Monday, January 25, 2021

Reviews – Wanda Vision, Westworld, Raised by Wolves, and Lovecraft Country; Dream Theater – Distant Memories Live in London Review; IWSG and More

Television Series Reviews

Wanda Vision

Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision -two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives-begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
You may have watched the first episode and really wondered if that was what this series was about. But, keep watching!
Structured like sitcoms in different eras, the episodes have moments of dread that make it creepy, especially in the middle of a wacky sitcom.
There are so many things going on. Marvel fans really need to pay attention to catch everything.
Three episodes in, I am super curious to see where this goes!


Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, explore a world in which every human appetite can be indulged without consequence.
I wasn’t sure I’d like this show, but I dug the direction it went.
It’s an HBO series, so lots of nudity, violence, and language. (Like they do.)
The best part, besides the faux Western backdrop, is the main actors – in particular, Hopkins and Harris. And Harris is spectacular. Such a bastard!
My only complaint is it can get too talky sometimes.

Raised by Wolves

Androids are tasked with raising human children on a mysterious planet.
This is one bat-crap crazy show!
I thought I’d be turned off by the atheist versus religious narrative, but I find it intriguing.
It’s very violent and contains language. (HBO, no surprise.) It’s also very dark and extremely strange.
It’s certainly holding my interest.

Lovecraft Country

A young African-American travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search of his missing father.
Interesting setting, especially with the paranormal elements thrown in.
HBO series, so no surprise - gore, nudity, and language.
It’s an intriguing show with a really likeable cast.
Not a lot of actual Lovecraft elements in it, at least not in the first few shows. But maybe more appear later.

Dream Theater – Distant Memories Live in London

This is two and a half hours of Dream Theater bliss!
It’s a CD-DVD combo pack, so you get the live concert two ways.
There is nothing better than watching masters of their instruments perform, especially John Petrucci, one of the greatest guitarists in the world.
Included in the performance is the album Scenes From a Memory done in its entirety. Something I never thought I’d see!
For any fan of prog rock, this is a must!

IWSG and More

Last week’s #IWSGPit Twitter pitch event was a huge success!
Thousands upon thousands of Tweets and quite a few with likes from agents and publishers.
Thanks to all the writers who pitched their manuscripts and to the IWSG Admins for monitoring the feed all day long.
If you participated, let us know what you thought of the events. And if you land a publisher or agent, definitely let us know!
We’ll be back next January with the next #IWSGPit.

The Write Life Top 100!
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is once again on The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers.
This is now five years in a row for this honor.
Thanks to all of you for making the IWSG what it is.

Out now:
Witches’ Knickers by Angela Wooldridge
Martha is tidying the hedgerows while she tries to ignore what a mess her life is in. Molly and her sisters are uncovering a family secret.
Kelly is beginning to suspect that this spy training lark isn’t the fun adventure she’d hoped it would be.
Patsy is about to confront an old mistake.
Join them and many other characters in these fourteen contemporary short stories by Angela Wooldridge.

Find it on Amazon UK and Amazon US

In Honor of Jo Wake

On February 3, share a recipe that brings them warm memories of friendship and love in honor of blogger Josephine “Jo” Wake at Jo on Food, Life, and a Scent of Chocolate. who passed away December 16, 2020.

Have you seen any of those four shows and what did you think? Heard the new Dream Theater? Participated in #IWSGPit? Joining us for Jo’s tribute next week? It’s also IWSG week, so don’t forget!


Annalisa Crawford said...

My husband's watching WandaVision. He's given up asking me if I want to watch new things because I'm deep in novel-writing and can't give more than a random grunt at the moment. I think he's enjoying it.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

I wish I could watch Wanda Vision, but we do not subscribe to Disney +. I'll check with Mrs. Shady to see if we can swing it. I want to see Westworld. I like Hopkins and Harris and two of the actresses: Evan Rachel Wood from Once and Again and Across the Universe, and Thandie Newton, having watched her first film Flirting (1991) co-starring Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts, and currently watching her in the role of 'Kem' on ER. I've seen the trailers for Lovecraft Country and it's also on my must see list as soon as we can work HBO into the budget.

I'm getting a kick out of Big Sky, my recommendation for you.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

kaykuala said...

Had not seen the 4 shows perhaps an opportunity can present itself later. The Top 100 would certainly be a useful lead. The best grand designs for the coming week, Alex


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Looks like I'll have to check out Wanda Vision! Our 1-year trial for Disney Plus is set to expire in a few weeks, but my husband is liking The Mandalorian, so I see us extending it. :)

Joanne said...

we've checked out Wanda Vision. I'm intrigued, Ray's confused. I've read a bit on-line because there's so much I don't get or remember from all the Marvel stuff. It makes more sense now. We'll see how it develops - definitely some creepy mysteries building.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

"WANDA/VISION" has been really entertaining, though I think the show is about to make a turn into the darkness. I was watching "LOVECRAFT COUNTRY", it became a little too much for me and I turned it off. The other shows I tried, really I did and it didn't pull me in.

I hope all is well, I am starting to do my A2Z art/design and that has been bringing me out of my funk.

Have a duper-super day my friend!


Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on making the Write Life list. I watched the first season or two of Westworld and really enjoyed it. But then I cut HBO due to the cost so haven't been able to finish it. Glad you're enjoying it.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm interested in what your take on Clarice will be. I don't think it's out yet, at least, I can't find it other than the previews. But I hope it's good. I'm a huge Tomas Harris fan. Thanks for all the reviews, Alex. Makes my life easier.

Patricia Stoltey said...

We don't subscribe to HBO so I wait until the good shows show up on Netflix or Amazon. Mostly I tend to watch lighter stuff these days.

Computer Tutor said...

Another amazing collection. Not into dark so a few got knocked off by that. Your reviews are excellent--pithy, concise, decisive.

Cathrina Constantine said...

A huge congratulations to IWSG!!!

I haven't seen any shows that you mentioned. Though, I'm hoping to watch Wanda Vision soon.

Have a nice week!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shady, you can try both channels for ten bucks each for one month and see what you think of their programming.

Elizabeth, they have a lot of new superhero shows in the making. Watch Wanda Vision and you'll want to keep Disney+.

Joanne, yes!

Jeremy, not sure if I'll pick back up on Lovecraft County. Wanda Vision went dark at the end of the third show, that's for sure. Now, back to A2Z stuff and kick that funk.

Natalie, that's why I'm trying to get through these shows.

Thanks, Cathrina.

Anonymous said...

I started to watch Raised by Wolves and by the end of the first episode I wasn't really sure I liked it or not. Then again, we had to keep stopping it for one reason or another. Maybe I need to watch another episode, interruption-free, and see if I can get into it.

Have a great week, Alex!


Angela Wooldridge said...

Thanks for the plug Alex :)

I got a bit bored with Raised by Wolves about halfway through. My husband kept watching it so I caught the end of the last episode. I didn't feel that I'd missed out.

Caught the first episode of WandaVision; quirky & looking forward to more.

Elephant's Child said...

I am unsurprised that the ISWG is in the top 100 again. It does an amazing job.
I look forward to reading the recipe you have selected to honour Jo. A lot.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Congratulations on being on the list. Yay! I watch very little TV so am not familiar with the ones you mention. I prefer to read and take long walks. Have a super week.

SpacerGuy said...

I havent seen these movies yet but they look good. Congratulations on the Insecure Writers Support Group getting listed for Best Websites for Writers. It takes dedication to get recognized for hard work. I'm on a few sci-fi lists myself.

Birgit said...

I don't have any streaming services and I do not have HBO so I can't see any of these shows. The first one with the Avengers sounds really cool and one that reminds me of The Truman Show. I would be interested in Raised by Wolves as well but I can just imagine those young kids being screwed up later. I will share a recipe in honour of Jo. Do we use our own recipe or find one of hers? She was such a lovely lady.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for all the great reviews! I plan to watch Wandavision soon, as we are making our way through the MCU again.
Excited to see IWSG made the list again!

Liz A. said...

I watched Westworld when HBO first broadcast it. Yes, it's odd. That third season... I think I need to do a rewatch, especially season 1 after that ending...

I was wondering what Raised by Wolves was about. I'll add it to my "maybe" list after I finish season 2 of His Dark Materials. Are you watching that? Season 1 was very odd, but I stuck with it. I'm really loving season 2, much more than season 1.

J E Oneil said...

Look at all those shows I can't watch since I don't have HBO. I can't even remember the last time I watched a show on Network or Cable.

nashvillecats2 said...

Dream Theatre sounds good Alex, again another post filled with news and reviews.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elsie, it does take a couple episodes.

Angela, you're welcome!

Spacer Guy, that's cool.

Birgit, I believe one of your own.

Tyrean, you'll enjoy it.

Andrew Leon said...

We actually re-watched the first two episodes of WandaVision (because my daughter wasn't home the first time through), and it's even better on the re-watch. You know more about where to pay attention to. I really want to see what they're doing with this show.

Westworld kind of lost me in season three, which is not to say that I'm not going to watch season four, but they left behind all of the elements that make the first two seasons enjoyable.

John Wiswell said...

I definitely need to try Lovecraft Country. It's on my HBO Max watch list. I'm going to drop into it as my exercise show after I finish Demon Hunter.

Truedessa said...

Congratulations for making the top 100 list. Thanks for the reviews now, I have an idea what is out there. I haven’t had much time to watch anything. Busy with work and I am just tired.

Have a safe and happy week!

Jenni said...

My husband and son are really into Wanda Vision. It sounds really intriguing, although I might not pick up on the Marvel clues.
Congrats on making the 100 list! Well deserved!

Pat Hatt said...

I'm waiting for Wandavision to be done and then watching it. I watched the first season of Westworld, as you say, was talky and it seemed to drag a bit, so never went back after that.

Sarah Foster said...

I've been wanting to check out Wanda Vision. I'll probably catch up on it sometime this week. said...

I'm very sorry to learn about Jo.

Doesn't feel right to say much else, but I do want to congratulate you and the crew for landing IWSG on the top 100 Writer's websites again.

Take care, Alex.

mshatch said...

Loved Westworld. Everyone was so awesome, and I was so invested in the characters! Also adored Lovecraft Country and am still thinking about it at times, especially Ruby. Oh, and Lettie's outfits were to die for, assuming you had the figure to pull it off, which she did. I also want to watch Wanda Vision and you've made me want to watch Raised by Wolves so thanks for that!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Andrew, I'm not quite that far yet.

Pat, you binge-watcher you!

Robyn, we all miss Jo.

Marcy, happy watching then!

XmasDolly said...

Hello my friend, and how are you and yours doing? Fine I hope. I'm still struggling with my back & leg, and now my husband slipped on the ice and has a tiny fracture in his hip, but believe me it's not so little to him. It's really painful. He uses a heating pad a lot. It's the only relief he gets from pain. Bummer! So now all the work of the household is on me and shopping and I'm not supposed to be driving yet, but I manage. As you probably know my blog went down the tubes. I shared with two other women and they decided to fold. :( I cannot afford one on my own at the prices out there unless I'm looking in the wrong places, but it's true I had to tighten our belt since Save fell. Anyway, I've tried doing the but I just cannot figure the bugger out. A friend of mine gave me directions, but now I'm more confused. :( Wonder how much these .com's cost? The ones I had with the girls was like ten bucks I think it was every 2months or 3. I forget. ~sigh~ So, I surely miss blogging big time, but when you can't afford... well you know what I mean. So anyway thought I'd stop and say HELLO & hope you had a nice Christmas & New Year and that you & your family are safe from the dreaded COVID. My youngest daughter just got the shot because she's a "First Responder" (nurse in Missouri), but I still worry about her... well I'll stop by again.. my email is HAVE A GREAT DAY!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Wanda Vision sounds fascinating and I wouldn't mind checking it out though I've been kind of cynical about the Disney Co. for the past several years. But it sounds like my kind of sf/f series. I might prefer Wonka Vision instead. Lol (If you've seen the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie adaptation you'll get the joke.) I haven't seen the TV series Lovecraft Country but I read the book during the summer. Except for the author and some of the titles of his work, the Lovecraftian elements were relatively subtle but the book was super!

Magic Love Crow said...

My mom and brother watched WestWorld. I just peaked at it sometimes! LOL! Wanda Vision sounds interesting! Thanks for all the reviews Alex! Congrats for making the top 100 list! Take Care!

Nilanjana Bose said...

Congrats on making the top 100! Not that I am surprised at all. Dream Theatre sounds awesome. The shows - I'm queasy about maybe best stay away..

Have a great week.

Mary Kirkland said...

There's so many new shows and movies to watch. Wandavision looks good.

Ray Rousell said...

Westworld is a great show, dunno if I fancy Wanda Vision or not??? Raised by Wolves sounds interesting though. I'm halfway through rewatching Battlestar Galactica. Now what a show that is!

Sandra Cox said...

I'm not familiar with Wanda, but your review intrigues me.
Hope your day is pleasant and creative.

Chemist Ken said...

While Wanda may be interesting, I'm not paying Disney to subscribe to their channel.

Debra Renée Byrd said...

I tried to watch Westworld and was bored. I absolutely love WandaVision! That moment at the dinner table in the first episode really hooked me. Lovecraft Country is based on a book, not totally on Lovecraft himself. I need to read it. It was confusing in some parts, but I still really liked it.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I'd like to see WandaVision, but don't want to pay for another plan. Especially Disney+. Maybe if I had grandkids, but I don't.

I watched Lovecraft Country and enjoyed it. It really got strange toward the end, but I like strange, so no problems for me.

Patsy said...

Witches Knickers caught my attention. It's not often I see my name in a book blurb! Can't actually be about me though, as I make fresh mistakes rather than dealing with old ones.

Kimberlee Turley said...

My husband owns his own business, volunteers for our church, and is working on a PhD in business and somehow finds time to watch various sitcoms during the day. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I haven't felt like I have had time to sit down and watch any TV since before my son was born.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Marie, we miss you! Maybe a little help and you can figure out a free Blogspot blog. Or Wordpress. Really sorry about your husband.

Steven, funny! Bet the book is better than the series. But you should check out Wanda Vision. And The Madalorian!

Ray, it's quirky and both light and dark.

Ken, had to anyway - The Mandalorian.

Stacy, we actually watch quite a bit of Disney+'s programming. It surprised me.

Patsy, funny!

Kimberlee, must be a special trait we dudes possess.

Sandra Cox said...

Well you lost me at gore, violence and nudity:)

Powdered Toast Man said...

dammit Alex, now I have another show to watch. You should have said Wanda vision was crap.

Sandra Cox said...

So glad to hear the pitch was a success.
Hope lots of manuscripts find homes.
And speaking of manuscripts, how is yours coming, Alex?

Murees Dupè said...

Congratulations on being included in the top 100 websites. That is truly remarkable. I hope you and your family are still healthy and doing well. Wishing you and your loved ones a great 2021.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Raised By Wolves was such a strange show I had to bail and go to You Tube to see how it ended and I was so glad I bailed. It went no where. I am enjoying Wanda Vision and visiting all the Easter Egg sites and I never do that with any show so I hope the payoff is worth it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - I've been watching a few of 'our or Scandinavian' tv series here ... and no doubt at some stage will give yours a go. So glad the IWSG Twitter pitch is being successful - let's hope we'll be cheering new authors and new books on ...
Jo's recipe ... better get thinking! Cheers for now - Hilary

Christine Rains said...

I finally joined the rest of the world and got Disney+ this month. Loving WandaVision. It has layers! I loved what I've seen of Lovecraft Country too, but you're right, not enough Lovecraftian stuff. Hope you're doing well, Alex! :)

Fundy Blue said...

So many shows that look good, Alex! I wish we still had HBO. Right now Netflix and Amazon Prime are filling our tv time. The Expanse is a favorite sci fi series of mine. Have a good one!

H. R. Sinclair said...

Congrats on the awards for IWSG! Very nice.

I like Lovecraft County. I like the first season of Westworld but faded out the following season.

mail4rosey said...

I'm feeling pretty out of the loop because I don't know any of these. We do watch TV sometimes, but it's pretty rare. We're always out doing the sports thing (cuz there's a teen in the house). ;) Here to wish you a happy day.

Jennifer Lane said...

My sister and her family LOVE Westworld. I tried to get into it, but it was a little slow for me. Then a friend told me that it's about AI gaining consciousness, and it sounded more interesting, so I might give it another chance.

Jennifer Lane said...

Hi, I left a comment but I don't think it posted.

J.Q. Rose said...

We're one of those folks who cut the cable on TV and use the antenna, however, we have to sign up to cable for the internet service and use Roku A lot for programming. Not sure I would opt-in for these shows, but the aliens raising a human baby sounds intriguing.
Congrats on 5 years as one of the best websites for writers!! We appreciate all of those who put int the hard work and time that goes into keeping this group going!
That Twitter pitch sounds like chaos, but fun. Congrats!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

We gave up on HBO so haven't seen any of those shows. We've done a lot of binge-watching of Heartland on Netflix. Happy with not much violence, and I have loved horse shows and movies forever.

Happy New Year!

Nick Wilford said...

I've not seen any of the four series but all sound intriguing. Definitely want to check out Wanda Vision. Glad IWSGPit was another roaring success.

Sandra Cox said...

Congrats to Angela.
Have a great day, Alex.

DMS said...

I haven't seen any of these shows- but they do sound intriguing. Wanda Vision sounds especially interesting. Thanks for the recommendations!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's kinda funny. Now that I've got several streaming services, I figured I might actually be able to watch some of the shows you recommend. And then darn if you aren't talking about shows on HBO now... which I don't have. HA Maybe next time...

J.H. Moncrieff said...

So happy to hear of the Twitter pitch party success! That's so awesome. Hopefully we'll hear some continued good news from it.

Angela Brown said...

I'm struggling a bit with WandaVision. But I'm going to keep watching since a recent episode went down a very intriguing path.
Westworld was such a wonderful show. Certainly not something for the faint of heart. Same to be said for Lovecraft Country. Both Westworld and Lovecraft Country are shows I would re-watch soon.
Raised by Wolves is one I haven't tried. Sounds like something worth checking out.

Jemi Fraser said...

Hmm, the ads didn't pull me in, but now I'm curious about Wanda...
Congrats on the Write Life award!! Well deserved :)

Denise Covey said...

Congrats on making The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers again. I somehow missed Jo Wake's passing. So sad. Will miss her for sure.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My son keeps bugging me to watch Wandavision. I started Westworld but never finished.