Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x02: "Selina Kyle"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Danny Cannon

Selina (to a boy): “Go for their eyes.”

It’s only two episodes and I’m already both impressed by Selina Kyle and a tiny bit afraid of her too. Not only did she give a scared little boy some deadly advice but the episode made sure to show that she can take her own advice pretty well too when one of the thugs of this week’s crime plot ended up having his eyes scratched out in a grisly manner – by a thirteen year old, I should point.

The main crime plot of the week – a child trafficking storyline with creepy duo Patti and Doug kidnapping homeless kids and having them shipped off courtesy of the Dollmaker. Some truly brilliant casting with both Lili Taylor and Frank Whaley who managed to make their characters both genuinely sinister and oddly charming to a degree as well. Of course, Gordon and Bullock ended up being their downfall but not before Selina managed to mostly give them the slip as well.

Speaking of Selina – while this episode was named after her and certainly gave her more to do than the opening one did, she still only appeared in a couple of scenes though. Mainly to facilitate the child trafficking plotline but also to establish a somewhat tense connection with James Gordon as well.

I liked that Selina was able to spot that Gordon was the least corrupt member of the GCPD and I also liked that she openly told him that she knew Mario Pepper didn’t kill the Waynes and that she knew who did. I’m not so sure how, considering the shooter was masked and all but the fact that she’s willing to help Gordon with the case is excellent nonetheless.

In terms of performance, this was a great one for Camren Bicondova. I definitely believe in her as a younger version of the girl who would become one of Gotham’s most infamous of thieves and I certainly like that she will go out of her way to help people as well. With this episode, she’s easily shaping up as one of the best characters in the series at the moment.

Of course, not far behind her though would be Oswald Cobblepot. After seeing him kill a man for a fecking sandwich, it wasn’t too shocking that he murdered one frat boy with a beer bottle and kept the other bound and gagged for an unsuccessful ransom as well. Oswald might not be a success at extorting money just yet but he’s certainly proven to be as dangerous and unpredictable as Selina and Taylor’s performance continues to impress in this one as well.

Also while Oswald might be regrouping, Fish got something of a horrible reality check in this week’s episode. It seems that Falcone doesn’t much like the idea of being potentially usurped and went to some interesting measure to keep Fish in line. The dynamic between those two was certainly something else to watch and with Maroni about to be added into the mix, the criminal world of Gotham is certainly getting more and more interesting to watch unfold.

As for Gordon and Bullock – this episode wasn’t as great as the first one for them but it worked well enough though. We saw them being antagonistic to each other and also impressed by their respective methods. I imagine this formula will continue with the show until one of them really does step out of the party line and either endangers or truly irritates the other. That being said though, I do enjoy their grudging partnership a lot.

Last but not least – the Bruce plot of the episode got dark almost pretty fast. With elements of self harm/testing himself, it was interesting to see Alfred (really loving the gruffer version here) reach out to Gordon in an attempt to get Bruce to see some sense. Like Bicondova, I have to praise David Mazouz. I was initially wary about seeing a younger Bruce in this series but he’s exceeding my expectations and his scenes are fantastic to watch.

Also in “Selina Kyle”

If Selina has gotten an episode named after her, then is it a safe assumption that other characters will do as well down the line? Selina also wants to be referred to as Cat, which might be laying it on a bit thick.

Bullock: “Listen, Mackey. We’re grown ups. We’re smarter than you.”

Both Renee and Crispus were briefly seen talking to Oswald’s mother, Gertrud Kapelput (Carol Kane), who looked like she had stepped out of a Tim Burton movie. I hope we see more of her.

Frat Boy: “Dude, anyone ever tell you when you walk, you look just like a penguin?”
Oswald: “No, nobody’s ever told me that.”

Falcone: “Men who are about to die are very honest. It pays to listen to them.”
Fish: “That’s some toast.”

What exactly is the name of Fish’s nightclub? Also, too bad poor Lazlo had to get beaten up by Falcone’s men just to teach Fish a lesson. FOX also released a new trailer which revealed that another Rogue member will be showing up soon.

Fish (to Butch): “I just wish that Penguin was still alive. I didn’t make that punk suffer near badly enough.”

Gordon: “Trust you? On women?”
Bullock: “Damn right. Whole varieties. From house frows to movie stars, I love them all.”

While both Essen and Mayor Aubrey were a little more developed in this episode (though not in a favourable way), Barbara, Nygma, Renee and Crispus only had a scene each in the episode. We also learned that Arkham Asylum has been closed for fifteen years.

Patti (to Selina): “Sit down, young lady like now.”

Gordon: “What’s your name?”
Selina: “Why is that any of your business?”

Standout music: Portishead’s “Roads” and there was some female rock band also playing in Fish’s club as well.

Gordon: “You’re hurting yourself.”
Bruce: “I’m testing myself. Different but I appreciate your concern.”

Oswald (to Frat Boy 1): "You must be quite the scamp."

Chronology: Not only where the opening episode left off. I think perhaps a few days.

It’s definitely not a fluke. With the pilot episode being impressive, there was the fear that following episodes wouldn’t hit the mark but if “Selina Kyle” is anything to go by, it looks like this is going to be one show that no-one should be missing. The music might still be distracting in some parts and perhaps the idea of a prequel for Batman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but so far, the handling has been superb.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x06: "The Caretaker"

Written by Gareth Roberts And Steven Moffat
Directed by Paul Murphy

The Doctor (to Clara, re Danny): “Well, you’ve explained me to him. You haven’t explained him to me.”

Okay, let’s get this thorny issue out of the way – since when does the Doctor hate soldiers? The answer – always I think. He might have been friends with the Brigadier and worked for UNIT in his third incarnation, but it’s not entirely out of character that the Doctor hasn’t always been fond of regimental types, which might be a tad hypocritical on his part but with this episode, it somewhat went to a whole new level.

I honestly do think the Doctor was more than a little harsh towards Danny Pink when he realised that the maths teacher (not PE) was Clara’s boyfriend but at the same time, there was also a mutual distrust between him and Danny. It wasn’t one sided and both were somewhat as harsh as each other with the officer/sir scene in the TARDIS being one of the most antagonistic scenes we’ve had to date in the series.

I don’t know if the Doctor’s more harsher standpoint on soldiers will lead to something dramatically (I hope it does) or if it’s just there as part of a triangle of sorts between him, Clara and Danny but I do know that Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Samuel Anderson all played off each other extremely well in this episode.

Danny probably wasn’t right to give Clara that ultimatum at the end of the episode either but I didn’t get the impression he was trying to be a controlling boyfriend (sorry social media) as such, just more that some of his past experiences with dealing with authority figures was somewhat clouding his own judgement. Clara can certainly more than take care of herself as we’ve seen for long enough.

As for Clara and Danny’s relationship – it might be a little early to throw out the ‘I love you’ and perhaps they don’t have the same spark that Amy and Rory did in previous series, but either way, I do like them well enough as a couple and given time, I’m sure both Danny and the Doctor will probably find some way of actually getting along with each other too.

Keeping with Danny for a bit longer though – I can understand the Doctor’s annoyance at him blundering in and wrecking his plan to stop the Skovox Blitzer but even that was an accident and Danny did manage to actually help both the Doctor and Clara send that killing machine on it’s very way in the end.

As for the Skovox – it just killed a random police officer, waddled about the place, shot a few chairs and generally was sent on it’s way. Design wise, it looked neat enough but it didn’t really do much and was more a prop to have the Doctor try and pass himself off as a caretaker at Coal Hill (where this episode was predominantly set) and learn about Clara and Danny being an item.

In a lot of ways this episode wasn’t that dissimilar to Roberts last two efforts where the domestics were more the focus than the actual monster itself. It’s not strictly a bad thing as the Doctor at Coal Hill produced some great scenes and even the dreaded Courtney from earlier in the series was actually a lot more likeable to watch. She even earned herself a trip in the TARDIS as a result.

Also in “The Caretaker”

The opening sequence with Clara hopping between dates with Danny and adventures with the Doctor is now one of my favourites.

Danny (to Clara, re the Doctor): “Bit intense looking. Did you see the eyebrows? Did he wink at you?”

Another point of this episode was that the last few minutes were set during Parents Evening. Courtney’s folks didn’t seem that concerned that she was a disruptive influence.

Clara: “Human beings are not otters.”
The Doctor: “Exactly. It’ll be even easier.”

Clara (to a student): “Who asks for homework? Amateurs!”

The in-joke with Adrian dressed as the 11th Doctor and having the current Doctor mistake him for Clara’s boyfriend was amusing enough.

Courtney: “You’re weird.”
The Doctor: “Yes I am and how about you?”

The Doctor: “I used to have a teacher exactly like you.”
Clara: “Well, you still do, pay attention.”

Ozzie Loves The Squaddie – juvenile but believable enough. I also want my own invisible watch too.

Danny (to Clara): “Oh my God, you’re from space. You’re a spacewoman. You said you were from Blackpool.”

Danny: “Why do you do it? Why do you go off in the box with him? The truth, please just this once.”
Clara: “Because it’s amazing. Because I see wonders.”

The police officer that was killed by Skovox ended up consulting with Seb (Chris Addison) in the Nethersphere. He seems to be Missy’s right hand man – the latter who appeared but said nothing this time.

Danny: “Is there anything I can do?”
The Doctor: “Yes, yes and this is very, very important – leave us alone.”

Seb (to police officer, re Missy): “Sorry, she’s a bit busy today. So any questions?”

Chronology: Mostly present day Coal Hill.

A fortnight ago, a certain episode provoked a certain amount of discussion over what could and couldn’t be done/shown with the Doctor’s past and “The Caretaker” seemed to generate similar heat over the current dynamic with the Doctor, his companion and her boyfriend. Overall, I found this episode pretty meaty in some parts, funny in others, a mash up of some past hits but at the same time, also one that I really enjoyed for good measure.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Revenge - Season 4 Preview

I apologise for not doing a blog in relation to the upcoming season of Revenge much earlier but I was hoping that we were going to be getting some nice cast shots for the new season. It seems apart from ones promoting both James Tupper (David) and Karine Vanasse (Margaux), ABC haven't exactly pushed out the boat here.

It seems this season's tagline is "what goes around comes around" with Victoria setting Emily in her sights. Here's the problem - unlike Emily back in the first season, not enough has happened to even justify the idea that Victoria is entitled to any revenge at all. Still though, aside from Nolan, Emily and Victoria's ongoing hatred for one another will continue to keep the show going but here's a question though ...

 .... isn't actually having David Clarke in the show alive somewhat undermining to the show's general mission statement? I mean, I like Tupper as an actor but having David be alive and not actually bothering to contact Emily/Amanda after all these years is a pretty douchey thing for the character to do. More to the point, it does kind of fly in the face of the last three seasons as well. I'm not sure how his overall presence (despite his named being cleared) will actually work in the show's favour to be honest.

As for the trailers for the new season, too many of them focused on recapping the previous seasons and showing very little in the way of new footage but the most recent one did seem to offer some interesting bits - such as new character Ben (Brian Hallisay0 shirtless, Jack as a cop (huh?), more Emily/Victoria moments (the latter getting handy with a shotgun), David lurking about the place, Margaux with an unflattering haircut, Nolan, Daniel and even what appears to be Charlotte unconscious. I can't help thinking that perhaps ABC have fallen a little out of love with the series, considering that the promotion has been far less than lead in show, Once Upon A Time. That's a shame, isn't it? The titles for the first six episodes are Renaissance, Disclosure, Ashes, Meteor, Repercussions and Damage.

Season 4 Trailer: http://www.spoilertv.com/2014/09/revenge-season-4-new-promo.html

Revenge's fourth season airs Sundays 10pm from September 28th on ABC and will premiere on both E4 and RTE2 from January 2015.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fire In The Estate

We're getting to that point now where there are so many shows returning that only some I probably will talk about at least once. Three of them mentioned here of course.

Bad Education: Back for a third and rumoured final series, BBC3 and Jack Whitehall's comedy remains one of the more funnier programmes with the opening episode largely focusing on a teacher's strike while introducing some new characters (mainly Cleo). Alfie might be a lousy educator but he's an entertaining character, even if you're given the impression that Whitehall is possibly playing a heightened version of himself at times.

Downton Abbey: Returning to 8 million viewers on Sunday (down but not dangerously so), the fifth series of ITV's cosy period drama was something of a mixed bag. On the plus side - more delightful quips from Violet, Baxter's secret finally being revealed (a little better than expected) and Edith and the local fireman coming up with a plan for her to see her daughter along with Bunting vs. Robert as well. On the not so good side, the fire was an anticlimax and lasted for about two minutes of screentime, the episode plodded too much at times and there's a worrying lack of chemistry between Mary and Gillingham to boot. Still, the episode was an improvement on most of the previous series.

Scandal: Nearing the half way point of this third season (really hope SkyLiving don't waste too much time airing Season 4), the show seems to be hotting up a lot. I wasn't too shocked about Olivia's mother actually being alive because seemingly dead characters never stay that way (looking at you, David Clarke), but the moment where her and Olivia reunited was a genuinely punch to the gut moment that the show seems to be capable of delivering in spades. Also, while I wasn't too fussed about Olivia hooking up with Fitz again, I did enjoy Mellie and Cyrus's scheming against Sally and the whole Huck and Quinn plot has been absorbing to watch as well. Oh and more Lisa Kudrow please.

The Leftovers: Perhaps I need another episode or two but having watched the opening episode of this latest HBO drama, I couldn't for the life of me get into it. Possibly something about a rapture, maybe - I could barely keep up with the show and I sat through Lost for six seasons. It just came across as a dull, plodding, lifeless show and not even some of the cast - Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, Amy Brennerman or Christopher Eccleston could keep my attention.

The Strain: Somewhat better but not yet something I'd class as addictive or gripping was this programme, which offered a genuinely different take on the vampire genre. Anyone hoping for something sexy as the antics in Bon Temps or Mystic Falls might be somewhat disappointed with this show as it's take on the genre is as removed from those series as you can possible yet. The pilot episode was a bit long and slightly slow in parts but the concept is interesting enough and there's a good rapport with leading characters, Ephram and Nora and I certainly can't wait to see more of David Bradley's mystery pawn shop owner and there were some decent scares too. It's got potential.

The Vampire Diaries: Nearly finishing up with the fifth season of the show, the following episodes have most been alright. The usual Damon and Elena angst certainly made itself know as he admitted to bumping off Aaron while Enzo seems to be a decent character and a pot stirrer to boot. The Travellers stuff has been okay to watch as well, but it does feel like it's treading way and do we really need another doppelganger plot so soon? I do like the additions of Liv and Luke though, character wise.

- Gillian Anderson has been confirmed as a regular for Hannibal's third season, which will air April or May 2015 on NBC. Series 2 of The Fall will air in November on BBC2/RTE1.
- Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn have been announced as the lead cast for Season 2 of True Detective.
- Shea Whigham has joined Agent Carter as the chief of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, Roger Dooley.
- Channel 5 have moved the third season of Dallas to late nights and the recent finale saw the death of a major character.
- Yeardley Smith will appear in an episode of The Mindy Project.
- Sally Pressman will be appearing in Once Upon A Time. Her role has yet to be confirmed.
- Jim Sheridan's movie In America is being developed for TV by HBO.
- Brian Benben will be appearing in Scandal in an undisclosed role for now.
- Scott Glen has joined Daredevil, taking on the role of Matt Murdock's mentor, Stick.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x01: "Pilot"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Danny Cannon

Gordon: “I know how you feel right now and I promise you, however dark or scary the world feels right now, there will be light. There will be light, Bruce.”

I’ve been anticipating this show for nearly a year and have certainly been discussing it just as much and now that it’s finally here, I watched the opening episode as early as I could and I have to say that a few niggles aside, this was a pretty on point way of opening the series up.

Starting with the murder of Martha and Thomas Wayne as a helpless Bruce looked on and Selina Kyle observed from afar set a great tone as their deaths generated the right amount of consequences and tone that Gotham is truly a city on the brink of disaster – from both sides it seems too.

On the good guy side, you’ve got both the newly recruited detective James Gordon and the lackadaisical Harvey Bullock both at odds with each other throughout the pilot episode as well as coming to realise that the other has a valid point in dealing with the criminals of Gotham City. Already there’s a strong chemistry with Benjamin McKenzie and Donal Logue and it’ll be interesting to see how their different methods affect their partnership throughout the series.

Gordon himself spent most of the episode vowing to catch the killer of the Waynes and when he realised that Mario Pepper had been used as a fall guy, the only thing he managed to accomplish was Fish Mooney’s wrath and Tom Falcone forcing his hand into bumping off Oswald Cobblepot for good measure.

Except that Oswald didn’t die and Gordon later wasted no time in informing Bruce that the wrong person went down/died for his parents murder. I do like that Gordon is trying not to be a corrupt cop in a city that seems to be scattered with them but he’s going to have tread very carefully if he really wants to achieve anything in his career.

As for Bullock – the show’s seems to have gotten to a good balancing act with him as well. He’s got no problem with flirting with Fish Mooney, looking the other way at some of her gang’s less savoury activities but at the same time in spite of his conflict with Gordon, he stuck his neck out for him and nearly got killed as a result. That already did a lot to portray him as more than a generic corrupt cop, which was good for me.

Keeping with the other cops of the episode – we got to see Gotham’s Police Captain, Sarah Essen for a scene as well as both Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen from the MCU, both of whom managed to rub both Gordon and Bullock up the wrong way. However aside from taking some information from Oswald, the most interesting thing was the brief scene shared between Renee and Barbara, implying a previous romantic history between the two.

As for the baddies of the piece – Butch seemed like a regular enforcer but could become more interesting as the show goes along. I didn’t much care for Mario Pepper, other than who his daughter turned out to be (hello, future Poison Ivy) but Oswald was a delight from start to finish with Robin Lord Taylor well and truly shining in all of his scenes while Falcone proved to be far more interesting in one brief scene with Gordon than he was in Batman Begins if I’m being candid.

As for Fish Mooney – I think we’ve got a winner here. Jada Pinkett-Smith managed to successfully bring the character to life, giving her the right amounts of flirtation, charm, campiness and menace all in an effortless swoop. Her scenes with Gordon, Bullock and Oswald all proved that as an up and comer, Fish is a force to be reckoned with but at the same time, there’s also a chance that her hotheadedness might get her in trouble with Falcone in later episodes. Either way, I’m intrigued by her.

Also in “Gotham”

Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) popped up in one scene and Bullock made it clear that he didn’t tolerate his riddles. He's a forensic scientist with the GCPD.

Renee: “Come on, Bullock, you know you’re scared of this case.”
Bullock: “You’re damn right I’m scared.”

Bullock implied that Renee might have a drug problem. Given what he was glugging at the cafe, he might have some problems too. I also get the impression that he and Fish have a lingering history as well.

Bullock: “Jim, you seem like a nice guy but this is not a city or a job for nice guys. Do you understand?”
Gordon: “No.”

Edward: “What’s nowhere but everywhere, except when something is?”
Gordon: “Nothing.”

Barbara has an art gallery and Falcone has history with Gordon’s father as well. We also saw the Mayor showing more enthusiasm for catching Thomas and Martha’s killer than GCPD themselves. Having Selina intertwined with Bruce so early is an interesting move too.

Oswald: “Sorry.”
Fish: “If you let my hair go frizzy you will be.”

Ivy: “You don’t want to talk to daddy.”
Gordon: “Why’s that?”
Ivy: “He’s mean.”

I don’t think I saw a single computer in this whole episode and more to the point, everyone seems to be using flip phones as well.

Renee: “Why snitch on your own boss?”
Oswald: “I confess that poor orphan boy prickled my conscience.”

Barbara: “I know him.”
Renee: “Does he know you like I know you?”

Kudos to Sean Pertwee’s gruffer version of Alfred for this show and the child actors playing Bruce, Selina and Ivy are all extremely well cast too.

Fish: “You have a little danger in your eye. I wonder what you plan to do with that.”
Gordon: “You’ll have to wait and see.”
Fish: “I hate surprises.”

Gordon: “Thanks for trying to help.”
Bullock: “Wish I hadn’t.”

I wonder what happened to the poor stand up who had to witness Fish beating the shit out of Oswald. He may also be a future Joker but also may not.

Fish: “Prove it. Prove your loyalty my little Penguin.”

Oswald (to Gordon): “Listen to me, there is a war coming. A terrible war. Falcone is losing his grip and his rivals are hungry. There will be chaos. Rivers of blood in the streets. I know it, I can see it coming. I’m clever that way.”

Chronology: I guess 2014 but it certainly doesn’t feel it like, though I did read that Heller and company were trying to create a timeless feel to the series.

For an opening episode the pilot did everything it needed to do. It set up the right characters, introduced a great partnership with Gordon and Bullock, hinted at a certain future for the orphaned Bruce Wayne as well as the future rogues that he will end up squaring off to and had some gorgeous cinematography to boot, especially during the opening sequence. It wasn’t by any means completely perfect or without it’s flaws (some characters less utilised than others, music being distracting in certain parts) and while I certainly hope this doesn’t become a series that outstays it’s welcome, it’s already a show that I want a good number of years getting to know the residents of. Fox, I think you definitely have a hit on your hands here.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x05: "Time Heist"

Written by Steve Thompson And Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Clara: “We’re actually gonna do this? Rob a bank?”
The Doctor: “I don’t think we have a choice. We’ve already agreed to it.”

And for this week only, here was an episode that probably had more in common with former BBC stable mate Hustle than either the original or modern version of Ocean’s Eleven. The Doctor, Clara and two new teammates robbing the most secure bank in the universe – or were they?

Playing around with a bit of timey wimey and of course, the memory worms from a previous adventure, this was never going to be a straightforward enough caper as trying to break into the banks of Karabraxos meant dealing with Ms Delphox, the Teller and the actual owner of the bank itself. Not to mention some death fake outs and trying to remember what originally set everything into motion in the first place.

However for an episode that seemingly could’ve been overly complicated, there was something actually breezy about the whole pacing. Clara had to put her date with Danny on hold as she joined in the adventure, the Doctor gave his number to a person who waited a while in their own timeline to use it and then of course, there was the new recruits with Psi and Saibra.

As guest characters, both Psi and Saibra were a delight to watch – the former an augmented human/walking computer and the latter a mutant human/shape shifter, both of whom had their abilities put to reasonably use within the episode itself and were charmingly brought to life by both Jonathan Bailey and Pippa Bennett-Warner. More to the point – they also fitted effortless in with the Doctor and Clara, which of course certainly helped matters.

It’s because of this that I almost forgive the episode for tricking viewers into thinking that both of them were initially dead when the Teller came after them and given the banter with the characters and the Doctor and Clara, it would be something of a missed opportunity for Moffat and Thompson not to at least bring the characters back for one more caper as well.

However while both Psi and Saibra worked extremely well as guest characters, it’s a shame to report that Keeley Hawes, despite some fun moments in this episode wasn’t as well utilised. Ms Delphox the clone and the original, Madame Karabraxos weren’t necessarily bad as such but at the same time, they did feel a little too much of a mash up of Miss Foster, Kovarian and Kizlet with not nearly enough to make the characters stand out on their own.

On the plus side, Hawes does extremely well with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor finally pieces everything together (who didn’t see the reveal about him being the Architect coming a mile off?) but Karabraxos’s sudden bout of guilt towards the end of her life didn’t exactly ring that true.

As for the Teller – well, this went the same way that Hide sort of did with the Crooked creature in a way. It looked bad, could detect guilt and reduce people to soup – it very nearly did with our gang at different points in the episode but ultimately it was working for Karabraxos under duress and once free from her clutches was able to go back to it’s own world and live with it’s mate.

Also in “Time Heist”

Danny’s appearance at the start of this episode was clearly added at the last minute. Samuel Anderson isn’t even credited for the episode.

Psi: “Ever try not thinking of something?”
Saibra: “You may have to.”

This is the second of three episodes that Steven Moffat has co-written this series. He also previously co-wrote with Thompson this year on Sherlock.

Ms Delphox: “We’ll be fired. Fired with pain.”

The Doctor (to Psi): “Picture the thing you want most in the universe and decide how badly you want it.”

Thanks to Psi we got to see images of characters such as John Hart, the Androvax and Abslom Daak for good measure.

Saibra: “When you meet the architect, promise me something – kill him!”
The Doctor: “I hate him but I can’t make that promise.”

Psi: “Clara, for what it’s worth and it might not worth much, when your life flashes in front of you; you see people you love and people missing you. I see no-one.”

Much as I don’t mind Clara not travelling full time with the Doctor, it does seem that sometimes she might not always be enthused when he calls for an adventure. I’m guessing this will lead to something as well.

Madame Karabraxos: “My clone and yet, she doesn’t even protest. Pale irritation really. I should sue.”

The Doctor: “Don’t go robbing any banks what?”
Clara: “Without me.”
The Doctor: “Course not, boss.”

Chronology: A few weeks after the events of “Listen”.

“Time Heist” is unlikely to go down as a future classic but considering Steve Thompson’s less than stellar history with episodes, this one was a step up for him. A fun caper that isn’t without it’s flaws but enjoyable no less.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Doctor Who - Christmas 2014 Cast Announced

We might be nearly halfway through the eighth series of Doctor Who but casting for the Christmas special has finally been announced. Details on the actual episode, not so much though.

Nick Frost, best known for his roles in Spaced, Hyperdrive, Mr Sloane and a lot of things with Simon Pegg will be appearing in the special and joining him are both Nathan McMullen (Misfits) and Michael Troughton (The New Statesman). Of course, they're not the only ones joining both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman for the latest festive edition of the series.

Also joining frost and company will be former Coronation Street/Strictly Come Dancing star Natalie Gumede as well as Faye Marsay (Fresh Meat, Glue), also in roles that have not yet been revealed. executive producer Steven Moffat however has said “Frost at Christmas – it just makes sense! I worked with Nick on the Tintin movie many years ago and it’s a real pleasure to lure him back to television for a ride on the TARDIS.”

Meanwhile rumours seem to be rife that Jenna Coleman might be making her last appearance in the Christmas. Originally this was just speculated online, then the rumour started appearing in some tabloids and even a few weeks ago, it was even speculated on BBC3 news. Could this year's Christmas special see the exit of Clara Oswald? Even Coleman herself has been somewhat cryptic when quizzed about it but given that spoilers for some of the later episodes of Series 8 (in particular Kill The Moon) have thrown some hints, I think it's quite possible that Clara may be leaving but until an actual source properly confirms or denies Jenna's involvement in the ninth series, we won't know for certain. If she is leaving though, then she will have left a great impression in the two series and 25 episodes (and various splinters/echoes) she's appeared in.

Press Releasehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/doctorwho/articles/Nick-Frost-to-guest-star-in-Doctor-Who-Christmas-Special

Doctor Who's eighth series continues to air on BBC1 Saturdays at 8.30pm (next week onwards) and will be released on DVD from November 17th. The Christmas special continues to film and will air on Christmas Day.

Batman - Top 20 Rogue Gallery Members Part 4

Now it's time for the last of my Rogues Gallery list and while my Top 5 is arguably predictable as anything, there's a reason why these five members have stood the test of time and popped up in the most of media - four of whom will be prominent in the upcoming series, Gotham.

1: The Joker (Jack Napier?)

The Clown Prince of crime and the man who always has a permanent smile on his face. The Joker is the most iconic villain in all of Batman's lore and he's always appeared in some capacity in nearly every Batman related media and will always continue to do so. The Joker might have once quoted that "without Batman, crime doesn't have a punchline" but without him, the same can also be applied. I can't imagine a Gotham without him either.

2: Catwoman (Selina Kyle)

Like the Joker, it's hard to imagine a Gotham where the most infamous cat burglar and all round morally grey, Catwoman isn't prowling. Just like Clown Prince himself, Selina Kyle has cropped up in nearly every Batman related media and continues to make an impression in all of them. While some parts of her backstory (Frank Miller, I'm looking at you), don't always work, it's hard to deny that the character has something of an enduring appeal over the years.

3: Poison Ivy (Pamela Isley)

An eco-terrorist with a difference as Ivy's connection to Mother Earth has been quite literal, given the fact that she's got an immunity to toxins as well as an affinity to plant life as well. One of the most interesting members of the Gallery and definitely but a run of the mill criminal or femme fatale either, Ivy has proved to be as deadly as she looks in various incarnations.

4: The Riddler (Edward Nygma)

Riddle me this, who managed to get to number four on this list? Actually, you don't have to as it's pretty obvious, isn't it? One of Gotham's most perplexing of villains, the man's love for a good riddle and quest to show off his smarts has certainly made him into one of the trickier Rogue members to deal with, but also one of the most stimulating ones as well, intellectually.

5: The Penguin (Oswald Cobblepot)

Bringing a certain level of sophistication and class to the table and earning his position in my Top 5 would be this bird themed gangster/nightclub owner. The Penguin might be a short, portly fellow sometimes with flipper hands (depending on the incarnation), but he's also a tough bird who can cause mayhem with the best of them.

I hope you enjoyed the list. I'll be reviewing Gotham from next week onwards and there will be other Batman verse related blogs every now and then as well.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Batman - Top 20 Rogue Gallery Members Part 3

My penultimate look of the best rogues and we're into the Top 10 when it comes to the villains that have proven to be worthy adversaries for the Dark Knight.

6: Harley Quinn (Harleen Quinzel)

This character might be less than thirty years old having made her debut in Batman: The Animated Series first before transitioning into the comics (and popping up in shows such as Birds Of Prey and Arrow) but she's certainly turned out to be a far more interesting and endearing character and her genuine friendship with fellow Rogue member, Poison Ivy has probably been more interesting than her destructive relationship with the Joker but either way, Harley has proven to be quite a force to be reckoned with in various mediums.

7: Two-Face (Harvey Dent)

Scarred by Sal Maroni and popping up in movies such as Batman Forever and The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent might have once been a strong force in trying to get the criminals off the streets of Gotham but he soon became every bit as dangerous as many of the criminals he took on and his ongoing rivalry with Batman has kept many of us entertained for years. However outing Montoya was not one of his greatest moments.

8: Ras Al Ghul

Also known as the demon and a man who has lived for centuries. Also known as the father of Talia (and Nyssa), grandfather to Damien (ugh) and someone who original wanted the Detective (Batman) to become his natural heir. While Ras is certainly a dangerous presence and one that was nicely brought to life in Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy by Liam Neeson and will be appearing in Arrow soon, he also one of the more complex of Batman's adversaries as well.

9: The Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane)

He might not look physically threatening and I won't lie - in general scarecrow don't really generate much in the way of fear for me, but Crane is one of the nastiest and creepiest members of the Rogue Gallery and with his fear toxins, he can certainly put the frighteners on anyone unlucky to be around him.

10: Bane

The man who literally broke Batman's back and a far more interesting character than I was previously led to believe in Batman & Robin. Luckily both the comics and The Dark Knight Rises have been more than enough to showcase how much of a physical and strategic threat this particular character can be when he has gone up against Batman and because of that, he just about manages to get into my Top 10 list.

The last of this list will be up tomorrow.

London Spy - Ben Whishaw Cast In BBC2 Thriller

A couple of months ago, BBC2 announced that they were going to commission a five episode spy drama named London Spy by gay writer Tom Rob Smith and now it's leading man has been revealed ...

Ben Whishaw, best known for his role as Q in Skyfall and of course, the short lived BBC2 series The Hour will take on the role of Danny, describe as a“a gregarious, hedonistic, but ill-equipped spy”. Danny falls in love with Alex, described as “anti-social and enigmatic,” but who later goes missing forcing Danny to attempt to find him.

On the casting announcement, Smith said: “Ben Whishaw is quite simply one of the best actors in the country. It’s an extraordinary privilege, as a writer, to have him play the lead.”

While casting for the role of Alex and other characters in the upcoming series have yet to be announced, I have to admit that this does sound like it's going to be an interesting take on the genre and Whishaw is a superb casting choice for the role of Danny.

Casting News: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/09/18/ben-whishaw-cast-as-lead-in-new-bbc-gay-spy-drama/

London Spy begins filming in October and will air on BBC2 in 2015.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gotham - Final Roundup

Okay, I swear that until the airing of the first episode that this will be the last blog I post in relation to Gotham and this one is more of a roundup of some tiny spoilers and an interesting article, courtesy of The Advocate in relation to the female characters of the upcoming series.

Fox have kindly been releasing a few more promotional banners for the upcoming series. in the last fortnight, we've had one of the city itself, another with just James Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), another with Carmine Falcone (John Donam), Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova), Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) and Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor). More to the point, we have titles and spoilers for the first three episodes of the series.

As for the episodes, the first three have the titles of Pilot (not exactly a shocker there), Selina Kyle and The Balloonman. At this rate, I can't really tell you anything new about the opening episode that several reviews haven't already revealed, other than it sets up what's to come for the prequel series with the death of the Waynes having quite the ripple effect on the city. The second episode however does focus on a child trafficking plot that affects Selina, will debut Oswald's mother, Gertrud Kabelput (Carol Kane) and also will feature former Six Feet Under actress Lili Taylor in the role of Patti. As for the third episode, it's titular character is a vigilante killing corrupt Gothamites via a weather balloon, will introduce former Dexter actor David Zayas as mob boss Sal Maroni and will also see Oswald working for another figure in the criminal underworld. So far, these are very basic descriptions but all of them do sound rather interesting, episode wise.

Meanwhile, influential LGBT magazine, The Advocate recently posted an interesting article on the diversity of Gotham's female cast - with particular focus on mob boss/nightclub owner Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Captain of GCPD's Homicide Squad, Sarah Essen (Zabryna Guevara) and lesbian detective, Renee Montoya (Victoria Cartegena). In the article, both Pinkett Smith and Cartegena voiced their delight in getting to play prominent female characters in power while co–executive producer Danny Cannon went on to state “There’s no way we on Earth we would have a show like this limit itself with out-of-date values.” There have been several reasons why I've been looking forward to Gotham for the last year but the show's inclusion of prominent LGBT and POC characters has definitely been one of them and I personally cannot wait to see what Fish, Sarah and Renee get to bring to the series during the next few months.

Gotham Spoilers/Trailers/Sneak Peeks: http://www.spoilertv.com/search/label/Gotham
The Advocate Article: http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/geek/2014/09/10/holy-diversity-batman

Gotham airs Mondays 8pm on FOX from September 22nd and is rumoured to air on Channel 5 in October. Netflix have also acquired the rights to the series and will stream it after transmission of it's first season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

First Look: MTV's Faking It

I have to admit when I read about MTV's new teen drama, Faking It earlier this year, I wasn't best pleased with the general premise. In fact, I actually found it pretty offensive and thought the music channel was hitting a new low.

With the show about to start on the UK viewing next week on MTV (which makes you wonder why the UK version of that station can't air Teen Wolf), the series, created by Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov focuses on two girls - Amy Raudenfeld (Rita Volk) and Karma Ashcroft (Katie Stevens) who decide that in order to gain some notice at their local high school they'll pretend to be a lesbian couple, which certain has the desired result - except for the fact that out of the two of them, it seems that Amy isn't faking it after all, which at least makes sure that the premise of this show isn't as bad as it seems. Not to mention that rival popular girl Lauren (Bailey De Young) isn't particularly convinced by the girls relationship either and seems determined to out their fake romance. De Young's character also represents one of MTV's first intersex characters as well.

Another major focus in the series is the dynamic between best friends - straight Liam Booker (Gregg Sulkin) and gay Shane Harvey (Michael Willett), both of whom seem to have quite the tactile and affection friendship as well as playing instrumental roles in both Amy and Karma's ongoing arcs. Liam himself gets romantically involved in Karma throughout the eight episode first season while Shane, the guy responsible for outing Amy and Karma's 'relationship' ends up becoming a support system for the former when he isn't getting a love interest of his own with celibate character, Pablo (Anthony Palacios) for the show's upcoming second season.

I know I haven't actually watched anything yet aside from the ads but it looks like I really (and possibly severely) misjudged this show. The more I've read up about it, the better it actually sounds.

Seasons 1 & 2 Trailers/Recaps/Links: http://www.mtv.com/shows/faking_it/

Faking It's first season airs Wednesdays 9pm on MTV (UK version) from September 24th but it's second season will air Tuesdays at 10.30pm on MTV (US version) from September 23rd. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show - Ryan Murphy Interview/New Spoilers

I know it's not been exactly long since my last post for the upcoming season of American Horror Story, but the spoilers are coming a little thick and fast and it's kind of hard not to want to share them. Especially now that Ryan Murphy has revealed so much more in an interview with Entertainment Weekly ...

First of all, we can thank Jessica Lange herself for this season being set in a Freak Show. The actress, who is a keen photographer in her spare time suggested the idea to Murphy and after looking at her albums, he decided to run with it. Murphy discussed about having to build an entire city for the upcoming series as well, which means this is going to be a massive show. As for Lange's character - ex-pat Elsa Mars, well it seems that she will be more benevolent compared to past characters. We also learned in the interview that Mars is a chanteuse and has spent the last twenty years rescuing fellow freaks from society and protecting them with Kathy Bates's Ethel Darling as her right hand woman. Viewers can also expect both 1920s and 1930s flashbacks focusing on both Elsa and Ethel in the season.

Another interesting aspect about Freak Show is that it will be the first season in which a character from a previous season will appear. Pepper, played by Naomi Grossman from Asylum will be appearing in the upcoming season and her time here will serve as a prequel to the events of the second season. Pepper was an immensely popular and interesting character, so I'm delighted that Murphy is breaking his usual rules and that we're getting another chance to get to know the character once again. I also get the feeling I might not be alone here as well.

With the last week revealing much more about the cast and the characters they're playing this season, we finally have a name to Frances Conroy's character - Gloria Mott. Conroy will be playing the mother of Finn Wittrock's character - Dandy Mott. Dandy is a handsome fella who seems at odds with the world and wants to join the freak show while Gloria seems to be doing everything in her power to keep her son away from them. Gloria will also be a co-worker and friend of Patti LaBelle's character, who goes missing. The disappearance of LaBelle's character will also introduce Gabourey Sidibe's socialite character into the mix as well, given that this season's main villain is also John Carroll Lynch's Twisty the Clown.

However while we don't have a name for Denis O'Hare's character as of yet (no doubt that will change soon), we do know that both him and Emma Roberts fake fortune teller, Maggie will be in collusion with each other though. Murphy also revealed that things will go wrong in the carny camp pretty soon when Maggie shows up. Then there's also Wes Bentley's two faced (literally) Eddie Mondrake causing chaos and the possibility that conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tatler (Sarah Paulson) might not be all they seem as well. There's also a romance between certain characters to look out for, a rivalry between Jimmy (Evan Peters) and Wendell (Michael Chiklis) amongst the many crazy events of the upcoming season. The more and more I read up about this, the more exciting it sounds.

Ryan Murphy Interview: http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/09/15/american-horror-story-freak-show-ryan-murphy/

American Horror Story: Freak Show will air Wednesdays 10pm on FX from October 8th and Tuesdays at 10pm on FOXUK from October 21st.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x04: "Listen"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

The Doctor: “I don’t take orders, Clara.”
Clara: “Do as you’re told.”

Well, maybe it’s me but did this episode cause more of a shit storm on the internet over the last few days than the 50th anniversary episode did in a week? It certainly felt like it as Steven Moffat seemingly ‘broke’ a cardinal rule by further embedding Clara into the Doctor’s past.

If certain audience members weren’t already pissed off by having her enter his time stream in the previous series, then having Clara speak to the Doctor as a child in a certain barn on Gallifrey certainly incensed a lot of viewers. Was I one of them? Er, no actually – I actually loved the scene.

While I do think this probably should be the last time that Clara Oswald is embedded into the Doctor’s history, pre An Unearthly Child, I can’t help but love the scene for what it was and that someone comforting a child and giving them hope by allaying all their primal fears about things being under the bed and being afraid to fight and so on. As a scene alone, it was beautifully written and acted and almost hard not to fault as a result.

This episode was something though of a three/four hander with the Doctor, Clara, Danny and Orson (the latter two played by Samuel Anderson extremely well) all getting a fair amount of scope. The Doctor mainly was obsessed with the idea that even when you’re alone, you’re not really and this episode went out of it’s way to see the Doctor try and prove that point through his companion.

It’s how we ended up in a children’s home where Clara met the frightened Rupert Pink, who would later change his name and have a history with war as well as a stance on what it means to be a soldier as well. I quite liked the scenes where both the Doctor and Clara were trying to get Rupert to look away from the creature under his bed covers. Who exactly was that creature though? It’s one thing this episode didn’t provide an answer for but perhaps it might have been another child playing a prank or something far more sinister. Perhaps we’ll never get an answer for this one.

Speaking of Rupert – well, he grew up to become Danny Pink and Danny certainly had something of a disastrous first date/drink with Clara in this episode as well. While the scenes did feel like they were trying to echo Moffat’s previous series Coupling too much at times, I did like the awkwardness between Danny and Clara as they both managed to embarrass themselves and inadvertently offend each other from time to time. Of course, the episode also didn’t waste time in pointing out that they do somehow end up together in the long run.

It’s how Orson Pink factored into the part where the Doctor and Clara ended up at the end of the universe. He was clinging onto the gun-less toy soldier that Clara had given his great grandfather (and later the Doctor) and it was a way of the Doctor getting a taster of that private life that Clara seems to be eager to keep him out of as well. Then again, enjoyable as Orson was, I didn’t really need to see him to realise that things would work out with Clara and Danny though. The end scene where they made up more or less did the same thing.

Also in “Listen”

The opening shot of the Doctor sitting on top of the TARDIS in a meditative position was pretty cool. I even liked the bit where he went underwear and there was a fair use of the chalkboard this week.

Danny: “Sometimes people like you get the wrong end of the stick.”
Clara: “People like me?”

Danny mentioned quite a lot that he dug 23 wells during his soldier days. I actually think he might be suffering from some PTSD as well.

Clara: “How long have you been travelling alone?”
The Doctor: “Perhaps I never have.”

Clara: “Do you know why they’re called dreams?”
Rupert: “Why?”
Clara: “Because they’re not real?”

I just realised that Danny is the second companion from Moffat's era with a history in a children’s home. We did see Melody/River in one during the sixth series as well.

Rupert: “He took my bedspread.”
The Doctor: “Oh, the human race. You’re never happy, are you?”

The Doctor (to Orson): “There are only three people in the universe and you’re lying to the other two.”

We got some reused footage of the War Doctor from The Day Of The Doctor in this episode. Still, that’s two former Doctor appearances in the first four episodes.

Clara (to the Doctor): “Do you have your own mood lighting now because frankly the accent is enough.”

I don’t think we got anything in this episode that alluded or mentioned the Promised Land and we didn’t see Missy again either. I don’t doubt we’ll get another appearance from her before the finale though.

Clara (to the Doctor): “Fear makes companions of us all.”

Chronology: Mostly 2014 London, early or mid 1990s Gloucester and of course, the end of the universe. Orson’s also from the 22nd century.

This was certainly a polarising episode and while it did try to evoke the same chills, use of sensory perception and eeriness that past episodes have done, I also think that “Listen” in spite of it’s polarising moments might be the first classic episode from Capaldi’s era. It’s certainly for the time being going to be the most heavily debated one. Essentially, a beautiful character piece nonetheless.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Batman - Top 20 Rogue Gallery Members Part 2

Continuing on from where I started yesterday with this countdown, here is the second part of my Top 20 Rogue Gallery Members when it comes to Batman villains ...

11: Mr Freeze (Victor Fries)

If ever there was a chilly customer in Gotham, it would certainly be this tragic scientist. Narrowly missing the Top 10, I've always found that Freeze is one of a few Rogue Gallery members who despite the crimes he's committed has something of a sympathetic side, mainly due to his determination to cure ailing wife Nora. Still though, he's not someone you'd want to go up against, unless you fancy being on ice.

12: Man-Bat (Kirk Langstrom)

Another somewhat sympathetic member of the gallery, like Freeze, there's something about Man-Bat thats both monstrous and sympathetic at the same time. A character who has yet to make any kind of big screen translation, both the comics and cartoons have managed to give a balanced portrayal of the character, making him both a powerful adversary for Batman and a tragic figure at the same time.

13: Talia Al Ghul

One of two serious love interests for Bruce Wayne/Batman to make the list and also the mother of the annoying Damien Wayne (sorry but he's irritating folks), Talia has certainly been an interesting character to read and watch over the years with the comics intensifying her relationships between her father Ras Al Ghul, as well as Bane and Batman and mainstream viewers got a taste for the character with various cartoons and recently Marion Cottilard's take on the character in The Dark Knight Rises. Talia is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

14: Mad Hatter (Jervis Tetch)

And here I thought this fella only existed in the world of Lewis Carroll. Blatantly inspired and more or less the same iteration, Tetch's Hatter is a great villain in the Batman universe, using all kind of bizarre mind control and theatricality that both Hugo Strange and the Joker themselves would be proud of.

15: Clayface (Matt Hagan)

While there are various versions of the shape shifting criminal that is known as Clayface, my favourite take on the character and probably the most appropriate one has been the Matt Hagan version. The idea of a vain, fading actor becoming this monstrous creature is pretty inspired and it's by far the most interesting version of the character out there.

Part 3 of this rundown will be next Friday.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Batman - Top 20 Rogue Gallery Members Part 1

Now that I've completed Batman: The Animated Series, done reviews for the Burton/Schumacher/Nolan movies and am waiting for the arrival of Gotham, I thought I would do something of a rundown of twenty of the most influential (and interesting) members of the Rogue Gallery. So without further ado, here we go ...

16: Killer Croc (Waylon Jones)

One of the more mutated of Batman's rogue collection, I have to admit that while Croc might be one of a few villains that could be a little hard to translate on the big screen (if other future movies continue down Nolan's grittier path), I do find Croc fascinating enough as a character. He's certainly an imposing presence, which is fitting considering that he's also a former professional wrestler as well.

17: Professor Hugo Strange

If there were at least one other rogue member who had a fixation for Batman besides the Joker and Catwoman, it would be Hugo Strange, The mad professor seems a little desperate to literally want Batman's crime fighting lifestyle as well as being aware of who exactly was behind the cape and cowl as well. Certainly one of the most deranged and genius of the villains out there.

18: Carmine Falcone

Not every villain in Batman's universe needs a costume in order to make a presence and one of two of them to feature on here would be the Roman himself. Falcone himself is certainly a brutal enough mob boss with his own particular reign of terror and hold on Gotham as well as his rivalries with fellow mobsters and other rogue members, along with a possible connection to a certain jewel thief if other comics are anything to go by.

19: Ventriloquist/Scarface

Initially, when I first saw this double act, it did seem a little like it was parodying a mobster act, rather than being the real deal itself but the combination of mild manner/multiple personalities Arnold Wesker and his psychotic puppet Scarface (or it is the other way) meant that these two made for an interesting team.

20: Sal Maroni

Another gangster on the list but certainly a prominent. Like Falcone, Maroni certainly has something of an influence over Gotham City, including his own moniker - the slightly less inspiring the boss. Of course, there was another reason why Maroni just about managed to make my Top 20 list - he is after all responsible for the creation of another rogue member.

Next blog will be tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Downton Abbey - Series 5 First Look

With the latest series of The X Factor, currently dominating ITV's schedules, the station's another successful powerhouse will be back as well. With less than a fortnight to go, here's a look at what to expect for the upcoming fifth series of Downton Abbey ...

Judging by the new cast shot, the action has moved a few years (1924 supposedly) as we have both older versions of George and Sibbie standing alongside the rest of the cast and either Isis has lived a long life or the Crawleys have gotten a similar looking dog. As for spoilers in the new series, it seems like there won't be much time wasted in Mary picking between suitors if the latest trailer is anything to go by while a fire in the manor accidentally started by Edith will be the main focus of the first episode.

In terms of guest stars, the upcoming series will have the likes of Sue Johnson as a ladies maid for Violet, Anna Chancellor as a former employer of Jimmy's named Lady Anstruther and Richard E. Grant as Simon Bricker - a character who will be stirring up trouble for Cora when he arrives in the series. It's been confirmed that Lily James will be departing at the end of this series as Rose and hints of a romance for Isobel have also surfaced along with hopefully a resolution as to whether or not Mr Bates has blood on his hands from the previous series.

Meanwhile in probably the most surprising casting, it seems that George Clooney (yes, that one) will be appearing in the series - sort of. While the show has filmed it's Christmas episode, Clooney will however be playing an American guest at a wedding in a sketch scene for ITV's Text Santa fundraising appeal. That should be interesting to see.

Series 5 Trailer/Spoilers: http://www.spoilertv.com/search/label/Downton%20Abbey

Series 5 of Downton Abbey will air Sundays 9pm on ITV from September 21st and January 4th 2015 for PBS.