Thursday, November 15, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Apocalypse Then

Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Myrtle (to Cordelia): "It appears as though we're fucked my dear."

Well, this has certainly been a rollercoaster of a rather flashback heavy season that even this episode spent a quarter of it's time explaining to us why Coco and Mallory had the personalities they had while they were in Outpost 3. The fact that Coco's new personality was somewhat based on Madison did make me laugh of course.

While we probably didn't need that trip down memory lane, it was nice to see Myrtle open the episode with a fleeting interaction with the likes of Venable, Jeff and Mutt to secure Coco and Mallory's places at Outpost 3 while Madison became an Uber driver and had vengeance in mind for Dinah, following her deduction of the latter betraying the witches to Michael.

Dinah getting her comeuppance in this episode was somewhat glorious with Cordelia teaming up with Nan in order to extract Marie Laveau from hell in order to send Dinah right there. With every other Coven character appearing this season, I'm somewhat surprised they didn't find a way to slip Fiona into the mix but it seems Marie was quickly sent back to hell when she tried to hold Michael off though.

Speaking of Michael - he did his villainous gloating and watched as Cordelia killed off the Meade robot while at the same time he also killed off Madison, Marie and Coco without barely tensing a muscle but it was Cordelia's own self sacrifice that helped Mallory rise to the supremacy that the show has been going on about for weeks now.

Mallory's genius plan for stopping Michael meant going back to 2015 and mowing him down with an SUV a good few times. Plans wise, it was a bit crude but it seemed to do the trick as a frustrated Constance watched her grandson die and did nothing to alleviate his suffering. Michael was a fun antagonist for this season but can you really kill the Antichrist and prevent the end of days?

The obvious answer to that one would be no, as we learn in 2020 when Timothy and Emily from earlier in the season meet up under different circumstances, fall in love, have a kid and soon enough, when the kid reached three, the babysitter died. The ending with Meade, Anton and the other Satanist proved that the cycle will continue again.

As for Mallory - well, she did save the world and somehow managed to prevent both Zoe and Queenie from dying while also getting Nan to release Misty from hell. Bumping off the Antichrist apparently gives you some underworld street cred, but at the same time, Myrtle was never brought back to life and despite her character growth this season, Madison is still stuck in hell. Here's hoping when the apocalypse re-emerges, Madison and Myrtle will be back again.

- Did Myrtle inadvertently inspire Venable's "greys" and "purples" caste system for Outpost 3? Venable might have been trying to save us all with her no sex policy after all.
- What was with Dinah and Queenie's wigs in this episode? Queenie's looked especially bad.
- Nan continues to love being in hell. It's also nice to see that LaLaurie is continuing to suffer there as well.
- Chronology: October 2021 for the main event, before we went back to 2015 and then both 2020 and 2024.

Apocalypse Then had the task to wrap this fun but flawed season up and while I thought it might have struggled to do so, it did a good job in doing. I do wonder with the ending here, are we being set up for a sequel series? I think after the OTT stylings of this year, we might need a more stripped theme for next season but I wouldn't mind revisiting the end of days on this show again though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x04: "Wet Hot American Bummer"

Written by Ray Utarnachitt & Tyrone B. Carter
Directed by David Geddes

Ray: "I'll have you know, I am no stranger to the world of magic."
Constantine: "Yeah, don't think I haven't heard how Nora Darkh had you eating out of the palm of her wicked little hand."

It might be winter right now, but for the Legends this week, summer has come early with a spate of child related deaths at a summer camp getting their interests when a movie franchise going by another DC character's name has their attention. Swamp Thaaang, anyone?

Heading to Camp Owaga in the summer of 1995, you've got Sara, Ava, Ray and Constantine as the kind of counsellors you've expect them to be. You've got Ray being cheerful and super helpful with the kids, Sara being something of a cool aunt, Constantine mostly snarking in the background and Ava being something of a drill sergeant, which was enough to earn her an unflattering nickname and to become the victim of a fairly tame prank as well.

One of the strengths of this story was the reminder that Ava doesn't actually have a childhood so her inability to deal with children made more sense here. I knew the show wasn't going to drop the implications about her being a clone but this wasn't one of the ways I thought the show would also tackle the issue.

Having Constantine give Ava and Sara a spell to turn them into kids in order to get the other kids to open up about their real fears of a monster chasing after them worked pretty well to boot. There was a good enough likeness with the younger actors portraying Sara and Ava and it was amusing that cheerful and cute Chad turned out to be the monster rather than the more mean spirited Paula.

As for Constantine and Ray - pairing those two characters together was always going to be a good thing and having them work through their differences to help save the kids as well made for some characters moments. While Constantine did come across as a bit too nasty to Ray over Nora, he wasn't exactly wrong either about Ray's feelings for her. Speaking of Nora, she came back and just in time as Constantine's self sacrifice took a lot out of him and the Legends will need another magical person to help save him.

Away from the main plot this week, the B plot also had Charlie trying to escape her prison by tricking Zari, bonding with Mick over alcohol and shared prison experiences and even giving the Legends tips on how to deal with the baddie this week. It was enough to earn her freedom and a place on the Waverider with the gang. When Nora joins up as well, it really is going to be a very female led ship. Not a criticism by the way.

- Swamp Thing might not be appearing in this universe (but he'll have his own show in 2019 on DC Universe) but Constantine mentioned his association with the guy.
- Nate and Gary were no shows here. Nick Zano has his reasons as to why he didn't appear in this episode on his latest Instagram post.
- Did the show really quote a previously negative review that AV Club gave them? That's something else, alright.
- Chronology: 1995 for the most part. Not sure when Nora is but I guess probably 2018.

Wet Hot American Bummer was the camp tale I didn't expect but it was definitely one that I enjoyed a lot more than I expected to. There wasn't anything in regards to what Constantine is running away from this week but the continuity on Ava's clone origins and Charlie's insertion into the team, coupled with Nora's return, it's all good though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 12, 2018

My Review of Titans 1x05: "Together"

Written by Bryan Edward Hill & Gabrielle Stanton
Directed by Meera Menon

Jason: "Wow, Dick Grayson in the flesh. Nice to meet you bro, I'm the new Robin."

Well, look who decided to show up earlier than expected? I guess I should've seen the writers not being able to resist temptation and have Jason Todd (Curran Walters) appear in the final moments of this one to set up his proper debut in the next episode. Not that I'm complaining mind.

Having Jason show up to help Dick out of a jam with the assassins sent to kill off Adamson was a nice way of conveying that even Dick seemed to be unaware of the fact that he had a successor. It's even more appropriate as well, considering that he finally had come out as Robin to Kory, Rachel and Gar in this episode when they had to deal with the Nuclear Family yet again.

Speaking of the Nuclear Family, well they got a younger looking father this week but their time as antagonist came to something of an abrupt end when Adamson decided to blow their heads up with a remote device he had before Kory could get around to torturing them for more information on their pursuit of Rachel.

As antagonists, they were an oddly amusing bunch but now that we're about to enter the second half of the season, the show does need to show it's hand with the baddies here. I get the feeling by next week, Adamson himself will be out of the picture so if Rachel's father really is the main antagonist, isn't it well overdue that we actually see him now? I really do hope the show can actually deliver with Trigon.

As for our main heroes themselves, they're still not going by a certain title but this episode did really solidify them as a group, especially now that Dick has come out to them as Robin. We even got to see some potential pairings with both Dick and Kory and even Rachel and Gar seem rather fond of each other as well.

Dick and Kory even had sex in this episode to the delight of many shippers I don't doubt but there's still some tension there with Kory not remembering who she actually is and Dick trying his damndest to avoid talking about himself. I'm hoping now that the character will lighten up a little more but I have a feeling meeting Jason might have mixed results as to whether or not he can move past his feud with Bruce at the moment.

- The training montage with Kory, Gar and Rachel was pretty amusing as Dick kept trying to deflect what he could actually do with the gang.
- Bryan Edward Hill, who co-wrote this episode has written for Detective comics and The Outsiders as well.
- Aside from naked Dick and Gar, we also had the former being propositioned by both Kory and the motel owner this week.
- Chronology: From where Doom Patrol more or less left off.

I'm pleased in the last three weeks that the quality of this show has taken a turn for the better. Together continues the trend of strong episodes, the violence seems a little more toned down compared to the first two episodes and the humour is more at the forefront. Good show.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x06: "Demons Of The Punjab"

Written by Vinay Patel
Directed by Jamie Childs

The Doctor (to Umbreen/Prem): "Something I believe in in my faith, love, in all it's forms is the most powerful weapon we have. Because love is a form of hope and like hope, love abides in the face of everything."

One of the biggest complaints about this series surrounding the new companions was that Yasmin has been the least focused on out of the three and it's been a valid enough argument. This episode then is something of a focal shift for the young police officer as we get to have a delve into her grandmother's past during a rather volatile time in India's history.

When Nani Umbreen (Leena Dhingra) seemed cagey about revealing the story of a broken watch on her birthday to her family, Yasmin implored the Doctor to take a trip down memory. You'd think after Father's Day, this would be the last thing any Doctor would with a companion but apparently the lesson from that episode was forgotten as the gang materialise in the Punjab in late 1940's where Yasmin gets some history lessons.

First of all, she gets to meet a younger version of her grandmother (Amita Suman) on the eve of the latter's wedding to former soldier Prem (Shane Zaza), which freaks Yasmin out as Prem isn't actually her grandfather so she's not too pleased that her nana was previously married to another. The other vital bit of history is that the TARDIS crew had landed in India during the Partition and that by the end of this episode we would see one hell of a family falling out between Prem and his younger brother, Manish (Hamza Jeetooa) as the latter disapproved of Umbreen for being Muslim while Manish and Prem were Hindu themselves.

I'm not going to lie - prior to this episode at all, I had very little knowledge of the Partition and I thought it was not only handy of writer Vinay Patel to give us one of many stories alluding to the event itself but also to post out some helpful links as well. I think the show deserves praise for exploring a part of history not touched on often in other media, something about this episode just didn't come together as it could've done.

Once again, like Rosa a few weeks ago, this was a part of history with a certain situation unfolding (the divide between India and Pakistan and of course, Prem and Manish, resulting in the former being shot by the latter) where the Doctor and the companions couldn't influence or change anything but even the monsters of the week themselves, the Thijarian were absolutely useless here.

This has been a growing problem with this series now and it's becoming a massive source of irritation at this point. I wouldn't have minded the Thijarian abandoning their assassin ways to become chief mourners if this series hadn't been riddled with absolutely toothless new monsters, which is ironic considering that one of them collected teeth. It's all well and good for Chibnall to rest classic foes but when he isn't coming up with new compelling baddies himself (and he hasn't if we're being honest here), then you realise the show has a major problem on it's hands.

The main cast as usual are great though. I do love this Doctor and I've grown to really care for Graham, Yasmin and Ryan and the series has had some beautiful character bits but the lack of jeopardy, excitement and compelling monsters is increasingly becoming a hindrance to the show at this rate. I'm really hoping the remaining four episodes will inject some menace into proceedings now.

- Anyone else starting to get the feeling that Graham's cancer has returned? I thought it two weeks ago when he saw Grace but something about his conversation with Yasmin has convinced me he's not making it out of this series alive.
- The Doctor made another reference to being a man as well as officiating Prem and Umbreen's big day. We had the Hindu tradition of hands being tied together.
- The timing of this episode was fairly appropriate as it aired on Remembrance Sunday.
- Shane Zaza who played Prem technically has been in the Doctor Who universe before, having played a character named Atif in the TARDISODES series. The Partition also was previous explored in the 10th Doctor/Donna book, Ghosts Of India.
- Segun Akinola's music really was a high point for this episode as well. He's been a worthy successor to Murray Gold so far.
- Chronology: August 17th and 18th, 1947 and present day 2018 in Sheffield.

Demons Of The Punjab is something of a strange episode. It's undeniably a step up from the misfire of the previous week and I commend it tackling a piece of history not often discussed but for some reason, it just didn't really land for me. I really wanted to love this episode and there's a lot to recommend but between the ineffective monsters and some of the guest cast lacking a little, it was a little disappointing.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 09, 2018

Meeting Your Enemies Again

Yeah, it's been a few weeks since I've done one of these but here's a rundown of some of the programs I've watched since there. Finished up in a few cases too.

911: Since I last blogged about this show, I have finished up the first season and watched at least the first three episodes of the second season, due to SkyWitness being speedy with the latter. For a show that I initially thought was going to be tame by Ryan Murphy's standards, I've really grown to love this series. The Buck/Abby might have petered out but I've quite liked the Athena/Bobby one and so far, both Maddie and Eddie have turned out to be likeable new additions to the series. The earthquake two parter was also a series highlight as well.

Arrow: Four episodes into the show's seventh season and I am beyond bored of Oliver's prison storyline. It's been dull and cliched at every turn and Felicity has managed to become even more insufferable apart from Oliver than she was with him. The flash forwards with older versions of Roy, William, Dinah and Zoe have been thankfully good and the current splintered gang along with the new Green Arrow (totally a female character) have been better but what does it say when the weakest aspect of the show now revolves around the title character? On the other hand, props to the show for it's clear commitment in giving Black Siren an organic redemptive storyline and for her deadpan snarking as well.

Killing Eve: This has easily been the best UK show so far this year (sorry, Bodyguard fans) with both Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer giving it their all as Eve and Villanelle respectively and the last three episodes certainly upped the cat and mouse ante between the two as the latter went off script and killed her Konstantin for good measure. With the show renewed for a second season and a new showrunner (Call The Midwife's Emerald Fennell replacing Phoebe Waller-Bridge), I really do hope the show avoids the pitfalls of difficult second album syndrome after this rather superlative first outing.

Krypton: With the second season currently filming, E4 blitzed through the remaining episodes with a spate of double bills and I have to admit, the latter half of the season was mostly good. I like the set up for Doomsday for next season, hoping that we don't have to wait too long to see Adam Strange and thought that Colin Salmon did a pretty good job as Zod while Seg El, Nyssa and Lyta made for a strong team as well. Prequel wise, I still feel like this isn't a show that we particularly need but it's been somewhat better than expected, so I probably will give the second season a watch.

Supergirl: Four episodes into the fourth season so far and I've not been greatly impressed with what we've got here. In terms of the newbies, so far both Nia Nal and Manchester Black have been good but Agent Liberty, Mercy and Otis Graves have been extremely dire to watch. The show has never been subtle with it's political commentary but even in it's second season the writing for it never felt as sloppy as it has been this season. So far, nothing is especially gripping me this season. Hopefully it picks up before so far, it's as poor as Arrow has been.

The Flash: Somewhat better than Arrow and Supergirl at the moment but at the same time, not doing anything too compelling outside of focusing on Nora's relationships with Barry and Iris and giving us a bit of a sympathetic-ish backstory for metahuman serial killer, Cicada. So far the latter seems like a decent enough antagonist and I've not minded Ralph and Caitlin working together to find the latter's father but Cisco hasn't had much to really do and I'm not too keen on Sherloque as of yet. Other than that, it's still pretty solid stuff so far.

- Andy Bean and Derek Mears have been cast as Alec Holland and the title character alike for DC Universe's upcoming Swamp Thing TV series.
- Charmed has been picked up for a full season of 22 episodes. UK viewers will be able to see the show on E4 in 2019.
- Gotham's final season will now be 12 episodes and premiere on January 3rd 2019 for US viewers. Shane West will also be playing Bane.
- A Discovery Of Witches has been renewed for a second and third season by Sky1.
- John Barrowman will be returning to Arrow's seventh season.
- Orange Is The New Black will end with it's seventh season but Netflix are in talks to do a sequel series.
- Jeremy Irons will play an older Ozymandias in the upcoming Watchmen series for HBO. Jean Smart will also be co-starring in the series as an FBI agent.
- Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina are being sued by a Satanic Temple over copyright on using one of their images.
- Veronica Mars will be adding Patton Oswalt in a recurring role for it's upcoming revival on Hulu.
- Both Loki and Scarlett Witch will be getting series on Disney's upcoming streaming service.

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x07: "I Got Played"

Written by Maya Goldsmith
Directed by Eric Laneuville

Annalise (to Birkhead): "I can't wait to take you down."

Hopefully when this does inevitably happens, it will be pretty glorious. In three episodes, the show has certainly made Birkhead into a decent enough antagonist for Annalise as the fall out of Nate Sr's death also resulted in Annalise also botching Nate's chances of getting an inquest for his father. Like the title of the episode says, but it does seem like Annalise was a little too easily played here.

I was disappointed to also learn that Annalise had been drinking again but at least Bonnie took some steps to try and get her back on track while Tegan also stepped into the fray by giving Annalise enough dirt so that Emmett would take her back at Caplan & Gold. The Emmett bit took an interesting turn as Annalise offered to help him rather than blackmail him and he accepted her offer. Perhaps Emmett might not be a baddie after all.

Then there's the adoption bit of the episode - did Annalise successfully adopt a kid and lose them? Birkhead tried to hold this over Annalise in order to get her to back down but it wasn't successful. It's possibly that Gabriel might be that kid but surely, Annalise would've remembered him, right? Speaking of Gabriel it does seem like he's got his hooks into Michaela as Frank and Laurel continue to do nothing more than just spy on him.

As for Connor and Oliver - well, they talked to a nice female priest about their upcoming nuptials, went out with everyone else for the least "Gays Gone Wild" on network television before the former got into a fight with a homophobe. This at least answers as to why Connor is covered in bruises on the big day.

Speaking of the big day, the flashbacks seem to now indicate that Bonnie is not the killer but that she does know who the killer is though. The victim also seems to be male and the killer clearly had help in moving the body as well. It's probably the most exciting part of the flash forwards that we've had and hopefully next week's winter finale will give us a satisfying answer.

- Asher had some nice bits with Bonnie/Ronald and the gang this week but it's becoming obvious that the show has no idea what to do with him though.
- Connor hates Mamma Mia apparently. Yeah, I could live with that if I were Oliver.
- Laurel openly teased Michaela about her Tegan fixation but I'm still hoping for an Annalise/Tegan pairing at some point this season.
- Chronology: Not long until the big day now. A month has passed since Nate Sr's death as well.

I Got Played did little to advance Bonnie's storyline and I'm not sure about this previous adoption storyline with Annalise (who was floundering a lot this episode) but the flash forwards were the strongest we've had and hopefully this Gabriel storyline will be done with soon as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 08, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Fire And Reign

Written by Asha Michelle Wilson
Directed by Jennifer Arnold

Michael (to the witches): "I told Cordelia exactly what I was going to do to you all."

Ah yes, between brooding about not having an instruction manual for being the Antichrist, Michael might have mentioned something about getting revenge for Meade's death. Here, he somewhat did that by taking out most of Cordelia's girls and only three of actual importance as we had to watch Zoe, Queenie and Bubbles die and Michael made sure that Cordelia wasn't able to bring them back either.

Of course, Cordelia, Myrtle, Madison, Mallory and Coco all managed to survive and when Cordelia didn't flip out over Madison not telling her about Michael's ability to burn souls or cry about her failure as a Supreme, Myrtle at least was made of sterner stuff. I've not always been the biggest fan of Myrtle but she has been a great mentor to Cordelia yet again and at least she was trying to come up with ideas to deal with Michael bringing about the end of days.

Trying to ally themselves with the Warlocks however turned out to be fruitless, considering that Michael quickly dispatched of them. A shame as I enjoyed both Behold and John Henry but not a surprise either that he'd slaughter them all.

However the solution to stopping Michael now seems to be falling into Mallory's hands. This week, Myrtle and Cordelia tried to test the future Supreme's powers by having her go back in time to prevent the assassination of the Romanovs. It also seems that Anastasia was a witch, albeit not a powerful enough one to prevent her family's death and even Mallory wasn't able to get a handle on this ability as of yet.

It was predicted ages ago that time travel would play a role in Michael's inevitable defeat and while Mallory failed at it here, she'll probably get the handle on it by next. I don't know how this show is going to wrap up this all by next week but I have a feeling some short curs are going to be made in order to do it.

As for the rest of the episode - Jeff and Mutt were mainly pulling the strings through Michael in order to get the Cooperative/Illuminati in order for the end of days while at the same time charming a rather fed up Venable into taking over one of her outposts. It is a little annoying that Michael was seemingly manipulated by two coked out nerds for most of this episode but with any luck, both Jeff and Mutt have some horrible deaths coming their way when their big plan does come to fruition.

- Misty was out gallivanting with Stevie Nicks while Cordelia and her remaining coven were hiding out in Misty's shack.
- Dinah helped Michael kill the witches so she could get thirteen episodes of a talk show? There's got to be some kind of a comeuppance for her next week.
- Looks like we're getting another appearance from Constance next week going by that trailer.
- Chronology: From where Sojourn left off as well as the visit to 1918 Siberia.

Fire And Reign certainly marked an improvement on last week but it's still odd to me that we are still in flashback mode with only one episode to go. I'm also not sure why the last few episodes have been shorter than usual but at least we're back towards the present where hopefully next week's finale will bring about a satisfying ending for things.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x03: "Dancing Queen"

Written by James Eagan & Morgan Faust
Directed by Kristin Windell

Ray (re Charlie): "She definitely isn't Amaya."
Mick: "No, but I do like her."

With this season upping the regulars, it was high time we met two more of them as we've already had Ava and Constantine firmly bedded into the season. First up - it's Charlie and she's quite something else as the Legends (mostly Ray) learned in this episode.

Taking things 1977 London, Charlie is the lead singer in a punk group named the Smell and she's determined to cause her own anarchy in the UK by having the Queen acting all punk and getting an undercover "Rage" to indulge in a bout of Corgi napping for good measure.

Mostly played by former Sarah Jane Adventures actor, Anjli Mohidra, Charlie is a fun enough antagonist for this episode, forming a rather nice bond with Ray before the rest of the Legends stepped into the fray with Constantine removing her shape shifting abilities and complicating things for the group by having her stuck in the form of Amaya. Acting wise, this will definitely give Maisie Richardson-Sellers an interesting challenge and allow her to use her own natural accent.

Needless to say, this is going to cause further tensions within the group, especially as Nate has been avoiding going back to the Waverider so he's not reminded of Amaya at all. Speaking of Nate, keeping him at the Time Bureau isn't a bad idea as his scenes with Ava and Gary have been rather fun to watch and this week, they also included a fight with a deadly plant from another time period.

Onto our other new regular - this episode also debuted delivery girl, Mona (Ramona Young) who  seemed to take a shine to Gary when the latter wasn't wiping her mind. Right now, I'll admit the character left me a bit cold and with Nora also due to resurface at some point, I can't help wondering if we really need Mona as a regular. Hopefully the next few episodes will do something interesting with the character though.

As for the rest of the episode, when there wasn't fun being pulled at Ray's lack of rebellious streak, we also had Constantine and Mick nearly coming to blows and the former also having a rather fraught reunion with his parents. I did quite like Zari's scenes with John this week and her gesture at the end was rather sweet. As for the rivalry between Mick and Constantine, well that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

- Zari's air totem is now a bracelet thanks to some modifications Ray made to it. Ray also ended up confessing to Sara that he let Nora loose.
- It seems that John and Gary "broke up" off screen. Boo to that one. Did we also see Papa Midnite in that flashback?
- Bit tacky to get the "dare to defy" CW tagline in there with Gary, wasn't it?
- Chronology: 1977 London and the Pleistocene period.

Dancing Queen marked a good debut for Charlie but I could've done without Declan's fake Irish accent and even though I am enjoying Constantine as a regular, sending the baddie of the week to hell can't be the only solution all the time. Granted, Ray managed to stop that happening to Charlie but it's still a format I don't want the show to fall into continuously though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, November 05, 2018

My Review of Tell Me A Story's 1x01: "Hope"

Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Liz Friedlander

Hannah: "Maybe we got lucky."
Gabe: "We're not lucky people, Hannah."

Following the success of Star Trek: Discovery, CBS All Access seem keen to have another hit with a series that takes the lure of fairy tales and puts them in a modern setting of New York, so if you're tempted to compare it to Once Upon A Time (which two cast members from that show feature here) or Grimm, you might be a little disappointed.

The fairytales serve as a metaphor here and in some parts, not particularly subtle ones as Kevin Williamson brings about an opening episode ripe with political unrest, addiction, fractured families, dangerous affairs and murder to boot. Now this sounds exciting on paper but the results in this episode are rather a mixed bag though.

To start with the plot that took up the least screen time but the one that got my interest was the Hansel & Gretel bit. Here, we've got a coked out gay exotic dancer named Gabe (Davi Santos) who along with his roommate and co-worker Billy (Luke Guldan) take the night off from their jobs at nightclub Rapture to go party with an older guy named Dan (Paul Rolfes).

When Billy tries to rob from Dan, a fight breaks out and the latter is dead. Billy flees the scene and Gabe is forced to rope in his older sister, Hannah (Dania Ramirez) in order to clean up the mess and lie low. In their scenes together, we know that Gabe and Hannah have been estranged for a bit and that the latter has served in the military and has a rather nasty scar on her back. Of course their segment isn't the only murder of the bunch in this opening episode.

Moving into The Three Little Pigs segment of things - you've got sobering bartender Eddie (Paul Wesley) roped into committing a robbery at a jewel store with his friend, Mitch (Michael Raymond-James) and Sam (Dorian Crossmond Missick) resulting in the death of a woman named Beth (Spencer Graham) as witnessed by the latter's distraught fiancee Jordan Evans (James Wolk).

Prior to her death, Beth's relationship with Jordan certainly ate up a fair amount of screen time in this episode. We went from them having a 'safe space' dinner with friends where they talked about their disgust over Trump, attending a protest march over a recent shooting while at the same time also arguing about whether or not to have children before getting on the same page. Even without the trailers for the show, Beth's death felt fairly telegraphed from the start. Jordan's revenge story will either be interesting or tiresome depending on how it pans out over the course of the first season.

As for the last fairy tale installment, it's Little Red Riding Hood with Kim Cattrall playing the rather imperfect grandmother, Colleen (and arguably the most engaging character of this episode) to rebellious teenager, Kayla (Danielle Campbell), who spends this first episode being at odds with her well meaning but clueless father, Tim (Sam Jaeger) when she wasn't sneaking out with her new friend, Laney (Paulina Singer) and hooking up with charming stranger, Nick (Billy Magnussen).

Out of the three instalments, it was this one that slightly interested me in the least. Again, the trailers spoiled the obvious twist of Nick ending up being Kayla's teacher and the latter's attempts of playing the bad girl just didn't really convince. Plus, this is a trope not unfamiliar to Williamson (Dawson's Creek, anyone?) but I'll keep an open mind.

- The opening credits are actually quite long and pretty well depicting the three fairy tales in the modern setting. I rather like them.
- We had at least two scenes where characters from all three segments were within the same area/distance of one another. I imagine we'll get that a lot before the stories properly intersect with each other.
- Standout music: Crazy For You, which seems to be used in the trailers for the series a bit too.
- Chronology: Has to be in 2018, right? 

Hope is a ropy opening episode. There's enough in it to make you want to watch more and while there's a lack of subtlety with the tales themselves (robbers wearing pig masks, Kayla's rather long winded speech about wolves, unlucky siblings etc), it's engaging enough as a series to keep watching for a few more episodes. I'm not sure how many people are watching it as there seems to be little discussion of it anywhere and Williamson's history with more adult television tends to be less successful than his foray into teen dramas. It'll be interesting to see if this show can do enough to warrant a second season and what fairy tales will be used for that.

Rating: 6 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x05: "The Tsuranga Conundrum"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Jennifer Perrot

Monitor: "Risk to life: ultimate."

It had to happen at some point, didn't it? After a strong opener, entertaining if diverting second and fourth episodes and a series highlight with the third offering, we've finally hit our first and hopefully only dud episode of the series. I'd like to say I was surprised with how badly this one turned out to be but I'd be lying.

Things start with the Doctor, Graham, Yasmin and Ryan on a scrapyard planet before blasted and teleported to a space hospital where they soon find themselves having to stop the most dangerous thing in the universe.

Now this could've been a great moment to wow viewers with the return of a classic foe but instead Chibnall opted for another one of his own creations with the - Pting. It's small like an Adipose, slightly looks like a Porg and like a Gremlin, it's something of a greedy little bugger, eating everything on sight.

It doesn't largely help sell the threat of the Pting when Yasmin at one point is able to kick it around as a football but the Pting comes in handy for absorbing the energy of a bomb before it's left to fend for itself in the vacuum of space. Five episodes in and aside from the humanoid baddies, none of Chibnall's alien monsters are actually landing. I'll admit, much as I am enjoying our current TARDIS crew, this is starting to become a concern for me.

Speaking of the crew - Yasmin was mostly with the Doctor this week and with the latter, she largely interacted with sister and brother duo - Eve and Durkas Cicero as played by Suzanne Packer and Ben Bailey-Smith respectively. The Cicero family dynamic was explored decently enough and they had a hunky robot in Ronan (David Shields), who wasn't really that useful but truth be told, this was a story that arguably suffered from too many guest characters.

Separated from the Doctor and Yasmin, both Graham and Ryan found themselves being birthing partners to a pregnant man named Yoss (Jack Shalloo). I hate Mpreg as a fanfiction trope to the point where I will outright not read a fiction containing it, so it was something I could've done without in this episode. The character was likeable enough and it was a means at looking into Ryan's own father issues but other than that, I don't think the episode would've suffered from cutting Yoss out of the script.

As for crew members - we did get two of them. Astos (Brett Goldstein) had a bit of an interesting rapport with the Doctor but was too quickly taken out of the story to make a real impact. Faring somewhat better was Mabli (Lois Chimimba), who also managed to survive the episode and had some nice scenes with the Doctor but other than that, my mind drifted a lot with this episode.

- Something's wrong with the Doctor's exo-spleen and going by next week's trailer, this will continue to be a thing for her.
- Apparently there was some clips of past monsters in the episode for a brief moment. I really hope Chibnall brings back one of them in the next five episodes.
- Ryan opened up about his mother's death to Yasmin while Yoss's species birth males and carry them for a week.
- I just realised that this is the second episode this series not to actually feature the TARDIS.
- We got references to Call The Midwife and Hamilton in this episode.
- Chronology: 67th century on board the Tsuranga.

Without a doubt, The Tsuranga Conundrum is one of the worst episodes that the show has ever produced. I don't think any era that did this episode would've pulled it off well and as horrible as it was to watch, it doesn't negate the good work we've still had this series and will probably have in the remainder of it. However, it was the first time where it felt like there were too many characters in a short space of time and Chibnall needs to come up with a new monster that can actually land for audiences as well.

Rating: 5 out of 10