Friday, May 31, 2013

Soap Discussion - May 2013

Last blog of the month and it's a soap one, so here goes nothing ...

Coronation Street: Easily the show's strongest month and probably the most discussed soap this week, due to Stella getting the Rovers back and reopened, Karl continuing to get away with murder and of course, Tina finally giving birth to Izzy and Gary's baby with all hell breaking loose over a kiss as well. It's nice to see the show on good form and it's nice that this storyline has been better handled than expected (though we did not need Gary trying it on with Tina for tension with him and Izzy) and it's better viewing than Tracy and Rob's boring attempts to fleece money from Carla as well. Though I will admit as boring Rob/Tracy are as a couple, it's nice to see that Carla isn't the pushover they think she is and I could certainly do with some more drunk Sally, especially when she puts Norris in his place.

EastEnders: Not a brilliant month but probably not as bad as the bashing it's getting in the papers recently though. I guess the stories have been flat though - Lauren's continued downward spiral, Phil finally finding out about Sharon's pill addiction (marginally better done on Hollyoaks and Emmerdale) and dealing with it in his usual style along with a rather dull exit for Ray and the tedium of Kirsty pretending she's pregnant by Max as well as Sam/Ava/Dexter. Okay, thinking on it, it has been rather bad this month after all. Oh well, Janine vs. Michael was sort of fun and at least Lola finally got her baby back as well but at the moment, it does seem like the show is treading water.

Emmerdale: Another soap, another prescription pills addiction with an annoying character in the shape of Rhiona but on the plus side, at least her addiction is making Vanessa a more sympathetic character but that's only a slight thing. Other than that, there's still Debbie's tiresome behaviour to contend with (and will this show just get rid of Robbie already?) as well as Kerry endangering Andy's kids and being a thorn and his and Amy's side as well. Still, it's definitely been an interesting enough month, though how much longer can they stretch out Cameron being a murderer as well?

Hollyoaks: It's been nearly a week since all of the Roscoe lot have rocked up as the new family and I'm not sure if it's early to determine whether or not they'll be a success though. Robbie's been on the show for a month and already it feels like he's been exhausted of storylines with the latest one being his part in the Price Slice robbery but I suppose as a unit, there's potential there with them. It's certainly been a busy month with Will murdering Texas on their wedding day and framing Leanne, Theresa nearly shooting Dodger, Sinead giving birth, Tony concealing his cancer from Diane, Nancy's addiction to prescription pills, Mercedes and Browning scheming again. Basically, it's been pretty eventful. No wonder it's done so well at the last soap awards then.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reviving Shows

So, it's been rumoured that cult show, Xena: Warrior Princess could possibly be revived and given the likes of Netflix and Kickstarter reviving the likes of Arrested Development and Veronica Mars (as well as those rumours about Heroes), surely it should become a possibility?

It's hard to deny that as a series, without Xena: Warrior Princess, shows such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Alias to name a few might have made the same impact that they had done. The show, a spin-off from Hercules and starring Lucy Lawless as the fearless warrior ran for six seasons from 1995-2001 and became a cult classic with Lawless's career instead seeing the actress cropping up in shows such as The X Files, Battlestar Galactica and Spartacus to name a few. Back in 2010, the actress expressed a desire to reprise her most famous of roles in a movie and while there is still a certain degree of red tape, there's a part of me that wouldn't mind seeing one more adventure with Xena. I can't imagine I'm in a minority there.

Besides if a show like Veronica Mars - equally as brilliant but shorter lived and not anywhere as huge as Xena: Warrior Princess can get a movie from a Kickstarter campaign, it does make things all the more possible. I like the fact that Kristin Bell's infamous character will be coming back pretty soon for one more adventure and hopefully in one that was better than the character's last appearance. Of course, Veronica Mars only ended six years ago whereas Xena: Warrior Princess has been off the air for over a decade now and while reviving a favourite series might sound good on paper, there's also having the right story to justify bringing it back as well.

Take the newly released fourth season of Arrested Development on Netflix for example. While I have yet to reintroduce myself to the chaotic Bluths, the last few days on Twitter has informed me that their fourth run of 15 episodes (with some guests like Ben Stiller) have been a bit of a mixed bag. Some viewers have felt the new format hasn't helped the series while others have felt the show has been as good as when it originally aired on FOX. When I get the time, I will definitely make the effort to find out for myself. On the plus side, all of the original cast have reprised their roles in the cult comedy and that certainly puts the upcoming series in my good books. I guess the other thing you need in order to revive a series is the original cast. Both Arrested Development and Veronica Mars have/are in the process of doing that, so along with Xena herself, we'd also need Renee O'Connor back as Gabrielle if we're going to get one more adventure with the warrior princess, aren't we?

Of course, I should also point out that just because systems such as Netflix and Kickstarter might give some of us the option to have certain shows brought back temporarily, it doesn't mean that every single show no longer with us justifies a brief resurrection. Some shows just might be better off left where they were.

Xena News:

Every season of Xena: Warrior Princess, Arrested Development and Veronica Mars are avilable on DVD. Except for the one that's airing on Netflix, concerning the middle show there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Atlantis - Further Casting

It's been a while since I've posted anything in relation to upcoming BBC1 Saturday evening drama, Atlantis but more casting for the show (currently being filmed in Morocco and Wales) has been revealed.

Alexander Siddig, best known for his roles in Star Trek: Deep Space Nice, Primeval and recently, DaVinci's Demons has been cast in the role of King Minos, leader of the Minoans, Europe’s first great civilization. Based on the island of Crete, the Minoans were at the height of their power when the empire was wiped off the planet approximately 5,000 years ago and if there's something apt for this role, it probably is Siddig who has also previously guest starred in Merlin back in 2008.

It's also been confirmed that Aiysha Hart will be playing the role of Princess Ariadne. Other casting for the 13 part series includes singer Hannah Arteton as Greek poet Korinna, Karl Johnson as Itheus as well as Faye Brooks in an undisclosed role. Either way, this show is shaping up rather nicely, isn't it?

Press Release:

Atlantis will air Saturdays on BBC1 in the Autumn.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Channel 4 Buys The Returned

Airing European dramas has never been more prominent at the moment, especially given in the last few years between them, the likes of BBC4 and FOX have aired the likes of The Killing, Borgen, The Bridge, Braquo, Spiral and Jo to name a few and it seems now that Channel 4 are getting in on the act as well.

Originally called Les Revenants (or Rebound), Channel 4 have renamed the series The Returned and it's a show that focuses a group of people trying to return to their homes in an Alpine village. The snag is for them is that they are unaware they're actually dead.

The show has already been a massive success in France and it's the first time in 20 years that Channel 4 have bought and aired a subtitled drama. However while Channel 4 plan to air this series next month, there are already rumours that an English version is imminent with AbbotVision seemingly being involved should one come to pass.

Having looked at the trailer, this looks like quite the bumpy ride and definitely quite dark and creepy in places. I think this is definitely going to be an eight part show I'll be watching over the next few weeks, especially given that the producers themselves have apparently given the usual supernatural rules something of a rewrite for this show.

Press Release:
Season 1 Trailer:

The Returned will air on Channel 4 Sundays at 9pm from June 9th.

Friday, May 24, 2013

First Look: Dracula

You're never far away from another interpretation of Dracula and it seems that NBC and SkyLiving themselves are getting in on the act with former star of The Tudors, Jonathan Rhys Meyers playing the titular role in their co-production. Carnivale creator Daniel Knauf will be running the series along with creator Cole Haddon.

In this ten part series, Meyers is playing the role of Alexander Grayson, who poses as an American entrepeneur who wants to bring modern science into Victorian London and it doesn't take him much time to make an impression on a variety of characters upon his arrival.

One of the significant people Alexander makes an impression on is Mina murray, played by Arrow actress Jessica De Gouw - the love interest of Jonathan Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a journalist desperate to make it in high society and in the trailer for the series, it seems that Alexander and Mina have something of a past and he's reluctant into making her into a vampire.

Other principal cast members include former Merlin actress Katie McGrath (she's popping up everywhere nowadays) as Lucy Westenra, Nonso Anozie as RM Renfield, the only confidant that Alexander seems to have and the more antagonist Lady Jane (played by Victoria Smurfit) and Thomas Kretschmann as Abraham Van Helsing. While we probably don't need yet another adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel, this does look genuinely stunning and it seems that the series is going for a more sympathetic take with Dracula too. Jonathan Rhys Meyers seems perfect for the role and the rest of the cast look good too. I'll definitely be watching this series when it airs on SkyLiving.

Press Release:
Season 1 Trailer:

Dracula will premiere on Fridays in the autumn on NBC and will air on SkyLiving soon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

First Look: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (Some Spoilers)

Let's be honest here - is anyone surprised this is happening? It might have taken them a while but last week, ABC did finally confirm that they were picking Joss Whedon's Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D (also co-created by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen) up for a series and upon watching the trailer, it's easy to see why.

As we've seen from the trailer, it's true - Agent Phil Coulson does live with Clark Gregg reprising the role for the series.  Though the character was seen dead in The Avengers, he's alive in the series and the circumstances surrounding it will be a mystery for the first season. The remaining character making up the cast include Ming-Na Wen playing Agent Melinda May. She's an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is an ace pilot and weapons expert, Brett Dalton as the gruff Agent Grant Ward, Chloe Bennett as Skye - a new recruit and computer hacker along with Iain De Caestecker as weapons technology specialist Agent Leo Fitz and former Angel actor J. August Richards in an unspecified but seemingly heroic role. This is going to be huge.

Season 1 Trailer:
Season 1 Cast Pictures:

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D will air Tuesdays 8pm on ABC.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x06: "The Devil"

Written by Brian Nelson And Marco Ramirez
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Vlad The Third: “May I share a confession with you?”
DaVinci: “Yes, if it pleases my Lord.”
Vlad The Third: “I know that I’m mad.”

Geez, I wonder what gave it away really – having one prisoner savaged by dogs or the other one trapped in a torture device that would kill him upon release from it? This episode was certainly best approached by not taking it too seriously at all.

In a lot of ways, I was delighted that DaVinci decided to spend an episode out of Florence and if it meant going on a mission for Al-Rahim to learn more about his destiny with Nico and Zoroaster and rescue a Turkish ambassador named Solomon, then this episode was better for it. It certainly was a diverting episode nonetheless.

I didn’t think when this show would air that one of the storylines we’d get was an encounter with Vlad the Impaler. I’m also hoping that despite that nasty fall and stab wound he got that this episode won’t be the last time we see the sadistic warlord, especially given that he was able to survive being set alight and poisoned as well.

The scenes with Vlad and DaVinci were some of the most amusing scene I think we’ve had in the six episodes that have aired so far. I have to admit that DaVinci’s flattery in order Vlad on side was utterly amusing and up until a certain moment, Vlad gave the impression that he thought he had met a fellow kindred spirit in DaVinci but he’s not a man who takes betrayal very easily.

DaVinci, Nico and Zoroaster just about managed to escape from Vlad’s castle with Solomon alive and even then their great mission didn’t yield too much when Solomon died shortly afterwards as well. What exactly did DaVinci already learn here that he hadn’t already known as well?

Solomon alluded to his mother being alive but didn’t previous episodes seem to indicate that DaVinci suspected as much anyways? Al-Rahim similarly wasn’t that helpful even if he did provide an explanation for a younger DaVinci seeing his older self that Steven Moffat’s been using for the last three series of Doctor Who to get himself out of writing situations.

Still, the episode wins points for Vlad himself. The actor playing him was delightfully OTT and silly at some point and even a little terrifying here and there too. The macabre humour he displayed for his own tastes worked pretty well and did I mention just how brilliant his scenes with DaVinci were?

He was far more entertaining to watch than Pope Sixtus IV at the very least. I think I can speak for most viewers when I say that I really can live without seeing Sixtus starkers and while I certainly had no qualms with him nearly drowning Mercuri, I did feel a tad sorry for Riario, who was rightly humiliated by his uncle in front of Lucrezia this week.

I think another success of this episode was the brief glimmers of vulnerability we actually got to see here with Riario. I get the impression that while he mostly agrees with everything the Vatican are trying to do, it doesn’t mean that he’s immune to challenging them either. Unfortunately for him though it means getting smacked about by Sixtus for his troubles though.

Then there’s Lucrezia – doing all the spy work and letting Sixtus know about Lorenzo and DaVinci’s activities this week while at the same time getting a target on her head by Riario. Somehow I have a feeling that Lucrezia will end up surviving her imminent assassination attempt but mainly because this episode indicated that Giuliano was closing in on her.

Giuliano has been the surprise of this series as well. He could’ve been an idiot but he’s proven to being smarter than Lorenzo and with Vanessa and Clarice’s support, he focused his energies on continuing to try and find the real Medici court spy. Too bad Lorenzo decided to reward that genius by arranging a marriage with Francesco’s sister though when he wasn’t siding up to volatile dukes for further alliances against Rome.

Also in “The Devil”

I just realised this is the second episode in a row where both DaVinci and Lorenzo have not interacted with each other and the first where Lucrezia hasn’t had sex with either of them.

Moses: “My lady it’s time.”
Clarice (to Giuliano): “Oh my personal torture has arrived.”

Clarice’s bid to produce a male heir has resorted to Lorenzo shagging her from behind and drinking strange concoctions.

DaVinci (to Solomon): “I have a knack for rising to the occasion if I might only be told what the occasion is.”

Vlad The Third: “We shall talk more at dinner.”
Zoroaster: “As long as the dinner’s not us.”

Keeping with Vlad, they did make a point of mentioning that he was the Third and of course we did get the reference to Transylvania as the main action took place there.

Vlad The Third (to DaVinci): “I’m sadly at home in dungeons. As a child, my father sent my brother and me to be hostages by the Turkish Sultan.”

Vlad The Third (to DaVinci): “My tastes are not universally shared, it’s true. Let us retire.”

The coins on the floor to test his soldiers loyalty was an interesting method of Vlad’s as was the use of star signs like Capricorn and Aquarius to identify those violated curfew in Florence. Giuliano is a Sagittarius.

Vlad The Third (to DaVinci): “You’re an arrogant little fool aren’t you? I’ve endured every dragon poison known to man. I fought off the Ottoman empire. Did you really think that I would die at the hands of a fucking Florentine?”

DaVinci: “The Turk said that I would save you.”
Solomon: “And so you have – someday but not today.”

Chronology: Exactly from where “The Tower” left off.

“The Devil” will not go down as the most gruesome or frightening episode of a genre show I’ll have ever seen but it will be one of those episodes that I might want to watch again during the Halloween period. It provided an interesting take on Vlad the Impaler, which I don’t think can be denied.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, May 20, 2013

Doctor Who - BBC Confirms Series 8

Well, it's not that much of a shocker but following the conclusion of the seventh series, it seems that Doctor Who will be returning for an eighth run.

The press release itself has the following statement ....

We’re delighted to confirm a new series of Doctor Who has been commissioned and the show’s lead writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, has revealed he’s already plotting a brand new run of adventures for the Doctor. 

Of course Jenna-Louise Coleman has confirmed at least twice in recent weeks that she will be reprising her role as Clara Oswald for the show's eighth series. However it still hasn't been entirely confirmed for definite that Matt Smith (currently in America filming How To Catch A Monster) will return as the 11th Doctor, though a recent interview with The Sun seemed to indicate that he might be. The press release then goes on to provide some more hints as to the 50th anniversary special as well as the confirmation of Christmas 2013.

Elsewhere, following the airing of the Series 7 finale, The Name Of The Doctor, the BBC released a brief behind the scenes interview with Matt Smith and David Tennant from the 50th anniversary special. It's a fun little moment between the former and current Doctors and it's definitely an exciting little prelude of sorts for November.

Series 8 Confirmation:
Matt Smith/David Tennant Interview:

Series 7 Part 2 is available on DVD from May 27th and the anniversary special will air on November 23rd.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x14: "The Name Of The Doctor"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Saul Metzstein

Clara: “I’m Clara Oswald. I’m the impossible girl. I was born to save the Doctor.”

Not only that, Clara but you were also born to debunk a gazillion baseless theories surrounding your mystery and this episode skilfully debunked the lot of them in great style. Sometimes it really is the most simple of explanations that manage to be the most effective and here, it definitely proved to be.

Clara becoming the woman who would go into the Doctor’s own time stream and meet all of his incarnations and undo the Great Intelligence’s plot to make every victory for the Doctor into a defeat was a beyond satisfying explanation for her storyline all series along and the fact that Doctor himself was determined to return the favour and save her life too worked perfectly well for me as a viewer.

In some ways, Steven Moffat has continued to try and have his cake and eat it with this series. He’s had an ongoing mystery with Clara’s identity and the Doctor’s name under the guise of standalone, movie themed stories. For the most part, this format has worked in comparison to the more serialised previous series but the splitting of this series hasn’t been quite as advantageous as it was to an extent back in 2011.

With this episode alone, well did anyone really think we were going to learn the Doctor’s name? If so, you’ve should’ve seen what actually happened here coming a mile off. River knows the Doctor’s name and under duress, she spoke it (which we never saw her do onscreen) and gave the Great Intelligence entry into the Doctor’s tomb of all places.

Then there’s Trenzalore. I honestly did think that it would’ve literally been in the last story for Matt Smith that we would’ve seen this place so I’m actually pleasantly surprised that it came early and the whole silence will fall/fall of the eleventh thing was seemingly answered here with the TARDIS crash landing on the creepy graveyard world and everything becoming undone as the Great Intelligence nearly succeeded in annihilating the Doctor as well.

Having the whole gang here (excluding the Ponds of course) for Trenzalore gave this episode the right amount of scale needed. It’s amazing to see that amidst the chaos we were given more insight into the extent of the Doctor’s relationship with the Paternoster Gang and having River and Clara themselves finally meet was a delight too.

Speaking of River – this was the post Library version of the character. A ghost who spent a good deal of the time communicating with Clara and advising her whilst at the same time seeking a last goodbye from the Doctor too, which she got with a beautiful scene in the decaying TARDIS. If this was River’s last appearance on the show, it was a wonderful way of writing her out but I wouldn’t be too shocked if she’s seen again next series. Either way though, River’s story really is drawing closer to it’s very natural conclusion.

As for the Great Intelligence though, this episode certainly utilised him in a better way. Richard E. Grant definitely gave a more lively performance than he did in “The Snowmen” and while the Whisper Men were somewhat underused, I do think they made for a suitably creepy and effective set of henchmen, particularly in the way they went after the Paternoster Gang and Clara in this one too.

There are so many things about this episode that I want to rave about – the conference call with the companions, the Doctor’s tearful reaction upon realising that Trenzalore was imminent, the soufflé allusions, the return of that particular leaf, Clara remembering all of her times with the Doctor (and all of his incarnations as well) but mainly there’s also that final scene as well – is John Hurt really a forgotten version of the Doctor?

I know that instead of this episode revealing the Doctor’s name it was more about that things that are done/promises that are made in his name and that Hurt’s Doctor was the one to break it but I don’t think it’s that straightforward really. Besides would Moffat really mess around with the numbering of the Doctor completely?

The Great Intelligence made a point of referencing the Valeyard and the last time we saw Omega, he looked very much like the Fifth Doctor, so in some ways it does seem more like that Hurt’s Doctor will be revealed to being either one of them. If I wasn’t excited for November to come around the corner, I certainly am now after seeing this episode.

Also in “The Name Of The Doctor”

The opening sequence with Clara meeting the First, Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh Doctors was wonderful, especially considering that she’d persuade one of them to pick a certain TARDIS.

Jenny: “How did you do that?”
River: “Disgracefully.”

Vastra’s method for getting everyone for a conference call was pretty interesting. It’ll also make Clara more wary of stationary in the future I’d imagine. Artie and Angie also made a point of ridiculing Clara’s soufflé techniques as well.

Clara (re the Doctor): “What, you know his name? He told you?”
River: “I made him.”

Jenny (to Vastra): “I think I’ve been murdered.”

Along with the multiple versions of Clara (and various costume changes), it was a certainly Clarence di Marco that got Madame Vastra’s attention about Trenzalore while Strax was in Glasgow too.

Great Intelligence (re the Doctor): “His friends are lost forever more, unless he goes to Trenzalore.”

The Doctor: “Trenzalore is where I’m buried.”
Clara: “How can you have a grave?”

The idea of a dead TARDIS ballooning in size is actually kind of horrifying when you think about it. Visually though, Trenzalore did look rather creepy.

Strax: “The heart is a relatively simple thing.”
Vastra: “I’ve not found it to be so.”

Great Intelligence: “Doctor, what is your name?”

Who were the body doubles we got for the Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Doctors? Oh and I did smile upon seeing Bessie as well in this one.

The Doctor (to Strax): “I didn’t do it. I didn’t say my name.”
River: “No, but I did.”

Great Intelligence (to the Doctor): “I can rewrite your every living moment. I can turn every one of your victories into defeats.”

Clara and the First Doctor interacting is still a surreal moment to be honest. If Moffat’s willing to represent former Doctors like this here, then I’ll be intrigued to see what he does for them in the actual anniversary special itself.

Clara (to the Doctor): “Well, how about that? I’m soufflé girl after all.”

The Doctor: “Well, then see you around, Professor Song.”
River: “Until the next time, Doctor.”

John Hurt got a special credit as the Doctor before the end credits actually aired and the BBC also released a behind the scene feature with Matt Smith and David Tennant after this episode aired.

Other Doctor: “What I did, I did without choice.”
The Doctor: “I know.”
Other Doctor: "In the name of peace and sanity."
The Doctor: "But not in the name of the Doctor."

Chronology: 2013 briefly for the scenes with Clara, Artie and Angie and 1893 for the Vastra, Jenny and Strax stuff too and Gallifrey for Clara, the First Doctor and Susan.

I know the split series format hasn’t worked in Series 7’s favour as well as it should’ve and that the movie poster theme hasn’t been a roaring success but personally, I’ve enjoyed this series a lot and with some sublime performances from Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman and Alex Kingston, “The Name Of The Doctor” has been an incredible finale to watch. I really cannot wait now until November 23rd.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Bear And The Maiden Fair

It's been a while but here's a rundown of the last couple of shows I've been watching over the last few weeks.

Arrow: It's been an interesting first season and here we got a finale that proved why this show deserves to run for quite a while now. Dealing with the Glades and the consequences of Moira's confessions are one thing but this show manning up and actually killing off two prominent characters was another and they're characters I'll miss seeing but this episode gave them both interesting exits. Equally as interesting was seeing Oliver vs. Malcolm, Felicity becoming a bigger part of the gang and Roy's own acts of goodness as well. All in all, I can't wait to see where they'll take this show in it's second season.

Banshee: Having watched the first three episodes of Alan Ball's new show on SkyAtlantic recently, I have to admit it's good. It doesn't feel as smart as predecessors such as Six Feet Under or the first few years of True Blood but it's been engaging enough and the ongoing machinations of Proctor have probably been a lot more interesting than the love angle with Lucas and Carrie (formerly Anastasia) but it's not quite gripping yet as a series. I imagine the later episodes will hook me in more but for now, it seems more of a casual viewing than a must see and that's not the only show I can say that about.

Defiance: As with a certain other show, this remains watchable but not addictive television for the moment. It still looks good but the writing and the acting in parts let it down, particularly with Nolan, who five episodes in remains a fairly bland character to be honest. On the plus side, at least the last two episodes gave us more insight into his and Irisa's first meeting (and she remains this show's strongest character) as well as some stuff on Kenya and Amanda's mother and Stahma and Datak's thirst for power and the lengths both of them are prepared to get it. The show does need more of a push though but it's starting to go in the right direction at least.

Game Of Thrones: I am loving this season and seven episodes in, it's shaping up to be the best one we've had and considering the high standard of the previous two, that's really saying a lot. Over the last few weeks, we've seen Jaime put himself out there to help Brienne, the development of Jon and Ygritte's relationship, Melisandre getting her claws into Gendry and Arya being taken by the Hound while Tyrion and Cersei have been forced into marrying Sansa and Loras by Tywin (I could watch a spin-off with him and Olenna) as well as Daenerys putting the slavers of Yunkai in their place as well and Margaery letting her mask slip a little along with Joffrey showing some awareness for other threats. So far, this season hasn't put a foot wrong though the torture scenes with Theon are getting a bit much to handle.

Glee: It's been a rather interesting if polarising fourth season for this show but the last two episodes, especially the finale have been a return to form of sorts. The revelation of the Catfish plot was obvious all along but at least it's finally resolved and Brittany managed to get a rather satisfying exit from the show as well. Also, we finally managed to see Will and Emma get hitched and the subplot with Blaine trying to propose to Kurt was actually better handled than expected. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where this show will go next season.

Once Upon A Time: Another interesting if not perfect finale. As antagonists, Greg and Tamara have gone from having decent potential to becoming flat out annoying and for a scenario where Storybrooke could've been blown up, it was solved fairly quickly, wasn't it? On the plus side, it does seem like they're setting up Peter Pan for the main antagonist for next season and at least Belle regained her memories and I did like that Regina might be a good guy for the time being along with a big plot for Henry next year.

The Vampire Diaries: Is that it - really? It wasn't a terrible finale but I can't help feeling it could've been a little better. I mean, why did Bonnie have to be killed off and why did Silas have to look like Stefan as well? On the plus side, Katherine taking the cure is interesting, the Delena fans can take some fun in them together and Jeremy seems to be back (as well as Tyler for now) and the gang finally graduated too. Finale wise, it wasn't poor but it could've been a little better but at least next season will be a mostly Klaus free zone too.

- Warehouse 13 has been renewed for a fifth and final season of six episodes.
- Both The New Normal and Happy Endings have been cancelled.
- The Wonder Woman prequel is still in development by the CW.
- Burn Notice's seventh season will be it's last one.
- The remake of Sirens will air on USA Network, starring Michael Mosley, Kevin Daniels, Jessica McNamee and Kevin Bigley.
- Kristin Wiig will guest star as an FBI agent on The Simpsons.
- Revenge's third season will air for 24 episodes in two different blocks as will upcoming seasons of Once Upon A Time, Scandal and Grey's Anatomy.
- Michael Raymond James will be a regular in the third season of Once Upon A Time.
- HBO have picked up a comedy pilot centering on three gay friends and their lives in San Francisco by Michael Lannon and the series will star Jonathan Groff in one of the lead roles.
- 24 will return for a ninth season of 12 episodes in 2014 with the title of Live Another Day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x22: "Truth Part 2"

Written by Mike Kelley And Mark B. Perry
Directed by J. Miller Tobin

Emily: “Jack, look at me. Deep down inside you have always known the truth. I’m Amanda Clarke.”

Well, it only took forty four episodes for Emily to actually tell someone other than an annoying author that she was really Amanda Clarke and for dramatic purposes, it was always going to be either Jack, Charlotte or Victoria who would become privy to this information. For the time, I’m glad the person she told was Jack, especially given that it will set up a shit storm next season as well.

This year really hasn’t been a good one for Jack, has it? When he hasn’t been too self-righteous at times for viewers, he’s had to lose both Amanda and now Declan and at both times, Conrad had some role to play in their deaths. Grayson Global went boom with the intention of taking Jack out of the equation but instead it ended up being Declan who died.

I’ve never been Declan’s biggest of fans but I did find his death pretty effective and not because of Jack and Nolan’s respective reactions to it but also because Connor Paolo did a good job in making me care that Declan was on the way out. I can only imagine how Charlotte will react to the news when Victoria of all people breaks it down for her.

However getting back to Jack for a moment – he was determined to kill Conrad and personally, I think Emily should’ve let him. Maybe she is responsible for some of the chaos that Jack’s had to suffer but at the same time, Conrad’s been more responsible and given that this episode revealed that Conrad was less of pawn for the Initiative and more of a player within them, I think Emily will regret not letting Jack get his revenge here.

As for Jack and Emily’s relationship – I don’t imagine the truth will instantly bond them but considering that Aiden’s fate is currently left unknown and that Nolan has been framed as Americon Initiative, Emily and Jack might have to work through their issues to save the latter. Besides, I actually do think Jack does owe Nolan quite a bit really.

Nolan being framed to take the fall for the Initiative was an interesting move. Obviously he’s not going to spend all of next season behind bars but it’s definitely an interesting direction for the character and the fact that Padma was coerced into framing him certainly added a sting to it as well. Even in death, Padma managed to get at least one more appearance on the show and that’s certainly more than what can be said about Kara, eh?

Keeping with the Initiative stuff – I loved the reveal of Conrad’s deeper involvement and the fact that he’s been manipulating both Victoria and Daniel all season was a great twist. Maybe not so surprising in retrospect but definitely satisfying though. Add to the fact that he’s virtually won the election as well and it’s looking all the more likely that Conrad will be a formidable opponent next season.

Speaking of opponents – Aiden can’t really be dead at the hands of Daniel, right? I mean he was able to defeat an experienced martial arts expert in Takeda, so a fight between him and Daniel couldn’t have resulted in his death. Even for this show, it would be a stretch in spite of the fact that neither of them held back in their hatred of each other and competing affections for Emily during their altercation. Maybe Aiden escaped the fight or Daniel has him stashed away somewhere. I guess it’s just another thing for the next season to pick up on fairly quickly next season then.

Last but not least – who the hell have they cast as Patrick? I wasn’t surprised that he showed up in the finale for Victoria to see but I am hoping that he will be an interesting character who’ll add something new to the show and something that will work in it’s favour. It’ll also be interesting to see what kind of an influence Victoria will have on him, if any.

Also in “Truth Part 2”

I’m not sure about UK viewers but Irish viewers will be seeing this two part finale over two weeks instead of a double bill.

Nolan: “Thank God.”
Jack: “Not so fast friend. How the hell did you know that building was gonna explode?”

Victoria and Emily’s hostility for each other in this episode intensified to the point where I actually thought the former was going to work out who the latter really was.

Jack: “You told Emily? She’s practically a Grayson.”
Nolan: “I trust Emily with my life. So did Amanda. It’s time you did too.”

Aiden: “I hope you get what you’re looking for, Amanda. No-one has ever deserved it more than you. Goodbye.”

Can I throw some praise for Ashley in this episode? She genuinely seemed disgusted with Conrad using Declan’s death for his own gain and she managed to convince Jack of her innocence with the text. She was also going to play the Nate Ryan confession at the election too.

Conrad (to Daniel): “You and I are gonna show when the hour’s darkest, we Graysons shine the brightest.”

Victoria: “You will soon learn that there are limits to what a woman will endure for appearances.”
Emily: “Meaning?”
Victoria: “You and Daniel. Whatever your reasons are for marrying him you’ll never convince me it’s for love.”

Not only did we not another appearance from Kara but we did get one from Helen Crowley as well in flashback when she made Conrad a certain offer.

Victoria: “Do it. Pull the trigger. I deserve it.”
Jack: “No. What you deserve is to explain to your grandchild why it doesn’t have a father. What you deserve is to live a very long, very painful, torturing life. Unlike your husband.”

Ashley: “You never miss a trick, do you?”
Conrad: “You don’t get to where we are by ignoring opportunity.”

Chronology: From where the first part of the episode left off.

A brilliant finale, both parts of “Truth” certainly provided a wonderful set up for next season. I know the second year has been patchy at times and that this show is having difficulties sustaining Emily’s crusade for vengeance but this was still an excellent way to end this season regardless.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x21: "Truth Part 1"

Written by Michael Foley And Nikki Toscano
Directed by Randy Zisk

Victoria (re phone messages): “Long live David Clarke.”

I was initially going to watch both parts of the finale and do one review but I found myself preferring to stick with my usual method when it comes to double bill season finales. This is the first time the show has attempted a two parter and if the opening episode is anything to go by, then they certainly can try it next season if they want to.

All season long the Initiative have felt like a faceless force and lacked the bite they should’ve had but within this episode alone, they managed to cause complete chaos on a surprisingly large scale and frame Aiden Mathis for some good measure.

It should’ve been obvious that hacking the Amanda Clarke fund and Carrion would end up being the very things that would give the Initiative the advantage over Emily, Nolan and Aiden but at least it was well played out, given the cataclysmic ending of the first part of this episode.

Keeping with the chaos – I’m not surprised that even telling Victoria anything backfired on Jack. Emily warned him about her and Jack ignored all sensible advice and now he end up a corpse if Conrad’s assassin has anything to do with it. You think Jack would’ve had some general savvy to at least arm himself if he was going to Grayson Global alone but nope, he didn’t think of that at all.

While it’s pretty obvious that Jack is unlikely to die, it does look like any hope of him taking Conrad down is probably gone out the window as well. The ‘Long Live David Clarke’ text message everyone received at the press conference might cause some trouble but I get the feeling it’ll be the type of trouble that Conrad will easily be able to wrangle his way out of though.

As for Emily – boy, did she have her work cut out for her this week. On one hand, she has to go and save Jack from being another Grayson casualty but on the other hand, she learned the hard way that both Aiden and Takeda have been lying to her all this time. I wasn’t totally shocked that Takeda lied to Emily about his interest in Flight 197. The reveal of Takeda losing his fiancée on that flight makes a lot of sense to be honest but also Takeda a hypocrite too.

Emily’s reaction to learning that Aiden killed Takeda though was interesting. She might have been furious with him but she still tried to get him to leave as well so the Initiative would fail in making him their fall guy. Aiden seemed to be packing a bag towards the end of the episode but at the same time, it’s pretty obvious again that he’ll end up doing the right thing by Emily as he’s tried to do this season. As has Nolan too, who was a little more underused in the first half of this finale. I am hopeful he’ll have more to do other than trying to undo the damage of Carrion in the second half though.

As for the Graysons themselves – more sniping, some of it amusing but hardly anything too new about it though. Victoria’s glee in pointing out to Conrad that Ashley and Jack were betraying him was one thing but it was more enjoyable seeing Daniel knock the wind out of her sails when he revealed that Charlotte was pregnant.

Speaking of Charlotte – on top of being pregnant, she’s now got Regina obsessed with her. When I said I wanted more LGBT representation on this show, this definitely wasn’t what I had in mind and I could’ve done without Declan being framed for hitting Regina. On the plus side, at least that bit was solved fairly fast when Charlotte realised that her new best friend was lying but overall, I’m still not loving this whole pregnancy plot though.

Also in “Truth Part 1”

I was surprised that they didn’t give two seperate titles for two parter, seeing as they’re both written and directed by different people.

Jack: “I suppose I should’ve expected as much from you, knowing how you felt about Amanda.”
Victoria: “It was she who came after my family, not the other way around.”

Victoria was upfront about the file on Amanda she had to Jack and the latter found out that Amanda was in Japan at some point too.

Regina (re Charlotte): “I get the forbidden fruit thing but you are particularly low hanging. You have something on her?”
Declan: “Yeah, blackmail is how I get all of my girls.”

Victoria (re Ashley): “Oh, my poor Conrad. Yet another female conquest hell bent on your destruction. It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Aiden had a passport for him under the name of Noah Campbell and Emily one under the name of Diane Miller.

Emily: “I just want people to pay.”
Takeda: “There’s two paths to revenge. One is failure, the other will set you free on your journey’s end.”

Daniel: “Listen, Emily isn’t pregnant. The test wasn’t her, do you understand?”
Victoria: “Oh dear God.”

Takeda’s fiancée was called Mai Ioki and we learned there were 247 people on Flight 197. The assassin sent to kill Jack is named Gregor Hoffman, who posed as an IT guy at Grayson Global.

Emily: “All I ever needed from you was the truth.”
Aiden: “Please don’t run away.”
Emily: “I’m not running, Aiden but I think it’s time that you did.”

Chronology: Pretty much from where the last scene of “Engagement” left off.

Finale wise, the first part of “Truth” has set things up rather nicely, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it’ll go in the second half. After being such an uninspired set of antagonists, it’s also nice that the Initiative are getting to be more interesting for a change too. Oh and the cliff hanger was pretty neat too, even if I don’t fear for Jack’s safety.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

First Look: Once Upon A Time In Wonderland

It's probably not a shock but it seems that given the continued success of Once Upon A Time, ABC have commissioned the spin-off, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland and if the trailer is anything to go by, it could even eclipse it's parent show ...

As mentioned in previous blogs, Sophie Lowe is playing the role of Alice and in this version, she's a girl that's travelled to Wonderland but is now stuck in an institution where the doctors seem desperate to convince her that her adventures never took place. Former Being Human star Michael Socha has been cast as the very modern attired, Knave Of Hearts, one of Alice's allies who break her out of the asylum while Trinity killer himself, John Lithgow is voicing the White Rabbit of the series.

Elsewhere Peter Gadiot will be playing the mysterious Cyrus and as the trailer has shown he's a a genie that Alice both sets free, falls in love with and presumably loses at the hand of the Red Queen. Finding him also seems to be Alice's mission again when she's reunited with the Knave Of Hearts and the White Rabbit.

And then there's Emma Rigby as the Red Queen. With the Queen Of Hearts/Cora (Barbara Hershey) and the Mad Hatter (Sebastian Stan) seen in the trailer but not too involved in this show yet, it seems that the Red Queen will be the main antagonist of the series and if she's anything like Regina in the parent show, I'm sure we'll have the odd moment here and there where we'll sympathise with her. As for Wonderland itself, the trailer certainly didn't disappoint in the slightest. I think this show along with Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D will definitely be the jewels in ABC's crown this upcoming television season.

Season 1 Trailer:

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland will air Thursdays at 8pm on ABC.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x05: "The Tower"

Written by Joe Ahearne
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

DaVinci (to Jacopo): “No-one defines me.”

And here we have it – the game changing episode that wasn’t quite the game changer it should’ve been. Never mind about DaVinci overreaching, it’s the handling of his sexuality that has rubbed viewers up the wrong way and sadly for the show itself and Tom Riley (in spite of his best intentions with his recent interviews with The Backlot concerning this episode), it could also be the show’s undoing to an extent.

It’s not a secret that the ratings have slid since the premiere episode and a large part of this does seem to stem from viewers annoyance over the ‘straight washing’ of DaVinci as a character. Having him on trial for sodomy was a way of addressing this dilemma head on and coming out the other side but on that note, the episode became a mixed bag.

The male prostitute that DaVinci had spurned in the first episode – Jacopo Saltarelli managed to get himself coerced into testifying against the artist mainly because of the rejection that he had felt from DaVinci. He didn’t want the artist killed but he certainly wanted revenge and when Leonardo did communicate with him towards the end of the episode, we got some strange insight here.

For some people, it seemed that this episode implied that DaVinci was bi-curious at best but Jacopo seemed to think that Leonardo was only suppressing his homosexuality out of fear along with at least a kiss between the two of them. I’d like to think that Jacopo is actually right and that creator David S. Goyer will actually live up to his promise and deliver on DaVinci’s relationships with both men and women but as interesting as this episode was, I’m starting to doubt such a thing will happen to be honest.

It also didn’t help for some strange reason to include a bath scene of sorts with DaVinci and Lucrezia straight after the former had said goodbye to his former male lover. I get that maybe they were trying to set up DaVinci realising Lucrezia being the one who wrote the denouncement but for an episode that went to lengths to not define DaVinci sexually, it felt like a bad narrative choice to be honest.

As for using bestiality (aka the corrupt magistrate glued to a pig and sort of exposed projection style to Florence), that part bothered me less for some reason. I kind of liked DaVinci being a bit more vindictive in his pursuit of freeing himself and given that Rome were going to town on disgracing him, perhaps he had the right to incite some vengeance of his own, extreme as it were.

One of the plus points about the trial wasn’t seeing a beaten, dirty, scruffy DaVinci nearly losing his mind but it was mainly getting more insight as to why Piero hated him so much. It’s a simple but effective explanation and while Piero won’t exactly be embracing his bastard son anytime soon, this episode did manage to humanise him a little more, especially given that he was also tasked with defending his son in court and did mostly a good job of it as well.

Of course the other important component of DaVinci this week was realising that the hanged man from his youth was actually him. Al-Rahim’s return came at an interesting time too, especially given that little else about the Book Of Leaves was explored in this episode but I’m still not entirely sure if DaVinci should trust him all that much.

As for the non trial elements of the episode – Giuliano was brilliant in this episode. I loved that he decked Lorenzo (who really deserved it this week) and managed to get the crowd going for Vanessa’s version of The Decameron and his comments about the city having a pig or two were nicely timed as well.

Lorenzo and Clarice had less to really do in this one, other than schmooze with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to get support, which they eventually managed to get in spite of their visitors initially being a rather joyless lot.

Also in “The Tower”

If Piero is improving as a character, then Dragonetti is still pretty one dimensional and dull. Did we really need him taunting DaVinci that much this week?

Piero: “You are demented if you think these charges will simply vanish.”
DaVinci: “They must. They will.”

I liked DaVinci using the cluster bombs and the bats to cause a distraction for escape. He really does owe Zoroaster for that too.

Clarice (to Lorenzo, re Giuliano): “Like you, he has his talents. You impress, he charms.”

Piero: “I warned you Leonardo about overreaching.”

Clarice had some works by Donatello, which didn’t exactly seem to go down too well with Isabella.

DaVinci (to Piero, re his mother): “I remind you of her. That’s why you can’t stand to look at me. Because she left you.”

DaVinci (to his friends): “I will be no man’s pawn. They put me on display to be ridiculed as a tool to sodomise Lorenzo. They took away my liberty and now they will taste the same bile that I have.”

Giuliano shared a kiss with Vanessa in this episode and we learned that she was deflowered by DaVinci as well. Oddly enough she mentioned that to Zoroaster during the trial.

Vanessa: “And the pig, sir?”
Giuliano: “Stays in. For what’s our city without a pig or two.”

Jacopo: “What you have with the women isn’t love. You’re with them out of fear.”
DaVinci: “I’m curious by nature. Desire, it’s not as simple as one sex or the other. I’m sorry I hurt you.”

Chronology: Historically, it should’ve been a month since “The Magician” but it seems for behind the scenes reasons with the show, it’s a few days. I also missed not seeing Riario in this one, especially given how annoying Francesco was.

Overall, it’s an odd episode. “The Tower” failed in it’s delivery of trying to appeal to viewers annoyed over the show’s handling of DaVinci’s sexuality but taking that out of the equation, it’s almost the best episode we’ve had in some respects. It was certainly character driven and the reintroduction of Al-Rahim came at an interesting time too as well as a magnetic performance from Riley, so those are the reasons why it’s getting a higher rating than it arguably deserves.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x13: "Nightmare In Silver"

Written by Neil Gaiman
Directed by Stephen Woolfenden

Webley: “Hail to you, the Doctor. Saviour of the Cybermen.”

And if we were going with alternative titles for this episode, then perhaps “Saviour Of The Cybermen” would’ve been a marginally more accurate title for this episode because while Gaiman certainly did some interesting things with the Cybermen, I’m not entirely sure if he succeeded in his goal to actually make them scary.

Don’t get me wrong – unlike a lot of fans and reviewers, I actually quite enjoyed this episode but it seems that once again, while the Cybermen learned plenty of new tricks, they weren’t quite as menacing as I had hoped they would be in this episode. It’s a shame really considering the fact that one of their tricks was being able to take over the Doctor with some rather nifty Cybermites.

That leads me to the next thing – the Doctor. Placing Matt Smith in the position where he had to play both the Doctor we know and love and the Cyber Planner who was desperately outwitting him and rattling Clara was a lot of fun and actually one of Smith’s best performances this entire series. Matt really did manage to do a great job in distinguishing between both roles this week.

As for the Cyber Planner, we saw the crazy world of Hedgewick’s becoming a place for the last Cybermen to step out and unleash hell while a punishment group and a hiding ruler of sorts had to rely on Clara more than the Doctor in order to actually defeat the Cybermen in question.

In a lot of ways, this was a great episode for Clara. It’s not unusual nowadays for the companion to be placed in an authority position while the Doctor is otherwise engaged and aside from a few miscalculations, Clara did manage to motivate the punishment crew and Porridge into at least giving the Cybermen a decent fight on their hands, even if it was the Doctor finally getting one over on the Cyber Planner in order to save the day.

The idea of a literal and mental chess game between the Doctor and the Cyber Planner was clearly a throwback to a certain Seventh Doctor story but it worked pretty well here and it was nice that we’ve had yet another episode in a row that didn’t end up relying on a power of love speech or a reset button either. It does prove that the show is capable of doing it when it puts it’s mind to it.

However getting back to the Cybermen for a minute, this was an interesting episode for them. First of all, it seemed like they now share some Borg like traits, we’ve two segments upgraded and when they weren’t trying to convert the Doctor, they did manage to with Webley, Artie and Angie before their hive mind became their undoing and they were blown up by the activation of a bomb by Porridge.

Speaking of Porridge, I think Warwick Davis was the standout performance of this episode but the revelation that he was the King Of The Universe/Imperator Of Known Space had been blatantly obvious long before Angie spelled it out for everyone else. He was a fun character however and I did like the way he handled Clara turning down his marriage proposal of sorts.

As for Angie and Artie – I think some the vitriol they got online was a bit harsh but we’ve had better child characters/actors on the show and while they’re a nice way of representing Clara’s life outside of the Doctor, I do think it would be wise if we don’t see them too often. In a lot of ways, they were rather superfluous to the overall story as were more of the punishment crew on Hedgewick’s if I’m being honest.

Last but not least – the Doctor and Clara. The Cyber Planner had great fun in needling both of them about their friendship but at the same time, this should’ve been the episode where Clara demanded more answers from the Doctor on why she’s impossible. Thankfully, at least the prequel for next week’s finale and the last episode itself should finally do us all a favour and unveil who Clara Oswald really is.

Also in “Nightmare In Silver”

Red button viewers and YouTube fans can find “She Said, He Said” if they want a taster for the last episode.

Porridge: “I feel like a monster sometimes.”
Clara: “Why?

I liked the images of the previous Doctors and the regeneration from Ten to Eleven during the Cyber Planner plot of the episode.

The Doctor: “Clara, stay alive until I get back and don’t let anyone blow up this planet.”

Clara: “I trust the Doctor.”
Captain: “You think he knows what he’s doing?”
Clara: “I'm not sure I'd go that far.”

The punishment crew comprised of Captain Alice, Ha-Ha, Brains, Beauty and Missy while Porridge’s official title is Ludens Nimrod Kendrick Cord Longstaff and there was tragic amusement park owner, Webley.

Captain: “I will follow my orders.”
Clara: “Your orders come from me, don’t they?”

Clara (re Artie/Angie): “Complicated how?”
The Doctor: “Complicated as in walking coma.”

I know the Doctor and Clara took the kids to an amusement park but in some parts, it did look really garish. Maybe blowing up that planet wasn’t such a bad thing after all and the Cybermen are the 699th wonder of the universe.

The Doctor/Cyber Planner: “No, but I know who you are. You’re the impossible girl. Ooh, he’s very interested in you.”
Clara: “Why am I impossible?”

Clara: “What do you mean, he got what he wanted?”
The Doctor/Cyber Planner: “He means ‘good news, boys and girls. They’re here’.”

Advance warning: US viewers have gotten their Blu-Ray sets early so if you don’t want to be spoiled by the finale, tread carefully for the next few days.

Clara: “Do you think I’m pretty?”
The Doctor: “No, you’re too short and bossy and your nose is all funny.”

Chronology: How long has Clara actually been travelling with the Doctor at the on-off rate she’s been doing?

“Nightmare In Silver” won’t go down as a classic in the same vein that Neil Gaiman’s previous story managed to do effortless but even with it’s hiccups, it managed to be a fully engaging story that in some respects did manage to make the Cybermen more lethal if not entirely scary. It might have benefitted from some extra time and them coming into the game earlier but overall, I definitely enjoyed the story.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Review of Revenge's 2x20: "Engagement"

Written by Ellie Triedman And Sallie Patrick
Directed by John Terlesky

Victoria: “I know what a woman in love looks like and that’s not you. Not one year ago and not today.”
Emily: “I understand why you’re on edge, Victoria, especially here tonight.”

It’s nice that both Emily and Victoria really aren’t holding back on their mutual distaste for each other. Okay, Victoria’s never been shy in vocalising her dislike for Emily but the latter has tried to play it cool and has now opted for actually needling Victoria and it’s delightful to watch.

I loved that Emily managed to get in some sly comments about Patrick as well as flaunting her engagement to Daniel in Victoria’s face. However, what I really enjoyed was seeing Emily throw in Victoria’s betrayal of Amanda and David directly into her face. It might not have been subtle but it was certainly satisfying to watch nonetheless.

As a character, Victoria is an engaging one but make no mistake – she deserves to be taken down several notches for the lives she’s destroyed and even though Emily’s making her vendetta towards Victoria specifically more public, it’s still enjoyable to watch. This is a plot that works while the Initiative hasn’t been.

It’s taken a while for the writers to figure out that the Initiative just didn’t engage as an ongoing threat and this episode really went to town on hinting that their downfall was pretty imminent. They’ve taken themselves out of Grayson Global, who in return have actually given Nolan back his own company and the fate of activating Carrion pretty much relies on Edith/Falcon getting sprung from jail and doing it for them.

I assume the two part finale (and hope too) will completely take them out of the equation as this episode managed to take Takeda out of it too. I’m not entirely shocked that Takeda was using both Emily and Aiden as a means to his own end. When you think about it, it was kind of obvious really and unlike some people, I wasn’t too saddened when Aiden ended up killing him either.

I’m also not that annoyed that both Aiden and Nolan have decided to go behind Emily back and wipe the Amanda Clarke fund from the Graysons either. Aiden’s learned the hard way that getting revenge won’t give a peace of mind and Nolan’s always wanted Emily to step away from her pursuit of the Graysons as well. Unfortunately both of them managed to cause a blackout instead but what a way of ending the episode on a cliff-hanger, eh?

As for the engagement side of things – Daniel is deliriously stupid into thinking that Emily really loves him and Victoria knows that’s she not. Jack on the other hand continues to be self righteous about it and Emily herself seemed conflicted when Nolan commented on Daniel having some decency as well. Plus there’s Aiden’s barely concealed jealousy which probably intensified when Daniel took too great a pleasure in firing him after finding out about his father being baggage carrier on Flight 197.

Daniel’s douche like moments were a little tempered in this episode. He might act like a jerk but his love for Emily is sincere and he was certainly great in coming through for Charlotte in this one as well. Speaking of Charlotte – just no! The last thing the show needs right about now is another pregnancy storyline. When are shows like this going to realise that these plots need to be done more sparingly? On the plus side, it was rather amusing seeing both Declan and Regina competing for Charlotte’s affections though.

Last but not least – I liked the Allison Stoddard reveal. The fact that she was sabotaging her husband’s campaign because she feared for his health was a brilliant. Also brilliant was the fact that Victoria (presumably) used their conversation to ensure that Conrad will become a governor after all. Of course, Victoria’s worries for her husband’s health are a lot different to Allison’s but interesting nonetheless.

Also in “Engagement”

Nice view of New York at the start of the episode with Emily getting tickets to Paris for her and Daniel to move to.

Emily (to herself): “Engagement can be a commitment of love or a declaration of war.”

It seems that Ashley really is on Jack’s side in this episode. Then again, we’ll probably have to wait for the last two episodes to see if she remains on his side.

Daniel: “Emily and I are re-engaged.”
Conrad: “Allow me to offer our congratulations.”

Emily: “Oh, why thank you, Conrad.”
Victoria: “Yes, how repetitious.”

Ashley (re drink): “Jack, I’m working.”
Jack: “Actually, that was mine.”

It seems that Victoria paid off a teenage Patrick five million dollars when he tried to contact her originally. We also had about 34 different people in letter form pretending to be the long lost son.

Nolan: “You realise you can’t protect Jack, don’t you?”
Emily: “I made a promise to Amanda and I’m gonna keep it.”

Ashley (re Emily): “She always seems to get what she wants. People like them always do.”
Jack (re Conrad): “Not him. Not this time.”

Jack was a total numpty in this episode. Why the hell would he allow Victoria access to evidence about Conrad ordering a hit on Amanda?

Emily: “I wish I could explain it to you and someday I will.”
Jack: “Emily, I’m so tired of all the secrets and the half truths. It’s always someday with you.”

Victoria (re Conrad): “I’ve been married to that scoundrel for twenty six years and I have innumerable reasons for wanting to see him fail but what I don’t know is why do you?”
Jack: “He ordered my wife’s murder.”

Chronology: Is it winter in the Hamptons or have we skipped several weeks already? Last episode had some snow but this one didn’t.

“Engagement” was a solid episode, full of fun, snarky banter and a real sense of wrapping certain plotlines up. I know this season hasn’t been as well constructed as the previous one but the last few episodes have had a noticeable turn of improvement and to be honest, I think it bodes well for the finale.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, May 09, 2013

True Blood - Season 6 Trailer

The trailer has been released since Saturday but I've been a little busy and my internet's been all over the place but here's a rundown of some of the more interesting bits from the upcoming sixth season of True Blood.

Alcide fans - well, he's topless again and still romping with Rikki (makes sense given that Sookie has her own love interest this season) and he's also having to deal with the fact that shifters have been outed thanks to Luna's broadcast from last season.

Bill vs. Eric yet again, although this time it might not be entirely connected to Sookie though. In this season, we've got Bill believing that he's some kind of god thanks to Lilith's influence and we've also got Eric uncovering from the new governor's daughter that vampires are being experimented on. Basically it's going to suck to anything supernatural even more this season than usual.

Jason's still on a vampire hating mission but he's also getting knocked about the place as well. We already know that him and Jessica still aren't an item in the upcoming season and that both him and Sookie will be getting to know Macklyn (Rutgar Hauer) and he's also managed to get himself caught in a love triangle with two new characters as well.

Speaking of Macklyn - doesn't he know how to make an entrance or what? I'm still unsure as to whether or not he's the main antagonist of the season or not but he definitely appears like he's going to be the best thing about it nonetheless though. It's about time the fairy plot got more interesting and Macklyn may be the very thing that makes it so.

What the hell is Lafayette doing here? I know Sookie can be polarising a great deal of the time, but really, ducking her head underwater? I'm sure there's more to this scene but it certainly stood out though. Perhaps Lafayette's possessed again by that demon he's got from Jesus.

Last season, Steve Newlin was keen on keeping Jason prisoner but it seems that the tables have turned as he's captured by his ex-wife, Sarah Newlin. And it also seems that Sarah's anti-vampire mantra hasn't softened since the last time we've seen her either. Hate to admit it but I kind of feel sorry for Steve for once.

Last but not least, we've got Tara comforting Pam in a few choice scenes from the trailer as well, which seems rather sweet. Other interesting clips including Sookie's microwave hands again, Jessica getting in touch with her kinky side, a bloodied up Sam and some gun practice with Andy and Holly. I know the previous season didn't do a lot for viewers but this upcoming season certainly looks like it could be an improvement though.

Season 6 Trailer:

True Blood - Season 6 will air on Sundays 9pm on HBO from June 16th.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

My Review of DaVinci's Demons 1x04: "The Magician"

Written by David S. Goyer And Jami O’Brien
Directed by Jamie Payne

Lucrezia (to DaVinci): “I hope you kill that bastard, Riario.”

Now, now, Lucrezia – that’s not very nice. What did Riario ever do to you? Oh yeah, that’s right – made you into his little spy and assassin to Becchi. Well, I assume that Riario might have instructed Lucrezia to have bumped off the already framed Becchi but it’s more likely she did that one of her own volition to be honest.

For Lucrezia, stabbing the man with a poisonous blade from the Secret Archives was her attempts of being merciful to Becchi. I would imagine not framing the poor fellow in the first place would’ve been a lot more merciful but this episode did try to make us feel bad for Lucrezia with her act of treachery. The problem is that I don’t feel bad for her. I get why she’s doing the things she’s doing but my sympathy for her is beginning to wane a little.

Lucrezia didn’t need to kill Becchi in the first place. She could’ve tried to pin the spy in the Medici court on someone else or even confessed to Lorenzo herself that she’s the traitor and appeal to his better nature to spare her. It might not have worked but Becchi’s death is now on her conscience and she had better hope for her own sake that someone takes out Riario because she’s more likely to suffer than he is at the moment.

The scenes in the marketplace where she watched a man getting tortured for sport because he betrayed Lorenzo was surprisingly more graphic than I expected but it didn’t make me feel that sympathetic for her plight. And neither did her second sex scene with DaVinci but at least she wasn’t bullshitting she told him that she hoped he would kill Riario. Eventually that type of confrontation is going to happen between DaVinci and Riario but clearly not just yet though.

Instead this show finally decided to pull out the sodomy charges against DaVinci in his closing moments when he had finally won confidence with the Medici. I wasn’t surprised that the show decided to go down this route but I am surprised that they’ve done it rather early though. Surely it would’ve made a better cliff-hanger in the finale after we had actually seen DaVinci indulge in some guy on guy action.

Which leads me to my next point – sodomy charges aside, are we actually going to see that side of DaVinci dealt with onscreen? The side where he has male lovers and it’s not just sex scenes with Lucrezia or a past history with Vanessa or even a choice moment with the artist and Clarice? With a second season already confirmed, I do hope the show actually delivers on it’s promise to explore DaVinci’s sexuality truthfully, especially given that this one of the issues as to why the show itself has largely divided most viewers.

At least when DaVinci was arrested and Nico was trying to protest his friend’s innocence, there was a nice look that definitely implied DaVinci had been sleeping with men and I also quite liked that in spite of his frustrations with DaVinci in this episode, it was Lorenzo who really tried to prevent his military strategist from getting arrested.

Getting to the best part of this episode was seeing the faith and frustration that Lorenzo placed and expressed with DaVinci in this episode. Leonardo wrecked his head by damaging the muskets but amended the situation when he came up with the cluster bombs as an alternative, though even those were rather deceptive.

Similarly, Giuliano’s faith in Becchi was sad to watch as he tried in vain to get the man freed. I liked that Giuliano didn’t believe that Becchi could be a traitor and I liked the implication that Clarice felt similarly as well. Obviously what I didn’t like was the fact that Giuliano coming to Lucrezia for help resulted in Becchi being killed by her but sadly you can’t have everything, eh?

Also in “The Magician”

The title referred to Lorenzo and Giuliano’s grandfather, Cossimo who was revealed to be another member of the Sons Of Mithras. The statue that DaVinci kept seeing in previous episodes also stemmed from him.

DaVinci (to Lucrezia): “Painting. It’s, it’s about more than just strokes. It’s about perspective. I mean, do I paint you from below or do I paint you from above?”

We learned that in this episode Piero had sold DaVinci to Andrea for a cheap price when he realised Leonardo’s talents at 14. He was also less annoying in this episode but not by a great margin though.

Pope Sixtus IV: “This will requite more than funds. Resurrection requires death and in this case, the sacrifice for Rome’s rebirth will be Florence.”

Lorenzo: “I will show no mercy to those who betray the Medici name.”

Riario and Pope Sixtus IV definitely seemed to be upping their attempts of seizing Florence, especially given the open tortures/killings, issuing Lorenzo with demands and presumably setting DaVinci up for arrest as well.

Becchi (to Giuliano): “There is a traitor in our midst. After I’m dead and Lorenzo lowers his guard, the traitor will still be here.”

DaVinci (to Lorenzo): “When all your enemy knows is killing, a simple deception can suffice.”

Riario said something during his confrontation with DaVinci and Lorenzo (I think it was the second time) that kind of supports my theory about him having Al-Rahim as a prisoner.

Clarice (to DaVinci): “I didn’t come to Florence to be under Rome’s rule.”

Lucrezia: “You’re better than this, Leonardo.”
DaVinci: “I thought I could save Florence. I thought my talents could be enough but they’re not.”

Clarice seemed to be wearing a trouser suit when she was talking to DaVinci in this episode and the thing with the pomegranates having ‘magic’ – colourful dialogue or something more meaningful in future episodes?

Lorenzo: “You can’t keep on bluffing Rome forever.”
DaVinci: “Can’t we? Life’s precious, Lorenzo.”

Chronology: Still 1477 I presume.

Definitely a promising episode. “The Magician” might have split people with the sodomy charge debate and the lack of onscreen guy on guy action with DaVinci but at least his quest to find America/the Vault Of Heaven/Book Of Leaves continues apace and something tells me that what’s going to happen next week, it won’t result in Leonardo being burned.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Sunday, May 05, 2013

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x12: "The Crimson Horror"

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Saul Metzstein

Madame Vastra: “Strax, you're overexcited. Have you been eating Miss Jenny’s Sherbet Fancies again?”
Strax: “No.”

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, shall we? This wasn’t just a regular Doctor-Lite episode in the vein of “Love And Monsters” and “Blink” but more of an unofficial backdoor pilot for a Paternoster Gang spin-off that more than likely could possibly happen upon the day that Steven Moffat steps down from this show as show runner but until now, we’ll just have to enjoy whatever appearances we get from our Victorian trio for the time being.

It’s a great job that we’ve had two previous successful appearances from Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax because this episode largely depended on our support for these characters to work given that both the Doctor and Clara were largely in disposed and luckily the episode did work and it worked lots.

It was the Paternoster Gang who ended up having to rescue both the Doctor and Clara after they fell victim to Mrs Gillyflower’s mad plot to preserve the prettiest of humanity in the upcoming apocalypse and it was certainly them who had to pick up the rest of the pieces as well after our TARDIS duo took their leave of the town of Sweetville too for that matter.

Madame Vastra taking on Jeremiah Thursday’s concerns for his missing/deceased brother Edmund certainly got the ball rolling when she realised that the last thing the dead man saw was the Doctor but it was Jenny and Strax who had the most to do in this episode compared to the Great Detective herself.

When it comes to the undercover stuff, Jenny managed to get into Mrs Gillyflower’s factory, cause a distraction and rescue a rejected Doctor before beating seven shades of crap out of the supermodels under the mad woman’s influence. Basically, you don’t want to mess with Jenny as the Doctor found out himself when his exuberant gratitude for being saved by her earned him a bit of a slap in the process.

I had kind of wondered in the previous stories if Jenny had been the weakest of the Paternoster lot but this episode definitely proved that she wasn’t. I liked her scenes with the Doctor and I especially liked that she tried to get some answers as to why he was travelling with another version of Clara but sadly for Jenny, even she wasn’t successful in getting anything more than ‘it’s complicated’. I suppose she could count herself lucky that she’s another 100 plus years off from that phrase being immortalised on Facebook as well.

As for Strax though, he was the comedy foil yet again in this episode but you know what – I don’t care! I liked him more here and the fact that he got to do some basic slaying, Sontaran style and take out Mrs Gillyflower in the end proved that he wasn’t that much of a caricature. Plus, a lot of lines, especially in relation to a horse and a child with a certain name were genuinely priceless to watch here.

I suppose the only member of the gang who was underused in this episode was probably Madame Vastra herself but even she managed to figure about the red leech and the poisonous effects it had on humanity. She also did get to have a bit of a catch up with the Doctor and Clara as well, so while she had slightly less to do here in comparison to both Jenny and Strax, she was still useful in this episode.

As for Mrs Gillyflower – I’ve been enjoying Diana Rigg a lot on Game Of Thrones this season as Olenna but here she was utterly wonderful and completely vile as the obsessive villain of the piece and her treatment of poor Ada (played by Rigg’s real life daughter, Rachael Stirling) was heartbreaking to watch, even if she got her comeuppance in the end with Ada taking out the parasitic Mr Sweet.

Last but not least, there was the Doctor and Clara. Despite this being a light episode for them, I did like the noticeable closeness between them in this episode and I also found it rather amusing the latter’s charges, Angie and Artie managed to suss out that their nanny is a time traveller and wanted a piece of the action. It was definitely an unusual way to end this particular episode but I don’t mean that as a bad thing though.

Also in “The Crimson Horror”

This is the 100th episode of the revived series. Now here’s to the next 100, eh?

Ada (to the Doctor): “Did you think I had forgotten you, dear monster?”

I was genuinely surprised that the Doctor all crimsoned up was actually the monster of the piece here. In retrospect though, it should’ve been obvious.

Coroner: “Oh aye, how long?”
Madame Vastra: “About sixty five million years.”

Ada (to the Doctor): “You are all I have monster but all will be well.”

There was a part of me that had thought of the recent horsemeat scandal when Strax was threatening to annihilate the horse in this one and I loved the little sat nav reference as well.

The Doctor: “Your late partner?”
Mrs Gillyflower: “No, my silent partner.”

The Doctor: “Gotta find Clara.”
Jenny: “But Doctor, Clara’s dead, isn’t she?”
The Doctor: “It’s complicated.”

Clara was confronted with pictures from her adventures on a submarine and Caliburn House as well as a Victorian version of herself she didn’t recognise, thanks to the Maitland kids.

Mrs Gillyflower (to Ada): “The bright day is done child and you are full of dark.”

The Doctor: “Time for a plan.”
Jenny: “Nah, Doctor, this one’s on me.”

Nice reference to Tegan in this episode and yes people, she really was gobby. Tegan was after all someone who referred to herself as a mouth on legs.

The Doctor: “Clever clogs.”
Clara: “Miss me?”
The Doctor: “Yeah, lots.”

The Doctor: “Hang on, I’ve got a sonic screwdriver.”
Clara: “Yeah? I’ve got a chair.”

There’s a Sherlock story called “The Repulsive Case Of The Red Leech”, which probably did inspire Mr Sweet to be honest.

Mrs Gillyflower: “Forgive me, my child. Forgive me.”
Ada: “Never.”
Mrs Gillyflower: “That’s my girl.”

Chronology: Yorkshire 1893, so several months after the events of “The Snowmen” then.

“The Crimson Horror” was a bloody success. Maybe not as gory as Mark Gatiss might have hoped but his clear love of all things Victoriana and gothic did help proceedings here and he even managed to usurp “Cold War” as an engaging episode. If last week’s episode was a letdown, this certainly made up for it.

Rating: 9 out of 10