Recent User Reviews
Neil deGrasse Tyson does not have to prove himself as a science television host—he is already well known and tremendously popular because of the Nova ScienceNOW series. He has become the anointed successor of Carl Sagan's legendary 13-part series of the same name, not just because he's an astrophysicist but because he met Sagan and was mentored by him when he was just a teenager, and he has Sagan's 1975 agenda with his name penned in to prove it.
Tyson was destined to return with another television science series, given his talent, his popularity, and his charisma, but did we really need a repeat of Carl Sagan's series of 30 years ago? As someone who watched every episode that was aired in the 1980's, I was not that interested in a review of some of the old show's best features, such as the Spaceship of the Imagination which keeps soaring through the universe like a pod. It doesn't look like a spaceship. And Tyson, like Sagan, has once again presented the calendar of the universe, which shows us that if the 13.8-billion year history of the cosmos were compressed into one year, the appearance of humans only comprises the last hour or the last few minutes of the calendar. There is a voice-over from Sagan's original program, and at the end of the episode, there is a little memorial to Carl Sagan and a series of still photos. The program was written, directed, and executive produced by Ann Druyan, Sagan's widow. Her preoccupation with preserving the memory and legacy of her late husband does not add any aesthetic or informational value to the program's objective.
One break with convention for this type of documentary is the introduction of animation to dramatize certain historical narratives. This type of historical realism is usually included in documentaries with the use of real actors and not cartoons. It's a little too jarring to juxtapose the grand futuristic stage of space exploration with cartoon figures depicting the life of sixteenth-century Giordano Bruno, a friar who was burned at the stake for his belief in a grand universe filled with many suns and many planets. Nevertheless, Bruno's animated story is significant. His method was extremely unscientific—he had a vision where he “saw” the cosmos in all its splendor. This was a scientifically fascinating history lesson, with religious overtones, but Tyson is careful to note that Bruno's insight was just “a lucky guess,” thereby undermining the magic and the mystery of the very story he introduces to his audience.
Science has to be objective, there's no doubt about it, but there are scientists of faith who scrutinize the universe every day with their unrelenting scientific method and still manage to show up in churches, temples, and synagogues to commune with a higher power. Tyson is an atheist, and so was Sagan (who called himself an “agnostic,” but it's basically the same thing), and so is Ann Druyan. Unfortunately, Druyan could not keep her atheistic agenda out of the script. Science atheists who go over the top don't even realize that they have in fact turned science into a religion, as seen in the belief system of such scientists as Sam Harris, who made the preposterous announcement that all moral dilemmas can be resolved with scientific reasoning and logic, thereby implicitly dismissing generations of philosophers and theologians, and arrogantly implying that all such intellectuals are inferior to scientists. In truth, almost any scientific principle can be embraced by all the major faiths, even Darwinism can be attributed to the guiding hand of a divine presence, showing that in the end, most religions can occupy a moderate ground that is more tolerant, understanding, and accepting than the scientific atheists. Atheism is just another religion, rather limited in its vision, not to mention more than just a little fanatical.
In spite of the flaws of this program that keep hitting the viewer in the face (cartoons, jumping around from one topic to the next, dull storytelling), Tyson manages to be charming and mesmerizing as always, and he carries the show with an easy grace. Maybe Druyan's script will improve with the next episode. If not, Tyson still has a career in television.… Full Review »
I must say, this show was very funny, I believe most of the negative critic given were from people who enjoy clean comedy. If you like Funny mexican/racist comedies, or any of Seth Rogen/James Franco/Danny McBribe, Or dave chappelle, I think you would enjoy this show, even though I think is too early to critic the show since there's only 1 episode out.… Full Review »
House of Cards is a television drama produced by Netflix, a subscription service that allows its customers to stream shows and movies over the internet. Although Netflix is popular, the company’s ability to produce a series that has received several awards, nine Emmy nominations, and four Golden Globe nominations after only two seasons is impressive to many. Among the impressed include well-known internet review sites such as Metacritic.com, IMDB.com, and RottenTomatoes.com.
House of Cards is a binge-worthy political drama which Netflix first premiered in 2013 and then released a second season in February of 2014. This show has absolutely set a new bar for the drama genre of television. Kevin Spacey plays a downright evil politician, Frank Underwood, who is working his way toward presidency of the United States by any means necessary. The lengths he goes to in order to hide his secrets, eliminate competition, and throw wrenches in others’ plans are baffling. Don’t get too attached to characters in this series. Much like George R.R. Martin, writer of Game of Thrones, House of Cards writer Beau Willimon keeps his audience on the edge of their seats, wondering who may be eliminated next by Underwood’s ruthless desire for power.
Orange is the New Black was another series produced by Netflix in 2013 which similarly pushed the boundaries of television drama, however House of Cards is even more captivating. As Americans, we can relate to the show’s scandals and dirty politics because what we witness in our own media is a mild version of similar events. This series simply takes that aspect of United States politics and stretches it to the edge of believability. The relationships, although definitely unordinary, are oddly relatable as well. The show is written in a way that feels as if the powerful characters, like Frank and his wife Claire, speak what we already expect them to be thinking. It removes boundaries we would expect to have in conversations we would be part of, allowing the audience to live vicariously through the characters’ brutal honesty. There are even moments in each episode where Underwood speaks into the camera as if he were speaking directly to the viewer. Kevin Spacey’s portrayal is chilling and cannot leave any viewer unintrigued.
This series is worth watching, although viewers should be forewarned that all twenty-six episodes, each at least fifty minutes in duration, are available to stream at your convenience. Be prepared to have no control over your ability to stop watching. House of Cards is the most beautifully, creatively, tenaciously written series I have seen.… Full Review »
I'm very disappointed. Really cheap and cheesy graphics. The progression feels very rushed. The storytelling is fragmented. The music is at times poorly mixed, and annoying. I am a huge fan of Neil Degrasse Tyson, and I was hoping for something better than this. Surely the producers could have given him something more to work with than this.… Full Review »