Friday, July 31, 2015

My Review of Scream's 1x03: "Wanna Play A Game?"

Written by Jordan Rosenberg And Meredith Glynn
Directed by Tim Hunter

Riley (to Noah): "I can see our stars."

And that's how to do an effective death. Like with Rachael in the previous episode, I actually quite liked Riley and I found the budding relationship between her and Noah at least interesting but given that Audrey lost her lover in the previous episode, I guess we all should've seen Riley's death coming.

Unlike some of the other deaths, the tension here was actually effective too. Riley genuinely believed in Tyler's innocence and wanted to help (though the show didn't really highlight why she believed it so well) but instead found herself becoming a pawn and eventual kill in Ghostface's ongoing saga with Emma.

I'm not gonna actually blame Emma here because Ghostface was going to kill someone whether Emma had actually paid them any attention and if it hadn't been Riley, then it would've been Brooke (who I still will be a later death). Either way, someone wasn't getting out of this episode. It was just a pity that for a second episode in a row it happened to be someone likeable though.

I mean the killer (assuming it's neither of them) couldn't have paid attention to either Will or Jake, who spent most of this episode fighting over blackmail money (something also involving Tyler and Nina). Three episodes in and I still don't greatly care for either character. Will is a bit too bland for my liking and Jake's just a sleazy annoyance, even if he showed some savvy during one particular scene with Brooke in this episode.

I did like that on top of having Riley's bloody exit, we also had both Emma and Audrey realise that Rachael (during her wake) didn't actually kill herself and the Emma/Kieran scenes were a good way of getting the former more familiarised with her mother's connection to Brandon James as well. That story is continuing to bubble along well enough in the main show even if Ghostface's fixation on Emma is feeling a bit too cliched in parts.

- Piper got more information on Brandon James's first kills (the opening scene with Dara Aldean and Brett Kenner) courtesy of Noah.
- Either Brooke really is that dizzy or she's planning to blackmail Seth at some point because why else would she suggest cybersex with him?
- The way Kieren seems to drop bits of information on Emma is also potentially suspicious as well.
- At some point, someone has to actually find Tyler's body, right?

Easily the strongest episode so far. "Wanna Play A Game?" had a decent amount of tension, an effective and bloody send off for Riley, amidst a sweet romance between her and Noah and a slightly interesting-ish subplot with Will/Jake. A slight improvement.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Masked Vigilante

A look at some of the shows I've been watching over the last few weeks.

Daredevil: Having watched both recents seasons of Orange Is The New Black and Sense8 prior to this, I decided to go and check it out and while I don't think it's the most amazing superhero show yet (think Arrow/The Flash still have that down) but the potential is definitely. Charlie Cox is perfect as the upcoming Daredevil (we so need to see that costume) and I'm loving the subtle menace of Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk while the supporting characters of Foggy, Karen and Claire work particularly well too. Some of the mobster stuff though is a bit boring though.

Humans: This show has been consistently amazing throughout it's first season and the penultimate not only reunited all of the Synths together but we finally found out the connection that Voss had with them and it certainly packed a punch as did the cliffhanger leading into the finale. This series has been an absolute triumph for Channel 4 and while the Hawkins were initially hard to connect with as a family, the last few episodes made me start to care for them as much as Mia and company. I really hope a second series is imminent.

Marvel's Agent Carter: I'm enjoying this series quite but not more than Agents Of SHIELD (is that controversial to say?). Airing it during the summer when there hasn't been as much on was probably a wise move for FOXUK. The banter between Peggy and Jarvis is certainly a highlight of each episode as are the Alias style missions leading to the bigger conspiracy plot. I also like the continued but not too forced references to Captain America as well and as per usual, Hayley Atwell continues to deliver.

Orange Is The New Black: Season 3 has not been the show's strongest season but it still has been a hugely enjoyable one though. While Caputo and Aleida didn't get the most engaging of flashbacks, at least Daya finally gave birth, Piper got revenge on Stella (who stole from her), Alex's fate was left rather unknown and the brilliance of Doggett and Big Boo's friendship shone through. The finale itself was a good way of ending the series but for negatives, Sophia's storyline disappointed me and I don't like the idea of a Healy/Red romance for next season.

True Detective: We're heading towards the end of the season and a part of me is wondering if this show has become a victim of it's own success? Season 1 wasn't particularly straight forward television but it managed to bewitch viewers in a way that I don't think the second season has done. I'm also not sure if having a time jump midseason was particularly needed as well but at least it's helped to slightly advance things with Ray, Ani, Paul and Frank even if the main plot is struggling to engage. Hopefully the last two episodes will bring the season to a satisfying close.

- MTV have renewed Scream for a second season. A UK broadcaster has yet to pick up the series.
- Banshee will end after four seasons. The last one will air in 2016.
- Michael Chiklis will be a regular in the second season of Gotham.
- Sense8's chances of renewal are optimistic but nothing has been confirmed yet.
- Katie McGrath will be in a Canadian eight part horror series called Slasher.
- Ed Sheeran has bagged a recurring role in upcoming series, The Bastard Executioner.
- Chris Browning has been cast as Reactron for Supergirl.
- Queen Latifah and Mary J. Blige have joined NBC's The Wiz.
- Andrew Howard will be playing an agent in Agents Of SHIELD.
- Riley Smith will play a band's frontman in the next season of Nashville.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DaVinci's Demons - Season 3 Will Be Final Season

In news that probably won't shock anyone really, it has been confirmed after months of relative silence surrounding this series that the upcoming third season of fantasy historical drama, DaVinci's Demons will now serve as it's last.

The show which debuted in 2013 on Starz network and stars Tom Riley as the titular DaVinci had been a hit for the cable station but it was announced last week that Season 3 will mark the end for the show. The season will comprise of ten episodes and will be executive produced by The X-Files John Shiban, following the departure of creator David S. Goyer.

I have to admit that like with a lot of cancellations this year (Atlantis, Revenge, Hannibal) that I'm not actually that shocked by this news. The fact that Starz have yet to produce a series that goes beyond three seasons (excluding Spartacus) aside, I actually three seasons is a good place to end the series as well. It's been a fun show but unfortunately while it's likely that I will see the episodes when they air, due to circumstances, I may not be able to review them as such. I am though looking forward to this final season.

Season 3 Trailer/Press Release:

DaVinci's Demons third and final season will air Saturdays 8pm on Starz from October 24th and will air shortly afterwards for UK viewers on FOX UK.

Monday, July 27, 2015

My Review of Scream's 1x02: "Hello, Emma"

Written by Jill E. Blotevogel
Directed by Tim Hunter

Ghostface: "You're gonna try a little batting practice on me?"
Emma: "You're damn right I will."
Ghostface: "You'll have to find me first. I could be anywhere."

Second episode in and things opened up with a nice character being killed off. Yes, this show killed off one half of the lesbian couple with poor Rachael being hung within the first five minutes as she foolishly believed that Audrey was prank calling her. It also didn't help that we learned Rachael was a cutter and that she couldn't handle the mean girl comments being posted about her as well.

Rachael's death however did serve to highlight Emma's own guilt about uploading that video but there were times where I felt like someone should've told Emma that it wasn't really about her. Then the last scene happened where Ghostface made it pretty damn clear that it was about Emma and that past sins were going to be paid via her at some point.

For me, I'm liking the phone calls between Emma and Ghostface but two episodes in (and I'm aware that this is MTV), this show is feeling rather tame though. Rachael's death is effective due to her being likeable but none of the deaths we've had so far on the show have matched even the tamer of deaths in the movies as of yet. In that regard this show needs to up it's game and get a bit more creative.

I do appreciate that because the show is ten episodes that the writers are being realistic enough by not going overkill on the bloodbaths just yet. It's also helping that we're getting bits and bobs of information about Brandon James and his past with Maggie/Daisy (Emma's father was also a survivor of that previous massacre). It's a good thing because the teen stuff is utterly boring.

With Audrey/Rachael's relationship cut too short, only Noah and Riley's budding one seems to have some marginal interest to it. I couldn't care less about Emma and Will as a couple (though Kieran deliberately causing trouble between them is slightly amusing) and Brooke sleeping with her English teacher, Seth is also dull to watch. Also the less said about Jake the better. He's by far the worst character on the show and hopefully an imminent death too.

- Tyler's body hasn't been found and they seem to have him as a suspect.
- The show has it's own version of Gale Weathers with Piper Shaw - a podcaster. We also met the mayor as well during this episode.
- Noah was actually vandalising Jake's car rather than doing any killings. Glad they cleared that one up rather quickly.
- Murder selfies, anyone?

Like the opening episode, it isn't bad but "Hello, Emma" felt just as safe as the first one. I know there are restrictions on what they can get away with but considering that this show seems to reference so many shows, perhaps it could try to take some of the risks as they do as well.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Review of Scream's 1x01: "Red Roses"

Written by Jill E. Blotevogel And Jaime Paglia And Jay Beattie And Dan Dworkin
Directed by Jamie Travis

Noah (re Riley): "You really want to know how this ends? Let me tell you. Everyone has secrets. Everyone tells lies and everyone is fair game."

I was going to leave discussing this series until I reviewed the movies but now it's going to be series first, movies second (perhaps) as I finally caved in and watched the pilot episode, which MTV were kind enough to have on YouTube, if not the rest of the episodes.

I was wary about this series. I'm a massive fans of the movies and the first couple of trailers for this show felt generic, even by MTV's standards and I have to admit that watching this opening episode, that feeling wasn't shook off at all. Don't worry though, I will say some nice things about the show too as there were bits I enjoyed.

As a protagonist, Emma may or may not be as iconic of as Sidney Prescott but out of the main characters, she's one of the better fleshed out - likeable but flawed enough with a jock boyfriend and a mother whose past actually connected brilliantly to the Ghostface of the series and the first of several phone calls between Emma and Ghostface was suitably chilling enough.

I also liked that the opening episode concentrated on two deaths - Nina and her boyfriend, Tyler but with a series of ten episodes, there's plenty of time to add to the body count and there's probably a few characters in this episode alone (Jake for example) who future demises won't generate a lot of sympathy.

Coming up with a whole new mythology for Ghostface or Brandon James (a disfigured boy driven to murder) certainly helps to give the show it's own identity. I like the way that Noah (the Randy Meeks for the MTV generation) conveyed Brandon's backstory for both the audience and Riley and while I doubt that James is back from the dead, it does seem like both Emma and Audrey are linked by him though, especially considering what we learned about the former's mother in this episode.

As for the bad points of this episode - well, Emma, Noah and Audrey are good as characters but not amazing and the rest of them are just bland. Will (Emma's boyfriend), Tyler and Jake are stereotypical jocks (or were in Tyler's case), Brooke and Nina are/were bitchy and bland, Kieran just seems the typical mystery bloke and the adults (excluding Maggie/Daisy) aren't particularly exciting.

Also while it makes sense for social media to factor into the killings and so on (as did Scream 4), there are times in the episode (and undoubtedly in following ones) where it didn't come off particularly well though. I also think despite wiping off blood from his forehead that it's a safe assumption that Noah is not the killer of the group.

- The sing song element of Ghostface singing 'Daisy' was creepy enough. I have a feeling that Daisy is a future victim though.
- The episode opened with Audrey and Rachel's relationship being outed by Nina. The opening wasn't successful in recreating the opening from the first movie though.
- The movies may have been set in Woodsboro but in the series, it's a place called Lakewood.
- If we're going by the movies, it's a safe bet that there are two killers and possibly one of them is someone from the main six. The main six being Emma, Audrey, Brooke, Will, Kieran and Noah.

Not a bad opening episode and with a second season already secured, it certainly has time to fine tune itself but for a MTV show, it doesn't feel too violent. I guess maybe they're starting slow and there's enough potential here but I have a feeling that unless the show doesn't up it's game fast, the upcoming Scream Queens will end up overshadowing it.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Empire - Season 2 First Look/Spoilers

It's exactly two months until the second season of music drama Empire returns and FOX are really going into overdrive promoting the upcoming season as well with a slew of cast pictures, behind the scenes videos, casting announcement and of course a newly trailer.

First of all, FOX have released this rather on point promotional picture of warring exes, Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) sitting on thrones and posing with lions. I assume that one with Jamal, Andre and Hakeem posing with cubs perhaps is probably rather imminent but it's a nice way of capturing the tone for the second season, which assuming to Danny Strong will be "warring kingdoms". Looks like this show might be venturing into Game Of Thrones style territory with that theme.

Yesterday however a trailer dropped for the new season and while it was only thirty second long, it did show Lucious in prison, Cookie in a cage, Andre and Cookie in cahoot and both Jamal and Hakeem performing and recording at different points along with Anika looking particularly scheming. Over the next few weeks, I imagine we will be getting far more spoilery trailers but as a taster, that was a good start.

As for guest stars, the second season seems to be overflowing with them. Already we know that Adam Rodriguez is playing Laz Delgado, a potential love interest for Cookie while Marisa Tomei is playing Mimi Whiteman. Kelly Rowland was also confirmed as Lucious's mother for a flashback sequence with Chris Rock as a fellow inmate while Andre Royo will be Lucious's lawyer, Thirsty Rawlings while Ludacris, Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz and Tyra Ferrell have undisclosed roles for now. Meanwhile both Gabourey Sidibe and Ta'Rhonda Jones have been elevated as regulars and the show itself will run for 18 episodes this season.

Season 2 Spoilers/Trailer:

Empire Season 2 will air Wednesdays 9pm on FOX from September 23rd and will air on E4 for UK viewers shortly afterwards.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Xena: Warrior Princess - Reboot Being Considered?

Because apparently enough returning shows (X Files, Heroes, Twin Peaks etc) wasn't enough, a few days ago, it was kind of announced that NBC were considering a reboot of popular fantasy drama, Xena: Warrior Princess could be in the works with a 2016 airdate even being earmarked.

However before anyone could get excited, Xena herself Lucy Lawless later confirmed that the reboot was more a case of "wishful thinking" than an actual promise, even though NBC are supposedly looking for writers and Lawless (who has previously stated her keenness to reprise her infamous role) herself has not been confirmed should the show actually return. The series itself aired for six seasons between 1995 and 2001.

I'm a bit mixed about this one. I loved the show and Lawless is so iconic in the role but given how it actually ended and that it seems you can't move for the amount of reboots either happening or being considered, I'm not sure another one is actually needed. I'll post more information when it becomes available on this one.

More Info: