Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Midsummer Night's Dream - Cast Confirmed

I should've posted this a few days ago but with filming commencing, the cast for Russell T. Davies and BBC1's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream has been mostly announced.

Bernard Cribbins who previously has worked with Davies during the fourth series of Doctor Who as Wilfred Mott and on CBBC series, Old Jack's Boat. Cribbins will play Tom Snout, an amateur performer who memorably portrays a wall in a play within the play. Along with Cribbins, the cast continues to impress.

Maxine Peake (Shameless, Silk) will take on the role of Titania while Matt Lucas (Little Britain, Come Fly With Me) will be playing Bottom, and John Hannah (Spartacus) as Theseus. Rounding off the cast for now include Eleanor Matsuura (Spooks) as Hippolyta, Hiran Abeysekera (Lion In The Tent) will portray Puck. Fisayo Akinade has been cast as Flute as well Elaine Paige, Javone Prince, Prisca Bakare, Paapa Essiedu, Kate Kennedy, and Matthew Tennyson.

Russell T. Davies released this statement in relation to the impressive casting for this upcoming production .....

“This is such an exciting range of actors from stage and screen, from wild comedy to high drama, and some making their first ever appearance on camera. The Dream is coming to life like never before.”

Though we have yet to learn who has been cast as Oberon though. I can think of a few names for that role, including a former Time Lord who would be great.

Press Release:

A Midsummer Night's Dream has begun filming and will air on BBC1 in 2016.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Review of Gotham's 2x02: "Knock, Knock"

Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by Rob Bailey

Jerome: "Hang on to your hats cos you ain't seen nothing yet!"

Well, this show has certainly upped it's game, hasn't it? Now I was expecting at some point in the show for Essen to die but in practically the episode after she was made commissioner. Come on, show - you couldn't have waited until November sweeps to kill the character off? Okay then.

Essen's demise came at the hands of Jerome, who this week really upped his game as Theo encouraged his madness and the gang sprang out of Arkham suddenly became known as the Maniax. In this episode alone, they used some workers to spell out their name, tried to burn up a bus of jocks and cheerleaders before invading GCPD and causing something of a bloodbath.

I really liked the confrontation between Jerome and Essen and I did like that the latter had some fight in her before being killed off, even if her death could've been held off for a little later. Even if Jerome isn't the Joker, he's certainly cemented himself as a proper thorn for Gotham and given that the Maniax are now reduced to him, Barbara and Amygdala, I'm guessing there's more mayhem to be stopped before they're done with.

As for Barbara, this episode wasn't as great for her as the opening episode but she did have some fun though. She got to torture Mayor James (does anyone care about that character? Yeah, didn't think so) with Tabitha while using Amygdala to beat the crap out of Gordon but so far, she's largely been kept away from the bigger schemes of Theo, who she openly expressed annoyance towards in this episode. Don't worry, Babs, you'll get your moment to cause further mayhem I don't doubt.

As for the non Maniax stuff, Alfred nearly got himself fired for blowing up the Bat computer but at the last minute, Bruce decided to let him keep his job provided he didn't stop him from continuing to investigate his father's secret life. This show really does want go there with the Batman stuff and having Lucious drafted in fix the computer will certainly edges Bruce towards his destiny when it's actually repaired, right?

Also in "Knock, Knock"

Both Oswald and Selina were missing for this episode, Nate and Dent have yet to appear/return and Tabitha continues to kill blokes in this one. She shot Arnold. Bullock also rejoined GCPD after Essen's death.

Theo (to Mayor James): "See there is no spider but if you don't do what I ask, there will be one."

I'm guessing with Theo's determination to get rid of James, he'll be wanting to step in as Gotham's new mayor shortly.

Theo (to Jerome): "The laugh is fabulous, use that."

Essen: "You ever thought about that? Walking away?"
Gordon: "No. You?"
Essen: "I did for a long time."

I've read some theories online that Barbara might be this show's take on Harley Quinn. Considering that she's expressed no romantic interest in Jerome so far, I think some people might be a bit off there.

Gordon: "Love you."
Leslie: "Likewise."

Lucious: "I'll bite. What were you thinking about me?"
Alfred: "Oh Alfred, please."

Nygma's split personality thing is a little too much like Two Face to really work with the character. However he did seem to finally endear himself to Kristen though in this one.

Barbara (to Gordon): "I'm not sick. I'm free."

Essen: "It's a new day, Jim."

Chronology: From where "Damned If You Do" more or less left off.

Well, this was even better than the opening episode. The Maniax (dwindling numbers aside) might be this show's attempt of a Sinister Six but they certainly know how to make an impression and in Knock, Knock, they definitely did that. It does look however by next week's episode their reign of terror might be coming to an end.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Review of Doctor Who's 9x02: "The Witch's Familiar"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Hettie Macdonald

Davros (to the Doctor): "All Daleks shall drink the blood of Gallifrey."

I was really worried about this one. Not because of Missy, Clara and the TARDIS because they were never in danger in the first place and that was deftly dealt with in this episode but I was worried about Davros. Really worried.

And not because I actually thought for a second that the Doctor was going to kill him because that predictably didn't happen (and a good thing too) but because for one little moment, I actually feared that Davros was going to be redeemed. I mean, seriously, I was never so relieved in my life watching this show when his attempts of showing remorse were revealed to be a front so he could get some Time Lord energy off the Doctor.

Yup, it seems that Davros is actually fine enough - he just wanted to play on the Doctor's compassion to get Time Lord energy as part of some bonkers prophecy to make a Time Lord/Dalek hybrid, because it was so compelling when done in the third series with Dalek/Human DNA. It's not really compelling here either but it's used as a handy plot device in order to make an idiot out of Davros and cause some serious problems for the Daleks on Skaro though.

I did like the imagery of underground Daleks and that they were used as part of the resolution for the latest Dalek problem but what I really liked about this episode was just how evil Davros was in this episode. Sure he had to endure a bit of humiliation (being chucked out his chair by the Doctor and getting his eye scratched by Missy) but his nastiness has never felt more apparent than since Revelation Of The Daleks to be honest. More to the point, Davros has never felt that much in control since that particular serial as well.

I also have to praise the performances between Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach. As brilliant as they were in the opening episode, both of them really came into their own throughout this one as they mostly interacted with each other. As for the actual cliffhanger of last week, it was the hand mines who got exterminated while the Doctor showed mercy to his enemy - something which has bled into the Daleks in a way.

As for the Clara and Missy segment of the episode, it was there to add some levity to proceedings. Their escape was dealt with in a rather hand waving sort of way while Missy spent a great deal of the episode tying up Clara and putting her in harm's way with every chance she had. I know it's a bit evil but Missy's cruelty towards Clara was a nice way of reminding people that she really is the Master and the fact that she almost tricked the Doctor into killing a Dalek cased Clara at one point was a delicious little moment of extra cruelty.

This episode really did play on the theme of enemies and friends being inside each other beautifully though. The scenes with the Doctor and Davros, Clara and Missy, the Doctor and Missy, Missy and the Daleks and of course, the Doctor and Clara as well during the end of the episode. Speaking of Clara, you really don't have to be genius to suss out that she's not going to make it out of the series alive.

Also in "The Witch's Familiar"

As intriguing as the titles were for these two episodes, did they really tie into what actually happened in either of them?

Clara: "Why am I tied up?"
Missy: "In case there's nothing to hunt."

Interesting cameos from the First and Fourth Doctors in this episode. Not totally needed but interesting nonetheless. More so than Missy maybe having a daughter.

Davros: "You would threaten a dying man? Have I not suffered enough?"
The Doctor: "Get out!"

Doctor (to the Daleks): "I'm the Doctor. Just accept it."

Three things that didn't bother me but apparently bothered others - Davros being chucked out of his chair, Davros opening his eyes and Missy using the word 'bitch'.

Missy (re sharp stick): "Oh poppet, do you really think you would?"
Clara: "First chance I get."

Clara: "What are you doing?"
Missy: "Murdering a Dalek."

I'm going to join the list of people who are hoping that the sonic sunglasses are not a pernament thing. Give him back the screwdriver, Moffat.

Davros: "I'm dying."
The Doctor: "You keep saying that, you keep not dying. Can you give it some welly?"

Missy (to Dalek): "Tell him the bitch is back."

Is it a safe bet to assume that given the outcomes of them both, that Missy and Davros may be a big problem for the Doctor and Clara in the finale?

Davros (to the Doctor): "I wish just once we had been on the same side."

Missy (to Davros): "Can I just say it's been an absolute pleasure to finally meet you?"

The format for Doctor Who Extra this series is a tad crap. Can't they just keep it to 10 minutes instead of breaking it into four parts per episode?

Dalek Supreme: "What is happening?"
The Doctor: "Oh, same old, same old. Just the Doctor and Clara Oswald in the TARDIS."

Chronology: More or less from where The Magician's Apprentice left off.

A very satisfying second episode. I really liked The Witch's Familiar and while there was the odd questionable moment, I do think the episode served it's purpose. It's commentary on the lines between friends and enemies was interesting while reminding us just how lethal both Missy and Davros truly are as antagonists too. Now imagine if those two combined forces.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Recap/Review: How To Get Away With Murder's 2x01: It's Time To Move On

And it's back. In a week (or fortnight) of returning shows, How To Get Away With Murder came back and it was one hell of a blistering opening episode. One mystery was quickly wrapped up and another more shocking one ended the episode in style.

Written by Peter Nowalk
Directed by Bill D'Elia

Who Shot Annalise: Well, we did see Wes running from the scene of the main cases house while Annalise was on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Now, first of all, I'm going to assume two obvious things - one, Wes didn't shoot Annalise and two, Annalise will inevitably survive. So, who did it then? Right now, I think it's either going to be Bonnie or new character Eve but it really probably could be anyone, right? Either way, it's set up a rather interesting new mystery as the one we thought would drive this season took an interesting turn.

Not A Good Person: I really liked that the opening episode actually revealed Rebecca's killer and that it wasn't something we were going to have to wait until the mid season finale to happen. I also liked that some decent cases were made by Frank that either Wes or Laurel could've done the deed before Annalise figured it out and it was revealed that Bonnie did it. Bonnie's had something of an edge to her character and I did suspect that she would be Rebecca's killer, so I was pleased to be right on this one. I'm also hopeful in light of this information that we're going to learn more about Bonnie and the odd relationship relationship she has with Annalise. It's just as bizarre as the one Annalise herself has with Wes, isn't it?

The Former Girlfriend: Keeping with the twists and turns of this episode, not only did we get a lawyer for Nate by the name of Eve Rothlow but it also turned out that Annalise and Eve used to be in a relationship together and going by the kiss they later shared, one that may be rekindled too. I have to admit, I am a little surprised to learn that Annalise is bisexual (isn't she?) but it was a nice twist handled really well but the wary part of me also wonders if Eve might be a future suspect in Annalise's shooting though. I hope not as it's a lame trope but I can't rule it out until now. I did like that Eve wised up to the fact that Annalise framed Nate for Sam's murder and called her out on it though.

Domestics, Spying And Eggs 911: As for the Keating Five, they certainly kept things ticking along in this episode, didn't they? Asher was doing his best to avoid Bonnie so he could spy better on Annalise for that lawyer lady from last season's finale, Connor spent some scenes without clothing and committed to Oliver in many ways while Laurel and Michaela were sniping at each other as the latter contacted Eggs 911 and tried to pick up another gay guy at the bar. They were doing all this while Wes spent most of the time throwing a strop and realising that Annalise had lied about Rebecca's whereabouts - which actually might give him a motive to shoot her later on in the season, even though I still think it won't be him.

The Kids Might Have Done It: The main case, not just for this episode but it seems the first half of the season will be focusing on a pair of adopted siblings who might have killed their parents - at least that's what their aunt was convinced of. I did find it amusing how Annalise and company manipulated the situation so her firm could represent Catherine and Caleb and it was their parents home where Annalise was shot in, so there's definitely more than meets the eye with those two for sure.

Next week, there are some blindsights in the case of the siblings while Annalise is cross examined during Nate's preliminary hearing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Review of Empire's 2x01: "The Devils Are Here"

Written by Danny Strong And Ilene Chaiken
Directed by Lee Daniels

Lucious (to Cookie): "It's crazy how I can love your ass and hate you at the same moment."

And the biggest show on American television came back with something of a whopper. Anyone who might have felt that the show could potentially lose some of it's fizzle after the heights of the first season, should be relieved to know that this episode had plenty of it.

First of all, let's talk about the hostile takeover that didn't happen. I mean, let's give Cookie, Anika, Hakeem and Andre points for at least trying but they seriously underestimated both Lucious and even Mimi, who initially seemed like a bit of a soft touch. Cookie trying to pimp Anika into garnering Mimi's favour blew up in both ladies faces and a part of me was glad that even in prison Lucious was able to beat them.

It's not that I'm suddenly turning to the dark side (like Jamal kind of did here) but it's more that they were a little too underhanded in trying to take over Empire that it was nice to see them getting a little outsmarted here. While Jamal seemed a little too on his father's side nowadays, I don't think his anger towards the rest of his family was without merit though.

They did try to screw him over big time and the last scene where both him and Cookie fell out was sad to watch, but at the same time, there's blame on both sides too. As for the album rivalry with Jamal and Hakeem, that was something of a low point in the episode. I mean it was believable but it got tedious even before Becky herself was fed up of it too.

As for Lucious himself - prison hasn't turned out to be a deterrent for him. He was able to side up to Mimi (in spite of his continued homophobia) in order to prevent a hostile takeover and when Cookie's life was threatened, he paid enough inmates to kill off cannibal, Frank Gathers for good measure. I have to admit in that role, Chris Rock was pretty decent if a tad underused though.

I think the best guest star for this episode alone was probably Marisa Tomei's Mimi Whiteman and after Tiana, it's nice to see the show include some lesbian and bisexual women into the mix. That being said, I'm not sure I approve of Mimi's general gushing of Lucious though but I guess no-one is perfect.

Also in "The Devils Are Here"

Cannibalism aside, we also had Cookie in a gorilla costume/in a cage during the Free Lucious concert segment of the episode.

Mimi: "Lucious is the reason why we're here."
Cookie: "I hope it's not the only reason you have, Mimi."

Michael came back in this episode and seems to be sort of back together with Jamal. He's also helping out with LGBT fundraising too.

Frank: "How's Cookie?"
Lucious: "The hell if I know. You talk to her?"

Becky (re Jamal/Hakeem): "You're rude, he's crude and the both of y'all are socially unacceptable."

Given the way Jamal kissed Michael in this episode, I've gotten a clearer picture of what those two get up to behind closed doors. I'm pleased Michael is back, even Ryan was referred to badly in this one.

Mimi: "Why do you want to depose Lucious?"
Cookie: "He's lost his way and I need to get my company back before he destroys it or destroys my family."

Michael: "Why you gotta be so nasty?"
Jamal: "Empire."

Jamal's album dropped to number 22, so some of Hakeem's bitchy comments were possibly on point.

Lucious (to everyone): "Game over, bitches."

Lucious (re Frank): "Kill him. Make it loud and make it long and by the way, I'm a sign your baby girl and slip her my bone."

Standout music: Jamal/Hakeem's "Born To Lose" (with Swizz Beatz/Sean Cross), Miss Lawrence's "You Make Me Feel Mighty Real" and Bre-Z's "Same Song".

Cookie: "We can be a family again."
Jamal: "Get out."
Cookie: "What do you think you're talking to?"
Jamal: "You done, old lady?"

Chronology: Three months since the events of "Who I Am".

It might have been six months since the first season ended but given the events of this particular episode, Empire certainly hasn't lost any of it's charm. The Devils Are Here certainly kept up the momentum of what came before and with Lucious probably not long for prison, it'll be interesting to see how much like him Jamal really will be as the new season progresses.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Review of Gotham's 2x01: "Damned If You Do"

Written by Bruno Heller
Directed by Danny Cannon

Theo: "The world sees criminal lunatics. I see brilliance. I see charisma and power."

I also see something of a contrast to the previous season in a way. Last year there was a heavy emphasis on mob wars between Falcone, Maroni, Oswald and Fish and with only one of them still being an active cast member and enjoying their little kingdom for now, it was time for this show to really step up a gear with some new blood on the villain front.

Theo Galavan and his sister, Tabitha/Tigress might very well be the very thing that Gotham needed in terms of new villainy because with this episode alone, Theo has charmed the city into thinking he's the dog's unmentionables while Tabitha helped to break out six inmates from Arkham - Barbara, Jerome, Sionis, Amygdala, Robert and some other bloke whose name was never mentioned and all so their criminal genius could be happily exploited for Theo's end no doubt.

Funnily enough the only person who didn't seem too keen on playing ball was Sionis but Tabitha quickly put a stop to that by killing him off a fairly brutal fashion, which seemed to intrigue both Jerome and Barbara quite a bit. Speaking of Barbara - it truly is amazing what a season can do to a character.

Last season she was a bland and boring girlfriend with a drug problem that hadn't been well thought out. This year, she's completely nuts, making threatening calls to Gordon and Leslie, casually dismissing Jerome and using Sionis to get a telephone when she wasn't making Amygdala into her personal bodyguard and foot slave. It's actually really amazing how the show managed to turn the character around and more power to Erin Richards who clearly is having a blast playing a more unhinged Barbara this year as well.

As for the rest of the episode - Gordon's demotion to beat cop/getting fired was resolved a little too quickly. Doing Oswald a favour (good going there, Bruce) ended up with Loeb being forced into retirement, Essen getting a deserved promotion and Gordon his own job but his actions in order to get it should inevitably have consequences as the season progresses though.

As for Bruce and Alfred - they sort of discovered the BatCave (let's be honest, that's what it is) and when they couldn't think of a password, they used a bomb in order to get into the place. More noteworthy was that this episode really did signpost Bruce's future even more than ever before and that's kind of a good thing really.

Also in "Damned If You Do"

Although they're regulars, this episode didn't feature Nicholas D'Agosto (Harvey Dent), Chris Chalk (Lucious Fox) or Michael Chiklis (Nate Barnes)

Zaardon: "Dark days are coming."
Gordon: "Thanks for the heads up."

I loved the sheer daftness of Zaardon and even more so when he was used as plot device for Theo and Tabitha to break out Barbara and company from Arkham.

Nygma (to himself): "Holy moly, look at you. Everyone's gonna think you've gone nuts."

Jerome: "You're bad."
Barbara: "Yeah, so why don't you go and make me a sandwich."

Aside from Nygma's brief scene, Selina was also revealed to be working for Oswald now. That should be an interesting dynamic to watch.

Oswald (to Gordon, re Selina): "Isn't she darling? It's like having a cat around the house but no horrid dead mice."

Bruce (to Gordon): "Sometimes the right way is the ugly way."

Update on Bullock: He's working a bar that plays Irish music, has been sober for 32 days and has a girlfriend who doesn't hate him. He'll be back at GCPD by next week then.

Barbara (to Leslie): "I just wanted to say that I hope you die screaming, bitch. Love you."

Oswald (to Loeb): "You're a rare animal but that does lead us to a sad pickle."

Standout music: The use of "Perfect Day" at the start of this episode was actually pretty perfect to be honest.

Barbara: "While that sounds fabulous, I am not a brilliant outlaw. I just have issues."
Theo: "You have ferocity and beauty and desire and that's enough."

Chronology: It's been a month since the events of "All Happy Families Are Alike"

Well, this was fun. Actually, it really was. The humour used to offset some of the doom laden stuff in "Damned If You Do" worked pretty well and I really like this whole "Rise Of The Villains" theme that the season seems to be embracing. A great start to the new season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Review of Doctor Who's 9x01: "The Magician's Apprentice"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Hettie MacDonald

Davros: "Are you going to save me?"
The Doctor: "I'm going to save my friend the only way I can. Exterminate."

And this moment happened. Back in April when the Mirror leaked that the Doctor was going to potentially kill Davros as a child, I was pretty dismissive of the idea and in spite of how this episode, I still am to a degree but even still, that last scene though.

Over the years, Moffat has brought back various elements and characters like Russell T. Davies had done during his four series reign and with the Master as Missy, it was time for Davros to make an appearance in this particular era and I really appreciated that this episode didn't really delay anything there. We met him at the start of things as a child trapped on a battlefield and his presence gave the Doctor one hell of a moral dilemma.

Years later and Davros now seems to be on the way out (like that'll last) and has sent his minion, the snake like Colony Sarff throughout space and time in order to locate the Doctor. In that regard, it was the rather strained team up of Clara and Missy who did the work for Sarff and Davros by finding the Doctor for them.

I really enjoyed having to see both Clara and Missy battle with their mutual disrespect for each other in order to seek out the Doctor and I also really enjoyed the back and forth barbs between the pair of them as well. Unlike last series finale though, this story might have reminded us a few times that Missy is still evil (killing UNIT blokes, trying to cosy up to the Daleks) but for now, the main threats were an ailing Davros and his monstrous creations.

The Daleks in particular seemed a little too happy in killing Missy, then Clara and then destroying the TARDIS in almost too quick a fashion that you just know that all three of them are going to be fine, even if their 'demises' did result in that cliffhanger moment. On the other hand, Davros seemed perfectly happy with taking a pot shot at the Doctor's compassion but I still am curious as to what his overall angle is here.

Does Davros genuinely want to die and somehow get the Doctor to do it? For what end then? To mess with the Doctor's morality once and for all or is there another ploy at play? Given that this is the first of a two parter, we'll soon know the answer to that one but either way, the scenes between Peter Capaldi and Julian Bleach (yup, he's back in the role) were one of several highlights throughout the episode. The others including stuff with Clara and Missy of course.

This episode certainly played on the themes of enemies and friends, while not new for the show was definitely it's most effective here. The Doctor and Missy, Clara and Missy, the Doctor and Clara and of course, the Doctor and Davros. All of them wonderfully explored within the madness of this opening story. I just hope the second part really goes for leather there as well as providing a solid reason as to why the Doctor won't inevitably murder Davros as a child either.

Also in "The Magician's Apprentice"

Doctor Who Extra seems to be broken up into four seperate parts for this episode, which can be found on YouTube and the BBC website.

Davros (to the Doctor): "Davros. My name is Davros."

The hand mines on Skaro were pretty effective, especially with the eyes sticking out of them. Such a classic Moffat type of creation too.

Colony Sarff (to Ohila): "Tell the Doctor Davros knows. Davros remembers. He must face Davros one last time."

There was a lot of cameos in this episode - UNIT with Kate and new members Mike and Jac, the Shadow Proclamation, Karn, Maldovarium and aliens from both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures as well.

Clara (re the Doctor): "He's not your friend. You keep trying to kill him."
Missy: "He keeps trying to kill me. It's sort of our texting."

Bors: "Dude, what is that?"
The Doctor: "You said you wanted an axe fight."

Which was more ludicrous - the Doctor playing guitar on a tank or Missy cupping a Dalek's ball? Oh and the Doctor's confession dial is a will that only opens after he dies. Missy was the one trusted with it, not Clara.

Missy: "Hang on a minute, Davros is your archenemy now?"
The Doctor: "Hush!"
Missy: "I'll scratch his eye out."

The Doctor (to Clara): "Davros made the Daleks but who made Davros?"

I loved the use of previous encounters with Davros - Genesis Of The Daleks, Resurrection Of The Daleks, Revelation Of The Daleks, Remembrance Of The Daleks and The Stolen Earth/Journey's End being used to bring audiences up to speed with the Doctor and Davros's history.

Davros: "Do you know why you came, Doctor? You have a sense of duty, of guilt perhaps and certainly of shame."

Missy: "With this and with me, everything can be yours. You can burn it all forever and ever and ever or would you rather just kill me?"
Dalek: "Maximum extermination."

No direct explanations were actually given as to how to either Davros or Missy survived their previous encounters with the Doctor.

The Doctor: "Why have I ever let you live?"
Davros: "Compassion Doctor. It has always been your greatest indulgence. Let this be my final victory."

Chronology: Some bits of 2015 London for Clara/UNIT, some in 1138 Essex when the Doctor was hiding out and various times on Skaro.

As an opening episode, I think "The Magician's Apprentice" is definitely one of the strongest we've had. It's certainly one of the most maddest and boldest, very much feeling like a series finale and with the Doctor's confession being an arc this year, there are some slight shades of the sixth series running through this one along with the plethora of Classic Daleks and other nods throughout.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Doctor Who - 10 Choices For Next Companion

Following yesterday's confirmation that Jenna Coleman will be stepping out of the TARDIS as Clara Oswald during the new series of Doctor Who, I decided to compile list of potential successors for her, because to be honest, everyone else is, so I might as well too.

1: Ingrid Oliver

The most obvious choice. Her appearances in both The Day Of The Doctor and Death In Heaven as UNIT scientist/cosplaying Osgood have endeared her to audiences and despite being vaporised by Missy in the latter episode, she's back for The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion or is she? It wouldn't be the first time the Doctor's travelled with a UNIT member if she joined up full time, now would it?

2: Jonathan Bailey

Popping up in last series Time Heist with the equally brilliant Pippa Bennett-Warner, it's been a while since we've had a regular male companion and given that Psi had the ability of being able to challenge the Doctor and cajole with him along with the fact that he's an augmented human, it would add a slightly different dynamic to the show. Plus Twelve did ask Psi to call him as well. Just saying.

3: Faye Marsay

Appearing in Last Christmas as the wonderfully likeable Shona, the character might have felt like a mashup of Lucie, Rose and Donna but Marsay is an incredible actress who brought a lot of warmth to Shona and her scenes with Capaldi during the Christmas 2014 special were fantastic to watch. She would definitely offer something of a contrast to Clara as well as some great dancing moves.

4: Luke Newberry

In The Flesh might have only lasted two series on BBC3 but it was long enough to certainly get people familiar with this wonderful actor who has also popped up in episodes of Sherlock and Banana. I could easily see Newberry travelling with Capaldi's Doctor as someone in awe of the latter's enigmatic Time Lord.

5: Karla Crome

The great thing about Misfits was the slew of impressive actors it had in it's five series reign and one of the best IMO was definitely Karla Crome, who played Jess in the show's fourth and fifth series. US viewers would probably know her as well from her appearance in Under The Dome's second season and when Crome isn't acting, she's also scribing plays to boot. I definitely think she has to be a serious contender for a companion role on this show.

6: Sacha Dhawan

Now here is an actor who has got some connections to Doctor Who but has yet to actually appear in the show. Sacha played Waris Hussein in An Adventure In Space And Time and has/will be appearing in some Big Finish audios. He's also had some previous genre credits with guest appearances in Being Human and In The Flesh. Oh and he's a bloody great actor to boot.

7: Charlie Murphy

It would be remiss of me to not at least include one Irish candidate into the mix for this list and I went with this particularly gifted actress. Irish viewers will know her best from her role as Siobhan Delaney in all five series of popular RTE crime drama, Love/Hate while UK viewers will definitely know her from roles in Ripper Street, The Village and Happy Valley. Also aside from the wonderful Molly in the Dark Eyes audios, isn't it time for an Irish companion in the TARDIS?

8: Robert Emms

Let's be honest here - Atlantis tried and failed to hit the highs that both Merlin and even Robin Hood managed to do and while it's axing after two series might not be the worst thing ever to happen to television, one of it's strongest assets was Emms as the often underutilised but consistently likeable Pythagoras. Now imagine him on a show where his strengths as an actor could be put to better use. He would be terrific.

9: Kate Bracken

Right now we still have a Scottish showrunner, a Scottish Doctor and a Scottish Master so maybe another Scottish companion in the mix too? On a serious note, Bracken was a revelation as Alex in the final two series of Being Human and did well enough in Misfits too. Then again, if Bracken doesn't get the gig here, then she just might if/when Toby Whithouse takes over the show.

10: Gillian Anderson

I've kept this list fairly grounded (you'll notice compared to other lists that there are some omissions here) but if I have to delve into proper fantasy casting, then I'm going with Gillian Anderson. The idea of her and Peter Capaldi sharing the screen together would be a TV match made in heaven and with Hannibal finished, The Fall finishing and The X Files being a limited run (for now), surely a series with Capaldi/Anderson would be television magic, right?

Okay now there's my list and if by some miracle any of those actors end up succeeding Coleman as the next companion with Capaldi, I will be genuinely surprised and pleased. As for whoever does get cast in the role, you already have my support.

Doctor Who starts tonight on BBC1 and BBCAmerica.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Doctor Who - Jenna Coleman Confirms Exit/Casting For ITV's Victoria

Okay, who really didn't see this one coming at all?

Rumoured as early as Tuesday this week and now confirmed by the actress herself, Jenna Coleman will be exiting Doctor Who during the ninth series. The actress who has played Clara Oswald (and various echoes) since the start of the seventh series will leave the role, presumably in the finale titled Hell Bent but as to how Clara parts company from the Doctor has not been revealed itself.

On her upcoming departure, Coleman had this to say when talking to DJ Nick Grimshaw on his show this morning ....

"It's been in the works for a very long time," she explained. "Steven [Moffat] and I sat down a long time ago - a year and a half ago, and tried to work out the best place to do it and the best place in which to tell a really good story.

"We're not going to give any details but it will happen at some point this season."

Of course it's not all bad news. Not only do viewers still have a full series of Doctor Who with Coleman to watch but this morning ITV also confirmed that Jenna will be playing the young version of Queen Victoria in their upcoming eight part miniseries, Victoria with Coleman also commenting on her new role ....

“I am delighted to be cast as Queen Victoria in this ambitious drama of her life. She is a vivid, strong, inspirational and utterly fascinating woman in British history and I can't wait to tell her story.”

Now I'll do a blog tomorrow on potential companions I'd like to see now that we know Coleman's off but for now, while now is the right time for Clara to leave the series, I will wish Jenna luck on her future projects.

Series 9 - Clara Departs:
Victoria Casting:

Series 9 of Doctor Who starts tomorrow on BBC1 and BBCAmerica while filming for Victoria begins in October and will air on ITV in 2016.

My Review of Constantine's 1x13: "Waiting For The Man"

Written by Cameron Welsh
Directed by David Boyd

Constantine (to Manny): "You know me. I don't play if I can't win."

Okay, so that was a finale but one that oddly enough didn't feel too much like a finale, in spite of maybe two fairly big characters moments which I'll get into in a bit. The main plot on the other hand, well, it wasn't my favourite one we've had so far.

Mainly it entailed a misogynistic serial killer kidnapping and marrying young girls in some weird type of cult until at nearly the last moment of the episode Constantine, Zed and a returning Corrigan banded together and stopped him in his tracks. The fact then that Constantine and Corrigan branded their own punishment on the guy was both expected and deserved.

I liked Corrigan in his earlier appearance and I also liked him in this episode. While I wasn't too fond of an implied triangle between Constantine/Zed/Corrigan, the three of them worked together as a team and I also liked that Zed confessed to Jim that she knew something about his future after a brief conversation with Manny.

Speaking of Manny - he's the traitor, which in some ways kind of makes sense but also felt a little too predictable though. I did like the final scene where he forged an alliance with Papa Midnite (who tried and failed to kill John) but knowing that the show won't be coming back, it also means it's another plot we're unlikely to see come to fruition though.

- No Chas in this episode, which was a bummer. We did however sort of see Gary Lester again though.
- Looks like John and company can find supernatural trouble without the map that Manny burned in the previous episode, though with Corrigan the action was in New Orleans.
- The show would've gone with a John/Zed romance had it been picked up, right?
- I don't think we even got to see John's lair in this one either.

A solid episode but not the best of ending the show, though that's not the show's fault. "Waiting For The Man" had some great moments of hinting of things ahead but now they're things we're unlikely to see. On the other hand, at least Constantine himself will be popping up on Arrow shortly.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x12: "Angels And Ministers Of Grace"

Written by Christine Boylan
Directed by Sam Hill

Constantine: "Manny's here."
Zed: "I know."
Constantine: "You can see him?"

After her absence in the previous episode, Zed was back and this time while we didn't get any more information on her family life, we did get some information on her as we learned that she has a serious brain tumour, which this episode didn't entirely confirm might have been the source of the visions. On the other hand, if her importance to Constantine wasn't apparent beforehand, it definitely was during this episode.

Constantine was desperate to help her and stop a serial killer at a hospital that he even conjured a spell to make Manny earthbound into a doctor's body for most of this episode. It was about time the show properly utilised Manny (aside from the debacle with Imogen and parts of the previous episode) and the teaming with Constantine where he was at a disadvantage actually did wonders with the character for me.

I did like the general plot with the black diamond and former war veteran/doctor Gaelen punishing people mucking up their second chances - which at one point put Zed in a little danger, even if Constantine and Manny's alliance and quick thinking did of course save the day.

The other thing I liked about the episode was the fact that Zed is now able to actually see and communicate with Manny directly, which certainly changes the dynamic a little. Constantine himself even seemed relieved that someone other than him can now interact with the ever cryptic angel, going by the final scene in this one.

- Chas was also in this episode and aside from one moment with the black diamond, he didn't really do much.
- Linda the nurse who 'seduced' Manny at one point in the episode was also Esther in Torchwood: Miracle Day. Matt Ryan also guest starred in the show's second series.
- I did like that Manny did seem to be genuinely sympathetic towards Zed. It helped a little in making him more likeable-ish.
- Trailer for the final episode certainly pushed the dark aspect as well as a few welcomed returning character.

Not quite as strong as the previous episode, but "Angels And Ministers Of Grace" did give us some brilliant stuff with John, Zed and Manny as the three worked well together for the second time in this show's only season. I really hope the finale is a satisfying conclusion now.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x11: "A Whole World Out There"

Written by Davita Scarlett & Sneha Koorse
Directed by Tom Wright

Ritchie (to his students): "Suffering is unavoidable. Secondly, you must understand: suffering is caused by craving."

And for something a little different. With Chas and Zed missing from proceedings, John found himself in a new/old partnership of sorts with Ritchie (from the first episode) as the pair of them put old issues to one side to deal with a few murdered college kids and a spectral serial killer and sadist named Jacob Shaw.

This is the second episode in a row to give us a truly menacing guest villain and Shaw was pretty creepy as he killed a bunch of kids and forced them to play by his games in the house of horrors after they foolishly did a spell to cross realms. The results were death for most of them, save a girl named Lily whom both Constantine and Ritchie were actually able to save by the end of the episode.

Technically though, it was Ritchie who largely saved the day - dealing with lingering issues head on and besting Shaw in a rather satisfying manner with Constantine kind of playing more of a supporting role in his own show. Oddly enough, that's not actually a criticism as it worked well within the narrative and it's nice to see him repair another strained friendship this week too.

As for the alternative reality scenes, I have to give some props to the makers on this one. Shaw's house was suitably creepy and the more idyllic nirvana that Ritchie conjured up was pretty beautiful to look at as well. The visuals have been great in past episodes but this week were on extra fine form though.

- While Zed and Chas were absent from this one, Manny did pop up a little bit but again didn't really do much of interest.
- We also got to briefly see Gary Lester and there was a nice narrative on his death with both John and Ritchie.
- There did seem to be a breather from the season long threat as well. I couldn't recall any direct references.
- Is it me or is everyone getting an invite into John's little hideaway nowadays?

Definitely one of the stronger episodes we've had. "A Whole World Out There" mixed things up a little and while I wouldn't want Zed/Chas gone every week, it was nice to see John teamed up with someone else though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Doctor Who - Series 9 Episode Titles/Synopsis Revealed

With the ninth series of Doctor Who set to air in four days time, both the BBC and Radio Times have released all the titles for the episodes and a few rather spoilery thing as to what to expect over the next twelve weeks. Without further, here goes nothing ...

Episodes 1 & 2: The Magician's Apprentice/The Witch's Familiar

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Hettie McDonald

The two part opening story in which going by the Prologue released on Friday will see the Time Lord facing an old enemy and will also see something of a strained alliance between Clara and Missy as they search for him. It's already been revealed that the Daleks (all kinds of them) are in this story but there's also a few more surprises and the cliffhanger for the first part is definitely something of a shocker alright. As for the old enemy, I think we all know who it is by now, don't we? The main mission statement for the new series is the Doctor's confession and why he left Gallifrey in the first place.

Episodes 3 & 4: Under The Lake/Before The Flood

Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Daniel O'Hara

Under a lake, in the dripping gloom of an underwater base, stands a gleaming black space ship, recovered from the lake bed. In the first part of this story, both the Doctor and Clara find themselves deadly with a dying base crew while the second part of this one is on land, features the Fisher King as well as addressing the question of who composed Beethoven's Fifth.

Episodes 5: The Girl Who Died

Written by Jamie Mathieson And Steven Moffat
Directed by Ed Bazelgette

Something of a linked story, the first part is set within a Viking village (along with some space elements) and focuses on a young woman named Ashildr (Maisie Williams), who has declared war on a merciless race named the Mire. This episode will also address the issue of the Doctor learning where he remembered his current face from as well. Odin also features in this episode too.

Episode 6: The Woman Who Lived

Written by Catherine Tregenna
Directed by Ed Bazelgette

Second part of the story, only this time the action is in 1691 England and there's a highwayman (Maisie Williams again) called the Nightmare with a fire breathing creature causing all kinds of trouble while the Doctor is both on the trail of an alien artifact when a certain someone isn't letting him get away from the consequences of his actions.

Episodes 7 & 8: The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion

Written by Peter Harness And Steven Moffat (Part 2)
Directed by Daniel Nettheim

It's the return of UNIT, Zygons and the maybe not so dead Osgood (or is it a Zygon?) in this largely present day based two parter. The synopsis for this one is interesting with elements of topical issues, the duality of both human and Zygons and their strained peace ceasing along with the fact that there will be some continuity from The Day Of The Doctor in this one.

Episode 9: Sleep No More

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

This is footage collected from a space rescue mission. If you value your life, your sanity, and the future of your species, DO NOT WATCH IT. Literally, that is all that has been revealed about this one but even with that little amount of information, it does appear that Mark Gatiss is writing something a little different than usual for him, which is exciting.

Episode 10: Face The Raven

Written by Sarah Dollard
Directed by Justin Molotnikov

This episode not only features the return of Rigsy from last series Flatline but it's also an episode that will deal with invisible, alien streets on the streets of London as the Doctor, Clara and Rigsy work together to save the day but only one of them can face the Raven so to speak and not all of them will get out alive.

Episodes 11 & 12: Heaven Sent/Hell Bent

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Rachel Talalay

The two part finale will certainly mix things up a little compared to previous ones. With the guest cast for this being largely secret (even though we now know some of the Christmas special guest cast), the first part of the finale will be a one hander with Peter Capaldi being the only actor as the Doctor has to face something alone while the second part seems to be heavily signposting that Clara's time with the Doctor will come to an end by the end of the episode. The Doctor's confession will also be revealed in the finale too.

So there is your guide to Series 9. It certainly feels like we've got one of the most ambitious series ahead of us as both the Doctor and Clara are taken to new highs and lows. Meanwhile filming on the Christmas special is continuing with rumoured guest stars such as Matt Lucas and Greg Davies joining the show alongside Peter Capaldi and Alex Kingston.

Series 9 Episode Guide:
Series 9 Prologue:

Series 9 of Doctor Who starts Saturday at 7.40pm on BBC1 and on BBCAmerica from 9pm.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x10: "Quid Pro Quo"

Written by Brian Anthony
Directed by Mary Harron

Chas (to Constantine): "I've watched other people suffer the consequences of your actions but this is my family, so I'm gonna do things my way, not yours."

After ten episodes we finally got a backstory for Chas and I have to admit, it was probably in my least favourite episode so far. I mean, there's a fair bit going for this one but after the previous three for some reason, this one felt like a bit of a dip in quality in spite of the stuff we learned in this one.

Keeping with the positives, I did like that we learned a bit more about Chas's immortality and I also liked the focus on his wife and daughter - Renee and Geraldine as the latter's soul got stolen by Felix Faust and with the former we saw how her relationship with Chas broke down due to his friendship with Constantine.

Loads of episodes have alluded to Constantine being a bad friend and we've seen the consequences of that with both Gary and Anne Marie during the season but for a moment, I really thought that Chas was going to lose everything due to Faust's reluctance to release Geraldine. There was even a point when even Zed seemed like she might not have made it out of this one alive.

It was nice to finally get an exploration and insight into John and Chas's friendship but Renee was mostly a pain in the ass throughout the episode, even though she had a right to be. The show's characterisation with female characters hasn't been great but Renee was probably one of the worst we've had for some time though.

- Chas's real name is Francis and his immortality was shown after the outcome of a concert that went seriously wrong.
- Zed briefly met Constantine's mother and passed onto John that his mother didn't blame him for her death. That was a nice scene to end the episode.
- Felix Faust was actually a good guest villain but should've been saved for a better episode.We also met Constantine's other friend - a medium named Fennel.
- The Resurrection Crusade are the ones after Zed. They're led by her father. Chas also has 32 out of 47 lives left.

Probably the weakest episode for me now. "Quid Pro Quo" deserves points for giving Chas more to do but aside from a few choice moments, I largely found myself drifting in and out of this episode a little too much at times.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Friday, September 11, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x09: "The Saint Of Last Resorts Part 2"

Written by Mark Verheiden
Directed by Romeo Tirone

Constantine (to Chas/Zed/Anne Marie): "I don't know about you lot but I could murder a bloody drink."

The second part to this story and it was arguably a better version than the first one. Namely because we got John having to be possessed by Pazuzu and a whole manner of chaos came into play as Constantine found himself spending some time in a Mexican prison after killing a gang and even a few more once threatened in prison as well.

On the plus side, at least we had Chas, Zed (yeah, she escaped pretty quickly in the episode) and Anne Marie to spring him out of the joint, tie him up and drive the demon king out of him but not without Pazuzu playing on all of their insecurities beforehand though.

I have to give Matt Ryan his dues in this one. He's been great since the show's beginning but this episode really did push his Constantine just that bit further and he truly excelled during the possession scenes and the quieter moment at the end with Anne Marie as well, who thankfully made it out of the episode alive. I actually do want to see her again. I also liked that both her and Constantine somewhat made their peace at the end of this one as well.

As for the Zed plot, it quickly fizzled out but given that a possessed Constantine is now aware of her backstory, at least it'll get addressed in the remainder of the season. I think Zed really did come through in this one as well and I liked her moments with Anne Marie and Chas too. As for the hints of more danger ahead - bring it on!

- I'm sure some male viewers were pleased with both Zed and Anne Marie's methods for distracting prison guards in this one. I liked that neither of them were competing for Constantine though.
- Manny briefly popped up just to be unhelpful and then buggered off. That felt like a step backwards from his last appearance.
- Now that we know more about Zed, it's also time to learn more about Chas and it seems we will in the next one.
- Still hoping we get to see one of Constantine's former male lovers. Had this show been renewed we might have.

A great ending to an impressive two parter. "The Saint Of Last Resorts" definitely provided some great scares, insights into character motivations as well as the further hints of more impending disasters on the horizons.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x08: "The Saint Of Last Resorts Part 1"

Written by Carly Wray
Directed by TJ Scott

Anne Marie (to Constantine): "No price is too high to save the innocent."

And now we've gotten our first two parter of the season as another member of Constantine's past made herself very well known when John and Chas were encouraged to take a little trip to Mexico as a demon named Lamashtu has been stealing babies from a particular family. However before discussing the demon stuff, let's discuss Sister Anne Marie first, shall we?

So far in the series we've briefly encountered Ritchie in the opening episode and had an episode that focused on Gary's desperation for redemption of the Newcastle incident as well. Here, we learn that former hedonist Anne Marie became a nun to deal with her guilt and when she wasn't lashing out at Constantine for his carefree attitude towards things, she was also slowly discovering the reason behind his stance before ultimately making a sacrifice in order to protect a child.

Now the demon stuff itself was interesting even before Constantine got shot and left for the Invunche to come after him. Firstly by finding out that La Brujería was responsible for the increase on supernatural stuff and secondly, just how the Newcastle incident seemed to be informing the way both John and Anne Marie tried to solve the problem with the babies at hand.

Of course, it wasn't just Constantine getting his own adventures this week. Despite not being a part of the main story, Zed's past caught up with her this week thanks to Eddie being a part of an organisation determined to bring her home. In spite of a few genuinely bad ass moments, Zed then got captured towards the end of this one, even when she was in John's not so protective fortress. I do like that we learned more about Zed in this one but it probably should've tied into the main plotline this week for a better result though.

- Anne Marie was the one who actually introduced John into the occult side of things. She's also a former girlfriend of his. Can we meet one of his ex boyfriends as well? Come on, show.
- Zed's real name is Mary and she spent most of her childhood locked away by her father I think.
- I think it's time for some Newcastle flashbacks, isn't it? I did like the picture we saw of the punk versions of John and Anne Marie there. We also have to meet Judith, don't we?
- No Manny in this episode. It does seem like we can't really have an episode with him, Zed and Chas all there. Budget reasons?

I liked this one. "The Saint Of Last Resorts Part 1" felt like a good opening story and I did slightly learning more about Newcastle as well as getting some solid stuff on Zed but both stories should've overlapped each other a little. Other than that, a terrific episode.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Country Vs. Country

A bit of a catch up on some of the stuff I've been watching prior to literally everything else returning from next week onwards.

Celebrity Big Brother: I've dipped in and out of the regular and celebrity versions of this since it's move to Channel 5 with the latter pulling me in more than the regular version nowadays, though not for the right reasons. Personally I think Channel 5 have oddly encouraged a sense of mutual xenophobia as both the US and UK contestants seem to be increasingly at odds with each - particularly Farrah and Jenna, who are taking the damn show too seriously that it's not even mildly amusing now. Then again, the sort of bromance (I really do hate that term) between Austin and James is one of the brighter spots in a very hostile house this time. And I thought Katie and Perez were bad earlier in the year.

Daredevil: An impressive ending to a great first season. The show really hit it's stride in the last two episode with some more deaths and a rather glorious showdown between Matt and Fisk, with the former finally getting his own costume as well for good measure. Equally as important was that we seemed to get Matt, Karen and Foggy back on track as friends and there was enough to set up the show's second season as well. Netflix really did prove that like the CW, they certainly know how to do a superhero series.

Marvel's Agent Carter: A solid finale for a great first season. I might not have loved this show as much as everyone else but I did enjoy it and I do like that we had some familiar faces like Stark in this one, along with Peggy and Dotty going to head to head (the latter has been a decent antagonist). However it was the end scene that really made the episode and set up something that could be fantastic for the upcoming second season.

The X Factor: Back for a 12th series and surprisingly one with no Louis Walsh, this current run seems like half of the decks being swept while the rest remained and not a lot else have changed. Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw aren't bad additions but have yet to really prove their mettle while Olly and Caroline are decent substitutes for Dermot. Simon and Cheryl themselves seem to be going through the motions a bit and the first two weeks alone hasn't exactly produced anyone yet who is destined to do any better than past contestants. Maybe there's just a genuine sense of fatigue to things this year in spite of the partial revamp to proceedings.

- Freddy Stroma will be playing Dickon Tarly, Pilou Asbaek will be playing Euron Greyjoy while Richard E. Grant will be playing a mystery role for the sixth season of Game Of Thrones.
- Dennis Haysberth and Sophie Okenedo have been cast for upcoming BBC series, Undercover.
- UK viewers will be able to see Quantico on Alibi and Code Black and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders on Watch shortly after their US debuts.
- Meghan Ory will be returning to Once Upon A Time.
- American Gods will premiere on Starz in 2017.
- NBC are planning a Brides Of Dracula series from from comic book writer and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
- Both Kermit and Miss Piggy will have new partners in The Muppets.
- Iddo Goldberg will be playing Red Tornado and the villainous TO Morrow in Supergirl.
- Penny Dreadful's third season will have Patti LuPone playing Vanessa's therapist, Dr Seward as well as Shazad Latif as Dr Jekyll.
- American Dad has been renewed for a further two seasons.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x07: "Blessed Are The Damned"

Written by Sneha Koorse
Directed by Nick Gomez

Imogen (to Constantine): "Guess you're on your own. Your angel did what they always do - nothing!"
Manny: "Like hell!"

Now this was a blast of an episode. Aside from Manny's presence, the show hasn't until delved too much into the angelic side of things but this one more than made up for it as Manny actually got to be more than a cryptic mouthpiece and we met a rather devilish fallen angel by the name of Imogen, who really did have everyone else fooled.

I liked that the episode took some unexpected twists with Zachary the preacher. Yes, he was pious and dismissive of anyone who challenged his faith and mistook Constantine for being evil but the fact he was manipulated by Imogen for her own ends (as well as being saved from going to hell) by having possession of one of her feathers, only for the real potential trouble to emerge when Zed gave it back to her - oh boy.

I've not been the biggest fan of Manny as a character but this was a great episode for him as we learned a bit more about the angels (missing feathers make them visible to everyone, they can be killed etc) courtesy of him having to actually work with Constantine and Zed this week and the actress playing Imogen is probably the best guest antagonist we've had so far. It almost makes me wish that somehow she had escaped but thems the breaks.

As for Zed - she really came alive in this one as well. I liked how integrated she was with both Zachary and Imogen and setting up the rather nice looking Eddie as a threat too from her art class was another good moment too. After a few shaky bumps, it seems like the show has finally found it's groove. If there was a negative to this episode, it did feel like Constantine was almost a little underused compared to previous ones.

- No Chas in this episode this week. Plus John and Zed were in Briarwood for this one.
- The walls between realities are getting thinner and thinner according to Manny. That's exciting from a story point of view.
- There was a serious lack of Constantine's trenchcoat in this episode as well.
- We're certainly due a big info dump on Zed's past that she seems desperate to avoid talking about pretty soon, aren't we?

An absolutely fantastic episode. "Blessed Are The Damned" definitely was one for angels both bad and less bad this week and certainly upped the stakes in such a nice way. Constantine might have had a little less than usual but a great episode for both Zed and Manny though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, September 07, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x06: "The Rage Of Caliban"

Written by Daniel Cerone
Directed by Neil Marshall

Constantine (to Henry/Marcello): "You're not the only one who had a rough growing up, boy. This world's dark, full of pain for everyone, only most people don't leave a trail of dead bodies, shattered lives and retribution."

A child possession episode. It's been done a couple of times on other shows and while there was an interesting twist at the end here with this one, I hate to admit that this was my least favourite episode so far with the show. A part of me was just bored with it and it also felt a little off as well but more on that in a bit.

The first kid to be possessed was a little girl whose parents were subsequently murdered and I thought that she was going to be the focus of the episode until another kid named Henry was possessed and then he became the focus of this one. While his parents actually survived the episode, it did get a little touch and go at times though.

I found the concept that the spirit possessing Henry (a boy named Marcello who suffered brutally at the hands of an abusive father) still had a very alive body of a catatonic man was a nice enough twist and I did like the confrontation between Constantine and Marcello in the scary amusement ride but other than that, this sort of story has been dealt with better on others shows (Angel being one of them).

There were some positives to the episode. Delving more into Constantine's childhood and the scenes he had with Manny (probably the character at his best used so far), particularly when the former was briefly imprisoned were nice and Chas seemingly had more to do in this episode, compared to previous ones.

- The reason for this episode being off was the fact that it was originally meant to be the second episode.
- Zed didn't feature in this episode. Much as I like her, I don't think she was needed either.
- If we're going to see Constantine in bed with women, can we also see him in bed with men too? Come on, writers/NBC.
- This episode also took place during Halloween and we saw Chas holding onto a very revealing sword at one point in this one.

Probably the weakest of the bunch so far. "The Rage Of Caliban" didn't really float my boat aside from a few select scenes but given when it was originally meant to air, I can understand.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, September 05, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x05: "Danse Vaudou"

Written by Christine Boylan
Directed by John Badham

Corrigan: "How do you live with it? The knowledge that all this could be real? How?"
Constantine: "It marks you for life but it doesn't change who you are."

I really enjoyed this one. So far the show has been enjoyable and while the previous episode had a character sacrifice, this episode really felt like things moved up a bit of a gear as well. Namely with the introduction of Jim Corrigan as Constantine, Zed and Chas found themselves in New Orleans for this particular story.

As I'm learning more and more about this particular universe, it's great that they've thrown another big player into the universe and while there's the odd moment where the accent slips, Emmett Scanlan's a great choice for the role of Corrigan. He's given some truly great moment with both John and Zed in this episode, particularly with the latter as he realises that the supernatural really does exist.

More to the point this episode worked on developing a rather genuine connection between Zed and Corrigan as her powers came into play big time with the way she delved into his past (as did he later in the episode) and realised that he had a grim future ahead of him. The fact that Zed saw it now must mean that we're going to see the other side of Corrigan probably sooner than later though.

As for the main plot of the episode - three different ghosts. There was hitchhiker Philip, former model Misaki and Clarke, all of whom had present day connections and were causing very present day problems/deaths, which forced an alliance between Constantine and Papa Midnite. I loved the latter in his previous episode and I loved him even more in this one. The grudging truce between him and John was definitely a highlight of the episode, along with the pot shots both were able to get at each other along with the really big hint of some bad shit coming Constantine's way.

- I was getting some serious American Horror Story: Coven flashbacks in this episode. There was even a mention of Papa Legba in the episode as well.
- There was a tiny hint of Constantine swinging both ways in this one, even though there was some flirty moments between him and Zed as well.
- Midnite's sister Cedelia is stuck in the beyond as well. Obviously a bigger plot for Midnite as the series will progress.
- I'm really loving some of the little gadgets that Constantine uses per episode, including that nifty bracelet he had in this one.

Easily my favourite episode so far. "Danse Vaudou" really had the best character moments, a fun if not wholly original ghost stories (along with some body burning) and just terrific partnerships with Constantine/Midnite and Zed/Corrigan. Chas could've been a little more involved with the rest of the cast but other than that, a truly great episode.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Friday, September 04, 2015

My Review of Constantine's 1x04: "A Feast Of Friends"

Written by John F. Showalter
Directed by Cameron Welsh

Constantine (to Lester): "I'm proud of you, Gaz. Truly."

In the last few episodes we've gotten mentions here and there about John's past life in Newcastle and in this episode, one of those factors appeared in the shape and form of Gary Lester, who also brought a demon with him in order to keep things interesting.

I have a bit of a pet peeve about episodes with bugs or insects or in the case - beetles. I usually tend to find them a bit naff and the demon in question Mnemoth certainly spent a fair chunk of the episode in this form after being released from a bottle that Gary had acquired in Sudan before invading various hosts throughout. Then came the heroic sacrifice.

Personally while I do like the episode for exploring the complicated history between Constantine and Gaz as well as the latter's addictive personality and plethora of guilt issues and so on, a part of did feel that Lester's sacrificing himself to stop the demon didn't feel earned enough. It might have helped had this plot line had been done about two or three episodes after the character was introduced instead of his very introduction episode.

On the plus side, I really loved the dynamic between John and Zed in this episode. While he only told her a bit about his Newcastle past (makes sense, we're only on episode four), I did find it interesting that she was more sympathetic to Lester (after he hijacked her twice) and quite openly challenged Constantine as well. Basically, I think I'm really starting to like Zed a lot more than I did when she was first introduced.

- Manny really does need to do more than show up and be a dick to Constantine. No Chas in this one.
- Constantine's Shaman friend, Nommo was a good addition to this episode. I really liked the trippy scenes in this one.
- John's security system for his hideout looks more fun than a deterrent for some reason.
- This episode largely followed a storyline from Hellblazer.

A strong enough episode with some nice trippy moments, "A Feast Of Friends" definitely had a lot going for it but like i said earlier in the review, I do think that Lester needed to be in more episodes before the show done his big sacrifice. That being said, I like the way the show is giving us more and more on Constantine's past though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, September 03, 2015

My Review of Scream's 1x10: "Revelations"

Written by Jaime Paglia
Directed by Jamie Travis

Piper (to Emma): "I seriously wish you could see your face right now. Hashtag: mind blown."

Er, yeah about that - more like hashtag: saw it coming from the start. I mean seriously, unlike most of the movies where I actually struggled to guess who the killer was going to be and what their motives were, the reveal of Piper as Ghostface was so bloody obvious from the start along with her motives that it just more of a relief when she unmasked herself more than anything else really.

It might sound like I'm annoyed by the reveal but I'm actually not. I get that I'm slightly older than the actual target audience for this show but it did feel like that aside from a few attempts at misdirection that Piper being Ghostface just wasn't shocking in the slightest. On the plus side, it finally gave Amelia Rose Blaire some meaty material as Piper told Emma and Daisy/Maggie a couple of home truths by the same spot where Brandon James was murdered in the first place.

The confrontation itself was pretty strong and I did like that Piper was fine with using Branson as a fall guy for her crimes until both Emma and Audrey royally mucked up her plans and killed at the lake. That of course led to something more interesting - Piper having an accomplice.

I'm not sure I like the idea that Audrey had some kind of role in the various murders during the season, though it wouldn't be the first time one of the killers/accomplices has murdered one of their own (Stu, Mickey, Jill and Charlie for example) and she has been acting fairly cagey before the last reveal of her and Piper previously being in contact with one another though.

As for the rest of the episode - a part of me is a little shocked that they didn't go for one hell of a bloodbath. Aside from the sheriff's death and a random extra, Piper's last hurrah wasn't quite as bloody as expected. On the plus side, she did make for a better killer than Roman did in the third movie and overall, it was a satisfying enough way of ending this saga while sort of setting up more stuff for next season.

- It was nice the show managed to get in a nice tribute for Wes Craven at the start of the episode. Thanks for the screams, Wes.
- Brooke literally got fridged in this episode but survived, which I was pleased about. I even liked Jake in this episode. That being said, only Will was the main character to actually die this season.
- Um, Piper - we've had two female killers in this franchise before. Plus Tatum back in 1996 pointed out sexism over dismissing the idea of a female killer.
- Whatever Audrey's motives for being in contact with Piper, I hope they make sense.

A decent finale but a fun, but not too challenging series. "Revelations" brought things to a satisfying enough conclusion even if Piper being the killer had been obvious from the word go. A part of me does wonder if it would be a better idea for the show to have a new cast and setting for the next season rather than extend the Lakewood stuff but I guess we'll have to see how things pan out next year though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Doctor Who - Christmas 2015: River Returns

Yup, you've heard correctly. If both Doom Coalition and The Diary Of River Song from Big Finish weren't enough for the character, then another onscreen appearance is in order.

Last seen in the seventh series finale The Name Of The Doctor back in May 2013, Alex Kingston will be reprising the role of the flirty archaeologist and spouse of the Doctor in the upcoming Christmas episode, which has begun production. The episode is written by Steven Moffat and directed by Douglas Mackinnon who also directed this year's Sherlock Christmas special, The official BBC synopsis for River's return to Doctor Who is ....

It’s Christmas Day in the future and the TARDIS is parked on a snowy village street, covered in icicles, awaiting its next adventure. Time traveller River Song meets her husband’s new incarnation, in the form of Peter Capaldi, for the first time this Christmas.

I guess we should've seen this coming in a way. Steven Moffat himself never really dismissed the idea that he wouldn't bring back River in Capaldi's era and even Russell T. Davies commented that a Capaldi/Kingston episode would be sexy. Not to mention the fact that the character is also meeting the Eighth Doctor, courtesy of Big Finish as well.

Now, the obvious questions to ask ...

- When in River's timeline will she be meeting the Twelfth Doctor?
- Is Clara a part of the episode? The press release doesn't mention her at all and it does seem like Jenna Coleman could be stepping down from the TARDIS in the finale as well.
- Also, is River the only returning character in this Christmas episode? What if there are more to be announced over the coming weeks?

Personally, I'm delighted to see River back. While I will admit that I felt the character's arc had come to it's natural conclusion during the seventh series, I am definitely intrigued to see how she'll fare with Capaldi's Doctor and the fact that she's in the Christmas episode gives it a little more momentum as well. Overall, it should be a very interesting one this year.

Press Release:

Doctor Who - Series 9 will air on BBC1/BBCAmerica from September 19th. The Christmas special will air on Christmas Day.

My Review of Constantine's 1x03: "The Devil's Vinyl"

Written by Mark Verheiden And David S. Goyer
Directed by Romeo Tirone

Constantine (to Papa Midnite): "All this to get me alone. I'm flattered. You're gonna have to respect my boundaries. I don't do zipties without a safe word."

It only took them three episodes but the introduction of Papa Midnite certainly turned out to be the highlight in a very music themed episode. The character is one of the biggest in the Constantine lore and his introduction here set him up as a rather interesting antagonist for John, who was happy to bleed the latter out a little while at the same time focusing on getting the Acetate.

I have to admit the main plot (despite my love of music) didn't really grip me as much as I was hoping it would do. Yeah, there was the nice trope of people selling their souls to the Devil for success or the survival of a spouse (with the main guest character this week) but it was only when Midnite made his entrance did it feel like the story actually went somewhere.

The back and forth between Constantine and Midnite is something that I really am hoping later episodes are going to go to town with as the fight between the two of them over the Acetate at the radio station did set up some potentially great future conflict. Then there was that final scene where Midnite decided to embark on a little voodoo against Constantine as well.

As for the rest of the episode - Chas had a little more than he did in the previous one but there was more focus on Zed, who more or less became a fully fledged member of John's crew and proved to be pretty resourceful throughout the episode as well. While a part of me would've liked Liv to have stayed on, I do think generally that Zed is a decent character though.

- Naked and bloody, that's an interesting way of seeing the lead character this week. Took me a minute to realise he was doing a spell though.
- Manny briefly popped up but seemed perfectly fine with leaving Constantine tied up and bleeding out.
- We also got some insight into John's musical past as well this week. We'll probably get more in a later episode.
- For a moment, I thought Jasmine's husband was actually Ritchie from the first episode.

Not my favourite one so far but the introduction of Papa Midnite in this one was satisfying though. "The Devil's Vinyl" did have a lot of fun with a favourite trope and there was still some lovely visuals (Zed seeing Jasmine and a white tiger for instance) to keep things interesting.

Rating: 6 out of 10