Tag Archives: series

Love, Victor Is The Perfect Spin-off To Love, Simon.

Love, Victor – Trailer (Official) • A Hulu Original

Love, Simon wasn’t the biggest movie that came out in 2018, but it was it’s own little thing and I adored it. And I don’t think I was alone – it was just so damn adorable. From the sweet teen romance to Nick Robinson’s charming performance and the chemistry between the cast that featured the likes of Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Keyinan Lonsdale, Jennifer Garner and more, Greg Berlanti pulled of one of the sweetest films to come out in recent history. Based on the book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda ” by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon told the story of Simon, a closeted high-school student who starts chatting with a stranger on the internet and falls in love, but when his secret is threatened to be revealed, it sets him on journey to accept himself for who he is. It might not be the most innovative plot out there, but for big budget studio teen drama to have gay romance at the center and make big bucks at the box-office, is monumental in and of itself.

But if there was one major complaint about Love, Simon that a lot of people had, it was how the film really underplayed the struggles gay teens have to go through and instead focused the Greg Berlantis of the world, who had it “easy” because they had rich and liberal friends and family, and told a glossy version if the coming out tale. Well, the producers and creators at Fox heard your complaints and they are back with Love, Victor streaming on hulu right now.

Love, Victor is the perfect expansion for the story told in the first film. Michael Cimino leads the cast as Victor, a closeted homosexual teen from a small town in Texas with conservative Latin parents, who moves to a big city and starts to going to a new school Creekwood High, where he learns all about the legend of Simon Spier. Needless to say he feels immensely feels jealous of Simon for having ‘the most supportive parents ever’, and he reaches out to him on Instagram, telling to screw himself, because some people don’t have it as easy as him. But to his surprise Simon actually replies to his message, and begins an exchange of text between them as Simon guides Victor to realize to he is and what he wants. It is great storytelling device and helps connect the film with the series.

The series beautifully recaptures the sweetness of the original movie, and develops it’s themes further, courtesy of the extra run-time. Love, Victor gets the chance to flesh out characters like Victor’s parents, siblings and friends by devoting special scenes to them and their story-line throughout the entire show. And they don’t feel like filler subplots that are used to increase the run-time, in some cases I found the sub-plots to be even more interesting that the original story line involving Victor.

That’s mainly due to the writing of the show, which is flawless for the most part. There are some dialogues here and there and doesn’t feel as natural as it should, it feels like some old/ middle-aged person wrote what they think a young person might say in a particular situation – especially the pop culture references. But apart from that the writing is pretty solid, and in some cases the story really went places I didn’t expect it to.

Michael Cicimo is the perfect casting choice for the lead as he steals every scene he is in with his charisma, and his big endearing eyes makes you instantly feel for Victor. Rachel Naomi Hilson is another standout, her character Mia is given some of the most interesting things to do in the story and she does a great job playing them. But my personal favorite is Anthony Turpel as the over-excited neighbour Felix, whose relationship with Bebe Wood’s bubbly Lake, makes for some of the best moments on the show. The cast overall is pretty good and everybody is given some depth or something to do in the course of the entire show, like even the high school jock/bully played by Mason Gooding, has more to do than I initially expected. There are some really cool cameos in the series too, which I won’t spoil for you, but the they really do a good job with them.

Above everything else Love, Victor shows you how being gay doesn’t mean one thing and how the gay community, like every other community, is a multi-faceted community with a diverse group of people, each with their own struggles and hardships. Like the original film, this show aims to break many stereotypes about the experience of gay teens and break new ground in terms of representation, which I think it achieves. This show will surely inspire many teens around the globe to come out and accept themselves for who they are. And in my opinion, this show is a really big advocate for how the LGBT+ community is one of the most loving and accepting family one can hope to have. It is too early to compare the show with the movie, but I adored Love, Victor as much as I adored Love, Simon (which is a big achievement on the show’ s part).

So if you are a fan of the original movie or you’re looking to some way to kill time on the weekend, I’d suggest you to give Love, Victor on hulu a try.

And if you’ve already seen the show, do let me know what you thought about it in the comments below.

HBO’s Watchmen – A Timely Classic for Black America

What’s happening in America right now is heartbreaking, but I’m so happy to see so many people come together in support of the #BlackLivesMatter initiative and fight back against the racist system. All of you who are taking part in this protest, whether your posting about it in social media, going to rallies or donating to support groups, I’m so proud of all of you for finally standing up. I’m neither an American or a black person, but this is issue is beyond all race and culture – it is about our fight for humanity.

But still, since I’m not an American and the protests and their ramifications are still in a very premature state – I’m not willing to write about it explicitly yet. So here’s me instead telling you about a series that perfectly encapsulates the problems America is facing today as a whole – HBO’s Watchmen.

Damon Lindelof’s series that is a continuation of Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel ‘Watchmen’, uses the template of the graphic novel and uses it to showcase the struggles of Black America, and with other timely issues . With story lines that deal with racism in America, White Supremacy and heinous crimes against Black people over centuries in America – Watchmen is really a timely classic for our times that you need to see. Let me tell you why.

(NOTE: While reading the original graphic novel helps since this is a continuation of that story, the show is good enough to stand on its own and you can watch it anyway. By the way, who hasn’t read Watchmen? It is considered to be the greatest comic book of all time. Go read Watchmen!)

Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Race Massacre; 1921

Right away, the opening of Watchmen’s pilot sheds light on one the darkest days in American history, which will surely send chills down your spine. The Tulsa race massacre of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history,” and yet it cannot be found in school textbooks and anyone barely knows about it. This Monday, we marked the 99th anniversary of the incident and yes, we’ve come a long way since 1921, but watching the incidents of violence against the people of the black community that are prevalent even today, I am just left wondering if we have made any progress at all.

Origin of Hooded Justice

Hooded Justice from comic panels

Watchmen begins with a young boy witnessing his parents die in the horrible Tulsa Race Massacre, and brilliantly sets up the origin story of Hooded Justice in one of the show’s best twists. It is revealed that Abar’s grandfather (the old dude who killed the police commissioner) is actually Hooded Justice, showcasing how vigilantism lies in their blood.

Louis Gossett Jr. as Hooded Justice

In episode 6, which is one of best scripted episodes of television I have seen, the tragic backstory of Hooded Justice is revealed as Abar consumes her grandfather’s nostalgia. The show makes changes to original mythology of Hooded Justice’s origins, and adds so much more depth to it. The show explores his tough times growing up alone and taking care of the baby he found on the day of the massacre, then how he fought in the war of USA even tough he was always treated unfair by his superiors and not given the honor he deserves and then how he eventually got a job as a police officer like he always wanted, but that was only for namesake – he still didn’t have any power over the whites who owned him. In fact he almost gets beaten to death by his peers, while his is face covered in mask and then hanged from a tree with a rope, for trying to arrest a rich white asshole.

Hooded Justice and the Minutemen

But the policemen don’t kill him, they just let him go with a warning – Don’t get your nose into white folk’s business. As he walks back to his house with a rope hanging from his neck, tortured and humiliated by his fellow officers like a dog, he sees a few mob men attacking a lonely couple. He puts his mask on and fights the bad guys – and thus Hooded Justice is born that night. To be honest, I have always thought that the Hooded Justice costume looked dumb, but what they did with it here is mind-blowing, and I gotta commend them for that. But he doesn’t wear a mask to be a superhero – he wears his mask to hide his racial identity because he feels society isn’t ready for it. He wears white makeup around his eyes so that nobody realizes that they are being saved by a black man and even after he joins the superhero team Minutemen, his racial identity remains unknown, and as far as the world knows – all the superheroes from history were White. Talk about whitewashing history.

Regina King as the Series Lead

Regina King in Watchmen

While the Watchmen graphic novel was revolutionary for it’s time, there were noticeably no black or characters of color and minority in the whole story. Also the only female character in the story was the one who was least developed in the story (and raped I might add). Damon Lindelof made it very clear that his intentions were to diversify Watchmen’s rich world and tell the story with modern sensibilities. Casting Regina King as the lead was a big part of that, and she absolutely nails the role. She’s a bad ass as the vigilante who works for the police and we all knew she was great performer, so the acting is top-notch. Watchmen went from being a book with no black characters to a show with a woman of color as the lead.

The Police in Watchmen’s World

The way the police are portrayed in Watchmen is very important to analyse considering the recent events regarding George Floyd’s death. Watchmen takes place in an alternate universe where the government is run by far-left politicians. So in this world, rather than the police exploiting the minorities, here we have the police being attacked by the racist white terrorists who feel they are being suppressed for not being able to use their ‘white privileges’ anymore. Thus, the police wear masks to hide their identities and they are just another part of the vigilante system in Tulsa. Also, an early scene in the show establishes how the police aren’t allowed to use guns anymore, unless a threat is verified, so that the department can reduce incidents of cop killings. We definitely need a check like that in our real world.

White Supremacists in Rorschach Masks

White Supremacists wearing Rorschach Masks in Watchmen

The white Supremacists form a cult in Watchmen’s world, who wear Rorschach masks in memory of their beloved misguided hero who believed in ‘Justice even in the face of Armageddon’. And what justice are they fighting for – loss of their white privilege or the humiliation in treating a black person equally?

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Dr. Manhattan

Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen

Another revolutionary casting from the series came as a big surprise, as it was revealed Abar’s husband, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, was secretly Dr. Manhattan in hiding. Apart from a black actor portraying a famous character from comics who is traditionally white, this change is immensely powerful for what they decide to do with Dr. Manhattan’s story line here. Yahya is amazing in the role, and plays Dr. Manhattan so good that he steals every scene he’s in. And like the original, Dr, Manhattan raises many questions of love, faith, destiny and time in the series that are worth analyzing and giving a deep thought to.

Regina King and Yahya Abdul-mateen II in Watchmen

Politics, Vigilantism, Philosophies and Watchmen

Watchmen Graphic Novel by Alan Moore

Watchmen has a long history of dealing with politics and asking philosophical questions – it is what made Alan Moore’s original graphic novel so famous. The graphic novel broke down the superhero genre and really analysed what it meant to be a superhero, and HBO’s adaptation continues this tradition. There’s so much to dig into and analyse in Watchmen, that if I were to discuss them all, I would need to write at least ten more posts on the show. So, in case you haven’t seen the show yet and are at the safety of your home – it is the perfect time for you to binge Watchmen on HBO. You’ll have a great time while subsequently get educated on some timely topics, and at the end you will be left with some heavy questions to ponder upon for hours.

Why Looking for Alaska on Hulu is the perfect adaptation?

Nostalgia. That is what this show was for me. I was in 7th grade when I read John Green’s novel and fell in love with Alaska. Like for real, I loved her. And if it’s possible I love her even more now. For all the scenes Alaska Young (Kristen Froseth) was on screen, all I wanted to do was reach out and give her a hug. But let’s keep the stuff about why I love her for later. It is a long story (and kinda personal) and that is not the purpose of this article. Also this is not a review, I know I’m way too late for that. This post is just to examine why Looking for Alaska is the perfect example of how to adapt a popular book.

The best decision right away was to adapt the book into a limited series. When I first heard that, I was kinda disappointed as I thought a movie would bring in more viewers and make more people familiar with the source material. I know, sounds stupid but that’s what my scrawny ass believed. In hindsight, that would’ve been a really bad idea. What sets this adaptation apart from other John Green adaptations is the character development and time given to each and every side character to completely flesh them out. While both Fault in our stars and Papertowns are decent movies they are never able to figure out their characters completely. The Augustus Water from the movie is not fearless boy from book, and Margo Roth Spiegelman from the movie never represents the bad-ass she is in the book. But in Looking for Alaska every character is fully lived and realized, from the show’s lead Miles to The Colonel and even The Eagle.

Also the decision my makers to make it a limited series and not stretch it to further seasons (looking at you 13 Reasons Why), was great as it allowed for a really satisfying ending. The show really take it’s time with every bit and then ends each if them them brilliantly. It is a slow-burn, but I promise will suck you in and shatter you by the end of it. I have read the book around three-four times, so I didn’t think it was possible to feel this emotional watching those same event happen. But trust me, the cried every time a emotional scene happened, that’s how good the execution of the show is.

The show has been adapted fairly faithfully and the characters and settings are very authentic to the book. And it is one the rare occurrences, where I agree with the show every time they deviated from the book. Like the prank in last episode (no spoilers) was a brilliant idea to add to the story. Also, some characters from the book have been given extra time in the show to flesh them into more complete dynamic people, like say Dr, Hyde or Takumi, which makes the show even more compelling. And the decision to give six episodes to the “Before” part of the story and two episodes to the “After” part of the story, instead of the almost equal divide in the book, really paid off in my opinion.

I was also really surprised by the quality of the show. It is really well written and shot. The cinematography is gorgeous and the direction is really good. Also, kudos to the casting department, the cast in the show is perfect. Each actor exactly embodies the characters as I imagined them to be when I read the book. Charlie Plummer and Kristine Froseth are perfectly paired, they look beautiful and yet heartbreaking together. Special mention to Denny Love, that dude really was The Colonel and in my opinion very the the breakout in this cast. Jay Lee, Sofia Vassilieva, Landry Bender. Uriah Shelton, Jordan Connor all do justice to their roles and deliver worthy performances. So if you’re stuck home and really bored during this quarantine/lockdown just go and check out this amazing show. This show deserves to be watched.

In conclusion all I wanna say is – I love you Alaska, and I will always keep looking for you.