Friday, November 30, 2012

Soap Discussion - November 2012

Coronation Street: One of the show's strongest months with some actually decent plots, mainly being decided to add Fiz into the mix as Kirsty's violence towards Tyrone continued to escalate during this month. Actually, this is the first time I've liked Fiz in a while and given her history with Tyrone, it kind of makes sense to have become part of this storyline. Other good ones saw Stella's annoying mother get the boot, Maria and Marcus somewhat outed to their partners (though I'm not keen on them romantically at all) as well as Nick/Leanne getting engaged and Kylie trying to come up with her own way to dissuade David from wanting kids. What is it with the blokes on this show nowadays wanting babies?

EastEnders: Another month that decided to make the Brannings the centre of the universe once again. Let's count the ways, eh? The continued implication that one of them is Kat's mystery lover, Joey and Lauren hooking up (Dennis/Sharon 2012 - anyone?) and getting into a car crash, Derek meeting an ex of his as well as Carol and Bianca returning and Tanya annoying Cora by contacting her just discovered sister, Ava. I know the Brannings are a good source of storylines but coupled with this month, next month and this year in general, I think I'm beginning to get exhausted of the characters. Oh and Christian and Syed left in a suitably melodramatic way as well but I'll kind of miss them though.

Emmerdale: I don't know why but the idea of Katie being trapped in a mine seems more unintentionally funny than it probably should do. I have no doubt she'll make it out of there alive though. The girl's knack for survival is rather admirable at times but it's nice to see that this show is improving a bit though. Even the renewed relationship with Cain and Moira is more enjoyable than it was first time around and Edna's attempts to save her poor dog Tootsie is actually rather touching as well. As for Paddy and Marlon renewing their friendship, it's better than them squabbling I guess.

Hollyoaks: I love when a soap crash gets rid of a character who you utterly despise (Maddie) and one you do like, even if the recent writing for them hasn't been great (Rhys). It's enough to make up for killing off two characters that you don't care about (Neil, Jono) but aside from that, this month really did belong to Claire Cooper, who's been brilliant as a grief stricken Jacqui and the exit of Ally, introduction of Sienna and Patrick as well as Mitzeee's sister, Maxine and the continued detail into Esther's bullying plot has made this one of the show's stronger months as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Review of Dexter's 7x09: "Helter Skelter"

Written by Tim Schlattmann
Directed by Steve Shill

Dexter: “What makes you think Hannah means anything to me?”
Isaak: “And if she didn’t, I’d be dead by now.”

Sadly for Isaak, this is exactly the fate that befell him but probably more shocking would be that he didn’t wind up on Dexter’s table but shot by his annoying former lackey, George instead. As deaths go, Isaak certainly deserved better but at least this episode proved to be an interesting one for him to go out with though.

I found it interesting that Isaak only resorted to kidnapping Hannah because Dexter refused to protect him from both Oleg and Benjamin. It easily could’ve been a scenario where Hannah’s abduction would be used to lure Dexter for a final showdown and had circumstances been different, it’s also how Hannah could’ve used against Dexter but they weren’t.

I liked that Isaak was astute enough about Dexter’s abilities in order to get rid of the men who were hired to kill but what I really liked about this episode was the back and forth between Isaak and Dexter, with some truly great performances from both Michael C. Hall and Ray Stevenson as well for good measure.

Although the mob plot continues to bore on so many basic levels, Isaak was the only good thing to materialise from it and his observations on both Dexter’s reasons behind killing as well as Dexter’s relationship with Hannah made for some interesting television. Also, I do like that for a villain, Isaak did keep his word.

He seemed genuinely serious about letting both Dexter and Hannah go and he did help with luring Benjamin to the port in order to take him out. I guess because of this stuff it kind of made his death sad. I think I’m sadder that they couldn’t have kept him for the remainder of the season and I’m sadder that we’re still lumbered with the dull George as well.

George wanting to go up the food chain by killing Isaak didn’t make him a more interesting character this one and neither did him sleeping with Nadia in order to annoy Quinn. I really just don’t care nowhere near enough about this remainder of this plot, so I’m hoping the rest of the strand will wipe it out within the next three episodes.

As for Hannah herself – she was cool under pressure and even managed to trick Yurg but she did seem rather put out when Dexter actually let slip that he cared about her. I guess maybe Hannah’s more in love with the idea of being with a serial killer than actually being with Dexter himself. It also makes all of Deb’s continued warnings to Dexter about her more grounded too.

Also in “Helter Skelter”

Hannah mentioned that her fear of the water came from her father, who it seems we’re going to be meeting in the next episode.

Dexter: “There are no two stronger emotions than fear and love. In many ways, they’re not so different. Both can make you do crazy things.”

Angel’s restaurant has hardly been opened and already it’s having problems. I guess Angel really can’t catch a break, can he?

Dexter: “You’re scared.”
Isaak: “If you knew who these two men were, you would be too.”

Dexter: “You’re not crazy.”
Deb: “That coming from you?”
Dexter: “Should make you feel better.”

With Isaak dead, it seems that our focus is soon going to be on a killer who incinerates their victims.

Isaak: “Just how men have you killed?”
Dexter: “A lot.”

Tom: “Go home, Maria. The only help you’ll get from me is a lift back to Cuba.”

Matthews didn’t hold back in his hatred for Maria but he was quick to help her with her Bay Harbour Butcher theory when he realised he could benefit from it as well.

Hannah: “I miss you.”
Dexter: “Likewise.”

Deb (re Hannah): “She’s a killer. You will never be safe with her.”
Dexter: “You’re safe with me.”

Chronology: A couple of days since “Argentina” I guess.

Another solid episode. I’m not entirely sure where the show is going to go with the Ukrainian plot now that Isaak is out of the picture but at least “Helter Skelter” was a good character piece for him and with Hannah and Maria’s plots, the next few episodes should remain rather interesting for Dexter.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Downton Abbey - Christmas 2012 & Series 4 Details

With Christmas Day a mere 27 days away, it seems some spoilers for the upcoming festive edition of Downton Abbey, along with news of the show's immediate future has come to light.

First of all the Christmas special will not actually be set during Christmas. In fact, the episode is set within September as the upstairs lot (minus Branson and baby) head to Scotland to visit Rose's mother as it's seemingly something they do every year at this time. I have to admit, it's a bit of a disappointment that the Christmas special isn't set during Christmas but while the upstairs lot are gone from the house, the downstairs bunch decide to have some fun while a new maid played by Myanna Burning joins the ranks and there's rumours that even Mrs Patmore gets a love interest in this year's special.

Elsewhere, in news guaranteed to shock just about no-one, the show has been renewed for a fourth series of eight episodes along with a 2013 Christmas special. However, it's also been confirmed that Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley will be leaving in the opening episode of the fourth series. I have to admit that while I'm sure Matthew's departure will leave some kind of void in the show, I'm not actually that upset by him leaving to be honest. Does that make me a bad person?

Series 4 Confirmation:
Cast Departure:

Downton Abbey's Christmas special will air on ITV1, Christmas Day at 8.45pm.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Merlin To End After Five Series

It was suspected for a while but on Sunday, it was finally confirmed that after five series, BBC1 fantasy drama, Merlin would finish it's run for good with it's fifth series being it's final one.According to both the BBC and the cast members themselves, it does seem that the show has been working towards it's natural conclusion as ratings for the series continue to be at all time high for the show. The series will end on a two part finale that will air during the Christmas period.

I have to admit I have mixed feelings on the show ending. On one hand, five series is a good run for the show and it's best to end it on a high but on the other hand, the show has yet to finally out Merlin's magic good and proper and it'll seem like it might be rushed during the final four episodes of the show. Either way, at least it will end on an interesting note.

Press Release:

Merlin's fifth series continues to air on BBC1 at 8pm until December 29th.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 2x08: "Lineage"

Written by Nikki Toscano
Directed by Christopher Misiano

Marion: “Vindictive bitch.”
Victoria: “Oh, I learned from the best. Goodbye mother. I have no doubt you’ll land on your feet.”

Given that last season we got a flashback within a flashback episode in the shape of “Legacy”, the only thing that has shocked me about this flashback episode is the fact that we seem to be getting a little early in the season (unless there’s another one intended for later) but even for a diversion episode, this had plenty going for it.

For those of us who wanted to know Victoria Grayson managed to be quite the she devil – was it a shocker that it was learned from her own mother, Marion? I doubt it but at least this episode finally explained the way Victoria’s mind works and the warped sense of family loyalty she seems to have as well.

As a parent, Marion is definitely as bad as Victoria, if not a little worse. Sure, she didn’t play a part in Flight 197 but at the same time, she was a woman who seemed to latch on wealthy men and when they spurned her, she killed them (and let Victoria take the rap) and when one of them abused her own child, she threw the child out and married them. Marion’s terrible parenting skills are clearly hereditary then.

With this information on board, it’s little wonder that Victoria turned out the way she did but at least the episode didn’t seem to indicate that her behaviour was acceptable. However the episode did manage to show that Victoria can also pull off a long winded and complicated revenge scheme of her own to a deserving party too.

I thought it was pretty cool that both Victoria and Conrad banded together in order to leave Marion desolate and the fact that the latter’s new squeeze was in on the whole thing was actually a nice surprise too. Marion pretty much had it coming to her and there’s a part of me that does hope we get to see both her and Victoria interact with each other in the present day.

In the present day however, we had Victoria and Conrad as a team, discussing what to do with Daniel being a threat to the company and a target for the Initiative. Conrad sabotaged Daniel’s chances of being a poet in flashbacks and in the present day, it does make sense that he’s currently regretting it. For a sneaky bunch, it’s amazing that foresight isn’t a quality that Victoria and Conrad can rely upon.

Unfortunately it’s also one that might have escaped Nolan due to his flashback showing us that he ended up choosing his loyalty towards David and Amanda/Emily over his relationship with Marco, a former CFO of NolCorp and now someone whom Daniel in the present day wants to use as an ally too. Poor Nolan doesn’t seem to catch a break, even when it comes to his unwavering loyalty for the Clarkes.

As for Emily, in a lot of ways, she almost had less to do in these flashbacks than I thought she would. On one hand, it was nice that she saved Ashley from becoming a victim of trafficking but at the same time, Satoshi seemed to engineer her mission with Russian mobsters in order for her to meet and induct Aiden into revenge school. I know some fans don’t like that element of the storyline but for me, it was fine enough.

I liked the scenes with Emily and Aiden during the flashbacks when they were protecting each other and I’m hoping that actually showing him her Infinity box in the present day doesn’t come back to bite her in the backside but chances are, it will though. Plus, the less said about the dull as ditchwater Porter flashbacks of the episode, the better; though I guess I should say something.

Simple put, Kenny and Nate’s father seemed to be a mean spirited bastard threatening local businesses until one of Carl’s friends killed him but Kenny thinks that it was Carl due to the gun being his. Personally, while it’s nice for the Porters to have a plot of their own, the show could do with wrapping this one up as soon as possible though.

Also in “Lineage”

I noticed there was no beginning/end narration on the theme of lineage, which seemed a little odd.

Marion (to Victoria): “Love doesn’t avail itself conveniently dear. I understand Conrad was married when you met.”

Great casting with Adrienne Barbeau as Victoria’s mother and with the actress who played the younger Victoria as well.

Ashley: “Who are you?”
Emily: “A friend if you let me be.”
Ashley: “I don’t need friends, I need money.”

Emily: “I don’t like this time of year.”
Takeda: “Then your mission should provide much needed distraction. Are you afraid?”
Emily: “No, I’m ready.”

Ashley wanted to work in an art gallery and never actually saw Emily give her the money to flee from Dmitri and Sergei. I guess we’ll get another flashback where they do properly meet then.

Aiden: “You look transformed.”
Emily: “Everything looks different in the harsh light of day.”

Marion (to Victoria): “You may think I knocked you down but you landed on your feet.”

Aiden’s sister Colleen was a victim of trafficking and is presumed dead. I don’t think we needed the bit with his father being a bag attendant at Heathrow on top of that.

Marco: “See, I’m your CFO and you can’t tell me where nearly half a billion dollars went? That doesn’t work for me.”
Nolan: “Marco.”

Marion (to Ben): “It’s lies. Every word of it.”
Victoria: “You threw me out into the streets. I was child. I was fifteen.”

The only characters not to appear in the episode in either flashback or present day stuff were Charlotte and Amanda.

Marion: “I thought you’d at least enjoy taking pity on me.”
Victoria: “Pity’s not a quality you’ve taught me.”

Standout music: Brittany Murphy and Paul Oakenfield’s “Faster Kill Pussycat”.

Aiden: “Double infinity?”
Emily: “A journey with no end.”

Chronology: Thanksgiving 2006 in flashbacks and around late 2012 in present day stuff.

A strong episode. “Lineage” might not have the same bombastic impact that “Legacy” did a few months ago but it was definitely an interesting episode, though an explanation into Takeda’s vested interest in Emily’s revenge plan is probably overdue by now.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Review of Wizards Vs. Aliens 1x04: "Friend Or Foe"

Written by Clayton Hickman
Directed by Griff Rowland

Tom: "So, the next time we see each other, are we friends or enemies?"
Lexi: "What exactly are we now, Tom?"

Two species forced to work together because this story decided we were overdue a human villain for a change? That might sound glib but if you want a quick synopsis for this particular story, it's the best one I can think of. It's also another example to me however of this show actually improving just that little bit more as well.

I liked that Lexi had this smart plan of pretending to be a human woman with Lucy, trying to get Tom's trust and encourage his football aspirations and had things gone differently, she might have successfully nabbed him and he might be a powerless, withering old man now. Luckily for Tom and even, Lexi there was someone much worse than the latter in this story.

Ruthie Henshall may have hammed it up a few times as greedy rich businesswoman, Stephanie Gaunt but she was a more interesting villain than the Nekross King has been and her nasty streak certainly forced an alliance between Tom/Lexi and even Varg/Benny/Michael/Ursula as well as the rival species worked together to stop the scheming rich lady and save themselves.

Overall, the Tom and Lexi scenes were a joy to watch. Lexi's shown in past episodes that she isn't as bloodthirsty as her sibling and father for magic and by pretending to be human (for a short time) and working with Tom, she seems to have come a little more sympathetic towards them. Though, obviously not enough when she exacted revenge on Stephanie but I have a feeling both her and Tom's new found understanding of each other will serve a purpose in the finale though.

- Ruthie Henshall was apparently Russell T. Davies's choice to play the Rani if he had stayed on Doctor Who and introduced the character. I guess Stephanie was kind of Rani like.
- I bet Gwendoline Christie was delighted to spend some of this story not having to wear the Nekross makeup and costume.
- Crown jewels? Maybe Stephanie should've tried something a bit bigger. I'm surprised she just didn't ask Tom and Lexi to make her ruler of Britain straightaway.
- Katie and Quinn need a bit more development as characters. They seem as underused as Michael has been so far.

A good story, Friend Or Foe would be my favourite if the previous one wasn't that slightly bit better but as shaky as the overall premise for the series, it's hard to deny that there's been improvement it. I am definitely enjoying it more and more.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Review of Dexter's 7x08: "Argentina"

Written by Arika Lisanne Mittman
Directed by Romeo Tirone

Dexter: “You’re in love with me?”
Deb: “Oh my God – was! I don’t even know if I fucking like you. Forget it.”

Okay, that was one revelation that I was hoping that Deb would’ve never uttered to Dexter but for the sake of continuity, I suppose it had to happen and by doing it now, I do hope the show’s writers can now move past this because I don’t want to watch Dexter and Deb ever becoming lovers.

Thankfully though, judging by Dexter’s reaction, he doesn’t think of Deb that way but if their relationship wasn’t already strained, then this little reveal certainly put a massive dampener on things. Even now, the idea of Deb having romantic feelings for Dexter irks me out more than anything gory on this show.

It also didn’t help that Deb’s admission came straight after Dexter had no choice but to confess that he’s been sleeping with Hannah as well, which seems to be a knife wound to Deb as well. Deb made it pretty clear in this episode that she intends to take Hannah down, so now that she knows Dexter is helping the woman, it’ll make her more determined and eventually Dexter will have to choose between the two of them.

Hannah regardless of her morality definitely continues to be a bright spark of the season. I do think she genuinely care for Dexter and I even liked her trying to help him out with the Isaak situation but at the same time, I saw a glint of something when she learned that he had a son and two step kids and I’m not sure what that might mean for either of them.

I also liked that this episode eased up with Dexter being in love with Hannah. He clearly likes the fact that she accepts him but at the same time, he seemed less keen to admit to Deb how he really feels about Hannah, other than he won’t kill her for Deb, which was something that didn’t go down well.

Similarly while the dynamic with Hannah has been a joy to watch, the other thing I found amusing were Dexter and Isaak’s failed attempts to kill each other as well. I think Isaak spoke a lot of truth about the chances of him and Dexter being friends if circumstances were different but while he’s an engaging villain, the whole mob stuff is so boring to watch and this episode certainly didn’t do much to liven it up.

I really don’t care about Quinn and Nadia as a couple and George’s attempts of trying to move up the ranks would be a lot more exciting to watch if he were an interesting character. Eight episodes in and he’s still a tiresomely one dimensional guy who at this point, I wish Quinn would lose his rag and kill. Who knows – it might actually make Quinn interesting too if that happened.

As for the returns of Astor and Cody, it was nice to see them again, though it’s really hard not to notice that Astor has grown. Plus the fact that she’s smoking pot probably isn’t a good thing. It did seem like both Dexter and Deb kind of glossed over that subplot but either way, it was a good episode to see Rita’s kids in.

Also in “Argentina”

We didn’t actually go to Argentina in this episode but it was used as a metaphor for a sanctuary of sorts, due to a dream of Hannah’s when she was younger.

Dexter: “I’m not killing Hannah McKay.”
Deb: “Do you know how hard it was for me to ask you that?”

Maria actually found Dexter’s boat at the end of this episode. What else does she need now to connect him to the Bay Harbour Butcher?

Deb (to Dexter, re Astor/Cody/Harrison): “This is gonna be great, I love kids. I don’t love kids in general, just your kids.”

Dexter: “With all the people that wanna kill Isaak, why is it so hard to get him dead?”

This episode confirmed that Isaak is gay and that both him and Viktor were lovers. I actually wasn’t expecting that but nice one, show.

Hannah: “You didn’t trust me or you were afraid it would push me away?”
Dexter: “Maybe a little of both.”

Deb (re Hannah): “Are you in love with her?”
Dexter: “I don’t know.”
Deb: “Is it because she’s a serial killer? Does that turn you on or something?”

Angel got the restaurant and it’s called Papas. It also seems that he’s still working at Miami Metro for the time being as well.

Dexter: “You thought your enemies wouldn’t follow you into a gay bar?”
Isaak: “No, I thought I’d feel comfortable in a gay bar.”

Chronology: Not long from where “Chemistry” left off.

Easily the best episode of the season, “Argentina” had some lovely character driven moments between Dexter, Deb, Hannah and Isaak and with Maria closing in on Dexter too, it’s really going to be interesting to see how these myriad of storylines end in the finale.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spending A Storm Together

American Horror Story: Asylum: It's nice that we're not too far behind with US transmission with this show because the second season is pretty enjoyable so far. Narrative wise, I'm not sure where the logic is in having alien invasions, mutants, possessions, sadistic doctors in Arden (who keeps getting repugnant with each episode) and a crazed serial killer but it certainly makes sure the season isn't boring. I will admit though, I do think Jude's backstory was introduced a bit early than needed and the present day sequences add nothing to the show overall but the shocker of Shelly's fate was a moment I didn't see coming. Plus, kudos to Lily Rabe who is clearly having a ball as the possessed and homicidal, Sister Mary Eunice.

Arrow: It's been about five episodes into the series now and so far, it's still pretty in a similar format to Smallville. Not too challenging but amusing enough and I do continue to like Amell's portrayal of both Oliver and Green Arrow in equal measures. The arrival of John Barrowman as the mysterious Well Dressed Man as well in the most recent of episodes has been a good addition as well as the Deadshot storyline as well. Overall, a mostly good string of episodes from the new series.

Glee: Okay, the ratings for the fourth season haven't been great and while I think the idea of Finn running the Glee club is pretty ridiculous, the last two episodes have been entertaining enough, especially the one dedicated to Grease of things. The newbies may not have the same spark as our originals but I found Kitty's version of Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee amusing to the hilt and the return of Santana was a joy to be had as well. I could however do with less of Blaine and Marley feeling sorry for themselves and the forced Ryder/Marley/Jake/Kitty quadrangle and it would be nice if Cassandra's critiques of Rachel's abilities weren't marred with her unbridled hatred for the girl but overall, a good set of episodes.

Misfits: I have to admit as much as I like this show, this series isn't as fun as it used to be. So far, Jess seems to be the only bright spot and while the Lola plotline had some decent twists and turns, I was sad that it was used to write Curtis out in such a tragic way. I expected him to leave but not on such a downer though. It also doesn't help that I'm not really getting into the double act with Rudy and Finn as well. I don't know why but both of them are kind of annoying me this series. Hopefully we get more on the mysterious Alex though.

Some Girls: Ever watch a comedy and wonder how the hell it was commisioned in the first place? Watch five minutes of this show (or the first two episodes if you're a masochist) and you'll find yourself asking that question. An ill-conceived, broadly unfunny female version of The Inbetweeners, this witless sitcom is proof that at times BBC3 really do think their target audiences must be the biggest morons known to man. There aren't any characters in this one, just lazy caricatures with the four ladies - Viva, Saz, Holly and Amber who are just not strong enough leading ladies to make this comedy bearable. With any luck, this either improves or become a one series only show.

The Vampire Diaries: Why can't being a vampire make Elena into a stronger character and person? Six episodes into the fourth season, she's either been close to death or whinged a lot about being a member of the undead that the timely return of Katherine must have been a blessed relief for Nina Dobrev, who at least gets to have fun in that role. The fourth season itself has been okay enough so far but with Connor dead, only small morsels revealed about The Five and Klaus still be a pain in the ass, I can't help but think that this show does need to buck up it's ideas now.

- Both Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue have been cancelled by ABC and will end after 13 episodes each.
- Anna Chlumsky will make a guest appearance in the upcoming Hannibal series. Eddie Izzard will play a crazed inmate in the show as well
- Janina Gavankar has bagged a recurring role as a vice cop on Arrow.
- Lisa Kudrow's series, Web Therapy has been renewed for a third season by Showtime.
- Sky Atlantic will air the second season of Girls the day after HBO airs it. It returns in January 2013.
- Rebecca Mader will be appearing in one of 30 Rock's final episodes in it's last season.
- Amy Acker has expressed an interest in appearing in the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. series.
- Elementary has been awarded two more episodes by CBS, making 24 episodes for it's first season.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Review of Wizards Vs. Aliens 1x03: "Rebel Magic"

Written by Joseph Lidster
Directed by Griff Rowland

Tom: "The great Jackson Hawke, just a normal wizard then. Just like the rest of us."
Jackson: "Me, normal? Not exactly."

Well, I suppose every good hero needs a rival/enemy/possible other ally of sorts and if Harry can have Draco Malfoy, then Tom Clarke can have someone as volatile and slightly unpredictable as the rather interesting Jackson Hawke for good measure.

Played by Andy Rush, Jackson might be the best guest character we've had so far in this series (not that we've had many). A wizard skilled in the dangerous Grimm magic, Jackson's presence in Tom's life doesn't take long for Tom to ignore Benny and dabble in some rebel magic but if you were expecting anything too naughty, then you might be disappointed.

The worst thing Tom really does under Jackson's influence is disrupt a couple by messing with their milkshake, getting free pizza and ignoring Benny. It's probably a good thing then that we have both Jackson and Tom making a misguided attempt to take out the Nekross once and for all with Benny's life being threatened used as the catalyst for Tom snapping out of it.

As a friend goes, Jackson definitely started out as a bad influence but between a tragic backstory with his family (he inadvertently banished them) and a moment of redemption by risking his own life to save Tom and Benny, I think it's a safe bet that once he's accomplished his own mission, he'll be back to be Tom's brother in magic.

- Tom's friend, Quinn seems to be annoyed by him hanging out with Benny and losing at a recent football match.
- It seems that they're pushing forward with a romance between Tom and Katie as well. I'm guessing she's going to learn about Tom's magic by the finale.
- I liked seeing Lexi saving Varg from being eaten by that scorpion creature the King had. Looks like there is some love between them after all.
- Ursula's still a lot of fun in this episode but Michael's role does feel rather thankless at times. I did like him offering Jackson a place to stay though.

A solid, strong story delving nicely into the Tom/Benny and Tom/Jackson friendship. Rebel Magic does show that this show is worth getting into but perhaps this was another story that could've done without the Nekross or a threat other than them. Either way, I think this show is finding it's groove nicely.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Doctor Who - Children In Need/Christmas 2012 Episode Title

Clara (to the children): There's a man called the Doctor. He lives on a cloud in the sky and all he does, all day, every day is to stop all the children in the world ever having bad dreams.

So after eight months since the announcement of Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion and six months since the name actually leaked, the trailer finally confirmed that her character's name is Clara. Unfortunately we didn't learn her surname but we do know that she's a governess though, so it's a little more to go on. Plus, the episode itself is called The Snowmen with actual killer snowmen in it.

And from the BBCAmerica press release ...

Announced today, the title of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special is The Snowmen. A new companion, a new look for the Doctor, plus a new monster will all be introduced in this movie-scale episode. Starring Matt Smith as the Doctor and introducing Jenna-Louise Coleman as new companion Clara, The Snowmen follows their adventures as they embark on a mission to save Christmas from the villainous Doctor Simeon (Richard E Grant, The Iron Lady, Dracula) and his army of icy snowmen. This year’s Doctor Who Christmas special premieres Tuesday, December 25, 9:00pm ET/PT on BBC AMERICA.

I did love seeing Matt and Jenna introducing both the prequel and the trailer for this episode. Already, you can tell that both actors have great chemistry with each other and that the Eleven/Clara dynamic will be a success story. Also the implied teasing as to whether there's a connection between Clara and Oswin is also interesting too.  I'm really hoping this episode gives us some variation of Walking In The Air as well.

The prequel scene, titled The Great Detective sees Madame Vastra, Strax and Jenny Flint (thanks for giving her a surname) trying to tempt the Doctor into an adventure with no success. It seems that the Doctor has retired from adventures, so it's going to be interesting to see how Clara will earn herself a trip in the TARDIS. Strax wanting to declare war on the moon was amusing too.

Press Release:

The Snowmen airs on Christmas Day on BBC1 and BBCAmerica.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Am Your Mother

Downton Abbey: I liked the finale. While the third series had it's ups and downs and fair share of disappointing moments, the ending was a nice way of concluding things. Thomas got to keep his job, Mary and Matthew can have kids, Edith is getting a love interest and Fellowes managed to find a way to keep Branson on the show without Sybil around, while Rose was a fairly annoying character. Not that long for the Christmas special.

Homeland: Another set of excellent episodes. This show certainly upped the game with both Brody being forced to play double agent, Dana and her numpty of a boyfriend involved in a car accident, Carrie trying to maintain control of Brody, Mike piecing things together about Tom Walker and new guy Quinn walking into a dangerous trap. Overall, I continue to enjoy this season of the show.

Merlin: I'm not really as gripped to this series as a lot of people seem to be but at least the last two episodes have generated some thought provoking stuff. Whether it's Merlin and Arthur dropping the ball big time with the Disir, therefore sealing the latter's fate or Morgana actually having a plan that worked in relation to her psychological torture of Gwen, along with a certain death. Either way, it's nice to see the show getting it's darker centre but the Merthur stuff is lacking something to be honest this year.

Once Upon A Time: I can't be the only one who utterly adores Ruby as a character, right? Which is why her latest episode was another favourite of mine. Especially given that it saw her many friendships being solidified during George's vindictive attempts to thwart David and also because any semblance of backstory for the character is muchly welcomed. Oh and the episode before that gave us more insight into Emma and introduced the giant was a lot of fun too. I'm also liking the shared dreams/link between Henry and Aurora as well. Overall, this season has been a blast to watch so far.

Switch: I've only seen the fourth episode (will be watching the fifth one tonight) but it was my favourite one of the bunch so far. Yes, the episode might have gone overboard with the friendship theme in a way that Being Human doesn't need to but isn't friendship the angle for this show anyways? It may have the misfortune of going up against Girls (which I'll blog about sometime next week) every Monday but it's the more entertaining show of the show and I hope that the rivalry with the ladies from Kensington does crop up in the finale as well.

- Rob Kazinsky will be playing Sookie's new love interest, fairy Ben in the sixth season of True Blood. Filming for the new season begins in January.
- Hunted has been cancelled of sorts. It seems the BBC won't be working on it for a future series, so Cinemax will be looking for another collaborator.
- The Killing's third series (currently airing on BBC4) will be it's last. The producers have insisted it's not coming back for a fourth series.
- The Big Bang Theory has become E4's most watched show this year. Excellent news, I've really gotten into that show.
- FX have renewed American Horror Story for a third season to air in 2013.
- Chad Michael Collins will be playing the brother of Dr Whale in the second half of Once Upon A Time.
- Kyle MacLachlan will be appearing in The Good Wife.
- Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge will be appearing in the S.H.I.E.L.D. series.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Review of Dexter's 7x07: "Chemistry"

Written by Manny Coto And Karen Carpenter
Directed by Holly Dale

Dexter: “I’m gonna handle Price.”
Hannah: “Like the way you handled me?”

Now that would’ve made for a rather interesting scene, wouldn’t it? I knew that Sal Price wasn’t destined to be a long term threat to either Dexter or Hannah but even I think the writers might have been a little too quick to kill him off here. Surely, he could’ve lasted at least one or two episodes?

Oh well, it’s too bad Price had to die because it finally looked like Deb was going to get some action of her own and now that’s out of the window. Hell, Deb even made the comment about wishing guys she hooked up didn’t die on her and I’m left reminded of the fact that Quinn is still alive and not all that interesting. Not every guy then, Deb.

Sal’s death was pretty clever though. He made damn sure not to touch any of the lemonade that Hannah had offered him and was quick to tell her that he knew she poisoned her victims instead of knifing them nowadays and yet she was still able to do him by poisoning his pen. The fact that he’s a writer does make it a particularly appropriate method of killing him as well.

However even if Sal had managed to survive this episode, Dexter was going to get him out of the picture in another way though. I didn’t like the idea that Dexter would resort to using one of Sal’s subjects from an old book he wrote in order to send him to prison but it was certainly the less brutal approach in comparison to what Hannah had ultimately done I guess. It’s just a shame for Dexter than his trust in Hannah is going to be his undoing.

I could easily see Hannah framing Dexter for Sal’s murder if he attempts to curb her killer instincts. Already Dexter made the mistake of sparing her life and telling her about his code when it came his own killer methods and the fact that he went as far as to delete Sal’s book for her as well wasn’t a smart move on his part.

There’s also the fact that Dexter’s sudden ‘love’ for Hannah is clearly setting up further conflict between him and Deb as well. Deb was more than desperate to bust Hannah this week and between Jake’s body not being embalmed and the nature of Sal’s death, Deb was fighting a losing battle with Hannah from the word go.

The worrying part of the episode though was Deb actually asking Dexter to kill Hannah. The idea of Deb even encouraging Dexter’s bloodlust is a bad thing but I get why she resorted to it. Hannah’s certainly gotten under Deb’s skin as she’s managed to get under Dexter’s but either way, it was a rather disappointing thing for her to ask Dexter to do. It’s also one that I have a feeling Dexter, Hannah and Deb themselves are going to regret over the next few weeks.

Also in “Chemistry”

No surprise to Isaak being released from jail. I did enjoy his lunch scene with Dexter but the rest of that plot has gotten tiresome to watch, let alone comment on.

Hannah: “You do this with all the girls you go out with? Wrap them up in plastic?”
Dexter: “I don’t actually go out.”

Hannah admitted she killed her husband, Jake because he wanted her to have an abortion. Is she actually telling the truth? It’s possible, given that she was upfront about killing Sal to Dexter.

Dexter: “You can’t write about this.”
Sal: “It’s nothing personal. I’m just doing my job.”

Deb: “Stay the fuck away from him.”
Dexter: “I don’t think ignoring Isaak is the right approach.”

I thought it was lovely that Quinn gave Angel money for his restaurant until I remembered where Quinn acquired the money in the first place.

Dexter (re Hannah): “She accepts both sides of me – the whole Dexter. So why am I walking away from this? Because when some chemicals mix, they combust and explode.”

Sal: “You son of a bitch.”
Dexter: “Hey, it’s nothing personal. I just can’t have you messing with my life.”

Maria’s storyline is progressing at long last. This week, she actually seemed to make some kind of a connection to the Bay Harbour Butcher and Dexter.

Deb: “You’re a killer, Miss McKay, you’re a fucking good one, I’ll give you that. You’ve gotten away with it for a long time.”

Chronology: From where “Do The Wrong Thing” left off.

Not quite as good as the previous episode, but “Chemistry” was an excellent mix of character moments for Dexter, Deb and Hannah nonetheless. It’s a shame the gangster plot (despite Isaak) can’t be as interesting by comparison though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Downton Abbey - Season 3 Review

Well, the third series has recently finished on ITV and with another Christmas special due next month, here's a brief look at what went down this year. Spoilers, so you know, tread carefully if you haven't seen it. It's certainly been an interesting enough year.

Episode 1: The arrival of Shirley MacLaine's Martha Levinson who would go on to have a shorter tenure than expected this series. Not totally a bad thing though, even though the character is alright enough, her scenes with Violet being a highlight. We also got introduced to O'Brien's nephew, Alfred, saw Mary/Matthew tie the knot, learned of Robert's financial woes and had Strallen come to Branson's defence during a dinner party. Spring 1920.

Episode 2: Good plotline with Mrs Patmore tending to Mrs Hughes who thinks she may be dying but the bickering between Mary/Matthew over Reggie Swire's inheritance is a source of tedium as is the Bates plotline as well. I wasn't expecting the return of Ethel either but there you go.

Episode 3: Of course, Edith would have to get jilted at the altar by Strallen. On the plus side, at least things get more interesting for her as the show progresses and the the storylines between that bloody inheritance and Downton being at threat are somewhat resolved here. I also enjoyed the Thomas vs. O'Brien antics, though they're foreshadowing something nastier later in the series.

Episode 4: Ethel got forced into making a pretty terrible decision in relation to securing her son a good future, Edith got an article published about women's rights, Robert read Branson the riot act over putting Sybil at risk and we got a new worker in the shape of Ivy and another footman in the shape of Jimmy, much to Thomas's delight.

Episode 5: The big one. The one where someone major died and someone was born. Also the best episode of the series too. The reactions to the character's death in question from the downstairs lot was more interesting too. Shame we had to lose this character though.

Episode 6: The one where the bates storyline is finally done with, once and for all and where Violet intervened in order to prevent Robert and Cora from drifting apart with their shared grief. Also noteworthy for Matthew deciding that Downton needed a bit of modernizing as well.

Episode 7: Thomas, you numpty. Yes, O'Brien well and truly managed to get her revenge on Thomas while using Jimmy in order to achieve it as well. The Christening of baby Sybie was fine enough, though Branson's brother was annoying as hell. Oh and it might have been nice if everyone had given Ethel a say in her own future.

Episode 8: The Thomas plot was resolved, Rose was introduced, Edith may or may not cop off with a married man in the future, the mystery of Mary/Matthew's fertility issues were resolved and there was a spot of cricket as well as Branson's future at Downton being secured as well. A good finale but not a spectacular one.

As a series went, this one was something of an improvement on the second one, though the Bates storylines dragged out to the point where I lost interest in the character and I would've rather a different scenario for Thomas and Jimmy. Still, this does continue to deserve to be a ratings juggernaut for ITV though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 2x07: "Penance"

Written by Ellie Triedman
Directed by Colin Bucksey

Emily: “You were this close, Mason but you missed the one thing that’s been right under your nose the whole time. She’s not Amanda Clarke -,”
Mason: “– You are.”

Oh, Mason, if you had just kept your nose out of Emily and Amanda’s business, then you wouldn’t be sitting in a jail cell now hoping that the former will complete her vengeance and grant you enough mercy to get you exonerated, eh?

First off all – I really have zero sympathy for Mason. He might not be as bad as the Graysons but his actions have cost Emily and he’s proved to be more of a loose cannon over the last few episodes that short of Amanda caving his brains in with a crowbar, sending him to jail was the best way of dealing with him. It was also made even more painful given that he was sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

Getting Nolan to sneak in the flight recorder along with all the other damning evidence was a brutal way of getting Mason out of the way but in all fairness, it was his own ego into writing the book he was meant to write that allowed Emily total power over him. I get the implausibility of Mason’s fate to a large degree but it certainly made for an interesting episode.

I do believe that Mason has genuine remorse for his part in ruining David Clarke’s life and his attempts to try and amend things with Kara by telling her that the Graysons got Gordon to kill him was sort of noble but it was also too little, too late. Mason’s own self-serving really is his defining characteristic, even when he’s attempting to be selfless. If I were Emily, I wouldn’t be too quick to exonerate him just yet.

Speaking of Kara, it was rather delightful seeing her really go bat shit crazy in this episode and try to kill both Victoria and Conrad upstairs while the Initiative and Daniel were mulling over their downfall downstairs in the Grayson manor. It’s a good job for them that Aiden was quick to apprehend her, though he took his sweet time in doing so.

I’m not entirely sure if it were wise for Emily to have revealed that she knew Aiden in this episode to Kara. Kara might be gone for the time being but eventually she will come back and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s pieced the Emily/Amanda connection in a much quicker pace than Mason did (though Emily did out herself to him). In fact, I think I’ll be annoyed if somehow she didn’t.

As for Aiden – I’m starting to feel a little meh about him. I don’t care about him and Emily hooking up at all but I do care about his antipathy towards Nolan. I get the impression that Aiden seems a little threatened by the friendship that Emily and Nolan have and that his interest in her agenda may become corrosive as the season progresses.

I also don’t like the fact that as a part of Aiden’s ongoing scheming with Daniel to get the board at Grayson Global to overthrow Conrad that Nolan’s own company might be at risk too. Nolan really shouldn’t be another casualty in this whole messy saga and if he is because of Aiden, well that’s not good, now is it?

Last but not least – can this boring scheme of Kenny and his younger brother, Nate now end please? Aside from the fact that I wish Jack would wise up and do some background checks on the guy, I just cannot find any enthusiasm for the plot at all. On the plus side, at least things between Jack and Amanda seem a lot calmer now, so that’s something.

Also in “Penance”

This episode was originally entitled “Exposure”. I wonder why the title was changed at the last minute.

Emily (re Amanda): “I don’t choose my friends based by their network.”
Mason: “Then by what criteria? A shared history, perhaps?”

Even though Mason was rather lewd in the way he suggested it, I don’t think I’d be that shocked if Emily and Amanda actually had sex with each other at some point in their past.

Jack: “Are you sure you want to reopen up these old wounds?”
Amanda: “One last time, I promise.”

Nolan (re Emily): “Why are you doing this? What is she to you exactly?”
Aiden: “She’s someone who I once hurt very badly and now I’m trying to make it up to her.”
Nolan: “Hurt her again and I swear you will pay.”

Padma learned the error of going into Nolan’s office without shoes when she got cut by the glass from the frame Nolan broke to give Aiden the cheque from David Clarke. Nolan’s middle name is Mitchell as well.

Mason (to Amanda): “Confession they say is good for the soul and for book sales.”

Emily: “Choose your family.”
Amanda: “You’re making a huge mistake.”

The lady from the Initiative goes by the name of Helen Crowley and it seems that Daniel’s made himself a target as well. Victoria also looked she was going tell Conrad at the end about Daniel’s scheming.

Victoria: “Conrad, I have bad news.”
Conrad: “Yeah, that seems to be going around.”
Kara: “Shut the door.”

Kara: “I don’t know how to thank you.”
Emily: “Well, just keep yourself safe.”

Standout music: “Only One” by Smith Westerns and what is up with those Target ads being featured in the show?

Emily (to herself): “To properly do penance, one must express contrition for ones sins.”

Chronology: A few days since the events of “Illusion”.

I really enjoyed this episode. I wasn’t expecting “Penance” to actually go there with Mason or even for Kara to leave so quickly (though she’ll obviously be back) but this was another extremely enjoyable episode and I’m looking forward to the next one, even if I do have to wait two weeks for it.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Review of Wizards Vs. Aliens 1x02: "Grazlax Attacks"

Written by Phil Ford
Directed by Daniel O'Hara

Tom (to Benny, re Grazlax): "It didn't explode. It had kids."

Okay, second story in (or episodes three and four if you like) and this show is definitely fun to watch but at the same time has a feeling of familiarity about it. The Nekross might not have decided to capture Tom or his grandmother again but Lexi's idea of trying to please her father (the Nekross King) and outwit her brother with the use of the Grazlax was doomed to failure from the beginning.

Clearly, Phil Ford has possibly watched Gremlins one too many times because the basis of this story seemed to be the Grazlax trying to kill both Tom and Benny when they weren't multiplying all over the place. As aliens, they're blue, furry with teeth that look anything but razor sharp but at the same time, the sheer camp factor in Benny and Tom trying to outwit them was actually the highlight of the episode.

I don't know if it's entirely intentional but Scott Haran as Tom really did seem to up the camp factor in this story with a performance that seemed very reminiscent of a lot of 80's Doctor Who. Tom's still a likeable enough character, though clearly not always the most reliable in a sticky situation as it was Benny who seemed to figure out a lot in relation to defeating the Grazlax and a lot of that seemed obvious too in retrospect.

I will say that four episodes/two stories in, the show has succeeded in building a nice rapport with Tom and Benny. Both of them are outsiders due to one being magical and the other being a geek but as a team, they seem to work well together. That in of itself might be the show's biggest selling point and it's most successful one too.

- We met Benny's parents, Tricia (Nina Sosanya) and Richard (Don Gilet) for a bit in the first part of this episode. Benny's violin playing turned out to be useful, if not nice on the ears.
- Katie is clearly being set up as a love interest for Tom.
- I did laugh at Ursula's attempts of changing Benny's house back, especially with the gingerbread house mistake.
- The rivalry between Varg and Lexi has a lot of potential. I sense that perhaps Lexi isn't too comfortable with the idea of destroying humanity.

While it's hard to deny that this show isn't a massive step forwards for children's TV, it's still a lot more entertaining than it should be. Grazlax Attacks was an amusing story but I am hoping the show does get a little serious as it progresses in the next four stories.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 08, 2012

My Review of Dexter's 7x06: "Do The Wrong Thing"

Written by Lauren Gussis
Directed by Alik Sakharov

Hannah (to Dexter): “Do what you gotta do.”

How do you make an inevitable moment in a show into a shocking event? Well, if you’re this show, it’ll involve setting Hannah McKay up to be killed but will end up in her being shagged by Dexter in the last five minutes of this rather interesting episode.

It was pretty inevitable that Dexter and Hannah were going to sleep together with each before he’d kill her off. I didn’t however expect them to go on a date which resulted in Hannah winding up on a kill table but actually surviving the damn thing by coercing Dexter into sleeping with her.

It’s not like Hannah was all that persuasive. She didn’t seem to emotionally blackmail Dexter into sparing her life, she didn’t overpower him or even make an attempt to escape. In fact the thing that seemed to save her for now was her giving Dexter permission to kill her. I guess the more interesting question was why did Dexter not go through with it?

Even as a gay man, I get that Yvonne Strahovski is gorgeous but this episode went quite the length to justify Dexter’s suspicions about Hannah being something of a serial killer off her own bat and it did seem like in this episode that she was targeting Dexter every bit as much as he was with her.

She might have accused Dexter of stalking her with the amount of visits he made to her but it didn’t stop her from pursuing him as well. Who else would show up to someone’s apartment in the middle of the night to give them a blood spatter flower? Hannah’s certainly no dumb blonde but it does seem like Dexter is letting her get under his skin and that can’t be good.

If Dexter’s evidence wasn’t enough to prove that Hannah wasn’t a baddie, then the arrival of Sal Price certainly seemed to confirm that Hannah isn’t be trusted. Worse still, for both Dexter and Hannah is that Sal managed to get to Deb and made sure that she realised that Hannah is far from the victim that she’s let Miami Metro believe for all these years.

The more interesting part of these strands then seemed to be Deb and Dexter coming to blows over the latter previously helping out Lumen with the barrel murders as well. I liked the continuity to that particular chain of past events but Dexter knows well that Hannah is no Lumen, so this who storyline cannot end well, especially for the rather nosy Sal, who’ll probably be dead within the next few episodes if not sooner.

Keeping with the danger, I’m not surprised that jail didn’t prove to be a deterrent for Isaak at all. Columbian prison mates couldn’t threaten him and the still pretty bland George managed to make sure that Quinn’s investment in Nadia’s safety got the bent detective into getting rid of evidence. Morally that’s bad but at the same time, I am looking forward to some more scenes with Isaak and Dexter over the next few weeks.

Also in “Do The Wrong Thing”

I found it rather interesting this week that Harry kept giving Hannah the benefit of the doubt. I guess Dexter really want to believe that he could be wrong about her.

Dexter: “Hannah.”
Hannah: “Great, you’re a stalker.”

Poison seems to be Hannah’s main method of killing her victims – her husband, her mentor in Beverly Grey (former owner of Hannah’s current business) and a counsellor as well who abused her.

Harry (re Hannah): “She poisons rabbits, Dexter, doesn’t mean she poisons people. Why are you so convinced she’s still a killer?”

Sal: “Are you always this defensive?”
Deb: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be defensive. I’m just not in a dating mode.”

Sal Price was played by Heroes/Merlin actor, Santiago Cabrera. I found Dexter pretending to be fan of his work kind of amusing.

Dexter: “How did you find me?”
Hannah: “Google.”
Dexter: “Now who’s the stalker?”

Deb (re Lumen/Rita): “You moved your girlfriend into the house where Trinity murdered your wife, so you could be together?”
Dexter: “It wasn’t like that. I felt guilty about what happened to Rita.”

Maria definitely is catching on big time with the Bay Harbour Butcher, given that she connected it to the Barrel girls incident and Jordan Chase. Plot wise, it’s better than Angel’s new found desire to retire and open a restaurant.

Hannah: “I’m just trying to do the right thing.”
Dexter: “Do the wrong thing.”

Chronology: Sometime in December, given that Dexter took Hannah to a Santa’s Adventure place.

This was an excellent episode. I know some fans didn’t like the ending but “Do The Wrong Thing” for me was a turning point moment. This season has been good, this episode however was similar to some of the bigger heights in the first few years. A new favourite of mine.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Doctor Who - Series 7 Returning Monsters

It's the penultimate episode and for Series 7, it's the return of the ...

... Cybermen. Yeah, okay, I'll admit that I would rather see the Master at this point (50th anniversary please?) but it seems that when he isn't writing impressive stories about the TARDIS (boy, does Stephen Thompson's episode have a lot to live up to this year), Neil Gaiman is also penning ones about the Doctor's second deadliest of foes. The best part about this story will be the fact that it's set on a mysterious planet. Finally, we get a Cybermen story that isn't set on Earth in the modern series.

The episode will have a slew of guest stars including Calvin Dean (Tormented) playing a character called Ha-Ha and Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders) playing Captain Alice. There's also the likes of Jason Watkins (Being Human) and Warwick Davis (Willow) as well, though the nature of their roles haven't been confirmed beyond them all being a band of misfits that the Doctor (Matt Smith) and Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) encounter in the episode.

Neil Gaiman himself has recently been praising newcomer, Jenna-Louise Coleman as well - I’m telling you nothing about Jenna. Other than I loved writing dialogue for her, and I loved hearing her say it at the table read. Speaking of the actress, fans next week should tune into Children In Need on BBC1 around 8.30pm on Friday, November 16th as an exclusive scene and a trailer from this year Christmas special will be airing. Hopefully this means that Moffat and company will not only confirm the name of this year's special (rumoured to be loosely based on The Snowman) but also the name of the companion at long last.

BBC Press Release:

Doctor Who returns on Christmas Day with the second half of Series 7 due to air in Spring 2013.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

My Review of Wizards Vs. Aliens 1x01: "Dawn Of The Nekross"

Written by Phil Ford
Directed by Daniel O'Hara

Benny (re chamber of Crowe): "Narnia, Tim Burton style."

I wasn't going to but I've decided to do some reviews for this series after all. With The Sarah Jane Adventures no longer with us, I have to give both Russell T. Davies and Phil Ford credit in trying to come up with a decent replacement by mashing up the genres of magic and extraterrestrials with this series. Watching this opening two part story, it's something of a mixed bag but there's potential here.

Scott Haran may not have the same charisma as Daniel Anthony's Clyde Langer but he makes for a sympathetic and engaging enough lead character. Tom Clarke is a regular sixteen year old boy who happens to be a wizard and it's something that runs in his family tracing to his deceased mother and very much alive grandmother, Ursula, brilliantly played by Annette Badland.

Within the two parter, Tom's secret is exposed to nerdy fellow student, Benny (a likeable but stereotypical geeky character), ably played by Percelle Ascott as the two unlikely new friends band together in order to save Tom's grandmother as well as another wizard and his son from the Nekross.

The Nekross are the villains of the piece - an alien race that feeds on magic and Earth is the last place that has it in abundance, with Brian Blessed playing a face version of them - quite literally. They're not strictly defeated in this episode, which means that we've got them as a recurring bunch of villains for the series. Stylistically, they look good, are somewhat more campy and OTT than threatening but serve as solid enemies. Whether or not, they're a sustainable threat though is hard to tell but so far, they do have some promise.

- Michael Higgs plays the role of Tom's father, Michael, the only non Wizard of the family. It seems that Helen (Tom's mother, Ursula's daughter) was quite powerful.
- The Chamber of Crowe and it's guardian really were something that came out of Harry Potter. I think a bit more subtlety could've gone into that design.
- I found the driving back to Earth in the car scene both magical and cringe worthy. Pretty much a rip off of flying the TARDIS home as well from a certain Doctor Who story.
- Originally, there were plans for this series and The Sarah Jane Adventures to run alongside each other. What are the odds that a crossover would've happened if circumstances had been different?

Not a bad start to the show. The tone is pretty lighthearted but that's to be expected with a series opener though. Hopefully though the show does have a couple of surprises up it's sleeve, so it doesn't become too formulaic but either way, Dawn Of The Nekross is a good start to the show.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Monday, November 05, 2012

My Review of Revenge's 2x06: "Illusion"

Written by Michael Foley
Directed by Bobby Roth

Conrad: “For a moment you had me worried you weren’t coming.”
Victoria: “Like you said, til death do us part.”

Sadly for Victoria, that just happens to be one vow that Conrad seems incapable of delivering on. Their wedding might have been an exhibition in the farcical but at least Victoria and Conrad are now placed in another unfortunate position due to Emily finally getting scheming groove back on.

I find it a little disturbing even for Emily that she would have Gordon Murphy’s body store somewhere but it turned out to be rather handy upon framing Conrad for his death and using the eternal loose cannon that is Mason Treadwell in order to do it. However, Emily seriously underestimated two twists of events in this one.

First of all the Initiative and the scary female figurehead they seemed to have managed to get Conrad away from a jail sentence by forcing his hand yet again and secondly, Victoria managed to inadvertently throw Mason back into Emily and Amanda’s direction once again. Even when she isn’t trying to cause trouble, Victoria manages it so well.

I think it’s a safe assumption that Mason has figured out that Emily and Amanda have already swapped identities. He didn’t really seem to buy Amanda’s story about her scar removal and hearing about Emily’s previous record seemed to slot everything into place for him. Of course, the last person who realised that these ladies were living each other’s lives ended up dead. Something tells me that a similar fate awaits Mason now.

It’s almost a shame to lose Mason as a character. He’s so sly and his vitriol towards the Graysons has been entertaining to watch but the show’s purpose, I guess we do have to lose him as a character. Still, it’s been fun seeing him as a spanner in the works but now I guess it’s up to the Initiative to take the fore.

I’m not sure what Conrad will have to be forced into doing but the thinly veiled threat he gave to Victoria was rather masterful. The two of them might bring out the worst in each other as people but at the same time, they truly deserve each other and the consequences they’ll have to face for their crimes.

As for the rest of the episode, Kara is still a good addition to the series. I enjoyed her moment discussing the Graysons with Emily as well as her scenes with Jack and Amanda but at the same time, she’s letting her supposedly friendly facade slip. Victoria came pretty close to realising that Kara had feelings for Gordon and something tells me, she’ll figure it out soon enough if Kara isn’t careful.

As for the quadrangle surrounding Emily, Aiden, Daniel and Ashley, it was rather interesting to watch it unfold here. Emily pointedly rejected both Daniel and Aiden’s advances during and after the wedding and Ashley seemed more than a little jealous and suspicious of both men’s interest in Emily.

I’m not really sure if Emily should be with either of these guys or Jack but I did love seeing her trying to look out for Nolan with Padma. Padma seemed to quickly reveal that she was more well being than backstabbing with Nolan over the David Clarke stuff, which is actually a relief. I want to like Padma but I do feel that the relationship with her and Nolan is a tad rushed to be honest.

Also in “Illusion”

Kara is something of a painter/drawer and we saw her probing Emily on it too. I hope Amanda has some skills in that department too.

Emily: “We can allow ourselves to be deceived by false realities or we can use them to hide our true intentions.”

Emily talked about meeting Ashley six years ago because was an easy target. Aiden seems to think there’s more to Ashley, which could be interesting if true.

Kara (to Victoria): “A second chance at love doesn’t happen very often, but a third and a fourth? You must cast quite a spell.”

Victoria: “Learn to take a joke, Conrad, seeing as we’re perpetrating one.”

I still really don’t like Kenny in this episode and his attempts of being too buddy like with Jack were somewhat grating as well.

Declan: “What about your parents wedding?”
Charlotte: “I’ll catch the next one.”

Daniel (re wedding): “So, this was almost us, huh?”
Emily: “Almost.”
Daniel: “Ever think about it? What might have been like if we hung in there?”

Daniel and Aiden’s plot to overthrow Conrad didn’t make too much progress in this episode either, Declan and Charlotte had sex and Jack proposed to Amanda.

Nolan (to Emily): “Having Conrad arrested for murder at his own wedding? Now what a revenge all star opportunity.”

Victoria (re Gordon): “The man was a killer. He kidnapped me and threatened my family. Now if you’re insinuating that I had anything to do with his murder, I promise you are mistaken.”
Kara: “Your promises don’t hold water with me anymore.”

Standout music: Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” at the end of the episode.

Victoria (re Initiative): “What did you promise them?”
Conrad: “I don’t think I’ll know until it’s too late. Sleep well, darling.”

Chronology: Not long from where “Forgiveness” left off.

I’m not really getting the hate this season for the show. I might not like every plot and the Initiative storyline is one I’m taking with some trepidation but these last few episodes have been cracking and “Illusion” certainly was another one.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Enter The Asylum

And here's the second TV jumble blog I promised ...

American Horror Story: Asylum: FXUK finally got around to premiering the second season of Ryan Murphy's eerily fucked up horror drama and going from a show about ghosts in a haunted house to a 1960's asylum with sadistic nuns and doctors, alien abductions and a plethora of interesting inmates and plot strands, this show hasn't lost it's edge. Already, I'm compelled by Bloody Face, rooting for our heroes in Kit and Lana, intrigued and horrified by Sister Jude (Jessica Lange on fine form again) and Dr Arden (James Cromwell exuding menace and then some) and being similarly grossed out during some of the more visceral scenes as well. Oh and poor present day couple in Leo and Theresa. One episode in and already they're regretting fooling around in Briarcliff.

Arrow: I just caught the pilot last week and I plan to try and watch the second episode tonight but so far, I am liking this series. If the CW wanted a natural successor to Smallville, they've got it with this show and Stephen Amell does make for a good Oliver Queen/Green Arrow as well. The backstory for Oliver does feel a little similar to what we've seen with Emily in Revenge but not by a whole lot. That being said, watching this opening episode, you can easily see why it's become a big hit for the CW.

Misfits: Like Being Human, I embrace the idea of a new cast and while both newcomers Finn and Jess seem like interesting characters, I really don't think they were well served in an episode like this. The whole plotline with the corrupting briefcase just felt unpleasant and I could've done without an infected Rudy getting hacksaw happy. Plus without Kelly, Seth really doesn't have a point on this show given that he really doesn't bond with either Curtis or Rudy. The new probation officer is interesting and the reveal with Finn at the end did raise an eyebrow from me. Overall, a disjointed opening episode but here's hoping it's a minor blip for the usually excellent show.

The Vampire Diaries: An interesting start to the fourth season. Hopefully though, as a vampire, Elena will eventually get into the groove of things because with the first three episodes, she's needed help and I don't want that to be a repeat plot thread. I do think there was a missed opportunity with the preacher from the first episode and while I still can't stand Klaus's continued presence on the show, at least we still have Rebekah and I'm intrigued by vampire hunter, Connor and The Five. So far, this year has started off rather well.

- Political Animals will not be returning for a second season.
- James D'Arcy and Chloe Sevigny will be appearing in the upcoming series, Those Who Kill.
- Brendan Fraser has quit his role in the upcoming Howard Gordon series, Legends.
- Stephen Merchant's series, Hello Ladies has been picked up for a full run on HBO.
- Michael Madsen and Jennifer Beals will both be appearing Mob Doctor.
- Both Scandal and The Neighbours have received full season orders from ABC.
- Grant Gustin will be reprising his role as Sebastian in a few episodes of Glee's fourth season.
- Hell On Wheels has been renewed for a third season but the creators won't be returning.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Hooked In

And here's a look at some of the shows I've been watching. Expect another one tomorrow.

Downton Abbey: A good set of episodes. This series definitely seems to have become more of an improvement to it's last one and the fallout from Sybil's death has been good to watch. It's nice for the show to find a way to keep Branson on board and the consequences of Thomas getting the wrong end of the stick with Jimmy should be interesting to see in the finale. I'm also liking that Edith is getting more to do, though some of the scenes with Matthew and Robert over running the estate have been less interesting to watch.

Homeland: This show is definitely not suffering from difficult second album syndrome. The last ten minutes of the episode, New Car Smell (I have to catch up with episode 5) were some of the tensest moments the show has produced and the resulting consequences of Carrie and Brody meeting up in the latter's hotel room once again, just a masterclass in excellent writing and acting from both Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Oh and the subplots with Dana and her new love interest's father are also interesting to watch too.

Merlin: I'm finding myself a little less interested in this current series. Four episodes in and not much of real note has actually happened. Mordred has been a background character, the Knights - decent guy candy but not much else and there's a surprisingly amount of sparse interaction between Arthur and Gwen. The return of Uther seemed like a missed opportunity in some respects too while Morgana's continued scheming has gotten tedious to watch. I wish Merlin would just take her out though. I did like seeing Mithian again, though she wasn't as well served as her debut last series.

Once Upon A Time: Yes, I'm still enjoying this series. The last three episodes certainly haven't been boring, especially with the debuts of Lancelot and Hook, the reveal of Dr Whale (pretty obvious in retrospect) and Cora proving that she's a nastier piece of work than her daughter. That being said, much as I like that Regina is definitely making a concentrated effort to redeem herself and the bonding scenes with David/Henry and Emma/Mary Margaret, the show does need to dial down the need to connect virtually every backstory to Rumples at this rate because it's getting a little implausible. That being said, this season is shaping up nicely.

Switch: I know this show isn't a masterpiece in any way, shape or form but I find myself really enjoying it nonetheless. It might be a bit too fluffy at times but three episodes, I like the majority of the main characters (Jude, I'm a little mixed on) and the lack of big, complicated or existential storylines hasn't really deterred my enjoyment of it either. The last episode focusing on Stella getting over her antichrist of an ex-girlfriend was particularly funny and I'm not hating the triangle of sorts between Jude/Jerry/Grace but I think Hannah is still my favourite of these four particular witches.

- Felicia Day is returning to Supernatural for an upcoming episode. Here's hoping they don't kill her off.
- Arrow will introduce the comic character of Firefly in an upcoming story arc, played by Andrew Dunbar.
- CW drama, Cult will premiere on the station in January.
- Dallas will not be bringing back Pamela Ewing according to producers. The second season of the show premiere in January on TNT.
- Sarah Shahi will be appearing as a love interest for Taylor Kinney's character in Chicago Fire.
- NBC have not only decided to end The Office after nine seasons but they won't be picking up the proposed spin-off, The Farm either.
- Grant Gustin will be appearing as a privileged kid in an upcoming story arc for 90210.
- Burn Notice has been renewed for a seventh season.