Welcome to the first of a possible regular feature where I do a really bad job reviewing new TV shows. This will be good for me as I can then tell my wife that my afternoons watching TV is “for work.” Also, when I say new it might just mean new to me. I am sometimes behind in watching shows. Today, I watched the two new BC shows that premiered last night: Young Rock and Kenan.
The premise – The Rock is running for president in 2032 and is being interviewed by Randall Park about his life.
We see snippets of three time periods: elementary school Rock who just wants to hang with his dad and his friends, high school Rock who wants to fit in in high school where his classmates think he’s a narc because he looks like an adult, and college Rock who is on the football team at Miami I enjoyed each of the different eras. All three actors do a good job as a young Rock. I was a fan of wrestling when I was a kid, so I really enjoyed the elementary school part with versions of Andre the Giant and The Iron Sheik. I wish any one of the eras was the show. As it stands it feels like four shows in one with current Rock cut in between the other three. I hope later episodes focus on one era at a time with limited cut ins to current Rock. It has potential to be a decent show, but it could also turn into a mess where we never get a full story in one show.
The premise: – Kenan is a widower with two young daughters. Don Johnson is his father in law who has moved in to help. Chris Redd is his brother who also loves with them.
The first episode deals with Kenan’s inability to deal with his grief. He hosts a morning talk show and his inability to deal with his grief is affecting the show and its ratings. We meet the kids, the father in law, the brother and the people at work. We see a clip of when he met his wife when she played his mom on a TV show even though she was only three years older than him. It is pretty It is pretty much a standard sitcom. The good news is I still like standard sitcoms of they are actually funny and this one was funny enough to keep me watching. As in SNL, Kenan is funny even when given lesser material. The ensemble is great. I like Johnson and Redd. Kimrie Lewis was in one in Single Parents, a show canceled way too soon and I’m happy to see her back as Kenan’s boss. I have faith that Kenan will deliver laughs each week and that’s what I’m looking for in a sitcom.
I decided to do a monthly review of the books I have read. Here is what I read in the month of January in order of when I finished.
The Living Dead by George Romero and Daniel Kraus – This was started by George Romero and then completed by Kraus after Romero died. I’m sure you can figure out by the title and author that it is a zombie novel. It is a 656 page zombie novel. It is a commitment. I would not recommend it to anyone who is hesitant about reading a zombie novel. The majority of the book is split into individual stories. An autistic government employee tracks the outbreak and then collects the stories of survivors. These survivors include the medical examiners who first had a body come to life, a news anchor who stays on the air to provide updates, sailors on an aircraft carrier and a black teen from a Midwestern trailer park. The stories eventually connect, but a little too late for me . There were some really good individual stories, a couple of slower ones and then the ending sort of fizzled.
The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton– I had a found copy of this in the house and decided it was a good gap book until I decided what to read next. It tells the story of the US president who is being investigated for possible treason while the nation is under threat of an attack. The president goes missing to meet alone with someone who has information about the attack. It is a race against time to stop the attack and find the real traitor. This is better than most of the recent Patterson books I’ve read, but has the same problem as most of his books – the protagonist is too perfect and bulletproof. If you like Patterson, you will like this one.
10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon – Pinky is tired of her conservative parents criticizing all of her decision, especially her choice of boyfriends. Samir likes to play things safe and likes things predictable and steady. inky is at her summer house with her parents. Samir’s DC internship has fallen through. Pinky decides she needs a fake, more suitable boyfriend to placate her parents and promises Samir an internship with her lawyer mom if he becomes that fake boyfriend. Samir agrees and spends the rest of the summer pretending to be Pinky’s boyfriend. Of course, they eventually really fall in love. This is a nice, sweet teen romance. Menon is really good at this type of book. This is the 3rd book I’ve read by her.
The Shadows by Alex North – When Paul Adams was a teen, two of his friends murdered another of his friends. One of those murderers, Charlie Crabtree disappeared after the murders. Now, years later, Paul returns home when he gets word his mom is ill. Around the same time, a copycat murder takes place in a nearby town and odd things start happening around Paul. Is it possible Charlie is back? This is probably the best book I read this month. I was hooked from the start. There was a twist I wasn’t expecting and the ending was satisfying. It is dark and creepy, but very good.
Deadly Cross by James Patterson – I loved all of the early James Patterson books and the Alex Cross ones were some of my favorites. I still read the new Cross books even though I have generally stopped reading Patterson books. In this one, Alex investigates the murder of the ex-wife of the vice president and the principal of the school his daughter attends. He also is investigating the rape and murder of several teen girls in the area. They may be connected in some way. The story is decent. It is a fast read. The entire Cross family is still too perfect and it just makes the whole thing ridiculous.
Majesty by Katherine McGee – This is the sequel to American Royals. It takes place in a world where George Washington became King of America and follows the current day American royal family. In this one Beatrice has become the first Queen of America and is preparing to marry. Her sister Samantha is still dealing with the fact that her sister is marrying her crush while their brother Jefferson is getting over his breakup with Samantha’s best friend. Generally, a lot of romantic hijinks set around the American palace in DC. I enjoyed the books, but would like to see one that is not just based around the romantic entanglements of the royal kids.
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas – This is the prequel to The Hate U Give. It follows 17 year old Maverick Carter as he deals with the news that he is about to become a father. The mother is the girlfriend of his best friend King. Around the same time, his cousin Dre, one of the leaders of the King Lords discovers Mav and King have been dealing drugs on the side. He offers Mav the chance to go straight. Mav gets a job at the local grocery store, but then questions his decision when he gets the news his ex girlfriend is pregnant and a second kid is on the way. I loved The Hate U Give and liked this one even more. Mav is a great character and we see his growth as he struggles with fatherhood at 17, the death of a family member, and his desire to eave the gang life. Highly recommend.
Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale – Josie Pie was supposed to be a star. She was Kind if a Big Deal in high school. She was the lead in all of the school musicals. She got an audition on Broadway, dropped out of school and headed to New York. It all fell apart. Her dream of stardom gone, she takes a job as a nanny and moves with the family to Montana. As she deals with the loss of her dream and being distant from her friend and boyfriend, she decides to start reading again and finds herself actually in the book. She becomes the lead in a romance, a zombie novel, a YA rom-com, etc. The longer she stays in the book, the harder it is to get out. Will she find a story so good she stays forever? Not my favorite of the month. A little too long and the main character was not likable enough to really invest in her story. It was a interesting concept.
We are going on a trip next month to celebrate my daughter’s high school graduation. We still had to make a decision on a hotel for one of the cities. I was looking at reviews for each of the hotels and found a lot of negative reviews mixed in with the good reviews for several of the hotels. Only one had consistent negative reviews, so we eliminated that one. Many of the negative reviews were “the room was small” reviews or complaints that the staff was not helpful. Reviews are hard because many people don’t bother leaving a review unless they have a complaint. Choosing a hotel, restaurant, business, based on reviews is difficult. Eventually, you have to just make a decision realizing that no place will always get good reviews. I di worry, though, that reading too may reviews will color my impression of the place. Will I be more focused on the size of the room(knowing that small rooms are the norm unless you pay a lot more) because I read these reviews? Will I judge other areas more harshly because I read bad reviews online? I don’t think I will, but it is a hazard of reading reviews.
I think the same can happen with books. I’ve seen it happen with people refusing to read a book and saying it should not have been published based not on their own reading, but on one person’s review. I tend to ignore reviews of entertainment(unless a negative review gives me an excuse not to watch a movie others want) and judge for myself. I do, however, sometimes find myself reading reviews on Goodreads after I finish a book, but before I rate it. Sometimes I find myself second guessing my impression of the book based on the reviews of others. It is brief and I still rate it how I want, but it does make me question my impression occasionally. I think maybe I just need to stop reading reviews.
Do you read reviews? Do you base decisions on hotels and restaurants on reviews? Do you choose to read or watch based on reviews?
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