TV Review: Season 1 of NBC’S ‘THE VILLAGE’

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Ok, people. I just have to say that NBC is killing it right now with their line-up! THIS IS US is one of the best drama shows I’ve ever seen, and THE VILLAGE is right on its heels (only because there’s only one season so far)! On the surface, it’s east to compare the two against each other, but the storylines go deeper than just superficial (metaphorical) wounds. After watching the first season of THE VILLAGE, I can easily say that it stands on its own two feet. I’m just hoping that it gets renewed for another season!

THE VILLAGE focuses on several groups of people living in a condo building in Brooklyn. Each little group in the building has their own storyline, but, individually, they’re all intertwined with each other in some way or another.

You have Sarah, a nurse who lives with her teenage daughter, Katie. Katie discovers she’s pregnant and is contemplating the idea of adoption. Based on what Sarah has told her, she’s lived her life believing that her father, a firefighter during 9/11, was killed in action. She has no idea that their new neighbor, Nick, is actually her father. Throughout the season, Sarah and Nick try to navigate through their own past and how to tell Katie the truth. Nick is also a veteran who is trying to find his way through his post-war PTSD.

Ava is an Iranian refugee who faces deportation and separation from her young son. You get to see how bonded the residents of The Village truly are when they all rally around her during this time. Ava has fallen for another resident, Ben, who is a police officer in NYC. It is revealed that, while Ben is willing to marry Ava to keep her in the U.S., he is still married to the mother of his deceased son.

Ron is the super of The Village building and an owner of a bar called Smalls. He’s married to Patricia, a social worker who is dealing with a relapsed cancer diagnosis. They are the “parents” to everyone in the building and often put their own struggles aside to help everyone else.

Gabe is a law student trying to stay out of the shadow of his power-hungry father. His grandfather, Enzo, lives in a nursing home, but comes to live with Gabe in The Village. Enzo is still mourning his late wife until he meets a new woman he quickly falls in love with. Gabe and Enzo have the most adorable relationship with each other throughout the entire season.

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With all of their individual storylines, they all seem to come together to support each other through all of their struggles. Truth be told, I’m a sucker for those moments. When someone is struggling with something and they have a group of people that are willing to drop everything to be there for them. I literally just cried my way through the entire season 1 finale, and I highly recommend that you check this show out if you haven’t already. The writing is fantastic, the cast is extremely diverse (with not one weak link) and it’s just so easy to connect with. Shout out to Grace Van Dien, who plays Katie, for a stellar performance throughout the season. Everyone was great, but Van Dien literally killed it every single time!

One of my favorite lines from the finale was when Gabe encourages Enzo to propose to his new love, Gwendolina. Enzo struggles with the idea of proposing with the ring that belonged to his late wife, but Gabe insists and says, “I think she’d want this ring on any hand that’s holding yours.” Seriously?!?!?! How could you not watch a show that delivers lines like that one?? Do yourself a favor and check this out. You can also join me in crossing my fingers that this gets renewed!

 

 

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Movie Review by Kristin: ALADDIN

aladdin_4c_payoff_one_sheet_27x40_cmykGood morning, movie lovers! Happy Hump Day!

Last night I was able to catch a screening of Disney’s live-action ALADDIN here in Miami and, I have to say, it was much better than I expected!

Leading up to this Friday’s release, I feel like the movie hasn’t had a lot of promotion. Everywhere I look there are promos for this Summer’s release of The Lion King, but barely anything for ALADDIN. I’m hoping that word of mouth will do the movie some good!

Let me preface my review by saying that I’ve always loved Aladdin. The original movie was one of my favorites & I loooooooved the game on Sega. Collecting apples, leaping onto wooden stairs and hopping from stone to stone to avoid lava in the Cave of Wonders. This movie has all of that, which brings back a strong sense of nostalgia. Who doesn’t love that??

With that being said, let me get to the cast. There were some strong feelings going around when the cast was announced. Not necessarily from myself, but the only actor involved that I really knew of was Will Smith, who was cast as Genie. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) were unknown to me, but now I can’t wait to see what they do next! The three of them carried the film, along with some scene stealers by Abu, Aladdin’s infamous pet monkey. The chemistry between Massoud’s Aladdin and Scott’s Princess Jasmine was evident from the beginning. Some of the iconic scenes from the original were recreated here, further enhancing that nostalgia!

Personally, I loved the cast. The only one I thought could have been a bit stronger was the role of Jafar. The actor in this movie has a soft voice that doesn’t seem to carry much power when he’s on screen. This isn’t to take away from his work as an actor, I just don’t know that he was entirely right for this particular role. Jafar always had this menacing presence in the original, and I just didn’t necessarily feel that here.

I loooooved the singing and dancing! They changed things up some, allowing Smith to sort of modernize the role of Genie a bit. Some of his songs have more of a little rap vibe as opposed to regular singing & it worked! My only “complaint,” if you can call it that, was that in some of the dance numbers, it seemed like the timing was sped up a little. It looked like it was in fast mode when I think it would’ve been nicer to see it in real time.

One thing I want to mention again is the modernization in this one in comparison to the original. Aside from Genie’s contribution, we also see a stronger female presence when it comes to Princess Jasmine’s role. This version includes a new song, “Speechless,” that touches on how she’s supposed to be seen and not heard, but she refuses to remain speechless. It’s an important message, especially for little girls, that I’m glad they included & Naomi Scott performs the song beautifully.

Admittedly, I had another idea for who should have played Aladdin, and, as I mentioned before, I had no idea who Mena Massoud was. After watching this, my mind has been changed & I think Massoud played the role of Aladdin way better than I expected! He was charming and really seemed to embody the character we all know and love.

I definitely recommend checking this out when you can! It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it brings back a little piece of our childhood we didn’t know we needed!

 

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