Halston: A Fashionable Series – Netflix Review

Ewan McGregor plays the fashion icon through his highs and lows.

SUMMARY

The series follows legendary fashion designer Halston (Ewan McGregor) from his first acclaim designing Jackie Kennedy’s iconic pillbox hat to his eventual death in 1990. Along the way we see his friendship with Liza Minnelli (Krysta Rodriguez), his participation in the Battle of Versailles fashion show, his success with 70s fashion and fragrances, and his trials and tribulations in the 1980s. Other major characters include model and jewelry designer Elsa Peretti (Rebecca Dayan), Halston’s design illustrator Joe Eula (David Pittu), his business manager David Mahoney (Bill Pullman), and his lover Victor Hugo (Gian Franco Rodriguez). Also includes a great bit part with Rory Culkin as Joel Schumacher, and we need a movie about him directing The Lost Boys.

There’s a lot of color. Really pops.

END SUMMARY

Krysta Rodriguez is an absolute treasure in this series. She first shows up by singing “Liza with a Z” and does several of Liza’s songs as well as anyone can… except Liza Minnelli, but that’s hardly fair since Liza Minnelli is a goddess masquerading as mortal. I know that Ewan McGregor is the star and, as you would expect, he’s very good in this series, but Krysta Rodriguez steals every single scene she’s in. 

She plays Liza with a z, not Lisa with an s.

The series is a pretty standard biopic. It starts with the sad childhood, goes to the early success, goes through the episode dedicated to a great achievement that gained international notoriety, then there’s the episode where they lose it all due to excess, then the comeback for the happy ending. Even if that’s not how the figure’s life actually played out, that’s almost always how you structure a biopic. In this case, it does largely seem to actually mirror Halston’s life, so it feels a bit more genuine. If you like biopics about wild personalities, this one will probably do it for you. If you like fashion, this will probably be a must see.

If you like flamboyant discotheque, you’ll really love it.

Overall, pretty good mini-series. I enjoyed it, even though my fashion sense is non-existent.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Netflix Review – Daybreak/The Last Kids on Earth: Two Takes on the Same Idea

Netflix decided to apparently green-light two shows, one for kids, one not, based around the idea that the world ended and left only the young.

SUMMARY

Daybreak

The bombs went off and it turns out that they didn’t kill everyone. They just killed most of the adult population and some of the kids. Many of the adults were turned into “Ghoulies,” basically zombies that repeat the last mundane thoughts of their former selves, but a few have become more monstrous abominations. Our protagonist, Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) is a high-schooler with a lot of survival skills that have made him successful during the apocalypse. Together with supergenius Angelica Green (Alyvia Alyn Lind) and Samurai/Jock Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), he seeks to survive the end of the world and rescue his dream girl Samaira Dean (Sophie Simnett), who is actually pretty badass in her own right.

Daybreak - 1Group.jpg
Also, the wisecracking jerk with a heart of some metal.

The Last Kids on Earth

A bunch of portals opened up on Earth and it turns out that they didn’t kill everyone. They just killed most of the adult population and some of the kids. Many of the adults were turned into Zombies, which are zombies and I don’t need to explain further, but there are also more monstrous abominations. Our protagonist, Jack Sullivan (Finn Wolfhard) is a middle-schooler with a lot of survival skills that have made him successful during the apocalypse. Together with supergenius Quint Baker (Garland Whitt) and Barbarian/Jock Dirk Savage (Charles Demers), he seeks to survive the end of the world and rescue his dream girl June Del Toro (Montse Hernandez), who is actually pretty badass in her own right.

Daybreak - 2Group
… Not entirely unfamiliar.

END SUMMARY

So, I’m sure I’m not the only one that has pointed out that these are pretty much the same show, but for different age groups. Both shows include a heavy amount of fourth-wall breaking narration not only by the protagonist but also by the side characters and deuteragonists, both shows include a number of references to other media to shortcut their world-building, and both shows literally make a reference to gamifying the apocalypse. Not that either of these are the first things to do any of those, but I find it odd that both series came out only a month or so apart and have so many similarities.

Daybreak - 3Enemies.png
Although, only one show does the traditional “people are the real monsters” arc.

That said, in most other aspects, the shows are wildly different. Obviously, the biggest is that one is live-action and the other is animated, and, ironically, the animated one is adapted from a book while the live-action one is derived from a graphic novel. One is only a single episode so far lasting 60 minutes, while the other is ten 40-50 minute episodes. One is for mature audiences, containing intense gore and cannibalism, and one is for kids, featuring more cartoonish violence (though more than I would have expected). The monsters in Daybreak are either mutated animals or more humanoid aberrations, like the “Witch” Ms. Crumble (Krysta Rodriguez) and Mr. Burr (Matthew Broderick), while the monsters in The Last Kids on Earth range from Kaiju to Eldritch abominations to mutant squirrels (okay, that’s the same). It’s like watching two different people take the same elevator pitch and expand it. 

Daybreak - 4Principal
One series has Ferris Bueller as a principal, which is pretty good.

So, here’s my review of each of the shows individually. 

Daybreak

Pretty well done. The acting is great, particularly Matthew Broderick and Colin Ford. It has a great sense of humor about itself, such as naming the main character’s love interest Sam Dean, after the leads in Supernatural, a show where Colin Ford played a younger version of the main characters (I’m told that didn’t happen in the comic). The idea of each of the high-school cliques evolving into roving rival gangs was pretty fun, particularly as you observe their interactions, though it drops away as the plot becomes more focused on a central antagonist. It’s a little flashback heavy at times and definitely a little exposition heavy, but it’s still entertaining. The biggest problem is Josh’s plotline being focused solely on finding his ex-girlfriend, something that becomes increasingly ridiculous as the stakes keep raising on everyone else. It also contains a lot of the same tropes that you’d expect from an apocalypse setting, with some working and some not. Still, I enjoyed the series. 

Daybreak - 5Cheermazons
Cheermazons are a thing.

That said, having now researched the comic a little, I found out that the series is set in the first-person, something that would have been super interesting for a high-school post-apocalypse series like this. Admittedly, it would probably have gotten old quickly, but I still kind of want to see it. 

The Last Kids on Earth

Also pretty well done, though short. The monsters are creative and the main character is believably flawed. It also contains a lot of shots of the main characters trying to find some comfort and enjoyment in the apocalypse, like turning various acts into “achievements” complete with video game symbols. It also helps that, while the main character is good at surviving, the “damsel” he aims to rescue is far superior at combat. Also, he’s a total stalker. While the protagonist of Daybreak is looking for his girlfriend, the love interest in this is someone that Jack Sullivan just has a crush on. Still, he’s a middle schooler, so it’s a little bit forgivable. 

Daybreak - 6REcording
He’s not super smart, but he has… heart?

Both of these are pretty good and I would recommend checking them both out. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.