TV REVIEW: Dimension 404 Season 1 – All 6 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Do you have Hulu? Enjoy anthology TV shows with a more technology focus like Black Mirror?

Narrated by Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill, this is Hulu anthology series is heavily inspired by The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and more recently Black Mirror.

It was released in 2017 and hasn’t been renewed for a second season. I didn’t see anybody saying it was canceled either, which means maybe it will be back for another season(?).

The trailer:

The reviews that follow are all SPOILER-FREE, so if you want a little more detail about each episode, my rating and review, keep reading.

Episode 1 – “Matchmaker”
Air date: April 4, 2017
Run time: 40 minutes

Adam, a lonely blogger (hey!) meets a date though a popular dating app. He falls in love a little too quickly and finds out things aren’t all that they seem — with the dating app, with his date and with himself.

2019 was the year for movies involving artificial intelligence (AI) on phones, dating and love mixed with technology, which this episode digs deep into. Make-A-Match.com is the site that is referenced as the dating app. I looked that site up and it’s a missed opportunity by the showrunners to redirect to Dimension 404 page on Hulu (at the least).

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Episode 2 – “Cinethrax”
Air date: April 4, 2017
Run time: ? minutes

Comedian Patton Oswalt plays Uncle Dusty taking his teenage niece Chloe (Sarah Hyland) to see a new 3D movie. He brings his own special glasses that turn 3D into 2D (huh? Why?). Guess he’s the ultimate geek old Uncle. Chloe’s friends meet her at the theater and she wants to sit with them instead of Dusty, so he takes the seat behind.

Things get weird when Dusty sees a black snake-like creature emerge from the screen, trying to reach him and suck his brain. He’s kicked out of the theater, only to realize Chloe is left in danger and wants to stay with her friends, unknowing the horror on screen that awaits.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Episode 3 – “Chronos”
Air date: April 4, 2017
Run time: 43 minutes

A physicist grows up watching a superhero cartoon and suddenly one day she wakes up and the superhero is gone. He’s left the world, pulling a Last Action Hero and come into her world.

My least favorite episode, it just drags.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Episode 4 – “Polybius”
Air date: April 11, 2017
Run time: 45 minutes

A new game appears in an arcade called Polybius and a young gamer wants to learn its secrets so he can write about and review it in a gaming magazine. Soon, he realizes the game is more sinister than it appears.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Episode 5 – “Bob”
Air date: April 18, 2017
Run time: 42 minutes

A soldier psychologist is assigned by the NSA to counsel a supercomputer that is a gigantic brain with an eye and is named Bob. The computer is having a psychological malfunction causing it to be unable to track a criminal and the soldier is sent to counsel.

Something about a big sweaty brain is a bit comical. In a way this episode loosely reminds me of the classic Twilight Zone episode “From Agnes With Love” sans the romantic implications.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Episode 6 – “Impulse”
Air date: April 25, 2017
Run time: 46 minutes

A special energy drink becomes inspiration for a First Person Shooter (FPS) gamer. It’s just the edge needed to get to that next level, slowing down time. The problem is the time and advantage gained is multiplied by the “snap” when the user comes back to reality and misses an amount of time based on how much was consumed.

The whole bounce back like a rubber band with time was used creatively. I liked how this ended. My favorite episode of the first (and only, seemingly) season.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Summary

Can see why this wasn’t renewed for a second season. Am wondering if maybe they split it into two anthology movies it would have been better served. If you’re a diehard fan of anthologies, like me, then it’s worth watching, but wouldn’t put it too high on the watch list. Instead, check out Upload ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ on Amazon or the aforementioned Black Mirror (see: TV REVIEW: Black Mirror Season 1 – All 3 Episodes Rated and Reviewed).

Overall Season One Review: ⭐️⭐️½ 

Disney Rumored To Be Sending More Movies Meant for Theaters to Disney+

It’s kind of odd that Disney, the studio who made the most money on theatrical movie releases in 2019, has been among the least supportive of theaters during the pandemic. It seems like like they’ve almost given up on theaters altogether.

They don’t say that publicly of course, but their actions during 2020 tell a different story.

Deadline hears that the uncertainty of the future theatrical marketplace has Disney looking at launching a number of its upcoming tentpole family films on Disney+ instead of the theatrical release bows that were envisioned when the films were developed and green lit. At this point, the films being discussed to make that pivot are Cruella, the Craig Gillespie-directed live-action re-imaging of the animated classic that stars Emma Stone her Emma Thompson; the Robert Zemeckis-directed Pinocchio that has Tom Hanks starring; and Peter Pan and Wendy, the David Lowery-directed film that has Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi set to play Tinker Bell.

Disney + premieres Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Cruella away from Theatrical – Deadline

As a fan of new movies being available theatrically — if not day and date, then small exclusive theatrical window is OK too — Disney isn’t helping theaters.

This got me thinking if they should? Maybe their strategy is smarter than it appears. Focus on supporting Disney+ which has had the best first year streaming channel launch of any company. The reality is they are literally stacked with great IP, so having a quality streaming channel stocked with a strong archive is a given, what’s not as clear is what new is coming to the service to keep subscribers paying?

Sure, there’s The Mandalorian, but they can only produce 8 episodes or so of that every year. What do to they do with the other 44 weeks of the year? A movie meant for theatrical release once every month or two would solve that problem.

Seems expensive to me, as some of the budgets for these movies are very high. They probably will be reducing the budgets for planned straight to Disney+ movies.

But what if the theaters rebound? Disney’s strategy seems to be that they can just redirect titles produced for Disney+ back to the legacy model. Again, I’m not sure they aren’t playing this smart. Obviously theater owners aren’t going to think that way, but studios hold most of the cards. They have the content that movie theaters are starved for.

Peanuts Thanksgiving and Christmas Special Will Air on PBS in addition to Apple TV+

Kudos to Apple for not monopolizing all the Peanuts Charlie Brown holiday specials (see: AppleTV+ Streaming The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown – Gone From TV Holiday Forever?) and letting PBS air these specials also.

In addition to streaming on their new home Apple TV+, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air ad free on PBS and PBS Kids on Sunday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Dec. 13, respectively, at 7:30 pm local time/6:30 pm CT (check local listings).

Peanuts Specials ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ & ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ To Get Special Airings On PBS – Deadline

Clearly we have soft spots for holiday specials. Not just Peanuts either. Something fun to put on when you’re not eating turkey and enjoying the family time. For those who aren’t getting together with family due to the You Know What there are always virtual watch parties.

TV SERIES Review: Star Trek: The Animated Series S1E3 – One Of Our Planets Is Missing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 22, 1973
Run Time: 24:09

Episode 3 – “One Of Our Planets Is Missing”

The Enterprises encounters a red, noxious cloud ravenous for consuming entire planets. They race to protect the planet Mantilles from the cloud and are engulfed by the cloud. The cloud lives upon the energy of consumed planets. While inside, the Enterprise realizes it’s like the inside of a stomach and tries to navigate toward the opening before the planet’s inner digestive digestive tract breaks down the ship’s deflective shields.

With 20 minutes left, they must navigate out or all aboard killed.

Summary

Talk about alien body horror. There are two opposing dramas here. The Enterprise trapped inside the alien cloud, will it escape and the planet the cloud is heading toward.

Rewatching I’m reminded how Star Trek used to be. Creative, entertaining, thought provoking and exciting to watch. There wasn’t much like this in Picard or Lower Decks to be found, hence the reason I’m rewatching the past. Why can’t they get the Next Generation actors together and make an animated series like STNG? It worked for the original series, so why not Next Gen?

Hard to believe each episode cost $75,000. Yes, this was nearly 50 years ago, so in today’s dollars it would be more. They probably couldn’t get any of the voice actors to work for that today.

So, probably would cost about a million or more an episode in 2020 dollars. We can always dream.

Spock saying of his mind meld with the alien cloud, “The wonders of the universe. Incredible. Simply incredible.”

This episode is excellent. It has everything that makes Star Trek cool. The only tiny takeaway is that the resolution was a bit overused in the original series when encountering alien beings. You’ll have to watch to see that resolution, however, because not spoiling here. Recommended.

Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

Of Course AMC Will Screen Wonder Woman 1984 in Theaters

When we saw the announcement that WarnerMedia chose to release Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously in the United States, we expected to see that the big theater chains would show it. They’d be crazy not to.

#1 AMC has confirmed as much within 24 hours of the announcement.

AMC Entertainment said in a statement attributed to president and CEO Adam Aron that it “will show this eagerly awaited movie on our big screens all across our global network.”

AMC Responds to ‘Wonder Woman 2’ Streaming Move: ‘Atypical Circumstances’ Call For ‘Atypical Windows’

Regal #2 theaters are still closed all over the United States. Will they reopen in time for Wonder Woman? Unknown. We haven’t seen any quotes about how they will handle WW1984 in their theaters. They were strongly against day and date releases for streaming. They like the legacy theatrical window.

Cinemark #3 in most number of studios also hasn’t weighed in yet. Again, they would be foolish not to screen WW1984.

Either way, moviegoers will get to see this movie — if they want — before the end of 2020. In a year when new movies intended for theaters are rampantly being delayed or sold to streaming, this is a good thing.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian S2E4 Chapter 12 – The Siege ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2 – Episode 4 of 8
Disney+
Air date: November 20, 2020
Run time: 38 minutes
Directed by Carl Weathers

Chapter 12 – “The Siege”

The Razor Crest is badly in need of repair, especially after botched repair attempts in Frogland, so Mando tells The Child they will make a stop at Navaro. There, they meet up with old, friendly contacts: Marshal Cara Dune and Magistrate Greef Carga and Mando’s bounty in the first episode is unfrozen from carbonite and trying to help the cause.

Cara Dune busts in and takes down a bar full of seedy thieves. She makes a friend of a tiny furry creature, grateful that his life has been spared. The Razor Crest lands at the port and Greef Carga orders his people to fix the ship like new. The Child is put in a school with other kids and a 3-P0 like teacher.

While waiting for repairs, Greef and Cara ask Mando to help to take out an imperial base located in Navaro near a lava pit. The team sets out, soon running into conflict.

What happens with the side mission? What is the empire doing in this base? These questions and more await in this week’s exciting episode.

Another solid episode, this one light on The Child and heavy on Greef Carga, Cara Dune and that guy bounty in the season one first episode for comic relief. We’re treated to pure Star Wars action including Stormtroopers and Tie Fighters in a trench. Some good progress on the main storyline, this is an excellent, entertaining episode.

S2:E4 Chapter 12 “The Siege” rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

To read all our coverage related to The Mandalorian see search results. We watch and review every episode, usually on the day it is released.

Time to get into SPOILER territory. To offer additional perspective and insight, I went looking, reading and grabbed pull quotes from some other reviewers that I came across, there is no specific order otherwise below.

Reviews by Others

What do others think of The Mandalorian S2:E4 Chapter 12: “The Siege”?

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

  1. The Future Of The Force / Max (Grade: B+): “In the end, we have a pretty good picture of what the Imperial Remnant is planning and as always, we are excited to see the outcome. B+ all the way.”
  2. The Sandcrawler Blog / Jacob Mahady: “Overall, this episode was fantastic. It had great action, it gave great backstory to characters, there were dogfights, chases, and shootouts. But, once again, the episode was way too short. This one felt like it blew by. It seems that is the only consistent complaint with the show, is the fans demanding more. I’d say they are doing an excellent job on this show. “
  3. TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis: “…while this felt a little like rehashing old territory, the production qualities are so high that it just works. There were some hints to the broader Star Wars story in this episode, and we will need to see how that develops in the future.”
  4. We’ve Got (Back) Issues: “Din Djarin is quickly becoming a galactic version of the ‘Littlest Hobo’ (showing my age with that reference). He wanders into town, solves someone’s problem, then moves on. This a standard template for classic American television and has been used for years in shows like ‘The Fugitive’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’, ‘The A-Team’”

What did you think of Chapter 12: “The Siege”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.

FIRST LOOK: Run – Hulu

The mystery surrounding the release date for this movie is solved (see: Is @Lionsgate Run (2020) screening WIDE January 24, 2020 – if not, when?). While it’s being released almost a year later than originally planned and direct to streaming, the time has come.

Yes, Sarah Paulson stars in this Hulu thriller with a one word title. Have seen the Run title before, including an old Patrick Dempsey thriller (I liked that, btw). This is not related. Here’s the plot from IMDB:

A homeschooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.

Run (2020) – IMDb

Official Hulu trailer:

Are you planning to watch this on Hulu? More and more, I’m enjoying the Hulu streaming service. It’s become the #3 go to option, maybe even #2 at times over Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Run will be streaming on Hulu starting November 20, 2020.

Is it VOD vs. Streaming or Theaters vs. Streaming?

Remember in the movie Rocky IV ⭐️⭐️½ where Rocky goes on that goofy post-fight political rant in Russia, “If we can change, you can change, we all can change!” Get that same feeling when we start talking about the competition over where to watch movies.

The reality is there is very little, from a movie distribution standpoint, that needs to change with streaming. Start with theaters, either day and date with VOD/PVOD or streaming or give theaters a brief window, a couple weeks is good, then go VOD/PVOD and then streaming. Our frustration is there aren’t more marquee streaming movies released to theaters, at least simultaneously. Would love to have seen The Irishman in a wider theatrical release, for example.

The article quoted below raises the question that PVOD/VOD vs. streaming could be the future of competition for new movies as theatrical distribution takes a backseat.

There’s another, more optimistic element that may also be in play. By addressing VOD head on, AMC and Cinemark are becoming active participants in its future. It also means they chose a side in a major battle, and it’s not theaters vs. studios. It’s VOD vs. streaming.

PVOD vs. Streaming Is the Real Battle, Not Theaters vs. Home | IndieWire

There continue to be reasoned thoughts that it’s over for movie theaters as we know them, but we have repeatedly pushed back on this skepticism (see: One Big Reason Why Movie Theaters Will Be OK Compared To Streaming)

Clearly, more and more movies during the pandemic have skipped theaters for streaming release and some for PVOD/VOD. Even with theaters open right now, AMC, most notably, offers the reduced theatrical window before streaming. That seems like the best path.

The time is now for new movies to shine in theaters

Movie competition in theaters is extremely limited right now. Almost as limited as theaters themselves being open (our theaters in Washington State are now closed for the next month).

Studios may never again have the chance they have to highlight a new movie in theaters. Sending it to PVOD/VOD is somewhat of a marketing black hole. Yeah, people can dial up the new movie area on these services and buy tickets there, but it’s not going to lead to the exposure they’ll have going straight to streaming channels or first in movie theaters.

The bigger competition for streaming aren’t movie theaters. They should be, and in some growing cases are, partners. VOD/PVOD vs. streaming is the bigger competition. Studios can sell out for a streaming exclusive to say Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV+, etc or they can try to go it the VOD/PVOD route first, skipping the theatrical money. In most cases, we think that’s leaving money on the table, but if a studio thinks they’ll make more money skipping theatrical release, let their financials be their guide.

With Wonder Woman 1984 testing a day and date release next month domestically (see: Wonder Woman 1984 will be released at HBO Max and Theaters Simultaneously on December 25 – Where will you watch?) we’ll soon find out what kind of effect this will have on box office receipts. Given there will be an asterisk because this data will be during the pandemic with theaters at limited capacity, but we should get at least some idea of how many stay home and watch a big budget film at HBO Max. Just a guess, but HBO Max should see a fairly noticeable surge in new subscribers next month. How many stay, that will be interesting data to examine as well.

On the flip side, movie theater chain owner and operators need to stop thinking about streaming as their enemy. In some respects the pandemic is making them turn the corner on this, and that’s a positive thing. Home viewing is an alternative to the movie theater experience and those of us who love watching movies in theaters will tell you it’s not the same. It can be close to the same with the right hardware, but it doesn’t have the same feeling as watching a movie in a theater. Just doesn’t.

I’m not romanticizing the theater experience by saying this, I’m pointing out there are people like us who simply prefer watching new movies in theaters, getting that overpriced tub of popcorn and soda and turning our darn cell phones off, unplugging from the world for a couple hours. That escapism is real. Do you turn your phone off when you watch movies at home? We don’t . We should. It’s like when you’re home you are in a more distracting environment unless you lock yourself in some soundproof room and put a gigantic DO NOT DISTURB sign outside. Somehow watching movies at home is just open to more disruption.

Should be noted that it’s more important to watch movies where you like watching them. Not where some studio thinks you should or the NATO (National Theater Owners) or social media or ___ (whatever). Watch them wherever you like. Streaming, VOD/PVOD, in theaters, whatever. Just watch them somewhere.

Censors wouldn’t allow the use of the word “vagina” in Grey’s Anatomy, but “penis” was OK

The irony of a medical TV show with the word “anatomy” in its title being unable to use an anatomical term for a sexual organ is wild, but true.

This was 2005, not 1955. Even more bizarre.

“And that’s why … That’s where the term ‘va-jay-jay’ came from. [Creator Shonda Rhimes] made up ‘va-jay-jay’ because standards and practices would not let us say ‘vagina.’ And Shonda’s argument was like, ‘We said “penis” in that episode 97 times. You can say “penis” 97 times but you can’t say “vagina”?’ “

Grey’s Anatomy: Ellen Pompeo Recalls Not Being Allowed to Say Vagina | PEOPLE.com

Maybe they should have called the show “Grey’s Va-jay-jay” lol. The standards and practices censors must have some goofy playbook to go by. I remember that word very early in school. It’s a medical term. What are they censoring”

Felt the urge to include a medical picture — censored, somewhat — just … because.

I’m pretty sure in 2020 you can now safely say “vagina” 97 times to go along with “penis.” You might even be able to use the word “pussy” because, well, it also refers to a cat.

The C-word is probably still out.

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND #47 of 2020 Movie and TV Streaming Picks – Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Shudder

Netflix: Nov 20

Weekend #47 of 53 (11/19 – 11/22/2020) for 2020 Picks By Streaming Service

As Thanksgiving inches closer, Netflix continues to feed us with new Christmas-oriented content, including a Dolly Parton musical and an animated movie called Alien Xmas.

For non-holiday movies: Body Cam (2020) on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, Machete Kills (2013) on Netflix. Who can ever get enough of Danny Trejo as Machete? The trailer for that is below. Run is a Hulu Original.

Just past the weekend on Monday comes a new Bruce Willis movie called, Hard Kill that went straight to VOD. It has the absolute worst 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so could be evidence that a once mighty action hero has completely bottomed out, but mentioning for those who want to check out the newest movie Willis has appeared in. I will turn it on and give it a try. Not sure if I’ll stay for it all, similar to what I’ve done with some other action stars of the past like Steven Seagal’s recent movie output.

KEY

*Title with asterisk – newly released
Title is linked and has star rating – already watched, rated and reviewed
Title bolded – on our schedule to watch/rewatch, rate and review (or in progress)

NOTE: If you’re coming to these posts weeks or months later, some and/or all of the picks listed below may no longer be on the streaming services indicated. Anything marked as “Original” typically doesn’t expire on the streaming services.

NETFLIX Movies

  1. *The Princess Switch: Switched Again (11/19)
  2. *My Amnesia Girl
  3. *Three Words To Forever
  4. *40 Sticks (11/20)
  5. *Alien Xmas
  6. *If Anything Happens, I Love You
  7. *The App That Stole Christmas
  8. *Dolly Parton’s Christmas On The Square
  9. Machete Kills (2013)
  10. *Hard Kill (11/23) – Bruce Willis

NETFLIX TV

  1. *Voices of Fire – Season 1
    Reality TV, Gospel

Disney+

  1. *The Mandalorian – Season 2, Episode 4 – “Chapter 12” (Nov 20)

HBO Max Movies

  1. *Underwater ⭐️ (11/21)

HBO Max TV

  1. *Between The World and Me

Amazon Prime Video Movies

  1. *Body Cam, 2020 (Nov 18)
  2. *Seven Stages To Achieve Eternal Bliss (11/20)
  3. *Most Wanted (11/21)
For some reason I kept thinking this was a retitle of Black and Blue ⭐️⭐️⭐️ but no, it’s not

Amazon Prime Video TV

  1. *Small Axe – Miniseries (11/19)
  2. *The Pack – Season 1
    Animal, Dog, Competition

Hulu Movies

  1. *Soul Surfer (11/17)
  2. *Body Cam (11/18) – also on Amazon Prime Video
  3. *McQueen
  4. *Amulet (11/19)
  5. *Run (11/20) – Original
  6. *Tesla

Hulu TV

  1. No Man’s Land – Complete Season 1
  2. Animaniacs – Complete Season 1 (11/20) – Original

Shudder TV

  1. *Leap of Faith – Exclusive
    Documentary, The Exorcist