Featured TV and Film

Did the Gossip Girl Reboot Finally Redeem Itself?

The Gossip Girl Reboot (2021) debuted its second season at the beginning of December

Matching the new social media influencer lifestyle that’s a cornerstone of the new series, most of the new Gossip Girl season’s marketing was done on the characters’ TikTok and Instagram accounts. All the characters have real accounts you can follow, with even a Goodreads account for Audrey Hope and a Letterboxd for Aki Menzies.

Season One of the reboot received mixed reviews for trying to be as scandalous as the original while pretending to be woke. The show took itself too seriously, and the plots were getting repetitive as early as episode three. It also had too many characters, some of which had multiple storylines, while more interesting characters were left unexplored. The issue of the adults’ involvement was also controversial at best.

The reboot also seemed to emulate Élite too much, which ironically, was also highly inspired by the original Gossip Girl. Now, Élite’s later seasons are meh, while the reboot is improving. And, once you watch S2E1, you’ll realise that the writers have seriously stepped up their game.

Fans, overall, have expressed pleasant surprise with the increase in the quality of the show. And, what seems to have helped to boost that quality, was it finally standing on a definite identity. The original Gossip Girl was not about petty, rich people pretending to be good, woke, and self-aware. It was about petty rich people being petty rich people, while also having sex with each other. 

The new one made away with the nonsensical ending of season one as fast as it could and began showing us rich people doing petty things to each other just because they can, through modern lenses. Giving sidelined characters like Monet de Haan the spotlight was a good move. Tucking away the Obie x Zoya x Julien triangle, which had long overstayed its welcome in Season One, was also smart.

While that’s not to say Season Two has some flaws, namely the Max x Audrey x Aki relationship not having an actual storyline, it’s still stepping in the right direction. And, whether the writers learned from their mistakes, or now have a better grasp of their target audience, it’s safe to say the Gossip Girl Reboot has redeemed itself from its shaky first season run.

Featured TV and Film

The School for Good and Evil: Review

The School for Good and Evil premiered this spooky season on Netflix

The film is based on the book series of the same name. It follows the story of beautiful and popular Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and her outcast friend Agatha (Sofia Wylie). The story follows the pair as they are suddenly kidnapped from their village and set to the School for Good and Evil.

The books are a fantasy fairytale hexalogy written by Soman Chainani. Paul Feig directs the film, and David Magee and Feig himself wrote the screenplay. This is a Hogwarts-esque magic school for heroes and villains, where the world’s most famous fairy tales began their stories. The film blends elements from Harry Potter and Wicked.

The School for Good and Evil
The School for Good and Evil @ Netflix

Despite their strong friendship, Sophie and Agatha are extremely different from each other. Sophie is princess-like, fair-headed (whatever that means these days) and destined to change the world. On the other hand, Agatha is called a witch. Their friendship is tested when both fall in love with the most popular Ever prince, Tedros, son of King Arthur. 

Things are flipped when Agatha is dressed in the flowery princess gown while Sophie is dressed in a raggedy sack dress after being kidnapped by a stymph that takes them to the SGE. So, it seems they were sorted on the “wrong” side, and each of these will have to explore the nuances of a black-and-white academic setting for good and evil, divided into Nevers and Evers. Sophie dreams of getting into the Evers, but Agatha wants to return home.

The cinematography of the film is mesmerizing, and the feeling of a novel magical setting filled with fairies and intriguing stock fantasy monsters is felt throughout the visuals. The acting is sharp, with Wylie’s acting as Agatha among the most celebrated.

The School for Good and Evil
The School for Good and Evil @ Netflix

There’s also Sophia’s slow descent into evil to achieve her dreams, putting the chops of both young actresses to best use. The strongest moments throughout the film are found in the characters’ relationships, with Agatha and Sophie’s bond being a highlight. 

However, despite the story’s intriguing premise, the screenwriting does at times let the movie down. Chainani knew the film wasn’t as faithful to the source material as fans would’ve expected, and frequently provided Feig with advice on how to make it work. The screenwriters picked important plot points from the novels, a couple of fan-favorites and examining passages closely to avoid recreating clichés. 

The movie was expected to become a major breakout hit for Netflix, becoming Netflix’s own YA fantasy series. The film was named one of the most anticipated films of late 2022.

Featured TV and Film

Kath and Kim is Returning for a Two-Part Special

Get that Chardonnay because Britain’s favourite Aussie duo, Kath and Kim, is set for a return to our screens

Unbelievably, it has been 20 years since Britain fell in love with Australia’s Absolutely Fabulous-esque sitcom, Kath and Kim. Channel Seven TV executives have revealed that the comeback will be a two-part epic, titled, Kath and Kim: Out Effluent Life. The storyline will dive into the lives of the pair since the last season aired, which was more than a decade ago. There will also be a few behind the scenes clips, with unaired moments, and some iconic guest appearances.

 Kath and Kim
Kath and Kim (Herald Sun)

Kath and Kim first came to Australian TV in 2002. It instantly became a comedy classic, and at one point, it was even Australia’s highest rating show on TV – a feet rarely matched for a comedy sit com. Over its five year run on Channel Seven, the show’s writers, Gina Riley and Jane Turner – who also happen to play the main characters – released 4 seasons, with 8 episodes each. The show also churned out many spin offs, including, Da Kath and Kim Code in 2005, and Kath and Kimderella in 2012. The final ever episode of the original series became Australia’s most watched TV episode of all time.

“It’s fascinating and delightful to see audiences around the world still loving Kath & Kim after 20 years,” says executive producer, Rick McKenna. He continued, “It was great fun getting the team back together, plenty of laughs all around, which we look forward to sharing very soon.”

The show follows the day-to-day life of suburban mom, Kim, and her spoiled and ungrateful daughter, Kim. There is also a beloved character, Sharon: a family friend who is always chasing guys, and talking about her love for sports. Another stand out character is Kel Knight, who is Kath’s saucy love interest. The pair often get up to no good, frolicking around the house in the nude, and having a bizarre medley of hobbies. The premise of the show is incredibly simple, but what makes it so memorable is the peculiar catchphrases like “look at moi” and the relatable mockery of suburban life. You don’t have to be Australian to pick up the jokes, as it finds humour in the ordinary and mundane life of families who live on the outskirts of cities. And this is something that transcends borders.

 Kath and Kim
Kath and Kim on the red carpet (The Guardian)

Channel Seven’s Chief Content Officer, Angus Ross, is one of the behind-the-scenes suits that fans have to thank for the comeback shows. In a statement, he said, “Since I was a young lad, I’ve admired the elegance and poise of Kath Day-Knight – and her clowning glory. “In fact, it’s safe to say she was my first crush.” He continued to share his excitement, “From high-couture to yoga, Kath and Kim have had an immeasurable impact on the world. “While I still find it difficult to look Kath in the eyes without blushing, it is an honour to be able to reunite them with their adoring fans.”

Kath and Kims reunion, titled, Kath & Kim: Our Effluent Life, will come to Channel 7 and 7plus later on this year. UK TV channels are set to bid for the rights to broadcast the show. But it is more probable that it will be released straight to streaming platforms towards the Christmas period. For now, you can prepare by watching all 4 seasons on Netflix.

TV and Film

The Empress: Is it Based on a True Story?

Shows about royals have been rising in the past few years: Netflix’s The Empress is one of the newcomers

This time, The Empress retells the story of the early life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria in a six-part series. Before its release, the only other well-known film adaptation of Empress Elisabeth’s life had been the 1950s Sissi trilogy, with Romy Schneider in the leading role.

A point of highlight for the show is how it presents us with modern themes while also transporting us to the historical time period of the Empress’ rule. Period dramas have advantages and disadvantages, but one of their main criticisms recently is how they present dissonant values as an excuse for exploitation. For example, sexism in historical periods seems a common trend to portray as “realistic” despite not adding anything people don’t already know to the conversation.

The Empress focuses on the meeting between the young Bavarian Duchess Elisabeth, played by Devrim Lingnau, and the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, played by Philip Froissant and mixes some fiction with non-fiction. This doesn’t necessarily provide the most accurate retelling of the story, but attempts to portray the most compelling one.

The Empress
The Empress © Netflix

The show follows those surrounding Elisabeth, such as her mother would prefer her to be more like her older sister Helene (Elisa Schlott) and Emperor Franz who has his own issues: the Hapsburg Empire is threatened, and the Austrians are on the brink of starting a revolution.

Archduchess Sophia would prefer for Franz to marry Helene, his cousin, but Franz would prefer the freer life he had before becoming an emperor. And, once Princess Ludovika and her daughters arrive to match Franz with Helene, the chemistry between Elisabeth and Franz is apparent, bonding over the resistance to their familial duties. Then, things get more complicated: Franz’s brother, Archduke Maximilian (Johannes Nussbaum) is also attracted to Sissi. Maxi is disregarded by his mother, who plays favourites with him and Franz.

The parallels with romantic period drama Bridgerton are apparent, especially now that Bridgerton fans are awaiting the third season after a steaming second run.

Lingnau’s performance as Sissi has been praised, as its appearance from her acting that the duchess would rather be with her staff at the stables than pimping up her dresses and gowns. Like the real-life Sissi, who had a more informal upbringing than most royals.

In truth, Princess Sophie would rather have her son Franz marry her niece than a stranger and Franz was infatuated with Sissi from the get-go. Five days later, their betrothal was announced.

The season ends on a cliffhanger, with a pregnant Elisabeth set to return to Bavaria.

Featured TV and Film

You Season 4 Announced for Netflix

You is returning for a fourth season on Netflix. Part 1 features the first five episodes.

The new series of You will drop on February 10. Then, part 2, with the remaining five episodes, will drop on March 10. You can watch the You Season 4 announcement trailer here.

You originally launched on Netflix in September 2018 and were immediately met with praise. Penn Badgley, known mostly for his role as Dan Humphrey in the original Gossip Girl, plays a different kind of stalker in You. Joe Goldberg’s trend is to develop an obsessive crush on a girl every season, and, spoilers end up killing her.

In Season 3, Goldberg killed Love and left to find Marienne. However, this time, the serial killer will adopt the identity of Professor Jonathan Moore in England. Living in London has, supposedly, allowed Goldberg to bury the days of unrequited love and murder behind. As per Goldberg’s admission, he’s keeping extracurricular activities ‘strictly professional’ and only focusing on academia.

Unreliable narration aside, fans are already aware that Joe will return to his old ways and end up causing the death of more than one innocent in Season Four.

You Season 4
You Season 4 © Netflix

The teaser also introduced the new characters, although he evidently thinks of Marienne in the present day. Tilly Keeper has been cast as influencer socialite Lady Phoebe, Amy-Leigh Hickman as Nadia, Ed Speelers as bestselling author Rhys, and Lukas Gage as Adam. Some of these characters will be students, others will be aristocrats, investors, ex-pats, investigators, professors and even a paparazzi photographer.

At the end of season 3, Joe staged his own death at the hands of his wife, Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti). He also abandoned his son, Henry. Badgley stated in an interview with Collider that Season Four could be different, focusing on Joe’s relationship with himself.  He’ll also have to deal with the consequences of leaving Henry and could possibly change him for good, if that’s possible at this point.

But, if there’s something that defines You’s storytelling, it is that it’s unpredictable. Filled to the brim with twists and turns, no one has any idea what might happen or how Joe completely changed his identity to that of a university professor. The only thing we have for certain is that, as expected, characters will die from a show with a serial killer villain protagonist.

Given this experiment with You, some users were confused upon noticing Netflix’s change to episode release models. This led some to speculate that Netflix would implement the one-episode-per-week format should the halved season model fail. Fans suggested Netflix try the two-episode per week format, calling it a sweet spot for streaming. These strategies are attempts to convince users to remain subscribed to the service for more months.

Featured TV and Film

Rob Zombie’s ‘The Munsters’ Trailer Tanks Expectations

Rob Zombie’s The Munsters will begin streaming on Netflix at the end of September, just in time for spooky season

Rob Zombie confirmed that the Munsters would debut on Netflix the same day its physical copy releases, on September 27, 2022. This will allow fans to own their copy if they’d rather not subscribe to Netflix.

Zombie went to Instagram one month before the date to share a sneak peek image of the film, including Sheri Moon Zombie as Lily Munster.

Rob Zombie is a beloved rock star, but his work as a film director can be considered controversial. He’s been interested in making The Munsters happen for quite a while, though complaints about the quality of the trailer have practically tanked expectations towards the film.

The first full trailer for The Munsters was dropped on July 13th, 2022. It was horrifying, and not in the way The Munsters should be.

As stated by a Redditor, “when RZ does something right, he’s great. But then he does this “let’s make a movie outta B-roll footage” crap, its f*****ing old.” They expressed astonishment that the Netflix trailer was official, not a proof-of-concept “reel Zombie shot in his house for a few grand.”

Rob Zombie's the munsters
Rob Zombie’s The Munsters @ Rob Zombie via Instagram

While trailers aren’t reflective of the quality of the film, and it could well exceed expectations once launched, its generic font and bad voiceover make it look more like a fanmade YouTube parody than an actual movie dropped by a major studio.

The colors are unpleasant and look dated. The neon lights look cheap, with the lighting being one of its worst points. Some critics mentioned that they had to check twice to ensure it was official and not a mistake. Check out the trailer here to make your own conclusions.

Rob Zombie is a producer and director of passion projects. Most people these days don’t remember the American sitcom depicting the home life of benign monsters or only know it vaguely. The original “The Munsters” aired on CBS from 1964-66 and experienced surprisingly high ratings until the Batman TV series came around.

While the trailer tanked expectations towards the film, that doesn’t mean the quality of the film will be equally dreadful. It could be that the marketing team made mistakes. Rob Zombie loves the Munsters and has been trying to get rights to make the movies since the early 2000s. 

It’s doubtful that after so many trials to get the name for his pet project, he’d fail catastrophically at one of the most important aspects of film marketing.

Featured TV and Film

Why Drag Race España is the Best Version of the Franchise

Spain managed to refresh the tired-out model for Drag Race España

So far, we have a US, UK, Canada, France, the Philippines, Italia, Australia and the Netherlands version of Drag Race. But in 2021, the franchise extended to yet another country. This time it’s Spain and, to everyone’s surprise, it has resulted in (arguably) the best season of Drag Race in history,

Of the Spanish instalment, two seasons have aired so far, delivering two deserving winners who have been catapulted to fame across the country and the continent. Drag Race Espana embodies the essence of drag, which is sheer talent and entertainment. Seasons 1 and 2 are reminiscent of the golden years of the US Drag Race, which has now sold its soul for profit and commercialism. Drag Race España returns the franchise back to its creative and revolutionary roots. Here is why it’s the best version.

It feels completely detached from RuPaul

Drag Race España
The judges (Tumblr)

Every fan of Drag culture and art is worried that their country’s version will be dominated by annoying Americanisms and excessive product placements. And, even though Drag Race España has elements of this, it’s easy to forget its relationship with the original. This is partly due to the wonderful judges, who consist of Spanish drag sensation Supremme de Luxe; fashion designer, Anna Locking, actor, director, and writer, Javier Ambrossi and his long-term partner Javier Calvo. The four permanent judges and hosts have amazing natural chemistry and a genuine love for the art form. It’s clear that their appointments were due to their knowledge and passion for creative arts and not for their fame. 

No English-speaking lip sync songs

Drag Race España
Drag Sethlas (Gay Times)

Each week, the two weakest queens compete in an iconic lipsync to an infamous queer song. In Drag Race España, producers have leaned into their Spanish heritage and have selected a string of Spanish-speaking songs that aren’t your typical Shakira hits. Songs are relative and specific to what queer people in Spain have been listening to throughout the generations, which includes many uptempo bangers, like Todos Me Miran by Gloria Trevia and the dramatic Un Año de Amor by Luz Casal.

Despite the seasons being released to an international audience through the streaming platform Wow Presents Plus, it’s clear the producers only have one objective, and that is to showcase the very best of Spanish queer and drag culture, and this certainly translates. 

The category is… Spanish culture

Drag Race Espana
The cast (World of Wonder)

It’s no secret that most spin-off series’ have some diabolical runway looks. The UK and Australian versions are notorious for their shabby looks and rough-around-the-edges makeup. Usually, the US looks are of higher quality due to the show’s exposure, which attracts top-tier designers who create garments for the queens. However, the Spanish drag queens didn’t have this luxury, and it didn’t matter because they still managed to produce some of the most jaw-dropping outfits. From intricate and couture dresses to avant-garde boundary-pushing art pieces – Drag Race Espana has it all. 

The majority of the categories draw upon Spanish rich cultural heritage, such as tongue and cheek, ‘Jet Set Marbella’, ‘Spanish Art Extravaganza’, and even a tribute to the singer, La Veneno. The categories are cleverly designed to share the nation’s exceptional artistic history and talent with an international audience.

The talent is off the scale 

Drag Race Espana
Onyx (Gay Times)

Did you know that season 2, episode 2, titled, Supremme Elegant Talent Extravaganza, is actually the highest-rated episode of Drag Race in history, with a 9.7 rating on IMDB? That’s right, from start to finish, every single queen showcased a unique and original performance to the panel of judges. In the majority of the talent shows, queens tend to annoyingly perform an original song in an attempt to further promote their materials and tours, but as for the Spanish queens, they saw it as an opportunity to let go, have fun and showcase the unique and authentic side to drag. Performances ranged from an electronic transformers style dance routine to flamenco-inspired musical theatre, and even a futuristic piece by Onyx, who gives birth to an alien. Drag Race Espana has it all.

You can stream both seasons of Drag Race Espana on Wow Presents Plus.

Featured TV and Film

RuPaul Fronted Gameshow Coming to ITV

The category is… Gameshow!

Yes, you heard right. ITV has managed to snap up Drag sensation RuPaul for a brand spanking new gameshow called Celebrity Lingo. The show will feature a star-studded celebrity lineup, all competing to take home money for charity. Celebrity Lingo will be a head-to-head vocabulary battle, filling in the blanks and guessing the words – a simple but popular game at the moment, thanks to a strategy game revival from iPhone and Android app sensation, Wordle.

RuPaul (Reality Tit Bit)

The 7-episode series is a spin-off of, Lingo, a British game show that first aired back in 1988. In 2021, ITV revived the hit show and recruited Good Morning Britain host, Adil Ray. However, RuPaul will have a shorter and more condensed version of the show, which will include celebrities, as opposed to members of the public. 

“Now, more than ever before, people want to have fun, and Celebrity Lingo is here to serve it up generously,” said Ru, in a statement to the press. Adil, Ru’s new colleague, was delighted with the news: “I’m so grateful to everyone watching at home, the entire crew, and our fab contestants for giving me another chance to host one of the best shows on TV! Even to those who shout four letter Lingos at me in the street! Welcome to the team RuPaul!”

RuPaul is at the top of their game at the moment. Over the past couple of years, Ru has become one of the most famous faces on the planet, due to the enormous Drag Race franchise, which now has over a dozen spin-offs, that are spread across the planet. It was a surprise to many, then, that ITV managed to snatch one of the most talked about stars for a low-budget gameshow.


Lingo game show
Adli’s revival of the show (Indie Mac User)

Rumors are circulating on social media that the show has already been filmed in Salford after Ru was spotted by passersby whilst out and about. Insiders have announced that the show is due to air on Sundays evenings, with the launch being broadcast at 18:30. “This week I spent a day in the company of @RuPaul at the taping of ‘Celebrity Lingo’ – Media City in Manchester…..which will air on ITV1 later this year,” says one lucky fan, who managed to bag themselves a free ticket to watch the taping. “It was fabsy and super surreal to see RuPaul in the flesh!” Another viewer also gave a thumbs up: “Rupaul was exactly how he is on tv it was weird seeing him ngl.”

Word-based games are on trend at the moment and throw an A-list host into the mix, and you’re on to a winner. ITV is expected to make an announcement on which celebrities will be competing soon.

Featured TV and Film

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

The two-episode premiere of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power has been uploaded to Prime Video. 

The first episode features deliciously gorgeous landscapes that accurately represent the lands of elves and dwarves, humans, ents, wizards and all manners of fantastical creatures created by J.R.R Tolkien in his Legendarium. Reviewers have outright called it “TV made for big screens.” The show was created by Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, covering the world’s Second Age.

It’s essentially a prequel to the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, following characters such as Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker). Critics have compared The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to its most obvious competitor: HBO Max’s House of the Dragon. Both are TV adaptations of best-selling high fantasy novel series with previous live-action incarnations.

The series is estimated to run for at least five seasons. Reviewers consider that the show makes bold promises through its world-building. The rings do not make an outstanding appearance so early in the show, though there’s more than enough hinting through Galadriel, Elrond, and others of what’s to come in the next episodes.

House of the Dragon had theirs in Game of Thrones, while Lord of the Rings had its own in the Peter Jackson films. They are both prequels.

Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power
Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power © Amazon Prime

The work put into House of the Dragon’s cinematic has been superb, though it cannot compare to the Rings of Power. Not even in the budget department, as this is supposedly the most expensive TV show ever made, with a reported astronomical budget of $465 million for eight episodes.

Many fans tuned in precisely because the Second Age of Middle-earth had never been depicted in movies, though book fans have expressed their displeasure at the liberties the showrunners took. 

The preview trailers tainted further interest for some due to the names given to many new characters.

They were considered inconsistent, a glaring criticism due to how detailed Tolkien’s work on names, languages, and his motivation in designing the legendarium. The first trailer of the show has 1.5 million downvotes against 100k upvotes. 

As with many IP works taken to streaming, viewers already have high expectations before they even press play, and LoTR fans happen to have high standards with how Tolkien’s work is portrayed.

Mysterious figures, survival situations, and political intrigue have earned this prequel worldwide attention. And, of course, the money put into the CGI, the costumes, and the art direction.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Resident Evil Show Canceled After its First Season

Netflix is known for cancelling shows prematurely, but what about Resident Evil?

The Resident Evil Netflix show was cancelled after its first season. While Netflix is known for cancelling many of its shows on a whim, sometimes for contradictory reasons, many times it waits until a couple of seasons have passed before taking any action. But, this time, fans of the live-action adaptation of the famous video game series agree that the adaptation was a bad one.

Its premiere was well-received on Netflix, even managing to outdo Stranger Things Season 4 to seize the #1 spot for a short while, but it fell out of the Top 10 in less than their weeks. Other shows cancelled after a one-season run on Netflix include Cowboy Bebop and the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

The horror TV show is based on Capcom’s long-running survival horror video game. Lance Reddick played Albert Wesker and Ella Balisnka and Adeline Rudolph played his daughters. The first season is based on a worldwide zombie apocalypse caused by Umbrella Corporation and explains the events that led to the disaster, especially those related to the Wesker family. 

It was called one of the worst-rated shows ever, with Rotten Tomatoes showing an audience score of 25%. Resident Evil also has an average user rating of 3.6% on IMDb, making it one of the lowest-rated series overall. 

Resident Evil Show
Resident Evil Show © Netflix

Most of the criticism towards the show is aimed at its writing. Resident Evil games have humorous, creative moments, but part of the dialogue is bizarre and out of place for a Resident Evil game. Namely, some characters mention anime sites and streaming sites that haven’t been mentioned in the Resident Evil games. There’s another scene that’s been wildly parodied on Reddit and Twitter with one of the characters breaking into full song as if it were Glee.

Ironically, despite Resident Evil being a precursor into the zombie apocalypse genre, the fact that the show was released in 2022 worked against its plot. It’s considered predictable and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. On the funny side, even if the dance is out of place and random, the actress enjoys it so much that one can’t help but laugh at her expressions.

Some viewers expressed enough frustration at the show that they’d rather get back to the old games and play due to the confusion. As said by a Reddit user, “an IP isn’t an automatic win for your project”, not every TV show based on existing property is guaranteed success.

On the other hand, the series has been on a high note with the video games, with the latest games being a success.