Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 - Five Anticipated Shows

It's the last day of 2014 and to end the year, I decided to have a look at five new shows that I will be looking forward to in 2015.

1: Marvel's Agent Carter (ABC/UK channel TBC)

With the much improved Agents Of SHIELD not returning until March, the first eight weeks of 2015 shall see spin-off, Agent Carter taking it's place and given how popular Hayley Atwell's heroic character has become, I'd be surprised if this wasn't a hit for ABC, especially considering that the cast will also bring in the likes of James D'Arcy, Chad Michael Murray and Enver Gjokaj as well as Dominic Cooper reprising his role as Howard Stark. (Tuesdays 8pm from January 6th)

2: Daredevil (Netflix)

With shows such as Arrow and The Flash flying the flag for DC on the small screen for the CW, Netflix are getting into the act themselves with 13 episode series, Daredevil as Charlie Cox takes on the titular role with a cast also boasting Deborah Ann Woll,  Rosario Dawson and Vincent D'Onofrio for good measure. The show is also executive produced by Steven S. DeKnight, best known for creating Spartacus and working on shows such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Smallville(April 10th 2015)

3: Jekyll & Hyde (ITV)

Now this one is a little tricky to talk about. So far we know that it's going to be a 10 episode series, due to film in 2015 by comedian and writer Charlie Higson and that it's set forty years after the original. In terms of casting, we have yet to find out who's playing who and given ITV's past history with genre television, I do hope that this upcoming adaptation fares a lot better than what's gone before. Last thing we need is another Demons, right? The series will follow Robert, grandson of the original Dr Jekyll, as he battles ghouls, zombies, werewolves and vampires, as well as his own inner demon. (Mid-Late 2015)

4: London Spy (BBC2/BBCAmerica)

A five episode one-off series (I think) starring both Ben Whishaw as reckless romantic spy Danny and Edward Holcraft as his lover, Alex, this series by Tom Rob Smith will also feature both Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling (also due to be seen next week in the second series of Broadchurch). The spy series will also see Danny dealing with the disappearance of his lover and having to decide whether he’s prepared to fight for the truth. (Spring 2015)

5: Scream Queens (FOX/UK channel TBC)

This one might have yet to shoot even it's pilot episode but like Gotham, it seems that FOX are confident enough in both Ryan Murphy as a showrunner and leading ladies Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis to already commission a first season of 15 episodes. I'll admit this could end up being just a network attempt of American Horror Story (especially as the serial killer on a college campus plot could easily be done on that show) but I'll also admit that this series is intriguing me more than Murphy's other upcoming TV project at the moment. (Autumn 2015)

Those are my five anticipated shows for 2015 - what are yours? Oh and to everyone who's peeked at my blog this year, Happy 2015. Here's hoping it's a good one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Spills, Thrills & Kills?

Yes, it's a little festive themed this one as two of these shows had Christmas episodes while three of them had Christmas specials. Which at some point might lead to another musing/debate on either here or my Twitter account though.

Arrow: This show has been on an impressive streak this season and the recent two episodes were easily the show's best and brightest ones yet. The crossover with The Flash was an unbridled joy to watch, especially with having Cisco and Caitlin in the Arrow cave and helping with the mission against Captain Boomerang but the mid-season finale was something else. The actual use of a cliffhanger with the fight between Oliver and Ras Al Ghul, not to mention the reveal of Sara's killer. Bravo, this show has truly surpassed itself.

Black Mirror: Charlie Brooker's innovative anthology series has been one of the best shows that Channel 4 has come up with in years (after Utopia and very likely, Cucumber from next month onwards) and this eerie Christmas special, White Christmas might be one of his best ones just yet. Having John Hamm was a nice casting move but the shows themselves - ranging from bad Christmas dates to literally being able to block people certainly highlighted Brooker's wonderful flair for making mundane things rather macabre. It kind of makes you want another festive special from him, doesn't it?

Downton Abbey: After a fairly plodding and uninspired fifth series, this Christmas special certainly had it's moments. Everything involving Anna and Bates was pure tedium (just resolve the whole 'Who Killed Green' plot and be done with it now) and while I still don't care a great deal for Rose's inlaws or Mary's latest suitor, I did enjoy every scene with Violet and Isobel, loved the little tribute for Sybil, Robert's conversation with Edith about Marigold, Thomas's scheming being used for good and the fact that Christmas came into play in the last fifteen minutes of the episode. While Christmas 2011 will always be this show's best festive edition, this one certainly was a step up from the previous two we've had.

Mrs Brown's Boys: A couple of weeks ago, I saw D'Movie and while it provided a few chuckles, it wasn't Mrs Brown at her very best. This special (which did pretty well for both RTE1 and BBC1) on the other hand was a return to form. Whether it was another tree disaster related gag, commentary on Strictly Come Dancing or a certain whisk joke, the special certainly had it's share of funny moments. It doesn't matter that the jokes are easy to spot a mile off, it's still part of the show's charm.

The Flash: Outside of Gotham and How To Get Away With Murder, this show has been the best new thing to air in the last three months. The crossover episode with Arrow was sublime with Oliver, Diggle and Felicity blending well with Barry's team but again, the mid-season finale was the highlight. I'm not sure what to make of the connection with Wells and the Yellow Suit but it's certainly got me eager for the second half and after some ambivalence towards Cisco, I do think that character wise, he's come into his own. Plus, I'm looking forward to see more Caitlin and whether or not she'll be able to cure Ronnie. I'm guessing the answer there though will be no.

- Gina Torres has bagged a recurring role for the second half of Revenge's fourth season.
- Paul Rudd will return for the final season of Parks & Recreation.
- Michael Imperioli will appear in Hawaii Five-O.
- Sebastian Roche will be joining Once Upon A Time as King Stefan, the father of Aurora. Eion Bailey will also be returning for an episode.
- Mike Colter has been cast Luke Cage for Marvel's AKA Jessica Jones series.
- Joe Anderson will play the role of Mason Verger in the third season of Hannibal, following the exit of Michael Pitt.
- David Schwimmer will play Robert Kardashian in American Crime Story: The People V. OJ Simpson.
- Kiefer Sutherland has revealed that he doesn't expect 24 to return anytime soon.
- Game Of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2014.
- Julian McMahon and Daisy Betts will appear in the SyFy miniseries, Childhood's End.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x13: "Last Christmas"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Clara: “Because every Christmas is last Christmas.”

Except if you’re Clara Oswald and it mostly definitely turns out not to be last Christmas at all. It was teased for several weeks that this episode could be the one to write out the school teacher, there was a moment that came close to it and then the episode ended with Clara actually resuming her travels with the Doctor.

I liked that some of the lingering issues with Clara and the 12th Doctor were dealt with immediately. The Doctor knows that Danny is actually dead and Clara is aware that Gallifrey has not been found. Add to the fact that they manage to overcome a creature responsible for Inception like dream states, both of them can now start the next series with no baggage or lies holding either of them back. Kudos in that regard.

As for the dream state stuff – I liked the Kantrofarri/dream crabs. They looked genuinely creepy enough and the dream within a dream stuff worked a treat, given how largely it dominated this particular special. Clara’s dream state of course took some screen time but again it worked extremely well.

I know some fans weren’t exactly jumping for joy upon the idea of Danny returning for the episode but given that his death was a recent thing, it was hardly a shock that he returned though. Clara dreamed of having the ideal life with the man she didn’t get a chance to be with properly only for the Doctor to wake her up again to another part of the dream.

Now that was where things got somewhat more interesting as well. You have to remember the big hype of this episode was a certainly fellow dressed in red and I hate to admit it, but Moffat managed to do a great job with Santa Claus here. Not only did Nick Frost not overact the role (never a bad thing) but Claus and his comedy elves Ian and Wolf were relegated to scenes only of importance (mainly helping the Doctor, Clara and a Polar expedition crew of scientists realise they were dying) and because of that, managed to be fun and never outstay their welcome.

Speaking of the crew – there were a likeable enough bunch of people. While Albert probably got the least amount and was the only one to be killed off by the dream crab, enough screen time was given to Ashley and Bellows to make them memorable enough but on the other hand, there was Shona.

Watching this particular character in action, it really did feel like Shona was being auditioned for the role of companion. She asked the right questions, made the right observations, had a lot of screen time dedicated to her interactions with the Doctor, Clara and Santa and even wanted to swap numbers with them too. I’ve seen a lot of people hyping Faye Marsay’s performance in this episode and I wouldn’t be too shocked if she somewhat returned next series either.

However for the time being, the status quo with the Doctor and Clara has remained and it’s strange because until a certain moment, this episode did feel like it was going to be Clara’s last hurrah. The scenes with her as a 90 year old woman meeting her friend for the last time would’ve been a great way of ending her storyline and time on the show but I’m intrigued to see where else Moffat and Coleman intend to take the character.

Also in “Last Christmas”

Nick Frost’s name was added to the opening credits and the credits themselves were more Christmassy than the episode itself.

Santa: “Why did you stop believing?”
Clara: “Because you’re a fairytale. I grew out of fairytales.”

Keeping with the Inception theme, the tangerine was the spinning top of this episode. A clear answer as to whether or not Santa is real was not given here.

Santa: “My Little Pony.”
Shona: “Shut up, you.”

The Doctor (to the crew): “There’s a horror movie called Alien? That’s really offensive. No wonder you keep getting invaded.”

Michael Troughton followed his brother and father’s footsteps by playing Albert in this episode. Bellows in the real world was a wheelchair bound grandmother and Ashley an account manager for perfume.

Danny (to Clara): “Every Christmas is last Christmas and this is ours.”

Santa (to everyone): “It’s Christmas Day, it’s the North Pole and you’re dying. Who are you gonna call?”

This is the third Christmas special in a row not only to have Jenna Coleman but also Dan Starkey, playing another character this time – Ian.

The Doctor: “Do you know what I hate about the obvious?”
Clara: “What?”
The Doctor: “Missing it.”

Clara (to the Doctor): “I’ve always believed in Santa Claus but he looks a little different to me.”

Standout music: Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”, especially when you consider Shona’s dance moves as well. Oh and that cracking list she had too.

Clara: “Merry Christmas, Doctor.”
The Doctor: “Merry Christmas, Clara Oswald.”

Chronology: Christmas 2014 I assume. Also both the Doctor and Clara will return in “The Magician’s Apprentice”.

I wasn’t initially sure about this episode and I even thought some reviewers were jumping the gun by declaring “Last Christmas” to be Steven Moffat’s best Christmas special yet (still “The Snowmen” for me) but truth to be told, I actually adore this episode. For a story that had Santa, comedy elves, Rudolph and the North Pole, it was more horror tinged than Christmassy and with an engaging potential companion in Shona and a renewed vigour with the Doctor and Clara, it’s hard to deny that this episode really won me over.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Family Guy/American Dad/The Cleveland Show - Top 10 Christmas Episodes

Now that today is Christmas Eve, I thought I'd do a list of the ten best Christmas episodes from Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show.

1: Road To The North Pole (Family Guy)

A glorious two parter where David Boreanaz shone brighter than his days on both Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel and Brian and Stewie are tasked to save Christmas upon realising the stress it's taken on Santa Claus himself. Also Christmas Time Is Killing Us among the musical moments of the two parter.

2: For Whom The Sleigh Bell Tolls (American Dad)

Never give Steve Smith a gun. It only results in Santa being shot and manning a mission to murder the Smith clan in the bloodiest Christmas episode Seth McFarlane has ever produced. It's probably also one of the best episodes from the Smiths as well to boot.

3: A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas (Family Guy)

The first Christmas special we got and one that I've enjoyed seeing no matter the time of the year. Whether it's Peter wanting to watch a Christmas special featuring Santa and Kiss or Stewie determined to be nice to get some plutonium, it's all good - more so when Lois loses the plot within the last five minutes as well.

4: Season's Beatings (American Dad)

Stan got ex-communicated from the church after giving Roger a probably deserved beating while Hayley and Jeff adopted the antichrist in another joyfully ridiculous Christmas themed episode. Also Steve being possessed managed to churn out some great moments too.

5: The Best Christmas Story Never Told (American Dad)

The one known where Stan messes up pretty bad and the US is taken over by Russia during the holiday period. Not to mention the fact that Stan took great exception to no-one using the word Christmas and his resentment towards Jane Fonda and later Donald Sutherland later came to light. Also the delight of Roger making money of disco music.

6: Die Semi-Hard (The Cleveland Show)

It's a Die Hard spoof. For that alone it was always going to be a contender for this list. However, I don't think Cleveland will be giving John McClane a run for his money any time soon though.

7: Minstrel Krampus (American Dad)

With various episodes featuring/factoring in Santa (including this one too), it was time for Krampus to make an appearance when Steve's bratty behaviour becomes even more annoying than usual. Turns out that Krampus is actually good for kids and Santa not so much. Also the episode gave us an interesting redemption story of sorts for Jack too.

8: Jesus, Mary & Joseph (Family Guy)

I'm surprised it took McFarlane to give us a version of The Nativity and this one was rather interesting, even if yet again in a special episode Meg is relegated to a less flattering role (the donkey of course). Certainly a fun version of a classic story.

9: Christmas Guy (Family Guy)

Brian came back to life and just around the time I was starting to like Vinny. To be honest, Brian's death was never going to stick because let's face it, both him and Stewie are the highlight of the series and having them reunited made for a nice festive treat.

10: Tis The Cleveland To Be Sorry (The Cleveland Show)

Another entry from Stoolbend, it's also one where Kendra dressed up as Santa to save the day (and had some nice bonding scenes with her and Roberta) while Cleveland pretends to be homeless in order to eat some nice food.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Top 10 Characters of 2014

Digital Spy did their Top 10 list yesterday and I've decided to do my Top 10 list of favourite characters from this year as well.

1: Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) - Gotham

If The Dark Knight blew people's minds with Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker, then Robin Lord Taylor has managed to do the same with his take on the Penguin in the space of ten episodes in Gotham's debut year. Playing a younger version of the character, it's been fun watching Oswald slowly but surely working his way to the top.

2: Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) - Doctor Who

The key to any good character is to be one that can provoke a strong reaction, whether it's love or hate. In Series 8 and Peter Capaldi's debut year as the 12th Doctor, Clara did exactly that as the school teacher proved to be a far more fleshed out character compared to her previous year. Whether or not Last Christmas will see the end of her remains to be seen, but it's hard to deny the impact Clara has had this year.

3: Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) - The Flash

The one thing we can get clear is that not only is The Flash every bit as good as Arrow but it's almost arguably better than it's parent show. Not only do we have an exceptionally likeable leading man with Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash but amongst the superb cast we've also got Cavanagh's mysterious Wells, a man so delightfully unpredictable week in and week out.

4: Connor Walsh (Jack Falahee) - How To Get Away With Murder

I know most of these sort of lists would actually feature Annalise and while her character continues to fascinate me, I have to admit it's Connor who really fascinates me that bit more. He's not the nicest of guys at times but he's certainly one of the most amusing, most interesting gay male characters we've had in a while with a tiny bit of an edge too for good measure.

5: Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) - Game Of Thrones

It was nearly Oberyn for this list but much as I loved Pedro Pascal's performance, the fourth season of HBO's best show was easily the best for both Tyrion as a character and Dinklage as an actor with some genuinely sublime moments in the wake of Joffrey's much welcomed demise. Especially in the sixth episode and that unforgettable finale. Where the writers will go with Tyrion when the show returns in 2015, I cannot wait to see.

6: Melody 'Mellie' Grant (Bellamy Young) - Scandal

Truthfully, I'm more a recent convert to this show and having spent most of the last few months watching the third season on SkyLiving, Scandal is a show with almost too many interesting characters (Olivia, Cyrus, Quinn, Huck, Eli etc) but Mellie certainly managed to catch my attention that extra bit more. The fact that this show is able to make us sympathetic with her, Olivia and Fitz in equal measures is actually a good thing, especially considering what we learned about the character during the third year.

7: Cosima Niehaus (Tatiana Maslany) - Orphan Black

Ah, Orphan Black the series I don't think you're allowed to dislike, even if you want to. Just kidding. Seriously though, the second season managed to be as good as the first one and Maslany was on fine form again. When she wasn't handling new characters like Rachel and (briefly) Tony, she was perfecting her main four clones - Sarah, Allison, Helena and of course my personal favourite here, Cosima. Best actress on television at the moment.

8: Sara Lance/The Canary (Caity Lotz) - Arrow

Arrow has had it's fair share of brilliant female characters and while I was tempted to add Felicity to this list, Sara edged her out just a tiny bit though. As the Canary, she not only proved to be a good a hero as the Arrow but actually an even better one. It's a shame that the writers killed her off in the opening episode for the third season but at least the character's legacy will live on in Laurel. Yes, I don't hate Laurel, people.

9: Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) - Orange Is The New Black

This show has way too many great characters to pick from I could probably do a Top 10 list from it alone, but and maybe I'm being slightly controversial here, I decided to pick Piper as my favourite character, even if her role was a little smaller (though not by a lot) during the second season. Still however a fantastic, engaging, flawed protagonist as her relationships with Larry and Alex took decent turns as did her time in Litchfield.

10: Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) - Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD

It might have taken Agents Of SHIELD two thirds of it's first season to show audiences what it really could do as a series but when it got good, it really got good and even watching the second season, all of the main characters have improved for the better. Then there's May, who was just fantastic from the start and continues to be. Don't challenge her on that. It won't end well.

That's my list folks. So, what's yours?

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Review of Atlantis's 2x06: "The Grey Sisters"

Written by Howard Overman
Directed by Declan O'Dwyer

Hercules (to Jason): “Just try not to do anything heroic...and by heroic, I mean stupid.”

Now there's advice that Jason has spent the last series and a half ignoring (and presumably will continue to ignore), but it's nice that Hercules is concerned for the hunky lad's well being. This was something of a very interesting episode for Jason. The mission to save Ariadne (who I didn't doubt for a moment would make it out of this one alive) turned out to be a lot more interesting than expected.

First of all, the visit to the Grey Sisters and their literal seeing eye was actually pretty amusing. Granted they looked like knock-offs of the Carrionites from Doctor Who (and those witchy creatures from Wizards Vs. Aliens a few weeks back), but I actually found their OTTness surprisingly enjoyable, even when they were referring to Jason as a pretty boy. However, they were the tip of somewhat better scenes to come.

It made sense that Medea enchanted the dagger that she used on Ariadne and it also made some sense for Medea's blood to be a cure for Ariadne. I knew Jason wouldn't actually go through with murdering Medea and I still think there's a spark between them more exciting that the one with Ariadne but his pride allowed him to get captured and that just led to the highlight of the episode.

I've been craving for Pasiphae to come into her own as a dimensionalised villain for ages and this episode finally gave me what I wanted. I even felt sorry for her when she came close to revealing to Jason who she really was to him before deciding that killing him would be better. Why did we have to wait this long for Pasiphae to be this interesting? If she had been written like this from the start the show would probably be seen in a more favourable light.

Keeping with the good stuff - I am no shipper of Jason and Ariadne but the proposal scene was actually rather sweet and while things on this show have had to be sped compared to Merlin, the trailer for the latter half of the series does indicated that these two have a long road ahead of them.

As for Hercules and Pythagoras - this one might be their best one too. The stuff with the birds wasn't greatly exciting but the scenes where they talked about love and heroics had some fine dialogue and acting between Mark Addy and Robert Emms though.

- BBC1 released a trailer for the second half of the series. I'm looking forward to more Jason/Pasiphae scenes, Medusa's return and Icarus's arrival.
- Pasiphae talked about other enemies. I hope that means we'll see them in the second half.
- Nice to actually see the Oracle out of her temple for once. This is the first time we've seen her in the palace, isn't it?
- Good conclusion to the Orpheus/Eurydice storyline at the start of the episode. One of the highlights of the first half of this series.

Finally an episode that actually kept my attention and one that had plenty of interesting character moments and enough to make me want to watch the second half of the series. I hope this is a signifier of better things to come.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Glee - Season 6 First Look

I've waited a while to talk about this but with literally three weeks to go, FOX seem to be ramping up the promotion for Glee's sixth and final season.

The thirteen episode final season, starting with a double bill (and also ending the series with one) and a new Friday night timeslot in January will see the return of McKinley High and more importantly, both Kurt and Rachel bringing back the Glee club after Sue bans the arts from the school. The trailer certainly hinted at some old nostalgia (slushies included) and over the course of the last season, it seems that Kurt and Rachel will be aided by Mercedes, Santana and Puck to name three of the former characters returning.

It's also been reported on various sites that Kurt and Blaine are no longer together but this clearly doesn't last as a double wedding will air towards the end of the season for both them and Santana and Brittany. The season's first two episodes, Loser Like Me and Homecoming will get the ball in motion and after a pretty dire fifth season, I'm hoping this reduced run of episodes will lead to tighter plotting and a satisfying conclusion for the show. Oh and the first episode has Rachel singing Let It Go from Frozen to boot. And there's also that Blaine/Karofsy storyline as well, isn't there?

Season 6 Press Releases/Trailers/Cast Pictures:

Season 6 of Glee will air Fridays at 8pm from January 9th on FOX. Sky1 have yet to confirm when they will air the final season for UK viewers.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 1x09: Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me

Holy shit! Now that was one mid-season finale I wasn't expecting and we've had some pretty great ones over the last few weeks. Now we know for definite who killed Sam everyone.

Written by Michael Foley & Erika Green Swafford
Directed by Stephen Williams

And The Killer Was: Michaela, cos she totally like pushed him over the bannister and so forth. Except it was more of an accident and that didn't finish him off. Nope, Sam had enough energy to try and strangle Rebecca before being clubbed over the head by the trophy courtesy of Wes. Wes being the one to strike the deadly blow isn't actually that surprising. It's the fact that the episode ended with Annalise being aware of her husband's murder and her coercion of the Keating Five (minus Asher) disposing of Sam's body for good measure. Now that's how you leave an audience wanting more. That and the fact that Annalise really does know how to cover herself.

Bad Husband: Of course prior to Sam being bumped off, the episode almost made a last minute attempt to make him come across as a right bastard. We had Annalise spitefully tell him that she was shagging Nate (which she actually did in this episode), only for Sam to make crass remarks about her race/sexual prowess while nearly attempting to strangle her. Then there was the fact that Rebecca copied his phone records on a flashdrive and nearly got killed for it. In spite of Sam's pretty nasty behaviour, I still don't believe he actually killed Lila. Because whoever did has to be alive right now for it to have an actual impact in the proper finale, don't they?

Body Disposal: I got it wrong. They didn't burn Sam's body. They (mainly Connor) hacked it to bits, burned the evidence and then got rid of his body in bin bags. I really liked how all the flash forwards from the previous episodes now fit together seamlessly throughout this episode but I'm not sure if their method of disposal will turn out to be truly successful though, especially considering the fact that Michaela lost her ring, Connor's car was spotted at the Keatings residents and other things that will inevitably resurface. Plus wanting to get Asher involved - there's a reason why Rebecca hasn't been endearing to audiences and that was it. I actually get now why Michaela was happy to blame her for everything.

Aftermath: So, what do you do after killing your professor's husband and getting rid of his corpse? Various things it seems. For Wes and Rebecca, it was destroying a flash drive (making the whole pointless in the first place), Michaela signing a prenuptial agreement, Laurel it was lying to Frank and getting him to hand the trophy back (which they at least had the sense to clean) and for Connor, it involved going to Oliver, having a proper meltdown and then pretending that he was a drug addict. I'm up for seeing more of Oliver in the second half of the season and while I actually think Connor was smart not to tell him what really happened, I'm not so keen on a pretend addiction plotline either with him and Oliver for the second half of the season either.

The Innocent Parties: And possibly the only two people not included in any way connecting to Sam's death were Asher and Bonnie. I liked their scenes in this episode and while I understand that Bonnie might not want to broadcast that she slept with Asher, he was a step up on that oily guy she met at a bar though. Also, I think Asher was spot on when he said was the most mature of the Keating Five too. The sex scene between Asher and Bonnie was also delightfully awkward as well and a definite contrast towards the more racier we had earlier in the episode with Annalise and Nate. However, I do get the feeling that somehow both of them will get sucked into the whole Sam saga. For a mid-season though, that was brilliant stuff from start to finish with many twisty moments. I definitely can't wait to see what the remaining six episodes will offer. Can this lot get away with murder and who actually killed Lila now?

The show returns on ABC from January 29th for US viewers. Universal will air the remaining episodes in the Spring for UK viewers.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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

Well, that was incredible. An episode with a strong emotional core, a call back to the show's best season, the backstory for one of the most endearing characters and the beginning of a much welcomed downfall for one of the worst characters.

Written by James Wong
Directed by Bradley Buecker

Pepper: One of my favourite characters in all four seasons of this show so far has been Pepper and I was delighted when it was revealed that she was going to be added to this season. So far, she hadn't a great deal to do but following Salty's death, this episode changed things in a big way. Not only did we get to see both Desiree and Elsa take care of her (as well as the latter finally displaying some genuine compassion for a change) but we also learned more on her backstory. Elsa taking her out of the orphanage to look after Pepper, the relationships she's had with both Ma Petite and Salty and of course, having to life with her boozy sister and horrible brother in law. I swear to God, if you didn't shed a tear for the character, then you're made of stone. This was Naomi Grossman's episode and she absolutely shone from start to finish.

A Shot Of Redemption: Another favourite character of mine was also Sister Mary Eunice and keeping with the links to Asylum, this episode fast forwarded to 1962 where Pepper's awful sister and brother in law had her committed to Briarcliff for murdering their baby. Except it was them and not Pepper but having the blatant link to the show's most popular season led to an incredible final ten minutes of the episode. Despite her disgust over a murdered baby, I did like that Mary Eunice actually believed that there was redemption for Pepper and she was probably the first person in nearly a decade to show her kindness outside of Elsa. Also seeing Lily Rabe on this show has made me realise how sorely missed she is this season as well.

Owning Friday Night: Keeping with the glimpses into the future, it seems that Elsa might actually achieve her dreams after all, if that July 6 1958 of Life magazine is anything to go by. While I'm glad that she tried to do the right thing by Pepper throughout the flashbacks and the current day, I'm still not entirely sure if she deserves the fame that she's been clamouring for all season. On the plus side, at least it's starting to look like she's wising up to Stanley, which can only be a good thing, right?

Changing Sides: Another unexpected aspect of this episode was Maggie and Desiree teaming up to take down Stanley. I actually wasn't expecting Maggie to literally tell and show Desiree everything that herself and Stanley had been up to but at the same time, it was another brilliant part of the episode and given that Roberts and Bassett barely interacted with each other in Coven, it's nice that they've been teamed up here. I'm hoping now that Desiree is aware of that grisly museum that she (along with the rest of the troupe) give Stanley a taste of his own medicine in the final three episodes. I also liked that this episode gave a minute to show us how Stanley and Maggie came to form their malignant partnership too. Also, not sure about Desiree's new beau either but I like that she made it clear to Dell that she's moved on from him.

Hands Free: Despite this episode surprisingly (and thankfully too I might add) being a Dandy free zone, Jimmy was still dealing the fallout of being set up by him. Something which Stanley was more than happy to take advantage, given the latest acquisition at the museum (somehow, I still think Jimmy's alive though). Keeping Jimmy relegated to one scene was a welcomed relief, given that he's been a pain in the arse over the last few episodes but I do like that Bette and Dot managed to spur Maggie into switching sides though.

The show returns in January for both US and UK viewers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Struck By Cupid's Arrow

It's been a while since I've done one of these but here's a look at some of the shows I've been catching up on that I haven't reviewed/recapped.

Arrow: While I have to yet see the final two episodes of 2014 yet, I will admit that this season has been turning out to be hugely enjoyable, even if Oliver himself has been a bit annoying at times. I've liked the introduction of Ted Grant, the returns of Nyssa, Thea and Malcolm, the brief glimpse of Ras Al Ghul and even the bubbling romance with Felicity and Ray has been enjoyable enough. Speaking of Felicity, she's getting better with each passing episode as is Roy and even Laurel's quest to avenge Sara's murder has been interesting too. This has certainly shaped up nicely as a show.

Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD: A genuine difference a season has made. A year ago, this show was fine but sort of treading water and now, it's shaped up and is producing some great moments. Okay, not every character is brilliant (Whitehall is a stereotypical baddie with dull acolytes and Lance falls into the 'cute but bland' category) but the improvement is hard not to notice. Fitz and Simmons themselves are so much richer as characters, both Coulson and May are still total badasses and Skye has become more important than expected. Adding her father into the mix and a shared destiny of sorts with Rayna has done her the world of good and Ward is so much more interesting these days now that he's genuinely unpredictable. The first half of the season and it's ongoing thing with the Obelisk has certainly helped to do wonders for the series. With that in mind, I can't wait to see what the second half will bring. Until then, eight weeks of Agent Carter to look forward to.

Once Upon A Time: I think five episodes have aired since I lasted discussed the show and within those episodes, a lot happened. Namely the resolution to the Frozen arc and the rather surprising self-sacrifice from Ingrid (who has turned out to be most sympathetic and self aware villain the show has had) as well as the downfall of Gold and the rise of the Queens of Darkness - Cruella, Maleficent and Ursula themselves. While this season has suffered from not knowing what to do with certain characters (the Charmings, Belle, Will etc) and the Regina/Robin story has been less satisfying, I still think it's been the strongest in terms of the main villain arcs and the continued growth of Emma as a character too. March really will be a long wait but hopefully the Queens of Darkness and Author plots will be worth it.

Scandal: Wow, that finale, just wow. I never really cared about Fitz and Mellie's kids but even I wasn't expecting one of them to be bumped off during election time. That was seriously unexpected and the fact that it was Olivia's father doing it to get back at Fitz and reclaim his position was totally twisted. I've really loved this season and that finale was a perfect capping off to it as well. Plus, the best news is that SkyLiving will be airing the fourth season from January 8th so I won't have to wait long to see where exactly Olivia and Jake have sloped off to as well.

The Flash: As much as I am enjoying Arrow, I think just maybe, I love The Flash that tiny bit more. Again, I haven't seen the crossover episode of mid season finale just yet but the last few episodes have been bloody fantastic. Whether it's been Captain Cold, Plastique, a former bully turned strongman or a guy who feeds off other metahumans, the range of guest characters have been fun to watch as has trying to figure out what exactly Wells (easily the best character on the show) is up to. Plus, Felicity can stop by Central City anytime she wants and Barry continues to be a rather endearing and fun lead. In terms of other characters, I still say that Cisco and Eddie are my least faves but I don't mind them while Iris is pretty decent though I prefer Caitlin and Joe.

- Nicholas Gonzalez will play Cisco's brother, Dante in an upcoming episode of The Flash. Peyton List will also play the villainous sister of Leonard Snart in the same episode. Expect Mark Hamill as the Trickster as well.
- JoAnna Garcia Swisher will return as Ariel in Once Upon A Time.
- The spin-off for The Walking Dead will be set in LA.
- Marc Singer will be appearing in Arrow in the recurring role of General Matthew Shrieve,
- Both Selfie and Gracepoint have been cancelled.
- UK fans will be able to see both Seasons 9 and 10 of Supernatural from January on E4.
- The TV series Scream will recreate the Drew Barrymore scene from the first movie with Bella Thorne taking on Barrymore's role.
- Blair Underworld will be appearing as May's ex-husband in the second half of Agents Of SHIELD.
- Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons have been cast in the second season of Fargo.
- Broadchurch will return on ITV and TV3 for UK and Irish viewers at 9pm and 10pm respectively from January 5th.