TV Review: Babylon 5 (1994-1998)

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Babylon 5 is a complex space opera that centers around the space station known as Babylon 5 and it’s mission to create piece between humans and aliens in the year 2258. Unlike most science fiction TV at the time this series was created, Babylon 5 is set in a “five season video novel format” which entails that the many plot lines of the series last multiple seasons and aren’t wrapped up in 40 minutes. You may dislike or even hate the pilot episode but if you stick with it you will be rewarded with great character development and a startlingly realistic tense political drama, in space. My only large complaint about Babylon 5 is that season five feels very tacked on, this is because during production of season four it was looking like the series was going to be canceled, so nearly all main plot lines were wrapped up before the final season even started. Overall I think Babylon 5 succeeded at its goal of creating a long novel-esque political space opera with very good characters, so if you can find it I recommend giving it a try, and remember it gets a lot better than the pilot.

All of the content in Babylon 5 is likely suitable for kids 10 and up, however they may not enjoy it until around 13.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a prequel to the Harry Potter films about Newt Scamander’s adventures in 1920s New York. I was not very excited for this movie and did not see it in theaters, even so I was disappointed. The plot is scatterbrained, the twists can be seen coming from miles away and there is just too much CGI. The sole writer of the film is J.K. Rowling, an author not a film-writer, that shows heavily, the plot and the over-use of CGI wouldn’t have been a problem if this was a book instead of a movie. The characters don’t have much chemistry and the music almost never works with the scenes. Overall Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them spends too much time setting up its 4 sequels and showing off its special effects and not enough time being a coherent and entertaining story.

Kids over the age of 9 should be able to handle Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

Arrival (2016)

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Arrival is a hard science fiction film about mysterious spaceships suddenly appearing around earth and revolves around the linguist who is selected to communicate with the alien visitors. I was a little bit underwhelmed by this film because it had been over-hyped to me but it is a great movie with really good production design. Arrival is a slow burn but it pulls it off very well, If you enjoy the hard sci-fi genre then you will no doubt like this film.

Kids 10 and up should be able to watch Arrival but some may find it boring.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

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Directed by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (based upon the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs) is about boy named Jacob who discovers a secret home for peculiar children (children with strange abilities). I was actually really enjoying the first half of this movie but the moment you see Tim Burton’s face in his cameo, everything goes very downhill. I really liked Chris O’Dowd’s scenes and Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t half bad, but Asa Butterfield’s acting however was not that great. I didn’t really feel for any main characters and the music doesn’t work with the film at all, especially during a certain scene involving cotton candy in which not a single element of the movie blends together, resulting in the worst few minutes of Tim Burton’s filmography that I have seen. If you’re a fan of the books then don’t expect a completely faithful adaptation. The 1st act is quite enjoyable, the 2nd act not so much, and the 3rd is not good at all, so unless you really like Tim Burton-isms, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will probably disappoint.

This film is a little creepier than most family movies but 12 and up should be able to handle it.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

TV Review: How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

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How I Met Your Mother is a sitcom told almost entirely through flashbacks about a man recounting to his kids the very long story of how he met their mother. It’s fairly entertaining throughout but the last season goes downhill, especially the last episode, which does a pretty bad job of wrapping up the story. Easily the best part of this show is the running gags of which there are many. If you need a nice 20-minute show to binge for a while then maybe give How I Met Your Mother a try.

Kids 13 and up should be fine watching this.

Available on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix.

TV Review: Colony (2016-)

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Colony is a fairly unique sci-fi drama series that takes place in the near future and centers around a family trying to stay together in an occupied Los Angeles. The show was created by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Ryan J. Condal, it stars Josh Holloway (Lost) and Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead). The acting and the characters are decent but what I really liked about this show is the mystery of how Los Angeles came to be the way it is, which keeps you coming back for answers. Overall Colony isn’t amazing but it’s solidly entertaining and has a fresh story so I suggest trying season 1 on Netflix if you haven’t already!

Most or all of the content in Colony is appropriate for kids 13 and up.

Available on iTunes, Netlfix, and Amazon.

TV Review: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (2016-)

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (based on the novels of the same name by Douglas Adams) is a Sci-Fi Mystery centered around a self-proclaimed Holistic Detective by the name of Dirk Gently, his reluctant “assistant” Todd Brotzman, and many other strange characters. It is very weird in a very good way and the acting, writing, and music all perfectly set the tone of the show. The diverse group of intriguing characters and complicated mysteries will almost definitely keep you hooked, so if you like offbeat or unusual shows I recommend you try this rare and peculiar series.

There is a decent amount of violence but nothing that kids 12 and up won’t be able to handle.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.