Spoiler-Free Review of “Shadow and Bone” on Netflix: Entertaining but Jam-Packed Fantasy

*This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!*

“The dark is a place that is full of monsters…”

Shadow and Bone premiered on Netflix on April 23rd 2021. The series features eight episodes available to stream now. It stars Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux, Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, and Amita Suman. Each episode runs for approximately 55 minutes.

Based on the popular Grisha book series, Shadow and Bone follows a mapmaker orphan named Alina Starkov who discovers a power within her that could change the world.

Here is the trailer:

Shadow and Bone is jam-packed with quite a lot, but it’s easy to get lost without proper context. While this show channels a familiar plot, it does have a lot going on to keep us invested. Does it do enough to stand out as a proper fantasy series? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Shadow and Bone Spoiler Free Review 1

Images courtesy of Netflix

Entertaining at its core.

The show is clever about the placement of events during each episode. While there is a lot going on, it does enough to keep you coming back for more, which makes this series binge-watch worthy. I thought the very end of the pilot episode was so well done and I was immediately hooked.

Much like Game of Thrones and The Witcher, the audience sits around waiting for a pay off, but when these scenes arrive, they are brilliantly done and you remember why you are watching the show in the first place.

Immersive world.

I thought that this realm or world was so intriguing. I’ve watched and read a lot of teen dystopian-esque fantasy series and it was really extraordinary to see this particular world come to life. I think it really worked in the show’s favor not having it take place in the “real world,” adding to the fantasy elements.

The Cons:

Shadow and Bone Spoiler Free Review 2

Images courtesy of Netflix

Wishy-Washy Chosen One.

I’m all for a story about a female chosen one and I had very high expectations for Alina Starkov. She has these really cool abilities and a great story to work with, but there was something lacking here. I thought that Jessica Mei Li gave a solid performance, but I had trouble connecting with her.

I want to be rooting for my female lead from the start and that didn’t really happen here even though there were some glimmers throughout the series of strength and potential. I think that the supporting characters captured more of my attention, which shows that there was a great cast, but I wanted more from our lead.

Fantasy by the numbers with awkward wide eyed stares…

You can check off each of your fantasy tropes with this particular series. I didn’t really mind them, but it didn’t help this series stand out from The Hunger Games and Divergent, which have similar plots.

I also could not take the constant wide eyed stares between the characters that seemed to last for over five minutes at a time. We can do a better job of creating moments without this…

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in…

This series is packed with a lot. I think that fans of the book series will enjoy it for the most part. The series made a valiant effort to bring this world to life while introducing it to a new audience. You really have to pay attention to this show and probably need a guide to keep track of everything, but if you are looking for an entertaining fantasy binge-watch, you’re in the right place.

Overall, this series does enough to bring us into this world and I was invested and entertained throughout my watch.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Shadow and Bone in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Warrior Nun” on Netflix: It’s not easy being a Chosen One

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

One girl destined to fight against the demons of the world. Sound familiar? The premise screams Buffy the Vampire Slayer with religious undertones, which instantly sparked my attention, but sometimes a comparison is not always a good thing.

Warrior Nun premiered on Netflix on July 2nd 2020. It features 10 episodes (approximately 45-48 minutes in length). It stars Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Emilio Sakraya, and Thekla Reuten.

Based on the manga style comic book character, Warrior Nun Areala, the show focuses on Ava. After waking up in a morgue, she discovers that she is far from dead and now possesses supernatural abilities as the chosen Halo Bearer. She faces new threats and demons while also searching for her own identity along the way.

Right away, I was completely hooked by the premise. The trailer was actually quite good and I’m all for a show that features a strong female character taking on the apocalypse, but does Warrior Nun do enough to make it stand out from its predecessors? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

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Images courtesy of Netflix

Delightful performances.

Standout performances go to Alba Baptista as Ava and Toya Turner as Shotgun Mary. They are believable and they really helped me connect more with these particular characters. There is subtle humor and sarcasm going on mixed with some real life altering scenarios, which gave us a good balance throughout the show.

These nuns kick ass!

The fight scenes may seem slightly ridiculous. They are flashy and unrealistic, but they are also really entertaining and they kept the pace going. If you’re a Chosen One, I want to see some bad-ass fight scenes and Warrior Nun certainly delivered with that.

The Cons:

Warrior Nun Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Awkward voiceover narration.

I get it. We are trying to connect with Ava and learn more about her past to truly appreciate and understand what she has to deal with now. However, the voiceover narrations were awkward and out of place. They actually made Ava seem more whiny than she actually is and I could have done without them.

Too many episodes.

There are ten episodes and I think this show really could have been done in eight. When you have that many episodes, it really slows things down. There was unneeded fluff that made me lose interest several times throughout the show, which is a shame. Sometimes less is more…

This show is NOT Buffy.

I’ve seen multitple comparisons going on between this show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While I can absolutely see the similarities and noticed some myself, this show is nothing like Buffy, which is in a category of its own. I think this actually hurt the show because it just falls flat in comparison. On its own, the show actually has a lot of redeeming qualities, but I’m not sure it will be able to break through these comparisons.

So am I in or out?

Warrior Nun Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in…about 75 percent. Overall, this show was pretty entertaining. I liked the premise. I liked the characters and I loved the kick-ass fighting scenes. Once I got over the disappointment that this show would not be in the same category as Buffy, I started to enjoy it more…especially once I got to episode 4.

That being said, there is a lot slowing down the pace of this series and the exceptional premise falls flat in several areas, but there is still enough substance and heart in this show. If you are looking for a supernatural type of binge-watch, I would recommend watching The Order before Warrior Nun, but there is certainly enough to enjoy throughout your watch.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Warrior Nun in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

PLAY BY THE RULES…STAY ALIVE…

Main promo smaller

A harmless night of fun turns deadly for six college friends but the game has only just begun. Take a mystery thrill ride right from your own living room. Dash and Seek is out now! I hope you enjoy!

READ IF YOU DARE…

Dash and Seek is available here!

**If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support!

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