Saturday, November 29, 2014

Glee - Season 5 Review

US Airdate: September 26th 2013-May 13th 2014

The series hits a hundred episodes and commemorates the passing one of their leads.

Broadway Or Bust: I should've reviewed this season earlier but I've been busy and due to the fact that more spoilers are emerging for the final season, I'm getting around to it now. I've got to be honest - the fifth season of this show is without a doubt the weakest season we've had and maybe it was the tragic passing of actor Cory Monteith or other stuff behind the scenes, but part of the reason why this season doesn't seem to work is because it feels all over the place to be honest.

Getting back to Cory Monteith first - I am grateful that the show gave his character, Finn an appropriate tribute episode with The Quarterback, an episode both powerful and extremely uncomfortable to watch (I've literally only seen it once). It was a suitable nod to one of the show's most prominent character to boot.

However aside from the tribute episode, there's only really a handful of episodes that are really worth watching again. The opening episode, Love, Love, Love was probably the better of the Beatle tribute episodes (along with that Kurt/Blaine proposal) and Previously Unaired Christmas was easily the best (and least saccharine) festive offering the show has given us. Add into the mix a bisexual gigola hunky Santa in Bryce Johnson and it's an almost perfect episode.

The highlight of the season though would be the 100 and New Directions two parter. The former for bringing back many of the past characters (Quinn and Puck being the obvious examples as Mercedes was brought back earlier in the season), celebrating a 100 episodes and of course, writing out the second generation of kids and shutting the doors of McKinley, though now we know the place will be returning properly for the sixth season anyways. As episodes, they're probably the most fun the show has had in a long time and the remaining seven episodes following them just don't hit the mark either, except the penultimate episode written by Chis Colfer, which turned out to be a surprise gem.

In fact most of this season seems to be marred - first by a tiresome feud with Rachel and Santana which lasts about two episodes longer than necessary. Santana herself is actually savagely underused in this season, even to the point where she was written out in the finale and the relationship she's given with Demi Lovato's character, Dani doesn't really go anywhere. Similarly, her reunion with Brittany, while sweet is also somewhat rushed and unexplored as well. It also doesn't help that both Will and Sue also feel there at times, the Blaine and Sam bromance felt like it was pandering to the Tumblr crowd and it's a shame that Adam Lambert didn't get more to do, though his stint as Elliot was fun to watch.

Also the tribute and special episodes don't seem to have the same effect as well. One where the group are divided into either Katy Perrys or Lady Gagas reeked of scraping the barrel as did the ode to twerking while Bash for all it's good intentions of highlighting gay bashing was something that also didn't quite hit the mark either. Plus, the less said about the episode, Tested, the better right? Definitely one to erase from the memory banks there.

Much as I enjoy this series in general and as much as it will probably be Ryan Murphy's most successful offering (with American Horror Story not far behind), there's not actually a lot to recommend about this season. It's definitely the weakest, save a few episodes and too often at times too focused on Rachel's ambitions which take in both Broadway and a television career as well (also complete with a Lena Dunham style writer trying to mine a TV show from Rachel's life) and the finale is definitely the weakest of the bunch.

With a reduced final season to 13 episodes, hopefully the series can regain some focus and spread the love a bit with it's core characters because this season certainly could've benefitted from that.

DVD Extras: A feature on the show's 100th episode as well as the features Glee in the City and Glee Music Jukebox. Not really anything too exciting there.

Episode Ratings

5x01: Love, Love, Love = 7/10, 5x02: Tina In The Sky With Diamonds = 6/10,
5x03: The Quarterback = 8/10, 5x04: A Katy Or A Gaga = 6/10,
5x05: The End Of Twerk = 7/10, 5x06: Movin' On = 7/10,
5x07: Puppet Master = 7/10, 5x08: Previously Unaired Christmas = 9/10,
5x09: Frenemies = 6/10, 5x10: Trio = 7/10
5x11: City Of Angels = 8/10, 5x12: 100 = 9/10,
5x13: New Directions = 8/10, 5x14: New New York = 7/10,
5x15: Bash = 7/10, 5x16: Tested = 4/10,
5x17: Opening Night = 7/10, 5x18: The Back Up Plan = 7/10,
5x19: Old Dogs, New Tricks = 8/10, 5x20: The Untitled Rachel Berry Project = 5/10

Glee Season 5 is currently available on DVD.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Downton Abbey - Season 5 Review

A slightly better year than the previous one but not one without it's faults as things were in full 1920s during this series.

Episode 1: The fire episode, well the one with the least dramatic fire going. This was also the episode that revealed that Edith's daughter, Marigold was staying with the Drewe family while a former employer of Jimmy's cost him his job at Downton. February 1924.

Episode 2: Focusing on Daisy's study as well as Robert's dislike of Bunting, this episode also introduced Richard E Grant's Simon Brucker as well. There was also the plot of Mary getting Anna to obtain a diaphragm so she could sleep with Gillingham. April 1924.

Episode 3: A good episode for delving a little into Violet's past but another hostile moment between both Robert and Bunting did seem a little unnecessary though. Also some good moments between Carson and Mrs Patmore over a past matter as well. 1924.

Episode 4: Despite Thomas being pretty horrible to Baxter during this series, she is the one who comes to his aid when he needed it the most here. There were also some great Violet/Isobel moments and Rose's father arrived at Downton as well. Mary also ditched Gillingham in this one. 1924.

Episode 5: Rose meets Atticus while Robert and Brucker slug it out over Cora. I have to admit I sort of enjoyed Violet's scheming as well when it came to Isobel's love life and the Carson/Patmore scenes were pretty good as well. 1924

Episode 6: Edith finally got her daughter back and we met Violet's new ladies maid, Denker, whom Spratt took a great dislike towards. There was also a plot including a horse and some great scenes with Baxter and Thomas as the latter's conversion storyline was resolved. 1924.

Episode 7: Isis died. Probably the best character on the show at this point while Cora and Edith came up with a nonsensical way for Marigold to stay at Downton as well. Then there's also the fact that Lord Merton's sons are still annoying and Mary and Blake drove Gillingham and Mabel into each other's arms. Plus Rose and Atticus got engaged. 1924.

Episode 8: Rose and Atticus got married, Anna got arrested, Robert figured out that Marigold was actually his granddaughter while Thomas saved Andy from Denker's gambling talons and Branson made a decision about his future at Downton as well. 1924.

Something of a better series than the previous one but at the same time, I hated the convoluted manner in which they dealt with Edith and Marigold and the whole 'Who Killed Green?' and Mary's suitors plots have been horribly dragged out as well. I'm hoping the upcoming Christmas special and the first half of the sixth series puts these storylines to bed, once and for all as well as Thomas finally getting some action as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 1x06: Freakin' Whack-A-Mole

I'm getting through the first half of this season nicely and last night's episode (from Universal's POV, not ABC's) finally gave Asher a bit more to do.

Written by Michael Foley
Directed by Bill D'Elia

Dude: In which out of all the male characters, Asher seems to have written as a stereotypical frat boy dude throughout. Even in the first few minutes of this episode, flashforward time, he's virtually amping up the perception of his character before realising the trophy he acquired not so ethically has been nicked. There's also the fact that he was nearly run over by the other members of the Keating Five and the ending where it was revealed that he slept with Bonnie as well while his classmates were disposing of a corpse. Asher's not a particularly deep character and could be arguably the weakest of the Keating Five but this episode did raise some good moments with the character though.

Daddy Issues: While Michaela seemed to take a pop at Connot perhaps having father issues (due to the implication he didn't know who his father was), this episode raised the possibility that Asher's respected judge father might have been responsible for an innocent man serving over two decades in prison. Of course Asher didn't want to assume the worst of his father and confronted him (which didn't end well) on the issue. I did like that Asher did use his smarts however to figure out something vital in the case and I even don't mind that he resorted to some tiny blackmail in order to get the trophy as well, given that Wes handed it back to Annalise. However, I'm not sure if this episode will make audiences care more or less about Asher than they already do but it was still a decent insight into the character's backstory nonetheless.

Change The Paper, Plant The Phone: While I still maintain that Sam did not kill Lila (mainly because for dramatic/narrative purposes, Lila's killer has to be someone currently alive for the second half of the season), it is amazing to see the lengths that Annalise will go to protect her husband, even if it does seem like she might have some doubts about Sam's innocence herself. Planting the phone on the boyfriend to get Rebecca out of hiding and Wes off his high horse (I like the guy but he got on my nerves this week) and changing the wallpaper to help keep Sam out of prison - it was almost a perfect plan. Except for the bit where Nate caught Frank planting the phone. Still, points for a near perfect plan there, Annalise.

This Lot Are Bitchy: Okay, not the snappiest title I could come up but six episodes in and this lot are super bitchy towards each other. I suppose you could chalk it up to them wanting to impress/work full time for Annalise but when Connor and Michaela weren't taking cheap shots at each other, they were grilling Wes over his relationship with Rebecca and pretty much slagging off Asher's father without knowing the full facts. In fact the only one who seemed to be levelheaded was Laurel, even if it took Bonnie (who I think was projecting a lot here) to convince her to dump Frank. This would be the same Bonnie who may or may not have feelings for Sam and five weeks later would end up sleeping with Asher too.

21 Years: So this is the third episode in a row where I've found the case interesting. Perhaps I was too hasty in assuming that I wouldn't care about most of them after all. I liked that it was death row case and with recent reports in America, it felt oddly timely too when the issue of Dave Allen's race was brought into Annalise's defence of him too in court. While I did see the outcome coming a mile away, I still enjoyed the turn of events and case wise, this was probably the most gripping one so far.

Next week, we delve into Rebecca's past with Lila, while Michaela gets an unpleasant surprise.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x10: "LoveCraft"

Written by Rebecca Demaron
Directed by Guy Ferland

Bruce: “No offence but you don’t strike me as a nice person.”
Selina: “What do you mean? I’m nice.”

She might be a pickpocket who would put Fagin’s crew to shame but essentially, yes, this version of Selina Kyle is pretty nice. Especially to Bruce and especially in this episode as being on the run from overzealous assassins meant that the two of them had to rely on the other for their own very survival.

Without getting into shipper territory here, the scenes with Selina and Bruce are without a doubt, the highlight of the episode. Even in this incarnation, the two of them work superbly together and their hi-jinks in the street are a joy to watch as even assassins and greedy fence people are no match for the pair of them.

The assassin plot was actually better handled than Victor Zsasz from a few episodes ago too. I didn’t catch the name of the lady that was gunning for Selina but she was one of the most charismatic and interesting guest villains we’ve had on the series and I’m hoping that she’ll appear again in the second half of the season too.

However the only reason that Selina had her life in danger (along with Bruce) was because of Harvey Dent being a blabbermouth and leaking information that got into the wrong hands. I liked that Gordon called him out for it. I didn’t like that Dent cowered when the Mayor got involved and that Gordon got a demotion to Arkham as a security guard though.

The Lovecraft stuff though took an interesting turn. I wasn’t expecting that the assassins sent after Selina were also gunning for him but his death being used to demote Gordon, I did see coming. Then again, having Gordon at Arkham could also mean that he ends up causing more hassle for the Mayor and that can’t be a bad thing really.

Another highlight from this episode was the pairing of Bullock and Alfred. Can I just say that was an inspired choice? The two of them work brilliantly together, even to the point where Bullock ended up looking like good cop by comparison. As for Fish extending her kindness to Alfred – I’m fairly certain that’s going to be something she’ll cash in on during the second half of the season as well.

If the episode had a weak moment, it was probably the mob related story of the week. Not because it was bad but just because the Bruce/Selina and Alfred/Bullock/Fish scenes were more interesting to watch. However it was nice to see Falcone exert some authority and he even managed to put the frighteners on Fish with that awkward dinner scene as well. As for Oswald, I don’t think this episode actually needed him to be honest.

Also in “LoveCraft”

Despite the episode being presumably named after him, Lovecraft himself barely appeared in it.

Selina: “You wanna kiss me?”
Bruce: “No, thank you.”

Alfred showed a lot of bad ass moments in this episode. He’s also a better detective than both Bullock and Gordon too.

Bullock: “You’re pretty handy for a valet.”
Alfred: “Butler, mate. I’m a butler.”

Oswald (to Falcone, re Fish): “With respect, I don’t understand why you still tolerate her existence. She has proved her disloyalty a hundred times. She wants your head.”

Oswald possibly pinned the mole on the shot Bannon. Liza is more useful to him alive than dead.

Selina (to Bruce): “You’re right about me. I’m not nice, not like you. You got a nice way about you.”

Selina: “You’re crazy.”
Bruce: “Please don’t run off again. I’m out of breath.”

This episode might have been appealing to Bat/Cat shippers with the rooftop chase scene and the kiss between Bruce and Selina at the end. Barbara, Renee, Crispus and Essen didn’t appear in this episode.

Ivy: “I’m doing great. How do I look?”
Bruce: “You look good.”

Bullock: “Am I the only one in this damn town who waits for back up?”

I thought Ivy was going to kill Bruce at one point. She seems a bit unhinged since the opening episode. I also loved seeing Nygma hugging Gordon as well in this episode.

Alfred (re Selina): “This old house seems very quiet without her, don’t it?”
Bruce: “Yes, it does.”

Chronology: Not long from “Harvey Dent” left off.

As a mid season finale, “LoveCraft” was easily one of the best episodes we’ve had with the series and it did seem to set up an interesting second half with Gordon at Arkham, Fish continuing her machinations against Falcone, Oswald keeping his head above water and an even bigger league of baddies if those assassins were anything to go by.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Doctor Who - Christmas 2014 Title Revealed/Series 9 News & Rumours

With the eighth series currently finished up and Christmas only a month away (exactly), some news about Doctor Who has surfaced.

First of all, the title for the Christmas episode has been confirmed as Last Christmas. A synopsis from the BBC has been released ...

It’s Christmas in the North Pole when the Doctor and Clara return to BBC AMERICA in an all-new Christmas special. Last year’s special featured the emotional regeneration that marked the start of Peter Capaldi’s run as the Twelfth Doctor. This year the Time Lord and his companion are in for an all-new adventure as stars Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are joined by Nick Frost (The Worlds End, Shaun of the Dead) as Santa Claus! Previously announced guest stars include Michael Troughton (Breathless, The New Statesman), son of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street, Strictly Come Dancing), Faye Marsay (Pride, The White Queen), and Nathan McMullen (Misfits, Casualty). Written by Emmy® Award winner Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Coupling) and directed by Paul Wilmshurst (Strike Back, Combat Kids), the 2014 Christmas Special will air on BBC1 and BBC America.

Now whether or not this mean a final Christmas for the Doctor and Clara remains to be seen, but it's certainly a possibility, isn't it? A brief scene between the Doctor, Clara and Frost's Santa was released during the recent Children In Need on BBC1.

Also, did you recently enjoy Michelle Gomez's version of the Master in the two part finale, Dark Water/Death In Heaven? Well, it seems that according to the actress's recent interview with DWM that she might be reprising the role for Series 9. When asked if her character would return, Gomez answered,  “‘Yes’ is my answer. I’ll be back. Can I say that? Am I allowed? If not… well, I guess we’ll have to see how she’s received…". It's also been confirmed (though it was never in any doubt) that Peter Capaldi will be back for the ninth series but Jenna Coleman has yet to sign up. Which certainly adds some credence that Clara could be leaving properly at Christmas then, right?

Meanwhile with the ninth series set to enter production, one writer seemingly confirmed (other than Steven Moffat naturally) has been Catherine Tregenna, thanks to a recent update to her online TV. Tregenna, whose credits include The Fixer and Law & Order: UK, also penned the Torchwood episodes Out Of Time, Captain Jack Harkness, Meat and Adam. With so much discussion as to the lack of female writers under Moffat's era, it's nice that the upcoming series will at least feature one and Tregenna's previous work definitely proves that she's a great fit for the show as well.

Christmas 2014/Series 9 News:

Doctor Who's eighth series is currently available on DVD. Last Christmas will air on BBC1 and BBCAmerica on Christmas Day. Series 9 begins filming in January 2015.

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Review of Atlantis's 2x02: "A New Dawn Part 2"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

Pythagoras (to Jason/Hercules): "Mathematically ... the odds suggest we will all be slaughtered."

The second part of the least bloodiest or gripping siege ever (so much for the darker tone, show) continued in an episode that managed to be even more plodding than it's first one. Sure, there was some nice surprises but not nearly enough to make overall but for the sake of balance, let's talk about the things that did actually work.

Sarpedon's sudden change of heart, whilst a bit rushed was a nice enough twist, especially as I fear that this series will probably have too many 'traitors in court' moments. Unfortunately his renewed loyalty towards Ariadne resulted in a botched murder attempt on Pasiphae, who ended up bumping the guy off with little fanfare.

Speaking of Pasiphae, while I do think Sarah Parish can be somewhat hammy at times, this episode actually tried to give the warlady some layers. For instance, she seemed genuinely bothered that Jason almost died and actually killed one of her own men in order to save his life later during the final hours of the siege. Something which both Medea and Hercules took notice of.

Leading into Hercules, I really liked him in this episode. Especially in the last scene where he confronted the Oracle and managed to discover that Pasiphae is Jason's mother. Of course, Hercules can't exactly relay this information to his friend but at least it's something to help make the character a bit more interesting compared to last series.

As for Ariadne, the scene where she decided that she would be willing to kill Pasiphae was probably the best thing to emerge from this two parter overall. Yes, she showed bravery and determination to protect her city and people and she rightly punished Sarpedon for his treachery before letting him redeem himself but there's still work to be done with the character.

In particular, the love story with her and Jason is as frustrating as ever with this episode having Ariadne decide that she couldn't marry him, although I'm sure fans might have been pleased with the snogging before though. Overall, it's hard to care and the longer we get these sort of angsty scenes with the two, it'll end up becoming impossible to care at all.

- Medea doesn't seem to be in control of her magic when she lashed out at Sarpedon. Though she did save her auntie from being killed.
- They didn't really do much with the Cyclops in this episode. Did this two parter even need the monster?
- I'm hoping at some point this series, the Oracle actually gets to step out of that temple.
- The ratings for this series aren't looking good. This episode alone just scraped about 3 million. I would be surprised if this is picked up for a third series, despite the producers recent discussion of a five year plan for it.

Marginally better than the first part, I still don't think this series needed a two parter to open it up. Perhaps one episode would've done the job but despite the talks of improvement and some signs of it here and there, I just don't think Atlantis realistically is ever going to engage or capture audiences like Merlin managed to do (and even that show had choppy writing at times). I hope the rest of the series is made of better stuff but honestly, I would be surprised if this does go beyond the thirteen episodes this current run has.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Friday, November 21, 2014

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 1x05: We're Not Friends

While I'm a month away (Universal pace here) from the mid-season finale, it's nice to see that this episode gave a little more insight on one of the lesser focused on students so far.

Written by Tracey A. Bellomo
Directed by Mike Listo

Saw This Coming: Frank and Laurel - hooking up. This was pretty much hinted since episode 1 when Michaela realised that Frank was calling Laurel and here the latter was forced to admit that she was sleeping with him as they continued to use the bonfire as an alibi while getting rid of Sam's body. This episode in general certainly gave Laurel more to do and between her hot boyfriend and Frank, the girl isn't short of admirers. While I do think Annalise and Michaela are stronger characters, Laurel is on a par with Bonnie for me and far more likeable than Rebecca has been so far. This was a solid centre piece episode for her really.

Patterns: Like most people, Sam seems to have a type when it comes to sexual partners and Annalise realised that there was something of a similarity between herself and Lila. Sam's got a thing for fixing vulnerable women and we learned in this episode that Annalise was originally his mistress, which also has to mean that at some point Wife 1 will appear on the show. Still, we didn't get any answers as to whether or not Sam really killed Lila (though Nate was somewhat cruel in taunting Annalise about his possible guilt), though things took an interesting turn when Rebecca and Sam met onscreen for the first time.

The Wallpaper: Five episodes in and I still don't like Rebecca and being aware of what's in store in the next four episodes, don't expect my opinion of her to soften anytime soon. She's surly, unpleasant and generally brings out the worst in Wes. On the other hand, at least her remembering a certain wallpaper at least made Wes privy to the fact that Sam was Lila's 'Mr Darcy' (anyone else find that moniker a little cringey?) and that led to a brilliant final scene between Wes and Annalise. If there's one thing this show has mastered well, it's the art of a great cliffhanger.

HumpR: In the lighter moments of the episode, can I just say that I love Asher's curiosity about Connor's ability to juggle six guys on the go with a sex app (by the way, Asher, the straight version is called Tinder). I know there's some fans who want something to actually happen between Connor and Asher but personally, I think a solid friendship between the two of them would be better served, seeing as Connor doesn't really interact that much with Wes and Laurel and takes an overzealous glee in winding up Michaela (as does she now it seems with him too). Also Asher's crying moment after the case makes me suspect he would be a blubbering wreck if he watched any Disney movie ever.

A Case I Like: Well, yeah, I enjoyed this case but more to the point - Ryan killing his abusive cop father was apparently the first time Laurel liked one of her clients. Laurel liked and felt sorry for Ryan so much that when she wasn't going through his blog during the trial, she was also tampering with the jury and ended up causing a mistrial. I'm not shocked that Frank covered for her but I'm almost a tiny bit surprised that Annalise didn't figure out it was her though. That being said with the exception of Asher, pretty much four out of the Keating Five have done things (excluding killing/disposing of Sam etc) to jeopardise any future career in law they want and will probably continue to do so for however long this series lasts.

Next week it's time for Asher to get his moment while Wes and Annalise clash.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Recap/Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show - Test Of Strength

Holy shit, this episode really should've come with a warning, especially for that last scene. I really wasn't prepared for that.

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by Anthony Hemingway

Evil Gays: Okay, I have to admit it - I absolutely despise both Stanley and Dell as characters and no matter how great both Denis O'Hare and Michael Chiklis are in their respective roles, I'm at the point now where I literally want both characters to die horrible, painful deaths and I really don't want to watch until the finale for this to happen. I can almost forgive them if they were interesting or entertaining villains but they're both spineless and irritating to watch and even though there was the satisfying moment of seeing Amazon Eve beat the holy shit out of Dell, the fact that he murdered Ma Petite because Stanley blackmailed him pretty much killed any interest I had in either character. Now I just want them gone. Why is it hard for Ryan Murphy to write at least one likeable gay character on this show? He did it with Lana Winters. It's starting to actually bother me and Ma Petite did not deserve the horrible fate that she got in this one.

Father & Son: This episode was certainly a mixed bag for Jimmy. While I liked that he wanted to try and reason with Dell and figured out that the latter was his father, I hated that by not listening to Ethel and Eve that Dell is still breathing. Jimmy got to work out some issues here but while he was able to rescue Bette and Dot from Dandy and Gloria (thankfully relegated to one scene this week), he was still outfoxed by them and Elsa and I wish he'd get a clue about Maggie's continued insistence on the pair of them leaving the show. As for his version of Nirvana's Come As You Are, it was okay. Truth be told, I was just grateful that we didn't get another number from Elsa this week.

Ever So Helpful: I liked Jimmy standing up to Elsa. I even like the fact that there's hints the rest of the troupe are seeing her for what she truly is. I even liked Bette and Dot negotiating with Elsa for some spotlight and a surgeon but I still don't like Elsa as a character but given how abominably three of the male characters behaved in this episode, Elsa was the lesser of two evils, though I get the feeling she might be tempted by Stanley's suggestion of bumping off the twins. As for the split-screen/black and white exchange of letters between Elsa and Dot - that was a genius scene. Also the girls makeover scene and Bette's aspirations to be a comedian was amusing in an otherwise depressing episode.

Daddy Most Despicable: As if Stanley and Dell weren't total monsters in this episode, Penny's father managed to go that extra mile by hiring a guy to tattoo her face, fork her tongue and shave her hair. With the exceptions of Jimmy and Paul, why are all the men on this show psychopaths, misogynists and generally a shower of bastards. I did like that Paul didn't reject Penny and thankfully by the look of the trailer for the next episode, at least Penny is going to get her own back on Daddy Dearest. If she can kill Dell and Stanley while she's at it and then Dandy by finale time, that would be great.

United: While the men on this show (minus Jimmy and Paul) are awful, the women (minus Elsa and Gloria, still not sure on Maggie) are thankfully wonderful. Earlier this season, it looked like we could've gotten a petty rivalry between Ethel and Desiree over Dell but instead, both of them realising that he's a scumbag has united them as friends along with the genuine concern they each have for each other. I like that dynamic, especially the antagonist one both Bates and Bassett had to have in Coven. Also the scene where the two ladies realised the doctor was dead and also along with Eve and Suzy told Jimmy about the shit they had to deal with - more scenes like that please.

The show will be back in two weeks where Dandy and Gloria have to deal with Dora's daughter and Penny decides to get even with her horrible father.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Review of Revenge's 4x08: "Contact"

Written by Joe Fazzio
Directed by Paul Holahan

Nolan (re Louise): “Can’t I just have a normal friend?”

Actually, you kind of have a normal friend in Jack, Nolan but seeing as he’s deathly dull and sometimes a jerk, you may have a point. Is it wrong that in spite of her crazy obsession with Victoria and general shit stirring with Daniel and Margaux that I’m actually starting to like Louise a bit?

Maybe it’s just having her combine forces with Nolan but either way, at least Louise has injected some fun in something of a fun free season so far. I still would like the Victoria fixation to be nipped in the bud but as mates, there’s some great potential with Louise and Nolan. Or there would’ve been had Nolan decided not to join forces with Margaux after all.

Nolan spent half of this episode away from the main plot and it actually did him the world of good, character wise. Sure his new business venture had one guy quit (shame, he was rather hot) and most of what he said to Emily had no effect but it’s been nice that the last few episodes have at least given him something to do, so I’m grateful for that.

However, there are some things in this episode that I am less grateful for though. Namely Ben upping his annoying factor by acting like Jack’s usurped him in the cop hierarchy and Jack in general just being a fun sponge with most of his scenes. The jury’s out on FBI lady Kate but that’s mainly because she seems more like another obstacle for David though.

Speaking of whom, this was not a great episode for David. Not only did he not take kindly to Emily revealing how much of a cow Victoria has been to her but he also took Victoria’s side even after she admitted to know about Emily’s true identity but the fact that there’s another villain on the horizon might help to even out this largely unfocused season so far. That and the fact that Emily’s also holding one of David’s would be kidnappers hostage and has a hot poker handy too.

As for Daniel, this was kind of a decent episode for him. He tried (though failed) to make amends with Margaux, called Louise out of her craziness, wasn’t too much of a jerk to Emily and gave Victoria some home truth, though not particularly new ones. Surprisingly enough, this episode managed to make him a bit likeable, which hasn’t been the case in a long while.

Also in “Contact”

The fact that Victoria would even fake a Flatline to get David’s attention just shows how desperate she’s become. The sooner Louise is set on her, the better.

Nolan: “How did you find me?”
Jack: “You tweeted a photo of this view with the hashtag ‘never leaving’.”

What exactly was that barman’s problem with Nolan? Did he even specify as to why he quit working at the beach club?

David: “Don’t feel bad about not helping, you were scared.”
Emily (re Victoria): “I wasn’t scared. She didn’t deserve my help.”

Nolan (re Louise): “She’s a sweetheart.”
Margaux: “She’s a violent psychopath who needs to be locked up.”

Assuming that Louise’s mother isn’t actually dead (though I’m suspecting she might be), are we actually going to see her properly on the show? Or even that politician brother of hers?

Emily (to David): “I did it all for you. To punish the people that hurt you.”

Daniel (re Victoria): “Are you crying because she survived? You always did try to save me from her.”
Emily: “And you just kept crawling back.”

Standout music: Lykke Li’s “No Rest For The Wicked”.

David: “I’m so proud of you, Amanda but I can’t be your father.”

Chronology: From where “Ambush” left off.

Well, I did enjoy the episode and the fact that that’s two episodes in a row I enjoyed, perhaps this is a sign of the show getting it’s shit together again, perhaps? That being said, “Contact” wasn’t devoid of it’s frustrating moments (David being an idiot, Jack/Ben etc) but still it was enjoyable enough.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x09: "Harvey Dent"

Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by Karen Gaviola

Harvey (to Lovecraft): “Don’t you ever threaten me. I will rip you open. It’s good to see you, Dick.”

To get the obvious criticism out of the way first – slow down with the Rogue Gallery members, show and focus on the ones you introduced earlier. On the other hand, this was a fairly enjoyable debut for Harvey Dent.

I kind of get the impression that Nicholas D’Agosto will be vying to play the role in a manner both similar to Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal in The Dark Knight and even Richard Moll’s version in Batman: The Animated Series and for now, that works fine enough but I do hope he injects his own identity as well.

I liked that Harvey already has both Montoya and Allen as allies and I also liked the beginnings of what could be a rather interesting friendship between him and James Gordon as well. However what I really liked was the glimmer of Dent’s darker side when he came face to face with corrupt billionaire, Dick Lovecraft and lost his cool.

Unfortunately for Harvey his whole plan to get Lovecraft is flawed. Not only did his whole witness threat do nothing to put the fear of God into Lovecraft but he very well put Selina and Bruce in direct danger, judging by the trailer for the next episode. Even Gordon didn’t seem that much on board with his overall plan to expose Lovecraft for the corrupt git he is.

While the obvious symbols to Harvey’s future fate were a little over the top (the coin tossing, shading half his face in darkness etc), it is nice to have someone other than Gordon want to do the right thing by Gotham. It’s just that we know Harvey is doomed and his volatile will eventually be his own undoing but as introduction episodes go, this was a nice enough one for him.

Keeping with Gordon for a minute – the angst with Barbara was boring to watch but I did like that he palmed Selina off to Bruce and Alfred and both him and Bullock stopping an unwilling bomber turned out to be more interesting than expected. As for Barbara renewing her relationship with Renee – I knew it was going to happen eventually but it did seem a tad rushed though. I’m hoping though that perhaps this might finally help flesh the character out better though.

As for the Bruce and Selina – I think I can safely say they were the highlight of the episode. I don’t want to start any Batman/Catwoman shipping stuff, but both David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova did well in this episode as the two of them seemed to enjoy each other’s company, learn more about the other and engage in a food fight.

Even by the end of this episode, Alfred went from desperately wanting to get rid of Selina to being delighted that her presence was able to bring Bruce out of his shell. I don’t know if it was the right time to have these two interact with each other so early in the show’s life but it’s hard to deny that they were essentially the best part of the episode.

Also in “Harvey Dent”

Selina’s still using that cat nickname. I kind of wish the writers would drop it though.

Harvey (to Gordon): “Teenagers, they nearly always pick heads. I don’t know why. Two headed coin.”

Oswald quickly figured out that Liza was working for Fish and threatened her to keep doing it. If I were Liza, I’d be fleeing the city by now.

Gordon: “You like to bet a lot.”
Harvey: “What have we got to lose?”

Selina: “Your house makes noise.”
Bruce: “It’s old.”

This was another good episode for Edward Nygma – he got to lament about video games, figured out an important piece about Ian Hargrove (the unwilling bomber of the episode) and even got a thank you from Bullock. That last bit shocked me.

Fish (to Oswald): “I’m starting to think you enjoy being hurt.”

Selina: “You move quiet.”
Bruce: “So do you.”

Fish’s whole bomb plot with Ian and the Russian mobsters, it had it’s moments but if she doesn’t watch herself, Falcone will do her in before we even get to the finale.

Selina (to Bruce): “You’re a nice kid. Five minutes on the streets and you’d be mincemeat and holding your breath won’t do a damn thing.”

Chronology: From where “The Mask” more or less left off.

I think this episode could’ve been a little better than it was but as an introduction, “Harvey Dent” was a solid episode nonetheless though. I do like that things with the Wayne murders are progressing again and the Bruce and Selina scenes were definitely a highlight too but when it comes to future villains, the show does need to slow down a bit though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 17, 2014

My Review of Atlantis's 2x01: "A New Dawn Part 1"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

Ariadne: "We are at war."

What a difference a whole year can make. Well, kind of. In terms of the show, since the first series finale in which we found out that Pasiphae was Jason's mother, this new series opened with Ariadne as queen, Minos rather dead (not that he was much use in the first place) and a banished Pasiphae mounting an army to take down Atlantis.

So, what about our three heroes then? Well, they're still together, there are less jokes about Hercules weight and hygiene (a minor miracle) and despite some initial reluctance, the trio decide to help Ariadne retrieve the Palladium, a statue that protects the city. Needless to say, it's current in Pasiphae's possession thanks to the help of her rather skilful niece, Medea (Amy Manson) and the fact that Ariadne has got an obvious traitor in her court, courtesy of  Lord Sarpedon (Robert Pugh).

During the build up for this new series, there was plenty of hype from the producers that the show would somehow adopt a much darker tone and while there's certainly a sense of foreboding (imminent war, the Oracle showing Jason a gloomy vision of the future, the fact the episode is mostly set at night, etc), it doesn't really feel that much darker compared to the first series.

Sure, the humour is a little more restrained but there are still moments, deliberate and unintentional ones and the pining between Jason and Ariadne isn't going to go away anytime soon. The gang's compassion towards a rival soldier though ended up being their undoing when Jason was later attacked and the end scene with the trio trapped in a cave with an unknown monster was an okay enough cliff hanger in an episode that meandered a bit too much for it's own good.

While I like the idea of Ariadne being queen (hey, she got there much quicker than Gwen did on Merlin), I do get the feeling that Sarpedon is going to be one of many obvious traitors in the court that Ariadne will have to deal with and won't stop until it's literally too late. Plus, while I'm not exactly a shipper of her and Jason, I do hope the series doesn't try to drag out their 'will they/won't they?' longer than necessary.

As for Medea - the character certainly has potential and it's nice to have Amy Manson on the show. I know some fans are interested in her eventual pairing with Jason but to be honest, I'm more curious about her rapport with auntie Pasiphae. After both Circe and even Heptarian being somewhat missed opportunities in better fleshing out the now warlady. Why is Medea so loyal to her auntie and can Pasiphae be written as anything more than a one dimensional tyrant? I certainly hope so.

- There was a nice scene at the fireplace where both Hercules and Pythagoras discussed why they followed Jason. Little moments like that are needed more for this series.
- Fans of Medusa are going to have to wait until 2015 to see her again. Only six episodes of this series will air for the remainder of this year while the remaining seven air next year. She was mentioned in passing though.
- Is it me or has Jason's hair gotten even curlier than last series? Pythagoras's too as well.
- We didn't get the opening sequence, the episode launched into the action.

I was hoping for something a little more exciting than this. For an opening two parter, even I found A New Dawn a little too plodding for it's own good. The tone has changed a little but the writing itself is still lacking and unless it pulls up it's straps rather quickly, I cannot see a third run of episodes for Jason and company any time soon.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Fallen Canary

It's been an interesting few weeks with so many show returning and others getting into their stride, so here's a rundown of some of them.

Arrow: Season 3 kicked off to an impressive start with the death of Sara. I hate that the character died but the mystery of her death should provide good material for the chunk of the new season and the fact that it's helping to steer Laurel in a certain direction can go either as well. Meanwhile the 'will they/won't they?' with Oliver and Felicity is being handled well enough but the jury is definitely still out on Brandon Routh's Ray Palmer just yet. I want to like him but I don't, not for now.

Downton Abbey: This series has certainly not been the best one (though a slight improvement on the previous one). I have to admit that Isis's death was more interesting than the dawdling with Edith and Marigold and the double tedium of the Mary's love life and 'who killed Green?' saga, both of which seem be dragged out too long at this rate. Rose's wedding to Atticus, while lovely did seem a tad rushed and the less of Denker, the better for me. On the plus side, every scene with Violet and Isobel is golden and I thought I spotted some potential with Thomas and aspiring footman, Andy as well. One can hope the latter somehow makes it to Downton as an employee because after this series plot, Thomas is in desperate need of something that resembles a good time.

Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD: This season has been enjoyable and adding Lance's ex-wife into the mix has certainly helped to even out the male/female ratio on the show, which is definitely not a bad thing. The scenes between the reunited Fitz and Simmons have definitely been a highlight as well as the introduction of Ward's brother, Christian and the ongoing saga with Coulson and May as well. It's amazing what a year can do for a show creatively but unless the ratings for this series pick up and fast, I have a horrible feeling that ABC will wield the axe on it.

Once Upon A Time: I was sceptical about the inclusion of Frozen franchise but merging it with The Snow Queen and taking some creative liberties has done wonders for the show. I'm not gonna pretend that everything has worked - Hook's brief deal with Gold was trite, Snow's been reduced to being an idiot and I'm caring less and less about Regina/Robin but the friendship between Emma and Elsa, the darker side of the former's powers and everything concerning Ingrid has been gripping to watch. I'm actually going to miss Elsa when she leaves and a part of me really wants Ingrid to get some kind of redemption arc as well.

Scandal: I really hope that SkyLiving aren't going to waste time and will air Season 4 (as it's kind of weird watching a previous season while current seasons of Grey's Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder are airing on SkyLiving/Universal respectively). The last few episodes have been brilliant though - both Maya and Rowan are the parents from hell, Jake has gotten a lot more darker, Mellie had an affair of her own (more power to her) and Cyrus's relationship with James got the flashback treatment upon the latter's violent death. Olivia flipping back and forth between her job and unhealthy relationships with Jake, Fitz and Rowan though has been a little frustrating and it's hard to get a hold on Quinn's loyalties or what Huck will do next but other than that, I can't wait to see how the last two episodes will cap off this season.

The Flash: I've only caught the first two episodes of this season so far but damn it, I love it. I think even as much as I currently enjoy Gotham. It's arguably lighter than Arrow and there's definitely elements of Smallville to it but as a show, it's bloody fun to watch with Grant Gustin perfect as Barry Allen. The supporting characters are decent enough (though Iris is potentially in danger of being an early series Laurel) but it's really Harrison Wells who is standing out the most so far. Overall though, it's no wonder this series is doing wonders for the CW at the moment.

The Vampire Diaries: With the fifth season ending on that ending, the opening episodes of the sixth season haven't been that exciting. Maybe it's just that truth be told, I just don't give a shit about Damon and his boringly toxic relationship with Elena. In fact, I feel sorry for Bonnie being lumbered with him in that place they are while half the cast can't enter Mystic Falls while the rest of them brood and feel sorry for themselves. Even Stefan has been somewhat tedious in these episodes with his distancing of Caroline. Hopefully things kick into gear soon because this isn't a great start to the new season.

- Matthew Goode will be appearing the Christmas special of Downton Abbey as a potential suitor for Mary. The show has been renewed for a sixth season.
- Karen Gillan's comedy series Selfie has been cancelled by ABC and it's remaining episodes pulled from the schedules.
- Tommy Flanagan will be playing a villain named Malcolm Black in the second half of Revenge's fourth season.
- Alex Kingston will appear in the Christmas episode of Arrow.
- The Scarecrow will be coming to Gotham in the second half of the first season.
-  Victoria Smurfit will be playing Cruella DeVille in the second half of Once Upon A Time's fourth season.
- The TV version of Scream will not feature Ghostface but a similar looking killer. Think with a flesh type of mask.
- Marcia Gay Hayden will be appearing in the second half of How To Get Away With Murder's first season.
- Witches Of East End has been cancelled after two seasons.
- Homeland has been renewed for a fifth season.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 1x04: Let's Get To Scooping

This was the episode that had nine words that were hyped to death and out of the four I've seen so far, it's certainly the most interesting episode we've gotten too.

Written by Erika Green Swafford
Directed by Laura Innes

Take Off Your Clothes: I'm not gonna lie. Part of the reason why this episode became my favourite (for the time being) was the huge focus on Connor that we got here. In flashforwards he might have been humming Christmas song in a creepy manner and telling Michaela to get scooping, but after getting rid of Sam's body, he had a proper meltdown at Oliver's place when he showed up at an ungodly hour. In the present day, it seemed like him and Oliver were getting that bit closer and were about to go beyond being purely about casual sex and hacking skills until Oliver realised that Connor was playing away. Leading to the next bit.

Eyes Watered: I'm not sure what Connor exactly did to pretty assistant boy, Pax's (Niko Pepaj) backside to make his eyes water but for a network show, it's nice to see them trying to push the boundaries with Connor's sex scenes. Connor's romping Pax for information might have cost him his relationship with Oliver and literally Pax's life (that I didn't see coming), but damn, that was one hell of a sexy scene. If the writers of Looking wants tips to write for the likes of Agustin better, then Connor is a perfect template for a well defined bad boy. He's also the best character on the show at the moment and Jack Falahee has been quite a find for the series.

Why Is Your Penis On A Dead Girl's Phone: Now, there's an interesting question. I think what worked about this scene was the delivery of those nine words by Annalise to Sam, just moments after we see the former remove her makeup, eyelashes and wig. The fact that Bastille and Naughty Boy's No-One's Here To Sleep playing in the background certainly heightened the scene as well, because truthfully it's not shocking that Sam was sleeping with Lila and it's also not shocking that Annalise discovered this as well. That being said though, and I'm trying not to get sucked into hyperbole mode here, it's definitely an Emmy nominated worthy scene for Viola Davis.

Group Dynamics: This episode was a lot more fun with the group as well. While Wes was continuing to do his level best to keep helping Rebecca (who was less annoying in this episode, but I'm still not fond of her), Bonnie managed to acquire evidence of coercion, which at least got Rebecca out of prison on bail for the time being but the real fun of the episode was actually watching the core five students interrogate various members of the case of the week's company with some pretty interesting and comedic results. I also quite like the fact that Michaela seemed suspicious of both Wes and Laurel and that Asher did something useful. The Frank/Laurel thing though, I'm not that particularly interested in.

Top To Bottom: This week's case was actually the most entertaining so far. It might have been because Elizabeth Perkins (formerly of Weeds) put a lot of spirit into her character, Marron, was brazenly unapologetic about making a sex tape with an employee but also seemed to have a personal history and decent insight into Annalise and her trust issues. The reveal of Pax and two other disgruntled employees trying to bring down Marron wasn't too shocking but along with Pax's shocking suicide and the downfall of the other two, this was one case of the week that certainly held my attention.

Next week, the focus shifts onto Laurel and Annalise takes on the case of a killer teenager.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Recap/Review: American Horror Story: Freak Show - Bullseye

Getting to the halfway point of this current and it's clearly that this season might be outshining the previous year but at the same time, this wasn't exactly my favourite episode.

Written by John J. Gray
Directed by Howard Deutch

Everybody Loves Paul: Well, they certainly did in this episode as it was revealed that Paul was sleeping with both Elsa and Penny, the candy striper. The latter of whom decided to return to the camp after Elsa injured him during the wheel game. Elsa seemed somewhat miffed that she wasn't the only woman Paul was sleeping with but that had more to do with her own vanity rather than genuine feelings for him. While I'm not really that fussed about Paul and Penny's relationship (or her annoying possessive father), I did like that Paul wasn't convinced about Bette and Dot just leaving the camp and the fact that he confronted Elsa and told Jimmy where the twins were endeared him a lot to me. I think Paul might have become one of my favourite characters now.

Not Bound By Chains: To be fair to Dandy and Gloria, they're probably treating Bette and Dot somewhat better than Elsa did. Dandy himself developed a romantic affection towards the twins but while Bette seemed charmed by him, Dot found him boring and refused to indulge him when he try to get her to tell him a secret. Predictably Dandy went apeshit and kept trying to justify his murderous while Gloria spent most of the episode worrying about inbreeding. The question now remains - can Jimmy get the twins out of Dandy's clutches or will he end up hacked to bits? I'm going to assume it'll be the former.

I Just Want To Be Loved: I really want to feel sorry for Elsa and while Jessica Lange gave an Emmy worthy speech in this episode when Elsa lost her cool with her troupe, it's really impossible to sympathise with Elsa. The troupe were right to accuse her of wanting to get rid of Bette and Dot and even Paul has seen past her benevolent act (as I suspect will others, Ethel especially if that threat is anything to go by). As brilliant as Lange is to watch, Elsa is every bit as unlikeable as Constance, early Asylum Jude and Fiona. This episode more than anything made me hope that Elsa receives another housecall from Edward Mordrake pretty soon.

Butterflies & Ponies: The best thing about this episode was that Ma Petite lived and that's after this episode gave us two horrible fake outs where it looked like both Maggie and Stanley were going to kill her off. I liked that Maggie had an attack of conscience and didn't kill off Ma Petite and I'm even starting to warm to her relationship to Jimmy a tiny bit as well. As for Stanley, well he seems to be itching to kill someone off and probably will if the trailer for next week's episode is anything to go by. Oh and the less said about Elsa treating Petite like a baby, the better, though those scenes icked me out - birthday or not birthday.

Imminent Mutiny: This episode, while surprisingly not factoring in Dell and Desiree, did seem to shift the dynamics of the freak show. While Elsa might have raged on about saving her troupes from various terrible fates, the fact that she refused to answer what she did with the twins and the fact that she caused injury to Paul could end up being her undoing in the second half of the season. I like that Jimmy, Paul and Ethel are starting to see through her now.

Next week it seems like Stanley's determined to bag a freak and Dell's actions cause chaos within the camp as well.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Review of Revenge's 4x07: "Ambush"

Written by Shannon Goss
Directed by Hanelle Culpepper

Emily (to David): “You told me to be strong and brave but you’re a coward. You could’ve come for me.”

I actually thought it would be the winter finale before David found out about Emily being Amanda. The fact they did in this episode pleased me and the way it was done too – Emily blurting it out in pure anger after realising that David’s stories haven’t been adding up was actually pretty perfect. And then that thing happened.

I love this show being ludicrous as much as the next person but Victoria getting struck by lightening after the reveal was just bizarre. Possibly karmic and more funny than it should’ve been as well. I don’t doubt she’ll survive and try and keep her claws into David but right now, it also couldn’t have come at a worse time for Emily.

Keeping with things being out in the open – I liked the confrontation scene Emily and Daniel had in the lift. The fact that he’s not bothered by her being Amanda but wants no involvement in his ex-wife’s clash with Victoria didn’t seem like the most unreasonable request to make. If I wasn’t reminded by the fact that he shot Emily last season, I might have even felt a bit bad for him when he asked her if she ever had any real feelings for him.

This episode wasn’t really Daniel’s though. Not only did Emily leave him stuck in a lift but Loopy Louise tried to kill Margaux, teased him about his sexual prowess and Margaux herself wasn’t best pleased when she realised that Danny slept with the nutty redhead.

As for Louise, her little murder attempt on Margaux and creepy obsession with Victoria aside, I actually enjoyed the scene where she tried to cheer Nolan up. While Nolan would be best avoiding Louise like the plague, they did seem to have a fun rapport together and the fact that she got him to buy a beach club was a welcome distraction from him moping about David and Emily.

As for the rest of the episode – Jack and Ben are the most boring crime busting duo going. Seven episodes into this season and I still cannot buy Jack as a cop and Ben, despite wanting to solve what really happened to Conrad is downright annoying as a character. Perhaps David could pay him a house call in the next few episodes.

Also in “Ambush”

Louise’s mother was played by one of the vampires from the fifth season of True Blood. Too bad she was only a hallucination though.

Nolan: “You believe your father murdered Conrad Grayson?”
Emily: “He had more motive than anyone.”

Victoria used a necklace to bribe a stripper into pretending to David that she was good to Amanda. I’m also surprised she didn’t try to reclaim her throne.

David (to Emily): “I thought it was time we met.”

Emily (re David): “All the time I’ve spent honouring his memory and he doesn’t even have one of me. Who the hell is he, Nolan?”
Nolan: “It’s time we find out.”

Louise photo shopping images of her and Victoria on her tablet is definitely the creepiest thing this episode did.

Daniel: “If I knew you were this flexible things might have worked out for us.”
Emily: “Will you stop talking?”

Standout music: Emika’s “Double Edge”.

Nolan (to Louise): “I used to be happy when I was trending.”

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

I’m not gonna lie – I really liked “Ambush”. Arguably the strongest episode this season, the reunion with Emily and David mostly worked and some of the character moments (anything excluding Jack/Ben) were interesting enough as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Review of Gotham's 1x08: "The Mask"

Written by John Stephens
Directed by Paul Edwards

Sionis: “In order to succeed, you have to be a warrior.”
Gordon: “No you don’t. You have to be a good businessman. Warriors fight wars, it’s different.”

I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this episode. Ever since Fight Club was released, it’s become a thing with genre shows to have an episode like that movie and usually they tend to be pretty awful episodes. Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed this one, only because I think there an introduction to another Rogue Gallery member.

The Black Mask might not be in my top twenty list of favourite Rogue Gallery members (actually, I think he’s kind of rubbish), but Richard Sionis, the owner of a business where if you want to be employed, you literally have to fight for a position was actually pretty well realised.

He was delightfully oily, slick and full of bluster that it was easy to see why Gordon was so irritated by him. I also quite like the fact that the show didn’t try to make it into a mystery either. As soon as Sionis appeared on screen, we knew he was responsible for the businessmen deaths with his competitive antics and more to the point, Gordon got to unwillingly participate in the fights before taking Sionis down as well.

While I do think this show is arguably introducing too many Rogue Members too early (next week sees the debut of Harvey Dent), like Zsasz from the previous episode, Sionis worked pretty well as a guest antagonist and given that he survived his altercation with Gordon, I wouldn’t be surprised if we encountered him again in the near future.

Speaking of Gordon, another strength of this episode was the fact that the fallout from the previous one was dealt with head on. Gordon was rightfully pissed at the cops who abandoned him last week while Essen felt remorseful and Bullock delivered a rousing speech that seemingly managed to cool the tension at GCPD for now.

Unfortunately while that side of things was dealt with nicely, Barbara spent most of the episode being a jittering wreck before leaving Gordon again. That’s twice in eight episodes. Perhaps Barbara should just stay away until the writers can figure out what to actually do with her. I don’t want to dislike the character but she’s emerging as the weakest one so far with even Essen getting better material (at least in this episode) than Barbara. Fix it writers.

As for the gang related stuff this week, no appearances from Falcone or Maroni but both Oswald and Fish were kept busy. Oswald quickly delighted in kidnapping and torturing his replacement Timothy to get information on his former boss while Fish went to interesting lengths to make sure that Liza continued to play maid/mother/lover for Falcone. I did like Oswald and Fish’s brief interaction but the latter is in need of more back story, given that she told a pack of lies to Liza about her past.

Also in “The Mask”

Selina got caught shoplifting and was promptly reunited with Gordon towards the end of the episode.

Fish (to Oswald): “When I order some fool killed, I expect him to stay that way.”

Oswald’s mother reappeared again, this time talking about getting revenge on a former rival and taunting a rat that she caught. I love how delightfully bonkers she is.

Alfred: “Don’t you want to live like a normal kid?”
Bruce: “I’m not sure. Define ‘normal’ and make a good case for it.”
Alfred: “You’re going to bloody school. Now start walking.”

Barbara (to Gordon): “I said I wanted half of your life and I got it. Leave the gun.”

I’m not sure Alfred allowing Bruce to beat up Tommy (future Hush guy?) was totally wise, even if the irritating child kind of had it coming.

Liza (re Falcone): “I don’t know if I’m his maid, mother or lover.”
Fish: “Or all three. He cares about you.”

Essen (re the Waynes): “Why were they so important?”
Gordon: “It’s what they represented. Different Gotham. Decent, hopeful. Whatever it was, it’s gone now.”

Nygma got a lot more screen time in this episode with the Sionis case and who was that elderly woman singing at Fish’s club? Her mother perhaps?

Selina (to the police): “A girl’s gotta shop.”

Sionis (to Gordon): “Seems like I’ll have to give myself a million dollars.”

No Renee or Crispus in this episode, though they seem to have a bigger role in the next one if the previews are anything to go by.

Liza: “You are rich, people are afraid of you. Isn’t that enough?”
Fish: “No, it’s not.”

Chronology: Not long since the events of “Penguin’s Umbrella”.

A better than expected sort of episode. I had no expectations for “The Mask” and while we’ve had better episode (the previous episode being an obvious one), this was still more interesting than expected, even if the Barbara scenes are dragging the show down a bit.

Rating: 7 out of 10

First Look: Looking - Season 2 Trailer

While the show may not be back until the new year, HBO have released a 30 second tease for the upcoming second season of gay dramady, Looking.

The trailer doesn't actually feature any clips from the upcoming season but is more of a concept trailer with the five main characters in various shades of disco light.

Patrick (Jonathan Groff) - blue light.
Agustin (Frankie J. Álvarez) - red light.
Dom (Murray Bartlett) - purple light.
Kevin (Russell Tovey) - green light.
Richie (Raúl Castillo) - orange light.

It's a fun trailer with Tiga's “(Far From) Home The Speed of Sexor (Reprise)” playing in the background as the boys pose and look all kinds of delicious. I know the first season didn't exactly make for compelling television at times (like Girls, it had issues with not enough diversity and not much actually happening each week) but with the additions of several new characters, including the show's first transgendered character and 10 episodes, hopefully the second season will be made of stronger stuff.

Season 2 Trailer:

Looking's second season will air Sundays at 10pm on HBO from January 11th. SkyAtlantic will air it shortly afterwards for UK viewers.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x12: "Death In Heaven"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay

The Doctor: “Why are you doing this?”
The Master/Missy: “I need you to know we’re not so different. I need my friend back.”

There are so many quotes I could’ve used because let’s be honest, Moffat gave his version of the Master practically all the best dialogue of the episode and if you thought Michelle Gomez was a little unhinged in the previous episode, then this one allowed her to go well and truly maximum crazy here.

Of course the Master would dedicate all that time and energy into pollinating a whole army of the dead as Cybermen just to hand over control to the Doctor. I saw people criticise the plot but when has the Master ever came up with a plan that actually made any sense? This one was no more bonkers than the Master race or the Toclafane but it was certainly as enjoyable even if corrupting the Doctor with an army predictably went to shit really.

While I’m still not overly in favour of the idea of a female Doctor someday and would’ve preferred that Moffat had brought the Master back as a male character, I cannot heap enough praise on Michelle Gomez. Everything she did in this episode was the Master. The glee she took over knowing where Gallifrey was and giving the Doctor false coordinates? That’s the Master for you.

The fact that she simply kept the Doctor and Clara together (yes, she was the woman in the shop), just cos the latter’s a control freak – that’s the Master. The utter joy she took in bumping off Osgood and nearly killing Kate – again, the very thing the Master would do. The whole confrontation at the graveyard scene with the taunting, the tempting and even the offer of going with the Doctor to find their home – also the Master. Basically, Gomez and Moffat know the character and nailed her brilliantly with this whole episode.

Which leads to the bum deal – did she really have to die and more importantly, by a Cyberman version of the Brigadier? I get the intention was meant to be good but that sort of left a bad taste really and I don’t feel the episode needed to honour the Brigadier in that way. However, I also didn’t like the idea of the Master being killed off yet again, when she simply could’ve escaped or been held in UNIT captivity. I’m going to wager though the next time we see the Master, it’ll be when the Doctor actually does find Gallifrey and that will probably be sooner than later.

As for the rest of this episode – the Cybermen were certainly creepy enough and while they were better used here than previous stories, they still played second fiddle to the Master. Aside from that cameo scene, the only other significant Cyberman was the recently uploaded/converted Danny who ended up mucking the Master’s scheme, getting an emotional goodbye with Clara and righting a previous misdeed from his history.

I have to admit, I did think that Moffat was actually going to undo Danny’s death at the very last minute so the fact that it stuck was kind of surprising. I liked the character but I don’t think Clara and Danny worked as well as Amy and Rory did but at the same time, at least he got a dignified and somewhat heroic exit.

As for the Doctor and Clara themselves – their relationship seems to be a weird place. Clara’s convinced that the Doctor’s going back to Gallifrey and the Doctor’s convinced that Danny’s alive. However it does look like with the help of Santa Claus (am I allowed to say I’m not a big fan of Nick Frost?), that things between this Doctor/companion won’t end on the strained note quite so soon.

Also in “Death In Heaven”

I assume putting Jenna Coleman’s name in the opening credits first with her eyes was a dig at certain fans complaining about Clara’s screen time this series.

Clara (to Cybermen): “Clara Oswald has never existed.”

Clara’s birthday was confirmed as November 23rd 1986 and while pretending to be the Doctor, she mentioned he had been married four times and mentioned Jenny as well.

Kate: “He’s on the payroll.”
The Doctor: “Am I?”

Clara: “I am an incredible liar.”
Danny: “Correct.”

People in the street taking selfies with Cybermen? They weren’t doing that in 2006, were they? Osgood also got the companion offer before being killed off as well.

The Master/Missy (to the Doctor): “Do you know what’s the best part of knowing? Not telling you!”

Osgood: “If it was that important, why would you tell us?”
The Master/Missy: “Well, look at me, I’m bananas.”

She’s not wrong – we had ‘oh, Missy, you’re so fine’ and the dodgiest Cockney accent when explaining about Clara too. Plus that umbrella scene and randomly bumping off Seb too because he wanted to squee.

The Master/Missy (to the Doctor, re Osgood): “Have you got any more friends I can play with?”

Clara: “Danny?”
Danny: “Danny Pink is dead. Help me.”

The funeral home was called Chaplet. As someone pointed out to me on Twitter, the Master actually killed Dodo Chaplet in a novel once.

The Doctor (to Danny): “Pain is a gift. Without the capacity of pain, we can’t feel the hurt we inflict.”

Clara: “I wasn’t very good at it but I did love you.”
Danny: “Loved you too.”

The scene where the Doctor started smashing the console in anger over the Master tricking him about Gallifrey was a stunning moment – possibly Peter Capaldi’s best one in this series.

The Master/Missy: “Say something nice. Please.”
The Doctor: “You win.”
The Master/Missy: “I know.”

Clara (to the Doctor): “Travelling with you made me feel really special. Thank you for that. Thank you for making me feel special.”

Chronology: Still present day London 2014, but also the Doctor’s birthday as well, according to the Master.

I know a certain cameo scene might have divided viewers and you can make the argument about the Cybermen plotline not making too much sense but fuck it, I actually really loved “Death In Heaven”. Not only was it an impressive and satisfying first series finale for the Twelfth Doctor but it was a brilliant return to form for the Master, had some wonderful character moments, bits of horror and great scenes. Overall, a brilliant wrap up to an impressive debut series for Peter Capaldi.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Friday, November 07, 2014

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 1x03: Smile Or Go To Jail

Out of the three episodes so far, this one was probably the least impressive but it still had it's moments though as we got learn a little bit more about Michaela.

Written by Rob Fresco
Directed by Randy Zisk

Choose Your Spouse Wisely: Michaela has mentioned in the previous two episodes that she has a husband to be somewhere and this week, we met him - Aiden, played by Sinbad's Elliot Knight. On paper, Aiden came across the perfect fiancee for the rather ambitious Michaela but as soon as it was revealed that he had a brief sexual history with Connor (which reveal wise, came across as a little contrived for some reason), Michaela began to wonder if getting married to Aiden was such a bright idea at all. I don't know if Aiden was being sincere when he said his experimentation with Connor was a one-off or if the writers are setting up a coming out as gay or bisexual reveal for the character later on, but I do get the impression that any marriage between Michaela and Aiden will probably not be a long lasting one though.

Lost The Ring: I have to admit the flash forwards to the aftermath of Sam's murder weren't particularly that interesting this week, even if Laurel had the bright idea of using the bonfire as an alibi for the gang. I guess the reason why they bothered me this week was the callous way Connor behaved with Michaela (love the guy but he's too much of a dick to her, especially when revealing about his past with Aiden too) at the bonfire. He managed to make uttering the title of this episode sound so menacing as Michaela seemed to have great difficult in actually pretending to have a good time. Connor also didn't do himself any favours by challenging Annalise this week but he did make me laugh of his comments about the hotness of Asher and Frank, the former seemingly a little put out that Connor didn't find him as attractive.

He Didn't Do It: Well, thanks to Nate, Annalise now can sleep safely at night in the knowledge that her husband didn't murder the college student he was clearly sleeping with. Except that Nate wasn't actually that truthful about Sam's whereabouts on the night of Lila's murder. Sam seems like such an obvious suspect that it probably won't be him but he's no more obvious than Lila's football stud boyfriend or surly Rebecca. Speaking of Sam, is there something going on with him and Bonnie because this episode certainly seemed to imply something at the very least.

A Worthy Cause: Well, thanks to Wes, Annalise decided not to represent Lila's boyfriend but instead local drug dealer/general sour face, Rebecca. No disrespect to the actress but three episodes in, I just find Rebecca thoroughly unpleasant as a character and even more so in this episode. Granted, Wes's whole mantra of wanting to be her knight in shining armour is somewhat grating, given that he barely knows her and has absolutely no evidence of her innocence. More still, I did find it a tad annoying that Annalise sided with him over it as well and I don't even like Lila's boyfriend. I like Wes but Rebecca tends to cloud his judgement and not in a good way.

20 Years Ago: I mentioned during my recap/review for the opening episode that I wouldn't always be gripped by the cases of the week and while I enjoyed last week's one, this case kind of bored me to tears. Ana Ortiz is a great actress (Ugly Betty, Devious Maids) but I didn't much care for her character in this one and the bit where her and former partner in crime, played by Jason Gedrick managed to fool everyone and flee on a bus was pretty unsatisfying. Hopefully next week's case will be far more interesting to watch.

Next week, it's time to get some proper focus on Connor as his relationship with Oliver hits a new low.