Spoiler-Free Review of “Helstrom” on Hulu: Where’s the horror?

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

“I’m not here to hold hands or save a cat from a tree or respond to false alarms….”

Helstrom is a new superhero horror series on Hulu, which premiered as part of their Huluween line-up on October 16th 2020 with 10 episodes available to stream now (approximately 55 minutes in length). It stars Tom Austen, Sydney Lemmon, and Elizabeth Marvel.

Based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe character, Daimon Hellstrom (Son of Satan), the series follows siblings, Daimon and Ana Helstrom. The estranged siblings possess supernatural abilities that aid in their quest to exorcise demons and eliminate threats, while they come to terms with their dark past.

Here is the trailer:

A horror superhero series could be filled with lots of potential, but it’s concerning that Marvel removed its name from the title. Either way, I went into this show hoping for some welcomed dark horror, along with some new unique characters. But does Helstrom do enough to earn a watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Helstrom Elizabeth Marvel

Images courtesy of Hulu

Elizabeth Marvel is bloody fantastic!

I was a fan of hers already, but wow does she play this part well. She is the mother of Daimon and Ana and is showing signs of being possessed by a demon. We’ve seen show after show featuring some kind of demon possession, but I have to say that she frightened me and in a very good way.

Ana’s wardrobe is to die for.

Helstrom Ana

Images courtesy of Hulu

Every single time she made an entrance, I was drooling over her wardrobe and then some. Ana was the stronger character for me throughout the series, but her amazing outfits definitely helped capture my attention.

The Cons:

Helstrom on Hulu

Images courtesy of Hulu

Slow, unfocused, and sloppy.

I really had high hopes for this show and the cast had the potential to really bring it to life, but the execution did not translate well. The pacing is extremely slow, the reveals are not rewarding enough, and the characters don’t have enough layers to keep you invested. 

There have been plenty of shows about demonic possession and jaded antiheroes reminding us of the good vs. evil premise that just do this better. Shows like Lucifer, Constantine, Outcast, and Supernatural come to mind.

Unworthy of the horror label.

I was actually really excited to watch another horror superhero premise. There is something to be said about the dark line between right and wrong and the darkness that lurks beneath the surface of humanity.

Unfortunately, Helstrom never really earned its horror badge. There were a few cringe-worthy scenes that were displeasing to the eye, but that’s about it…

So am I in or out?

Helstrom on Hulu 2

Images courtesy of Hulu

I’m in for the fashion, but unfortunately I’m out on this watch.

The show fell into the forgettable limbo of overdone demonic possession shows for me. The pacing was slow and there were a lot of missed opportunities. 

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

If you have time, I would love it if you would check out my book, Dash and Seek in the link below. Thank you and I hope you enjoy!

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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…

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! 

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:

Warrior Nun Netflix 1
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…

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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…

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! 

Spoiler-Free Review of “The Order” Season 2 on Netflix: Surprisingly Addicting with Amazing Guest Stars

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

“It can’t be a secret society if outsiders know your secrets…”

The Order season two premiered on Netflix on June 18th 2020. It features 10 episodes (47-50 minutes in length) and it stars Jake Manley, Sarah Grey, Adam DiMarco, Katharine Isabelle, and Louriza Tronco.

Secret societies, dark magic rituals, and werewolves are back for season two, as we pick up right where we left off.

Season two is jam-packed with quite a lot, but are we ready to sign up for the Hermetic Order of the Blue Rose? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

The Order Season 2 Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

Deliciously dark magic rituals.

I thought that season two did an even better job than season one with bringing us into some serious dark magic rituals. Whether our favorite characters were performing a spell or summoning a demon, there were some cringe-worthy scenes that really allowed this series to embrace its supernatural horror qualities. 

The Order Season 2 Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

More please!

Villaness worthy Vera Stone!

The Order Season 2 Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

I don’t know about you, but I would love to see a spin-off series featuring Vera and maybe we could throw in Mary Wardwell (Lilith) from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I think they would make a bewitching tag team.

Vera is the Villaness you love to hate, but we actually get to see several sides of her in season two, which added to the growth of her character. She’s strong, sexy, and a bad-ass magic practitioner you do not want to cross.

Her wardrobe is absolutely incredible as well!

Incredible Guest Stars!

The Order Season 2 Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Beverly Hills, 90210 fans will be beyond ecstatic when they see who appears on screen. I thought this was so much fun and I was cheering for these cameos/characters more than some of the main characters. The guest stars actually helped lighten up some of the heavy teen drama going on, which I appreciated. You won’t be disappointed!

The Cons:

The Order Season 2 Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

Too reliant on ships.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good ship and I didn’t even really mind the will-they-won’t-they vibe between Jack and Alyssa, but the show relied a little too much on some of these teen drama moments and it didn’t really need them. This made it seem like more of a watered down version of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Charmed (reboot) and The Vampire Diaries at times.

The Order is actually really dark and different on its own and when it centers around these ships for too long, you start to make comparisons…

A lot going on.

I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a con, but you need to pay attention. There are a lot of characters and a lot of plot twists. I strongly recommend watching season two right after season one or at least watching the recap.

So am I in or out?

The Order Season 2 Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in! This show is really entertaining and the twists and character dynamics will keep you invested. I actually may have enjoyed it even more than season one.

The Order is binge-watch worthy and I highly recommend it, especially since there is a gap in new shows and episodes right now.

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

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! 

Spoiler-Free Review of “October Faction” on Netflix: Freakish Potential with Flat Delivery

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

A Mr. and Mrs. Smith type couple that fights supernatural monsters while balancing in some normal family drama.  Sounds like it could be oozing with eerie potential.

October Faction premiered on Netflix on January 23rd 2020 with 10 new episodes (40 minutes in length).  It stars Tamara Taylor, J.C. MacKenzie, Aurora Burghart, Gabriel Darku, and Maxim Roy.

The show is based on the comic series, The October Faction, introducing us to the Allen family.  After a family tragedy, The Allens move back to their hometown, but the supernatural threats continue to track them down.  Deloris and Fred’s twin children, Viv and Geoff, also deal with their own share of issues, especially when they start to discover that they may have some supernatural abilities of their own.

This is not the first time we have seen a horror/supernatural series try to balance out monsters and demons with family drama.  Think of successful series like Supernatural, Charmed, and Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House.  While the show has a lot of promise and potential, it seems like a lot of it was stifled by the uninspiring execution, along with the timing of being released the day prior to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

That being said, October Faction does have some redeeming qualities, but is it worthy of your next binge-watch?  Let’s find out…

The Pros:

October Faction Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

A fantastic villain with otherworldly abilities.

Played by Maxim Roy, Alice, really breathes new life into the show.  The mystery surrounding her is the most intriguing part of the series and she really performs some cringe-worthy acts with her powers that will make you think twice about going up against her.

Likable characters.

The Allen family may have a lot of dark secrets, but they also deal with everyday problems as well.  The balance works well, as we leave the monster hunting in the background and focus on the character dynamics.

The twins, Viv and Geoff, have to deal with a lot of identity searching in high school and their performances are believable and captivating.  Plus, they have some pretty awesome abilities too!

The Cons:

October Faction Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

Way too much set-up in the opening episodes.

The show starts off really slow and boring with a few sprinkles of potential here and there, but it was honestly a struggle to watch episodes 1-3.  Normally, if this was a weekly show, I would have tuned out by now, but I gave it a chance since I could watch all the episodes at once.

Surprisingly, episodes 4-9 are actually quite brilliant and the plot really takes off with interesting twists and reveals.  However, I can’t ignore the fact that the first three episodes are just so uninspiring and I have a feeling many of you might tune out.  However, if you are willing to take a chance, episode 4 is where things really start to pick up.

So am I in or out?

October Faction Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

This is a tough one.  I’m in for episodes 4-9, which were binge-watch worthy, but overall, I am out because the opening episodes were so dull and the ending was kind of all over the place.  I’m frustrated about this one because this show could have been fantastic and it almost felt rushed and clumsily put together.

I would recommend that you watch shows like Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Light as a Feather first if you are looking for an entertaining supernatural watch, but if you are willing to put the work into watching October Faction, there are some entertaining moments sprinkled in.

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

**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!

**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! 

 

 

Spoiler-Free Review of “You” Season 2 on Netflix: Lifetime Dexter Does It Again

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

Obsession looks good on Joe Goldberg, played brilliantly by Penn Badgley.  After season one became a streaming sensation on Netflix, I was slightly worried that season two would not be able to deliver, but starting over in a new town gave us plenty of opportunities to witness Joe’s dark narrative come alive once again.

You (season two) began streaming new episodes on December 26th 2019 on Netflix.  Season two features ten episodes (about 50 minutes in length).  It stars Penn Badgley, Victoria Pedretti, James Scully, Ambyr Childers, Carmela Zumbado, and Jenna Ortega.

In season two, Joe moves from New York to L.A. and is determined to get a fresh start as “Will,” but things get complicated when he falls in love with his new romantic interest, Love.  He quickly becomes entangled in her family drama, which mostly involves her twin brother, Forty.  Joe tries to be a better person, but the darkness within him continues to stir, as he starts to lose self-control once again.

If you loved season one, you are probably wondering if season two lives up to it?  Let’s find out!

The Pros:

You Netflix 6
Images courtesy of Netflix

Strong supporting characters that steal the show.

As much as I love listening to Joe’s moody narrative, it can get a bit stale if we don’t shake things up with some interesting characters.  My biggest issue with season one was that I actually really didn’t like Beck as a character.  In season two, I really thought that Love had a lot of potential, but I was also intrigued by her twin brother, Forty, who is absolutely hilarious.

Joe’s new neighbors, Delilah and Ellie, are also both fantastic.  You care about their stories and they really allowed us to see Joe/Will’s struggle to be a hero you can count on.  Being a serial killer can get in the way of this; however, but these characters spark a lot of goodness within him, which really helps him grow as a person despite all of his past inner demons.

Joe’s backstory is revealed and seamless connections to season one questions.

We get a lot of flashbacks sprinkled in during the episodes about Joe’s childhood, which help us understand him a bit more.  Even though we get a new setting and characters for season two, I thought the connections to season one worked perfectly.  They weren’t forced or excessive and they really answered a lot of questions that I had without hitting us over the head with unnecessary cameos.

Really great twists.

I did not see the ultimate twist coming and I was very impressed with it, bringing me in that much more.  This show is addicting and I tend to watch it all in one sitting because I don’t want anyone to spoil it for me.  Each reveal was well timed and I actually thought this season was even better than the first.

The Cons:

You Netflix 4
Images courtesy of Netflix

Less kills than season one.

I mean, I guess that shows growth in Joe’s character, but I kind of missed seeing all of the Dexter-like kills from season one, but the ones we do get are rewarding enough.  That being said, it’s hard to continue listening to Joe’s conflicted narrative when we don’t get some surprising kills thrown into the mix to balance that out.

Can’t escape that Lifetime feel.

The show actually did originally air on Lifetime and Netflix ended up picking it up, but there are a lot of scenes that just scream Lifetime with so many over dramatic moments.  But to be honest, that’s why we are watching this.  I can’t say that this surprised me and we witness so many real and honest performances to balance this out, but there were some scenes that were just a little bit too outrageous.

So am I in or out?

You Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in 100 percent!  I really enjoyed season one of the show, but I loved season two even more. “I wolf you season two!”

This show is beyond addicting.  It’s dark and obsessive, but it also has so many genuine moments of compassion and humor. 

Stand out character:  Forty, who basically stole the show for me. 

Season two was also not afraid to make fun of itself, even having one of the characters comparing Joe’s actions to Dexter, which I appreciated.

The twists were so great and the pacing worked so well, making this show the perfect one to binge-watch.  I hope that we get a season three because this show is fantastic!

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

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

[twitter-follow screen_name=’TV_Fanatic_Girl’]

**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!

**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!