Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 3x03: "It Hurts Me Too"

Written by Alexander Woo
Directed by Michael Lehmann

Sookie: “They took someone I love from me. I don’t know about you but I was raised to fight back.”
Alcide: “Great. You’ll get us both killed.”

Ah, that Sookie Stackhouse. The girl really should come with a health warning but to be fair, while the girl can display some serious recklessness from time to time, I do admire the fact that she’s willing to get stuck in and try and rescue Bill and I don’t mean that from a shipping perspective.

Given that this season is clearly following the books, there’s no doubt that Sookie and Bill’s relationship is coming closer to imploding anyway and this episode certainly speeded up things. I’ve heard of twisted sex but trust this bloody show to be so literal about the damn thing.

Last week, we were treated to flashbacks with Eric and Godric and this week, it had to be with Bill and Lorena, didn’t it? I suppose seeing more into their past does help to give insight on the resentment harbours for Lorena over her obsession with him. Adding Caroline into the mix was also an interesting step.

Of course Bill would be one of those turned vampire who would go back to take a glimpse of his former life. Much as I hate Lorena, I always believed that she wasn’t kidding when she said doing such a thing would only cause pain. His visit to Caroline very nearly got her killed and Bill didn’t benefit from it either.

Caroline was shocked to see Bill but she was completely disgusted when she realised that he was a vampire. Having a demon there while she was struggling to bury their dead son certainly didn’t help Caroline’s frame of mind. Come to think of it, Lorena also catching a hold of her didn’t help matters either.

I was actually surprised that Lorena didn’t kill Caroline but settled for making Bill glamour his wife into forgetting their visit. Was that kindness on Lorena’s part or just preservation? Personally, I’d venture for the latter given that we know how desperate Lorena was to please Bill during their time together, a desperation that now is seeping through Bill.

He failed to get rid of her by setting her on fire, given that she survived the burning and when he vowed his allegiance to Russell, more trouble was to be had because Lorena did not believe that he was genuinely joining the team. Lorena’s got good reason to feel that way inclined though. Bill will just about do or say anything to keep Sookie safe and you don’t have to be a shipper to think that.

As for the sex scene between Lorena and Bill – he twisted her neck so he wouldn’t have to look at her during the act and she still got off on it? Lorena clearly has some bloody issues given how aggressively Bill was attacking her. Either that or Lorena will take satisfaction of Bill’s hatred towards her because it’s an indicator that he still feels something for her and that’s probably better than nothing.

Of course, Lorena is the least of Bill’s problems. Russell may have a charming banter and way about him but he’s someone that Bill will want to be very careful about going up against. Even Cooter seems to have a certain level of fear with Russell and I get the feeling that Bill may have to watch himself around that particular werewolf.

Speaking of werewolves, this episode was actually a rather perfect way to introduce Alcide into Sookie’s life. I’m slightly mixed about the character given his representation in the books, so I’m hoping that the series develops his story better, especially the dynamic with Sookie as well.

In the books, Alcide had a thing for Sookie and that’ll clearly make it’s way into the show but I liked for the most part that he was a little freaked out with her ability but admired her gumption in trying to get information at the were bar. It’s only too bad that Sookie’s snooping got the both of them the wrong kind of attention at the bar. Can Sookie not go five minutes without something or someone trying to kill her?

This episode started with a V crazed werewolf attacking Eric in her home and then nearly ended up with her as dinner for a few aggressive weres as well. If Sookie wants to find Bill, then she really does need to heed Eric’s advice about being careful. She doesn’t need to attract trouble when there’s plenty of it gunning for her anyways.

Russell using her life as a bargaining chip with Bill aside, I find that Franklin certainly has a direct approach with trying to get the goods on the girl. When Tara didn’t want to open up to him after their freaky sex, Franklin fond that little force with Jessica earned him some much needed information. I loved the little fang off between the pair of them and the glee Franklin took in showing Jessica the head of the guy she had killed a few nights before.

Franklin is finally an evil vampire on a smaller scale that we need and while I do love that he poses a threat, a part of me hated the fact that he was able to glamour Tara into inviting him into Sookie’s house. Tara’s barely been out of Maryann’s influence for less than a week and already she’s under the thrall of Franklin. The poor girl really can’t catch a break, can she?

Speaking of breaks, Sam really should consider cutting his family loose and sooner rather than later. Maybe Melina is a decent person underneath but Joe Lee is an alcoholic scumbag and Tommy certainly showed no remorse for trying to kill Sam. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it had been him who broke into Sam’s office and stole from him as well. Sam needs to cut this lot out of his life before they really do bleed him dry because that certainly looks like what they intend to do to him.

As for Jason, I like the fact that he wants to become a cop and do something good with his life but he really should’ve made an effort when Hoyt was trying to help memorise vital rules from the book for his exam. Jason will probably achieve the goal anyways given that he and Andy are closer now but it would be nice if he did apply himself instead of trying to wing it as well.

Also in “It Hurts Me Too”

No new names were added into the opening credits for this episode, even though Alcide did debut in this episode.

Russell (to Bill, re Talbot): “Really, it’s like Armageddon in here every time someone chips a dessert glass.”

When he wasn’t giving Sookie good advice, Eric did try to buy Lafayette with a flashy new car. Lafayette wisely expressed some reservations with Eric’s gift.

Tara: “Go ahead; bite me, fucking do it. What the hell? I said you could bite me.”
Franklin: “No.”
Tara: “Why not?”
Franklin: “Because you want me to.”

Pam: “So, the problem you have is there is no dead body in your house?”
Jessica: “Yeah.”
Pam: “Doesn’t sound like a problem to me, gotta run. Babies, they all sound the same to me.”

Yvetta’s a lucky girl, isn’t it? First, the bondage sex with Eric and now some office time with Pam. I hope she’s got health insurance.

Lorena: “This is your doing I assume.”
Bill: “Unhand her, she’s my wife.”

Caroline here was played by Shannon Lucio and halfway through the episode, Bud actually quit when Jessica’s victim’s body was found by Hoyt. And why did Arlene have to lie to Terry about him being the father of her baby?

Jason: “I know what you’re thinking but I’ve got a lot on my mind lately.”
Lafayette: “That must feel now.”

Alcide: “I hear you read minds, is that true?”
Sookie: “Yes it is.”
Alcide: “Son of a bitch.”

Alcide was hired by Eric to protect Sookie due to his father’s debts. We also learned that his ex Debbie is engaged to the pack leader as well. I’m not looking forward to Debbie’s arrival on the show to be honest.

Caroline: “If you can kill me, please I beg you, do it now.”
Lorena (to Bill): “Make her forget. You brought this upon her, you must undo it.”

Jason: “You seem okay, are you okay?”
Tara: “I’m getting there, little by little.”

It was a nice thing of Sookie to arrange Eggs’s funeral for Tara. I’m glad the both of them patched things up this week.

Sookie: “We’re not dressed properly?”
Werewolf: “You look like dinner.”

Standout music: “It Hurts Me Too” by Gaye Adegbalola.

Bill (to Lorena): “We can never love humans without bringing suffering upon them. You taught me that and I will never forgive you for it.”

Chronology: Exactly from where “Beautifully Broken” left off.

I didn’t like “It Hurts Me Too” as much as I’ve loved past episodes. Something was a little off with, even though with an average episode of this show, you’re still never bored because there’s always a lot happening so you can’t be.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x22: "Love All"

Written by Michael J. Cinquemani And Sarah Goldfinger
Directed by Michael Schultz

Nora (re Jake): “Why did he go back, Justin? It breaks my heart that he was there.”
Justin: “Somebody had to be.”

Speaking of heartbreak, I’m sorry that I’ve been late with reviews for this series. I’d like to put it down to apathy but the season’s been mostly fine and it has been other stuff getting in the way but I am determined to catch up on the remainder of this season, where hopefully the next few episodes pack more of a punch than this one.

In this issue of Sarah vs. Luc in regards to Cooper – well, I’m sorry parents everywhere but I side with Luc on this one, simply due to the fact Cooper was behaving like a brat in this episode. The way he was consistently hostile towards Luc to the point of ruining the tennis game being the last straw.

Why didn’t Sarah speak up sooner with Cooper? She became one of those parents who let him play video games instead of him being out in the fresh air (and granted, at his age and even now to a degree, I’d still rather be indoors than outdoors during summer) and when Nora or Luc challenged her, she didn’t like it one bit.

It’s not that Sarah is a bad mother or anything but both Luc and Nora were talking perfect sense and Sarah wouldn’t budge. Luc might not be Cooper’s father but if he’s going to be a permanent factor in Sarah’s life then he’s not exactly demanding much by wanting to be treated civilly by her children, especially given that he’s been reasonable with them so far.

This is probably the first episode that gave viewers a practical obstacle between Sarah and Luc and actually came close to presenting them as a serious couple and not a chick-lit writer’s dream couple. Luc managed to raise some good points without being a dick about it and when Sarah finally realised that Cooper was misbehaving, she did to her credit actually take some action about it.

If we could see these types of storylines between Sarah and Luc next season, then they actually stand a good chance of being a proper couple. I’m still not exactly sold on Luc but this was definitely one of his better episodes and I do like to think positively because while Sarah and he resolved their issues, another couple were met with more.

Of course the last couple of episodes where Justin and Rebecca weren’t arguing would have to come down to an episode where they did again because of them can communicate properly. Rebecca, you don’t need an enormous house when it’s just the two of you and I actually don’t blame Justin for being narked.

Holly might not have meant any real harm when encouraging Rebecca to put in an offer for the house of your dreams but Rebecca should’ve had enough savvy to think that perhaps consulting Justin would’ve been a neat idea before going ahead with the idea./ Naturally, she didn’t and an argument ensued between the pair of them. I really hate when they argue because they’ve done it so much in the last two seasons.

And there was the clanger of Justin wanting to drop out of med school. Damn it, I wanted him to actually to continue with it. Why do the writers always have to do this with him? For crying out loud, let Justin actually stick to something and follow through. He might not be the brightest button but he’s not stupid – he just needs to have some confidence in his abilities and persevere a little more.

As for the threat of him wanting to join the army again, I’m glad that Nora actually did have that one out with him. The death of Justin’s friend clearly ignited the urge for him to be with the people that he left behind but I really don’t think the series or even Justin needs to have the army re-enter his life. Reminders here and there are good but let’s not go back there, eh?

Speaking of stuff that I don’t want to go with would be Robert’s mystery job. Right now, I’m tired of the secrecy surrounding it and kind of wish that this story would speed, especially given that it’ll be the one to exit Rob Lowe from the series. Both Kevin and Kitty have expressed their own suspicions/fears and Robert seemed to foolishly ignore them.

Getting cosy to Bill Staten doesn’t seem to be a particularly smart idea either. Kevin warned Robert about getting involved with the guy and Robert basically ignored his advice. Yes, I’m aware that Kevin no longer works for Robert but I certainly wouldn’t have ignored that little bit of advice from him either.

As for Kevin and Sarah’s tennis competitiveness – apart from the scenes where Kevin seemed a little too blissed out, I thought that Sarah was way worse but that was only because she was being unnecessarily nasty to Luc whereas Kevin was using the tennis as a distraction because of that great big void in his life that work wise, he’s unable to fill.

In the past couple of episodes, he’s done the odd bit of work here and there for Kitty and Sarah. He was even working on contracts for more drilling at Narrow Lake but the truth is, the guy desperately needs to work for his own peace of mind and the fact that he’s going to be a father pretty damn soon.

Scotty and Saul at least have their restaurant idea and hopefully that’ll be something that comes to fruition and actually works out instead of petering out after a few episodes. I liked the last few scenes with Kevin getting some of his confidence back from Scotty but overall, we’ve had better moments with the guys this season. That being said, regardless of the hiccups they experience, Kevin and Scotty are the most stable relationship on most of US television to be perfectly honest.

Also in “Love All”

And the result of the tennis match between Robert/Luc and Kevin/Sarah was a forfeit thanks to Cooper’s sabotaging skills.

Scotty: “Don’t be upset.”
Kevin: “I’m not upset, I’m busy.”

Kevrah was the name of the Kevin/Sarah tennis team up and come on, but it’s hardly surprising that they got booted out of a club in the past.

Robert: “Joe, I’ve known you a long time but I’ll tell you something – never bet against my wife.”

Sarah: “What are you doing here?”
Kevin: “It’s what unemployed losers do. They hang out in their mother’s kitchen making sandwiches.”

Joe has a problem with Sarah dating Luc? That’s a bit rich coming from a bloke who remarried his first wife, isn’t it?

Luc: “Nice try, babe.”
Sarah: “Don’t patronise me.”

Kevin (to Scotty/Saul): “Who knew unemployment could be so much fun?”

It was revealed in this episode that Michelle was two months pregnant but there’s a certain spoiler looming around that means we could be missing a certain scene next season.

Justin: “Time out. Are you mad at me or something?”
Nora: “No, I’m not mad at you, I’m on to you.”

Kevin: “Why are you being so nice?”
Scotty: “Maybe I feel guilty. I haven’t exactly been paying attention to you lately.”
Kevin: “It’s alright. I’m not a child, although I have been behaving like one recently.”

Standout music: Griffin House’s “When The Time Is Right”.

Nora (to Sarah): “I wanted to tell you something. Mothering never gets easier, even when they’ve grown.”

Chronology: Definitely May 2010 but then I’m probably going by episode transmissions, state side.

Not the most interesting episode of the bunch. “Love All” is decent enough and it’s finally nice that the Sarah/Luc bits have a bit more reality in them but the whole thing felt rather filler compared to the last few episodes.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x13: "The Big Bang"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Toby Haynes

Amy: “Okay, Doctor, did I surprise you this time?”
The Doctor: “Yeah completely astonished. Never expected that.”

And as surprises go, this is one finale that’s big on satisfaction all the way. Maybe I’m looking at this with rose tinted glasses as I tend to with every finale but this one was really something else. Different as well in a number of ways too.

Last week looked completely doomy – the Doctor trapped in the Pandorica chamber, Amy dead, Rory the Auton and River trapped inside an exploding TARDIS. There was no way that any of the resolutions given to any of these predicaments will satisfy all viewers but I’m one viewer who was rather happy with matters nonetheless.

First off all, I’m glad that River’s vortex manipulator came in actual use. The Doctor can moan all his wants about how it’s a dirty way of travelling (one day, I want a proper explanation for that and not the one we got in “Utopia”) but it’s also the very thing that saved his backside on a few occasions in this entire episode.

The first time involved a lot of timey wimey stuff that Steven Moffat clearly has adoration for using really frequently. He came to Rory long enough in order to get him to open the Pandorica to release and for that, he needed to needle Rory about Amy’s relevance. I’m glad the Doctor was joking about Amy not being important because even I was tempted to punch him during that scene and I knew what he was doing with Rory.

By doing this, Rory actually got back down to the Underhenge in order to release the Doctor from the Pandorica and it also meant that putting Amy into it would be beneficial. Sure, maybe they could’ve done the same type of spell the Master had done to him last year but using the light from the Pandorica to restore Amy was the better approach.

I knew that as soon as the Doctor told Rory that it would take over 1000 years for Amy to be released that he would want to guard the box. Rory’s dedication to Amy all season has been his most endearing trait and it went into overdrive here. I loved that he went through countless eras and multiple disasters in order to keep her safe. Amy Pond really is a very lucky girl.

And there was the return of her younger version, Amelia. The amount of praise Caitlin Blackwood generated in “The Eleventh Hour” impressed me, even though she’s a brilliant child actor and having her back here was wonderful. An Amelia who didn’t meet the Doctor certainly added a complex layer to this episode.

However Amelia had still believed in the stars no matter what her shrink of Aunt Sharon actually tried to tell her and visiting the National Museum made for the best opportunity for Amelia to go and meet her older self. At some point, this was a TV trope that had to be done and here was the best place to do it.

Both Karen Gillan and Caitlin Blackwood played off each other wonderfully and it was nice to see Amy and Amelia converse and get involved in the action, especially when Rory and the Doctor also arrived in time with a Dalek awakening from its sleep in the museum. With every other monster gone, I guess we needed a threat other than exploding TARDIS removing everything from existences, including the stars.

The scenes with the stone Dalek in this episode were interesting. Sure, it’s not as shocking to see the Doctor hit by a Dalek here when minutes before it, everyone was tending to the injured future Doctor and the Dalek’s analysis of the companions only made an impact when it realised to it’s horror that River Song doesn’t believe in mercy.

The choice of having the Dalek’s extermination off-screen worked in this episode’s favour because never has there been a finale to feature the Daleks where they’re not the main threat. They’re actually on the bottom piles when it came to the amount of lingering threats and plot strands for this episode to sort out.

River’s was another one to figure but it’s done in an easier fashion. Being caught in a time loop with the TARDIS saved her life and it’s done better here than it was done in “The Lodger” but Alex Kingston does have slightly less screen time in this episode than she did in the previous one.

Once all those bits were done with, the biggest problem was saving the day. In an unusual way, it’s actually rather straightforward – pilot the Pandorica into the exploding TARDIS and create a second big bang in order to have everything else exist. The downside would also mean wiping the Doctor from existence as he closed the cracks.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have had plenty of scenes throughout the season to hone their rapport and show the depth behind the Doctor and Amy’s relationship. The scenes where he’s telling the older Amy to remember her parents while tucking Amelia into bed and planting memories of him are damn well clever.

I loved the moments where the Doctor was going back during his moments with Amy throughout the year as the cracks were closed. It was nice to have official confirmation of the two Doctors moment from “Flesh And Stone” but the scenes with Amelia had me nearly welling up, especially when he was talking about how he got the TARDIS and the visible sadness of her forgetting him.

All season long a common complaint with Amy had been the lack of a life she had and with this episode, she suddenly had parents and her wedding with Rory actually happened but it didn’t stop her from realising that something was amiss. The scene where she’s practically willing the Doctor into existence could’ve been terrible but actually it worked out brilliantly. Amy Pond really did get to have her boys and her spaceship but let’s not forget that River was also instrumental in Amy remembering the Doctor.

As for River Song, it finally looks like we’re going to know who exactly she is and sooner than even I expected. At this point, if she is his wife, then it’s been built up to an extent but if she’s not, then that’s fine too. Either way, I’ll be looking forward to seeing her in the next season along with Amy and Rory.

And that’s the other thing – Amy and Rory are staying. I knew it was a definite with Amy but I had my doubts that Rory would stay and I’m so glad that I’m wrong. It’s actually nice that we got a finale for once where none of the main cast has actually left. It’ll be interesting to see how many Steven Moffat can achieve that during his tenure. Even his predecessor wasn’t able to really pull that so it’s nice to see that Steven has.

Lastly, the Pandorica/cracks in time plots may have been resolved but the silence element most definitely wasn’t. The mystery voice in the TARDIS from last week didn’t show up in this episode and the Confidential mentioned that the silence bit is the main theme for Season Six along with River’s identity. Now that’s one way of keeping me interested for next season and then there’s the assumed hook for Christmas with an Egyptian Goddess on the Orient Express as well – can it be December now?

Also in “The Big Bang”

The episode did literally start at the beginning with the events of “The Eleventh Hour” playing out differently for Amelia.

Amy (to Amelia): “Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated.”

Amy’s Aunt Sharon was briefly seen in this episode and her parents are called Tabetha and Augustus.

The Doctor: “Your girlfriend isn’t more important than the universe.”
Rory (punches him): “She is to me!”
The Doctor: “Welcome back, Rory Williams.”

Amelia: “Who are you?”
Amy: “It’s a long story. Oh, a very long story.”

It’s kind of a shame that we didn’t get a small scene where all the monsters left the Underhenge but I guess with time, it wasn’t really needed.

Amy (re other Doctor): “Is he dead?”
The Doctor: “What? Dead? Yes, yes. Of course he’s dead. Right, I’ve got 12 minutes, that's good.”

The Doctor (to Amy): “Today, just dying is a result, now come on!”

The museum not only had a stone Dalek and the Pandorica box but it also had Nile Penguins, Australian Polar Bears and Himalayan Pharaohs to boot.

Amy: “I’m sorry, I can’t hear anything.”
Rory: “Trust the plastic.”

Dalek: “Records indicate you will show mercy. You are an associate of the Doctor's”
River: “I'm River Song, check your records again.”

We got a fair amount of costume changes in this finale between the Doctor, Amy, Rory and River. Shame that Amy and River teamed up to dispatch of the Doctor’s fez, though I loved him in the black suit for the wedding.

The Doctor: “Amy Pond, all alone. The girl who didn’t make sense, how could I resist?”
Amy: “How can I just forget?”
The Doctor: "Nothing is ever forgotten, not really but you have to try."

The Doctor (to Amelia): “It's funny. I thought if you could hear me, I could hang on somehow. Silly me, silly old Doctor. When you wake up, you'll have a mum and a dad and you won't even remember me.”

This episode was around 55 minutes long, shorter than “Journey’s End” but the same length as “Last Of The Time Lords”.

The Doctor (to Amelia): “In your dreams, they’ll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond and the days that never came.”

Rory: “Amy, what is it?”
Amy (re Doctor/TARDIS): “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

River: “Did you dance? Well, you always dance at weddings, don't you?”
The Doctor: “You tell me.”
River: “Spoilers.”

We didn’t get the title of the Christmas special at the end of this episode but I loved the Confidential showing the US promotional circuit that Matt, Karen, Steven, Piers and Beth did for Season Five.

The Doctor: “River, who are you?”
River: “You're going to find out very soon now and I’m sorry, but that’s when everything changes.”

The Doctor: "Sorry, something's come up. This will have to be goodbye."
Amy: "Yeah, I think it's goodbye. Do you think it's goodbye?"
Rory: "Definitely goodbye."

Chronology: 102 AD, 1996 and June 26th 2010, which is the very day that this episode aired on BBC1. And we got another BBC game this week - "Blood Of The Cybermen".

Well, “The Big Bang” certainly had a lot to brag about, didn’t it? Plotlines mostly resolved, the hint of others coming into fruition next season, Amy’s life finally making sense, no major cast departures but with the Doctor showing up on The Sarah Jane Adventures before Christmas, will Amy and Rory also be destined for a trip to Bannerman Road as well?

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Review of "Lennon Naked"

Written by Robert Jones
Directed by Edmund Coulthard

John Lennon: “We’ve all contributed ideas.”

There were many lines from this 85 minute biopic that I thought about using for a quote but for some reason that one stood out the most. I think it was down to the way in which the word, “idea” was utterly by Lennon during that press call with the Beatles at the start of this story.

I’m not gonna say that I’m big fan of either the Beatles or John Lennon personally because both were before my time but I will admit that one of my favourite songs is “Woman” and the fact that I’m a big fan of Christopher Eccleston actually motivated me into watching this a lot more than I would’ve.

For me, a lot of the stuff that was unveiled in this biopic piece was stuff that I vaguely knew of. Lennon’s issues with his father were something I was ignorant of however and it played a massive part of this story. Freddie abandoned John when he was six by forcing him to choose between him and Julia. This alone explained a lot about John Lennon as a person and it also served to show that his father was bad news.

Freddie had made contact with John at the start of his fame and then abandoned him as soon as he got the attentions of a 19 year old girl, which in my opinion is definitely creepy and then towards the end of the story was planning on releasing a book about his life. The scene between him and John as a result was single handed the most powerful moment of the story.

John was scarred by his parents abandoning of him but it also didn’t stop him for being rather cruel to his first wife, Cynthia and abandoning her and their son, Julian for Yoko Ono. Amazing how the very thing that John Lennon was scarred from was the same thing he inflicted onto his own son as a result.

As for Yoko Ono, I’ve never really bought into the notion of her being this witch who contributed breaking up with the Beatles or even wrecking his marriage. This biopic often showed that Lennon was responsible for a lot of the decisions he made and the anger he took when the likes of Paul McCarthy announced the Beatles split instead of him.

The relationships between Yoko and the Beatles were depicted as two very different things in this story as well. The Beatles were on a creative downward spiral and Lennon wanted out. If Yoko hadn’t entered his life the way she did, something else would tipped the scale whereas Yoko did work up his creative juices if the nude paintings and strange recordings were anything to go by.

There are tonnes of performances in this story that are worth citing for praise. Christopher Eccleston in particular is a pitch perfect Lennon, even if we never actually get to hear him sing in the whole thing and I particularly liked Naoko Mori’s take on Yoko Ono as well as Adrian Bower as Lennon’s only friend, Paul Shotten. The story doesn’t really allow for any of the actors playing Paul, Ringo or George to develop onscreen but the actors behind them do a decent job.

- The story starts in 1964 with John reuniting with estranged father, Freddie and ends in 1971 when he and Yoko depart for New York.
- This aired as part of BBC4’s Fatherhood season but I hope it actually makes it to a terrestrial channel prior to DVD release.
- Christopher Eccleston and Naoko Mori previously worked with each other in Doctor Who.
- In this story we did see the various attempts for John and Yoko in their peace protests as the story was winding down.

I’m not gonna say it’s the best biopic I’ve seen but Lennon Naked will actually get you thinking to be brutally honest about the iconic man himself and it’s stuff like that we do need more of on television.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

The Sarah Jane Adventures - Season 4 Episode List

DWM 423 has unveiled all of the titles for the show's fourth season, as well as a few guest cast spoilers. In particular, not content with playing the Ghostmaker on Torchwood and Davros on Doctor Who, Julian Bleach has a role in this series as the Nightmare Man. Plus this year's Doctor story just got more intriguing, didn't it?

4x01- 4x02: The Nightmare Man
Written by Joseph Lidster, Directed by Joss Agnew
Guest starring: Julian Bleach as the Nightmare Man
4x03-4x04: The Vault Of Secrets
Written by Phil Ford, Directed by Joss Agnew
Guest starring: Cheryl Campbell as Ocean Secrets
4x05-4x06: Death Of The Doctor
Written by Russell T. Davies, Directed by Ashley Way
Guest starring: Matt Smith as the Doctor, Katy Manning as Jo Grant
4x07-4x08: The Empty Planet
Written by Gareth Roberts, Directed by Ashley Way
Guest starring: Joe Mason as Gavin
4x09-4x10: Lost In Time
Written by Rupert Laight, Directed by Joss Agnew
Guest starring: Cyril Nri as Mysterious Shopkeeper
4x11-4x12: Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith
Written by Gareth Roberts And Clayton Hickman, Directed by Joss Agnew
Guest starring: Julie Graham as Ruby White.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 3x02: "Beautifully Broken"

Written by Raelle Tucker
Directed by Scott Winant

Sookie: “You’re not gonna distract me by talking nasty.”
Eric: “I already have. So, are you gonna invite me in?”

If there’s one thing that will be said about this episode that it was certainly one where everything was happening all at once. I’m not kidding – not once did this episode actually stop for breath with the amount of plotlines either being furthered or set up.

With Bill, I called that it wouldn’t take long for him to be recaptured and it bloody well didn’t. Cooter and his seriously gnarly werewolf gang might have been badly damaged with their one to one with Bill but never underestimate vampire king, Russell Edgington. This is clearly one guy you do not want to piss off.

Russell showed that messing with him was unadvisable within the first three minutes of his introduction by shooting one of Cooter’s men and even Bill knew it was better to come back to his house than to try and leg it out of the woods. Russell certainly knows how to intimidate Bill and that is something that I have to admit to being impressed with.

Bill literally became a captive all over again but instead of silver chain bonds, the threat of Sookie was the weapon that Russell was happy to wield against Bill. For those who’ve read the books, originally Sophie-Anne had sent Bill to Bon Temps to seduce the telepathic waitress and it’s glaringly obvious that the series is following that route as well.

It made for an uncomfortable scene with Russell needling Bill about Sookie and more so about how his estimation in Sophie-Anne’s allies. Bill made a few attempts to deflect Russell’s line of questioning about the queen as well as an ill-advised moment where he tried to stand up to Russell. I wasn’t really that surprised when neither of them actually worked in his favour.

Then there was the scene where Bill seemingly got a little fire happy on Lorena. As much as I hoped that she’d completely burn up there and then, I’ll bet anything by next week that it was either a dream/fantasy moment or that Lorena survived the flames but either way, Bill is completely screwed on this one. He better hope that there’s some shot of luck coming his way sharpish before Russell achieves his goals.

Starting a war with Louisiana or marrying Sophie-Anne – personally I don’t think Russell will settle for one goal. Sophie-Anne doesn’t strike me as someone who’ll give into the king’s charms that easily and I’m fairly certain that if Russell actually did marry her, he’d make sure that Sophie-Anne would have as little power as possible.

But less about that, I’m intrigued about the werewolves. Russell’s got werewolves who drink vampire blood under his control and doing his bidding – this is rather brilliant in a perverse way. Cooter might have a silly name but I think he’s a lot more dangerous than he appeared to be in the woods with the mocking Bill and maybe even more so than the werewolves that spent this episode stalking Sookie.

Of course Sookie would have to spend a great deal of this episode on the radar of a bunch of wolves. If it’s not fanatics like the Fellowship, Rene or Maryann, its Russell’s minions that’ll do her the most damage, especially if Bill doesn’t play along with Russell’s demands either. On the plus side, while Sookie does attract a lot of danger, at least she doesn’t completely sit there going, ‘poor me’.

Both she and Terry stalked the woods looking for one of the werewolves following her and Terry himself was kind enough to give her a gun for protection. Terry seems to get better and better, doesn’t he? And then there was Eric of course. First he lied about the Operation Werewolf symbol and then he was compelled into telling the truth.

I’m still not on the Sookie/Eric shipper train but thanks to this episode, I can see a little clearer as to why so many fan girls are crazy about the pair. Despite the shitty thing he did with manipulating her into drinking his blood last season, I have to admit hat Eric’s feelings for Sookie do seem to be genuine.

He struggled with coping with her being upset (part of the blood bond?) and in spite of the rather sleazy come on, he did give her a satisfying information dump on that time in Nazi Germany when him and Godric had came across werewolves before. Eric also had the good sense to get Sookie to invite him into her house when another of the werewolves decided to pay her a late night visit.

But it isn’t just werewolves that Sookie should be worried about as well. Why was it that the moment it looked like someone other than Lafayette had Tara’s back that they had to turn out to be a spy for Russell? Franklin Mott might have helped Tara beat up a bunch of assholes who pissed on the spot where Eggs was shot but it didn’t stop him from breaking into Bill’s house and going through Sookie’s family tree.

It’s a shame too because Franklin is rather cute and Tara really does need to catch a fucking break on this show. Lafayette might have scared her into not trying to kill herself by reintroducing her to his mentally ill mother, Ruby Jean but it’s damn obvious that for all of Lafayette’s compassion for Tara that she is far from out of the woods.

Still, though, Lafayette was another character who has gone up in my estimation due to the events of this episode and I loved him for telling Lettie Mae how much of a failure she is as a parent to Tara and it did seem that he could have a potential lover in orderly Jesus, who was briefly seen in this episode.

Speaking of failing, I really do feel for Sam but I do not love his family one bit in this series at all. Even if Tommy hadn’t pulled that stunt that nearly got Sam killed, I just really think that the Mickens are going to turn out to be more trouble than they’re worth for Sam to handle. Maybe I will get proved wrong and we’ll see a decent side to Tommy, Melina and Joe Lee in later episodes but somehow I doubt it really.

As for Jason, he amused me to no end in this episode. His reactions to werewolves made me laugh but his scenes with Andy were just priceless, especially when he got to arrest someone purely by accident. Plus the way both Calvin Norris and his wayward niece Crystal were introduced into this episode was done nicely, given that there were so many new characters in this one.

Last but not least, there was Jessica as well. I get that she’s feeling guilty about killing a man, which is great but I still want her to give Hoyt another chance given how much of an effort that he’s actually making with her. Also, amusing as her corpse problem was – who the hell actually disposed of the body? I’d like to say that Pam did it after their little girl talk in the bathroom but I have a feeling that it’ll turn out to be Franklin though, given his snooping in Bill’s house.

Also in “Beautifully Broken”

New regulars added into this episode were Kevin Alejandro (Jesus), Alfre Woodard (Ruby Jean), Denis O’Hare (Russell) and Lindsay Pulsipher (Crystal). Expect more by next week.

Bill: “These wolves do your bidding?”
Russell: “Well, unfortunately not as well as I’d hoped. I’m terribly sorry, Mr Compton.”

Jason did a nice thing by stopping by Sookie’s to clean up the mess that Maryann’s rampage had caused, even if he did get kneed in the bollocks for his troubles.

Lafayette (to Lettie Mae): “You too busy trying to praise Jesus to notice she’s permanently trying to move in with him.”

Eric: “Here’s what I about you – you’re so blinded by your obsession with Bill Compton you’re likely to run through the streets screaming werewolf bait, alerting that whoever has Bill that we’re onto them or get yourself killed.”
Sookie: “I’m not stupid.”
Eric: “No, you’re human.”

In flashbacks, it did look like that female werewolf had the same Operation Werewolf symbol on her. Can we assume that Russell Edgington was her master as well?

Tara: “The one time in my life I thought I was happy, I was a fucking zombie. What the hell is wrong with me, Lafayette?”

Tommy: “Don’t move. Get out of the car.”
Sam: “Which is it – don’t move or get out of the car?”

We learned that Sam is 34 in this episode, that Melina is a shifter, while Joe Lee is not but he served 12 years in prison and we saw Tommy turn into a bulldog and a bat. Tommy also has a lot of scars on his back as well.

Jesus (re Lafayette): “You told me your son passed away.”
Ruby Jean: “He did. God killed him because he’s a fag but he keeps coming back.”

Terry (re gun): “You know how to use one of these?”
Sookie: “I ain’t that blonde.”

Why doesn’t Arlene just take a pregnancy test to see if she’s with child? I did love Terry’s list as to why he’s good around her children though.

Sam (to Tommy): “I didn’t realise this was a ‘who’s life is more fucked up?’ content. If it means that much to you, you win.”

Talbot: “Excuse me gentlemen, I need to drain the second course.”

Clever idea of having the door on the inside of Bill’s room covered with silver and I rather liked Russell’s lover, Talbot in this episode as well. And the blood gelato was odd to say the least.

Sookie (re werewolves): “Why did you tell me last night?”
Eric: “The bigger question is why am I risking everything to tell you now? My loyalty is not to Bill. In fact it would be advantageous in numerous ways to me if he was never found.”

Russell: “Poor Sookie, shame she has to pay the price for your stubbornness.”
Bill: “You leave Sookie out of this.”
Russell: “You’re in my home, Mr Compton, pt your fangs away.”

Standout music: Well definitely not Snoop Dogg’s horrible “Oh Sookie” ode to Miss Stackhouse but rather “I’m Alive” by Shelby Lynne or “Beautifully Broken” by Gov’t Mule.

Eric: “Invite me in now.”
Sookie: “Mr Northman, would you please come in?”

Chronology: Exactly from where “Bad Blood” left off.

With so many new characters introduced into this episode, I’m actually impressed with how effortlessly “Beautifully Broken” moved but this was certainly a busy episode. I think more has happened in the first two episodes of this season than most shows do in about twelve to be perfectly honest.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x12: "The Pandorica Opens"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Toby Haynes

Sontaran: “The Pandorica is ready.”
The Doctor: “Ready for what?”
Dalek: “Ready for you.”

I actually want to say while this is something of a shock to behold onscreen, is it really surprising that the much feared creature in the universe is the Doctor? He might have saved many lives but he’s also as dangerous as any creature he’s ever stopped and there have been a time when that’s strongly been alluded to.

Having the return of every monster (or most of them anyways) went a good way to highlight that maybe finale wise, Steven Moffat isn’t that dissimilar to Russell T. Davies after all. This episode was loaded with a lot of familiar faces but the best part in all of this was that the reappearances monster wise made perfect sense.

I can see why the Judoon would view the Doctor reckless enough than strapping him into the Pandorica chamber would be the best option and it’s not like the Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians or Sycorax were in an immediate rush to help him out either.

The thing however that did interest me was that all of these monsters came together to see the Doctor strapped into the chamber not just to punish him for the numerous times he’s best them – but also to save the universe from him. You’d think that certain races gathered in that chamber would be contriving events to get the Doctor to destroy the universe rather than prevent it.

The Doctor himself has been making a habit all season of spotting things when it’s been virtually too late and by the time he did realise what was going on, he was overpowered by a group of Roman soldiers and locked in the chamber. I know there’s a danger element but I think we can all safely assume that he gets out of that Pandorica chamber somehow.

From a fan boy perspective, it did make for a good moment all those monsters there. It’s not something that could’ve been done earlier in the season but at the same time, none of the aliens there were actually behind the events with the Pandorica and the whole mystery of Amy Pond – except the Autons.

Having the Autons as mostly the big bad in this episode was a refreshing twist. It’s been five years since we’ve last seen them and their return was done to absolute perfection. It also went a long into explaining a lot of the location and message of this episode.

The opening scene with the likes of Van Gogh, Bracewell, Churchill, Liz Ten and River Song all doing their bit to make sure the Doctor and Amy got Van Gogh’s painting was absolutely genius and one of the few times, I actually wish that I hadn’t read up about in advance. I especially got a smile from seeing River Song and Liz Ten interacting. Neither of these ladies are ones you’d want to mess with.

Then there was the use of Stonehenge. The Doctor and Amy basically followed River’s message to the very location and it was through here that we knew the Pandorica would be opening. Having the Pandorica actually located down below Stonehenge was a good way of keeping the location for the duration of the episode.

And then there was River herself. That woman is certainly exasperating at the best of times but here, I got the horrible feeling that she ma or may not have had something to do with the Doctor’s incarceration. The Daleks were specifically talking about her as they began to arrive and when River snuck into Amy’s house, she questioned why she let him out.

But at the same time, if River has had any responsible for the Doctor’s current predicament, why did she tell him to run away from Stonehenge? I don’t get that bit. And then there were the antics in the TARDIS. A strange voice mentioned that silence will fall a good time before the Doctor was sealed off.

However while all the alien races seem to be convinced that sealing off the Doctor will prevent the cracks in time (their belief is that he caused them), it’s pretty obvious that the TARDIS itself has a lot to answer for it. Something tells me that Amy had every right to worry about the TARDIS going boom in the next episode. I just hope for River’s sake that she gets out of there before it explodes.

As for Amy, this really was a huge episode for her in some many ways. All season long, something not quite right has been stirring with her and in the last few episodes, the Doctor’s noticed it but hasn’t effectively done anything about it. The scorch marks on her garden and her house being trashed also sprang something else.

It was River that figured out about the Nestene Consciousness using Amy’s memories in a bid to trap the Doctor. The use of the Pandorica, Roman soldiers and the long awaited return of Rory all rammed this home for me. And this was one of the few times in which I was shocked by the episode, as in really shocked.

I knew about Auton Rory accidentally killing Amy but I didn’t want to believe. I don’t care how so called apathy that viewers feel about Amy, I bloody love the girl and I sure as hell don’t want her death to be permanent, though I have a nasty feeling that maybe Karen Gillan wasn’t lying after all when she said that Rory was definitely.

Also, unlike “Cold Blood”, Amy and Rory’s reunion really did hit the emotional beats big time. Rory had saved her life from a Cybermen attack and Amy didn’t remember who he was. She was even convinced that the engagement ring belonged to a friend of the Doctor’s at one point as well.

The Doctor could’ve maybe been a little more helpful with Amy and Rory too. I know he had a lot with the Pandorica preying his mind but maybe he should’ve kept them apart until he fully knew how and what Rory was. I got the impression that he wasn’t convinced with the miracles speech and was still suspicious of Rory myself.

Still, the moments where Rory and Amy were anxious around each other before her memories came back into the fore was brilliant. I just don’t want to believe that they’re relationship is completely obliterated. Say it isn’t so, Steven Moffat.

Also in “The Pandorica Opens”

Without a doubt, this episode had one of the longest/craziest pre-title sequences in the series history.

The Doctor: “You graffitied the oldest cliff face in the universe.”
River: “You wouldn’t answer your phone.”

River dressed as Cleopatra was a priceless moment in the episode. She must have gone through about five costumes in this episode along.

The Doctor (to River/Amy): “If you buried the most dangerous thing in the universe, you’d want to remember where you put it.”

Amy: “How did it end in there?”
The Doctor: “You know fairytales, a good wizard tricked it.”
River: “I hate good wizards in fairytales. They always turn out to be him.”

I just realised that this might be the first finale in the new series in which most of the action doesn’t take place on either a spaceship or the present day.

Amy: “So, are you proposing to someone?”
The Doctor: “I’m sorry?”
Amy (re engagement ring): “I found this in your pocket.”

The Doctor: “You know how sometimes I have really brilliant ideas?”
Amy: “Yeah?”
The Doctor (to Cybermen): “I'm sorry. Look at me, I’m a target.”

Amy’s battle with the Cybermen was impressive and actually for the first time in a long while, the Cybermen were quite sinister.

Cybermen: “You will be assimilated.”
Amy: "Yeah? You and whose body?”

The Doctor: “I’m missing something obvious, Rory. Something big, right slap in front of me, I can feel it.”
Rory: “Yeah, I think you probably are.”

We didn’t actually get to see the Nestene Consciousness in this episode and we also got the likes of the Hath, Weevils and the Uvodni as well during the Doctor’s fall scene.

The Doctor: “How can you be here?”
Rory: “I don’t know. It’s kind of fuzzy.”
The Doctor: “Fuzzy?”
Rory: “Well, I died and turned into a Roman, it’s very distracting.”

The Doctor (to the spaceships): “Can you all stop a minute because I am talking?”

I really enjoyed the scene where the Doctor read all of the invading spaceships the riot act, even if it did backfire on him during the end. Oh and I noticed the picture of Roman Rory/Cop Amy as well that River was looking at in the TARDIS.

Amy: “Why am I crying?”
Rory: “Because you remember me. I came back. You’re crying because you remember me.”

Auton: “The Pandorica is ready.”
The Doctor: “What do you mean, it’s open?”

I liked Murray Gold’s score music at the end of the episode with the various scenes played out. Unusual for this show but effective.

Amy: "There it is, you remember. This is you and you are staying."
Rory: "No."

The Doctor: “You've come to me for help?”
Sontaran: “No, we will save the universe from you.”

Chronology: 26th June 2010 and there was no trailer for the next episode, “The Big Bang”.

Certainly an exciting, thrill a minute spectacle this one was. “The Pandorica Opens” gave us the perfect cliff-hangers to ensure that next week is going to be pure torture to see how all of them are resolved. Thanks, Steven Moffat.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

How About Not Keeping It In The Family, Guys?

It's been a while since I've really watched Nip/Tuck and FXUK pulling from the schedules certainly didn't help matter so I'm thankful for TG4 for airing the latter half of Season 6 instead. Not that the season has been a massive improvement. Christian and Kimber's train wreck of a relationship saw them getting married, Kimber shagging Sean behind Christian's back and eventually Kimber doing herself in when Christian dumped (not because of Sean, that's something he's clueless about). The episode after her death introduced Kimber's mother, Brandee played by Melanie Griffiths and of course, Christian had to sleep with her. With five episodes left until the finale, it's almost reassuring to see some things don't change. Almost.

Yup, I got sucked into watching Big Brother 11 on Thursday and Friday and I'm actually glad that I did watch them. Mainly because Rachael after a week of whinging was finally out of the house. I know John James was a jerk about the 'Nuts magazine' comments but he wasn't exactly wrong either. It's high time some of these contestants realise that after a few weeks of magazine coverage, they're all heading back to obscurity. Only Katie Price can be in the public eye for no reason whatsoever nowadays.

Oh, Stephen Fry. I'm sometimes amused by your tweets, I like your documentaries and I'm partial to a bit of QI whenever I remember that it's on TV but wasn't your comments about Doctor Who and Merlin a little harsh? As Stephen Moffat pointed out, the former is definitely a family show (then again, so is the latter) and while the BBC should promote other dramas as heavily as both thosw shows get promoted, your comments were misplaced. Besides that sort of snobbery should be aimed at Britain's Got Talent to be honest.

Speaking of Doctor Who, who had the more controversial comments in Radio Times this week - Karen Gillan for her standpoint on feminism or Christopher Eccleston for spilling the beans (sort of) on his experiences with the series? Eccleston's comments did come in promotion with the arrival of Lennon Naked (Wednesday, 9.30pm, BBC4) but it's interesting that during the course of the interview, he never specified who he had specific grievances with. It'll be interesting if anything further materialises from those comments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Review of True Blood's 3x01: "Bad Blood"

Written by Brian Buckner
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Lettie Mae: “Lafayette, I’m sorry about shooting you with your gun.”
Lafayette: “Bitch, you, me, bridge, it ain’t motherfucking happening.”

Isn’t it great how Lafayette can make something as keeping a grudge such a fun thing to do? Okay, maybe not but there are certainly moments in this episode that are utterly great and that’s pretty much what I intend on focusing my attention on for the time being.

I like that this episode didn’t actually drag out who literally snatched Bill from the restaurant. Having read “Club Dead”, I knew Lorena had some involvement behind his original abduction and I’m also willing to bet that she could be partly responsible for him being snatched in this one.

I’m not gonna feign any sense of shock when it comes to Cooter and his gang. If anyone didn’t guess at the end that the werewolves surrounding Bill were Cooter and his gang, then they’re better at avoiding spoilers than I ever will be. Finally, werewolves show up and we’re in Mississippi as well. Good times ahead, though not for Bill.

Poor Bill did suffer at the start of the episode though. Bound in silver restraints, it didn’t take Cooter and his pals long enough to drink from him as well. I sort of knew with the focus being made on the gloves that they would end up playing a part in Bill’s initial escape as well. Nice use of props there as well.

Perhaps I’m desensitised to vampires on my TV for so long now but the scene where Bill did a little glamour on old Olivia after drinking from her wasn’t as shocking as it could’ve been. It doesn’t mean I enjoy seeing Bill snacking on defenceless pensioners either but as scenes went, it didn’t shock me and there was a weird duality of Bill trying to amend his act by giving Olivia a cash settlement for her trouble.

Still, Bill might have fed but it doesn’t take much to reckon that by next week, he’ll be weakened by those werewolves again and held captive. Much as this story interests me, I’m just wondering if Bill’s captivity can be sustained for so long. I know it’s not going to take up the whole season but it will take up enough of it and I don’t want it to be the only focusing arc for either him or Sookie for too long.

Sookie herself certainly wasn’t having a good time with Bill’s disappearance. I get that maybe she should’ve gone straight to Eric first rather than Bud Dearborne and Kenya but I actually hated that both of them were unhelpful. I know Bud was right to point out that he had plenty of human problems to deal with but he could’ve been a little more tactful and Kenya was just outright hostile for the sake of it in my opinion.

As for Eric being responsible behind Bill’s kidnapping – I liked that Sookie not only considered the option but actually confronted Eric, even if it did her no good. Eric’s henchmen only got usurped by werewolves and if Eric’s motives for getting Bill out of the way were down to the Queen, then he needn’t have bothered. Personally I would’ve left Sophie-Anne to hang out to dry.

It’s odd that in the last two episodes of the second season I liked Sophie-Anne but in this one, I couldn’t stand her. Evan Rachel Woods isn’t a bad actress but there’s something about the more bad-ass/insane Sophie-Anne here that didn’t convince me all that much. Am I really supposed to believe that Sophie-Anne isn’t the tiniest bit worried about the Magister?

I guess the Magister is a little dull but regardless of stature, I don’t see why any vampire in their right mind would want to screw with him. Eric perceptively picked up on the fact that the Magister didn’t believe their story about the V trade but Sophie-Anne stupidly blew it off and almost crushed Eric’s nut sack when he offered her some sensible advice.

I’ve read in interviews from Alan Ball that Sophie-Anne’s quite the Paris Hilton of the vampire hierarchy and thanks to this episode, I definitely believe. Maybe she could physically crush Eric if she desired but even I don’t think that Eric will tolerate her shit for a long period of time. He’s too smart and self-preserving for that to happen.

And because of that, I’m also worried about Pam and Lafayette. Either one of these two could literally be scapegoated over the V trade and the trailers in the build up to the season seem to point towards Pam being the likeliest to suffer the wrath of the Magister. As long as they don’t kill her off, I’ll be happy. I like that Pam is seemingly more present here than she was last season. I hope this means better storylines for her as well, even if I do enjoy her applying pressure to Lafayette to move the blood.

Speaking of pressure, this episode was also hell and a half for Tara, wasn’t it? I really am beginning to think that the writers almost enjoy torturing the poor girl at any given opportunity. Her memories of Maryann’s influence aren’t completely there but she also has to deal with everyone else’s thoughts on Eggs naming himself as a serial killer.

Arlene’s insensitivity was a good way of highlighting that and while I do think that Arlene is a bigot, a part of me also thought that Tara might have overreacted given the pressure she was under in this episode. That still doesn’t mean that Arlene should’ve opened her mouth. Sometimes that woman really should think before she speaks.

However for Tara, she’s kind of screwed support system wise. She alienated Sookie by physically trying to throttle in this episode and Lettie Mae really proved that perhaps alcoholism wasn’t the right behind her ineptitude as a mother. Flirting with the Reverend Daniels was bad enough but the bathroom situation? Did she not think?

Lafayette clearly did when he got back, otherwise without him, Tara’s suicide attempt probably would’ve been successful. Yes, I am calling that Tara fails in her attempts to end her own but I’m also hoping that this act awakens Lettie Mae into actually trying to be a decent parent to her only child for a change. Sadly, I don’t think it will. Lettie Mae just doesn’t seem to have a clue how to look after another person at all.

As for Jason, I loved his attempts of trying to get on with things. Of course he was doomed from the start, in spite of Andy’s inspired speech though. Season One Jason would’ve easily bedded those co-eds but this season, Jason wants to be a decent guy and just can’t deal with the guilt of shooting Eggs. I’m not sure if Andy’s going to be able to control Jason as much as he thinks he can.

And speaking of control, I couldn’t stop feeling bad for Jessica. Yes she killed a guy and her attempts of trying to turn him into a vampire looked lame but I don’t know, I felt bad for her. She doesn’t really have anyone she can confide in, given that Bill’s missing, Sookie’s pre-occupied with trying to find him and her and Hoyt aren’t dating anymore. Though if his little phone call is anything to go by, Jessica might get Hoyt back sooner than she thinks. Personally I hope she does, given how brilliant they were last season.

Last but not least – Sam, your erotic dream with Bill pleased the slasher in me, even if it was fanfiction of the highest order. On the flipside, if Tommy is anything to go by, I am going to hate seeing your biological family throughout this season. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a little but damn, I do not like the sound of the Mickens one bit.

Also in “Bad Blood”

HBO and Showtime both have a huge tendency of giving us a big “Previously On” segment in order to catch viewers up but this one could’ve been scaled down a little.

Bill: “Who the hell are you?”
Cooter: “How about you call us the ‘fuck you’ crew?”

Yvetta from the first minisode appeared in this episode. The poor girl was tied up and apparently having sex with Eric for the last six hours. I bet there were plenty of female fans out there who’d happily trade places with her for that scene.

Arlene: “I’m sorry you fell in love with a serial killer, all right. But honestly, who here hasn’t?”
Tara: “Bitch, Eggs was no killer.”

Bill (to Cooter): “If you have any orders to keep me alive, you are about to fail. With the rate you are draining me, I will die.”

The cast this season has both Kristin Bauer van Straten and Marshall Allman but I suspect that more will be added to the opening credits in later episodes. And Arlene thinks she’s pregnant as well.

Pam: “Now, I don’t remember telling you lavender is my favourite colour.”
Sookie: “I’m in no mood for your lesbian weirdness tonight, Pam. Where’s Bill?”

Sookie: “Bill’s been kidnapped and I think you did it?”
Eric: “I didn’t actually. Any other theories?”

Well, at one point Sookie did tell Bud Dearborne about Lorena and she even contacted Isobel about Bill’s disappearance as well. Plus she cottoned on to Jessica’s abilities of being summoned by Bill, hence finding the abandoned car and Operation Werewolf logo.

Eric: “There are times when I seek your counsel, Pam. Now is not one of those times.”

Sam: “You can take the shirt off my back if you want to.”
Bill: “I’ll take what I can get.”

Because of this dream sequence, are we going to see a similar one of Lafayette and Eric anytime soon?

Hoyt: “It’s good to know I’ve got friends though.”
Jason: “Friends are good.”
Hoyt: “Cos I need a place to stay.”

Hoyt: “I’m sorry I didn’t wake you. I miss you.”
Jessica: “I miss you too.”

The scene with Jessica cradling the flowers Hoyt gave her was sad. I also found it nice that Jason naturally assumed Hoyt would stay with him when Hoyt was trying to ask it first.

Eric: “We can use my office.”
Sophie-Anne: “It’s bugged.”
Eric: “How do you know that?”
Sophie-Anne: “Because I’m the one who bugged it. It’s how I know I can trust you.”

Jason: “Hoyt, if you and me are gonna be roommates, there’s a certain amount of pussy overflow that you’re gonna have to deal with.”

This was the second season premiere in a row not to be written by Alan Ball, though Brian Buckner did a great job.

Sophie-Anne: “All due respect, Mr Northman, I’m due a lot more respect than that and I’m sorry to compromise your man like this but hell hath no fury like a vampire queen broke. Move. The. Blood.”

Standout music: Beck’s “Bad Blood” actually stood out the most for me with this one.

Bill (to wolves): “I should warn you, I’ve fed.”

Chronology: Immediately from where “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” left off.

Okay we’ve had stronger opening episodes and there’s no getting away from how much “Bad Blood” is just a set up for the season’s big events but it’s never boring and there’s certainly a lot to suggest that this season will never stop too long before something else gets in the way for everyone in Bon Temps.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x11: "The Lodger"

Written by Gareth Roberts
Directed by Catherine Morshead

Craig: “Why am I telling you this? I don’t even know you.”
The Doctor: “Well, I’ve got one of those faces. People never stop blurting out their plans whenever I’m around.”

It’s amazing how quickly you can detect a bottle episode from a mile away. “Amy’s Choice” was an excellent indicator given that everything was either Leadworth or TARDIS based and similarly this episode too also has the same effect because you know the money is going towards the finale.

I’ll let you into a secret – bottle episodes are fine, provided there’s a good story behind. Aside from “Amy’s Choice”, take a look at the excellent of “Blink” and “Turn Left” and it goes to show that a limited setting doesn’t always have to limit your story and this was certainly a different type of a story.

Sometimes Gareth Roberts gets a bit of a hard time from the online community because none of his stories are big arc hitters for the most part, it’s never really stopped from being interesting in their own right. The idea of having the Doctor as a flatmate for instance – why didn’t anyone think of it sooner?

The scene with the TARDIS literally ejecting the Doctor out and legging it with Amy was a nice set up moment. He’s stuck on Earth, the reason behind his ejection from the TARDIS involves something from this planet and the best way the Doctor had to get what he needed was to move in with Craig Owens. Problem solved, right?

Not really, because you have James Corden playing the role of Craig Owens. James Corden to me can be a little on the Marmite side of things. Sometimes I can find him very funny, other times not so much. Luckily for this episode, not only was he funny but he was also rather endearing as well.

I’m not a very laddish type of bloke but Craig to me was written as a rather believable type of character. He was working in a call centre that he didn’t really like, fancied his friend Sophie but was unable to tell her how he felt and he enjoyed a football game with his pub. All pretty believable stuff to be getting on and then he had to get the Doctor as a flatmate.

I love when the Doctor attempts to be normal that his eccentricities come to the fore just that little bit more. The Doctor might not view himself as eccentric but any outsider certainly would and Craig certainly found himself being confused by his new lodger as the episode went on.

The Doctor thought he was being heroic by trying to save Craig from the upstairs neighbour but only generated suspicions about his motives and Craig ended up becoming a little jealous of the Doctor at different points in the episode as well and personally, it was actually very easy to understand where it was coming from as well.

The Doctor ended up encouraging Sophie to try and better herself while inadvertently poking fun at Craig’s inability to do the same and even during the football game; Craig well and truly got shafted by the Doctor when Sophie started cheering for the Time Lord instead of her best mate.

Seeing the Doctor playing football was definitely as interesting as the nudity/shower moments in this episode. If I hadn’t known about Matt Smith’s footballer past, this episode certainly brought it to light and while I generally suck at the game, I do have to admit to being impressed with our new Doctor’s prowess on the field.

But of course these moments along with the Doctor doing Craig’s call centre job only served to show that the Doctor might be a little too good at things sometimes. I got why Craig suddenly wanted to eject him from the flat and I was also amused with the way the Doctor had to let Craig in on what he was really up to.

Under normal circumstances, I guess the Doctor would’ve given up on Craig and just bolted for the stairs to stop the baddie but giving Craig some rather intimate details on who he is was the better to watch option if I’m being truthful. And how predictable was it that Sophie would also be in danger?

In terms of episode baddies, I’m not sure about this one. The Time Loop aspect was intriguing enough and I liked that each time it was looking for a victim, it used a different type of a lull to bring them upstairs but I wasn’t overly compelled with it either. Though its reasons for rejecting Craig did make perfect sense.

The creature/auto-pilot needed people who wanted to escape to try and pilot it’s TARDIS like ship, which was why it ended targeting Sophie but it kept going for humans and generating the same results – them burning. Going for the Doctor would’ve caused the entire solar system to blow up.

Having Craig and Sophie be the ones to actually save the day through their admission of loving each (even if the trailers hadn’t spoiled it, it had been clear early in the episode that Sophie also loved Craig) was a nice touch, though pretty typical for the series as well. I kinda wished that the Doctor had stopped it himself without their help, much as I like the pair of them.

As for Amy, I was actually surprised with how much she was in the episode. I was only expecting to see her at the start and at the end of the episode like Donna in “Midnight” but TARDIS bound or not, she was still there and now she’s seen both Rory’s engagement ring and the crack in the TARDIS. It’s a good thing that next week is officially the start of the finale because I want answers on the cracks in time/Pandorica big time.

Also in “The Lodger”

This story was based on a 10th Doctor/Rose/Mickey comic of the same name that was done in Doctor Who Magazine back in 2006.

Sophie: “That’s your mission in life, to find me a man.”
Craig: “Yeah, otherwise you’ll have to settle for me.”
Sophie: “You’ll have to settle for me first.”

There was a flyer for the Van Gogh exhibit on Craig’s fridge door in this episode.

Craig: “I love you.”
The Doctor: “Well that’s good because I’m your new lodger.”

Craig: “Has anyone ever told you you’re a bit weird?”
The Doctor: “They never really stop.”

Did we get a specific name for the race of the Auto-Pilot in this episode? The Doctor also cured Craig of his poison rather quickly.

The Doctor: “Why would I want that?”
Craig: “In case you want to bring someone around – a girlfriend or a boyfriend.”

The Doctor: “So you’re just gonna be snide then? No helpful hints?”
Amy: “Hmm, well here’s one – bowtie, get rid.”
The Doctor: “Bowties are cool.”

This is about the fourth time this season that the Doctor’s alluded to bowties being cool. I think it’s time for someone to start commenting on the tweed jacket for a change. And we saw two cracks in this episode.

The Doctor: “I thought you might be in trouble.”
Craig: “Thanks. Oh, if I ever am, you can come and save me with my toothbrush.”

Amy (to the Doctor): “Only for you could too normal be a problem.”

We got another scene where we saw all Eleven Doctors when Craig was being informed properly of his new flatmate. Also the Doctor referred to being in his 11th incarnation and was wearing a number 11 football jersey in this episode.

Craig (to the Doctor): “I can’t take this anymore. I want you to go.”

Auto-Pilot: “The correct pilot has now been found.”
The Doctor: “Yes, I was a bit worried you were going to say that.”

Extra points to Confidential this week for the football feature on the King Arms (Craig’s team) vs. Rising Sun and Karen Gillan’s own stargazing this week. Amy used the Zig Zag plotter in this episode as well.

The Doctor: “Craig, the planet’s about to burn. For god sake’s, kiss the girl.”
Amy: “Kiss the girl!”

I wished for the trailer for “The Pandorica Opens” that they hadn’t used clips from previous episodes in the season. Oh and certain phrases were said again.

I rather enjoyed “The Lodger”. It’s far from the best episode we’ve had this season but it was a light hearted affair with a nice hook for the finale and a great guest performance from James Corden, who did exceed my expectations.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Journey Is Here

More summer TV and if you haven't seen the finales to either Glee or Desperate Housewives, I suggest looking away now.

What can I say about Glee that hasn't been said for the last six months? It's fun, it's super cheesy but it's also inconsistent writing wise and the characters are not always sympathetic. Then again, this is something that can be said about virtually every show in existence. Still, the final two episodes got us to Regionals and they were fun. I could've done without seeing Rachel getting egged by Vocal Adrenaline and while the writers eradicated any sympathy I might have had for Jesse, the boy certainly floored Bohemian Rhapsody perfectly and that is not an easy song to pull off. Interestingly, the finale's version of Don't Stop Believing was far better done than the start of the series. Still I wasn't surprised with Sue's change of heart, Quinn giving birth tied into a musical number or that New Direction would lose at Sectionals but I could've done without the Will/Emma rubbish. I predict a love triangle next season that I won't be all that interested in.

I still can't believe that Channel 4 are about four episodes behind with Irish viewers with Desperate Housewives. The last couple of episode have been something of a mixed bag but the finale was pretty enjoyable actually. I loved that this year it was Gabby who got caught involved in the main mystery and I even bought her friendship with Angie more than Angie/Bree earlier in the season. So, seeing Patrick blown to pieces in his car because Angie put the bomb in the detonator was clever. I'm gonna miss the Bolens, though it makes perfect sense to exit them from Wisteria Lane. As for Lynette - why is that she had more of a convincing rapport with sociopath Eddie than she ever had with any of her own children? And she gave birth in this one. However there were some boring storylines of the finale too - Susan/Mike moving from the neighbourhood wasn't moving and I didn't care that Orson tired off Bree and dumped her. However I do hope the writers know what they're doing with bringing Paul Young back into the neighbourhood next season.

Smallville came back for a ninth season on E4 recently and to be honest, it's been a while since I've truly cared about the show. I mean, I can enjoy the episodes but there was a time when this was must see TV, rather than catch it if I'm bothered TV. Clark's still pulling the same stuff with the blur, confusing Lois and alienating Chloe at the same time, Oliver isn't really doing much and Tess is still in way over her head. On the plus side, the first few episodes have given us both Metallo and Zod, both of them working reasonably well, though Zod is clearly the one to watch out for the most.

I admit it - I did watch the opening night of Big Brother and now I am really glad that it will be ending this year. Sure, you'll get hyperbole from the Davina McCall's of the world but the first two nights have just proved how horrendously predictable and formulaic this show really had become. Female contestants pretending to fancy girls to get into the house, guys yakking on about the size of their manhood, bitching and of course, a mole. Not a literal one but it still serves to show that once this show is gone forever, Channel 4 will have to pull their fingers out and give us something innovative yet again.

- Julia Stiles and Shawn Hatosy will be appearing in the fifth season of Dexter. Julia will play someone who connects to Dexter while Shawn is playing a villain. Julie Benz will also be in the opening episode of the new season.
- Matt Lucas is the latest rumoured signing to the second season of Glee. He'll be playing an English teacher apparently.
- Brothers And Sisters fifth season will only comprise of 18 episodes. It's being rumoured that the upcoming season will be it's last one too.
- There's rumours that ABC are keen to revive Alias, minus the overcomplicated Rambaldi stuff. Why? It's only been off the air for four years.
- Secret Diary Of A Call Girl is being made into a movie. A fourth season is also in production as well.
- Expect a pregnancy, underground sex, same sex situations and a suicide attempt in the first six episodes of True Blood's third season.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Review of Brothers And Sisters 4x21: "Where There's Smoke"

Written by Michael Foley And Jason Wilburn
Directed by Michael Morris

Nora: “Mother, please live with me, I’d like that.”
Ida: “I’d rather live in a nursing home.”
Nora: “Sorry you feel that way but you’re coming home with me.”

Ida Holden – not exactly the person you’d call on if you needed a confidence booster, huh? Seeing her twice in one season, what did we do to deserve this honour? No, seriously though I am surprised that we would end up seeing Ida again.

I’m also rather surprised with the really big way that she was reintroduced into things as well. So far, we’ve had her turn up for Nora’s 60th birthday and Justin and Rebecca’s engagement party but this time around, we meet her because she nearly got killed and Saul’s at her bedside.

Tackling Alzheimer’s is a tough thing but it’s one of many common ailments for TV shows to run with and like with Kitty’s cancer this year, there’s no way you can avoid clich├ęs but there’s also no reason as to why you can’t tell an engaging if saddening storyline in the process. Bonus points for this episode in that respect.

Nora immediately wanting to take care of her mother, in spite of the tense relationship that they have was pretty much expected. I would’ve been shocked if Nora had shied away from it as I would’ve been surprised by Saul actually telling Ida about his sexuality in this episode but it did make for some interesting moments.

Ida’s reaction to having to be taken care of by Nora was of staunch refusal. Not only did she not want to be a burden on her daughter but she was pretty determined to prove to herself that she wasn’t losing her faculties. Hence the determination to try and use the stairs by herself and insisting that she could be left alone in the house while Nora did her shopping.

Of course things were going to go wrong. Ida nearly burned the house down because she forgot about the cooker she’d left on and she kept forgetting that Justin’s dog had been long dead as well. It was at this point that the rest of the family were beginning to get a clue about Ida’s condition.

But the odd thing was that no-one really reacted to it as such. Justin showed some initial worry but it was left to Nora and Saul to generate the emotional responses because everyone else was distracted in their own little problems. That to me was something of a sore point with the episode but at least there were some reactions.

Both Nora and Saul couldn’t handle seeing their mother deteriorate and that was what spurred Ida’s decision to sign herself into an old folk’s home. The scene where she actually forgot who Nora was and started going on about how wonderful her daughter was made me want to cry a little.

I’ve not had family members (except for a distance aunt of mine) suffer with Alzheimer’s but that doesn’t mean the episode wasn’t affecting nonetheless. Ida made a perceptive comment about Nora’s nurturing tendencies and while it did sound rather mean, it explains a lot about Nora as a person.

Nora is someone who wants to fix things or people and it hits her extra hard when she fails. It certainly hit her hard in this episode because she felt that she had failed Ida, when truthfully she didn’t. Saul was right to point out that Nora had a better relationship with Ida because it was an honest one. It’s just a pity that he can’t do the same with Ida.

As for the rest of the Walkers, Robert didn’t get a job because he could be gagged from doing anything with it? I wish he had been gagged during most of the third season when he was being an unbearable moron but it does make things a little interesting. What was that mystery job that he got rejected from?

Kitty didn’t take exactly long to uncover that Robert’s heart problems weren’t the reasons why he didn’t get the mystery and thankfully she didn’t waste much time in trying to get the truth from him. I’m guessing with the last three episodes and Rob Lowe’s imminent departure that it won’t be exceedingly long before we find out what the hell is going with Robert. It better be good whatever it is.

Less good however was Sarah and Luc. Goddamn it writers, when are you gonna stop writing for them in such a melodramatic manner? I actually want to care about them as a couple but the writing for them has been so immature that it’s making it harder for me to give a damn about the pair of them.

And wasting the good part of half the episode trying to convince me that Sarah might be pregnant when I bloody knew well that she wouldn’t be was something else I could’ve done with it. I’m not stupid and usually, neither is Sarah but with Luc, I am beginning to wonder. Both of them are supposed to be adults – write them that way. If I wanted immature baby-adults, I’d be reviewing Grey’s Anatomy more often.

Also on the immature scale of things were Kevin and Scotty. Personally my viewpoint on psychics is largely negative and while Nadine predicted most things accurately, I still think it was a case of lucky guess on her part. And I also didn’t need to wait until the very last minute of the episode to learn that Michelle was definitely pregnant. I suppose Roxy Olin will need something else to occupy her if The City gets canned. Has that show been canned?

Then there’s Justin and Rebecca. I get the feeling that Rebecca wants to do more than theorise about buying a place and actually do it, but I like that she’s being practical and that her and Justin are the on the same page with each other. If we can go through more episodes with them like this, I’ll be happy.

Also in “Where There’s Smoke”

How many episodes of this show have actually opened with a hospital scene? It feel like in the last two seasons, we’ve had more than our fair share.

Nora: “Hospitals make me anxious.”
Saul: “Hospitals or mom?”
Nora: “Both.”

Sarah was looking at some of Ojai’s finances but this episode did very little in discussing the company’s dire state.

Kitty: “Robert, why are you taking this lying down?”
Robert: “Because it’s 5.30 in the morning.”

Scotty (to Nadine, re Luc): “Visa issues, does that ring a bell?”
Kevin: “I think you rang it for her?”

Luc’s stance of children binding him and Sarah as a couple is wrong. Just look a divorce rates.

Kevin: “I thought psychics brought good news?”
Nadine: “That’s a fortune cookie but for what it’s worth, I can see a new life.”

Government Guy (to Robert): “If you had taken that opportunity, you would’ve been gagged.”

Nadine’s prediction about a storm coming – anything to do with the season finale and Robert by any chance?

Kevin (to Scotty): “I don’t think predictions count if you make them come true.”

Kitty (to Sarah): “You’re in a committed relationship; you shouldn’t keep secrets from each other. No wonder you think a long distance relationship isn’t gonna work.”

Standout music: Snow Patrol’s “Open Your Eyes”.

Saul (to Nora, re Ida): “I can’t live honestly in front of her. I’ve never been able to but you do. You’re yourself and I envy that because that’s something I’ll never have.”

Chronology: Late April, if we’re going by Sarah’s calculations.

“Where There’s Smoke” works brilliantly with the seriousness of Ida’s plight and is obviously setting something else up for the finale, other than the Narrow Lake debacle but it’s time that Sarah and Luc got some better writing as well. Other than that, a superb episode.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

My Review of "A Drop Of True Blood: Minisodes"

Written And Directed by Alan Ball

Jason: "God, Jesus, Mary Magdelene, Allah, Confusion, Buddha, Scientology, Aliens, that lion from Narnia. Whatever is out there, I need your help now. Please forgive me."

In the lead to the third season, we got six minisodes and here are my thoughts on them all ....

Eric/Pam: Auditions at Fangtasia have never been this interesting, well mainly, because we've never seen them before. Given how underused Fangtasia was in the second season, it's nice to see both Eric and Pam going through a trail of terrible auditions before the rather sexy Yvetta stepped in. Too bad Eric the spoilsport didn't let Pam stick around with Yvetta.

Jessica: Arguably the strong one of the bunch, there's a continuous trend of Jessica hunting for food. Here she gets accosted by a sanctimonuous pastor for her troubles. Jessica could've easily killed him but she opted to make an example of him instead with the big boner for Jesus shout out. Funny as hell this one.

Sookie, Tara And Lafayette: One of a few minisodes that's basically a deleted scene from Season 2, this one had Sookie and Tara coming to blows over Bill and Eggs, with Lafayette doing little to get them to see sense. My least favourite of the six, mainly because both Sookie and Tara annoyed me, even if they did both have points to make.

Sam: The poor guy nearly got sacrificed for his trouble so it was natural that he needed to let off a little steam. Crushing Maryann's bulll mask and pissing on the remains of it after turning into a dog is a lot less destructive than other options when you think about it.

Bill: Aww, he's getting a ring to propose to Sookie with. Too bad that Miss Smallwood is doltish enough to have a silver one there and to be caught out wanting to have her wicked way with Bill. Bill's method of getting his own back on the foolish saleswoman is a little harsh but not compared to what other vampires might have done with her.

Jason: The best of the bunch and also one of the shortest. Jason's in the woods racked with guilt over the crappy things that he's done in the space of two seasons. Needless to say, killing Eggs to protect Andy is largely on his mind. And then he sees a panther. Can we assume that the panther in question was Crystal?

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Torchwood Returns For Fourth Season

After months of unbearable tedium, the BBC have finally announced that along with Starz (those who are responsible for Spartacus: Blood And Sand and the upcoming Camelot) that Torchwood will be returning for a fourth season of ten episodes starring John Barrowman and Eve Myles. Now as much as I want to say, 'but what about Kai Owen/Russell Tovey?' I just have to squee with the joy of knowing we've got a fourth season. Full article in the link below ...