russia. The scene is brief and sets the tone for the first half of the episode, with her friend incredulously saying “No” over and over as Catherine can only reply with “YES!” every time, until she is suddenly in a carriage saying “DA!” and pouring over volumes of Russian literature. 

What follows is a series of almost slapstick scenes as she is presented to Peter, married, and subsequently thrown headfirst into the gaping maw of the Russian aristocracy. 

Peter is the very model of an irresponsible ruler. He takes no interest in the war he’s started. He spends money on ridiculous things, like a bear as a wedding gift for his bride. And his sense of humor is tone deaf even to his most obsequious sycophants.

The height of comedy

In other words: He’s a giant man-child

Catherine, whose family had fallen on hard times before the start of the show, takes everything in stride. She is completely determined to squeeze every ounce of joy she can from her new life as empress. 

In a scene set immediately before her marriage is consummated, she regales her handmaiden, Marial, with a grandiloquent description of how she anticipates her first night with the Emperor going.  The words flow from her like a poem, and they all paint a picture of someone terribly naïve. Whatever face you’re making during this scene will be mirrored perfectly by Marial, I guarantee it.  

Her newest “friends” are the wives and mistresses of the various men in Peter’s court. Catherine quickly realizes that these women have been inured to the doldrums of being kept women and have become obedient dolls with barely a thought between them. They prattle about hats, fashion, and affairs, where Catherine would rather discuss great works of literature.  They throw colored balls in the courtyard for hours as a source of entertainment, where she would seek to better herself and those around her. This is where you start to get a sense of who she really is underneath her relentlessly optimistic façade. 

Things take a turn when Catherine asks Peter if she can try to make a difference by starting a school. He, in his buffoonish way, agrees and thinks it a great Idea (as long as it will shut her up). Then, he finds out she plans to teach women. This idea is so anathema to him that  he does the most mature and sane thing he can do: He has the schoolhouse burned to the ground. 

This is where the overall tone of the show shifts.


There were indicators early on that something was not right and that Peter was basically a sociopath, but we as the audience were blinded by the humor of the show and the juxtaposition of Catherine’s cheery optimism against the reality of her new life. 

Suddenly, Peter’s eccentricities are shown in a different light. His aloofness becomes a terrible lack of empathy. What seemed like physical comedy bits are, in fact, cruel acts of abuse. Everything funny or remotely likeable about him turns sour and repugnant. 

It is an amazing and terrible realization. 

Mood Whiplash

One of the most amazing things about The Great is its ability to dance beautifully between somber and hilarious, inspiring and depressing, and eloquent to the depths of vulgarity (you will hear the word “pussy” more during this show than the whole rest of your life combined). One moment you think you’re safe because it’s been a non-stop laugh riot, and the next you’re teary-eyed at a display of genuine humanity. Of course, that only lasts so long before you get sucker punched by a dose of reality that leaves you in stunned silence as the credits start to roll.

I killed fitty men!!

It was impressive in the first episode, but the remaining nine display a mastery that always leaves you on your toes. You never know when they’re going to pull the rug out from under you… and sometimes they don’t, just so that they can really surprise you later when you realize that you’re not standing on the rug anymore: it’s been rolled up and is on a collision course with your face.

Sock and Buskin

While at first they might seem two dimensional, the characters at the heart of this story are  each multifaceted individuals with many–often conflicting–feelings and goals.

Definitely maybe?

One of the best examples of this is Peter,  Emperor of Russia. He is probably one of the most interesting figures in the entire show. He is equal parts vile and pitiable. He was genuinely revolting at times, but moments later he would show a childlike understanding of the world. It was sometimes hard to hate him, but other times, that’s all I could do. 

A prime example of this effect is Grigor, Peter’s best friend. Peter thinks nothing of sleeping with Grigor’s wife, because he is the Emperor, and can do as he pleases. Grigor knows this and is a soul eternally conflicted. On the one hand, he loves Peter as a brother and would do anything for him. On the other hand, he wants to kill Peter for sleeping with his wife. It is a conundrum that you can see etched into every scene between the two of them. 

Another thing that The Great manages to do well is put a spotlight on character growth.

Orlo, who starts the show as a bit of an obsequious coward, has his courage slowly burn brighter as Catherine stokes the fires of revolution within him. It is a markéd change, and has a singular catalyzing moment to lean on, but for the most part it is subtle and takes place over the course of the show. Most of the characters go through this in one way or another, and sometimes not for the best. 

Of course, the character who exemplifies this the most is Catherine herself. She goes from doe-eyed innocent to planning a full blown coup.

Deal with it!

While the changes are impressive, what I find most impressive is the way the writers manage to change the characters without compromising who they are.

Sure, Catherine learns to play “The Game” in order to survive, but her endless optimism and hope for the future are clearly what drive her decisions. Even when it gets squashed into the mud, you can still see the person she was under all the muck.

Viva La Revolución

The main focus of the show’s story is revolution. It is about Catherine trying to make a better Russia by way of political maneuvering and slowly winning allies to her side. While the story itself was never going to astonish, it was held aloft by both its characters and the tones they helped set. Without the humor, we would be left with Game of Thrones. Conversely, if it went full funny, we might as well be watching Blackadder.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It was a good show in its own right.

Watching Catherine as she struggled with Peter, learned the complexities of being Russian, befriended the people of the court, and planned a coup would have been fine with less complex characters or a single tone. However, the combination of the complicated characters and the constant shift in overall tone made this a show worth binging.

A Greater Russia

The Great earned both the article and the adjective in its title.

I went into this show expecting something along the lines of Parks and Rec or Community. Although both are great shows in their own rights, I was met with something altogether different. It made me recontextualize what I was watching in a 180° that I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a neck brace for. 

It’s a great show that manages to transcend what it seems to be, and it may be the best example of the word “dramedy” I’ve ever seen. By the final episode, I was figuratively on the edge of my seat, but my stomach was literally squirming. And while all that was going on, The Great still managed to make me laugh out loud. Accomplishing one of those tasks is pretty impressive, but all of them at the same time takes real finesse, and this show has it in spades. 

For all of these reasons, I’m giving the first season a whopping 9/10. It went well beyond my expectations. 

So, to anyone on the fence about watching this show–to anyone who thought that it was just going to be a schlocky comedy set against the rise of Catherine the Great and chose to avoid it–I urge you to watch the first season. It is well worth the time. 

TV Show Reviews

The Purge Season 2: Less [Purge] is More

For  anyone who doesn’t already know, The Purge started as a series of films, and was later turned into a television series by the USA network. It takes place in an alternate universe where once every year, for twelve hours, all crime, including murder, is legal. The theory behind the annual Purge is that if people can all get out their aggression and frustration, crime will become non-existent the other 364 days and twelve hours… supposedly.

…but therapy bills will skyrocket

The first film was a fusion of social commentary and horror/thriller that was actually pretty great. The second and third films were more action oriented and followed a tough-as-nails protagonist over two separate Purge nights. I will admit that I have not seen The First Purge, a prequel that details the first experimental Purge that was performed on Staten Island.

The first season of the television series focused on interconnected stories over the course of a single Purge night, and was a pretty good freshman outing. It covered a plethora of different scenarios, gave the characters room to grow, and even managed to bring all the stories together for a finale that, I thought, worked well. 

The second season was recently released on Hulu, and I can say I was pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer.

Once the Sirens Stop

The second season of The Purge starts off roughly two hours before the end of the annual Purge. Much like the first season, we are greeted with several stories at once, each following a different set of protagonists. One is of a couple who are attacked in their home, another is a group of bank robbers who only pull heists on Purge night, one is a  woman who works with the NFFA to monitor the local CCTV footage for anything that constitutes a crime during the Purge or anyone caught still committing a crime immediately afterword, and the final story is that of two college students who are attacked while out on a dare. 

What makes the second season so compelling is that after the first episode, we get to see what life is like for these people for the rest of the year. We get to see how the traumas they experienced for twelve hours bleed into the rest of their lives, and how they immediately begin planning for the next year.

We discussed our Purge plan already

It’s chilling to watch people joke about (or be serious about) purging someone who merely inconvenienced them. People try to gauge how serious others are, but there is no way to tell for sure. It’s like everyone has the Sword of Damocles hanging over them for an entire year. 

It’s an interesting departure for the series, but I think that it made for much more compelling television. Dont get me wrong, watching ten episodes of “Murder night” was great, but the psychological aspects of the second season were impactful in ways that the first season could only hint at. 

The New Founding Fathers of America…

…or the NFFA as it is called in-universe, is a new regime that has taken over America from the inside out. They have imposed strict laws that are categorized into simple groups, and each category of crime comes with a minimum sentence. They are also the people who developed the idea of the Purge from the ground up. 

The official reasoning for the Purge is the whole “if you Purge now, you won’t do bad things later.” However, if you’ve watched the the movies (and the first season of the show), you know that their goal is much more sinister. Their actual motives are to cut the chaff from the wheat. They want to get rid of the lower class by having them destroy themselves, while all the rich socialites sit in their ivory towers and laugh.

Why don’t they just buy a fortress?

A large portion of the second season is about the negative effects of the Purge and the lengths the NFFA will go to to cover them up. While The Purge: Election Year got into this a little bit, with the main story revolving around the NFFA attempting to assassinate a senator who wanted to ban the Purge, the second season of the show gives us a more measured view of their efforts over the course of an entire year. 

Commencing at the Siren

The icing on the cake of the second season is getting to see all the storylines come to fruition during the next Purge. All of the tension and drama ramps up as fears are realized, plans are executed, and everyone loses their goddamn minds. 


It’s almost like the show shifts genres completely, which is something you don’t often get in serialized television. One week, you’re watching a tense drama about people playing a game of mental chess with one another, and then suddenly you have an almost post-apocalyptic action/drama with everyone’s lives on the line.

I spent the entire episode leading up to the commencement of the Purge with my fists clenched, just waiting for it to start. I think I even yelled at the screen a few times trying to urge everyone to move faster. I mean, the Purge was about to start, so they really needed to pick up the pace. 

I may also have spent the majority of that time criticizing most of the characters for wasting an entire year of planning. I mean, if you know that people are going to try and kill you, maybe dig a moat around your house or something.

The Urge to Purge

Overall, I saw the second season of The Purge as a marked improvement over the first. They used the fact that it’s a longform television series to their advantage, and managed to give us a glimpse into the world of The Purge that didn’t involve people in neon masks staring menacingly for ten straight episodes. 

I think it also managed to demonstrate the potential of the series as a whole. They now have a whole world available to them, and the fact that they don’t have any particular main character or setting allows them to jump around as they see fit. They can choose any city at any time and it would work. They could go anthology and make every episode in a season about a different character. The world is their oyster as long as they are open to the possibilities. 

I’m giving the second season of The Purge a tensely threatening 8/10. The score is in hopes that USA sees the potential and continues to explore this fascinating–albeit repugnant–version of reality.

TV Show Reviews

Star Trek: The Lower Decks

I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical–like, real skeptical–of an animated comedy show set in the Star Trek universe. I questioned why it was a good idea, on the heels of two great new shows, to suddenly release something that went so far off into left field that I realized I don’t know enough about baseball to continue that metaphor. I thought it was just a weird attempt to appeal to people who might have ignored the franchise over the years, and widen the fanbase.

While it may be exactly that, it is also a fairly solid television show in its own right. 

The Lower Decks follows the adventures/misadventures of the crew of the starship Cerritos. More specifically, it follows four crewmembers from the Cerritos’s lower decks. Basically, in any other Star Trek series, they would be the background characters who are not important enough to merit names.

Or funerals

There’s ensign Bradward “Brad” Boimler, the fastidious know-it-all who hopes to be a starship captain one day; ensign Beckett Mariner, a perennial troublemaker who got herself demoted to avoid the tedium of command; ensign Samanthan “Sam” Rutherford, a newly-minted cyborg and engineering fanboy who would rather run diagnostics on an antimatter reactor instead of interacting with people; and ensign D’Vana Tendi, the most recent addition to the Cerritos’s medical team, and a wide-eyed innocent.

Most of the stories in the first season deal with the Cerritos’s prime objective, which is “Second” contact. They basically go and check up on all of the civilizations set to join Starfleet after the initial contact was made by much more important starships, much to the crew’s chagrin. 

Replicated Humor

The Lower Decks is like a fusion of Rick & Morty and Final Space taking place in the Star Trek Universe. Though it can lack the punch of either, it still manages to push the envelope humor wise, especially since Star Trek isn’t exactly known for it’s gut-busting jokes. In fact, the jokes are often funnier because they fly directly in the face of the dignity that the rest of the Star Trek franchise has built itself upon.

I use the word “dignity” loosely

Seeing the bridge crew going on about prime directives and honor while the Lower Decks are trying desperately not to get sucked into the void of space or eaten by space zombies, is one of the best decisions this show made. It brings forth a human element that only the most recent shows in the franchise (Discovery and Piccard) have really dabbled in. 

It’s also funny to see the crew being genre-savvy in their own way. They often discuss the dangers of inhabiting the Star Trek universe like we would discuss the drive to work. Almost having their ship devoured by a sentient planet wouldn’t even register as a big deal to most of them.

Crew Quarters

Perhaps the best aspect of the show, for me, is the way the characters interact with and change one another. This is part of the evolution of animation as a serious medium. 

A decade ago we probably would have gotten this show as a sitcom at best, and it would have curtailed any character growth or story in favor of hammering out some jokes.

Not that it’s a bad thing

The Lower Decks manages to have its cake and eat it in this very specific regard. While there is no overarching story to the first season, we do get some good character arcs that show the growth of those aboard the Cerritos.

This is most prominent with Beckett Mariner. She wants nothing more than to stay in the lower decks forever and avoid all responsibility, even though she is probably one of the best ensigns that Starfleet has to offer. However, over the course of the first ten episodes, we see some real character growth–or as much as you can get while still being hilarious.

This even extends to the bridge crew. While they largely remain the same throughout the series, they experience some marginal character development that doesn’t seem to impinge upon the premise of the show. 

Historical Records

Oh, the references.

I don’t think there is a single episode of The Lower Decks that doesn’t feature some reference to a different Star Trek show. Sometimes, it almost feels like they’re breaking the fourth wall with how directly they reference the original series or The Next Generation. Fortunately, most of what they’re referencing would count as history to them, since The Lower Decks takes place after the end of The Next Generation, but seemingly before the beginning of Picard

Whether it’s Mariner grilling Boimler on the crew of the Enterprise, or Q showing up to pass judgement on all organic life based on the actions of the Cerritos, the lore of Star Trek shows up constantly, and is always the butt of a joke. It’s actually pretty brilliant, because there are decades of material for The Lower Decks to work with. They can pull from literally any part of the franchise that they want.

And we mean ANY part

The most egregious example of this is the Chief Medical Officer of the Cerritos. Doctor T’Ana is a Cation, basically a giant anthropomorphized cat. While that may seem ridiculous at first, and going against canon, it is actually a reference to Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973 where the species was first introduced.

While all of the jokes are pretty solid, seeing the constant barrage of references is a delight to any Trekkie, and hopefully an incentive for any newcomers to take a look at what Star Trek has to offer.  

The Second Dimension

The fact that The Lower Decks is an animated show only works in its favor. The live action television shows have gotten better over the years in terms of effects. Picard and Discovery are basically movie quality, and it’s amazing, but there are still things that they can struggle to do even with all the CGI and makeup in the world.

There’s a reason they’re all humanoid

One scene that demonstrates the flexibility of the animation is when Boimler is consumed by a giant arachnid in the first episode. Though it turns out that the creature is actually domesticated and just wanted to suckle on him. Boiler then spends an inordinately long time being gummed by the creature. 

The scene could have been done in live action, but it would have cost an arm and a leg for a joke that, while funny, would not have been worth the expense. There are other instances of this, such as a dog that turns into a solid metal cube, and an adorable rogue AI that would have been a solid miss if done in live action.

It’s nice to see this particular take on Star Trek taking full advantage of the fact that it is a cartoon, instead of taking the grounded approach of its predecessors. 

The Final Frontier 

Overall, The Lower Decks does what it sets out to do. It is a funny, sometimes thoughtful, cartoon that shows that even after 50+ years, Star Trek has more to offer. While it might not mesh perfectly with the canon that the live action shows have developed, it definitely manages to use the franchises staples in interesting new ways. 

I’m giving the lower decks a solid 8/10. I’m mostly giving it this because it was a pretty big risk for the franchise to take, and I think it paid off in unexpected ways. 

TV Show Reviews

Utopia: Through the Funhouse Mirror

This program is a work of fiction, and not based on an actual pandemic or related events. It contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing.

Viewer discretion is advised.

That is the disclaimer at the beginning of Amazon’s most recent original series, Utopia–and boy, did they need it. 

The show focuses on an online group of conspiracy theorists who are obsessed with the comic book Dystopia. They believe that it predicted a number of viruses and diseases that have plagued mankind for the last half decade or so.

Too bad it couldn’t have predicted this

In the opening moments of the show, a young couple discovers the manuscript to Utopia, a continuation of the original Dystopia. They head online to advertise that they will be auctioning the manuscript at a Chicago comic book convention. The intrepid group of conspiracy theorists decide to get together so they can pool their resources and purchase the manuscript in the hopes that it will help them predict–and ultimately stop–any new diseases that might crop up.

While that is the basic premise the show operates under, it is several levels of magnitude more crazy.

Imitating Life

As the plot picks up speed one of the stories the show focuses on is a new strain of the flu that has broken out in certain parts of the country. This strain disproportionately affects children and is one-hundred percent fatal. Much of this side of the story focuses on Kevin Christie (played by John Cusack) and his corporation’s supposed ties to the virus. While this story adds to the mystery of the show, the more interesting aspect– because of the times we live in– is the public’s response, and the attitudes of the media and government officials who are interwoven into this part of the story.

It was bizarre to watch something that was clearly in development long before 2020 (and was based on a 2013 British television series) deal with things that we have all lived through and are still dealing with. I found this endlessly entertaining, but also…

I mean, Amazon could not have predicted that a pandemic would ravage the world when they started production (or could they?… Dun dun duuuuuun!).

While watching the show I often wondered if the tail end of 2020 was the best time to release Utopia. However, if they released it after everything died down then it might have lost some of its punch, or be considered a grotesquerie of what it was originally meant to be. As it is, the show could be considered too divisive, or too timely. 

Stranger than Fiction

Setting aside the similarities to the world we live in, the rest of Utopia is completely bonkers. 

Unfortunately, not this one

It turns out that the comics were not only predicting fatal viruses, but they were also detailing–with some artistic license–the life of the comic’s main character, Jessica Hyde. She spent her entire life either in the custody of, or running from, The Harvest, a faceless organization dedicated to creating bio-weapons. 

The comics depict all this with an Alice in Wonderland-esque story. The reality is much darker as the intrepid group of well-intentioned conspiracy theorists find out when The Harvest comes after them for merely looking at a single page of Utopia. 

The first few episodes have some scenes that caused my wife to tell me to put on headphones if I was going to continue to watch it. There is torture and more deaths than I can rightly remember, all carried out with an amazing lack of urgency or empathy, making The Harvest all the more sinister.

While Utopia’s violence is nowhere near the level of Amazon’s other conspiracy drama The Boys, it still managed to make me shy away from the screen a couple of times. So, you know, the squeamish need not apply.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Utopia may well be the “wrong show at the wrong time,” as some have said. There is virtually no way to objectively view this series while living through a literal pandemic. 

However, I have attempted to do this. 

I thought the show was very well done. The acting was solid, the jokes funny, and the plot was pretty well thought out. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it inadvertently managed to pull off a meta commentary in a way that some shows were actively trying to achieve (looking at you Cult) without becoming too self-serious (and you The Following). 

I’m giving Utopia a pretty solid 7.5/10. It’s not its fault that it was forced into existence at this particular juncture in history. While it will be forever colored by the current pandemic in the eyes of those who watch it, on its own, it is a solid and worthwhile Amazon Original. 

TV Show Reviews

The Boys Season Two: The First Taste

The first season of The Boys–or, as I lovingly refer to it, “Holy Shit! The TV show”–introduced us to the idea that the term “Superhero” could be a huge misnomer. 

Within the world of the show, The Seven, a group of superheroes worshiped the world over as the saviors of humanity, are basically the worst that humanity has to offer. Homelander is a sociopathic murderer who only cares about himself. Queen Maeve is reluctantly complicit in his actions and too jaded to do anything about them. Translucent and The Deep are sexual predators, and A-Train is a druggie who’s okay with manslaughter as long as he gets his fix. 

I guess there’s also Black Noir… but I’m still not sure what his deal is. 

As a counterbalance to the “Supes,” there exists The Boys, a ragtag group of vigilantes who seek to bring down The Seven and the corporation that created them: Vought International. Their team consists of Frenchie: an arms dealer with ties to multiple cartels, Mother’s Milk: an obsessive-compulsive ex government operative, Kimiko (AKA The Female): a Supe who was created for The Seven to fight against, and Billy Butcher: the leader of The Boys and a man on fire.

The main focus of the first season is the newest members of both organizations. The Boys recruit Hughie, a bumbling everyman whose girlfriend was recently manslaughtered by A-Train; while The Seven bring Starlight, a kindhearted –if woefully naive– supe, into the fold. Both are put through the wringer as they are pulled into the darkness behind the public facade of superheroism.

Yeah, that captures it pretty well

Now, the first season finale left not only “The Boys” in a bit of a bind, but it also left us (the viewers) dangling from a cliff. There were a couple of big reveals, some narrow escapes were made, and more than a couple of people died. It was a near perfect–save for the part where I’d have to wait almost a year for new episodes.  

The second season started a couple of weeks ago, and I finally got a chance to sit down and watch the first couple of episodes. It was definitely worth the wait. The new season builds upon the triumphs and failures we saw in the first season and lets us see the ripples those events helped to create.

Taking the world by Storm(front)

One of the better additions to the new season is Stormfront. She is the most recent member to join The Seven after they lost Translucent and The Deep to various circumstances in the first season.

She is a social media sensation and feminist whose constant sarcasm and sardonicism is a welcome balance to Starlight’s (faultering) optimism and Homelander’s overly serious tone. She comes out of every gate swinging, and it’s hard not to immediately like her. In fact, she quickly becomes embedded with the public at large as a staunch critic of Vought International and the way they run The Seven.

However, I’m genre-savvy enough to know that if I like someone this much, this quickly, they are likely not who they appear to be. 

The Deep End

The Deep continues to reel from his–well deserved–fall from grace at the end of season one. Still stranded in Sandusky, Ohio, he spends most of his days drinking and doing ads for the local water park. However, the new season sees him befriended by Eagle the Archer, a superhero who–if you hadn’t already guessed–is really good at archery. 

And your powers are?

Eagle is also a member of the Church of the Collective (dime store Scientology), and wants to help The Deep realize his “best self.” So along with the support of the church, and a couple of cases of Fresca, The Deep begins a “spiritual journey” in the hopes that he can face his innermost fears and once again rejoin The Seven.

I’m sure everything will go as planned and he’ll be fine. 

The Boys are Back In Town

In fact, they never left. 

The remaining members of The Boys (Hughie, Frenchie, Mothers Milk, and Kimiko / The Female) have been laying low since their harrowing escape from the clutches of Vought. Unfortunately, since they are wanted criminals and Butcher is nowhere to be found, they lack the resources or leadership to continue their efforts.

They spend the majority of their time languishing in the basement of a pawn shop (read: cartell front) while they try to figure out what their next move will be. 

Like this, but about an hour long

Hughie wants to continue the fight against Vought and the Supes. Mother’s Milk wants to find a way back to his family. Frenchie just wants to get out of dodge. And Kimiko does the sensible thing and takes the opportunity to learn to read and write English. 

Unfortunately for all of them, the only way through most things is to go even deeper. 

When Butcher finally returns, with his Cockney accent and cocksure attitude, he comes with an offer: Hunt down a super-terrorist, and their records will be expunged. 

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned, so I look forward to watching this explode in their faces in the most spectacular manner possible.

Like so

Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom…

One of the more intriguing storylines is actually that of Homelander. While clearly the show’s most antagonistic, and reviled, villain, Homelander has a vast array of psychological issues that make him almost pitiable.


After murdering his surrogate mother / boss / handler at the end of the first season, he assumed that as the face of The Seven– and their most powerful hero– he would be able to run roughshod over them and Vought. After all, what could they possibly do to stop him? 

The answer is “a lot actually.”

Stan Edgar, the CEO of Vought, maneuvers circles around Homelander’s somewhat simplistic worldview. Stan instates the heroes he wants in The Seven. He sidesteps the landmines laid out by Homelander– and The Boys for that matter– and keeps running his company in the way he sees fit. Even when directly threatened by Homelander, Stan is a stone-cold Boss and tells the super powered psychopath exactly how things really are.

Watching the world’s strongest “Hero” seethe with impotent rage as he continues to be manipulated by those around him is honestly a bit Kafkaesque. 

Who will watch the Watchmen… I mean The Boys?

While The Boys may have lost a little of the punch it had during the first season, and the multiple intersecting storylines could mean that the one you care about is left a tad underdeveloped, overall it’s shaping up to be a strong entry in the series.

I look forward to learning more about Stormfront. I desperately need to see exactly how wrong The Deep’s storyline is going to go. I want someone to punch Homelander in his stupid face (and have him feel it). And gosh darn it I want to see Hughie and Annie (Starlight) get together for good. 

Oh… I also want about 50% more superhero fights… so hopefully that happens.

I’m giving the first couple of episodes a super 8/10 because, to borrow a phrase from Billy Butcher, so far it’s “Fucking Diabolical.”