Spoiler-Free Review of “The Undoing” on HBO: Nicole Kidman returns to the small screen

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

The Undoing is a new mystery drama limited series from Big Little Lies creator, David E. Kelley. It premiered on HBO on October 25th 2020. The series will air six weekly episodes on HBO and HBO max. It stars Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Donald Sutherland, Lily Rabe, and Matilda De Angelis.

Based on the novel, You Should Have Known, The Undoing follows Grace Fraser, (Kidman) who is a successful therapist living in New York City with her husband and son. After meeting a new mom at a school auction group, a mystery emerges and secrets begin to unravel.

Here is the trailer:

Those of us missing Big Little Lies may be extremely excited about the team-up between Kelley and Kidman once again, but comparisons are not always the best thing for a new show. Does The Undoing do enough to earn its own merit? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Undoing Cast Nicole Kidman HBO

Images courtesy of HBO

Incredible cast!

Much like Big Little Lies, The Undoing has an amazing cast. The acting is incredible and Nicole Kidman really shines as Grace. I am also really intrigued by Elena’s character. There is this magnetic mystery radiating from her and I want to know more! 

I can’t say enough good things about Nicole Kidman, but I need to take a moment to fully appreciate how stunning she is in that dress at the auction…wow! I have a feeling we will see elegant and timeless fashion from her over the episodes.

I want to know more! Mission accomplished.

The Undoing Nicole Kidman HBO 2

Images courtesy of HBO

There is this slow burn approach to the series, as we immerse ourselves in Grace’s life and the drama that surrounds it. The acting is so good and I was never really bored.

As soon as we got to some of the reveals later on in the pilot episode, I was hooked. I have so many questions and I need to watch the next five episodes immediately.

The mystery is a good one and I’m invested for sure.

The Cons:

The Undoing HBO 3

Images courtesy of HBO

Comparisons to Big Little Lies.

It’s hard not to make comparisons when you have the same creator and the same lead actress, but comparing this show to Big Little Lies is not doing it any favors. Rather, I think that if you take a step back from that and treat this show as something completely separate, you will enjoy it more.

This is supposed to be a psychological thriller with drama and it is succeeding so far. While I do see the similarities between the two shows, I am going to give this show the proper chance it deserves.

So am I in or out?

The Undoing Nicole Kidman HBO 4

Images courtesy of HBO

I’m in!

This show is exactly what I need right now. It presents us with a compelling mystery that hooks you right away. Nicole Kidman is incredible and I can’t wait to watch more episodes!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on The Undoing 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 releases on November 12th 2020! Available for pre-order! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen is available here!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “Lovecraft Country” on HBO: Jaw-Dropping Terror

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

“Stories are like people…you just try and cherish them and overlook their flaws but their flaws are still there…”

Lovecraft Country is a new series from executive producers Misha Green, Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams. The show premiered on August 16th 2020. It will feature 10 episodes, airing weekly (approximately 55-60 minutes in length). The show stars Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, and Courtney B. Vance.

Based on the novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country introduces us to Atticus Freeman, a former African-American soldier who is on a quest to find his missing father during the 1950’s. His uncle and former childhood friend agree to help him, as they encounter threats involving racism and the supernatural along the way.

Here is the trailer:

Lovecraft Country starts off with an out of this world opening that will immediately have you questioning reality. While the show brings us some frightening horror that will leave goosebumps on your flesh, the real terror is embedded within the racism and white supremacists, reminding us that monsters and evil can come in many forms.

But, has Lovecraft Country done enough to continue capturing our attention week after week? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Lovecraft Country HBO 1
Images courtesy of HBO

A talented cast with lots of potential.

The characters are intriguing, but we have a lot to learn about them. However, I can say that the performances are already beyond brilliant. I just hope that we get the character development we need because these three actors are so incredible and I want to continue watching them shine across the screen.

Lovecraft Country HBO 2
Images courtesy of HBO

The last thirty minutes of the pilot episode are beyond terrifying.

My attention may have been wavering throughout the setup of the episode. The pilot is actually quite long, but when I got to the last thirty minutes, it was like time stood still. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and there were some moments that actually truly frightened me. I definitely felt the J.J. Abrams vibe here, but it worked. More please! Although…I might have to watch with the lights on.

Lovecraft Country HBO 3
Images courtesy of HBO

Visually breathtaking.

The lighting and the colors used were just stunning. I also thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack. It really helped transport me somewhere else without overdoing it.

The Cons:

Lovecraft Country HBO 4
Images courtesy of HBO

Slow moving at times.

It felt like there was a lot of setup throughout the episode, but almost for the wrong things. I wanted to know more about our main characters, but my attention began to trail off several times and this was a long episode.

I’m not really sure what this show wants to be.

While I knew that there would be several genres blending together in this show, I was a little lost at the end. There are elements of sci-fi, horror, and drama, but I’m not sure if the show has necessarily claimed its true identity just yet. However, I’m still invested enough and I would like to find out more.

So am I in or out?

Lovecraft Country HBO 5
Images courtesy of HBO

I’m in about 75 percent! The last thirty minutes changed my tune quite a bit. The show reveals a lot and really exposes the horror of Sundown towns and extreme racism. There is enough going on to give this show the potential to become something truly magnificent. However, I’m hoping that its wavering identity doesn’t get in the way because this talented cast deserves an entertaining story. Either way, I’m planning on watching the remaining episodes and I have high hopes.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Lovecraft Country 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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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…

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My performance of the week ending 2/22/20 on TV goes to…

Cynthia Erivo as Holly Gibney on HBO’s The Outsider.

If you are a fan of slow burn mysteries, this show may be perfect for you, but I was not sure how I felt about it until Holly Gibney showed up, lighting the way to an intriguing story and some spine-tingling moments that still have me cringing.

Cynthia Erivo’s portrayal of Holly is so incredible and she is the BEST part of the series.

**Please note major spoilers have been left out for your convenience.**

The mystery behind The Outsider is dark and disturbing, as a hooded stranger seeps into the cracks of this small town with threatening and cryptic messages, along with some unspeakable acts. To make matters worse, he seems to be getting away with his unspeakable crimes, infecting people who essentially take the fall for his bad deeds. But, is this town capable of accepting a supernatural presence that defies all rational explanation?

The Outsider HBO 1
Images courtesy of HBO

Well, one person is ready and willing to look deep into the depths of this mystery. Holly asks, “Can a person be in two places at the same time?” Everyone recognizes that it’s not possible, but when evidence says otherwise, Holly is willing to search every lead to get to the truth.

Even when the others don’t believe her or think that she is wasting their time, she continues to do her job, showcasing her extraordinary attention to detail. Seriously, if I needed a private investigator, I would want Holly on my case.

Every scene with Holly is so incredible, as you almost feel like you are right there along with her, trying to figure out the mystery. Holly is brave and resourceful as well, proving to be a worthy opponent that no one should underestimate.

The Outsider HBO 2
Images courtesy of HBO

What’s next for Holly? Well, we know that the supernatural threat wants her out of the way, but I’m anxious to see how Holly will ultimately outsmart him. She has proven to be extremely perceptive and smart, but perhaps she needs some help. It’s time for someone else in town to have her back already!

Either way, I am extremely impressed by Cynthia Erivo’s performance and she never disappoints. Everyone on the show is incredible, but Erivo still stands out every single week. I’m not sure if I would have stuck around if not for her, which just goes to show you how much range she has as an actress. She pours her heart and soul out in every single role and she is so talented and believable.

I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight! 

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

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**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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Spoiler-Free Review of “The Outsider” on HBO: A Glimmer of Haunting Potential

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

In the midst of this slow burn crime drama, there is this potential for chilling perfection lurking in the shadows.  Combine that with an extremely talented cast, an intriguing plot, and some supernatural elements, and this could be the formula for a hypnotizing new show.

The Outsider premiered on HBO on January 12th 2020 with two full length back-to-back episodes.  The mini-series will feature 10 episodes (60 minutes in length).  It stars Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn, Cynthia Erivo, and Julianne Nicholson.

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, The Outsider follows the investigation behind the horrific murder of a young boy.  After evidence begins to appear quite quickly, things become much more complicated with potential supernatural forces at play, causing the lead investigator to question things further.

This slow burn crime drama has the potential to hook its audience completely, but does it do enough in its first two episodes to keep us coming back for more?  Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Outsider HBO 1
Images courtesy of HBO

An extremely talented cast.

The performances are so captivating and believable from the opening minutes of the series.  Having an all star cast definitely works in the show’s favor.  The characters are compelling enough and there are still a lot of secrets left to uncover, hooking us in that much more.

Some really creepy and gruesome elements.

There are some graphic images in this show, but it adds to the shock and horror behind the crime.  We also get some really creepy moments that I haven’t quite figured out yet, stirring with disturbing possibility.  The use of discord music to set some of these scenes is actually quite brilliant as well, really creating a world of unexplained mystery.

The Cons:

The Outsider HBO 2
Images courtesy of HBO

The pacing is slow…extremely slow.

I watched the two opening episodes back-to-back and felt like I was sitting there for over three hours.  I even almost fell asleep a few times because of that so I’m not sure that a double episode premiere was wise.

Moving forward, I will only watch one episode at a time.  There is a lot to process, but I am really hoping that the show can pick up some steam because that may be its biggest downfall.

So am I in or out?

The Outsider HBO 3
Images courtesy of HBO

I’m in…at least for now.  Episode 3 will introduce us to Cynthia Erivo’s character, Holly Gibney, and I am truly hoping that she can liven things up and start to make sense of this case.

The unexplained mystery is genuinely intriguing and I want to see this unfold, but things need to pick up so that I don’t lose interest completely.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice is available here!

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The 2020 Mid-Season TV Premieres I am most looking forward to: Bring on the new episodes!

Greetings TV Fans!  As we approach Mid-January, some of our absolute favorite shows will be returning with new episodes and we can also look forward to some brand new shows as well that have a lot of potential.  Looking to find out when they all start?  You came to the right place!

While some of our favorite returning shows already have 2020 premiere dates announced, others are still giving out a TBD 2020 response, as I vigilantly keep checking to see when they will be premiering.  It looks like we have several new shows with a lot of potential and some of our returning favorites seem very promising as well.

Without further delay, the 2020 Mid-season TV premieres I am most looking forward to are:

The Outsider

The Outsider HBO
Image courtesy of HBO

Premiere date:  January 12th 2020

Where to watch:  HBO

Based on Stephen King’s novel, this series will follow the murder investigation of a young boy, which leads a seasoned cop to question everything after discovering some supernatural forces and threats along the way.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Part 3)

Sabrina Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix

Premiere date:  January 24th 2020

Where to watch:  Netflix

Sabrina Spellman is back and we can’t wait to see what she does next!  Will she finally find a balance between being a mortal and a witch or will she lose herself to dark magic completely?

The Stranger

The Stranger Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix

Premiere date:  January 30th 2020

Where to watch:  Netflix

Adam Price seems to have it all.  That is, until a stranger approaches him one night and reveals a shocking secret that will change his life forever.  This new mystery thriller looks binge-watch promising for sure!

Katy Keene

Katy Keene The CW
Image courtesy of The CW

Premiere date:  February 6th 2020

Where to watch:  The CW

A spin-off of Riverdale Yes please!  Oh wait and it stars Pretty Little Liars’s Lucy Hale?  I’m in!

Locke & Key

Locke and key Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix

Premiere date:  February 7th 2020

Where to watch:  Netflix

Based on the graphic novel, this show follows a group of siblings who move into Keyhouse after their father is murdered, which leads to some creepy findings of their own.

Homeland Season 8 (Final Season)

Homeland Showtime
Image courtesy of Showtime

Premiere date:  February 9th 2020

Where to watch:  Showtime

It seems like it’s been quite some time since we’ve last checked in with Carrie Mathison, but it’s about time.  I can’t wait to see how it all ends!

The Haunting of Bly Manor (The Haunting of Hill House Season 2)

The Haunting of Bly Manor Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix

Premiere date: TBD 2020

Where to watch: Netflix

The second season of The Haunting of Hill House already looks extremely promising based on the premise.  Much like the AHS anthology, we will see several of the stars return from season one as we are welcomed into a new story, which will loosely follow The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.  Can’t wait!!!!

Cursed

Cursed Netflix
Image courtesy of Netflix

Premiere date: TBD 2020

Where to watch: Netflix

A fresh take on the Arthurian legend starring 13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford?  I’m definitely in!  This show is based on Frank Miller’s novel and will center around the Lady of the Lake (Nimue) story in a re imagined way.

Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft country HBO
Image courtesy of HBO

Premiere date: TBD 2020

Where to watch: HBO

A Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams team-up seems too good to be true, but that’s what we have here for this highly anticipated horror drama.  Based on the novel by Matt Ruff, this story follows Atticus Black, who is searching for his missing father.

Westworld (Season 3)

Westworld HBO
Image courtesy of HBO

Premiere date: March 15th 2020

Where to watch: HBO

Season 3 will bring us into a whole new world and if Aaron Paul is around for it, I’m in!

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere Hulu
Image courtesy of Hulu

Premiere date: March 18th 2020

Where to watch: Hulu

Starring the talented and amazing Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, this limited series will follow the fears of suburban mothers, which may give us some Big Little Lies and Desperate Housewives nostalgia for sure.  I’m in!

Stay tuned for reviews, recaps, and top five moments!  I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for new episodes to return and I am really looking forward to exploring these new promising shows!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post the shows you are looking forward to premiering in 2020 in the comments below.  I always love discovering new shows and that’s where you come in!  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

Dreaming of Wonderland Series Final Chapter Blog

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

Free Instant Preview of The Search for Alice 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! 

 

 

My performance of the week ending 7/27/19 on TV goes to…

Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright on HBO’s Big Little Lies season two.  I am always impressed with Nicole Kidman in every role, but her performance in Big Little Lies has been incredible over the past two seasons.  While I have some mixed thoughts on season two overall, Nicole’s performance continued to send chills down my spine.  It’s almost like you could feel everything that she was feeling, as she completely embodied the character of Celeste.  Please note some spoilers are ahead if you are not caught up on both seasons.

Celeste is so broken and fragile, especially after everything she has recently gone through.  In season two, it almost seems like she is sleepwalking through her life until she gets a huge wake up call.  And yet, through all the mistakes, she is still able to ultimately channel her inner strength and stand up in front of the court to fight for her sons.  Some of Celeste’s actions are questionable and it’s clear that she does need some help, but she loves her children unconditionally and she refuses to be a victim here.

It was unsettling and heartbreaking to witness what Celeste had to go through on the stand, but she somehow decides to defend herself, taking matters into her own hands.  Celeste cross examines her mother-in-law, who is played brilliantly by Meryl Streep, but her mother-in-law definitely knows how to cross boundaries and she pushes a lot of buttons along the way.

Celeste maintains her composure and sets the record straight, bringing to light some interesting revelations.  In the season two finale, I was utterly and completely captivated by Nicole’s performance.  Celeste almost reminded me of a bird with a broken wing, now discovering that she can fly again, which was inspiring to watch.

What’s next for Celeste?  We’ll have to wait and see and I am uncertain if we will see any future episodes of the series.  We are left with another cliffhanger, although it certainly did not have the shock factor of the season one finale, but I am hoping that Celeste uses this win to also recognize that she does need help so that she can truly be there for her children.  Either way, Nicole’s performance is note-worthy and even though season two did not compare to season one for me, she continued to hold my undivided attention, proving to be a worthy actress in every single role.

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight! 

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

**Special Summer Book Sale going on from 7/24-19-7/30/19. Each book on sale for 0.99 cents! 

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

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