TV Review – Arrested Development Season 5 (Part 1)

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Arrested Development Season 5 (Part 1) (Netflix)
Written by Mitch Hurwitz & James Vallely, Richard Day, Evan Mann & Gareth Reynolds, Maggie Rowe
Directed by Troy Miller

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Michael Bluth wakes up, after being forced to take a Forget Me Now pill by his brother Gob and has no idea that days have passed. He ends up spilling the beans to his son George Michael that they’ve been dating the same person, actress, and daughter of Ron Howard Rebel Alley. A rift forms between them and Michael ends up ditching his family to work for Google. Months pass and Michael returns only to find his sister Lindsay is now running for a congressional seat against Lucille Austero, who has been MIA since the night of Cinco de Quatro. In the meantime, youngest Bluth Buster went to the Orange County PD where he was locked for suspicion of involvement in Lucille Austero’s disappearance and possible death. Just another typical year in the life of the Bluth family.

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TV Review – Utopia Series 2, Episode 6

I hope you are enjoying the content I publish on my blog. If you feel compelled and are financially able to, I would greatly appreciate anything you could contribute to my Patreon. I will take it as your way of saying thanks and put that money towards growing the site in a slight manner.

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Utopia Series 2, Episode 6 (2014)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Sam Donovan

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The ending is finally here. The story, at least in the U.K. version, doesn’t continue from this point, so we have to examine what we are left with. In many ways, this episode is less the ending of the story than the aftermath of episode five. The core story of Carvel, his children, and Milner is over now and as this last chapter opens they are in a state of shock, the clock still counting down for the release of the Russian flu. In many ways this finale is focused around the idea of what happens with an extreme ideology is carried out to its inevitable ends.

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TV Review – Utopia Series 2, Episode 5

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Utopia Series 2, Episode 5 (2014)
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Sam Donovan

Utopia

We cannot experience the trauma of others, and in turn, they cannot suffer our trauma. Words are never sufficient enough to convey the profound psychological and emotional wounds an especially traumatizing experience can cause. This, in turn, leads to a breakdown in communication, which can begin as minor and eventually escalate into violent conflict. While Utopia is about a vast global conspiracy on its surface, the series is actually exploring ideas associated with multi-generational trauma. In the first episode of this season, Milner makes mention that she has witnessed genocide firsthand. Eventually, we learn Philip Carvel is a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust. The horrific things seen and experienced by these people is what led to the founding of the Network and the development of the Janus virus. But there’s is not the only trauma present in Utopia, and their ignoring of other generation’s traumas has led to the dramatic conflict of the series.

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TV Review – Utopia Series 2, Episode 4

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Utopia Series 2, Episode 4 (2014)
Written by Dennis Kelly & John Donnelly
Directed by Sam Donovan

UTOPIA II

Maybe it has always been there, and it’s merely me become awakened to its presence, but I have noticed a growing digging in of heels in political ideologies. Religious ideologues have always seemed to be a constant nuisance, and history has its fair share of political zealots who are willing to compromise moral integrity for “the cause.” These days I often see YouTube videos displaying members of the traditional Left/Right spectrum being downright criminal in their behavior and exhibiting a sense of glee in their transgressions against their fellow man. As a child, I felt a distance from the fundamentalist Christian upbringing I had, I never really bought the pitch that was being sold to me, so I’ve always felt a sense of disconnect from anyone who is radically attached to an idea. Utopia is a show about following that path of radical ideology and how detrimental it can be no matter “rational” or “reasonable” you believe your set of values are.

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TV Review – Utopia Series 2, Episode 2

I hope you are enjoying the content I publish on my blog. If you feel compelled and are financially able to, I would greatly appreciate anything you could contribute to my Patreon. I will take it as your way of saying thanks and put that money towards growing the site in a slight manner.

Utopia Series 2, Episode 2
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden

UTOPIA II

What are you willing to give up for the greater good? What would you sacrifice for the things you believe in? That appears to be the theme of this season of Utopia. It’s highlighted most prominently in a scene between Wilson Wilson and Millner. He questions why she has brought him in as part of The Network, and she reasons that its because they killed his father, tortured him, took his eye and still when the moment came he betrayed his friends for The Network. She states that this level of devotion made him stand out as someone they were looking for. On looking back at episode one, we see that Millner and Carvel both gave up their whole lives, with Carvel being the exception who showed regret. Yet even Millner broke during Carvel’s torture on Three Mile Island.

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TV Review – Utopia Series 2, Episode 1

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Utopia Series 2, Episode 1 (2014)
Written & Directed by Dennis Kelly

Utopia Epiosode 1 Year 2

When we last left the world of Utopia, we were merely looking backward at a short-lived British television that deserves a second glance by viewers. In the time since my review of Series 1, big Utopia news has dropped. For some years David Fincher and Gillian Flynn have been working to bring Utopia to the United States but a deal with HBO fell through, and it appeared the prospects of a return were dead. However, in April 2017 it was announced that Amazon was going to work to develop Utopia with Gillian Flynn as showrunner. Flynn has been very public in expressing her love of the original, particularly for its strangeness. She became friends with Dennis Kelly and said she’ll seek his input on the new version of Utopia, release date to be determined but like sometime in 2019. So, as we look back at Series 2, we do so with the notion that a different yet hopefully will be tonally similar show will be coming in the new future.

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TV Review – Atlanta: Robbin’ Season

Atlanta: Robbin’ Season (2018, FX)
Written by Donald Glover, Jamal Olori, Ibra Ake, Taofik Kolade, Stephen Glover, Taofik Kolade, and Stefani Robinson
Directed by Hiro Murai, Amy Seimetz, and Donald Glover

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There are shows I forget are amazing because the delay between seasons can be so long and so many other shows and films fill up my brain in between. Louie was one of those shows, The Leftovers was another. Atlanta is the current show that I fail to remember the greatness of. I wasn’t hyper-excited for season two because the first season felt like a distant memory, excellent but hazy. I have to say I enjoyed this second run of episodes immensely, even more so than its first season. Creator and showrunner Donald Glover isn’t even working at the height of his game in my opinion, he’s on the path to getting there, which is exciting because I expect something even better than what we have seen to date. We also shouldn’t ignore director Hiro Murai who set the plate so to speak of how Atlanta looks and feels. The aesthetic of the show feels so dreamlike, hazy blues filtered over the screen. When characters are outside it often has an early morning, dew-drenched misty quality, reminding me of nights where you stay up late and greet the morning. Glover cited Twin Peaks as an influence in the feel of the show, and I would agree that in its best episodes Atlanta finds that particular style.

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