Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x07: "The Bells Of Saint John"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Colm McCarthy

Clara: “Come back tomorrow. Ask me again.”
The Doctor: “Why?”
Clara: “Cos tomorrow I might say yes.”

Three episodes in and it’s nice that Clara Oswald continues to be something of an enigma for the Doctor and for those who are tired of Moffat’s growing trope of mystery women, sorry but you really are going to have to wait until he leaves before you get another ‘ordinary’ companion once again, though you could just give Clara a chance before writing her off already.

As for the enigma bit – it’s not that she’s the woman twice dead or that all it took for the computer rubbish girl to become computer savvy was nearly being uploaded into a data cloud by the sinister Miss Kizlet and those Spoonheads. No, the thing that really intrigued me about Clara in this one was that she didn’t just jump into the TARDIS (or snog box) with the Doctor. Instead she asked him to come back tomorrow.

It’s rare in this show that we’ve seen someone actually think about being a companion. Most have either leapt at the chance, being inadvertently kidnapped or were stowaways and some flat refused before later changing their minds. Clara clearly wanted to take the Doctor up on his offer but she needed a day to think about it. I reckon by that logic it might make her one of the smartest people the Doctor’s encountered over the last eleven incarnations that he’s travelled with in his little blue box. Or is about to travel with.

The story itself however felt like a departure for Steven Moffat as a writer. For those clamouring for a time when Moffat could write a story that wasn’t timey wimey or overly complicated, this episode should’ve been a godsend for them because the plot was incredibly straightforward and easy to follow.

The idea of a sinister force in the Wi-Fi that we all use was definitely a fantastic idea to play with and Moffat certainly had fun using this episode as a not too subtle commentary on our overreliance of the internet and the information we so often freely post about ourselves as well as Miss Kizlet’s organisation began to trap people with a certain logo and upload their souls all for a Client that you kind of wish the press hadn’t spoiled before this episode aired to be honest.

I quite liked Celia Imrie in the role of Miss Kizlet. She won’t go down in history as the greatest of female antagonists the show has had but her joyfully dark sense of humour over her staff, the people whose lives she was willingly endangering for her client and her relentless needling the Doctor about Clara only served to justify the desserts she got at both the hands of the Doctor and even the Great Intelligence.

I knew that after the events of the Christmas special that we’d get another encounter of the Great Intelligence but seeing it here briefly and in Simeon’s body before reverting Kizlet and her staff to their original states was a pretty interesting turn of events. I’m guessing somehow this won’t be the last time this series we’ll be seeing the Great Intelligence and I’m also guessing that somehow Clara also factors into the baddie’s overall scheme, whatever that may be.

As for the Doctor and Clara – it’s been a challenge for Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman to redefine their relationship each time but here, it does seem we’re finally getting somewhere. We know that every version of Clara we’ve seen is virtually the same one, even if this one doesn’t remember the Doctor and while this episode draws that link up once again, it’s not at the expense of the overall plot with the sinister Wi-Fi and the Spoonheads. Still, like the Doctor himself, it really is time to find out who Clara Oswald really is now.

Also in “The Bells Of Saint John”

The theme music got a tiny bit of tweaking but nothing too distracting from the last episode.

Nabile: “Once you’ve clicked it, they're in your computer. They can see you, if they can see you, they might choose you and if they do, you die.”

There were a lot of familiar elements in this episode, especially from past ones like “The Long Game”, “The Idiot’s Lantern” and “Blink” to name a few.

Paul (re Clara): “Is that her?”
Abbot: “The woman twice dead and her final message.”

The Doctor: “Do you remember me?”
Clara: “No. Should I? Who are you?”

Nice way of getting the episode title in with the actual phone on the TARDIS ringing as well as having ‘run you clever boy and remember’ (rycbar123) as the Wi-Fi password and Oswin as a username too.

Miss Kizlet: “I’m ever so fond of Alexei but my conscience says we should probably kill him.”

The Doctor (to himself): “Right, don’t be a monk. Monks are not cool.”

Clara’s working as a nanny for George Maitland, looking after his kids, Angie and Artie and also wants to travel and seems to be 24, according to her book, though 16 and 23 are suspiciously missing from the countdown and there’s that leaf as well as well as Clara being a fan of an 11 chapter book called Summer Falls by Amelia Williams.

The Doctor: “You, me, inside that box now!”
Clara: “I’m sorry?”

The Doctor: “I’m the Doctor. I’m an alien from outer space. I’m a thousand years old, I’ve got two hearts and I can’t fly a plane, can you?”
Clara: “No!”

This episode really felt like a love letter to London with Kizlet’s organisation being on the 65th floor of the Shard, the plane sequence as well as the Doctor and Clara on an Anti-Grav bike on Westminster Bridge.

Miss Kizlet (to the Doctor, re Clara): “She is rather pretty, isn’t she? Do you like her? I can make her like you too if you want.”

Miss Kizlet (to the Doctor): “The abattoir is not a contradiction. No-one loves cattle more than Burger King.”

Who was the woman in the shop that gave Clara the number for the Doctor? I would say River but we also know that Rose is coming back too in November. Maybe it’s neither.

Great Intelligence: “Goodbye, Miss Kizlet.”

The Doctor: “You didn’t answer my question.”
Clara: “What question?”
The Doctor: “You don’t seem like a nanny.”

Standout music: Rizzle Kicks “Mama Do The Hump” as well as Clara’s Theme from Murray Gold and the breezier music in this episode.

The Doctor: “Right then, Clara Oswald, time to find out who you are.”

Chronology: London 2013 for the majority of the episode, a reference to the 2074 Anti-Grav Olympics and 1207 Cumbria for the monastery scenes.

Surprisingly lighter than expected but perhaps it’s why “The Bells Of Saint John” worked so well. Certain fans might have become weary of Moffat’s repeated tropes but I do feel that at least he’s trying to be a bit different with Clara’s mystery in comparison to Amy and River’s from the previous two series. Besides, now it really does feel like the anniversary year has finally begun and the episode was fast paced and enjoyable.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Doctor Who - Tennant/Piper Returning For 50th

Well, it's out there and honestly - who didn't see this coming?

With filming beginning on the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who due to begin on Monday, both the BBC and DWM have leaked that David Tennant and Billie Piper will be reprising their roles as the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler and it's rumoured that both of them are from the Series 2 version of the show. While I am delighted to see both Tennant and Piper back, I am hoping that the more obsessive Ten/Rose fans don't ruin it for everyone else and that an announcement of other former Doctors and Companions is imminent as well.

Also cast in the 50th is Merlin's very own dragon himself, John Hurt, though his role in the upcoming special hasn't been disclosed. Other casting leaked for the special includes Ken Bones (set to appear in the upcoming series, Atlantis) as the General. Hopefully next week, some more exciting casting is unveiled but hey, exciting times ahead, right?

Press Release:

Doctor Who returns tonight on BBC1 at 6.15pm.

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland - First Casting

Well, it's only a pilot stage for now but it seems that the spin-off for Once Upon A Time, titled Once Upon A Time In Wonderland, set in a pre-cursed version of the place has already leaked some casting.

Sophie Lowe will be playing the role of Alice. The English-Australian born actress's previous roles have included All Saints, The Slap and Two Mothers but this will be her first leading role on a US television show if the five scenes due to be filmed in Vancouver is approved beyond a pilot for ABC's 2013-2014 TV schedule.

Elsewhere former Being Human actor Michael Socha has been cast in the role of the Knave of Hearts and like Lowe, this will be Socha's first leading role on a US television show. Also cast in the series, created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz is Peter Gadiot as Alice's mysterious love interest, Cyrus. It seems that format wise, this show will have a similar structure to American Horror Story, so this may be a one series only type of spin-off in intention, which is interesting.

Also cast in the newly renamed spin-off is Emma Rigby. The actress best known for her roles in Hollyoaks and Prisoners Wives will be playing the Red Queen, a rather short tempered ruler who is merciless towards those who betray her, especially her enemies. I have to admit while the casting pleases me so far for this spin-off, the renamed title is rather unimaginative, isn't it?

More Details:

Filming for the pilot of Once Upon A Time In Wonderland begins in April.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream

I had every intention of watching this documentary on former Destiny's Child singer, Beyonce Knowles but I was surprised that BBC1 were airing it last night and managed to catch it purely by accident and after viewing Gogglebox. Maybe I missed it but did the BBC even promote it, aside the numerous tweets they made during the programme airing? I don't think I saw a single advert for this at all and they aired it at 10.30pm as well.

Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream was pretty much one of those intimate portrayals that most pop singers/global superstars occasionally do in a bid to show the real them to their audience. Sometimes they can come across as horribly narcissistic or sickly sweet and while there were only tiny moments in this 90 minute special that you could accuse of being either of the above, I have to admit, I found this extremely enjoyable.

Okay, I'll admit that I do like Miss Knowles but from an unbiased point of view, I found this to be a rather fascinating piece as we saw the usual intimate moments with the singer and her entourage/family, rehearsals and performances at various concerts and award ceremonies but some of the more raw moments such as Beyonce herself talking about a previous miscarriage, her reactions to becoming a mother as well as an insight into her work ethic and upbringing were pretty effecting to watch.

She might not be the person you'd think would be the subject of a HBO documentary but if I didn't have a respect for the Diva who Runs The World with a Halo  while being Crazy In Love (okay, terrible puns stop here), I certainly did after this documentary. A wonderful 90 minutes.

Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream is available on BBC iPlayer.

Soap Discussion - March 2013

A rundown of some of the month's soap highlights as I might not be able to post tomorrow.

Coronation Street: A solid, even an engaging month both with the fire at the Rovers courtesy of Karl and the impending outcome of the whole Tyrone vs. Kirsty saga in general. 2013 so far has been a solid year for the soap with both of these stories generating the right amount of screen time and while it's looking likely that Kirsty will get her comeuppance, Karl has managed to shape up from a deathly dull character to an interesting villain almost overnight. The only downer of this month was the whole Ryan/Katy/Chesney plot but the less said on that one, the better.

EastEnders: It's been getting criticism in the papers for it's ratings slip and it's increasingly dull plots and this month was certainly not a marked improvement. The gang plot with Liam might remind us how good Patsy Palmer can be when the writers both giving her a storyline but the gang themselves are played by such bad actors, it often makes the entire plot difficult to take serious to be honest. Other stories of non interest including Tanya and Phil going on a date and the writers insistence on stretching the latter's custody of Lola's baby beyond credibility.

Emmerdale: And the award of most moronic henchman of the year goes to Robbie. Let's face it, it's been a year and the writers have struggled to do anything of real interest with him, so having Cameron nearly kill him in last night's episode would've been a godsend had Chas not interrupted him for once. Thankfully there were better plots this month with the fallout of Charity and Declan's one night stand with Jai and Brenda's storyline as well has been handled pretty well. Like it's other ITV stablemate, this show seems to getting it's groove back pretty nicely.

Hollyoaks: Finally, the neverending saga that is Brendan Brady finally came to an end and with it, the swift exits of Cheryl, Walker and Seamus (two of them thankfully being bumped off as well). I know there are some fans who act like Brendan was the saviour of the show but to be honest, I think it will survive well enough without him and the show dragged out his neverending cycle of violence and angst as it was anyways. Besides, they've already drafted in Clare once again (as part of a plot with Browning and Mercedes) and it seems that Patrick is actually a nasty piece of work if his number on poor Anna is something to go by, plus Trudy is also setting Jacqui up for a fall and there's Nancy's addiction to pill as well. Proof that the show can survive without Brendan Brady.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Atlantis - Full Cast Announced

A few weeks ago it was announced that Jemima Rooper, Mark Addy and Robert Emms were cast in the upcoming BBC Saturday show, Atlantis by Howard Overman, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps but more casting has now been announced for the 13 part show.

Jack Donnelly best known for his role on House Of Anubis has joined the cast. While his role hasn't been confirmed, it's a fairly safe bet to assume he's been cast as the Jason of the piece, along with Aiysha Hart (Honour), also in a role that hasn't been specified.

The latest press release from the BBC in relation to Atlantis has then gone on to confirm both Juliet Stevenson (The Hour) and Sarah Parish, the latter who has previously worked with Murphy and Capps when she guest starred in the second season of Merlin back in 2009. Again, both roles have not been confirmed though.

The show will begin filming in April in both Wales and Morocco as it sets about bringing various Greek myths to life for a modern audience. I have to admit that so far, the casting really has been impressive and while I know there are still people out there lamenting the loss of Merlin, it does look like Atlantis is going to be a suitable successor.

Press Release:

Atlantis will air on BBC1 in the Autumn.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Game Of Thrones - Season 2 Review

US Airdate: April 1st – June 3rd 2012

Cold Winds Are Rising: It’s amazing how things can change in a series and with this show, it’s really the type of one in which you miss an episode and a lot of things can happen, well in some parts nonetheless.

Although there are some plots that start off a little slowly and take a tiny bit longer to engage than others, I think it’s safe to say that Season 2 for the most part managed to avoid the difficult second album syndrome that often happens to a lot of hit television shows. In fact, the show’s propensity to deliver water cooler moments only seemed to be in finer shape and that’s regardless of how versed you might be in the actual source material itself.

The battle of the five rulers for the Iron Throne definitely became the main focus of this season with each of our rulers having their moments to stand out, for better or worse. Let’s talk about Renly first shall we? The poor blighter might have had the kindest of hearts and married his lover’s sister for a stronger foothold but it didn’t stop him from being the first ruler to be taken out of the equation.

It’s a shame that we lost a prominent gay character so quickly on the show but at least we got one scene with Renly and Loras and at least the latter will be around in order to help his family’s other bid for the Iron Throne as the finale managed to show us with minimal effort. However, while Renly seemed to have the weakest stomach for battle, he did to a certain degree seem the more deserving of actually ruling.

As for the second ruler and keeping it in the family – there’s Stannis Baratheon. Great casting with Stephen Dillane aside, Stannis wasn’t the most easiest of characters to engage him with during the second season and while he had some able back up in Liam Cunningham’s moralistic smuggler, Ser Davos, it was the fact that he seemed to allow himself to be so taken in with the dangerous red priestess, Melisandre that seemed to cause him just as much failure as the Lannisters outsmarting him in the battle of Blackwater to be honest.

Then there are the Lannisters themselves. They might be the most morally bankrupt and dangerous family known to man but I’d rather be on their team than anyone else’s given that they mostly have retained their control over the Iron Throne with Joffrey on it (and nastier than ever as his treatment of Sansa and others have shown) while Tyrion managed to be a far better hand than Ned Stark ever could’ve managed to be in King’s Landing.

Seriously though, the Lannisters really are the best thing about this show. Cersei in particular may never get mother of the year and her toying with Sansa might be extremely cruel but there’s certainly a tragic side to the character than this season explored in great details and her scenes with Tyrion were an absolute joy to behold as well. I hate to admit it but I’ve actually grown to like the character, which is probably good considering how underused Jaime became this year, though the pairing of him and honour Brienne should be a lot of fun in the upcoming third season.

As for the Starks – this really wasn’t their year. Robb showed that he was great in battle but he also lost Jaime, didn’t see Theon’s brutal betrayal coming and by marrying Talisa has also managed to sabotage one of his own alliances while Catelyn’s distress over losing her family saw her making some reckless decisions herself.

In some ways, the younger Starks managed to be a bit smarter. Sansa’s done her best to play the game at King’s Landing and even inspired several allies (Tyrion, Shae, Littlefinger etc) while Arya’s wits alone and eventual alliance with the mysterious Jaqen managed to keep her alive at Harrenhal as did Tywin’s surprising sympathy for her to an extent. Then there was Bran and Rickon who managed to escape from Theon (the most useless traitor/would be invader ever) as Jon Snow found himself dealing with the likes of his own men, the fiery Ygritte and potentially White Walkers if that last scene is anything to go by.

Last but not least, this season probably wasn’t as strong for Daenerys as her first year was. The antics in the strange world of Qarth and her questionable alliances certainly became her undoing at times and there were too many scenes with her talking about her dragons and birthright whilst not actually doing anything about it. Thankfully the finale did the character an immense favour and forced her to actually take action, which in the end did the character the world of good.

As a whole, the second season might have had some tricky moments but with creepy shadow births and deaths, the appearances of the White Walkers, the development of the dragons, Blackwater as a whole and the wonderful cast as a whole, the one thing that can never be said about Season 2 was that it was dull. Some storylines might have taken longer to kick in but this was definitely an exciting season for a show that continues to grow so fearlessly.


Just like the first season, HBO definitely haven’t been stingy with the second season with an impressive slew of extras here. There are twelve commentaries from cast, crew and writer George RR Martin on nine episodes (episode five doesn’t get one, oddly enough) with at least two for three episodes. There are also some character profiles for the likes of Renly, Robb, Theon and Stannis as well as an in depth look at making Blackwater, the influence of religion with the various characters and a nice roundtable discussion with the writers and some of the cast as they discuss shooting the second season.


2x01: The North Remembers = 8/10, 2x02: The Night Lands = 8/10,
2x03: What Is Dead May Never Die = 9/10, 2x04: Garden Of Bones = 9/10,
2x05: The Ghosts Of Harrenhal = 9/10, 2x06: The Old Gods And The New = 9/10,
2x07: A Man Without Honor = 8/10, 2x08: The Prince Of Winterfell = 8/10,
2x09: Blackwater = 10/10, 2x10: Valar Morghulis = 10/10

Season 2 is currently available on DVD.

Doctor Who - Series 7B Titles/Spoilers Update

It's four days until the second half of Series 7 airs and this is the last Doctor Who related blog I'll post until seeing The Bells Of Saint John, so here's a rundown of what Steven Moffat revealed to Radio Times about the upcoming episodes.

7x07: The Bells Of Saint John

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Colm McCarthy

It's the one where the Doctor finds Modern Clara and they do battle with a wifi-soup, the Spoonheads, the sinister Miss Kizlet (Celia Imrie) and her client, which has also been leaked. The episode also features a monk named Paul (Sean Knopp) asking about Clara as well but mostly, this episode is present day London based with particular emphasis on the likes of Westminster Bridge and the Shard.

7x08: The Rings Of Akhaten

Written by Neil Cross
Directed by Farren Blackburn

It's the episode where the Doctor takes Clara to her first planet and it's the debut of the rather sinister Vigil, who are guarding an even creepier mummy. It's also the debut of Neil Cross to the series as well as a writer and in the latest Radio Times, Jenna-Louise Coleman has classed this episode as one of her favourites as well. The little girl in the picture is the Queen of Years and there's a sacrifice to be made in this one too.

7x09: Cold War

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

It's the return of the Ice Warriors on board a Russian submarine in 1983 in a rather tense and claustrophobic episode after it's found under a polar ice cap. Initially Moffat had to be persuaded for the Ice Warriors to return but Gatiss managed to get his way on the matter. Guest starring in the episode are Liam Cunningham as Captain Zhukov and David Warner as Professor Grisenko.

7x10: Hide

Written by Neil Cross
Directed by Jamie Payne

A spooky, romantic story set within a haunted house, the Doctor and Clara team up with Jessica Raine's psychic Emma Grayling and Dougray Scott's professor Alec Palmer in order to find the witch in the well. Moffat has stated that there are two gorgeous love stories in this one. I assume Emma and Alec are one but who's the second one? The Doctor and Clara? Nah, too obvious.

7x11: Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS

Written by Stephen Thompson
Directed by Mat King

You just know this is going to be the most scrutinised episode of the second half of Series 7 (aside from the last two) but once again, Moffat has promised this episode will explore a lot of the TARDIS than we've seen in quite a while. Ashley Walters is playing the role of Gregor Van Baalen in this one.

7x12: The Crimson Horror

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Saul Metzstein

Let's face it - in less than a year, Vastra, Jenny and Strax's popularity has spiked big time and we've already gotten three prequels involving them and this episode is actually more about their investigation of the sinister Mrs Gillyflower and Ada, played by real life mother and daughter, Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling, with the Doctor and Clara accidentally crossing paths with the Paternoster Gang.

7x13: Nightmare In Silver

Written by Neil Gaiman
Directed by Stephen Woolfenden

Originally this was called The Last Cybermen but writer Neil Gaiman did mention he had a better title for it and clearly he wasn't lying about that. Apparently this episode will make the Cybermen properly scary again and the guest cast does include Tamzin Outhwaite as Captain, Jason Watkins as Mr Webley and Warwick Davis as Porridge.

7x14: The Finale

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Saul Metzstein

Not the actual title of the episode as Moffat is holding onto this one for a bit longer but this episode will see the returns of both the Paternoster Gang and River, feature scenes in Victorian Scotland, hopefully solve the mystery that is Clara Oswin Oswald as well as debuting the sinister Whispermen and serve as a lead in to the 50th anniversary. Now that will be a lot to accomplish in 45 minutes, won't it?

On top of that, two new prequel scenes have been released as well. The first one tackles the Doctor's quest for trying to find Clara while the second one deals with solving the mystery of Strax surviving Demon's Run.

The Bells Of Saint John Prequel:
Demon's Run: Two Days Later:

Series 7 of Doctor Who returns this Saturday at 6.15pm on BBC1.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x17: "Victory"

Written by Dan Dworkin And Jay Beattie
Directed by Colin Bucksey

Emily: “Do you have any idea what that fire did? My whole life could’ve been different, Eli.”
Eli: “I know it was selfish and I’m sorry but I’m trying to make it up to you now.”

Last week, Eli very much came across as a massive thorn in Emily’s side and this week, he managed to keep us guessing, which is nice when you think about it. In fact, to a large extent while this episode was riddled with clich├ęs, it actually managed to make me care about Eli that I sort of wish that things had played out a little differently here.

In other words, I’m kind of sad to lose him so early. Even Kara managed to get up to seven episodes before being hastily written and in the space of three, Eli seems to have gone from being an annoyance to actually forwarding the plot a little, endearing himself and quickly exiting the scene. If only other characters had managed to accomplish that much in less episodes.

The fire Amanda started as a child that landed her in juvie has been something of a discussion point with Emily for a while. It started her whole revenge agenda and the fact that Eli did it doesn’t automatically take things away from Emily but it did make Emily wonder herself how things would’ve played out had she known that her foster brother started the fire she was blamed for all those years ago.

Another interesting aspect of this episode was Meredith Hayward and not because she was another adult figure who failed or abused Amanda’s trust as a child but because it wasn’t Emily who actually managed to destroy her world – it was Eli and that alone, redeemed the guy for me.

Eli wanted to make amends to Emily and he certainly went about it with publicly humiliating Meredith at the Stowaway as the press got to see just how bad she was at her job and also for managing to lock her in the same cubby hole that Meredith herself had locked Amanda, Eli and other kids time and time again.

More importantly, Eli also got Meredith to admit to concealing letters from David to Amanda whom she later sold to Mason Treadwell and Emily finally got a much needed advantage from the wily writer as well – a secret kid. Yes, Victoria having a secret son might be truly a case of the writers making stuff up as they go along but it’s something that finally has given Emily the upper hand, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Speaking of Victoria – even more of a low blow than usual sending Daniel that picture of him and Emily with two bullets. Her desperation to control him really has taken even scarier heights but Daniel’s hardly showing great judgement given that he told Emily about Aiden being set up as the fall guy for Grayson Global either. On the plus side, at least Daniel seemed genuine in his desire to keep Emily out of the Initiative’s grasp, though Emily doesn’t really need his help on that matter.

As for the Initiative – was anyone shocked that Trask managed to outsmart both Nolan and Aiden and managed to get his hands on both Padma and Carrion? Nope, didn’t think so but I do find the lack of empathy for Padma from some of the show’s fans a little much though. I know she’s not a fan favourite and while I don’t really buy her and Nolan as a couple, I do feel bad for her and I’m also hopeful she doesn’t end up dead but right now, it’s not looking too good.

On the plus side, at least Nolan was encouraged by Emily to keep trying to find Padma and the obvious connection between the mysterious Falcon and the Initiative was made pretty clear too. However, during this whole subplot, Aiden sometimes did feel more of a hindrance than a help but even he can’t be blamed for things going wrong with the drop off.

As for Jack – he’s getting smarter. He confronted Kenny about the speedboat and managed to get recording that could cause problems for the Graysons. Not going to the police for the time being is a smart move on his part, given that Conrad could easily turn a situation like that to his advantage but either way, it’s nice to see Jack getting a more interesting plot for a change.

Also in “Victory”

We really do need more sharpie scenarios. It was nice seeing it here when Emily crossed Meredith’s face out.

Conrad: “Good morning, Miss Davenport.”
Ashley: “Not for you it isn’t. Your polling numbers are abysmal.”

If you look a bit closer, it really does look like both Meredith and Michelle from the first season could be related.

Eli (re letters): “I wanna get them back for you.”
Emily: “Why?”
Eli: “Because I once made a promise to always look after you and Hayward deserves to be punished.”

Nolan: “The plan is to shoot people?”
Aiden: “Not people, Nolan, terrorists.”

Nolan placed Carrion in a turtle flash drive but the Initiative sussed out the tracking device and left it for him at the warehouse.

Aiden: “You’re not killing anybody.”
Nolan: “By association, yes I am.”

Eli: “Now we’ve come here today to tell our stories.”
Meredith: “Then tell them what you did to your dear little sister? Tell everyone how you started the fire at my house and let Amanda Clarke take the blame for which she did five years at juvenile detention. Tell them.”

Chronology: A couple of days from where “Illuminated” left off.

A solid episode and certainly more engaging than the previous two. “Victory” wasn’t as shocking as ABC were hoping it would be but it definitely was interesting and again, it’s nice to see Emily finally gain something of an upper hand against Victoria as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Girls - Some Thoughts

It's been two seasons in and I have to admit that I've avoided doing a blog on Girls in a big way but after seeing the second season finale, titled Together, I think it's time I let rip a little. Warning, this won't be filled with adulation but hopefully will be a balanced piece nonetheless.

Girls is the wonder child of writer/leading lady Lena Dunham, a show about four twenty something girls living in New York and making one mistake at a big time, whilst seemingly (not) learning from them as well. Lena's character is Hannah Horvath, a struggling writer cut off financially from her parents as she juggles through honing her craft, her bad choice in men as well as her friendships with free spirited Jessa Johansson (Jemima Kirke), former gallery assistant Marnie Michaels (Allison Brie) and the er, more bubbly Shoshanna Shapiro (Zosia Mamet). Comparisons to Sex And The City have been inevitably made (though this show is for the more recession conscious) and in a funny way, this show has slightly enjoyed a similar rise in terms of media attention and general acclaim over the last year.

Every now and then, a show will come out and you'll get critics hyping it to the nth degree. Over the last few years, it's been the likes of Mad Men, Homeland and Breaking Bad but similarly Girls has enjoyed some of the adulation too and in the space of twenty episodes/two seasons, I've tried to see the hype myself but it's been hard to. I mean, the writing isn't bad, but it's not spectacularly amazing either and while the acting is pretty on point, there's been nothing performance wise that has really blown me away or shocked me (though hats off to them for getting guest stars like Chris O'Dowd and Rosanna Arquette etc). Then I watched the last episode of the second season and I realised what it is - I just don't believe in the characters.

Or specifically, I don't believe in the likes of Hannah, Marnie, Shoshanna and Jessa actually being friends in the slightest. The actresses have a decent enough on screen chemistry but unlike Sex And The City, which wasn't a paragon of realism but excelled with making you believe that Samantha, Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte were the best of pals, the friendships in Girls just don't ring true. In fact, Hannah's mean spirited and self-pitying rant left on Jessa's phone (completed with the most patronising answer message ever from the latter) highlighted that these four ladies feel less like friends and more like four people thrown together who at best are indifferent to each other but at worse, seem more intolerant of each other. It's kind of a shame really because for a show that tries to tackle some realistic issues (surviving on your own without a safety net, addictions, bad relationships, family issues, careers, etc), the friendships between the main ladies and the lack of interactions they had in the finale (Jessa wasn't even there, having left three episodes beforehand after a strop with her dad) really highlighted a big problem for the show - it lacks heart.

Maybe for some that isn't a big deal and for other shows, I wouldn't be that bothered but it does make watching the show something of a chore when the four main characters themselves don't seem to actually like each other that much. As for the show's depiction of men - it's hardly exemplary stuff with both Adam (Adam Driver) and Ray (Alex Karpovsky) being rather divisive characters, though the second season did make an effort to add some layers to both of them. Hopefully by the time the show's third season hits both HBO and SkyAtlantic, an actual marked improvement will appear in the writing and characters but until then, Girls is simply going to be one of those shows that will have it's moments but isn't quite as great as some critics make out it is. Still, there are far worse things on television and even Hannah has had some moments where she hasn't totally wrecked my head, though less stories about urinary tract infections and dangerous q-tips would be nice. Maybe her actually succeeding with her writing career for instance would be a good future plot line. Perhaps she could finish that e-book that's been causing her so much problems.

Girls recently finished up on HBO and SkyAtlantic. The first season is currently available on DVD.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Not Another One

It's been a month and there's been a fair amount of stuff I've been catching up on and while some aren't mentioned here, they will be in future blogs but for now, here's the rest ...

Arrow: What's the best thing about having Jack Harkness on this show as Tommy's dad? I don't know, how about maybe adding River Song into the mix as well as Laurel's mother, believing that the previously deceased Sarah isn't so deceased after all. Also add a dollop of Jackson from Teen Wolf into the mix as this show's equivalent of Robin, I mean Red Arrow/Roy Harper as well nicely continuing to develop the likes of Oliver, Laurel and Tommy and more appearances from favourites like Deadshot and Huntress and you've got a show that has become more than deserving of the success it's been enjoying.

Glee: Last time I talked about this, Emma had bailed on Will during their wedding and the next two episodes dealt with the fallout of that with Will and Finn embarking on one of the lamest musical feuds since the last brand of teenyboppers spat their dummies out. On the plus side, Santana's snarkiness continues to be amusing, even if her lack of boundaries backfired on her and Sue's version of Superbass will certainly stick with you, even if you don't want it to or not. However, I'm not entirely sure of this Catfish type plot with Ryder and Finn declaring Rachel as his future wife was nothing short of creepy. On the plus side again, Adam's a good addition to the show.

Nashville: Still watching this show and it's a fun enough romp but nothing too earth shattering though. Between Juliette and Rayna, the former is emerging as the more interesting of the two, even if she's getting every pop starlet cliche known to man. Still, it's being delivered with plenty of aplomb and it's much better than the less engaging political plotlines with Rayna's husband and father. The supporting characters are still a mixed bunch. Scarlett's been a wet blanket in some episodes but Deacon is far more interesting than Teddy has been so far in the series. The music's still pretty decent too.

Once Upon A Time: Another solid bunch of episodes. I like that we're getting some solid answers here such as that mystery guy's motives (and no shock they're sympathetic ones), Cora's whole backstory prior to Snow killing her and Regina's first day when she set the curse on everyone. I also like that Neal seems to be an interesting enough character, though I'm still not sure if once again Gold has to be connected to every plot strand of the series but the return of vengeful Regina and briefly seeing Graham again was nice. I'm looking forward to seeing where the show will go now that Snow's heart isn't quite so pure anymore either.

The Vampire Diaries: You killed Jeremy - you bastards! Did we really need to see yet another person in Elena's life die, really show? It's starting to feel a little too gratuitous at this point and the actual death itself lacked a certain emotional punch that it might have had in earlier seasons had Elena not lost so many people in her life beforehand. I have to admit that the episodes that have aired this year haven't been that spectacular. Both the Silas plot, the Hunter stuff and Klaus's continuous presence have somewhat derailed the show a bit. I am really now hoping the Originals spin-off is picked up so this show can start afresh and breathe some much needed life into it.

Utopia: This really was a gem of a series for Channel 4 and not surprisingly enough, it decided to end on a cliffhanger where Jessica's true purpose was revealed at the last minute. In retrospect, the whole reveal about Jessica wasn't that surprising in context but it still made for a good cliffhanger moment, one that we will see resolved because Channel 4 have renewed it for a second series. It's nice to see that with this show, Black Mirror and Misfits, the station itself is capable of producing some gripping genre television. Easily one of the most exciting shows of 2013.

- Colton Haynes has been made a regular for the second season of Arrow as Roy Harper along with Manu Bennett as Slade Wilson.
- American Horror Story's third season will have the title of Coven as Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates will be playing warring witches in New Orleans.
- Darri Ingolfsson will be appearing in the final season of Dexter as a specialist in medieval equipment who encounters Dexter.
- CSI has been renewed for a 14th season. Do people still actually watch that show?
- Christina Ricci has exited NBC pilot Girlfriend In A Coma.
- Terry O'Quinn has joined the pilot for Gang Related.
- Downton Abbey's third season finale (Christmas 2012) has broken records on PBS, pulling in over 12.3 million viewers. That's more than the episode got on ITV.
- Damian Lewis has pointed out that things are over between Carrie and Brody in the upcoming season of Homeland.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Skins - Series 7 Airdate

Last year it was announced that Skins would return for a seventh and final series comprised of specials and while they were filmed between October 2012 and January 2013 in London and Manchester, E4 have finally announced that the last series will air in July 2013.

The first special titled Skins: Rise, centering on Cook (Jack O'Connell) will see the current drug dealer in Manchester forced to deal with his violent past as the second one, Skins: Fire, which sees Effy (Kaya Scodelario working as a secretary in London and living with Naomi (Lily Loveless) and Emily (Kathryn Prescott). This special will feature Sherlock's Lara Pulver and Fonejacker's Kayvan Novak.

The last special, titled Skins: Pure will focus on Cassie (Hannah Murray) as she's alone and adrift in London and embarks on a rather poignant friendship with a mysterious stranger. I have to admit, these do sound like interesting enough specials to end the show on but at the same time, I would've rather a special from one of the third generation characters than Cook to be honest.

More Details:

Skins Series 7 will air on E4 in July 2013.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x16: "Illumination"

Written by Michael Foley And Sallie Patrick
Directed by Bobby Roth

Aiden (re Eli): “Have you any reason to think he might wish you ill?”
Emily: “I burned down our house.”

Back in the first season when Amanda (the real Emily Thorne) was introduced, it was a very necessary plot development for the show to take due to the fact that we knew Emily was taking on another woman’s name and vice versa and it’s given us some of the best moments in the last two seasons.

I really don’t want to prejudge with Eli James, the foster brother who’s now crawled out of the woodwork but if anything, this episode kind of confirmed my reservations about him being more of a hindrance than an asset to the series and not just because he’s a potential thorn to Emily’s overall schemes but because I’m not sure if he’s actually needed in the long run.

From what we learned in this episode, both Amanda and Eli were close as foster siblings due to both of them being invisibles but the latter’s penchant for fires kind of wrecked their bond and now Eli’s a slick conman who immediately recognised Emily as Amanda and seemingly took some pleasure in outsmarting her in front of Victoria at a foundation party for the Amanda everyone else thinks died.

I guess after adding Aiden into the mix at the start of the season, perhaps it might have been too much for Emily to actually have another ally in her midst but at the same time, I found myself surprisingly annoyed at seeing Emily outwitted by both Eli and Victoria at the foundation party for Amanda.

I’m going to chalk it up to Emily being blind sighted by Eli’s arrival and her reckless attempts of using Ashley to try and oust him from the Hamptons but I am hoping that by next week, she does gain the upper hand over her scheming foster brother and also finds some method of outsmarting Victoria as well.

I suppose for the latter though, we should thank Daniel. His erratic behaviour might be annoying (one minute he has a conscience, the next he’s toeing the Grayson party line) but at least he let slip about Victoria and Conrad’s true motives in relation towards their ‘altruistic’ foundation for a woman they treated with contempt.

I’m not shocked at the fact that the Graysons are using Amanda’s foundation in order to have some backup cash for when the Initiative drop them in it again but it really does highlight how much they’ll do anything to save their own skin. And it’s rather disgusting too when you have Charlotte actually believing that her parents are capable of some basic human kindness as well. I’m at a point now where I really do want Emily to take Charlotte aside and actually fill her on everything right about now.

Speaking of filling people in on everything – Jack got fooled by Nolan into thinking that Kenny Ryan rescued him of all people. While Jack has a right to be angry at the Graysons and even Emily and Nolan to a degree, I also think it’s about time that someone really did enlighten as to what really is going on at the Hamptons. For a moment, it did look like Emily was going to but Eli ruined the bloody chance, didn’t he?

Last but not least – first we had Carrion to worry and now it’s a mystery hacker named the Falcon that’s causing problems for Emily and Nolan. Apparently, it’s this hacker that was instrumental in David’s downfall but to be honest, it really does feel like another distraction. I guess we’ll just have to hope that the identity of this hacker turns out to be genuinely interesting as the trailer for next week did indicate a shocking revelation for Emily.

Also in “Illumination”

There were some nice flashback scenes in this episode with David/Amanda, Amanda/Eli and David/Nolan.

Emily (to herself): “To carry a secret is to play with fire. Try to pass it on and you risk hurting someone else. Hold onto it and eventually you’ll get burned.”

Aiden’s little hideaway was a nice moment between him and Emily at the start of this episode. It’s a shame both Daniel and Conrad plan to make him the next David Clarke though.

Eli: “You look familiar, do I know you?”
Emily: “We met at the cemetery.”

Eli (to Emily): “It’s a nice tattoo. You’re looking pretty good for a dead girl.”

Yes, Emily’s game was given away by that double infinity tattoo that Eli managed to spot so quickly.

Daniel (to Aiden): “You think you want my life? Be careful what you wish for.”

Nolan: “Eli James, quite the criminal record, any relation to Jesse?”

Declan was a bit of a dick to Charlotte in this one. I mean, she didn’t talk him for a few hours and he gets narked about it? Cut the girl some slack – she thinks her sister is dead.

Nolan: “A man, a myth, the Falcon is back on the Graysons payroll.”
Emily: “Then let’s go hunting.”

Chronology: A few days since “Retribution”.

A better episode than last week, but “Illumination” still gave me doubts about both Eli and Falcon though. However, the increased desperation of the Graysons to save themselves and the tactics they’ll use did make for some good moments and there was a hug scene between Nolan and Jack that was one of the loveliest things we’ve seen on the show for a bit.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Doctor Who - Series 7 Part 2 Trailer/New Posters

With less than a fortnight to go, BBC1 and BBCAmerica have finally released new trailers for the second half of Series 7 of Doctor Who and some posters for the first four episodes as well.

First of all, Clara Oswald will become a full time TARDIS member from The Bells Of Saint John onwards but it seems that this modern incarnation of the character is both wary of the Doctor and crap with technology. She's also a target of a sinister wifi soup plot lead by Celia Imrie's Miss Kizlet who has a Client to satisfy. The other interesting thing from the trailers seems to be Clara seemingly aware of her own mystery and the Doctor openly confronting her on it as well.

The Ice Warriors (or at least one of them) is properly back in the season's ninth episode, titled Cold War and it's set on a Russian submarine in 1983. Having seen the pictures released from this episode, it really does look like a faithful take on the Martian creatures and it also seems to be a rather tense and claustrophobic episode as well. Of course, Mark Gatiss has another one up his sleeve as well that will feature Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling, along with the return of the Paternoster Gang but this Ice Warrior episode does look rather stunning.

As for the Cybermen - Neil Gaiman's episode, titled The Last Cybermen (though that could be subject to be changed) will certainly put both the Doctor and Clara into a tizzy, won't it? Gaiman has said in recent interviews that he intended to make the Cybermen scary again and judging by the clips seen, he could very well succeed with that one.

And here are our finale villains - the Whispermen. Not a whole lot is known about these creatures but it does seem like they're standing over a grave (River's if rumours are true) and more than likely they'll be instrumental in whatever Clara's whole storyline has been as well. Matt Smith has also stated that the finale will lead into the show's 50th anniversary special, which is due to begin filming in April. Other episode titles confirmed for the second half of Series 7 are The Rings Of Akhaten where the Doctor takes Clara on her first planet based story and Hide where our TARDIS duo team up with a psychic and ghost hunting professor to find the Witch of the Well. Both of those episodes are by Neil Cross.

Then there's this moment. The Doctor is in a strange forest and mentions that he's afraid. I'm not entirely sure what episode this moment is from but it does look like it could be from the finale though and possibly a moment that might lead into the 50th. That tree also looks a little familiar too, don't you think?

Series 7 Part 2 BBC1 Trailer:
Series 7 Part 2 BBCA Trailer:
Series 7 Part 2 Posters:

Doctor Who Series 7 resumes on BBC1 Saturdays at 6.15pm and BBCAmerica Saturdays at 9pm from March 30th.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Being Human - Top 10 Episodes

With the series finally finished up on BBC3, I thought I'd do a run down of the ten best episodes from the last five series of Being Human.

1: The Last Broadcast (Series 5)

I know it's easy to pick the last ever episode for the top spot but I have watched it enough times to look at it objectively as my choice. Regardless of that ending with Hal, Tom and Alex and whether or not they truly defeated Captain Hatch and became human, it's a superb ending for five brilliant series. I'm still going with the happy option though.

2: The Wolf Shaped Bullet (Series 3)

In some ways, this was truly the beginning of the end for our original cast. After three series, Mitchell got George to do the right thing by staking him in the end. Mitchell wasn't always my favourite character and let's face it, there was no coming back from the Box Tunnel 20 but this was a brilliant exit for the character.

3: Flotsam And Jetsam (Series 1)

Technically this is not the first ever episode for our gang but at the same time, with the original pilot nowhere to be found and most the characters recast from it, this did an excellent job of introducing Mitchell, George and Annie back in the days when the antics took place in a house in Bristol rather than a B&B in Barry and the main threat was of course Herrick.

4: Bad Moon Rising (Series 1)

The first series finale and by far, one of the best the show managed to do. Herrick was taken out in a bloody manner as George was determined to maintain his relationships with Mitchell and Annie but it was Nina who paid for it as well when she managed to get scatched. Plus, Herrick's speech about humanity is one of the best the show's ever done.

5: Damage (Series 2)

Hell hath no fury than two vampires scorned and when they're Mitchell and Daisy, it's best not to be on a train as the Box Tunnel 20 managed to show us. This was a pretty defining moment for Mitchell, sending him on a spiral he couldn't get past but it made for compelling viewing while Annie, George and Nina found themselves further sucked into Kemp's cause.

6: The War Child (Series 4)

If there's one thing this show knows how to do, it's definitely character exits. While Nina might have given an off screen demise and George's was a tad rushed, at least Annie managed to save the world and defeat the Old Ones before getting her final door, though she did also blow up baby Eve as well while Tom and Alex banded together to get Hal off the blood.

7: No Care, All Responsibility (Series 5)

Natasha was one of the best guest characters we've had on the show and while her purpose was largely at the behest of Rook and Hatch to break up the Hal/Tom/Alex trinity, it was still pretty easy to sympathise with her. A rather tense episode, ratcheted further when Alex's initial confrontation with Hatch doesn't pan out in her favour either.

8: Making History (Series 4)

One of the best episodes for the fourth series. Not only did it give us some much needed on Future Eve's overall plot with Annie but it also delved into Hal and Cutler's pretty chequered history together and death proved to only be the beginning for Alex as well. Not so great for Tom though who got nearly tricked into killing innocent people in a nightclub, courtesy of Cutler and there was also Mr Snow's arrival too.

9: Lia (Series 3)

Another beginning of the end moment for Mitchell as his trip into purgatory to get Annie back meant facing up to his recent past with Lia lording it over him. It's also probably significant for Lacey Turner as well, seeing as most of her post EastEnders roles have been in this particular genre. She even went on to star with Cutler in Frankenstein's Wedding but here, she was a needed thorn in Mitchell's side though.

10: All God's Children (Series 2)

An excellent finale for the show's second series with the gang losing Annie to purgatory and getting the heck out of Bristol as well. Kemp and Lucy weren't always the most satisfying of enemies but both of them were given suitable exits in this one.

So those are my Top 10 episodes - what are yours?

Being Human Series 5 and the Complete Collection will be available on DVD from April 8th.