Spoiler-Free Review of “Gossip Girl” Reboot on HBO Max: Why So Serious?

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

“Been a minute…did you miss me?”

The reboot of Gossip Girl premiered on HBO Max on July 8th 2021 with the first episode. The remaining nine episodes will air weekly. Each episode runs for approximately 55 minutes. The reboot stars Jordan Alexander, Whitney Peak, Tavi Gevinson, Eli Brown, and Emily Alyn Lind.

Kristen Bell returns as the voice of Gossip Girl, but the rest of the original cast do not. The Upper East Side is back on display as we follow a new group of teenage elites and witness them go to scandalous measures to get what they want while attending Constance Billard. The original Gossip Girl website may have shut down, but a new source emerges to keep the dirt coming.

Here is the trailer:

Gossip Girl (2021) has a lot to live up to as the original series was an entertaining guilty pleasure to indulge in. Are we ready for a reboot of the series and does it do enough to find a voice of its own? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

A more diverse cast.

Much like the Saved by the Bell and Charmed reboots, we are presented with a more diverse cast for the reboot of Gossip Girl. I think this is a step in the right direction to be more inclusive this time around.

Sibling rivalry and a new Gossip Girl.

The main plot reminded me a little bit of One Tree Hill. We have half siblings who end up in the same school and drama is high as a result. I think this is the best part of the show so far and I’m interested to find out more about the true intentions of both siblings and how far they will go to keep up appearances.

We also get a twist on the new “Gossip Girl” and learn the identity right away. This takes us away from the outrageous reveal at the end of the original series and also gives us a chance to connect with a different set of characters that may see things a little bit differently. I’m intrigued by this so far.

Images courtesy of HBO Max

A familiar voice to put us at ease.

It wouldn’t feel right with anyone else narrating the show as the infamous “Gossip Girl” and hearing Kristen Bell’s voice made me feel right at home. Sure, the dialogue is a little outrageous, but there was a much needed nostalgia present as a result, especially since the rest of the cast is absent…even though we get plenty of reminders and name drops along the way to keep us tuned in.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Don’t lose sight of what made the show work in the first place…

My biggest con with this reboot is that it takes itself way too seriously. The dialogue is beyond atrocious. I understand we are focusing on a new generation, but no one talks like this. While Riverdale presents us with some over-the-top dialogue as well, it still manages to keep us entertained because it knows when to lighten the mood even during some of the angst-filled melodrama.

In similar fashion, the original Gossip Girl worked because it was so outrageous and it embraced this. The cast really elevated the characters and made you care about them…even though they were horrible human beings!

Blair Waldorf is the iconic Queen Bee of television and even though Chuck Bass was beyond ridiculous, he was so entertaining to watch! The back-stabbing and twists just somehow worked because the show understood that it was meant to be a guilty pleasure teen drama.

The reboot is having an identity crisis and is taking itself too seriously, which makes the execution flat and uninspiring. I don’t care about any of the characters yet and it was honestly really difficult to watch a lot of the pilot episode, which is beyond disappointing.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m 50/50 on this one…

I want to give this show a chance to get better because I am a fan of the original series. However, the majority of the pilot episode was painful to watch. I am going to give the show at least three episodes to change my mind, but it needs to really make some major changes if it wants to connect with a new generation and fans of the original series.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen 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!

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” on HBO Max: Love and Hauntings

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

“We know the dangers…better than you might think.”

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is the third installment of the popular horror franchise. The film is in theaters and currently available to stream on HBO Max as of June 4th 2021. It stars Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sterling Jerins, Ruairi O’Connor and John Noble. The film runs for approximately an hour and fifty minutes.

Ed and Lorraine Warren are back again to investigate the demonic possession of a young boy. After an exorcism is attempted, the demonic presence is far from gone as it begins to wreak havoc on the boy’s sister’s boyfriend. 

Here is the trailer:

The Conjuring 3 has a lot to live up to, but does the change in director and genre water things down too much or is it a welcomed addition? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Undeniable chemistry between Ed and Lorraine Warren.

These two are electric in the film and are probably one of my favorite couples in film history. There is something so real and believable about their chemistry with one another. They have such a strong love and relationship, which makes you root for them that much more.

I thought that both of them gave really incredible performances and their love for one another actually really lifted this film. Even during the quiet moments, you are just completely drawn to them. So many horror films center around younger stars and these two are blowing them all out of the water.

I think I would watch almost anything with them…

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Truly frightening moments.

There was this unsettling fear throughout the other two films that still haunts me even now. While I would say that this film is the least scariest out of them all, there are some moments of pure terror. The opening scene was really terrifying and some of the flashback moments had me on the edge of my seat as well.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Switching genres.

I thought that this film felt like more of a supernatural crime mystery rather than straight horror. The other films were true haunted house films where this film moved away from that and focused more on finding evidence to prove that the devil really made this guy start murdering people.

In a way, I almost felt like I was watching an episode of Supernatural rather than watching a Conjuring film. This isn’t necessarily a con because I really do love this genre and Ed and Lorraine were just so strong in it so I was along for the ride.

I’m not sure if this is because the director was not the same or if the film was trying to branch off into something else to stay original and fresh, but I think that some fans may have mixed reviews on this approach. 

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m in!

I’ll be honest, I’d follow Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson just about anywhere and they really elevated this film for me. The chemistry between these two was incredible and they made up for some of the duller moments during the film. While it did jump genres, there were some truly terrifying scares embedded within the film and I was entertained from start to finish.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen 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!

Spoiler-Free Review of “Mare of Easttown” on HBO Max: Compelling new Mystery

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

Kate Winslet returns to the small screen!

Mare of Easttown premiered on HBO and HBO Max on April 18th 2021. The series is set to air seven weekly episodes. It stars Kate Winslet, Julianne Nicholson, Angourie Rice, Guy Pearce, and Evan Peters. Each episode runs for approximately 50-55 minutes.

Kate Winslet stars as Mare, a local small town basketball hero who now is a detective. A new case is thrown her way that connects to an unresolved mystery from her past, involving the daughter of one of her former teammates. As Mare attempts to deal with the harsh reality of her own life, she tries to put the pieces together to solve this mystery.

Here is the trailer:

Mare of Easttown presents us with a bleak view on life, but its intricate details and compelling plot draw us in to this new mystery as we attempt to discover the truth along with Kate Winslet’s character. Is the series worth a watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Mare of Easttown Spoiler Review 1

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Kate Winslet delivers.

I’m already a huge fan of Kate Winslet and she is one of my favorite actresses of all time. In just the pilot episode, she has managed to completely captivate the audience with her gritty portrayal of Mare.

Mare is far from perfect and she is dealing with a lot in her life, as we slowly start to unravel some of the tragedy that has taken place in her past.

I’ve seen a lot of shows featuring a small town detective immersed in a compelling mystery, but sometimes they can get lost in the midst of the plot.

That doesn’t happen here. Kate Winslet is so magnetic on screen and even in the quiet moments, you find yourself drawn to her, which makes this show that much more interesting in my opinion.

She is the one drawing us in and the mystery almost takes a back seat.

Incredible story-telling.

Every detail of this show is so well done. Even though there is this dark and depressing undertone, it doesn’t overwhelm the show. Every character and every moment shown to the audience is important in some way.

I often get bored with some of the set-up and fluff, but I didn’t feel that way here. I thought that everything was really interesting and when we finally got to the reveal at the end of the pilot episode, I was completely immersed into this show.

The Cons:

Mare of Easttown Spoiler Free Review 2

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Slow burn approach.

This isn’t necessarily a con to me at all. I actually think that the slow burn approach works with this particular show because Kate Winslet is so strong and the other performances really hold up as well.

However, if you are looking for a fast paced action thriller, you won’t get that here. I think that the slow burn reveals are rewarding enough and I can’t wait to learn more, but prepare for a slower pace overall.

So am I in or out?

Mare of Easttown Spoiler Free Review 3

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m in!

Mare of Easttown is gritty, compelling, and all consuming. It is already so interesting and intriguing with just the pilot episode and I can’t wait to find out more. Kate Winslet is incredible and I can already see an Emmy in her future…

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

Girl Number Thirteen Lurking Promo

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen 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!

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Nevers” on HBO Max: Steampunk Buffy

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

“We’re meant to be as we are…”

The Nevers premiered on HBO and HBO Max on April 11th 2021. The series is set to air six weekly episodes for part one and then the remaining six episodes of part two will air at a later date. The series stars Laura Donnelly, Ann Skelly, Olivia Williams, and James Norton. Each episode runs for approximately 50-55 minutes.

The latest series created by Joss Whedon is set in Victorian times, following a group of women who are “touched” with special abilities. Our main characters run an orphanage and try and protect other women with these unique abilities from unknown threats in this fantasy steampunk-esque new world.

Here is the trailer:

The Nevers may seem extremely similar to Whedon’s other shows at first glance, but it does have a new unique setting to explore with a mysterious plot tangled in a tale of female empowerment. Does it do enough to stand out from its predecessors? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Nevers Spoiler Free Review 1

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Leading ladies worth our time.

The dynamic duo of Amalia True and Penance Adair is a dream come true and these two won me over immediately. They have great chemistry together and will immediately give you some Buffy and Willow nostalgia. 

Amalia is very much like Buffy in a lot of ways with her quick wit and fighting skills while Penance’s quirky humor and strengths involving technology scream Willow. While many critics see this as as a con, this formula works.

I did see the similarities which helped me connect with them as a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I am confident we will be able to peel back more layers of each character as the episodes air and hopefully we will get to see what truly makes both of these ladies tick and how their abilities work.

Either way, we’re off to a good start because if I don’t care about the characters, it’s hard to keep me invested.

The Nevers Spoiler Free Review 2

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Fun fight scenes with flair.

I’m all for a well thought out fight scene and some clever puns and maybe that’s the Buffy fan in me, but it makes for some pretty entertaining television.

The fight scenes were really fun and I loved the costumes and setting. This show could have easily fallen into the trap of too much talking and fluff in Victorian times like The Irregulars, but there is already more action and humor embedded in to balance things in a better way.

The Cons:

The Nevers Spoiler Free Review 3

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Villain rip-off.

I didn’t mind a lot of the similarities I saw during the show. I’m all for a show about female empowerment and the quirky friendship already felt authentic to me just from the pilot episode.

That being said, I thought the new villain, Maladie was a bad rip-off of Drusilla, who is one of the most iconic villains in television history for me. It just felt overdone and stale and I expected a lot more here.

Messy start and a bad rep.

There’s a lot going on in the opening episode which left me confused about a lot. We are introduced to a lot of characters and this show can easily lose focus if it isn’t careful. I think that as long as it focuses on the main characters and the mystery behind the “touched,” it will do enough each episode to keep us coming back for more.

I want to judge this show on pure entertainment value, but there are already a lot of unfavorable reviews and a lot of discussion involving Joss Whedon, who created the series. Even though he left the project and we will have a new showrunner for part 2, the show feels very much like a Whedon show.

Olivia Williams appeared in Dollhouse, Jane Espenson was a writer on Buffy, and the themes and characters follow a Whedon formula so it will be hard to separate him from it completely. 

So am I in or out?

The Nevers Spoiler Free Review 4

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m in!

There will certainly be a lot of talk about this show for a while, but I’m going to give it a chance because I think there is enough substance there. The characters are really likable and I kind of really dig the steampunk Victorian vibe. 

The show started off a little bit messy and all over the place, but I think once it finds its groove and settles into its main plot, it can be pure magic. The ending of the pilot episode had me on the edge of my seat and I immediately wanted to watch the next episode. 

I think that as long as you go into this show with an open mind, you will be entertained.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

Girl Number Thirteen Lurking Promo

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My new supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen 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!

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Flight Attendant” on HBO Max: Fasten Your Seat Belts for Your Next Binge-Watch

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

Impulsive decisions can have deadly consequences…

The Flight Attendant premiered on HBO Max on November 26th 2020 with three new episodes. The series will feature 8 weekly episodes in total. It stars Kaley Cuoco, Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet, Michelle Gomez, and Michiel Huisman.

Based on the novel of the same name, we follow a flight attendant named Cassie who has her carefree/party-girl life brutally turned upside down when she wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man and has no memory of what happened. As she pieces together the mystery, she begins to wonder if she is the killer or if another threat is still out there.

Here is the trailer:

The Flight Attendant has a premise that draws you in, but will it be smooth skies or bumpy turbulence? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Flight Attendant Kaley Cuoco

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Kaley Cuoco’s character is a mess…but a charming one!

I’m not sure that another actress could have really pulled off this role. Cassie does not have it all together…in fact she’s spiraling out of control, but Kaley Cuoco’s portrayal gives her a quirky edge that makes you root for her that much more.

There is a dark humor weaved into the thrills and Kaley Cuoco is absolutely amazing! Can we also just take a moment to appreciate and laugh at her badly timed but awesome ringtones? Two of Hearts is stuck in my head and I’m loving it!

The whole cast is talented and I was also very excited to see a familiar face show up as a potential villain (no spoilers). More please!

The Flight Attendant Kaley Cuoco 2

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Binge-watch friendly.

The show hooks you from the very start. As soon as I started watching the first episode, I had to binge-watch the next two and now I am impatiently counting the days until Thursday so I get more episodes to watch.

This show is clever, addicting, and fast-paced. The unconventional and bizarre hallucinations somehow just work, the mystery is a good one, and the show is off to a fantastic start.

The Cons:

The Flight Attendant HBO Max

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Troubling behavior glossed over.

There is another real issue for Cassie…addiction. We see her drinking and making rash decisions in almost every scene, but I feel like her real problems are being glossed over to make way for the mystery at the center of the plot.

That being said, we are getting glimpses into Cassie’s past and I am hoping that this develops more, but it is troubling to see her going down a dark path without really addressing it fully yet.

So am I in or out?

The Flight Attendant Kaley Cuoco 3

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m in 100 percent!

Your next binge-watch is officially here. This show is quirky and fun, but there are so many unexpected twists and turns that will leave you wanting more. Kaley Cuoco is absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

Girl Number Thirteen Lurking Promo

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My new supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen 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!

Ranking the Top 5 “Nightmare on Elm Street” Films

One…two…Freddy’s coming for you.

Three…four…better lock your door.

Five…six…grab your crucifix.

Seven…eight…better stay up late.

Nine…ten…never sleep again…

Happy Wednesday TV Fans! With the lack of new programming, I have been re-visiting several film series and I was beyond thrilled to discover that HBO Max has all of the Nightmare on Elm Street films available to watch!

After quite the marathon, I started to think about which films held up and which fell flat. There are 8 NOES films, (not including Freddy vs. Jason) but today I will be ranking my top 5 films of the franchise. Please note that some spoilers are ahead.

Freddy is cool. Freddy is funny and Freddy will give you some nightmare for sure…along with some disturbing images that will forever be embedded in my brain. Robert Englund is absolute perfection as Freddy Krueger and I am a huge fan of Heather Langenkamp as Nancy Thompson. Nancy will always be one of my favorite Final Girls.

After all, she’s into survival…

Whatever you do, don’t fall asleep!

These films really have everything. They are scary, funny, and addicting!

Stars like Johnny Depp, Laurence Fishburne, and Patricia Arquette appear in them as well and we get some pretty unique death and dream sequences that really make the NOES films stand out.

While I thoroughly enjoy the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises, NOES certainly measures up with these iconic films. After all, Freddy did have an epic showdown with Jason…

Without any further delay, my top 5 Nightmare on Elm Street films are:

5

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5
Images courtesy of HBO Max

Alice is back in the fifth film and we discover that she is pregnant. However, Freddy is back as well and he begins attacking and killing her friends using her unborn child as a weapon. Alice and Freddy have an epic showdown, as she does everything in her power to eliminate him for good and protect her child.

The fifth film is pretty good. I enjoyed seeing Alice again and I thought the buildup to the showdown was decent.

Standout kill: Poor Greta is what she eats, as she is force fed at the table. Gross!

4

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Wes Cravens New Nightmare
Images courtesy of HBO Max

Nancy is back! Well, Heather is technically back, but I was excited to see her either way. In this re-imagining of the NOES world, Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp play themselves, but quickly learn that the world of fantasy may actually cross over into reality.

This movie actually really held up for me. I thought that it was unique and it gave fans a lot of nostalgia. Heather/Nancy even yells out “Screw your pass,” bringing us right back to the original film. While I love the NOES film franchise, the films can become repetitive. However, this film really stood out and did something truly unique and different, which I appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.

Standout kill: Poor Julie gets tossed and thrown around against the ceiling while Heather’s child watches in horror.

3

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 Dream Master
Images courtesy of HBO Max

The Dream Warriors are back! But unfortunately, so is Freddy. As he begins to pick off the Dream Warriors one by one, Alice is dragged into this mess when Kristen Parker gives her the power. During Kristen’s fiery death, there is this weird electric blue energy floating around and Alice and Freddy’s abilities overlap.

Freddy collects souls and when he does, Alice begins to inherit a part of them. She starts smoking when she doesn’t smoke, she learns Kung Fu, and she wears a bad-ass leather jacket to prove she is ready to bring down Freddy by forcing him to take a good look in the mirror…

I really enjoy this film and I think it has a fantastic music soundtrack. The kills are really outrageous and Freddy’s humor takes on a life of its own in this one. More please!

Standout kill: Deb’s checkout at the Roach Motel still leaves a bad taste in my mouth…

2

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3
Images courtesy of HBO Max

Nancy is back! After the horrific sequel to the original film, we really needed Dream Warriors and it delivers! In this film, Nancy works as a doctor at a psych ward and helps troubled teens who may be having some fatal nightmares that she is all too familiar with…

Dream Warriors is fantastic. It allows Freddy to truly shine and we also get some interesting concepts on dreams and abilities and powers within them, which I thought was a welcomed and cool feature to prevent the films from becoming too repetitive.

Standout kill: “Welcome to Primetime, bitch” immediately comes to mind…be careful about what you are watching on television!

1

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 1
Images courtesy of HBO Max

The original still remains as the absolute best film of the franchise for me. It really draws you in and the concept of someone killing you in your dreams is so terrifying, really allowing Freddy to reign as a supreme villain.

The characters are absolutely fantastic in this and Nancy really steps into the spotlight as a bad-ass Final Girl. Plus, she’s got her coffee machine ready under the bed! You have to admire her commitment to staying awake!

Standout kills: It’s probably a toss up between Tina being dragged up the wall in the opening scene and Glen getting sucked into his bed.

Overall, I had a blast re-watching these films. I may have some trouble falling asleep now, but it was worth it!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts on the NOES movies and your favorites in the comments section below. Thank you 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!

PLAY 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!

Do you love horror series? Of course you do! Please also check out 12 Nights of Horror Series Coming Soon. It’s your home for everything you need to know about new and returning horror television series including new trailers, premiere dates, reviews, recaps, and renewals!