Probably the most surprised I have ever been by a TV show, ever. I was surprised by how much I liked it. I was surprised by how good it was. I was surprised by the direction they went. I was all around SURPRISED. Cobra Kai follows Johnny and Daniel thirty-four years after the events of Karate Kid. I had assumed, much like everyone else, that this was going to be a shitty cash-grab of a show and was completely unnecessary. The fact that it is a YouTube Red show didn’t bode well for it either. I watched it anyway purely out of curiosity in what they could even do. What is absolutely amazing is that this show isn’t just great compared to what I thought it was going to be, it was just great!.. The show opens on Johnny, who has gone on to live a horrible life and is at an all time low. Immediately it paints Daniel as a complete asshole who capitalized on his karate championship. However the very next episode it switches it around and makes you perceive the characters in the exact opposite light. It does this multiple times throughout the season, never allowing one of them to be distinguished as the hero or the villain. Each one of them has an apprentice of sorts as well, a young karate kid that they have taken under their wing. What I especially like about their respective apprentices is that they seem to go in the exact opposite direction you predict of them. The arc of the season is spectacular as well, it really feels like these characters are different, that their lives are different, and it leaves you hungry for the next season.
I don’t have autism and therefor can not be the voice of autism, but from what I know and have heard The Good Doctor is a wonderful voice for autism and I think that is fantastic. The Good Doctor follows Shaun Murphy, a brilliant young surgeon with autism that is recruited into a high-end hospital as a surgeon. Not only is he recruited in, but he is recruited in with many people against it and rooting for him to fail specifically BECAUSE of the repercussions of his autism. Freddie Highmore plays Shaun and is absolutely fantastic, perfectly falling into the role and bringing nothing with him. The character of Shaun is deep on so many levels and he pulls it off perfectly. Richard Schiff plays his “adoptive” father and I love it. I have loved everything that Richard Schiff does since he was in The West Wing and it is nice to seem him again. Apart from those two however, the rest of the shows cast seems a little two dimensional. Even writing this review I can’t remember their names. Sure, they have stories, but they are all over the top and feels a bit too much like a bad soap when the story is focused on them. Other than that small detail, which hopefully works itself out in time, this show is wonderful. The depiction of autism is spectacular, the acting of the main two people is splendid, the problems feel real, and the storytelling style of flashbacks really makes you feel more deeply and understand a character that has a difficult time showing himself.
The second season of Stranger Things captivated the world in the same way the first did, building off of a nearly perfect opening season of television without being too outlandish, too similar, or too boring. It took everything we loved and expanded on it as well as adding in entirely new elements… Stranger Things 2 (not season 2, just 2) opens on an arcade in a similar fashion as the first season opening on D&D. All the guys are gathered around, including Will who seems to have recovered from being in the upside-down for the most part… Or has he? At the moment Will slips back in to the upside down momentarily, seeing a giant monster come for them before he snaps back to reality. Quite a few new characters were introduced in this second season, as well as a lot of new dynamics. Max, the newest addition to the group despite some peoples disagreement, though I believe she fits in nice. Billy, Max’s older brother that is there solely to be your stereotypical 80’s movie asshole. He has his moment though. Dr. Owens who continues to be a mystery to me and everyone else. But, everyone can agree that the shining star of this season was Bob Newby, played by the wonderful Seas Astin. Not only did was he a welcomed member after feeling awkward in the beginning but he had great call backs to his own 80’s escapades. As for the Dynamic switches, Hopper and Eleven have a great bond and I feel they need each other. Nancy and Jonathan CLEARLY belong together (that whole episode with the crazy guy was amazing)! The best dynamic though is without a doubt the Dustin and Steve brotherly bond going on. God damn Steve always exceeds my expectations…. As for the story and the big baddy, Stranger Things 2 had a lot to live up to after the demagorgen that is still a hot topic a year later. Although I liked (without spoiling too much) the shadow monster, he didn’t play much part. I felt that the demadogs weren’t anywhere near as scary or posed the threat the demagorgen did. Obviously the story is good though, I watched all this as fast as I could!… Long story short, besides the stupid Chicago episode I believe that this season is more impressive that the first season. I was left asking just as many questions, and just as blown away. The first season had the massive advantage though of being something completely different than we are use to, season 2 didn’t get that luxury yet was still phenomenal… See y’all for season 3 in a year!
R.I.P. The Brain